On the front page of the BBC website there is a banner advertising their TV programme ?The Genius of Photography?, and so I clicked on it to have a look around and came across a photo called ?Ramsgate? by Tony Ray Jones, Ramsgate is of course the town where I live and where I grew-up. The photo dates from 1967 and shows what the town was like in its heyday.
His superb photograph Ramsgate, taken in 1967, was an image seized in the flux of time in which every element the child running, the dog turning its head, the mother tucking her toddler into the pram, the walking man and the child playing behind is unified into a coherent whole, placed in its setting of ice cream, tea and cigarette billboards and the rough concrete of the beachside steps. It is a delicate comedy of manners celebrating the English seaside habit. ? Joanna Pitman (TimesOnline)
We all know that the days of the traditional british seaside featuring donkey rides, saucy postcards, etc is over, and the coastal towns have been fighting against this since the 80s, trying to desperately cling onto what it was like in the 60s and 70s. The local councils are finally trying to turn over a new leaf and as such are redeveloping, inviting in big business, whilst also trying to create some kind of arts/café culture. Can these two really mix?
The development of Westwood Cross Shopping Centre has seen many businesses move away from the local towns of Ramsgate and Margate, and I mention this because the building in the above picture is the Pavilion, which up until now has been the location of a casino. The casino only used up half the building, with the other half empty, but soon it will be completely empty as the casino is itself moving upto Westwood Cross. What will become of the building? All of the individual windows and arches have been blocked up for decades as you can see from this picture of the arch which is shown in the ?Ramgsate? photo.
It would be amazing if instead of just finding a random business to fill up the whole space, that the council actually put some considerate thought into what to do with the Pavilion. On Mark?s engrossing Zumi blog he has managed to get postcards featuring the Pavilion in it?s glory from 1905, two years after it?s construction, and also showing it at night. The Pavilion started out as concert hall with cafes, terraces, etc and it would be great to see it reverted to it?s orignal role, but more than likely it will sit derelict and left to decay like so much around here such as the Pleasurama site, the Motor Museum, and also the East Cliff promenade (that one?s for you ECR!), to name but a few.