Here's a copy of the August newsletter sent to members.

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Ramsgate Society Talks Resume!

It is with great pleasure that I can report that we are restarting the Society talks programme by testing the water as our contribution to the Ramsgate Festival of Sound. We have one talk online and two back at the Royal Temple Yacht Club.

All three talks are described below, but first some general notes on how these will take place with specific reference to Covid precautions:

  • All three talks must be pre-booked. Those at the Yacht Club will have strictly limited capacity and the online one needs to be booked to receive the link to join the event.

  • We will lay out nearly double the number of chairs at the Yacht Club than the audience size so please leave gaps between yourself or your group and others. We will also have windows open.

  • Speakers at the Yacht Club will present twice so you have a choice of afternoon or early evening.

  • Face mask wearing will be recommended but not compulsory once you are seated

Terry Prue

Ramsgate Society Communications Lead

Jacqui Ansell on ‘Vincent in Ramsgate’

Online Talk via Zoom at 6pm on Tuesday August 31st

Jacqui is an accredited Arts Society lecturer who has devised and delivered countless courses, talks and events for the National Gallery and Wallace Collection. She has published on Heritage issues related to her specialisms of History of Dress, and History of Art and now writes and tutors online courses for Christie’s Education as well as working on completing her book ‘Vincent in Ramsgate’ with Graeme Campbell.

When Vincent Van Gogh arrived in Ramsgate in 1876 he was not yet a famous artist – indeed he was not yet any sort of artist. He was a failed art dealer, and failed suitor, who came here seeking a fresh start. He lodged in Spencer Square and taught maths and languages at a small school in Royal Road. His impressions of the school, the boys, and Ramsgate are relayed in letters home to his parents, and to his brother Theo. These letters form the core of a book ‘Vincent in Ramsgate’ that will focus on celebrating the rich history and architectural heritage of our beautiful town, as seen through the eyes of the young Dutch man. Jacqui’s talk will illuminate some of the stories unearthed, in the preparation of this book project that is to be richly-illustrated by local photographers and endorsed by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Pre-booking essential. Tickets £2 each. Book Here

Clive Aslet on ‘The Real Crown Jewels of England’

Live talk at the Royal Temple Yacht Club on Wednesday September 1st 3:30pm and 5:30 pm – Doors will open 30 minutes before start

Clive’s accomplishments include over 20 books on architecture and history, 13 years as editor and still as contributor to Country Life magazine and, since 2016, being President of the Ramsgate Society. Clive will bring copies of his book The Real Crown Jewels of England which was published by Little Brown in September 2020

Describing his new book, he references the shockwave that went around the world when the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris caught fire in 2019. It seemed that this apparently immutable monument could have been destroyed and provoked an outpouring of grief. This inspired the question: what are the things in England that would cause a similar reaction? “I thought of monuments like the Houses of Parliament – which is in a pretty parlous state of repair and could easily go up in flames if nothing is done to restore it. I thought too of glorious landscape, works of architecture, skill and craft, and the things we do particularly well – like St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London which is about to celebrate its 900th anniversary: the oldest hospital in Europe – and some places (like Hexham Abbey) that are less well known. I chose some entries because they are unique to this country (cathedral choirs, for example). We also have a particular way of seeing that gave rise to landscape parks, the Arts and Crafts Movement and allotments. My 100 entries became, during lockdown, a journey of the mind. I realised that, at a time of change and anxiety, the places of wonder, beauty and inspiration celebrated in this book have never been more important.”

Pre-booking essential. Tickets £3 each. Book Here

Julia Abel Smith on ‘Forbidden Wife – The life and Trials of Lady Augusta Murray’

Live talk at the Royal Temple Yacht Club on Thursday September 2nd 3:30pm and 5:30 pm – Doors will open 30 minutes before start

After graduating in History of Art from Cambridge University, Julia has worked for Art UK and The Landmark Trust. While researching the history of the trust's Pineapple folly in a walled garden in Scotland, she discovered Lady Augusta Murray and was captivated by her dramatic story. Her subsequent research in the Royal Archives and Dunmore family papers resulted in Forbidden Wife being published by The History Press in 2020.

She will be introducing her highly-readable biography of Lady Augusta Murray: a largely unknown story of a courageous and determined woman, set in the reigns of King George III and IV and whose family is commemorated in many sites across Ramsgate from Augusta Road and Steps to D’Este Road, Truro Road, Sussex Street and the now rather down-at-heel Mount Albion House in Victoria Road.

Lady Augusta's marriage to Prince Augustus Frederick in Rome on 4 April 1793 was not only concealed, it was also illegal. The Royal Marriage Act forbade such a union without the King's permission and Augusta's life was changed forever. From a beautiful socialite she became a social pariah; her children were declared illegitimate and her family was scorned.

Yet in 'dear Ramsgate' she found solace. At Mount Albion on the East Cliff she created a secluded Elysium and lived there with her daughter, Augusta, later Lady Truro, until her death in 1830 when she was buried in the Este Mausoleum at St Laurence’s Church.

Pre-booking essential. Tickets £3 each. Book Here

A Footnote on Ramsgate Weather following the July Newsletter!

When this newsletter is published four local gardeners invited by the National Garden Scheme to open for charity on the 8th, will probably have been cursing the latest summer storm, ironically named ‘Fleur’ due to arrive on the 5th, and predicted to still be causing rain on the following Sunday.


Why should we care? A study reported in the Mail and widely tweeted, reported that Thanet gets 724 hours of sun a year, Folkestone 713, Hastings 718, Dover 710, one hour more than the Isle of Wight and five more than Canterbury with 705. The Highlands with more dramatic scenery get more cloud and 382 hours sun.
Ramsgate used to maintain its own weather station but today we share the Manston/Met Office readings. Ramsgate’s weather can differ sharply from that on the north Kent coast and even that from of Deal to Dover. Everyone taking a recent morning swim has been able to watch squalls advance around South Foreland towards Sandwich and then move inland.
Before our climate changes totally, we ought to have an honest and accurate record of why our gardens are exceptional.

Brian Daubney

Ramsgate Matters Editor and Gardener

Contact the Ramsgate Society

If you have any queries about or for the Society please get in touch N.B. 2021 membership should now have been paid – if you have any membership queries also use this link to ask about it.

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