Ramsgate

Street Map

Ramsgate is a seaside town in the district of Thanet in east Kent, England. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century and is a member of the ancient confederation of Cinque Ports. It has a population of around 40,000. Ramsgate’s main attraction is its coastline and its main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has one of the largest marinas on the English south coast and Port of Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years.

Ramsgate began as a fishing and farming hamlet. Ramsgate as a name has its earliest reference as “Hraefn’s gate“, or “raven’s cliff gap“, later to be rendered ‘Ramisgate’ or ‘Remmesgate’ around 1225 and ‘Ramesgate’ from 1357. The legendary mercenaries Hengest and Horsa landed in the 5th century to herald the pagan Anglo-Saxon age in England. The Christian missionary St. Augustine landed in Ramsgate in 597 which re-established the link between England and the Christian church in Rome.

Ramsgate’s harbour is a defining characteristic of the town. The construction of Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and was completed in about 1850. The Harbour has the unique distinction of being the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom. Because of its proximity to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both during the Napoleonic Wars and for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

In 1901, the Isle of Thanet saw the introduction of an electric tram service which was one of the few inter-urban tramways in Britain. The towns of Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs were linked by 11 miles of track.

In 1915-1916 early aircraft began to use the open farmlands at Manston as a site for emergency landings. The location near the Kent coast gave Manston some advantages over the other previously established aerodromes. During the first World War, Ramsgate was the target of bombing raids by Zeppelin airships. By 1917 the Royal Flying Corps was well established and taking an active part in the defence of England. As RAF Manston the aerodrome played an important role in the second World War and is now called Kent International Airport.

Ramsgate is located 78 miles from central London in an East South Easterly direction at one of the most Easterly points of the country (the furthest point east is Lowestoft in Suffolk). Ramsgate has its own meridian line and Mean Time which is 5 minutes 41 seconds ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Ramsgate is about 1 hour from the M25.

The town is now the amalgamation of two settlements. One is the fishing community based on the coast in the shallow valley between two chalk cliffs and the other a farming community inland that is now the Parish of St. Lawrence. The cliffs are now known as the East Cliff and the West Cliff and are predominantly residential areas. There are promenades along both cliff tops with parks at either end and sand beaches on the coast.

Ramsgate’s main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has a thriving marina with over 800 moorings and a range of marine-related businesses that operate in premises in the renovated arches under Royal Parade. The town caters for students of EFL (English as a foreign language) at its colleges.

Although Ramsgate has the most valuable fish landings in Kent (~£700,000 in 2003), the fishing industry is in decline.

Port of Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years. Previously Sally Ferries UK provided a service of passenger and car ferries to Dunkirk. Currently a service of freight and car is provided to Oostende by the company Transeuropa Ferries.

Unemployment for Thanet is higher (4.1%) than the national average (2.5%).

There is some light industry in the town. An emerging industry is power generation, with 800 jobs expected to be created by the Thanet offshore wind project, a wind farm just off the coast.

Ramsgate Market is held in High Street, King Street and Queen Street every Friday and Saturday between 8a.m. and 4p.m.

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