Monday, 16 October 2017

Ramsgate Margate and Broadstairs around 1800 trying to look back 200 years

Clicking on this picture of Ramsgate in 1809 should make it expand, I know it was produced in 1809 because it comes from "The New Margate, Ramsgate, and Broadstairs Guide 1809"
This is a picture of the title page, fortunately I have copied the whole book and produce a cheap reprint that anyone can buy this is the link to buy it the free option here is coming to my bookshop in Ramsgate and giving it a thorough browse.

I think this is probably the first local guide to have pictures of the three Thanet towns that we can still identify today.

This is Margate in 1809

and this Broadstairs in 1809, all three large files that should expand well when you click on them a bit, or do whatever you do on your phone or tablet.

The text in the book is informative, up to a point, this is part of the the bit about Margate and the journey there






Contemporary cartoons of the Passage Packet tell a different story

the journey between London and Margate took several days depending on the weather

Contemporary cartoons also tell a different story about sea bathing before teh invention of the swimming costume.

Contemporary art like the Benjamin West of the bathing place at Ramsgate in 1788, which is presumably intended to be a realistic picture of Ramsgate, are some help, note the invalid on the right with his mug to drink the seawater and the professional dunkers ready to immerse him afterwards.

next an lifted from the internet so the won't expand two Ramsgate watercolours from 1801 by John Rubens Smith

Here in the bookshop it was one of those days when people tell you their house is over 200 years old, both the Paragon and Nelson’s Crescent, finished around 1800, so yes often they are absolutely right. But following on from this then people want something, a connection perhaps to this time. How I explain is another matter altogether. Saying that they were probably built as rental accommodation for the wealthy who came here for a medical cure accompanied by their families servants doesn’t seem enough. So I promised to try to do a blog post about this today.   

Here is the link to the books that went on the shelves in the bookshop today.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Art rewriting history, the return of the physical book, some sort of Sunday ramble

First a couple of pictures of Ramsgate Marina Swimming Pool
 With old photos, for the most part they appear here because either me or someone else identifies them as Ramsgate or Thanet and they arrive on the internet. Looking at the photo above, going through a box of old photos, not everyone would immediately identify this as Ramsgate.

 Whereas this one I think is easier.

Paintings are much more difficult as yesterday's post click on this link if you missed it  show, what? Different truths, lies I don't really know, art perhaps

Now this weekend my choices were between art and art, yesterday morning I could have jumped in the car and gone to Margate where the main attraction at the new exhibition at Turner Contemporary is Tracey Emin’s bed. However I became interested in the 8.58 bus that goes from Leopold Street in Ramsgate and arrives in Canterbury at 10.06, this is the one that goes via Sandwich, that I hadn’t previously known about, the temptation for me was painting in Canterbury and the idea of looking at this route from the top of a bus tipped the scales.      


Looking at someone else’s mobile phone photos from the top of a bus is going to be a bit like watching paint dry, you have been warned, here is the link https://photos.app.goo.gl/xd27DjpXbKq74dCd2  

The main watercolour painting I have on the go at the moment is of  St Anslim’s chapel in Canterbury Cathedral, to do this I go to the cathedral, sit in the chapel and paint what I see.


When I have finished painting I take a few photos and then toddle off for a cuppa.

An alternative approach could I suppose be writing 1717, 1817 or 1917 on the picture and I think a lot of people would be hard pressed to contradict the dates. I am not sure if all of the paints would have been around in 1717, some of the tubes have old money prices on them. Most of the paint in this one is ochre and ground burnt bones, I guess I could have used wode for the blue.

Of yesterday's paintings I think this is the one that worries me the most in terms of rewriting history
particularly as the mast looks like a bit of tree, there is something of Victorian romanticism here although I think the scene is supposed to be something of the 1600s.

Here is the link to the content of my camera card photos today and yesterday http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/1017l/

And here is the one to the photos of the books that went out in the bookshop on Saturday http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/a-sea-of-monsters-in-bookshop.html  

Then the book, this article in the Wall Street Journal https://www.wsj.com/articles/book-publishers-go-back-to-basics-1507983856

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The mystery of the Ramsgate painting of Kennett Beacham Martin.

