23for23 Leading Ramsgate Women: Exhibition celebrates Lady Judith Montefiore

Ramsgate Working History group has compiled the 23 for 23 trail

The year 2023 marks the centenary of the appointment of Ramsgate’s (and Kent’s) first female mayor and greatest benefactor, Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills. To commemorate this, Ramsgate Working History have identified inspiring women from the town’s past whose contributions have sometimes been overlooked and lost to time.

The 23for23: Leading Ramsgate Women are pioneers and trailblazers in civil rights, politics, business and the arts, whose legacy has shaped not only Ramsgate, but also the world we live in today.

Lady Judith Montefiore (1784-1862) joins Dame Janet in the 23. As one of the first Jewish women who moved in royal and society circles, Lady Judith was able to advocate for the many philanthropic and humanitarian causes she and her husband, Sir Moses Montefiore, championed.

Lady Judith Montefiore public domain via Wikimedia Commons

She was a gifted linguist, who read Hebrew and spoke five languages. A talented writer who penned the first Jewish cookery book in English, she produced a series of extraordinary journals of extensive travels across Europe and the Near East. This was at a time when there were few railways, and road and sea journeys were fraught with obstacles and dangers.

Eastcliff Lodge 

The couple made East Cliff Lodge on Ramsgate’s East Cliff their forever home in 1830. One of the few remaining buildings that formed part of the original estate, the beautiful Grade II listed Italianate Glasshouse in King George VI Memorial Park, will host a three-day exhibition from 31st August to 2nd September to celebrate Lady Judith’s life and achievements.

Italianate Glasshouse

The exhibition introduces her travels and her cookery and household manuals. Although her books were written almost 180 years ago (more than ten years before Mrs Beeton published her first instalments), Lady Judith’s ideas and advice still resonate today.

Local historians will be available during the exhibition for questions about Lady Judith’s fascinating life. It will also be an opportunity for visitors to share their own stories and knowledge of Ramsgate’s rich history and heritage.

The exhibition runs from Thursday 31st August to Saturday 2nd September, 10.30am – 4pm daily.

To discover all 23 women included in 23for23, pick up a Walking Trail leaflet, available from all Thanet Visitor Information Centres and from businesses in and around Ramsgate, and at the exhibition, and visit the Facebook group “Ramsgate 23for23” https://www.facebook.com/groups/491909269532129

The Italianate Glasshouse & Occasional Tea Garden is in King George VI Memorial Park, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 8BD, a five-minute walk from Montefiore Avenue or from Victoria Parade along the cliff top. Please check the website for opening times and to make a booking for afternoon tea https://www.italianateglasshouse.com

23 for 23 – A new walking guide featuring leading Ramsgate women

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