AskDefine | Define ramsgate

Extensive Definition

Ramsgate is a seaside town on the Isle of Thanet in east Kent, England. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century and is a member of the ancient confederation of Cinque ports. It has a population of around 40,000. Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline and its main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has one of the largest marinas on the English south coast and Port Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years.


Ramsgate began as a fishing and farming hamlet. Ramsgate as a name has its earliest reference as Hraefn's ate, or cliff gap, later to be rendered 'Ramisgate' or 'Remmesgate' around 1225 and 'Ramesgate' from 1357. The legendary mercenaries Hengest and Horsa landed in the 5th century to herald the pagan Anglo-Saxon age in England. The Christian missionary St. Augustine landed in Ramsgate in 597 which re-established the link between England and the Christian church in Rome.
Ramsgate's harbour is a defining characteristic of the town. The construction of Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and was completed in about 1850. The Harbour has the unique distinction of being the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom. Because of its proximity to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both during the Napoleonic Wars and for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.
In 1901, the Isle of Thanet saw the introduction of an electric tram service which was one of the few inter-urban tramways in Britain. The towns of Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs were linked by 11 miles of track.
In 1915-1916 early aircraft began to use the open farmlands at Manston as a site for emergency landings. The location near the Kent coast gave Manston some advantages over the other previously established aerodromes. By 1917 the Royal Flying Corps was well established and taking an active part in the defence of England. As RAF Manston the aerodrome played an important role in the second World War and is now called Kent International Airport.


Ramsgate is located 78 miles from central London in an East South Easterly direction at one of the most Easterly points of the country (the furthest point east is Lowestoft in Suffolk). Ramsgate has its own meridian line and Mean Time which is 5 mins 41 secs ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.Ramsgate is about 1 hour from the M25 with excellent road links.
The town is now the amalgamation of two settlements. One is the fishing community based on the coast in the shallow valley between two chalk cliffs and the other a farming community inland that is now the Parish of St. Lawrence. The cliffs are now known as the East Cliff and the West Cliff and are predominantly residential areas. There are promenades along both cliff tops with parks at either end and sand beaches on the coast.


Ramsgate is in the parliamentary constituency of Thanet South. The Thanet South seat is currently held by Labour Member of Parliament Dr Stephen Ladyman, which he won during the 1997 general election. The previous MP for Thanet South, Jonathan Aitken, was convicted of perjury in 1999 and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Ramsgate is within the Thanet local government district. The town contains the seven electoral wards of Sir Moses Montefiore, Northwood, Newington, Cliffsend and Pegwell, Central Harbour, Nethercourt, and Eastcliff. These wards have seventeen of the fifty six seats on the Thanet District Council. As of the 2007 Local Elections, twelve of those seats were held by Labour, four by the Conservatives and one by Ramsgate First.
The town is currently an unparished area and does not have a town council, but a movement called 'Ramsgate First' is campaigning to form one. The town mayor is currently Steve Ward.

Political History

During the 1984 National Union of Mineworkers Strike, several blockades of Ramsgate Harbour were staged by coalmen of the nearby colleries, which had until then supported a sizable workforce throughout Thanet. Ramsgate was also the original location of the pressure group Critical Mass.


Ramsgate's main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has a thriving marina with over 800 moorings and a range of marine-related businesses that operate in premises in the renovated arches under Royal Parade. The town caters for students of EFL (English as a foreign language) at its colleges.
Although Ramsgate has the most valuable fish landings in Kent (~£700,000 in 2003), the fishing industry is in decline.
Port Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years. Previously Sally Ferries provided a service of passenger and car ferries to Dunkirk. Currently a service of freight and car is provided to Oostende.
Unemployment for Thanet is higher (4.1%) than the national average (2.5%).
There is some light industry in the town. An emerging industry is power generation, with 800 jobs expected to be created by the Thanet offshore wind project, a wind farm just off the coast.
Ramsgate Market is held in High Street, King Street and Queen Street every Friday and Saturday between 8a.m. and 4p.m.


As of the 2001 UK census, Ramsgate had a population of 39,639.
The ethnicity of the town was 98.0% white, 0.8% mixed race, 0.3% black, 0.3% Chinese, 0.4% other Asian and 0.1% other ethnicity.
The place of birth of residents was 95.6% United Kingdom, 0.7% Republic of Ireland, 0.6% Germany, 0.6% other Western Europe countries, 0.3% Eastern Europe, 0.6% Far East, 0.5% Africa, 0.3% North America, 0.3% South Asia, 0.2% Middle East, 0.2% Oceania and 0.1% South America
Religion was recorded as 71.6% Christian, 0.3% Muslim, 0.1% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.1% Sikh and 0.1% Jewish. 17.9% were recorded as having no religion, 0.3% had an alternative religion and 7.1% didn't state their religion.
For every 100 females, there were 91.2 males. The age distribution was 6% aged 0-4 years, 16% aged 5-15 years, 5% aged 16-19 years, 31% aged 20-44 years, 24% aged 45-64 years and 18% aged 65 years and over.



Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline, particularly Ramsgate Main Sands, which has been awarded a 2008 Blue Flag award. The water quality, tested in 2007, passed the legal minimum, mandatory standard..
The previous prime seafront site which was Ramsgate pleasure park is currently undergoing major redevelopment.
Ramsgate has developed a continental cafe style culture with bars and restaurants on its seafront parade.
There is an annual Powerboat Grand Prix event based out of the harbour of Ramsgate during the summer. Ramsgate carnival is an annual parade also during the summer. Other events include the annual Addington Street Fair and the French Market.


Ramsgate's main football club Ramsgate Football Club plays in the Isthmian League Premier Division. The main local rivals of the club are Margate F.C. who are situated 3 miles away. When the two teams meet, it is known as the Thanet derby. However, competitive games between the two teams in recent years have been few and far between due to Margate's success. Other football clubs include Minster and the Hugin Vikings club.
Ramsgate's sports facilities include a public swimming pool , a fitness centre with gym and sports hall. Tennis clubs can be found at Spencer square and St. Laurence. Ramsgate has three golf clubs: St. Augustines , Stonelees , and Manston. Being a harbour town, there is also a sailing club - The Royal Temple Yacht Club.

Arts & Media

The Gallery IOTA (Isle Of Thanet Arts) is based on the towns west cliff. Ramsgate Maritime Museum near the harbour quayside has exhibits showing the evolution of Ramsgate Harbour and East Kent maritime history. Ramsgate's sole cinema and theatre is the Granville Cinema, situated on Victoria Parade, in the town's Eastcliff area.


Many buildings in Ramsgate are of Regency and Victorian architecture. There are 900 listed buildings in the town with more than 200 surrounding the Marina.
The town has three notable churches. The first building used for worship in the Thanet parish of 'St Lawrence' was at St Laurence-in-Thanet, built in 1062 and rebuilt during the following centuries with the most significant changes being in the 16th century. Note the difference in spelling between that of the Village of St Lawrence and the church, which is dedicated to the Roman Martyr, Laurence.
The second notable church is St Augustine's, which is situated on the town's westcliff. Considered one of the most August and distinct surviving it was designed by Augustus Pugin in 1847 in the neo-Gothic style. Its dedication commemorates Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, who landed at Ramsgate in AD 596 and brought Christianity to Britain.
Thirdly, the town's Parish Church of St George is situated just off the town's High Street. Its lantern tower was added at the request of Trinity House as a navigational aid to passing ships and looks over the town. The ground was consecrated on 23 October 1827.
St Augustine' serves its own abbey and the town's Catholic community, whilst St Laurence and St George are both Church of England, and serve the Anglican community as part of the Diocese of Canterbury. Christ Church built in 1847 also serves the Anglican community.
Ramsgate library was originally built and paid for by Andrew Carnegie in 1904. On the evening of Friday 13 August 2004 a fire destroyed Ramsgate library just two months short of its 100th anniversary. Though suspicions were raised as to what started the fire due to a similarly timed fire at the towns registry office, an inquest concluded that the blaze was too intense to pinpoint where and how the fire started. Planning permission has been granted for a new library and construction work has begun.


By Sea

The harbour provides shelter from the effect of storms and is close to the Goodwin Sands. It is now the site of one of the largest and most thriving marinas on the English south coast (there were 12,000 visiting boats in 2005) with 800 moorings.
The town has had a long and chequered relationship with cross channel ferries. Passenger ferries to Dunkirk were operated for many years by Sally Ferries who eventually were forced to close due to stiff competition from Dover-Calais ferries and the Channel Tunnel. Transeuropa Ferries passenger(with vehicle only) and freight ferries now frequently sail to the Port of Ostend in Ostend, Belgium.
Hovercraft were formerly operated (from 1969 until 1982) by Hoverlloyd from Pegwell Bay, near Ramsgate, to Calais.

By Road

Ramsgate is connected to the national road network primarily through the A299Thanet Way which continues onto the M2/A2 for the M25(approx 1 hour) and London. The A256 provides a link to Dover and onwards onto the A20 for the Channel Tunnel. Bus services are provided by Stagecoachbus' "Thanet Loop" scheme.

By Rail

Ramsgate railway station is situated at the top of the town near the parish of St Lawrence.
A new high-speed service to London has been announced and is planned to start in December 2009. According to the South Eastern Railway company, it will be part of the UK's first truly high speed commuter service, and the journey time from Ramsgate to the new St Pancras terminal, with excellent transport links, will be just 84 minutes .
Currently, trains from Ramsgate to London Charing Cross and London Victoria. Commuting time to the capital is currently 1 hour 50 minutes.
The trains pass via Margate, Chatham and Bromley South, or via Canterbury West or Dover Priory and Ashford International. Ramsgate railway station is operated by Southeastern (train operating company).

By Air

The town is situated directly under the flight path of Kent International Airport at Manston. From September 2004 to August 2005 a low-cost airline EUjet operated frequent flights to many European destinations, replacing a large freight operator. However, flights were suspended after the collapse of its parent company, PlaneStation Group plc.
The sale of Manston to Infratil (owner of Glasgow Prestwick International Airport) was completed on 26 August 2005. Charter operator Kent Escapes will use the Manston site to run weekly passenger flights to Barcelona, Spain and Faro, Portugal from summer 2006. Infratil are in negotiations with other airlines to add further destinations.


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Twin cities/towns


External links

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