Tuesday, 3 September 2013
THANET WATCH UNCOVERS THANETS REVOLTING PAST
The people of the Isle of Thanet, east Kent, have been among the most rebellious in the country, according to an article in the new issue of Thanet Watch magazine.
Editor Norman Thomas said: These days the area has a reputation for apathy, but in reality it has a long history of popular revolt and riot more than most places.
The first recorded revolt on the Isle goes back as far as 1300, when tenants rebelled against their landlord, the abbot of Canterbury. Just 80 years later Thanet people were on the march again in the Peasants Revolt.
In 1830, Thanet farm workers were burning down buildings and destroying machinery in the Swing Riots. Thanet was home to one of the few female rioters, Elizabeth Studham, sentenced to death for setting light to the poor house in Birchington.
Later in the century popular violence centred on Ramsgate. There were two riots over the selling of fish in the port one in 1838 and the other in 1886.
But the biggest trouble came in 1920 with the Great Coke Battle, when the people of Ramsgate fought running battles with police to try to stop the moving of locally produced coke in German ships.
This was a huge battle, said Norman Thomas. There was rioting for three days and three nights. Hundreds of police from across Kent and London were called in.
Whats interesting, of course, is why Thanet has this history of popular rebellion. I believe its to do with the longstanding poverty of the area and the arrogant behaviour of its local leaders.
We have a pattern of people being exploited and pushed around, and then of discontent boiling over into direct action.
The new September issue of Thanet Watch, price 80p, is on sale in newsagents across Thanet now. It also includes revelations about the ongoing Ramsgate seafront controversy and the threat to Thanets drinking water from fracking.