Ramsgate is a seaside town on the Isle of Thanet in east Kent, England. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century and is a member of the ancient confederation of Cinque ports. It has a population of around 40,000. Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline and its main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has one of the largest marinas on the English south coast and Port Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years.
Ramsgate's harbour is a defining characteristic of the town. The construction of Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and was completed in about 1850. The Harbour has the unique distinction of being the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom. Because of its proximity to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both during the Napoleonic Wars and for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.
In 1901, the Isle of Thanet saw the introduction of an electric tram service which was one of the few inter-urban tramways in Britain. The towns of Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs were linked by 11 miles of track.
In 1915-1916 early aircraft began to use the open farmlands at Manston as a site for emergency landings. The location near the Kent coast gave Manston some advantages over the other previously established aerodromes. By 1917 the Royal Flying Corps was well established and taking an active part in the defence of England. As RAF Manston the aerodrome played an important role in the second World War and is now called Kent International Airport.
The town is now the amalgamation of two settlements. One is the fishing community based on the coast in the shallow valley between two chalk cliffs and the other a farming community inland that is now the Parish of St. Lawrence. The cliffs are now known as the East Cliff and the West Cliff and are predominantly residential areas. There are promenades along both cliff tops with parks at either end and sand beaches on the coast.
Ramsgate is within the Thanet local government district. The town contains the seven electoral wards of Sir Moses Montefiore, Northwood, Newington, Cliffsend and Pegwell, Central Harbour, Nethercourt, and Eastcliff. These wards have seventeen of the fifty six seats on the Thanet District Council. As of the 2007 Local Elections, twelve of those seats were held by Labour, four by the Conservatives and one by Ramsgate First.
The town is currently an unparished area and does not have a town council, but a movement called 'Ramsgate First' is campaigning to form one. The town mayor is currently Cllr Kay Dark.
During the 1984 National Union of Mineworkers Strike, several blockades of Ramsgate Harbour were staged by coalmen of the nearby colleries, which had until then supported a sizable workforce throughout Thanet. Ramsgate was also the original location of the pressure group Critical Mass.
Ramsgate's main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has a thriving marina with over 800 moorings and a range of marine-related businesses that operate in premises in the renovated arches under Royal Parade. The town caters for students of EFL (English as a foreign language) at its colleges.
Although Ramsgate has the most valuable fish landings in Kent (~£700,000 in 2003), the fishing industry is in decline.
Port Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years. Previously Sally Ferries provided a service of passenger and car ferries to Dunkirk. Currently a service of freight and car is provided to Oostende.
Unemployment for Thanet is higher (4.1%) than the national average (2.5%).
|2001 UK Census||Ramsgate||Thanet District||England|
|Over 65 years old||18%||22%||16%|
The place of birth of residents was 95.6% United Kingdom, 0.7% Republic of Ireland, 0.6% Germany, 0.6% other Western Europe countries, 0.3% Eastern Europe, 0.6% Far East, 0.5% Africa, 0.3% North America, 0.3% South Asia, 0.2% Middle East, 0.2% Oceania and 0.1% South America
Religion was recorded as 71.6% Christian, 0.3% Muslim, 0.1% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.1% Sikh and 0.1% Jewish. 17.9% were recorded as having no religion, 0.3% had an alternative religion and 7.1% didn't state their religion.
For every 100 females, there were 91.2 males. The age distribution was 6% aged 0-4 years, 16% aged 5-15 years, 5% aged 16-19 years, 31% aged 20-44 years, 24% aged 45-64 years and 18% aged 65 years and over.
Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline, particularly Ramsgate Main Sands, which has been awarded a 2008 Blue Flag award. The water quality, tested in 2007, passed the legal minimum, mandatory standard..
The local council publishes a website specifically aimed at tourists visiting Ramsgate and neighbouring towns.
The previous prime seafront site which was Ramsgate pleasure park is currently undergoing major redevelopment.
Ramsgate has developed a continental cafe style culture with bars and restaurants on its seafront parade.
There is an annual Powerboat Grand Prix event based out of the harbour of Ramsgate during the summer. Ramsgate carnival is an annual parade also during the summer. Other events include the annual Addington Street Fair and the French Market.
Ramsgate's sports facilities include a public swimming pool , a fitness centre with gym and sports hall. Tennis clubs can be found at Spencer square and St. Laurence. Ramsgate has three golf clubs: St. Augustines , Stonelees , and Manston. Being a harbour town, there is also a sailing club - The Royal Temple Yacht Club. The Royal Temple Yacht Club is steeped in yacht racing history, and hosts racing throughout the year for a variety of historic trophies. The highlight of the season is the annual international sailing regatta - 'Ramsgate Week', usually held in August.
The town has three notable churches. The first building used for worship in the Thanet parish of 'St Lawrence' was at St Laurence-in-Thanet, built in 1062 and rebuilt during the following centuries with the most significant changes being in the 16th century. Note the difference in spelling between that of the Village of St Lawrence and the church, which is dedicated to the Roman Martyr, Laurence.
The second notable church is St Augustine's, which is situated on the town's westcliff. Considered one of the most August and distinct surviving it was designed by Augustus Pugin in 1847 in the neo-Gothic style. Its dedication commemorates Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, who landed at Ramsgate in AD 596 and brought Christianity to Britain.
Thirdly, the town's Parish Church of St George is situated just off the town's High Street. Its lantern tower was added at the request of Trinity House as a navigational aid to passing ships and looks over the town. The ground was consecrated on 23 October 1827.
St Augustine' serves its own abbey and the town's Catholic community, whilst St Laurence and St George are both Church of England, and serve the Anglican community as part of the Diocese of Canterbury. Christ Church built in 1847 also serves the Anglican community.
Ramsgate library was originally built and paid for by Andrew Carnegie in 1904. On the evening of Friday 13 August 2004 a fire destroyed Ramsgate library just two months short of its 100th anniversary. Though suspicions were raised as to what started the fire due to a similarly timed fire at the towns registry office, an inquest concluded that the blaze was too intense to pinpoint where and how the fire started. Planning permission has been granted for a new library and construction work has begun.
The town has had a long and chequered relationship with cross channel ferries. Passenger ferries to Dunkirk were operated for many years by Sally Ferries who eventually were forced to close due to stiff competition from Dover-Calais ferries and the Channel Tunnel. Transeuropa Ferries passenger(with vehicle only) and freight ferries now frequently sail to the Port of Ostend in Ostend, Belgium.
A new high-speed service to London has been announced and is planned to start in December 2009. According to the South Eastern Railway company, it will be part of the UK's first high speed 'Javelin' commuter service, and the journey time from Ramsgate to the new St Pancras terminal, with excellent transport links, will be 84 minutes .
The trains pass via Margate, Chatham and Bromley South, or via Canterbury West or Dover Priory and Ashford International. Ramsgate railway station is operated by Southeastern (train operating company).
The sale of Manston to Infratil (owner of Glasgow Prestwick International Airport) was completed on 26 August 2005. Charter operator Kent Escapes will use the Manston site to run weekly passenger flights to Barcelona, Spain and Faro, Portugal from summer 2006. Infratil are in negotiations with other airlines to add further destinations.
The Marlowe academy failed the 30% GCSE target.
Colleges and further education