(Painting destroyed in Ramsgate Library fire showing harbour with Royal Standards flying)
The Spring Bicentennial issue of Ramsgate Matters admits we still know very little about the harbour, its origins, and what has been concealed.
The Harbour is unique in very many ways. Built over a Roman site, it had a pivotal position in maritime history for 1,500 years.
A landfall for saints and invaders, with trade links to London and the world, it was the first harbour of the industrial revolution, designed by the first civil engineer,
Giving shelter from the Goodwin Sands, the world’s worst most dangerous reef, this four-acre Georgian harbour with just two pincer piers, plus temple, obelisk, hospital, orphanage, lighthouses, (and now the nation’s largest pub) was built in a cleft in the longest run of white chalk cliffs and reefs in the country.
Over centuries its small ships resisted crusade, conquest, Armada and Dunkirk. Backed by a tiny town without major river, road, or transport links the unfolding story is remarkable and largely unrecognised. The future is even more important.
Ramsgate Matters Editor