Marking the 100th anniversary of Winterstoke Sun Shelter and Gardens

Marking 100 years of the Winterstoke gardens

Photos by Winterstoke Gardens & East Cliff Projects

Volunteers have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Winterstoke Gardens in Ramsgate.

The Winterstoke Sun Shelter and Gardens were opened by Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills on 15th June 1923.

Having inherited a vast fortune and East Court house from her uncle (and adoptive father), Lord Winterstoke, Dame Janet spent a considerable amount of money on her new hometown of Ramsgate and in particular, on commissioning the well-known architectural firm of Sir John Burnet & Partners to create a neo-classical brick and rendered Sun Shelter standing within approximately 225m of ‘Pulhamite’ rock gardens.

Newspapers of the day described the gardens opening, saying: “There was a very large gathering of citizens to witness the opening ceremony when the Mayor Alderman A. W. Larkin called upon Sir John Burnet. A.R.A. R.S.A. who explained the work carried out in forming the gardens.

“Two beautiful pieces of sculpture work by Mr Gilbert Bayes, representing children playing with the “Ram” of Ramsgate, lent a playful and delightful note to the simple dignified lines of the architecture.

“Messrs. Pulham and Son, who carried out the work, had advised as regards the planting of trees, which had all been selected to suit the soil and climate of Ramsgate.

“The Ramsgate Corporation gave the following assurance at the time that ‘the Gardens will be well cared for by our Parks & Gardens Committee…..and it should be considered a duty by all who use the Gardens to see that good order is kept and that no damage is done to this beauty spot’.”

Dame Janet became the first female mayor for Ramsgate, and in Kent, that same year.

Members of the Winterstoke Gardens Group celebrated the gardens centenary with a gathering on June 17.

Deputy Mayor Kay Dark and Councillor Raushan Ara cut the birthday cakes and Cllr Ara provided  samosas and bhajis.

Also attending were councillors Tricia Austin and Tony Ovenden, ‘Dame Janet’ from the Ramsgate Costume Walks and Denise Blunn, the current custodian of Dame Janet’s former home. A donation of the Virago book of Women Gardeners was also made.

Andy King, from the group, said: “Over the last 8 years or so, the volunteers of the Winterstoke Gardens Group have been doing our best, taking on an area that had not seen any proper maintenance other than a few locals doing what they could in the years prior to our involvement.

“Being a voluntary group we are not funded so every donation, big or small, is gratefully received and channelled into the upkeep of the Gardens, be it planting, edging, repairing…..the list is endless.

“The list of volunteers both past and present who have helped and continue to volunteer is huge, and thanks to them the gardens are what they are today, each and every one of them have our eternal thanks.

“We must be doing something right as we’ve picked up Silver Gilt Awards in the South & South East in Bloom competitions in both of the last 2 years, as well as the prestigious ‘Judges’ Award’ in 2021.”

To get involved with the Winterstoke Gardens Group go to https://www.facebook.com/ramsgateeastcliff

Or email [email protected]

8 Comments

  1. I was only admiring the gardens last week and ite thanks to volunteers that this part of the cliff looks respectable.
    Now go down to the the centrepiece of our town that is the Bandstand.It is full of 2 metre high weeds on an industrial level.Due to council neglect the litter has moved in along with the grafitti. When are TDC going to realise that if you treat a place like a slum in turns into one.What an advert for tourist promotion.

  2. I agree that nice areas remain nice.Neglected areas by the Council become anti social areas.Our town could be a contender for the most grafittied in UK if there ever becomes a competition.

  3. The Ramsgate Corporation gave the following assurance at the time that ‘the Gardens will be well cared for by our Parks & Gardens Committee” Not so. It relies on volunteers. I sincerely hope the the councillors did not claim expenses to attend.

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