For a town with a population of some forty thousand souls, 2015 produced exceptional television coverage for Ramsgate, reaching international and in some cases worldwide audiences. Programmes like the Hotel Inspector at Albion House filmed skies, harbour and architecture as well as interiors, to present an image of Ramsgate that could hardly be achieved in any other medium. The seals and wildlife of the nature reserve and town gardens were captured for Springwatch and other natural history programmes with detailed close up filming that attracts international sales. Once in a century a cactus soars through the roof of the Italianate Greenhouse and flowers gloriously before dying but it has never been so widely recorded before.
The arrival of EastEnders in Ramsgate must be an ultimate accolade for a huge audience but an event like the celebration of Dunkirk’ Small Boat Crossing had a world-wide appeal. An earthquake off the Harbour and another one, in election terms, were both unpredictable and if the presence of foreign film crews were an indication, overseas viewers stayed interested longer than many locals. This brief survey has explicitly not mentioned an airport or other resort that may also have had some coverage.
The Ramsgate Society’s 2010 Town Image award was presented to the Custom House in Harbour Parade, now an accessible home to Ramsgate Town Council, much-used café cum restaurant, central visitor information centre, Royal National Lifeboat Institute shop and quality craft shop. In short: A Success.
After years of neglect the original greenhouses, heated frames and gardener’s buildings within the walled garden of West Cliff House have been lost or destroyed. A small section of a south facing espalier wall that remains in the middle of the 0.2 acre plot is now preserved as a reminder of the garden’s heritage.
In 2011 a modern energy efficient single story eco-house was completed along the eastern wall incorporating the benefits of a living green roof, solar gain, high levels of insulation, MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) photovoltaic solar panels and rainwater harvesting.
Since then the land to the west and south of the three bedroomed dwelling is being designed and grown as a sustainable and edible forest garden using proven permaculture principles.
The resident owners of the walled garden are committed to ‘green’ ideals and have created a wildlife haven well in keeping with the original purpose of the land.