March 2024 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear XXX,

Apologies for having to postpone our March talk but hot on its heels we can announce a rather special event for April.  Our speaker, Jim Davies, is an ex-miner who will mix a multi-media presentation with his own first-hand experience. Not to be missed!

Among our other updates and features in this newsletter we also alert you to the Diamond Jubilee of the Ramsgate Society and invite long-term members to share your memories of achievements over the last 60 years.

Terry Prue

Ramsgate Society Communication Lead

April 11th: The Next Society Talk is on Our Local Mining Heritage

Betteshanger Miners c.1955 Photo from Coalfield Heritage Initiative Kent

Those relatively new to Ramsgate may be unaware that we have any connection with coal mining but all the main Kent collieries were within 15 miles of us and because they were all in rural locations it was in towns like Deal and Ramsgate that many miners were living.

In the early 1900s when the main Kent mines were opening, much of the skilled labour force had to be imported from existing pits elsewhere. As an example, Ramsgate became home to the majority of the miners coming from Wales to work the Chislet Colliery in Hersden, about 12 miles from Ramsgate on the way to Canterbury.

Our talk on April 11th will include slides, films and personal memories from Jim Davies, an ex-miner volunteer at the Kent Mining Museum, Betteshanger. Jim is the son of a Welsh miner who made the transfer to Kent. He later followed in his father’s footsteps down the mines until (in his own words) he had the task of “putting the lights out” at the last working mine in Kent. He also remembers coming to the Ramsgate Tunnels to test for gas!

This unique event that combines formal research with oral history takes place on April 11th at the San Clu. As usual doors open at 6:30pm and the talk of about 45 minutes will start at 7pm and be followed by about 15 minutes of Q & A. Places must be booked in advance at £2 (+ 88p for Eventbrite costs). Non-members of the Ramsgate Society will be requested to add a voluntary donation of £3 on the door.

Book here

Terry Prue

The Ramsgate Society Diamond Jubilee 2024

From our Chairman, John Walker:

I had reason the other day to check the year the Ramsgate Society was formed- which was 1964 – and suddenly realised that this current year 2024 would be our 60th Birthday or Diamond Jubilee.

I discussed this with the Ramsgate Society Committee at our March committee meeting and we all agreed we couldn’t let the occasion pass without marking it in some way. We thought about some of the Society’s achievements in the early years and now more recently and the list began to grow and take on a life of its own. Here are just a few in no particular order:

  1. The renovation of the 14 seafront shelters
  2. Introducing the Ramsgate Design Awards
  3. Launching the Clock House Renovation Project
  4. Launching the Ramsgate Community Champion Awards
  5. organising the Van Gogh Summer Event in 2019
  6. Supporting the Friends of Ellington Park in the early stages of their major renovation project
  7. Organising the annual Chine to Chine Litter Picks as part of the Keep Britain Tidy Annual Spring Clean
  8. Planting 50 trees in the Ramsgate Conservation Area to celebrate the Conservation Areas 50th Anniversary
  9. Playing a leading role in the delivery of the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone Project.
  10. Organising and coordinating the annual Thanet Heritage Open Days with support from TDC.
  11. Organising a series of monthly talks which have become very popular with both Members and the general public.
  12. Implementing a project of 24 Blue Plaques to celebrate Ramsgate’s connection with some famous names including HRH Princess Victoria, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Wilkie Collins, Frank Muir, John Le Mesurier, Frank Muir and others.
  13. Engaging with statutory consultations around the Local Plan and Corporate
  14. Participating in the Public Inquiry into the reopening of Manston Airport as a air freight cargo hub.
  15. Supporting Ramsgate Town Council in the preparation of their Neighbourhood Plan

We realised that the Society had been very active in its first 60 years and the committee agreed to meet again soon to decide how best to celebrate some of our achievements – so watch this space for further news!

N.B. We are at a very early stage on this project and if you have memories of significant past achievements for the Ramsgate Society please share them with us at

CLOCK HOUSE – the best jigsaw in Ramsgate!

The Clock House team at work photographed by John Walker

What are odds of throwing a jigsaw puzzle into the air and it landing, by chance, fully assembled? ‘They’ say, while it’s not impossible, it is very, very, very, very unlikely. No surprise there, but it’s a fun way of looking at what not to do in the Clock House as it begins its transformation this year.

Inside there are four room radiating east and west from the central tower, itself consisting of two octagonal rooms. Six pieces of a giant—currently imaginary—jigsaw. When we finally open the doors to the public, each of the six spaces will be filled with wonderful historic stories, gorgeous heritage objects, community and learning experiences, and new sense of ‘place’ on the Royal Harbour. So far so good. Except, a part of each of those six pieces needs to be given over to the practical operations of the building – offices, storage areas, loos, staircases, lift, kitchen, etc. all need to be incorporated as well. And the size, shape, and location of the other pieces is still to be determined.

So, while throwing all the jigsaw pieces in the air and hope they’ll land in the just the right place is a tempting strategy, we need to leave it for the preserve of cartoons and dreams. In reality we have to remove any element of chance to make this project a success. Rest assured, no one is throwing anything in the air – except perhaps the odd hat on opening day!

The good news is we have the edges in place – the building itself. The bad news is there’s no picture on the box to help decide what goes where! The result is these imaginary “jigsaw pieces of space”, need to be carefully planned, shaped, and assembled, with everything interlocking perfectly, to create the best possible inclusive visitor experience – that is also functional, practical, flexible, and accessible.

