‘Isle of Rydesgate’ exhibition opens in Ramsgate for Historic England project


A free exhibition of 3D model buildings – hand-drawn by volunteers – on a giant map of Ramsgate and Ryde ‘twin town’ Rydesgate, has opened in the town at 46 High Street (former Grumpy Goblin next to the Post Office) and will be on show until July 10.

The pop-up fantasy model village features residents designs of their own shop to show how town centres could be improved for residents, shop owners and visitors.

Ryde on the Isle of Wight and Ramsgate have been unofficially ‘twinned’ by Historic England and creative firm Mooch as part of a national cultural programme celebrating humble high streets.

Ramsgate model village used to stand on the West Cliff Photo via thanetonline

Inspired by Ramsgate’s old model village, which opened at West Cliff in 1953 and closed in 2003, the best of both towns are being blended to create ‘the Isle of Rydesgate’ – a fantasy model village for the 21st century.

The exhibition is transferring to Ryde on July 17.

High Street project with Mooch

Craft packs are now available to collect from the Visitor Information at Ramsgate Harbour, or to be posted  via Mooch’s website or Facebook. Participants are asked to colour in and create a shopfront using one of the templates. Craft packs include:

Instructions and information on the project

One of 12 building designs to colour in

Colouring pencils

Free returns envelope

When finished, post back or return to Mooch to be added to the exhibition.

Ramsgate’sTheresa Smith, founder of artist practice Mooch, is working with local residents, building enthusiasts, and students at Broadstairs College from the East Kent College Group to create the templates, build the models and help run the exhibitions, alongside Mooch’s Kickstart-funded studio assistant.

In Ryde, the exhibition is being supported by Ryde Arts and Shademakers.

Theresa said: “To work on a national commission for Historic England is very special, especially for someone that lives in a town that is just rammed with beautiful and quirky buildings. I look forward to seeing all the fantasy shopfronts come to life. You don’t have to be in Ramsgate to join in, just be a fan of Ramsgate, or Ryde, and want to do something fun that connects these very similar coastal resort towns!”

Ellen Harrison, Head of Creative Programmes and Campaigns at Historic England, added: “The Isle of Rydesgate is a fun way to think about what we find on the high street currently, what may be missing and what we’d like to see improve. By combining people’s favourite bits of both historic coastal towns and letting imaginations run wild we hope the exhibition proves a talking point, as well as offering an opportunity for some mindful colouring-in!”

The Isle of Rydesgate is one of six Twin Towns commissions that are part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.