New nostalgia book ‘A Fashionable Place – Stories From Ramsgate’ published by author Nick Evans

Water sports event at the Marina swimming pool in the early 1950s. The pool was shut in 1975 due to structural defects ©Thanet District Council SEAS Heritage Collection

Rarely seen photos of Ramsgate vie with old postcards of the town in a nostalgic new history book which has now arrived in bookshops across the isle.

‘A Fashionable Place – Stories From Ramsgate’ is written by local author Nick Evans and is the seventh book he has written about Thanet’s past in three years.

The latest addition to the series charts Ramsgate’s development in the 19th century when it became a vital port of embarkation for thousands of soldiers heading off for the Napoleonic Wars.

Amphibian car being tried out in Ramsgate harbour in the 1960s. ©Thanet District Council SEAS Heritage Collection

Victory at Waterloo saw Ramsgate reinvent itself into a fashionable Regency era resort with the building of assembly rooms, new crescents and squares – some of which were named after elements of the newly won conflict over the French.

Ramsgate Sea cadet band parades through Ramsgate and up the High Street in the 1960s. ©Thanet District Council SEAS Heritage Collection.

Other chapters of the book, which contains more than 100 illustrations, are devoted to more familiar subjects such as shops in the town centre, life along the foreshore and Dumpton greyhound stadium.

It also tells the stories of Tomson & Wotton which, until closure in 1968, was Britain’s oldest brewer, and the forgotten lavender fields of Cliffsend.

Cars being driven onto a Hoverlloyd SRN4 hovercraft at Pegwell Bay hoverport, ©Thanet District Council SEAS Heritage Collection.

An extended section recalls the days of Hoverlloyd and the international hoverport at Pegwell Bay.

Photos for the book have been sourced from the Sunbeam Photography collection, held by Thanet District Council, and are being displayed in many cases, for the first time in more than half a century.

Opening or naming ceremony at the Hoverlloyd hoverport terminal Pegwell Bay with Mary Wilson, wife of Prime Minister Harold, in January 1969 ©Thanet District Council SEAS Heritage Collection

Nick said: “Ramsgate’s history is very well recorded and you certainly can’t cover all of it in one volume. I’ve tried to find a happy balance between well remembered subjects while including plenty of material about others which have faded from the memory.

Greyhounds spring from the starting traps at the Dumpton track in 1968, some 40 years after its opening

“Hopefully, that mix works to shed a new light on Ramsgate’s past, showing it in arguably better times.”

VW Beetle cars outside the Classic (formerly Odeon) Cinema for promotion of Disney’s Love Bug film. King Street, Ramsgate, 1969. ©Thanet District Council SEAS Heritage Collection

A Fashionable Place – Stories From Ramsgate is on sale at independent bookshop Book Bodega in Harbour Street; Ramsgate Tunnels on the seafront; Michael’s Bookshop in King Street; Westgate Galleria, Station Road, Westgate, and No3 Cards & Gifts in York Street, Broadstairs.

The landscape A5 book consists of 96 pages and costs £12. The book can be purchased online via the books section of www.shorelinepartners.co.uk where a charge will be added for postage and packing.

Nick’s previous six local titles, all published since September 2020, are:

Mayfair By The Sea – The Story Of Westgate, volumes one and two

The New Town On The Cliffs – The Story Of Cliftonville, volumes one and two

At Sunshine Coast’s End – The Broadstairs Story

100 Years In Dreamland

In October 2018 Nick wrote and published A Birchington Patchwork – The Story Of A Village And Its People.

 

4 Comments

    • Mark …. On sale at independent bookshop Book Bodega in Harbour Street; Ramsgate Tunnels on the seafront; Michael’s Bookshop in King Street; Westgate Galleria, Station Road, Westgate, and No3 Cards & Gifts in York Street, Broadstairs

  1. Can I purchase a copy by post? Charles Kirby, my father, was manager of Sunbeams Kiosk on Ramsgate Sea Front for many years.

  2. Anybody

    Most if not all of the photographs featured in this article were actually taken by the photographers at East Kent Times newspaper which was regarded as the ‘Ramsgate’ paper by many. I particularly remember the VW cars photo as that was the brainchild of my late husband John Wilson who was chief photographer at the EKT at the time. happy days.

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