Tuesday, 3 September 2013


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.

“What’s interesting, of course, is why Thanet has this history of popular rebellion. I believe it’s 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 Thanet’s drinking water from fracking.


  1. Or to put it another way, they've long been notoriously aggressive, racist & just generally negative...

  2. Replies
    1. Yes. Thanet is much more racist (as well as more bigoted in other ways) than any other part of the country I've lived in. Presumably you disagree though.

    2. no idea peter I don't encounter any in my normal daily life I just wondered why you added it to your statement

    3. I would have to say I am with Barry here, Peter. Like you I lived in South East London before returning to Thanet in the nineties. In that area there was plenty of racism and I was working on the Well Hall Road when Steven Lawrence was murdered, an incident that prompted a whole host of further racist issues.

      In Thanet I have encountered no racism at all. The few people of ethnic origins one meets around the place seem well integrated and many are well respected. Not sure what racism has to do with this thread either.

    4. There's more to races than black and white... Ask most of the people of East European origin around here whether or not they've encountered racism.

      Anyway, presumably you both agree with my "aggressive" & "negative" comments, as you only mentioned the "racist" part.

    5. Negativity is a Thanet disease as we well know, Peter, but I do think it is limited to a noisy minority. Aggression I cannot say I have encountered much and it was far worse in SE London. That said I guess it depends to a great extent which part of Thanet ones spends most time in.

    6. I agree it's a noisy minority, but we still have that reputation for both negativity and aggression (& I mean verbal aggression more than actual physical violence). Ask Mary Portas!

      I live in Westbrook, which is a wonderful place... however I visit pretty much every corner of Thanet on a regular basis (including the villages to the west which most people ignore). Indeed, today I cycled around most of the Thanet coastline, as well as through Garlinge, Acol, Minster & Monkton (& Stourmouth, Ash, Sandwich & Richborough). So I probably see more of Thanet overall than most people.

    7. William I grew up in Streatham and worked in Brixton for a number of years. I worked there when the riots occured and IMHO there were plenty of all ethnics robbing and looting of all persuasions including white. Its part of the "fitting in" similar to they way am albino will be rejected by the other animals. The difference with humans we should be able to talk through the issues and work together

  3. I like to help when James's investigative "skills" let him down so clearly, racism;

    rac·ism (rszm)
    1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
    2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

    Noun 1. racist - a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to othersracist - a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others

  4. hammy the comment was to Peter for clarification. did you always butt into other peoples conversations as you were growing up? oh sorry you haven't yet grown up.

  5. I know your grasp of reality is tenuous at BEST James, Hence I try to help you when a simple explanation will help you look not quite so ridiculous ;)


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