Sunday, 27 March 2016

View from the sky

From the 1920's to today Ramsgate has been photographed from the air. Here is a collection from this web site.
West cliff Boating lake in 1931

Westcliff Hall and Royal Crescent 1931
St Augustines Church and Pugin's residence (now owned by the Landmark Trust)

Ramsgate Harbour 1930
Granville Hotel 1920
Merrie England, Pavillion and the Eastcliff 1930
Dumpton Lane 1930
Merrie England 1932
Westcliff area 1931
Winterstoke 1931
Winterstoke and the Marina Pool 1947
There are many more photographs if you go to the website above

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Granville in Ramsgate

"The Granville Hotel, Ramsgate, Kent, on the southeast coast of England, was a former hotel designed by Edward Welby Pugin, son of Augustus Pugin. The Granville was a hotel between 1869 and 1946 before being sold by proprietors Spiers & Pond" so says Wikipedia

 The terrace, described by Catriona Blaker from her book - Edward Pugin and Kent, his life and work within the county, 2012: "Seen from the front, the main elevation of these very substantial five floor stock brick residences was Gothic – definitely an urban, modern Gothic, not even picturesquely asymmetrical. Each end was the same, grandly gabled, with carefully detailed stone balconies and a large and elegant Gothic window on the fifth floor, and there were bold structural bays and chimneys on the side elevations."
The Granville is Grade II listed and the story is as follows
"Hotel and flats. 1869 by and for Edward Welby Pugin, altered after 1873 and c.1900. Gothick revival, with later Neo-Georgian added details. Stock brick and slate roof. Four storeys, attic and basement with raised paved ground floor ballustraded. Tuscan colonnade and balcony, buttresses to cornice and parapet with gable to right, 2 gabled half-dormers and Mansard roof with 5 Queen Anne Style dormers and stacks to left, centre and right. Arched recessed surround to casement in end right gable. Tripartite sashes and French windows over 2 storey canted bays, paired to centre left and centre right and single to right with iron balconies, and paired segmentally headed sashes and French windows, with balconies on 2nd floor. Pierced stone balcony to right on 3rd floor.Tripartite full-height sashes and French windows on ground floor in moulded and keyed surrounds, with large double panelled doors in 4th bay from left, with traceried semi-circular fanlight marked by pediment with cartouche in arcade. Cast iron grille with large openings to basement. The whole facade was once symmetrical, an additional 2 bays (with end gable) demolished at end left. The iron balconies and whole of ground floor replaced the original Gothic style features c.1900. Right return: the 1st 4 bays echo the front elevation, with irregular 4 storeyed block behind, more "Lombardi" Gothic in style with buttress-stacks (with cornices) rebated segmentally headed sashes, brick bonding, Lombard frieze parapet, and terminal tower, now with battlemented top stage, with circular vice , massive battered buttresses and brick balcony at 2nd floor level, with rendered arched area over; the adjacent block with Lions Rampant as finials bearing the Pugin motto: En Avant. Interior: Tuscan columned entrance hall with panelling and
cornice and swagged fireplace all C18 classical in style, with turned baluster stair in same style. Baronial style fireplace with engaged columns in Banqueting Hall. Coffered ceiling. Developed by Pugin as part of a general scheme on the Mount Albion House estate (see items in Albert Road, Augusta Road and Victoria Parade), Pugin filed bankruptcy in 1873 (£187,000 liabilities), Mr. Edmund Davis purchased and converted from houses to Hotel, adding facilities (and possibly the whole of the rear blocks, although still by Pugin). Badly damaged 1940 and partially demolished since. (See Busson, Ramsgate, 107)"
An advert appeared in the Illustrated London News

It is said that there was originally a tunnel from the Hotel directly onto the Sands coming out in one of these properties on the lower prom however when the Granville theatre was built the tunnel was closed.

At the rear of the plot, which is now a building plot, was the Ballroom and at the front right is a bar currently waiting for someone to spend money on it.
 Also at one time during the war it was used as a convalescent home for Canadian soldiers and several pictures remain from that time.
Much of the lower prom was named after the hotel and became an addition to the entertainment at the former Railway site.

The last picture is the dance floor of what was known as the Marina bar which for many years was a dance hall on the curve of the roadway down to the lower prom.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Tourism and the Marina Swimming pool

“Tomorrow 21st July 1935 will see another landmark in the history of Ramsgate.  It is the official opening of the Marina Bathing Pool and Cafes by His Worship the Mayor Alderman Dye.”
 This image shows the Pool during construction.   It was taken July 1st 1935 and it was opened 20 days later!
It replaced  70 odd wooden bathing huts and a Swimming Club Hut.   These were  demolished to make way for a new promenade and dressing accommodation for the pool.