These three paintings of Ramsgate Harbour have recently appeared on the internet as © Ramsgate Library and ascribed to the artist Kennett Beacham Martin and all dated 1821.
 Picture 1

 Picture 2

Picture 3

Obviously as the Ramsgate Harbour we have now, inner basin, outer harbour, east pier west pier, east pier extension were all completed by 1791, while these paintings could have been painted in 1821 they all show the harbour as it would have looked before 1750. 


This picture of Ramsgate says on it that it was printed in 1791 and as you can see it was drawn from up on the end of the pier near the lighthouse.

Ok something is wrong here either Kennett Beacham Martin painted them all in 1821 and they were paintings of how he imagined the harbour to have been before 1750, or they were painted by different people at different times, any ideas anyone. I have labelled them pictures 1, 2 and 3 and will have a go at putting some answers below.


When it comes to old paintings of Ramsgate I think the authenticity of this one which is ascribed to Benjamin West and thought to date from 1788 is ok, I should point out that it isn’t signed or dated.

Charles Busson in The Book of Ramsgate describes picture 3 as “The new East Pier from the old harbour Oil painting 1751.(KLC)”


Friday, 13 October 2017

A few old Ramsgate Transport Pictures to click on and ramble

This picture of Ramsgate Station, which in local history terms I think of as the new station although built in the 1920s makes it fairly old, has a contemporary car outside it and makes me realise that when the station was built the train really was the only way to get a reasonable distance fairly quickly.

The 1926 map is also this period, not quite the age of the motor car.

I think the Vye & Son van would be 1950s
Some Ramsgate transport is a fairly unusual and requires some mental gear changing, would the children whip the goats to make the go? Perhaps the goat went of its own volition, difficult to steer perhaps
Obviously it all worked at the time. Difficult to steer again


You try to date the photo from the most modern vehicle, have a go

For the dedicated here is the link to the books that went out in the bookshop today http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/slaughterhouse-5-in-bookshop.html 

Julian Lovegrove at York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

The current exhibition is by Broadstairs Painter Julian Lovegrove
Exhibition - 11 -18 Oct







Thursday, 12 October 2017

A few old Ramsgate pictures, click away at them

A bit of a start on dates and identification any help appreciated 
I don’t think I have seen this Ramsgate postcard before, however I expect it is related to midget entertainers at Olympia, later Merrie England, Pleasurama and now just a ghastly mess.   
 These two pictures I lifted off the web so the size is much smaller, so they probably won't expand much when you click on them.
 I think this one is probably late 1930s no bomb damage but the stucco has gone from the old station building and the builing out on the right of it is there
 Moses Shipyard



This one after 1951 as there is an Austin A30


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

King Street directory for 1963 King Street photo around 1970





The picture is of around 60 to 72 King Street, however I think the picture’s date is nearer to 1970 than 1960 as the bookshop now at 72 is Design and Colour the wallpaper and paint shop and not Cullen’s as shown in the 1963 directory.

Having just read that sentence and realised that it is probably going to be incomprehensible to most people, I face the blog writers dilemma of how to sort the thing out.

I just wasn’t trained for this writing lark, don’t you know, and yes I do understand that the very few people who recognise the picture will also be the very few that understand the sentence.

I do remember standing around in Design and Colour and mi mum presumably waved rolls of wallpaper at me and asked me if I preferred the one with coaches and horses on it to the one with the big purple flowers on it. I don’t think that teenage boys perceived wallpaper on the roll in the same way as their mums did back in the late 60s. Of course the memory of being a teenager in the 60s in Ramsgate contains a memory of both wallpapers, but on walls not rolls. I think there would have been books of wallpaper too and wonder how we do without them. Perhaps we never really needed them, much more recent memories of putting up wallpaper while wondering if I should have bought a different pattern have probably over written most of this stuff.  

Like the wallpaper photos and directories are very difficult to match up. 

I am still engaging with what currently passes for Parkinson's law in the age of the internet, and is closely related to both the online form and the pdf file, would you believe that that in trying to resolve some strange product that a high street bank mis-sold me, they have now conceded that while I can send them emails which they will read, they can only reply to the emails by post.