Friday, 12 September 2014

Ramsgate embraces it’s heritage through Heritage Open Days

Ramsgate’s historic buildings are opening this weekend as part of Heritage Open Days (11-14 September). Our events celebrate and open eyes to the stories of architect AWN Pugin, banker and philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore and Thanet’s oldest church St Laurence.

AWN Pugin, designer of the interior of the Houses of Parliament and of St.Stephen’s Tower (Big Ben) is one of our most illustrious past residents. He lived in Ramsgate for the last 10 years of his life, at the period when he ‘reconfigured’ the concept of the perfect family house. He built his home The Grange and church St Augustine’s next door, which were for him the most important of all that he built in his short but dramatic and impactful life (1812-1852).

The Grange is open Friday 12 to Monday 15 September (10am – 4pm) and Tuesday 16 September (10am – 1pm)      

St Augustine’s Church is open each day (11-14 September) from 10am – 4pm.
There’s also a ‘PUGIN WEEK’ with events including:
Concert with The Victoria Consort on Saturday 13 September (7.30pm)
Midday Sung Mass on Sunday 14 September, the 162nd anniversary of Pugin’s death at the age of only 40. He is buried in the church.  OR                

Sir Moses Montefiore arrived in Ramsgate 1831 when he purchased a country estate with 24 acres on the East Cliff of town; the property had previously been a country house of Queen Caroline when she was still Princess of Wales. He lived in Ramsgate until his death in 1885.

Ramsgate Montefiore Synagogue & Mausoleum is open on Sunday 14 September (10am – 3pm)
Sir Moses’ resting place and his family’s private synagogue are open courtesy of the Montefiore Endowment as part of the European Days of Jewish Culture & Heritage.

St. Lawrence Church and its Tower is open on Saturday 13 September (10.00 am - 6.00pm). 
During the day there will be:
Tower Tours to view Ramsgate and beyond at 11.00 am, 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm.
Tour of the Grade 1 listed church (12 noon) and open choir practise (3.30 pm)

If you want a day or a weekend out, there’s lots to discover in the town, and special events which show the character of this friendly, busy seaside town. Over the same weekend, one of the most historic streets, which was the town’s shopping centre in the Victorian era, becomes a mass of stalls, entertainment and family fun with the Addington Street Fair on Sunday 14 September from 10am onwards.

For news of what’s on and how to find out more, visit or and the town’s facebook page at Ramsgatetown.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Historic moment for Dreamland as refurbishment begins on Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster

Work to restore Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster to its former glory starts next week marking another significant milestone for Dreamland.
From Monday 15 September, the iconic Grade II* listed Scenic Railway is being lovingly restored by contractors Topbond Plc. Group on behalf of Thanet District Council. 
Workmen will undertake an intricate programme of work to restore the historic structure, ahead of the opening of a re-imagined Dreamland amusement park next year (2015).

Initial work recording the building and structure for historic purposes has already started, but from next week begins in earnest with the dismantling of the buildings and structure on a phased programme - commencing from the motor house moving north.

Restoration will include the replacement of the foundations on which the newly fabricated timber trusses will be erected. Secondary timber structures will then be fixed to the main structure. All the works will systematically follow the scenic in a clockwise direction.

Leader of Thanet District Council Cllr Iris Johnston said, ‘It is very exciting to see work start on Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster. The Scenic Railway is synonymous with Dreamland and the Council is very proud to be leading the way, breathing life into Dreamland once again.”

Eddie Kemsley, Project Director at Dreamland, said “This is an important milestone in Dreamland’s history and is symbolic of the enormous achievement of the Dreamland Trust’s ‘Save Dreamland’ campaign. Work on the Scenic Railway is one of many crucial steps in our work towards opening a re-imagined Dreamland”.

During the re-building works, The Dreamland Trust will continue to host an exhibition on Dreamland’s history and future. The Dreamland Expo: a past, present and future, describes the revivial of Dreamland – one of the UK’s best loved amusement parks and has to date welcomed more than 25,000 visitors. The Dreamland Expo is free and open weekends from 10am to 5pm. For more information, please or call 01843 295 887.

Throughout the autumn and winter months, the Arcade will be available for pre-booked school visits, community activities, student projects, research, presentations and tours – for more information please email

Ahead of the anticipated 2015 opening, award-winning designer, Wayne Hemingway MBE, is working to create a unique vintage-style amusement park; with attractions from thrill rides to classic sideshows alongside cafes, restaurants and retail spaces. Once open, the park will play host to large-scale events, national festivals and visiting attractions to celebrate the history of popular British culture, music, film and design. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

In response to TDC press release today Friends of Ramsgate Seafront have responded

Following the release of the Cabinet papers today Friends of Ramsgate Seafront would like to make it clear that the proposed deal with the current builders Cardy allowing them to rewrite the Development Agreement with TDC is inappropriate and is the wrong use for the site.

Allowing for the caveat that Planning has been granted in 2004 and “work” had started it is unbelievable that TDC would still be considering allowing housing on this site despite their own call for leisure related activities in their own plan (Ramsgate Renaissance documents) in 1998.

Notwithstanding this we believe that 3 things are made clear in the new Development Agreement that will have to be signed by TDC and Cardy before building can start.
  1. The Freehold of the site must remain with Thanet District Council and not be sold to Cardy or any other party
  2. That the cliff face maintenance be part of the leaseholders responsibility as it used to be up until the current leases were assigned
  3. That proper “due diligence” be done on the new developer to ensure that Shaun Patrick Keegan and his associates cannot benefit in any way from any profits ensuing when the development is sold
FORS want to make it clear that we in no way condone the Council’s actions however we understand the position past actions by previous administrations have placed the Council in a very difficult situation.

New Pleasurama proposal put to Cabinet

A proposal that would see delivery of the Royal Sands development on the former Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront wholly taken over by East Kent based Cardy Construction Limited will be considered by Thanet District Council’s cabinet at its meeting next Thursday (September 11).

The council served a breach notice on current developers SFP Ventures (UK) Limited earlier this year as the necessary first step towards terminating the existing agreement, which envisages construction of a hotel, residential and commercial units.
The breach notice triggered a mediation process, as part of which SFP’s owners have now indicated their willingness in principle to enter into an agreement for Cardy’s to acquire the company and with it the existing contract with the council.

If cabinet agrees next Thursday, officers will seek to negotiate a new agreement with Cardy’s that will allow the development to proceed on new terms that will provide for the council to recover the site if the scheme is not delivered to an agreed timetable.

The scheme would be built in accordance with the existing planning consent and the new deal would also entail the council receiving payments due under the current agreement, which dates back to 2006 with variations passed by full council in 2009.

It is anticipated that the new agreement would be brought back before cabinet for approval in October, allowing an early resumption of work on site.

The scheme is a key regeneration project for Ramsgate and is expected to employ up to 200 people while under development. Once completed it will provide further jobs in the hotel trade, commercial units and in the servicing of the residential common parts.

The current owners of SFP have said that they have been unable to secure the necessary funds to complete the scheme under the existing development agreement, but as an established building company Cardy’s are in a stronger financial position to take matters forward. The council would nevertheless require evidence of funding before entering into any deal.

Cabinet member for financial services and estates Cllr Rick Everitt said: “The offer appears to provide a way to resolve the current impasse, against the alternative of a lengthy and messy legal dispute that could leave the site in its current state for a number more years.
“We are, of course, aware that some residents believe the council should simply seize the site because of the lack of progress. However, there is no lawful basis for the council to do so now and we have been advised that the only feasible route to regaining it eventually is likely to be lengthy, risky and expensive for residents, at the end of which it is probable another scheme of similar nature would be brought forward.
"In my view, Ramsgate cannot wait any longer. Therefore we must consider carefully this opportunity to resolve the situation, including the expert legal advice we are receiving. In any event, there is nothing the council can do to intervene if SFP is able to comply with its existing obligations and under this proposal SFP will become part of Cardy’s.”

Monday, 18 August 2014

A riot of creative entertainment at this year's SUMMER SQUALL in Ramsgate!

A SUMMER SQUALL: Sat 23 - Mon 25 August 2014

The group of trusty folk who put the Squall together hope very much that you'll enjoy what's on offer at this year's explosion of creative energy, on Ramsgate's royal harbour...

