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The Royal Harbour
Ramsgate shown within Kent
|Population||39,639 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||South Thanet|
Ramsgate is a seaside town in the district 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 of Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years.
Ramsgate began as a fishing and farming hamlet. Ramsgate as a name has its earliest reference as Hraefn's gate, or cliff gap, later to be rendered 'Ramisgate' or 'Remmesgate' around 1225 and 'Ramesgate' from 1357. The legendary mercenaries Hengest and Horsa landed in the 5th century to herald the pagan Anglo-Saxon age in England. The Christian missionary St. Augustine landed in Ramsgate in 597 which re-established the link between England and the Christian church in Rome.
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.
Ramsgate is located 78 miles from central London in an East South Easterly direction at one of the most Easterly points of the country (the furthest point east is Lowestoft in Suffolk). Ramsgate has its own meridian line and Mean Time which is 5 minutes 41 seconds ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Ramsgate is about 1 hour from the M25.
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 in the parliamentary constituency of Thanet South. The Thanet South seat was held by Labour Member of Parliament Dr Stephen Ladyman, which he won during the 1997 general election however Laura Sandys ( Tory) took the seat in the 2010 general election. Prior to Dr Stephen Ladyman the MP for Thanet South, Jonathan Aitken, was convicted of perjury in 1999 and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Ramsgate was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1884. This was abolished in 1974, since which date Ramsgate has been 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.
Following a successful campaign by local activist Gerry O'Donnell, a Ramsgate Town Council was established in June 2009.
There is a suggestion that the new council is called Ramsgate and St Lawrence, in recognition of the fact that prior to incorporation as a borough the area consisted of the parish of Ramsgate and the parish of St Lawrence Intra. This name would mirror that of its neighbour Broadstairs and St Peter's. The council will, however, cover a smaller area than the former borough as it will not include Cliffsend which forms a separate civil parish, nor Manston (which together with rural parts of the old borough of Margate forms Manston civil parish).
The Town Mayor of Ramsgate is currently Cllr David Green.
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. As illustrated by the bbc 2 tv documentary series Red Herrings 1985, The new Statesman and numerous local press articles 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 of Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years. Previously Sally Ferries UK provided a service of passenger and car ferries to Dunkirk. Currently a service of freight and car is provided to Oostende by the company Transeuropa Ferries.
Unemployment for Thanet is higher (4.1%) than the national average (2.5%).
There is some light industry in the town. An emerging industry is power generation, with 800 jobs expected to be created by the Thanet offshore wind project, a wind farm just off the coast.
Ramsgate Market is held in High Street, King Street and Queen Street every Friday and Saturday between 8a.m. and 4p.m.
As of the 2001 UK census, Ramsgate had a population of 39,639.
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.
Thanet Wanderers is the island's only rugby team, which has enjoyed recent success at London Division 1 level and achieved its best result in defeating Doncaster at Twickenham in the final of the intermediate cup in 1997. The club runs five senior sides and many junior teams. The sides play at St Peters. Ramsgate's main football club, Ramsgate F.C., plays in the Isthmian League Premier Division. The main local rivals of the club are Margate F.C. who are situated 4 miles away. When the two teams meet, it is known as the Thanet derby. Ramsgate have achieved The FA’s Charter Standard "Development" award. Ramsgate also run a Reserves Team which plays in Kent Football League Second Division, a women's team which plays in South East Counties Women's League Kent County Division.
Ramsgate F.C. also run five main youth teams, under-13 to under-18 all feature in the Valley Express Kent Youth League and also run Ramsgate Youth U7 to U16 who play in The Molten East Kent Youth League; two other popular youth teams who are based in Ramsgate are Trinity & Hugin Vikings both also play in The Molten East Kent Youth League.
Thanet Galaxy is a Pan Disability Football Club. They provide structured coaching for male and female footballers of all ages who qualify within the nationally and internationally recognised Pan Disability categories they Train at Chatham House Grammer School and play in Kent Disability Football League, They play and train in three age bands: U-11, U-16, 16+. In their first season, 2008/2009, the Adult A Team won the Kent Disability League Adult Championship.
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.
Many buildings in Ramsgate are of Regency and Victorian architecture. There are 900 listed buildings in the town with more than 200 surrounding the Marina.
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.
Shortly after the blaze, planning permission was granted for a new library. The library has now been fully restored, and was officially re-opened on 20 February 2009.
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.The ferry terminal area is built upon reclaimed land. The harbour provides shelter from the effect of storms and is close to the Goodwin Sands. The RNLI Ramsgate Lifeboat Station is based in Ramsgate Harbour.
The 700 berth Royal Harbour Marina is also one of the most thriving marinas on the English south coast with 12,000 visiting boats in 2005.
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. The Port of Ramsgate has its own road access tunnel from outside of the town, avoiding town centre congestion.
Ramsgate is connected to the national road network primarily through the A299 Thanet Way which continues onto the M2/ A2 for the M25(approx 1 hour) and London. The A256 provides a link to Dover and onwards onto the A20 for the Channel Tunnel. Bus services are provided by Stagecoachbus' "Thanet Loop" scheme.
Ramsgate railway station is situated at the top of the town near the parish of St Lawrence.
A new high-speed service to London started in December 2009, running on High Speed 1 (HS1), the UK’s first high speed rail line, between London’s St. Pancras station and Kent. The journey time from Ramsgate to the new St. Pancras terminal, with excellent transport links, is 1 hour and 16 minutes.
Other trains run from Ramsgate to London Charing Cross and London Victoria. Commuting time to the capital on these lines is approximately 1 hour 50 minutes.
Trains from Ramsgate pass via Margate, Chatham and Bromley South, or via Canterbury West or Dover Priory and Ashford International. Ramsgate railway station is operated by Southeastern.
The town is situated directly under the flight path of Kent International Airport at Manston. From September 2004 to August 2005 a low-cost airline EUjet operated frequent flights to many European destinations, replacing a large freight operator. However, flights were suspended after the collapse of its parent company, PlaneStation Group plc.
Manston was sold to Infratil (owner of Glasgow Prestwick International Airport) won 26 August 2005. Currently, Flybe operates flights from the airport to Edinburgh and Manchester with further services planned and is regularly used by freight operators such as Cargolux and Meridian.
- Dame Janet Infant School
- Ellington Infants School
- Priory Infants School
- Christ Church C Of E Junior School
- Dame Janet Junior School
- St Ethelbert's R C Junior Mixed & Infants School
- St Laurence-in-Thanet CE Junior School
- Newington Community Primary School.
- Newlands Primary School
- Chilton County Primary School
- Chatham House Grammar School
- Clarendon House Grammar School
- Ellington High School
- The Marlowe Academy
- St Lawrence College
The Marlowe academy failed the 30% GCSE target.
Colleges and further education
- Ramsgate's nearest college is Thanet College. This is situated in the nearby town of Broadstairs. There is also a campus for Canterbury Christ Church University which is situated in Broadstairs which is within very easy reach of Ramsgate.