Built in 1935 to expand the tourism offering along with Pleasureland and the Westcliff Hall the entire seafront from the Westcliff Chine to the Winterstoke Gardens would have offered much for the British holidaymaker.

 So what went wrong. "The Lido lived on for 50 years.  Sadly it succumbed to the same threats as most lidos at the time.  This was down to the climate change and weather conditions.   Package holidays abroad where the sunshine was guaranteed,  all took its toll on patronage." Quote from the following link Ramsgate Marina Pool

This is one theory. The other theory goes back to its construction. Taken from Michael's Thanetonline

"Some say the problem was the old design of the building and that thee pool was actually on 'stilts' and you could walk underneath it at low tide. As the tide came in the void was filled with seawater. The dated building measures made this a fatal design fault. Gradually the chalk below began to erode, and as a result the foundations moved, causing the pool to crack. This was patched for years until repairs were impossible. It was also too expensive to replace."
Whatever the reason by 1999 this is what the site looked like

 The site is now a carpark looking for some cars.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

After the Fire

After the disastrous fire in May 1998 the Grade 2 listed Station was deemed too dangerous to remain and was completely demolished.

 The pile of rubble at the far end is the Station and would you note the building site area.

So what happens is James (Jimmy) Godden applies for planning permission to build "Yuppie Flats" again and again is refused permission.

To quote from the planning report F/TH/99/0837 November 1999 PP was granted for "a Shopping Mall with 21 units of varying sizes, a food court and restaurant, together with a multiplex cinema, nightclub and leisure facilities of either a family entertainment centre, Amazonia or bowling facility." This on a site 180m (590 feet) and between 30m (98 feet) to 48M (157 feet) approximately the area between the fence above.
This was to be amended as for detailed plans were being submitted at this juncture however planning was granted and everyone hoped "Jimmy" would get on with renovating this eyesore.
With reference to Council meeting papers it seems that despite various meeting with the develope "Jimmy" Godden  and a "Longstop" date of 31st December 2000 the developer had failed to comply with the agreement. In March/April 2001 the Councils patience had evaporated and Officers were instructed to take back the land by the uses of a CPO. To ensure "Jimmy" Godden was onside an agreement was made as follows:
"TDC will not persue it's rights under the current documentation for the recovery of any insurance money for the fire which destroyed the original building, in return for his agreement to the removal of any obligation by the council to pay to you compensation under the Landlord/Tenant Act if development doesn't proceed"
Now pardon me the Council colludes in letting Godden keep the insurance that should have reinstated the building or build new facilities because Godden failed to build the said facilities. What a crock of S**T.
So what happens is they take back the land and Godden walks away with a sum rumoured to be nearly £500K and then re-market it under the auspices of the "Ramsgate Rennaissance opportunity"

On the 21st November 2002 the Cabinet met and decided to go with one partner.
""Following the Marketing of the site, six shortlisted companies were invited to develop their expressions of interest in accordance with the planning and development brief." Only two companies developed their expressions SFP Venture Partners and Westcliff Park Limited.

The choice was SFP and the die was cast for 13 years of utter fiasco.

The proposal from SFP was submitted on the headed paper of Terence Painter Properties and laid much emphasis on Whitbread's involvement. In itself that is very odd (development would have been worth £20M to the winner and SFP didnt have proper notepaper however what is more starange is Whitbread (In March 2003) said they had no involvement.

History will show that in May Labour lost control letting in the Conservatives under Ezekiel.

Planning was submitted on November 2003 and granted by TDC on the 28th January 2004 and many people raised eyebrows at the speed that planning was obtained.
Did anything get build? No however the boundary was extended almost to the old railway tunnel and work was done on an improved storm drain and KCC Highways altered the roundabouts at both ends of the site.
 In Summer 2006 Ezekiel's Cabinet entered into a Development Agreement with Shaun Keegan of SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd. The key point was SFP had to provide a £5.6M Bond in case SFP failed to develop the site.
What happened? Er nothing. SFP failed to get a bond and 3 years later in June 2009 Ezekiel had to negotiate a new Development Agreement this time the bond was exchanged for £1m surety yet still nothing was built except in 2010 Cardy (the builders) started putting up "tombsones" very gently so as not to bring down the cliff face.

So after 18 years and many false dawns what is going to be the fate of this derelict bombsite? The simple answer is who knows? Cardy have taken of the Development Agreement however they still have yet to get on with it as in true TDC style it was decided to repair the Cliff face in 2015 after it was repaired (to last 100 years according to Mark Seed TDC Officer since left TDC) in 2011.
In the last 18 years it has been an eyesore holding back Ramsgate and the holiday offering. In 2008 at least they made use of the site however just think what Ramsgate would have looked like had James "Jimmy" Godden had built what he promised.
What does the future hold seeing as Cardy will not "start" until the cliff face is finished in April 2016. If the past is anything to go on then it might be finished by 2050.