We've kept some existing ideas - there's music and performance all day Saturday on the open air stage by the beach. We've invited London's Unexpected Opera to perform NAKED OPERA on Sunday evening (with our own bar alongside, raising vital funds for the festival). Ramsgate's expert in 'model theatre' ROBERT POULTERbrings a double-bill of horror-inspired (but hugely funny) paper theatre on Saturday evening at the King's. 

We've got new things happening - our theme is rebellious elements so there's a few unexpected things around town. We have our first 'Artist in Residence' with Teresa Smith of Mooch creating a CROWNING GLORY. Our first textile installation with OPERATION POPPY and our first film screening in the newly-opened Ramsgate Tunnels with SEVERN AND SOMME

There will be arty crafty workshops all weekend, with a theme of Vikings....oh, and there's a boat....the chaps from the Broadstairs Town Shed are building a replica longboat for us to burn on the beach on Monday night. 

Almost all the work is FREE of charge and where there is a charge, it's to help us raise the cost of putting on the festival, all of which is produced by a voluntary team who want to help make Ramsgate a great place to be, with creative work that's inspiring and enlightening. 

Do come if you can, do pass it on to anyone you think would enjoy taking part AND if you or friends in the area would like to do 2 hrs or so as a volunteer steward over the weekend, PLEASE get in touch!

From the Dream Team at our Summer Squall

Ramsgate Arts
A SUMMER SQUALL festival 23-25 August 2014
A RIOT of creative entertainment
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Friday, 15 August 2014

Largest bottle of English wine signed by Emin and Hirst goes on sale to raise funds for Turner Contemporary - 5 September 2014

Britain’s biggest ever bottle of English sparkling wine, produced by award winning, Kent-based winery Chapel Down, signed by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and Edmund de Waal will be sold at Christie’s ‘Out of the Ordinary’ auction on 3 September 2014 to raise funds for Turner Contemporary.  

The unique bottle, produced to celebrate Turner Contemporary’s one millionth visitor in August 2013, is an expertly made 15-litre Nebuchadnezzar of Chapel Down’s trophy-winning Blanc de Blancs 2007 sparkling wine.  

The bottle is currently on display at Christie’s South Kensington with an estimated price of £10,000-£15,000.

All proceeds raised from the sale will significantly contribute towards Turner Contemporary’s Catalyst Endowment Fund, which must reach a £1 million target by March 2015.

You can explore Christies's 'Out of the Ordinary' online catalogue here.


That we're a charity. Your generous donation can help us continue our work.


With thanks to our supporters:


Seaview of bottle - courtsesy of Turner Contemporary
Signed bottle and box © 2014 Christie’s Images Ltd

Turner Contemporary
Kent CT9 1HGTel: +44 (0) 1843 233 000Fax: +44 (0)1843 233029
Tuesday to Sunday and
bank holidays 10am - 6pm
(Closed Mondays)
Cafe opening times:
Tuesday to Thursday
10am - 5.30pm
Friday and Saturday
10am -10pm
Sunday including bank holidays 10am - 5.30pm
(Closed Mondays)

Join us on:


Chief Executive of Visit England visits Margate

Chief Executive of VisitEngland James Berresford visited Margate this week (Tuesday 12 August) to witness first-hand the developments at Dreamland and the regeneration of the area since the arrival of the Turner Contemporary.
Mr. Berresford enjoyed an itinerary developed by Visit Kent including the Dreamland Expo, lunch at Sands Hotel, visits to the Turner Contemporary and the Visitor Information Team and a tour of Margate Old Town.
The visit also served to demonstrate activities being undertaken as part of the Thanet Destination Management Plan and to highlight the great opportunity for VisitEngland to support the development of a major tourism destination.
VisitEngland already has a good relationship with the area and supported the Pride of Thanet Tourism Awards which took place during English Tourism Week and features the area in its range of marketing and press activity.
Leader of Thanet District Council Cllr Iris Johnston said, “We take tourism incredibly seriously in Thanet and this was a great opportunity to showcase the fantastic tourism offer available in Margate and Thanet. We are developing into a leading quality destination and the Destination Management Plan is helping us work with local businesses to achieve this.
“There’s huge opportunity here for further growth, creating more jobs, and we welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate the area’s unique buzz and immense potential to VisitEngland.”
Mr. Berresford said, “” I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting Margate and know from first-hand experience what a great experiences the destination offers visitors.  The local investment has reaped its reward in terms of developing the product and as a result has created important jobs for the local area.”
Tourism is worth around £2.3 million to the Thanet economy and supports over 5,000 jobs. The council is positive with the support of Visit England that Margate and Thanet’s tourism offer will continue to thrive.
VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. Its role is to grow the value of tourism by working in partnership with the industry to deliver inspirational marketing campaigns and to provide advocacy for the industry and visitors.

