Slipway and the Clock House, East Pier, Ramsgate
Slipway and the Clock House, East Pier, Ramsgate © Historic England DP247126
Slipway and the Clock House, East Pier, Ramsgate © Historic England DP247126

New Book Celebrates the Story of Ramsgate’s Rich Maritime and Seaside Heritage

Historic England’s new book Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage allows readers to delve into Ramsgate’s rich history over the past 300 years from home. It charts the changing face of Ramsgate and its transformation from quiet fishing village to a prosperous port and popular seaside resort and includes over 100 stunning new photographs of the town’s architectural legacy. 

The domed roof of the Custom House echoes the form of the building it replaced, Wyatt's pier house

The domed roof of the Custom House echoes the form of the building it replaced, Wyatt's pier house © Historic England DP251297

Ramsgate’s fascinating historic development can be seen throughout its rich architectural legacy. We hope this book will provide insight and interest at a time when we’re enjoying our heritage from home. The historic environment has so much to offer us all and will patiently await our return when we can visit and enjoy Ramsgate’s wonderful character in person again.

Emily Gee, Regional Director for London and the South East Historic England
Ramsgate's multi-layered maritime landscape

Ramsgate's multi-layered maritime landscape © Historic England DP247152

Once visited by a handful of intrepid sea bathers, improvements in passenger boats and the arrival of the railway in 1846 opened up Ramsgate to thousands of holidaymakers, requiring new bathing facilities and entertainment venues to be built.

A seaside guide of the time pronounced that “of the three watering places in the Isle of Thanet, Ramsgate is considered as the most fashionable, Margate as the most lively and bustling, Broadstairs as the most quiet and retired”.

Liverpool Lawn was planned as a gently curving crescent to exploit sea views from its site

Liverpool Lawn was planned as a gently curving crescent to exploit sea views from its site, which is set back from the seafront © Historic England DP251331

Ramsgate was patronised by royalty and boasted terraces, crescents and squares which were the height of fashion. The Victorian era brought with it many elegant civic buildings and new places of worship from the Montefiore synagogue, to St Augustine’s church designed by Augustus Pugin, renowned for his work on the Palace of Westminster.

Interior of St Augustine's Church

St Augustine's Church by A W N Pugin © Historic England DP247166

The economic decline experienced by many seaside towns in the 20th century is also explored in Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage, as is the creative way the town’s colourful past is now playing an important role in its future. It profiles the challenges and opportunities that the town faces today in seeking to redefine itself as an attractive place to visit, live and work.

This much anticipated book is part of Ramsgate’s Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), first launched in April 2017. The five-year HAZ initiative aims to encourage economic growth using the historic environment as a catalyst. Teams within Historic England are working in partnership with Thanet District Council, Ramsgate Town Council, and local organisations to understand what makes Ramsgate’s heritage so special, to share the findings of new research, and to protect and improve important places.

The research and investment from Historic England, via the Heritage Action Zone initiative, has really helped us to better understand the unique character of Ramsgate and uncover so much more of its fascinating history. The book builds on the momentum of activity and interest in Ramsgate and we look forward to our continued engagement with the community to protect and promote the town's heritage for future generations.

Cllr Ruth Duckworth, Cabinet Member for Estates and Economic Development Thanet District Council
West Dumpton housing scheme

Completed in 1938, the borough council's West Dumpton housing scheme included two blocks of eight flats designed for older couples. They are situated on Ellen Avenue, which is named after Ellen Nixon, a former mayoress of Ramsgate. © Historic England DP251251

Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage combines documentary research with insights derived from the town’s fascinating architectural legacy, illustrated with new and archival photographs. Written by Historic England architectural historian Geraint Franklin, it features a foreword by writer, architectural historian and President of the Ramsgate Society Clive Aslet, and contributions from Nick Dermott, conservation architect and heritage advisor to Thanet District Council, and Allan Brodie architectural historian and seaside specialist at Historic England. New photography throughout is by Historic England photographer Chris Redgrave.

This wide-ranging, accessible study is the first publication to come from the Historic England and Liverpool University Press partnership, and is part of the Informed Conservation series.

Front cover for Ramsgate: The town and its seaside heritage

Ramsgate: The Town and its Seaside Heritage is available to purchase from the Liverpool University Press website for £14.99.

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