A former jeweller’s shop with office accommodation above, probably built in the early-mid C19 with a shopfront remodelled in the 1950s.
Reasons for Designation
6 Harbour Street, probably constructed in the early-mid C19 with a 1950s remodelled shopfront, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons.
* for the quality and survival of its remodelled shopfront, which has been executed to a high standard and presents an attractive and inviting prospect to customers;
* for the survival of the interior, which retains the historic plan and a good level of fixtures and fittings, particularly to the ground-floor shop, which retains historic fitted cabinets;
* as a good example of a C19 shop remodelled in the mid-C20 to a high standard, illustrating the evolution of high street retail architecture and the continuing popularity of walk-in shopfronts for jewellers.
* with other historic shops along Harbour Street, notably F Hinds at 19 and 21 (Grade II) and 15 Harbour Street (Grade II).
Ramsgate is situated on the east coast of the Isle of Thanet, facing France and the Low Countries. Originating as a fishing village within the medieval parish of St Laurence, Ramsgate’s development from the C16 was driven by the strategic importance of its coastal port. Ramsgate became associated with the Cinque Ports as a limb of Sandwich from the C14. Late C17 trade with Russia and the Baltic resulted in a wave of investment and rebuilding in the town. In 1749 the construction of a harbour of refuge from storms in the North Sea and Channel was approved, and a cross wall and inner basin were completed in 1779 to the design of John Smeaton. Later improvements included a lighthouse of 1794-1795 by Samuel Wyatt and a clock house of 1817 by Wyatt and George Louch. From the mid-C18 Ramsgate became increasingly popular as a seaside resort, its expansion being accelerated by road improvements and faster sea passage offered by hoys, packets and steamers. During the Napoleonic Wars Ramsgate became a busy garrison town and a major port of embarkation. The arrival of the South Eastern Railway’s branch line in 1846 opened up Ramsgate to mass tourism and popular culture, bringing a range of inexpensive, lively resort facilities. New schools, hospitals and services were also built. The thriving town attracted diverse faith communities; Moses Montefiore founded a synagogue and a religious college at East Cliff Lodge, while AWN Pugin St Augustine’s Church and the Grange as part of an intended Catholic community on the West Cliff. Ramsgate remained a popular holiday destination until the advent of cheap foreign travel in the post-war decades. Falling visitor numbers were exacerbated by the decline of the town’s small trades and industries, fishing and boat-building. However, a ferry and hovercraft port and the large marina created in the inner harbour in the 1970s have continued to bring life to the area.
Retail became increasingly assertive from the late Georgian period. The arrival of plate glass (made by casting rather than blowing) led to a wave of shop window replacement, especially from about 1850, by which time the ground-floor shop, boasting attention-seeking displays sometimes lit by gas light, was a standard feature of most high streets. Purpose-built shops proliferated at this time, including jewellers, often characterised by screens and elaborate shelving. By the early C20 many jewellers favoured recessed, walk-in shopfronts to encourage shoppers to browse through the windows, taking advantage of curved glazing to increase the amount of display space.
Harbour Street developed as part of the early, pre-resort town: a 1736 map of Ramsgate depicts terraces of buildings along both sides of the street that was then known as The East End, including on the site of Number 6 Harbour Street. The building probably dates from the early-mid C19. It is shown with a similar footprint to its current form on an 1849 map of Ramsgate and the Ordnance Survey Town Plan of Ramsgate published in 1873. Historic trade directories indicate that the building was occupied by various different businesses before becoming a jewellers: William Barratt, outfitter in 1882; Charles Green, ham and beef dealer in 1891; and Macdonald Manufacturing, artificial teeth manufacturers in 1903 and 1913. Stanleys Goldsmiths was established in 1952 and it is presumed that the present shopfront dates from that period, although the present fascia is visible in earlier photographs and may be original. The shop closed in 2022.
A former jeweller’s shop with office accommodation above, probably built in the early C19 with a shopfront remodelled in the 1950s.
MATERIALS: external walls of yellow brick, with a timber and glazed shopfront.
PLAN: the building is rectangular on plan and is situated in the middle of a terrace of shops with accommodation above on the east side of Harbour Street.
EXTERIOR: the front elevation of the building to Harbour Street is two bays wide, with three storeys of accommodation over the ground-floor shop. The upper floors are of yellow brick laid in Flemish bond and each floor has a pair of recessed six-over-six sash windows with projecting stone sills and rendered reveals and lintels. An ornate metal bracket for a hanging sign projects from between the first-floor windows. The ground-floor has an asymmetrical, dual-entrance, recessed shopfront with ornate timber display cases with curved glazing.
The shopfront comprises a moulded fascia flanked by pilasters and large console fascia stops, which probably date from the C19. Within this framing is a timber and glazed shopfront remodelled in the 1950s. In the centre of the recessed lobby is a central island case set at a slight angle to the street, which has curved plate glass with thin, moulded glazing bars of timber and fielded panelling to the risers. This case is flanked by wall cases with similar glazing and joinery, and there are matching doors set back from the street leading into the shop. The lobby floor has mosaic tiling in an abstract black and white pattern.
INTERIOR: the main shop room on the ground floor retains original fittings. There are two counters of dark-stained timber, with one curved end each, fielded panels and moulded console brackets to the customer-facing sides and glazed tops for displaying jewellery. To the rear each counter has a curved timber shelf, and they are flanked by brass columns. The walls are fitted with glazed display cases of similar joinery and various sizes, with deep moulded cornices just below ceiling level. The ground-floor workshop to the rear has a moulded cornice and picture rail.
The first-floor office retains moulded cornicing, picture rail and skirting, a timber fire surround and an adjacent built-in cupboard with a fielded panel to the door. One of the second-floor rooms and the third-floor room have tiled fireplaces and moulded skirting and picture rails.