Both Iain and I grew up in East Kent. Iain in Ramsgate and me in Broadstairs, and we both went to school in Ramsgate. We hadn't been down to Thanet for a long time so this gave us a real opportunity to have a look around and see what's been going on and how they have been regenerating the area. There is one campsite in Ramsgate but our van is too big; one in Birchington but they don't take dogs and there are a couple in Minster but they were too far away, so it was to be a wild-camping experience for us. At least being familiar with the area we were able to think about where to stay.
We parked up on the west cliff in Ramsgate and there were no parking restrictions so we thought we'd give it a go. The weather was fantastic so we took a walk down into the town and right along the seafront to where the old Marina swimming pool and Nero's nightclub had been many years ago.
We were pleasantly surprised at Ramsgate, it is really a town of faded Victorian splendour. Some of the buildings are fantastic, notably Royal Crescent and the harbour area and a lot has been done to smarten it up. Along the seafront are some really nice cafes and bars and it has a great “trendy” feel. If I had never been there before I would have been pleased with my visit. We had a walk around the town and saw our old schools. Here are some pictures which took my interest.
You may ask why the little shop. Well the red shop in the middle of this picture was the newsagents opposite Iain's school where you could be cigarettes singly. It was 1p for a Players No 10. You just wouldn't be able to get away with that these days.
This was my school, Clarendon House. Nowadays the schools have merged, but in our day every effort was made to keep the boys and girls apart, even though the schools were no more than a quarter of a mile away. We even used to finish school 15 minutes earlier than the boys so that we could get past their school and get on our buses before they were let out. Of course all this did was to allow the girls to get to the school in time to wait for the boys.
It was interesting to see that the original fire station building is still in use. Now the reason for the interest is that it was from where our teachers could spy on us at the back of the bike shed and catch us smoking.
|This is the bus stop to get home from school. I remember coming round the corner and you had to hold onto your hat to stop it ending up in the harbour. It was detention if you didn't wear your hat.|
|The old customs House|
|Just a row of beautiful houses|
|Ramsgate Library, next to Clarendon House|
|This used to be a lovely art deco salt water swimming pool|
|With a 10m diving board. Trouble was I always remember it was cold in the afternoon and then you'd get hot bovril out of the vending machine.|
|Who knocked down Neros night club? These flats are starting at half a million!!!!|
|Ramsgate hospital, now John Nicholas House|
|One for Nick|
|A Traditional pub on the seafront - another Thorley Tavern|
|A rambling house on the west cliff|
|Ramsgate Harbour from the West Cliff|
|Pegwell Bay from Ramsgate|
|You can even get married at Pegwell Bay - I think you'd want to get the tides right though.|
|The bottom of Harbour Street|
|I don't know what this building was but it was another example of the faded splendour that used to be Ramsgate|
|Harbour side - I think the restaurant in the middle was on TV, one of those Restaurant Saving programs|
|Royal Crescent at the top of the west cliff|
|Ramsgate Tunnels, this is where the train used to come out to go along the seaside. Now re-opened for viewing but there were no signs when. I can remember these being open and you could walk in, but for us kids it was far too scary to go far.|
It's such a shame though that there a no longer any crossings to France – it does make the port look rather desolate. I hope that you enjoy some of the photos that I took.
In the evening we walked down to the Artillery Arms where we bumped into one of Iain's old friends from his days living there.
We were not bothered overnight or moved on so we thought this was a result.
|Our wild camping site|
|View from the West Cliff over to Deal. I've never come across a "Croquet" club before.|
One night in Ramsgate and off to Broadstairs.