Your playground, your choice

Residents can comment on designs for five local playgrounds as a round of consultation events is held across the district next week (18 to 22 August).
Thanet District Council have pledged nearly £200,000 to revamp play equipment in the District including four brand new sets of play equipment and one replacement set. The council has commissioned leading play equipment designers to create proposals and now the council is bringing the designs to parks to find out residents’ preferred choice. 
Residents can view the designs and choose their favourites at the following times:
10am to 1pm 18 August at Crispe Park, Birchington
10am to 1pm 19 August at Northdown Park, Cliftonville
10am to 1pm 20 August at Memorial Recreation Ground, Broadstairs
10am to 1pm 21 August at King George VI Park, Ramsgate
10am to 1pm 22 August at Warren Recreation Ground, Newington
The council need to take into account many factors including price, delivery and quality, however resident feedback will form part of the final decision.
Leader of Thanet District Council and Cabinet Member for Community Services Cllr Iris Johnston said, “It’s great to have input from the community as to what would be their preferred design. Going out to the parks affected means that we can get a real, on the ground view from park users as to what they would like best in terms of equipment – some of the proposals even incorporate zip wires! I’d urge anyone who uses these parks to come along to view these exciting proposals and choose their favourite.’
For more information on this consultation please contact or call 01843 577114 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Latest news - market testing now underway

Thanet District Council is asking for expressions of interest to determine whether there are suitable indemnity partners for the potential compulsory purchase of Manston Airport and its subsequent operation.
This is part of the council’s considerations as to whether the compulsory purchase of the airport would be a viable option.
The council has issued a ‘Prior Information Notice’ as part of a market testing exercise which was approved by Cabinet on Thursday 31 July.
Interested parties have until Wednesday 20 August to register their interest, providing their contact and organisational details to
Following registration, applicants will then have to complete a questionnaire to identify their interest, capacity and capability in the market. Questionnaires need to be completed and submitted by no later than Monday 1 September.
The third and final stage will then involve face to face sessions which would be likely to take place in mid-September, although the exact details are still to be decided and depend on the level of response to the earlier phases.
The Council has been working to understand viability of the continuance of the site operating as an airport. An independent report was published last month (as part of the 31 July Cabinet paper) with initial findings.
The independent report revealed that compulsory acquisition of the site would rely on an identified indemnity partner making significant investment with a minimum 20 year business plan to deliver a viable and sustainable airport operation.
Under planning powers the Council could apply for a CPO however, if successful, the council would incur significant costs which would have to be met by a suitably qualified indemnity partner, to underwrite and meet all costs incurred by the Council.
Given the significant risks involved, the council has a duty to ensure any interested parties have the capability to cover the associated costs.
It is anticipated that this initial market testing exercise will then inform an options paper to be considered by Cabinet in the Autumn.

Walpole Bay Hotel to celebrate centenary with party extravaganza

Fashion Show.  Murder Mystery Dinner.  Grand Ball.


Margate’s iconic Walpole Bay Hotel is to mark its 100th anniversary with the “party extravaganza of the season” on Saturday 11thOctober.

The evening’s entertainment begins at 5pm with a fashion show, organised by the hotel’s in-house hair and make up stylist, Jerome Hillion.  The former British Hair Dresser of the Year Award winner will use the event to showcase his latest collection.  Instead of the usual catwalk format, models will be position in various locations within the hotel’s ‘living museum’ through which will be guided through its unique collection of historic artefacts and memorabilia from years gone by.

Models will be dressed by the acclaimed fashion stylist Amy Still, who has styled many top catwalk, with her work photographed for the leading glossy magazines.