To make this happen in the best way possible is a great team of people working on the jigsaw. Experts and professionals who’ve done this before, with a great understanding of how public spaces work, the understanding of how to create the best visitor flow, and where best to put the gift shop [not necessarily at the exit!]. Everyone involved is fully invested to ensure right to bring to life a community experience everyone can enjoy and be a part of.

Once the jigsaw is completed, the next stage can be planned – that of creating it within the Clock House. That’s a little way off right now, but today the pieces are starting to take shape and an impression of the new spaces will work is starting to emerge. This is not a process to hurry, but with the clocks changing in a couple of weeks and spring starting to raise its happy head, there’s a lot to look forward to in the Clock House.

Rob Warren

Museum & Gallery Consultant and Ramsgate Society Committee Member

Climate Matters: Reducing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

The connection between climate change and atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) was first noted in the 1800s and the French mathematician and physicist Joseph Fourier likened the earth’s atmosphere to a greenhouse, keeping some of the heat from the sun from escaping to space. In the 1890’s the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius pondered the relationship between CO2 and global temperatures and concluded a doubling of CO2 would lead to a temperature increase of some 5C. Modern climatic modelling shows that Arrhenius was not far off the mark. The year 1988 was a turning point, the hottest on record (until then) with drought and wildfires within the US. NASA scientist James Hansen when testifying before Congress said he was “99 percent sure” that global warming was upon us.

Nearly 40 years ago we knew that human activity (principally burning coal, oil and natural gas) was changing the world’s climate. Now those changes are ever more extreme and yet still we continue to burn even more fossil fuel.

Many hope for a ‘technical fix’; something we can do to reduce atmospheric CO2 while continuing to burn fossil fuels. One such fix is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), touted by many (including our government)) as a plausible part of the fight against climate change, and used by big polluters as an excuse for business as usual. Is CCS a realistic option?

Human activities resulted in emissions exceeding 40 billion tonnes in 2022. Natural CCS includes the carbon capture by growing trees, seawater and other natural processes and accounts for around 43 million tonnes per year. This is actually decreasing because of deforestation. Artificial CCS (of the type the government is promoting) currently extract (worldwide) about 2 million tonnes.

The UK plans to capture and store 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 a year by 2030, and the EU 50 million tons. This is more than 30x the current worldwide capability, and even if this increase is realistic this is a drop in the ocean compared to the 40 billion tons we are emitting.

The downside of artificial CCS is also problematic. Capturing, pumping and storing CO2 takes significant amounts of energy. If this comes from non-renewable sources then it’s simply adding to the problem. If it comes from renewable sources, surely it would be better to use that energy directly to reduce the amount generated from fossil fuels.

Storage itself is a significant problem. Oil companies want to pump it into spent oil-wells, but the reason they want to do this is that it allows the extraction of even more oil. The extra CO2 from burning the extracted oil exceeds the amount of CO2 stored in the wells.

The EU plan for CCS includes 19,000 kilometres of pipeline to transport liquid CO2 to storage sites in the North Sea and elsewhere. In 2020 a liquid CO2 pipeline in rural Mississippi fractured. 1.6km downhill was the village of Satartia, population 300. CO2 is heavier than air, so flows downhill. At around double the levels found in air, CO2 causes mental slowness, increased reaction times, and drowsiness. At higher levels it results in dimmed sight, sweating, tremor, unconsciousness, and possible death. In Satartia people started feeling unwell, some losing consciousness. Emergency vehicle engines failed because of the high levels of CO2. In the end, 45 people (out of a town of 300) were hospitalised and hundreds were evacuated. The European pipelines would pass through some of the most densely populated areas in Europe, with millions of inhabitants.

Does Carbon Capture and Storage seem like a good idea? Wouldn’t it just be easier to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels?

Phil Shotton

Ramsgate Society Lead on Environment and Climate Change

Ramsgate Matters Autumn 2023 Edition – An Apology

Unfortunately, we experienced a number of difficulties with the distribution of the Autumn edition of Ramsgate Matters with the result that the delivery of hard copies was incomplete and electronic copies much delayed.  We are very sorry for this and if you have yet to receive your copy, please let us know.  Meanwhile if you would like to read the magazine on-line you can access a copy by clicking on this button.

View the magazine online

We will be issuing a special “Diamond Jubilee” edition of Ramsgate Matters later in 2024 to coincide with the celebration of 60 years since the Ramsgate Society was established.

Graham Woolnough

Honorary Secretary

A Reminder: Our Chine-to-Chine Litter Pick Returns on March 24th

Photo of volunteers from a previous year by John Walker

A reminder that this event, which is part of Keep Britain Tidy’s Big Spring Clean, takes place this coming Sunday March 24th. Assemble outside the Clock House at 11am and finish at 1pm. All equipment will be provided.

It’s usually a very sociable occasion – suitable for all the family- the kids really enjoy doing their bit, so bring them along as they need to be accompanied by an adult.

Terry Prue

Finally: A poster for a talk Tuesday March 26th from our friends at  Ramsgate Montefiore Heritage about the 99th Birthday Celebrations for Sir Moses

Contact the Ramsgate Society

If you have any queries about or for the Society please get in touch

Members with events, workshops or news that you would like the Society to consider featuring in its newsletter please contact:

Copyright (C) 2024 Ramsgate Society. All rights reserved.

You are receiving this email because you provided us with your email address to send updates about the work we’re doing


Ramsgate Society

c/o The Custom House
Harbour Parade

Ramsgate, Kent CT11 8LP

United Kingdom

Add us to your address book


Update Preferences | Unsubscribe

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp