Ramsgate Nostalgia

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.
Ramsgate - Tony Ray-Jones

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.

If this has left you feeling a little down then please go visit Zumi ? Buzzing Ramsgate and Thanet and also see this other gallery from Tony Ray-Jones and indulge in some excellent nostalgia.

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4 Responses to Ramsgate Nostalgia

  1. Aravis says:

    There *is* a sadness to this post, to visiting what once was knowing what it has become.

  2. One has to wonder what Tutticleen was when it was at home!

  3. Just back from doing a bit of research on the interwhatsit and it seems that a Tuttocrema is a type of milk frother for making cappucinos. So presumably the sign says Tutticreem and is one of those frothy coffee caffs that used to be popular in them days, with the name anglicised for the benefit of the knotted hanky brigade.

    So, any readers remember the Tutticreem cafe?

  4. Stef says:

    Definitely an interesting post.

    I?ve never been to Ramsgate but have been to several English coastal towns to which the same could be said (Western anyone?) and it is sad.

    Seaside towns -because of their holiday past- have a plethora of buildings that supported that trade: pavillions, casinos, piers?

    There are many places in the UK that are past their prime but they don?t have this niche infrastructure to maintain. Big places like Brighton that are close to the masses can probably manage it but what about Minehead and Bognor? They are never again going to have the tourists to support that stuff and the locals don?t care.

    That is the sadness about these towns. While down-on-their-luck towns in the north and the midlands are not exactly flourishing, at least they don?t have decaying monuments to past glories rubbing failure in their faces every day.



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