Out and about today although this afternoon rain stopped play, I went to Margate to buy some books, one of which was the Red Guide to Broadstairs for around 1950.
I covered these in greater detail the other day with the 1922 one, here is the link to the post https://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/collecting-local-guide-books-and.html
The Red Guides for north-east Kent mainly cover Canterbury, Herne Bay, Margate and Ramsgate all seem to be the same but name different towns on the cover and I think particularly the later ones that say Broadstairs on the cover are some of the scarcest so I was pleased to get this one.
I am a bit wary of publishing big chunks from a guide this late online in case I infringe copyright rules, however the maps are based on the OS ones and the OS have released the copyright for their maps published in 1950 and before so I think I am all right putting the maps here.
Margate was busy again, but I think this is mostly confined to weekends and thinking back to the early 1970s when I worked as a sort of mechanic there, it was this problem of only being busy at weekends that was part of the reason for its decline.
The economy of Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs mainly hang on what was know as the season, back in the 50s I think this started at Easter and ended in October, mostly involving people who came down here to stay in a guesthouse for the week.
By the mid 60s when we started in the guesthouse business the package holiday was already impacting on this with the season shrinking to July and August by the mid 70s a mixture of this contracting to weekenders and the cost of the new fire regulations had pretty much finished things off.
Dreamland, the Lido Complex at Cliftonville and Pleasurama in Ramsgate all based on having visitors for the week were struggling and my feeling are would struggle now.
I think Broadstairs was less affected than the other Thanet towns with pensioners still coming down for the week in the cheaper non school holiday period and still offering what it always had, which wasn’t particularly based around amusements.
The regeneration in Ramsgate, which is mostly café culture lead and hasn’t involved the outside investment and local government intervention needed for Dreamland and Turner Contemporary is interesting.
How the largest Wetherspoons opening at the end of the month will impact on this is still an unknown, in a sensible world I think the increased revenue generated by the tax related to this would produce a bit more policing, but I don’t think this will happen.
Back to the guide, something that did interest me is the 1950ish guide is much thinner than the pre war guides and this seems to be due to a total absence of local advertisements, what that was about I don’t really know.
As something of a local history type I tend to base my ideas of where the future of our towns may go on what happened historically and at the moment there are certainly changes on the way.
If I were to guess what would happen I would say the main impact over the next few years will be people travelling less, partly for environmental reasons and partly because lots of jobs are based around using a computer rather than needing to go to place of work.
see comments for explanation of this picture