Tuesday, 3 September 2013


A book about the deaths and burial of notable and less-than-notable inhabitants and visitors to Ramsgate may sound rather uninviting reading.  However, the stories wound about these now permanent residents of the town, and the history of Ramsgate Cemetery itself, make for absorbing and at times amusing reading, revealing as they do an aspect of life (!?) most of us only glimpse in moments of bereavement or tragedy.

  Michael Hunt, author of A History of Ramsgate Harbour and A History of the Ramsgate Fishing Industry has turned his attention to the cemetery whose entrance on Cecilia - originally Cemetery - Road (the name was changed following residents’ objections) has welcomed funeral cortėges beneath its arch for the past 142 years.  Since its opening in 1871 Ramsgate Cemetery has received the distinguished, the humble, the heroic and the tragic; those who in life achieved a degree of fame and those whose story has never before been told.  Here lies the man who trained sea-lions to hunt submarines, the young Canadian seaman tragically killed by his own brother and the victims, old and young, of accident, conflict and medical short-comings over the past century and a half.

Telling Tales is subtitled Encounters in Ramsgate Cemetery, and the narrative takes the form of a dialogue punctuating the stories of those whose inscriptions and monuments provide the physical landscape against which the narrative is set.  But is this an internal dialogue, or one between acquaintances disputing among the graves?  This question is left for the reader to decide.

If you want to know who was the guiding visionary behind Ramsgate’s East-West Cliff-linking road; who really invented the diving helmet; who was the first Men’s Wimbledon champion and what became of him; or wish to explore the short-comings of health & safety regulations in Victorian times, these and many other fascinating facts and revelations will emerge from beyond the veil for those who contact Michael’s Bookshop, 72 King Street, Ramsgate CT11 8NY, (01843) 589500; or on-line www.MichaelsBookshop.com, where they may learn something to their advantage. Black armbands not obligatory.
"Telling Tales" by Michael Hunt is priced £8.99 and is launched this month (September). .

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