Terry Prue is a meticulous and much admired writer on Ramsgate and related topics.
Wellington Crescent where he and Janet have a property, was charted in detail through the Magazines of 2014. Next came the power politics of George IV and how the Royal Harbour was created. In the spring of 2015 he revealed how he tracked down evidence for what he titled ‘The elusive smugglers of Ramsgate.’ By relating the successes and failures of research, he transforms his article into a literary whodunit.
Direct first person accounts enliven official reports and figures but a shocking denouement explains that besides one relative who is commemorated in the Sailors’ church, another survived a revenue officer’s pick axe blow with a silver plate fitted to cover the hole in his fractured skull.
By contrast, in his most recent and personal recollection, Terry describes the reasons behind his fondness for West Cliff Band leader Freddy Hargraves, a successful broadcaster during the war who retired from performing in 1959.
In August 2015, Terry and Janet appeared together at the Ramsgate Arts Festival giving the very first performance in the newly restored assembly room of the Falstaff Hotel in Addington Street. Their subject was ‘How Napoleon helped Make Ramsgate Fashionable’. Along with contemporary prints and Royal salacious gossip they had discovered that London’s Evening Standard then devoted a whole page to announce the members of the Nobility and Gentry who would visit Ramsgate in a particular week.
When they dramatised the list in rapid counterpoint, they had the audience roaring for more. Their performance had to be repeated to accommodate the numbers who crowded in. The historic significance of a highly exclusive enclave on the West Cliff will require more extensive research but can only enhance the reputation and the appeal of Ramsgate.
A Festival smash hit by a dramatised history lecture had not been anticipated, but it typifies the appeal of a man who keeps himself amused while researching lengthy and often academic articles by devising “Who am I and what’s my connection with Ramsgate?” The ‘Who am I?’ series has been described as the Ramsgate equivalent of the front page cartoon in a national newspaper,
It is a light item, but a fixed and regular piece to enjoy. Terry has the genius to dig deep into our past and to make personal links that provoke and stimulate at many levels.
We look forward to 2016.