Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Thanet is set to play its part in hosting an academic conference that will focus on the life of Augustus Pugin, the architectural genius who had strong connections with Ramsgate. 
 Organised by the Kent School of Architecture at the University of Kent, the conference takes place from Thursday 12 to Monday 16 July, with the delegates being taken on a tour of Pugin’s Ramsgate on the first day.
 Over the next two days the delegates will head back to Canterbury before returning to Thanet with a Mass on Sunday at St Augustine’s in Ramsgate – the church that was paid for, built and designed by Pugin, and where he’s buried.
 Pugin’s internationally-renowned reputation was built upon his designs for the ‘Big Ben’ Clock Tower and Palace of Westminster in London. He was also recognised for his architectural designs for churches in Ireland and Australia.
 But although he was born in Bloomsbury, Pugin developed a love for Ramsgate – the town he made his home, and where he died in 1852 at the age of 40.  This strong Ramsgate connection means that for the Pugin academics, Thanet is an essential part of their itinerary.
 To make the delegates’ visit as rewarding as possible, Thanet District Council has formed close links with the Kent School of Architecture – including helping with coach transport from Canterbury to Ramsgate.
 And when they’re in Ramsgate, the delegates will receive an historic tour of the town with a guide from the Ramsgate Society, a visit to Pugin’s home, The Grange, and a lecture from the architect’s biographer, Rosemary Hill.
 Tourism Manager, Paula Harbidge, said: “Pugin was born 200 years ago, but his legacy stands as testament to his architectural brilliance.
 “We’re very proud of the strong connections that Thanet has with Pugin, and it’s great that the Kent School of Architecture has made Ramsgate an integral part of its Pugin bicentennial conference. Such events are wonderful for the local economy and they also enhance the area’s reputation – nationally and internationally.”
 Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin of the Kent School of Architecture, said: 'We’re proud to be working with Thanet District Council on what promises to be a major international event celebrating the work of A.W.N. Pugin, one of Britain's greatest architects.
 “Pugin's Ramsgate house and church, The Grange and St Augustine's, are buildings of worldwide importance. We've had tremendous international interest in this conference, and we are delighted to be welcoming scholars from as far away as Canada and New Zealand.
 “We're sure that our visitors will leave with a greater understanding of the unique character of the architecture of the Thanet towns, and that in turn will do a great deal to ensure the long-term future of these buildings.”
 He added: “As an architecture school, we're also committed to working on projects that engage our students in the community here, and this event, which celebrates Pugin's bicentenary, promises to be something really special.”

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