Wednesday, 9 March 2016

After 1926 The rise of tourism

After Ramsgate Corporation bought the disused railway Station they decided that (along with other plans for the main beach) tourism was the way to bring visitors to Ramsgate. The "roaring twenties" was in full swing and people started looking for something other than bathing to occupy their holiday time. The Pavilion was bringing in tourists in their thousands as well as the Westcliff Hall. It seemed though that what the Ramsgate Corporation was looking for was "FUN"

Westcliff Hall
Royal Victorian Pavillion
So they decided that the land would be cleared and the land would be leased to leisure. The 1st offering was Pleasureland. From 1926 to 1930 it opened to entertain the holidaymakers.

When the developer folded a new developer came forward and the name changed to Merrie England and the entertainment continued right up to WW2 1933-1939
In 1934 to enhance the offering on the Eastcliff a salt water bathing pool was built. More on this in another blog

During WW2 the Navy took over the building and utilised the cliff top for big guns and the land below for defending the beach from invasion. It was called HMS Fervent and there are remnants still awaiting exploration

The old railway tunnel was extended to provide shelter from the bombing and today you can visit the Tunnels and take a tour
From 1945 to 1965 it continued as Merrie England with many rides changing but the entertainment continuing

In 1965 the park underwent a transformation and this lasted until May 1998 however the seeds of its destruction were sewn when Freddie Laker introduced "fun in the sun" holidays with the advent of cheap flights to sunny overseas destinations. One of the issues for holidays at the seaside was always the weather.

Pleasurams became a vicious circle as with holidaymakers taking foreign holidays and spending reducing the proprietor running the park started selling rides off to the continent which accelerated the downward spiral and when he decided to apply for planning permission for housing and was refused on several occasions the scene was set for the park's final days.
In May 1998 the old listed Railway station suffered from a fire that gutted the building and it was torn down ending 72 years of being a leisure facility (less the war years).

So what happened after the fire. That's the subject of the next blog post. What happened to the railway tunnel?
Come and see for yourself. Book your ticket here

1 comment:

  1. In the 70s I spent one summer as 'potman' (too young to serve at the bar) in the Long Bar. Was it really the longest bar in the UK? Learnt how to tap and spline a barrel that summer - didn't lose too much ale either. Used to have to collect all the left over beer from glasses and drip tray beer into a barrel (of 'ullage') which went back to the brewers for a tax rebate!
    Recall that the band that played every night was quite good too.