Heritage Fund bid to be submitted for cafe and exhibition space project at Ramsgate’s Clock House

Harbour Clock House Photo Historic England

A bid for £322,740 will be submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of plans to create a café and heritage exhibition space at Ramsgate’s Clock House building.

The bid would be for phase one development funding and will be followed by a second phase bid for capital and revenue of potentially up to £2million.

The Clock House project is earmarked for £1.48million from the £19,840,000 Ramsgate Future fund but needs to source additional grants.

Thanet council has been working with the Ramsgate Society on the scheme, which also includes a town square proposal at Pier Yard car park.

First mooted in 2015, but with lease issues standing in the way, the Society’s feasibility study is included in the Levelling Up Fund projects.

Ramsgate Society proposal

The Ramsgate Society proposal includes a museum and heritage centre with five gallery areas, a terrace and mechanical interactive exhibits on various historical themes. It would be a combination of renovation and new build,

In the proposal it states: “The Clock House presents an exciting opportunity to develop a heritage centre which enables visitors to explore Ramsgate’s maritime and social history.

“The surrounding Harbour and dry dock is of significant heritage value  and would greatly benefit from a centre where visitors can access information and interpretation.

“The proposed centre should complement rather than compete with existing museums and places of interest, encouraging visitors and residents alike to explore the historic town.”

The plans were originally hampered by issues with the lease. Thanet council granted a 25 year full repairing and insuring lease for the site to The Steam Museum Trust (SMT) in April 2012 at a peppercorn rent. This lease expires on January 31, 2037.

Ramsgate Maritime Museum

The terms stipulate that the Trust start repair works between April 2013 and March 2017 but no work was undertaken until The Ramsgate Society took the initiative.

However, Thanet council’s legal team are in talks with legal representatives for SMT and it is understood the lease will be ended early.

At a Cabinet meeting yesterday (July 28) Cllr Bob Bayford questioned whether SMT would receive any compensation, saying: “It’s very disappointing the state the Clock House is in. In 2011 the lease was granted to the current leaseholder. That lease had obligations in return for a rent-free period but it seems in the ensuing 11 years nothing has been done.”

Deputy council leader Reece Pugh agreed and officer Louise Askew said she ‘did not believe any compensation was being discussed.’

Ms Askew said the  bid for £322k, ‘matched’ with £35,680 out of Levelling Up coffers, would be used to make the Grade II listed Clock House secure and works inside the building. Money would also be used for a Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor and Design Team.

The second, larger bid and other funds would then be used for work to extend the building for the café and extra gallery space. Documents say the total cost of this part of the project is £3,260,000 in capital funding, plus revenue spending and expected increases for construction costs as the project will not get underway until at least late 2023 due to the Lottery application process timescales.

Cabinet members approved the bid submission to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Ramsgate Levelling Up fund includes plans for plans for a ‘Green Port’ – projected to create 800 jobs, a Green Hub training centre for apprenticeships and training, hospitality and fishing fleet proposals and community kitchens.

The Smack Boys Home and neighbouring Sailors Church

It also includes a training hotel and restaurant at the Smack Boy’s building at Ramsgate harbour, a brasserie and a fishing facility for the local fleet to store and sell catch from; and two community sites in Newington and Ramsgate with training kitchens.

The Smackboys’ building project is awaiting a report from a costed conditions survey that has been carried out on the site. The survey will provide the basis of the works required on the building, and will act as a guide in supporting the development into a restaurant and hotel.


  1. I was under the impression all those gov funds hand outs were for the good of all in the local community, a cafe ? and dilapidation refurbishment of that building is for the few. possibly seasonal.

    Probably be another local business that is free of business rates and employ part time staff on national £ wage.

    Shocking decision, why not sell the complete port area off. money pit run by bean counters

    • I’m with you… This needs looking into.
      Who stole the artefacts half were found on ebay because they never listed them.

    • Hopefully the sea cadets will stay put. They are far more important to Ramsgate’s future than a succession of transitory hotel occupants. If any wealthy businessmen want somewhere to stay then they can use the new hotel and conference facilities at Blueberry Homes.

  2. Nothing gets done in Thanet unless there’s a grant.
    Where has all the money gone they collect. Oh yer pay offs for failure to do there jobs

  3. So 2.5 plus million to put the clocktower right and make it fit for the future, puts some context into the likely costs for the winter gardens and theatre royal.

  4. Why is there a yacht alongside the slipway in one of those images? Does the artist think that this vital part of the working harbour is going to be displaced to make way for another marina?

  5. Why not a Yacht, SMT are proposing ripping the innards out of the steam tug, so can’t see the point of that area being part of the Marina.

  6. There are more important uses for the levelling up money,top of the list should be saving our Royal harbour from the continued build up of sand that is costing thousands of pounds to dredge until the Next North East gale when it fills up again Plus the shingle banks that were in place for hundreds of years are moving towards the royal Harbour this is a direct cause of the ferry terminal altering the stable long shore drift. This will never stop untill a breakwater to shelter the harbour from big waves that shift the sand is in place, LETS DO IT!.

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