Saturday, 25 June 2011

RAMSGATE

Ramsgate was evidently a fashionable resort in the 1800s judging by some of its distinguised literary visitors. Jane Austen visited the town, which was the setting for Wickham’s attempted elopement with Darcy’s sister in Pride and Prejudice, and it also featured in Mansfield Park. The poet Coleridge was a regular visitor, being a fan of bathing. The town’s charms were given a further seal of approval in 1821 when George IV granted it royal status. Attempts are under way to recover some of the splendour of those times, and the town has begun to gentrify recently, with many properties being snapped up by refugees from London. A particularly attractive part of the town is Vale Square, a conservation area near the Royal Harbour and marina with its bars and cafes.

Back in AD 43 a different set of people were drawn to the town: the Romans. Ramsgate was the place where they first set foot on British soil. Much later, during the First World War, Ramsgate was bombarded by a German zeppelin or “dirigible”, which dropped 40 bombs on the town, injuring three people, although the zeppelin came off worse, having been pursued and damaged. Another onslaught came the following year, the aggressors this time using German seaplanes; this time there were no casualties, which was a relief since four of the bombs were dropped near a school. A third offensive in 1917 came at the hands of German destroyers, but again there were no casualties. All in all, Ramsgate must have been glad to see the back of the First World War.

For events in the area see here.

Webcam view of the harbour.

Map of the area.

File:Inner Harbour, Ramsgate - geograph.org.uk - 503784.jpg
Photo by Colin Smith, via Wikimedia Commons

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