“The models will be positioned in different rooms on the 2nd floor museum, like mannequins reminiscing and reflecting the Walpole’s glorious past,” said Jerome, adding “My hair dos will be inspired by the Walpole's tales and  pay tribute to its long history, but bringing up to the present day plus some more futuristic creations – reflecting the town’s brightening economic and a tilt an the next hundred years.

The fashion show will be followed by a special Murder Mystery Dinner, where professional actors will entertain guest bas the enjoy a special menu of the hotel’s favourite dishes.

The evening concludes with a grand ball in the hotel’s basement ballroom, featuring its1920’s maple sprung dance floor.

“The party will be a night to remember and I’m looking forward to seeing many of our regular guests who have become great friends over the years,” said hotel owner and museum curator, Jane Bishop.

Tickets are £65 per person, with double rooms, including a champagne breakfast, costing £110 per person.

A charity raffle will be held in aid of Pilgrim’s Hospices.  Prizes include: a hair and make up make-over from Jerome, a 5-course taster menu at Jason Freedman’s  new Taste of The Med tapas restaurant upstairs at The Minnis n Birchington, a gourmet meal for two with wine at one of Dev Biswal’s Ambrette restaurants in Margate, Rye or Canterbury and a meal for 4 with wine at the award winning Indian Summer restaurant in Brighton.


A new film has been made about "disastrous" events in a GP practice in Broadstairs, Kent.

In 2011 the Broadway practice in Broadstairs, Kent, was taken over by the London-based private limited company, Concordia Health.

The company made patients many promises  but, as the film shows, it all went disastrously wrong.

Patients complained of never seeing the same doctor twice and lack of access to doctors.

Thousands of patients left the practice.  In July Concordia gave notice they were pulling out of the practice and there are now plans for local GPs to take it over.

Film-maker Christine Tongue who is a patient at the practice made the film called "Bad Practice?" to highlight what she claims is "a vivid proof of the damaging effects of the creeping privatisation of the NHS."

Christine says: "A private limited company takes over a popular GP surgery, causes havoc in the way it operates it, then throws in its contract early. It's horrifying, really."  

Added Christine: "If anyone wants evidence that privatisation of the health service doesn't work, this film is it."

A clip from the film is now on You Tube on



A campaign has been launched to stop UKIP leader Nigel Farage being elected as MP for Thanet South.
Thanet Stand Up To UKIP is a broadbased campaign supported by trade unions, local people, Labour and the Green Party, LGBT and disabled activists.
The campaign has been launched even though UKIP hasn’t officially announced Farage is standing,
Campaign coordinator Bunny La Roche said: “Local UKIP activists have said Farage is on the shortlist and that means he’s bound to be chosen to run for Thanet South.” 
Bunny continued: “We are dismayed that Nigel Farage is on the selection shortlist for south Thanet.  Farage is part of the establishment - a hard-right Tory.  He tries to present himself as the man of the people, he's not.
“He will only look after the interests of his class - the rich and powerful. That's why he's happy to make deals with the Tories. He has nothing to offer people of Thanet, except hatred, racism and bigotry. “
As evidence of what it claims is Farage’s “racist” attitude, the campaign is pointing to a report written by 18 year old Thanet resident Sula Shephard which appeared in the Independent  on Sunday newspaper.
"I intend to study politics at university,” Sula wrote in the newspaper, “so, before the European elections, when Farage held a rally in Margate, my friend and I went to hear what he had to say, away from the media spotlight.
“Naively, we believed that it would be an open meeting and that other non-Ukippers would have come to hear him, but we seemed to be the only two there.
“Surrounded by mainly middle-aged, white men and a few women, we felt out of place. But we became even more uncomfortable when Farage finally took to the stage. The standing ovations were so unsettling that we wanted the floor to open up and swallow us. Strangely, his racist remark about not wanting to live next door to Romanians, which he had publicly explained away as being down to ‘tiredness’ was repeated during the rally, eliciting another ovation."
Thanet Stand Up To UKIP, said Bunny, will be campaigning to try to stop Farage getting elected, by asking people to use their vote to stop Farage'.
Added Bunny: “We will be holding meetings, producing publications, and organising protests. We will also be involved in some fantastic cultural events to get our message across south Thanet, until Election Day in 2015.”
People are asked to contact Stand up to UKIP on  if they want to get involved.

