An attraction packed festival will mark the 200th anniversary of Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour status

Ramsgate Photo Historic England

Preparations are underway for an action packed festival to mark the 200th anniversary of Royal designation for Ramsgate harbour.

The entire area of the inner harbour, Harbour Parade from Madeira Walk to the Turning Circle in front of The Royal Victoria Pavilion and parts of the Main Sands from the beach café to the harbour wall will have marquees and gazebos for static displays, local groups and charities.

The event, which is being headed up by Ramsgate stalwart Ralph Hoult and Starlite Entertainers Productions with help from some 20 local groups, cadets and carnival courts,, will take place from September 24-26.

Ramsgate was awarded the title ‘Royal Harbour’ by royal decree in 1821 by the reigning monarch King George IV. It is the the only ‘Royal’ harbour in the UK.

Dominic Grant

A centre piece of the festival will be the  life-size King George IV statue created by the late sculptor Dominic Grant

Dominic passed away suddenly from an aneurysm in November 2020. His wife Julie, children Luke and Sophie and Sophie’s artist boyfriend Matt have lovingly completed the sculpture.

But £60,000 is needed to fund the bronze casting, site groundworks, plinth and the statue’s many journeys to complete the works.

Actress and resident of Ramsgate Brenda Blethyn has pledged a generous donation. A Drumhead Service will take place when the sculpture is unveiled at the event.

Attractions booked include  Tall Ship ‘The Royalist’ from the National Sea Cadet Corps, two Royal Navy ships and Ramsgate RNLI.

Ralph Hoult

There will also be a variety show held in a big top theatre at the harbour. The Royal Harbour of Ramsgate Gala Show will be in the style of former TV series This Is Your Life.

A festival banquet and further shows will also take place at the big top location.

Ramsgate Royal Harbour 200th Festival attractions:

Big Top Theatre Marquee in the centre of the crosswall

Two ships from the Royal Navy.

A Submarine Simulator also from the Royal Navy (TBC).

The Royalist  tall ship plus another ship from the National Sea Cadet Corps.

At least six boats from the Dunkirk Little Ships Fleet.

The Sea Safety Exhibition including the RNLI boats and possibly a helicopter.

Representatives of Kent Police and South East Coast Ambulance.

Old Ramsgate Collection Exhibition.

Bucket & Spade vintage vehicles.

Mini Hovercraft.

Romans, Vikings, Napoleonic Soldiers, World Wars re-enactors.

Shows.

Costumed walks.

Drumhead Service with Royalty present (TBC) and Sunday Service.

Children’s Street Party and Tea Party On The Prom.

Fun fair and charity stalls.

East Kent Sea Cadet Corps ( 8 units) also Cadets from ATC & CCF

On water displays throughout the festival.

The Royal decree (details with thanks to Ramsgate Town Council)

In 1821, HM King George IV visited Ramsgate several times and was a great friend of Sir William Curtess – “Billy Biscuit”.

He received such a friendly welcome on these visits of embarkation to Hanover that on his return to London he decreed that Ramsgate Harbour should receive the title of “The Royal Harbour of Ramsgate” and the town could fly his Royal Standard three times per year – 29th January, 19th July and 12th August. (Accession to the Throne, Coronation and His Majesty’s Birthday.)

To get involved contact Festival Director Ralph Hoult on ralphchoult@gmail.com

Find the fundraiser for the statue bronzing by clicking here

Find the Ramsgate 200 facebook page here