Join us for some creative fun and more this week in Margate

Our series of summer family workshops continue here at Turner Contemporary. This week we explore colour and light with scientists from the University of Kent, where you can build your own spectrascope.

True Colour of Light and Matter
Wed 13 & Thu 14 Aug,
1 - 4pm
Drop in

There's even more creative fun to be had over the summer holidays:

Easy Sundays
Every Sunday, 1 - 4pm
Experiment with colour and make large scale sculptures at our alternating weekend activities Colour Collage and Build and Play.
Blank Canvas, Wed 20 & Thu 21 Aug, 1 - 4pm
Our intergenerational community ask you to choose a colour, reflect on it... and create your own pair of spectacles! You will then be able to experience Margate in alTURNERnative colours. With artist Lucy Steggals.
Colour Catwalk, Sun 24 Aug, 1 - 4pm
Make your own ready-to-wear pieces with jewellery designer Tatty Divine, milliner Jordan Gene Bowen, wool artist Dan Chilcott and fashion designers Luca Marchetto and Julian J Smith
Animate Boogie Woogie
Wed 27 & Thu 28 Aug, 1 - 4pm
The artist Mondrian loved Disney films, and at this workshop you can try your hand at making your own animation with artist Reza Ben Gajra.
All workshops £3.50 per child, free for adults, under 3s and CT9 postcode residents

Sign up for the Art Beat Project's FREE workshops taking place in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate all summer. Activities include dancing, sculpting, digital music and theatre. Whatever you’re interested in, we have something for you, no previous experience or skills are necessary to take part.
If you would like to book a place either email, call 01843 233000, text: 07530 532 615 or via our Facebook page 
Gain an Arts Award for FREE
By taking part in the project you can complete Arts Award for free! Arts Awards inspire young people to grow their arts and leadership talents: it's creative, valuable and accessible. We will be offering the Bronze and Explore Awards.

Elliot Gavin Trio
Wed 13 & Thu 14 Aug
Exhibition & Performance
12pm, 2.30pm & 5pm
The award winning Elliot Galvin Trio in collaboration with film-maker Alex Morley, sculptor Stuart Brough and sound artist Joe Wright present a brand-new, multimedia art installation delving into the memories of Margate residents. 

Alongside this audiences will be treated to an original Dreamland-inspired silent film by Alex Morley accompanied by master improvisers Elliot Galvin on piano, Tom McCredie on bass andSimon Roth on drums. The trio will be performing live in the space as part of the installation.

What a Vintage Carry On
Sat 16 & Sun 17 August

Margate’s vintage fair returns for another fun packed year. Lots of events are taking place at several venues in Margate which will collectively celebrate all things vintage for visitors no matter what age.

Activities include vintage / antiques indoor and outdoor markets, classic cars, double decker bus tours, vintage bakery, children's evacuee tea party and live music & dancing in the street. Event closes with a Vintage Ball and Quiz Night at Morgan's.

Discover your Summer of Colour
eel the joy of being by the sea in a colourful explosion of dance, performance, theatre, art and activity in Margate and the surrounding area of Thanet, inspired by the artist Piet Mondrian.
Every week, experience something colourful, new and exciting.

Take a look at our dedicated website for all the events and share your Summer of Colour

That we're a charity. Your generous donation can help us continue our work.


With thanks to Art Beat project supporters:
With thanks to our Summer of Colour supporters:


Family workshops at Turner Contemporary. Photo Jess Limbrick.
Art Beat Project workshops - courtesy of Art Beat project.
Elliot Gavin Trio Album Cover - courtesy Ellito gavin Trio.
What a vintage carry? -  courtesy of the group.

Turner Contemporary
Kent CT9 1HGTel: +44 (0) 1843 233 000Fax: +44 (0)1843 233029
Tuesday to Sunday and
bank holidays 10am - 6pm
(Closed Mondays)
Cafe opening times:
Tuesday to Thursday
10am - 5.30pm
Friday and Saturday
10am -10pm
Sunday including bank holidays 10am - 5.30pm
(Closed Mondays)

Join us on: