RAMSGATE Spring 2020
Modern-day Seaside Stories
GRANVILLE THEN, AND NOW?
Meet the guardians of Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour
A rummage inside Ramsgate’s celebrity haberdashery
Revealed: future plans for this historic hotel
Reflections on five years of The POW! Festival
FAITHLESS (DJ SET) FRI 27 MAR
IMPURITAS 2020 REUNION SAT 28 MAR
HYBRID MINDS FRI 24 APR
AMP ON SEA: ANNIE MAC PRESENTS SAT 16 MAY
THE SOUNDCRASH FUNK & SOUL WEEKENDER FRI 29 â€“ SUN 31 MAY
THE BEAT TUES 23 JUN
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Welcome to our spring issue! 5
Spring News and Openings - all that’s new and newsworthy in Ramsgate
Gemma’s Jaunts - in need of a spring clearout? Our columnist is on the case
Spring Hotlist - dates for the diary: where to go and what to do
New in town - a round up of all the new shops and eateries in town
10 Master of the harbour - what goes on just off our shores? The harbour masters reveal all 12 The grand old Granville - new plans afoot for the once-famous hotel 16 Music News - Ramsgate electro-acoustic duo Liotia introduce their music and DJ Hooch of RMH Soul Train fame presents his playlist 19 Tales on Moon Lane - inside the magical world of Ramsgate’s new children’s bookshop 20 Painting people - two Ramsgate-based artists on their passion for paint and portraits 23 Power to change - looking back on five years of POW! Festival as it gears up once more 26 Designs for living - “Calm, simple, timeless” interiors from designer Gabriel Holland 30 Sheer heaven - behind the doors of King Street’s famous haberdashery 32 Party of one - Flick the V at Valentine’s Day with our guide to solo dining in Ramsgate 34 Calling all Thanetians - introducing our new Ramsgate people photo feature 37 Bird Watch - it isn’t spring without the cuckoo! 38 Unsung heroes - Suzy Humphries on how she nourished Ramsgate’s arts scene
From the Editor Lila Allen
pring is in the air. At least it is here within the pages of the Ramsgate Recorder. From Gemma’s Jaunts, through Ramsgate charity shops helping you get in the clearing-out spirit, to our new feature with bird expert Keith Ross, wonderfully illustrated by Molly Pickle, there’s definitely something within these pages to put a spring in your step. With this our sixth issue propelling us not just into a new year, but a new decade, we’ve introduced a few more regular features that you can rely on us returning to. Our cover story takes us to meet Ramsgate’s harbour masters. This is the start of our forays into the world at sea, and every issue we will be bringing you stories from the deep, starting here with the guardians of the gate to it: Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour. We’re then off exploring the town, taking you inside the colourful world of Ramsgate’s Haberdashery Shop, which has clothed an impressive cast of customers, proving that all roads can lead to Ramsgate. It’s a peep inside just one of the independent businesses that adorn our town. This too will be a regular item. There’s a journey into the past, but with the promise of a very modern makeover, as new plans for the Granville, once a luxury hotel drawing the great and the good from across Europe to these shores, are revealed. With history such a part of Ramsgate’s fabric, you can be sure we will be regularly going back in time to uncover a story from the rich tapestry of the town’s past. There’s still as always plenty of music and art showcasing some of Ramsgate’s rich talent, not least with POW!, launching the festival this year here in Ramsgate. And we meet an interior designer whose work might just inspire you to spruce up your home. It is spring after all.
Issue six, spring 2020 (February to April)
Published by Ramsgate Recorder Ltd.
© All rights reserved Copyright 2020 Ramsgate Recorder Ltd.
Editor Lila Allen Founder & Publisher Clare Freeman Co-Founder and Advertising Director Jen Brammer Design Lizzy Tweedale Sub-editor Ros Anderson Social media Kate Walters Print Mortons Print Advertising and distribution enquiries email@example.com
Front cover Robert Brown by Storme Sabine
Writers Ros Anderson Gemma Dempsey Sean Farrell Georgie Hurst Laura Nickoll Russ Puller Keith Ross Twinkle Troughton Lynne Wallis
Photographers James Draven Sarah Fennell Eleanor Marriott Storme Sabine
30 - 31
12 - 15
Illustrators Emma Falconer Molly Pickle Jade Spranklen
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Spring News and Openings Writer
hether you’ve had a restful or busy festive season, settle into the new year by checking out some of the latest additions to our flourishing town. Experts in mid-century Danish furniture and decorative items, Simply Danish have relocated from Margate to Ramsgate’s High Street selling Holmegaard glass, silver jewellery design by NE From and furniture in teak, rosewood and leather (simplydanish.co.uk). Over on Queen Street, become acquainted with the town’s latest vintage shop, Stories & The Past, run by Stacey who also sells on Etsy at StaceyDoesVintage. If you’re looking for a more thorough barber experience, you can now head to Kings on Queen Street, who offer options of hot wax and facial treatments. Ramsgate’s newest local The Bedford Inn has begun offering stone-baked Napoli pizzas, with the dough prepared by George of The Modern Boulangerie fame (thebedfordinn.co.uk/). A new Greek takeaway restaurant in town, Papa George on York Street, is bringing the delicious Greek delicacy
Writer Gemma Dempsey
Illustration Jade Spranklen
A dose of Ramsgate life from a lady about town
urrah! Spring has sprung, heralding new opportunities and the chance to finally do things that you’d tucked away all winter. With the increase in sunlight, it dawns on me that I have a problem. I hesitate to say I’m an addict, but it’s pretty serious. I am unable to pass a charity shop without going in and buying something I don’t
souvlaki to Ramsgate (papageorgetakeaway.co.uk). Meanwhile Petticoat Lane Emporium now boasts the quirkiest place to have tea and cake or alcoholic beverages in Ramsgate, Sherlock’s Snug, as well as a new earth mural painted outside by Margate artist David Shillinglaw (petticoatlaneemporium. com). If you are looking to indulge this Valentine’s, Ramsgate’s favourite small plate eatery Arya will be offering a six-course-set menu for the weekend booking is required (aryaramsgate.co.uk). Ramsgate will also see a new Crisis Café opening in March, which comes after renewed calls for improvements to local mental health services, following the tragic deaths of three Thanet men who had been unable to access help. Ramsgate students have been busy creating an ode to 19thcentury architect and Ramsgate resident Augustus Pugin. It takes the form of 800 porcelain tiles that will be installed at the town’s Kent Steps this spring. Students at Royal
need. Do I have money to waste? Absolutely not! Do I convince myself that each purchase is worth it because “it’s for charity”? Absolutely yes! Living in Ramsgate, we’re blessed with an excellent array of charity establishments Pilgrims Hospices, TAG, Cancer Research UK, British Red Cross, Cats in Crisis, to name a few. So my constant craving is easily satisfied. Items I’ve bought over the years include: a moulin à légumes - lovely to look at but never managed to sieve so much as a tomato let alone a legume; a hand-cranked Singer sewing machine - doesn’t work but at least All Saints didn’t get their sticky mitts on it; a wicker carpet beater – alas it gathers the dust it was born to dispel, but no matter, it’s worth £14.99 according to eBay. Various clothes that don’t fit but are “easy to adjust” are left in my sewing heap, forever, along with all those socks I’m intending to darn. I recently bought gold Puma trainers (without laces) and a vintage Austrian fedorastyle hat which has to be worn at a downward angle to avoid it being blown off. This results in friends thinking I’m ignoring them (since I don’t recognise them by their shoes) or me walking into lampposts. Fashion really can be a pain in the neck! What I needed was a hat pin, so off I went to the wonderful haberdashery shop on Queen Street and got a lovely sparkly one. The only trick is how to apply it without stabbing my head? Along with things I don’t need, I’ve found some lovely useful items, but OMG I’ve just got too much stuff! I’m useless at decluttering due to the influence of my mother and grandmother. They came from the “make or make do” war generation, saving anything that could be reused: twine, tinfoil, gift paper and clothing. It’s a worthy and pragmatic ethos and, over the
Harbour Academy and Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School took part in the year long project In Step with Pugin, and their work will become part of the Pugin Trail run by The Pugin Society. For any young and budding actors or directors, Kent Film Club has recently launched a new free Youth Theatre based in Ramsgate for those aged 13-19, to go along with a programme that includes a stop-frame lego animation group for 5-11-year-olds, and an animation club for 11-16-year-olds (kentfilmfoundation.co.uk/). For even smaller humans, Lilliput Road has opened its doors. It’s a new role play centre where children can become anything from a pirate to a doctor. Designed by Early Years Professionals for little ones aged from six months to five years old, the family-run centre includes eleven different role-play environments where children can use their imaginations (facebook.com/LilliputRoad/). POW! Thanet will also be running their programme of events across Thanet for the fifth year running this March, to coincide with International Women’s Day. The festival profiles the work of local female artists, celebrating and exploring issues around feminism, women and girls (powthanet.com).
past five years or so, “making do” and “upcycling” have become very trendy. Lots of brownie points to be earned if you can show that your purchases didn’t add to your carbon footprint. But back to me and my clutter. Action needs to be taken and what better time of year than spring, and with it
“‘Making do’ and ‘upcycling’ have become very trendy. Lots of brownie points to be earned if you can show that your purchases didn’t add to your carbon footprint” a chance to summon the beautiful decluttering angel that is Marie Kondo. Watching the way she folds items to save space is a thing of beauty to behold, and her tips on how to ditch stuff are compassionate and cathartic. Time to say “thank you” to the clothes you’ve not worn for years and release them back to the charity shops of Ramsgate! Ah, I feel better already just for having written that down. Now time to spring into action!
Spring Hotlist FEB Emotional Freedom An introduction to Emotional Freedom Technique, sometimes described as psychological acupuncture, ending with deep listening and a cleansing sound bath
Petticoat Lane Emporium Vintage Fair To celebrate its fifth anniversary, a one-dayonly Vintage Fair with additional stalls, vintage cars, licensed bar and live music from Metro Vipers 15 February, all day
Quiz Night The Falstaff hosts a quiz with complementary food and prizes 4 February, 7.30 to 10.30pm The Falstaff, Addington Street facebook.com/thefalstaff
Giant Drag Indie rock hero Annie Hardy brings her resurrection tour to the Music Hall 6 February, 7.30-11pm Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street ramsgatemusichall.com
Comedy Club Ramsgate Comedy Club returns with four incredible acts that rarely perform in Thanet let alone at school. Tickets £10 7 February, 7pm Ramsgate Arts Primary School facebook.com/ afterschoolcomedy
BRU-C live at ROKKA A night of bassline and drum n bass featuring the man of the moment in the UK bass scene BRU-C 7 February, 9pm-3am ROKKA Ramsgate, Harbour Parade rokka.com/rmenu
Ladies Night Choose an item to paint, have a chat and enjoy some creative relaxation. You don’t have to be an artist to create a lovely piece to keep 14 February, 7-9pm Calli’s Corner, Grange Road paintyourownceramics.co.uk
Join Grosvenor Casino Thanet to raise money for Martha Trust. Book your team of four by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets £10 per person include a buffet 28 February, 8-11pm
Dumpton Park Drive
Grosvenor Casinos, Margate Road
2 February, 1.30-5.30pm The Goddess Rooms
Ramsgate Soul Train After a hugely successful opening night, the Ramsgate Soul Train returns. Get ready to get down to all the best funk, soul, rare groove, disco, boogie and northern soul on a stupendous sound system with DJ Hooch
MAR Blitz Walk Visit the places and hear the stories of the front line of Britain’s heaviest bombed seaside town. Walks are free, donations welcome, no booking required. Dog and children-friendly
Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street
Moon Lane HalfTerm Children’s Festival
Wink The Other Eye - Cabaret for POW! Festival
Ramsgate’s new bookshop is planning a feast of free activities to keep your children busy, including magicians, kids’ tea parties, art & craft workshops and lots of stories. See page 19 for fuller listings
After taking the last two festivals by storm, POW! welcomes back Ramsgate’s radical cabaret producers Screaming Alley for the performance extravaganza, Wink the Other Eye feminist cabaret at its best
17- 24 February
6 March, 8-11pm
Moon Lane Books and Toys, Addington Street
Red Arrows Sports and Social Club
Pie Factory Margate piefactorymargate.co.uk
Positive Birth Movement Expecting a baby? Join this free group which focuses on the positives of childbirth. Hosted by Sophie Burch, aka The Mamma Coach who also teaches hypnobirthing 27 February, and the last Thursday of every month Vale Road facebook.com/groups/ positivebirthmovementthanet
Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street ramsgatemusichall.com
01 March, 10am-12pm
Phantasy Sound labelboss Erol Alkan joins The Dance for their first All Night Long session of 2020. The DJ, label owner, producer, club night promoter, radio host and remixer is known as one of the best in the business 13 March, 9.30pm-2am
15 February, 9pm-2am
An eye popping art show starring Ramsgate and Margate artists: Ben Sanders, Chris F Clark, Doris A Day, Fiona Stewart, Janet Brown, Julia Rogers and Matt Odell
The Dance with Erol Alkan All Night Long
A special homecoming show! With post-metal, pop sludgers OHHMS played their first ever show at Ramsgate Music Hall. Marking the end of their “Exist” tour 8 March, 7.30-11.30pm Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street ramsgatemusichall.com
Rosalie Cunningham Spring Tour Rosalie Cunningham (mastermind behind psychedelic prog band Purson) released her debut solo album in 2019 to overwhelming acclaim
Amphibian Ecology and Survey Techniques Run in partnership with Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group (KRAG), this is an open course which gives participants the opportunity to learn about native amphibians and how to survey for them 14 March, 2-8pm Monkton Nature Reserve, Canterbury Road monkton-reserve.org
Jenny Dawes on Interconnectedness Ramsgate Society hosts a public talk on voluntary and community organisations working together 19 March, 7.30 - 8.30pm Royal Temple Yacht Club ramsgate-society.org.uk
Quartet Ramsgate artist Margot Bandola exhibits her work alongside artists Graham Ward, Jo Archer and Jennie Sharman-Cox 20-24 March, 11am-5pm Pie Factory Gallery, Margate
Las Kellies Argentinian girl group Las Kellies return with a brand new album: Suck This Tangerine full of their libidinous mix of garage, punk and dub 27 March, 7.30pm-midnight Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street ramsgatemusichall.com
Compiled & written by
Writer’s Gremlins Are you a writer who sometimes gets stuck? Writers’ Gremlins is a new monthly meet-up for those looking for a fun and social solution 4 April, 3-5.30pm Townley’s, Albion House thanetwriters.com
Bollywood Comes to Ramsgate Cllr. Raushan Ara, Mayor of Ramsgate, hosts a fundraiser for the Winter Shelter, East Kent Mencap, RNLI, and Street Trees for Ramsgate. Expect traditional Bangladeshi and Indian live music, and classical and contemporary dance. £15 a ticket 27 March, 7pm Oddfellows Hall, High Street Call Raushan on 07528804959
Ramsgate Soul by the Sea Soul Train Sounds is coming to the seaside for their regular soul night. A night of the finest funk, soul and disco classics from the 70s and 80s all played on original vinyl 28 March, 8pm- midnight Oak Hotel, Harbour Parade facebook.com/ soultrainsounds
Mrs Brown’s Boys Comedy Dinner Show
Craft Club Do you want to learn new skills and crafts? Activities include paper quilling, card-making, painting, knitting, decoupage and more. Free event, no booking required. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided 10 April, 10am-1pm Thanet Trust, Hereson Family & Community Centre facebook.com/thanettrust
Anna Von Hausswolff’s BADA BADA is a new droneinspired project conceived by the wonderful Anna Von Hausswolff, one of the greatest gothic artists. She combines pipe organ dissonances, tribal rhythms with obscure sliding guitars and deep distorted bass 19 April, 7.30-midnight Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street ramsgatemusichall.com
Join Mrs B and her clan as they attempt to enjoy a civilised family meal in the same restaurant that you are eating in
Learn about Ramsgate’s history with Ralph Hoult OBE at one of a range of talks he is hosting on genealogy, palaeography and much more. Free to attend no booking is required
28 March, 7.30pm
24 April, 2-4pm
Comfort Inn, Victoria Parade
Thanet Trust, Hereson Family & Community Centre
Women in Photography
Show Me the Body
An exhibition profiling photographic works by women at this Ramsgate gallery and gift shop
Rising London alt-rockers Junodream are ones to watch with champions of the band including Radio 1’s Phil Taggart
Ferocious banjo-backed punk ragers Show Me The Body will be delivering an explosive performance to the Ramsgate faithful
12 March, 8-11pm
26 March - 8 April
3 April, 7-11pm
30 April, 7.30pm-midnight
Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street
McGillan and Woodell, 43 Queen’s Street
Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street
Ramsgate Music Hall, Turner Street
22-25 May 2020
Mod & Sixties Festival *Daytime @ Market Place, CT9 1EN*
FRI NIGHT 22 MAY LIVE MUSIC 7.30pm-3am
SAT: DAY 23 MAY
NU DJ PARTY
VINTAGE MARKET & OPEN DECKS
SAT NIGHT 23 MAY
THE JACK CADES
LIVE MUSIC 8.30pm-4am
SHA LA LAS
SUN: DAY 24 MAY
SUN NIGHT 24 MAY LIVE MUSIC 8pm-3am
NU DJ’s & GUESTS & MOUSETRAP PSYCH Allnighter in STUDIO ONE
SCOOTER CRUISE & COMP, MARKET DJ PARTY
NU DJ PARTY
2 rooms of Mod & 60’s sounds @ STUDIO ONE NUTs DJs: Lee Miller, Rob Bailey & Gary Milan + guests: Tony Jackson, Ben Olins,
Charles Whitehouse, Alex Sissons, Dave & Lee Grimshaw, Jack Gadsden, Cookin Catfish Club DJ’s, Dickie Lewellyn, Vinny Baker, Gareth Hedderley, Penny Sanford & Stella Young. Tickets, Program & Contact: www.gbmusicculture.co.uk
Award-winning independent we only want you for your body www.anatomicals.net
no matter how long you’ve been on the throne, use this. one’s favourite hand wash, whether it’s a number one or a number two
children’s book and toy shop is now open in Ramsgate Open: Fridays 10 - 5 Saturdays 10 - 5 Sundays 11 - 4
43-45 Addington Street Ramsgate, Kent CT11 9JJ www.moonlaneramsgate.com FREE storytime for 0-5s on Fridays at 10am . FREE half term events programmes
Dedicated to raising equality in children’s books; equality of access, representation and roles in the publishing industry.
2a Addington Street, Ramsgate. By non-royal appointment to view and buy, email email@example.com
HOMEWARES, CERAMICS, TEXTILES AND PLANT SHOP
72 High Street, Ramsgate CT11 9RS 01843 591 800 www.pottersramsgate.com
New in town STORIES & THE PAST Here is a vintage shop specialising in women’s accessories. With a hat wall display and treasure trove of vintage and costume jewellery, alongside pieces by local artists including prints and hand-painted bags and upcycled jumpers turned into fabulous scarves, there’s something for everyone. Owner Stacey, originally hails from Australia, and has a passion for vintage which all started in her early teens when a neighbour in Queensland started bringing over antiques from England. Years later, Stacey has finally opened the shop she’s always wanted. A large table sits in the middle, around which workshops will be held including tips on how to open and build an Etsy shop, calligraphy and seasonal arts and crafts. Tea and coffee will be available for £1 to give you time to browse the extensive collection, and if there’s something particular you’re looking for Stacey can use her extensive knowledge to source it. 84 Queen Street Thursday to Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday 12-4pm, extended hours in the summer
LILLIPUT ROAD This one is for the little people, those aged 6 months to 5, a new family-run small world play centre to encourage imagination and role play. Lilliput Road is the first of its kind in Thanet and has been designed by Early Years Professionals. Situated in a former nursery, the ground floor boasts a play area for the very little ones, thoughtfully kitted out with a café for the grown-ups accompanying them, whereas downstairs is a whole world of adventure, ripe for exploring. Here cubicles are kitted out for the imagination to go wild, whether it’s in the pirate play gym, gnomes’ home, supermarket, builders yard, café, medical centre, theatre, police station, or play school. A garden play area will be opening soon. 8 Richmond Road Sessions last 1.5 hours and run daily 9.30-11am, 11.30am-1pm, 1.30-3pm, 3.30-5pm
SIMPLY DANISH Relocating from Margate, Simply Danish is run by Flemming, a Dane with a strong passion for mid-century design. Offering pieces from the mid to high-end range, and also source-specific items on request, whether that would be an Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen or a glass vase by Per Lütken, help is on hand. Expect classic items including teak, oak and rosewood sofas, chairs and tables, with fabric or leather upholstery. Vintage lighting and lamps illuminate the colourful decorative items on display, all of which Flemming sources in Denmark on his monthly travels. Eveything is between 50 and 70 years old, and the hope is it will still be in use in 50 years’ time. Flemming prefers to keep everything as original as possible, but when items need more attention, local professionals assist in polishing and restoring the wood and upholstery. It’s something of a homecoming for Flemming to open in Ramsgate and he hopes Simply Danish will be here for many years to come. 68 High Street
PAPPA GEORGE “It’s the friendliest place in Ramsgate,” claims owner George, the man behind the name and the counter of Ramsgate’s newest restaurant-come-takeaway. Offering Mediterranean dishes, freshly handmade every day by husband and wife team George and Maka, this they say is an authentic Greek kitchen. Before moving to Ramsgate, the couple ran restaurants in Athens, and George has been working as a chef for over 50 years, a career that has taken him to Florida, Chicago, Greece and now Ramsgate. With souvlaki, spinach and cheese pie, lahnajou’n, (a pitta bread with Greek smoked sausage), and daily specials just some of the items on the menu, it’s a warm welcome that greets you. Pappa George will also be delivering through Just Eat. York Street Monday to Saturday 11am-9pm
NEW BAR AT PETTICOAT LANE EMPORIUM With around 200 independent traders, the Emporium is a veritable treasure chest of vintage and retro goodies. Since December the side roller shutter has been home to a mural by Margate artist David Shillinglaw. With the words “Only Planet”, it’s a reminder of why buying preloved can be a better choice in our consumer society. The onsite café Baker Street has been refurbished and is now operating as a licensed bar. Complete with a new seating area Sherlock’s Snug (also available for function hire) the updated look is a slice of cosy with dark walls, warm lamp lighting, leather armchairs and sofas, kooky decorations and gilt-framed mirrors and paintings. The menu now includes gourmet burgers and more vegetarian/vegan options. There are whispers of late-night openings, potentially for ticketed shopping events or private functions. Let them know if that’s of interest. The Emporium is celebrating its fifth anniversary on 15 February with a one-day-only Vintage Fair. 47 Dumpton Park Drive Monday - Saturday, 10am-5pm, Sunday, 10am-4pm
Masters of the harbour Writer
Photographer Storme Sabine
It is the centrepiece of the town: as the weather warms up the perfect spot for lunch or drinks in the sun; in winter twinkling with Christmas lights and the backdrop to fireworks ringing in the new year. But Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour is also a busy working waterway. So just what does go on here? We meet the harbour master to find out about the world he surveys
e are standing looking out across Ramsgate harbour, masts swaying against the grey sky, but even in this weather the water looks blue, calm, the boats gently bobbing and clinking in the wind. As harbour master Robert Brown and assistant harbour master Simon Bown survey the scene, all is well. “We dye the water blue,” they joke. But everything else we are looking at really is their responsibility. Even the naturally occurring sediment, which gives the water its turquoise hue, needs surveying every three months, which then informs the need for dredging. As Robert explains, these waters are “like an unpredictable partner, you never know what might happen next”. His relationship with the harbour stretches back his whole life. Robert was born in Margate and schooled in Ramsgate, before setting off on a career spanning aviation, engineering and the merchant navy, returning to the area to work as flight crew on hovercrafts. Ten years ago he became Ramsgate’s
harbour master. On the day the Ramsgate Recorder visits Robert had been woken by a call from a private boat owner to report the electricity had gone out. On Christmas Day a small boat sank, thankfully empty, and had to be reclaimed from the water. Every month the waters have to be cleared of invasive Pacific oysters. (They are edible, we’re told, but need thorough cleaning as they can carry the herpes virus.) The variety is what he loves most about the job, and there is such a variety here. The dockmasters, of whom there are five, Robert at their helm, look after the Royal Harbour, and also the neighbouring port, both owned and operated by the council. Margate and Broadstairs harbours are also managed from these offices, tucked away in the historic Home for Smack Boys. The smooth running of the busy waters is what the harbour masters are here to ensure, so just what’s going on can often go unnoticed. Today a large barge is being brought into the harbour to be taken up the slipway where it will be
A birds’ eye view of the harbour and port
Parts of a wind turbine to be taken to Thanet Offshore Wind Farm worked on. In the port, a huge pile of sand stands waiting to be collected for use in the construction industry. Ramsgate has protected status as a mineral wharf, and is one of the places in the UK where sand and gravel is landed. Every month a 100-metre vessel arrives carrying 4,000 tonnes of sand which self-discharges in around two hours. It’s one of the harbour master’s jobs to bring large vessels like this safely in, to pilot them, and a sharp eye is kept on the weather, the winds, the swell, and tidal flow. Robert’s local knowledge is relied upon by visiting captains. Just beyond the harbour wall are the infamous Goodwin Sands that have cost many experienced seafarers their lives. The harbour master will often go out to meet vessels at sea, clambering up a rope ladder, sometimes nine metres high, to meet the captain on the bridge (the platform from which a boat is commanded) to help deliver a safe passage into or out of Ramsgate. It is a beautiful view of the town that greets you from the sea, a view enjoyed by the 30 people who live on the boats they keep here. With three marinas dedicated to leisure use, Ramsgate offers 650 berths. The water brings some 5,000 to 10,000 visiting boats to Ramsgate every year, mostly from Holland,
Belgium, Germany and the rest of the UK. But there are also commercial boats here. Six pilot cutters, bright orange against the grey sky, are based here, delivering and collecting pilots to and from ships using Ramsgate harbour and the Thames Estuary to reach London or Sheerness. Three hundred and twenty wind turbines are serviced from Ramsgate, with their operation and maintenance boats stationed in the harbour. Sixteen fishing vessels set out from Ramsgate every day. Eleven charter boats offer seal-watching, angling and trips to the wind farms. UK Border Force have a base here. Over at the port a regular car shipment arrives, the largest unloading 1,060 vehicles. Controversially, live animal exports take place from here, something Robert is keen to stress the port is legally obliged to accommodate. Last year, seven huge transformers weighing 350 tonnes each came in via Ramsgate for use in Project Nemo, the national grid’s submarine power cable between Kent and Belgium. For the first time Ramsgate was also host to a cruise ship, Silversea’s Silver Cloud, with 250 passengers arriving by sea.
But Ramsgate has seen busier times. The port was developed from the late 1970s to the early 1990s to operate scheduled ferries. Up to five million passengers a year made the crossing for duty-free shopping, but when that ended in the mid 1990s, so too did the “booze cruise”; the service became less viable, finally ending in 2013. The world’s first commercial hovercraft service ran from Ramsgate, before moving to Pegwell Bay, where that also closed. These waters have seen high speed catamarans and a Boeing jetfoil running services to Ostend. Proximity to the continent has seen Ramsgate play a pivotal role in the Napoleonic wars and the Dunkirk evacuation. Now a feasibility study is due to report back to Thanet District Council about the future of the port. There has been plenty of speculation about Ramsgate’s post-Brexit future, dividing opinion just like the referendum that got us here. But today the waters are still, and Robert says it’s pride he feels as custodian of the only Royal Harbour in the country. It is “truly a unique asset”, he says, and one that shapes the town as its backdrop. But as harbour master he knows that “it’s the sea that’s boss”.
The grand old Granville
It’s been the ambition of great men, the ruin of wealthy men; it’s survived bankruptcy, bombings and numerous owners. The history of the Granville is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, but a community project could see a long abandoned section get a new lease of life, bringing the 19th century building right up to date
I Postcard circa 1915
Banqueting suite, London Illustrated News, 1879
t stands on the East Cliff, a mixture of private flats and long abandoned cavernous rooms where once writers, royals, the rich and the famous came to holiday. The Granville opened in 1869 with an inaugural ball the likes of which Thanet had never seen. Today the same ballroom stands derelict, and is one of the spaces earmarked for an ambitious new project that could see parts of the Granville Hotel restored and brought back into community use, to host exhibitions, performances, events and conferences. If all goes to plan, the bar, which is rumoured to have in the past propped up celebrities including Noel Coward and Ian Fleming, and certainly Oscar Wilde, could once again be welcoming visitors with food and drink, and the kitchens reopened to cater for large events including weddings. On the lower ground floor, plans for forgotten interlinked rooms and chambers include turning them into creative studios offering
affordable workspaces and workshops, something Heritage Lab, a new community-interest company behind the project, says Ramsgate is lacking. It sees Ramsgate’s rich architectural history as the key to unlocking regeneration in the area. With over 450 listed buildings, Ramsgate has been designated the UK’s first Heritage Action Zone and the group have set their sights on the Granville. The history of the Granville is itself a marvel of creative ambition. It was a unique venture by architect Edward Welby Pugin, whose mainstay was designing and completing over 100 Catholic churches. Edward was the son of architect Augustus Pugin, famed nationally for his role in the Gothic Revival style of the 19th century, and his work on the Palace of Westminster, but more locally for their family home, the Grange, and St Augustin’s Church, which stand on the West Cliff. The Granville bookends the Pugin family stamp on the town, standing as it does on the town’s East Cliff.
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Ramsgate gets more creative — Ramsgate’s creative sector is booming, with investment, business networks and suitable premises for workspace vital to help it grow further. Research has found that Ramsgate’s cultural sector is now three times larger that it was ten years ago, largely thanks to an influx of new and mostly small businesses. The research is the result of an online public survey conducted by Heritage Lab CIC and Canterbury Christ Church University, to which 228 people responded. It has helped map creative businesses in the area and found the majority of people who took part are in music, performing and visual arts, followed by film, radio and television, and finally crafts, publishing, advertising, marketing and design. It comes in the wake of investment in the area as part of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor (TEPC). Launched in 2017, TEPC has identified the Thames Estuary region, stretching from London to the coasts of Essex and Kent, as an area to be transformed into a global powerhouse for cultural and creative production, creating an estimated 50,000-plus jobs. £4.3m was awarded to Kent in January 2019 by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport to help kickstart this vision. Funded by Locate in Kent and The Arts Council, the research suggests Ramsgate could have a role to play in this bigger picture. Professor Mike Weed of Canterbury Christ Church University says: “It shows a thriving and growing sector that has benefited from the migration of businesses from London, but is also in need of suitable premises locally, business support and investment to expand further.” Rob Kenyon, CEO and founder of Heritage Lab CIC, says: “It highlights the potential for Ramsgate’s amazing heritage buildings to help fulfill the need for suitable business premises. Heritage Lab will use the report to help identify sites to regenerate into curiously creative spaces.”
In 1863, this was an area ripe for development when Ramsgate station arrived on the sea front. Pugin designed a row of eight terraced houses in the gothic style, each with a private entrance. Guests had use of a reading, smoking, billiard and ladies’ drawing room, along with a top-ofthe-range spa, including Turkish, hydropathic, ozone, and hot and cold seawater baths. A feat of engineering, the baths made the Granville famous, and the hotel became a UK landmark. The luxurious finish - details include an enormous red marble-base-pillared fireplace dominating the ballroom, complete with a New Zealand satinwood sprung floor; a billiard room with decorated black and gold ceiling panels, satin-wood walls and velvet and gold upholstery; encaustic tiles paved the entrance hall from which a marble staircase led upstairs - and the scale of the project, with its unrivalled spa and designs for new roads and gardens, ended in Pugin’s bankruptcy. His last addition was the Great North East Tower, still visible across the town today, where salt and freshwater tanks were stored. Lit up at night, the tower could be seen from Ostend, Dunkirk, and Calais. Two years later, Pugin died. It was 1875 and he was just 41. The next owner was Edmund Francis Davis, a rich solicitor from Broadstairs. He completed many of Pugin’s designs, developing and opening Victoria Gardens, a treelined promenade along the clifftop, controversially erecting a kiosk to charge an entrance fee, which today sells ice creams in the summer. He
completed the zigzag road linking the hotel to the beach below, a project that had seen several mishaps and serious accidents. Opened in 1878, “Granville Marina” offered a row of shops and restaurants. At its entrance stood the Establishment, where concerts were held. Davis also introduced the Granville Express, a bespoke train service direct from London. But other business interests saw Davis run into financial difficulties. In 1887 he too filed for bankruptcy, having fled to Chicago the year before where he eventually died. Two years later the hotel was bought by hoteliers Spiers & Pond, who renovated and added balconies and a veranda which stretched the length of the building. The hotel boasted 300 rooms, accommodating 250 guests. The Granville was back in business until war broke out. In 1915 it was taken over by the War Office and converted into a hospital for Canadian wounded. For over two years injuries, shell shock and nerve disease were treated here, but after enemy bombs killed two and injured 17 the hospital moved to Derbyshire. The years between the wars saw the Granville once more refurbished and returned to luxury, but in 1940 it closed its doors for ever. After the war it was sold at a loss having sustained bomb damage to one corner. The following years until 1991 saw the building converted into luxury flats with a bar, and a basement jazz club in the 1950s. Over the years the Granville continued to change owners with various designs on the building.
From casino to disco, none of these materialised and the building fell into disrepair, with whole areas, including the baths, demolished. In the 1990s the bomb-damaged corner was finally rebuilt as Granville Court, earning the building a Grade II listing. But from its glamorous past, it has sunk into obscurity, and now sits in an area ranked in the five per cent of most deprived wards in England. The new proposals could see whole sections of the building, unseen by the public for decades, brought back into use. Heritage Lab has secured a legal agreement with the owner to buy the 999-year leasehold to the seafront Granville Bars. The company has until November 2020 to raise £485,000 through a combination of grants and crowdfunding. Then work would start on what Heritage Lab have described as “a thriving creative hub and world class events space”, open for business from next year, and fully completed by 2025. Rob Kenyon, CEO of Heritage Lab CIC, urges people to back the project. “This really will happen, providing that we raise the £485,000. We have a cast-iron legal agreement in place. If the community wants to support this, it definitely will take place.” For more information about the project and to get involved visit heritagelab.org.uk For a more detailed history of the Granville see The Story of the Granville Hotel Ramsgate by Benedict Kelly available at Michaels Bookshop, 72 King Street
ramsgate recorder Get Involved — ATTEND Heritage Lab and Canterbury Christ Church University are hosting a networking event on 5 February, to launch their economic analysis on the impact of the creative sector on Ramsgate. Hear about Arts Council England’s 2020-30 strategy and the work of Creative Estuary, and get business advice from Locate in Kent. Register online at curiouslycreative.eventbrite.com JOIN Become a member of Heritage Lab. It’s free and you will be kept up to date on the Pugin Chambers project and other news. Help is needed with communications, design, social media, film work, flyering, fundraising, history, genealogy and administration. DONATE Heritage Lab’s Pugin Chambers has been chosen by Crowdfunder as one of their Big Impact projects for 2020. Sign up to be the first to hear about the launch in April heritagelab.org.uk/join
09 - 05 - 20
Tickets £12 adv + bf
olbyssoulcafe.co.uk 01843 448595
Image by Helga Dorothea
Emma Falconer Who are Liotia and how would you describe your music? We are an electro-acoustic duo of singer/songwriter Abigail Hubbard and producer/engineer Matt Smyth, collectively known as Liotia (pronounced Ly–Oh–Sha). We combine Abigail’s haunting vocals, guitar, keyboards and song-writing with Matt’s soundscapes, synthesisers and drum machines. We are mostly electronic but often incorporate cello and brass using some of the brilliant musicians in town. We like to add some dubby elements and even lean towards prog, using mellotrons and synths, but our music isn’t as complicated.
What’s the story behind the name? The first recording we did together was Abi’s solo EP, but when this developed into more of a band we started searching for names. The trouble with band names is that so many cool ones are already taken, but Abi found the word liotia, which is a type of small sea snail. The only other
Liotia online is a Russian woman who isn’t a musician. We both grew up by the seaside, in Whitstable, so the name works on that level and the word just has a nice sound to it.
Can you tell us about your musical journeys and how you came together? Matt: I first met Abi at Pie Factory Music (Ramsgate-based charity) where she was on an internship. I was studio manager. I didn’t know much about her music but a colleague, Robin File, said check it out. She had a cassette demo. I dug the songs and the writing style. I produced her debut EP and we progressed from there. We started gigging as a band with Joel Healy, Stefan White and latterly Skip McDonald, which was a real honour for us. Then things happened in life and Abi really wanted to travel, so the project was on ice for three years. However, she returned with new songs and got back to work. As time progressed the music gained an identity. We produce a lot quicker now and with just two of us things are easy to organise.
Which bands or musicians have most influenced your sound?
Our influences are quite diverse. The whole trip hop sound definitely influenced us and we both love Portishead, but we’re certainly not copying the vibe. We’ve gone off on our own Kentish way. Aphex Twin, Nils Frahm, Public Enemy, Four Tet, Can, Low, Wu Tang Clan - we’ve been creating playlists on Spotify and that’s really the best way to describe what we like. There’s soul, reggae, hip hop, country, indie, electronica. So much stuff. Search Liotia on Spotify and you’ll find our playlists there.
How would you describe the music scene in Ramsgate? The music scene in Ramsgate and Thanet is incredible, pretty mindblowing really. First and foremost, big up Skip McDonald and Adrian Sherwood. The two have made so many wicked records it’s insane. Both worthy of whole books written about them. They have provided so much love and support. Skip’s such a beautiful musician, he can play something so simple but yet so right for the song, and Adrian’s mixing skills are legendary. He’s a really positive force for us. There’s just so many people here! Jo Wallace’s Ramrock Records
releases our music with wicked remixes from her partner and DJ/ Producer Ashley Beedle. Both live down the road. Then there’s Congo Natty, Adamski, Ghetto Priest, Taz, Graham Warnock, Ivan Hussey, The Ramsgate Music Hall, Big Jelly Studios, Pie Factory Music, Lanta. I could go on... World class musicians right on the doorstep! In the distant town of Margate, we love Lunatraktors, Babii, Sarasara and Claire Pitt Wigmore - all have such incredible sounds. There’s a real sense of understanding between creative folks here. It’s not an easy path to follow, it’s living on the edge both financially and psychologically, but knowing people doing wonderful things keeps us motivated.
How and where can readers discover your music? For digital check out liotia.bandcamp. com and ramrock.bandcamp.com. We’re on all the other digital platforms but Bandcamp’s ethos is best. Blackout comes out on vinyl in January and will be in shops locally, nationally and direct from us. We have a mailing list so sign up and get our gig dates, forthcoming releases and merch info at liotia.co.uk.
Raphael Mann, record producer, recording artist and multiinstrumentalist, works between Arco Barco studio and his home studio on Addington St RACHAEL DADD 13/02 (Ramsgate Music Hall) Contemporary folk-
pop experimentation from the Bristol-based singer and multiinstrumentalist, touring with a full band which should make for bold and interesting musical textures if her recent releases are anything to go by.
FREEDOM ROAD 08/03 (Foyle Rooms, Turner Contemporary, Margate) Part of POW! Festival,
local jazz-soul-blues luminaries Sabina Desir (vocals) and Jessica Lauren (keyboards/vocals) are joined by Francesca Ter-Berg on cello, with archive audio and art installation from Ramsgate’s Karen Vost, to explore the music of the civil rights movement.
LUNATRAKTORS PRESENT MOONFEST 11/03 (Theatre Royal, Margate) Cliftonville’s favourite “broken folk” exponents curate a bill for POW!, including Brigitte Aphrodite, The Selkies, Daisy Kelly-Granger, Francesca Ter-Berg, Ray Prendergast, Neelam Saredia-Brayley, Clare Orme and Gemma Cullen. If you’ve never seen Lunatraktors live, this will be the perfect setting to remedy that!
THOMAS TRUAX 19/03 (Ramsgate Music Hall) Inhabiting a similar
darkly surreal but playful universe to Tom Waits, David Lynch and Tim Burton, Thomas Truax builds his own instruments from bicycle spokes and gramophone horns, but balances this experimental palette with some strong songs and engaging dark humour.
THE MOMENTS 21/03 (Comfort Inn, Ramsgate) The hotel’s website just
says “The Moments”, and I haven’t managed to confirm if this is actually the New York 70s soul legends (apparently still touring with original member Mark Greene), produced in their heyday by Sylvia Robinson (of Sugarhill fame), and whose hits included “Sexy Mama” and “Love On A Two Way Street” (the intro from which formed the basis of Alicia Keys & Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”). Fingers crossed that it is... theraphaelmann.bandcamp.com arcobarco.co.uk
1 Pull Up To The Bumper (12” Version)
Grace Jones has been many things during her years in the spotlight: dancehall queen, artistic muse, style icon, rebel. From the 1970s Jones was topping the US dance charts with disco and R&B hits like “Pull Up to the Bumper”. This was the second single released by Grace Jones from her critically acclaimed 1981 album Nightclubbing and has since come to be one of Jones’ signature tunes. I love the 12” mix with its long instrumental lead-in, the perfect start to my set.
He's The Greatest Dancer (Dimitri From Paris Remix) 2
Whether I drop the original or this amazing remix, this tune is pure gold! The song was released as the lead single from the album We Are Family at the beginning of 1979, crossing over from the clubs. Written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, it has that unmistakable Chic sound. Here, disco edit maestro Dimitri From Paris nails the remix of this classic track with an extended mix, drawing out the string motifs, showcasing unheard sections from the original master tapes, sounding better than ever. 3
This is a sure fire dancefloor filler. The string hook and percussive intro before dropping into that infectious groove is the set up for a party classic! “Love Thang” is from the 1979 LP Hold Your Horses. The album became an instant sensation in discos all over the world. The LP also contained the dance hits “Double Cross” and the title track “Hold Your Horses”.
Do The Bus Stop (Joey Negro Remix) 4
The Fatback Band
What a track! A mighty chunk of ’70s funk, this relentless groove is my go-to track when I want to crank up the energy. It was originally released in the spring of 1976 on the Fatback Band’s third album Raising Hell. The LP featured three of their
DJ Hooch brings his Ramsgate Soul Train to the Music Hall on 15 February and here chooses ten classics that drive his set all time greatest hits “(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop”, “(Do The) Spanish Hustle” and “Party Time”. Here, Joey Negro’s remix injects his trademark disco flavour to the track that will see it find a happy home on any modern dancefloor, over 40 years after its original release.
Don't Cost You Nothing (12” Disco Mix) 5
Ashford & Simpson
In 1977 Ashford & Simpson released their album Send It, a selection of mid-to-up-tempo tracks showcasing their tight harmonies. The raw “Don’t Cost You Nothing”, with its irrepressible beat, slap bass, and lush string arrangement, all written and produced by Ashford & Simpson, tears up the dance-floor. The album became an instant club favourite thanks in large part to legendary DJ Larry Levan who featured it during his iconic Paradise Garage sets! 6
You Can't Hide From Yourself
This huge disco anthem from the Philly International vaults is guaranteed to light up any dancefloor! “You Can’t Hide From Yourself ” is a certified classic that has traversed the years sounding as heavy now as it did when it first dropped in ’77. Composed by the legendary Gamble & Huff production duo, the track is taken to searing heights by Pendergrass’s trademark soulful vocals. I always loop the intro for maximum effect before dropping into the track. 7
Here’s To You
An amazing disco-boogie gem, “Here’s To You” is taken from Skyyport, the third album by this New York City-based group. It was released in 1980 on Salsoul Records and features one of the all-time great drum and bassline intros. This is another track I extend with two copies to keep the funk flowing before dropping into the groove. “Here’s To You” is undeniably a party classic!
Always in my selection, “Love Fantasy” is a great tune to smooth things out while keeping the dancefloor moving. This is a fantastic track from the early ’80s west coast post-disco dance scene. The sharp bassline combined with the funky backbeat, lush string arrangement and outstanding musicianship really showcase Mighty Fire’s talents. 9
She’s a Bad Mama Jama
Time to drop da funk! This track is one of my all time favourite ’80s boogie tracks. If it doesn’t make you wanna hit the dancefloor, you should check your pulse ’cause you may be dead! Written by Leon Haywood, it became a major hit for Carlton, earning him a Grammy nomination and cementing his reputation in the clubs and the burgeoning hip-hop scene, where the track was heavily sampled. 10
Not Just Knee Deep
I have been lucky enough to work with many members of the P-Funk family, including promoting a number of shows for Parliament/ Funkadelic, so it’s no surprise that P-Funk is always part of my sets. For the Ramsgate Soul Train I keep it up-tempo with this all time classic. “Rescuing dance music from the blahs,” was George Clinton’s mission statement on Funkadelic’s 1979 album Uncle Jam Wants You, and as disco was winding down they dropped the monster track and centrepiece of the LP, “Not Just Knee Deep”. I’ve been playing it forever and its infectious groove, bridge and chorus never let me down. It is a masterpiece! See you on the dancefloor! DJ Hooch bit.ly/djhooch
Live music at Gulbenkian February & March Sun 9 Feb, 8pm Folk in the Barn
Tue 11 Feb, 8pm Global Sounds
Kefaya & Elaha Soroor Songs of our Mothers In association with Music For Change Wed 12 Feb, 8pm Songbirds
In association with POW! Thanet
Sat 15 Feb, 8pm
Sam Lee: 'Old Wow' Tour 2020
Tue 18 & Wed 19 Feb, 7.30pm Folk in the Barn
Wed 26 Feb, 8pm Songbirds
Amy True with drummer Giuliano Osella In association with POW! Thanet
Fri 28 Feb, 8pm The Jazz Sessions
Wed 4 Mar, 8pm Songbirds
In association with POW! Thanet Tue 10 Mar, 8pm Songbirds
In association with POW! Thanet Wed 11 Mar, 7.30pm Songbirds
Ayishat Akanbi in Conversation
In association with POW! Thanet Wed 18 Mar, 8pm Songbirds
In association with POW! Thanet Sat 21 Mar, 8pm
Jack Hues Primitif Album Launch In association with Dawn Chorus Records Sat 28 Mar, from 1pm Folk in the Barn
Mon 30 Mar, 8pm Global Sounds
Nitin Sawhney: Music & Me
In association with Music For Change
To book, call 01227 769075 or visit thegulbenkian.co.uk
Put the fun back into shopping! “We could spend every penny we don’t have in this shop which is jam packed full of, as the name says, nice things, really nice things! ”
Just off Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour, we specialise in hand made work, supporting local makers and artists with a beautiful array of unusual items. Our gallery wall presents regular exhibitions and events.
Nice Things and The Gallery 19 -21 Harbour Street, Ramsgate CT11 8HA Tel: 07939 542990 www.nice-things.co.uk (online shop) www.thegallerynicethings.co.uk FB Nice Things, Ramsgate
Tales on Moon Lane
Writer Georgie Hurst
Photographer Storme Sabine
Moon Lane Books & Toys
Half-Term Children’s Festival — F ree p-in
SHANE ROBINSON Come and enjoy a magical time with a local magician and children’s author who will discuss his latest book and perform spellbinding magic tricks from his book. He will teach one or two of them as well! 18 February, 11am - 12pm
INKY WILLIS Join author-illustrator Inky Willis to discover how to transform your doodles into story ideas. Inky’s Scribble Witch series is about a paper witch called Notes who lives in a pen pot. Inky will walk you through the process of getting your character designs down on paper, then interrogating them to develop original story ideas. This session is perfect for 7+ year olds with an interest in storytelling. 20 February, 2pm - 3pm
TAMARA MACFARLANE Tamara is the much-loved children’s author of the Amazing Esme series. Come and join her to help make up rules for a bad-mannered tea party, create your dream circus and hear stories of acrobatic donkeys, sweetshop caravans and high sea adventures with a mini hippo. 18 February, 2 - 3pm
OLALA CHILDRENSWEAR OLALA’s “Make a cloth monster” session gives children a chance both to get experience at making things from fabric, and to make use of “waste materials” to create something fun. The children’s clothing designers have geared this at 0-4 year olds (the age-range for their brand), but older children are welcome. Participants are invited to bring along any scraps of fabric or old clothes that are past mending, but this is optional as plenty of materials will be provided. 21 February, 11am - 12pm
TAMARA MACFARLANE Secret world of... Mermaids and Unicorns author Tamara Macfarlane will be helping you to create your own unicorn, design an underwater mermaid grotto and start your very own Secret World of... adventure story. 19 February, 11am - 12pm
Addington Street’s latest addition is a book shop aspiring to show children the enchantment of reading
ntering Moon Lane Books is like returning to the magical realm of childhood. Walls are lined with hundreds of brightly coloured and inviting books, there’s a model train doing laps of the shop above your head, and a carousel horse mid-leap in the window display. Speaking to Tamara Macfarlane, the shop’s owner, this was its intended effect. “I want reading for children to be associated with toys, sweets and all things that are pleasurable in life,” she says. The store’s flagship, Tales on Moon Lane in Herne Hill, opened sixteen years ago, when Tamara became frustrated with teaching literacy in schools: “It felt almost like bullying rather than inspiring children to read.” Her solution was to make reading something that happened beyond the classroom, creating an enchanting environment that “children would drag their parents into, rather than the other way around”. While on holiday in Broadstairs, she “fell in love with Ramsgate”, drawn in by its wealth of independent, creative businesses, and a desire to become one of them. Each of the three Moon Lane shops, two in London, host
vibrant storytelling sessions for free, where local authors will entertain children with their tales. These sessions are part of Tamara’s community interest company, which seeks to break barriers to children’s literacy. As one of the main barriers is not having been read to from a young age, Tamara has invited all of the local primary schools in for storytelling, hopeful that “lively and engaging author events will help a child who might be a nonreader to get into a book”. Tamara’s previous community work has been based in the London Borough of Lewisham, where 73% of the school age population is black, Asian or minority ethnic. Children’s books are proportionally unrepresentative of these diverse communities, she says, which is another barrier to reading since it can reinforce stereotypes and portrays a narrow range of experiences. There are also class and socio-economic barriers to reading, Tamara adds, which are exacerbated by a lack of books including stories with singleparent families, and people living in flats or growing up on estates. If children “don’t see themselves reflected in the books, it can limit engagement”, Tamara says, “so what we do is create as
many opportunities as we can for authors from under-represented groups to come into schools and promote reading.” Tamara’s plans for Ramsgate include a children’s literature festival in the shop for February half-term, as well as a week-long festival in the summer that will take place across the town and in schools. The festivals will host a diverse range of authors so that children see people from varied backgrounds celebrating reading and literacy. Tamara hopes that this, along with her pop-up bookshop enterprise events in secondary schools, will “reinforce that the industry is open for everyone to go into”. Tamara is also the author of numerous children’s books, including her series Amazing Esme and The Uncracked Code, which came out of wanting to remedy the gender disparity in children’s literature and create strong female role models. She stresses the importance of many people creating change on a local level, eventually influencing social change: “It may not be in the way you think it’s going to happen, or as direct as you think it should be, but just holding the line of conversation is really important to do.”
ANN SCOTT AND PATRICK GEORGE What can we do to help save the planet? Join this badgemaking workshop for budding eco-warriors. Meet author, Ann Scott, and illustrator, Patrick George, to read Planet Rescue. Suitable for ages 4-8 years. Patrick George will be signing copies of the book at the end of the event. 19 February, 2 - 3pm
MARTYN HARVEY Martyn Harvey is a local author and illustrator, a first-time selfpublisher of children’s books and a Ramsgate resident of 20 plus years. Having graduated in music and possessing a master’s degree in 20th-century composition, Martyn now has two grown-up daughters (for whom his stories were originally written) and was a keen cyclist - until he fell off and broke his wrist! Come enjoy readings from his book with a chance for questions and a book signing. 21 February, 2 - 3pm
MARGO IN MARGATE Join local artist Margo in Margate, in her “Making new little faces: making collages using recycled materials” session. Children can make cards to take away using a range of materials to make collages. Margo will also support and inspire the children to assemble and cut out shapes, and add drawings to create images. 20 February, 11am - 12pm
Moon Lane Favourites — Ages
Moon Lane Ramsgate hosts free storytelling sessions every Friday morning at 10am. 43-45 Addington Street moonlaneramsgate.com
The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp
Power to the Princess by Vita Murrow
Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett
ART & CULTURE
Painting people Writer
Courtesy of artists
arry Pye and Felicity Allen are two Ramsgate artists with a passion for paint. Both often feature observations of other people in their works, but to very different ends. Harry uses bold colours, affectionately portraying quirks in human behaviour and often incorporating humour, while Felicity has intensity in her process, but with a gentle palette and great tenderness in the portraits she produces. Here we meet both artists to find out more about their ideas and influences.
Felicity Allen — Can you tell us what themes run through your practice? Dialogue, close observation (looking, listening) and borders and exclusions. I work with talk, text, painting, drawing, video and audio, always in dialogue with historic and contemporary artists’ work.
Margate-based ceramicist Luke Eastop
As an artist who also writes, can you tell us about how you use writing as an art form? I used to write before I started painting, in order to clear my mind
of interference. When I had children I needed to write a lot more. In the 1990s I was founding editor of a journal and have continued to write and publish critically. For a while I developed what I called “practice
What inspires you? Motivation: anger at the life of the world, including people, being treated as disposable. Inspiration: exuberant life, nature, laughter, art, knowledge, brilliance, energy, dissent, weather.
writing”, because I had no time to make paintings, working at improving my writing but without any intention to publish. When I met my husband, a poet, he encouraged me to publish as well as to paint. My ideas led me to coin a new word, the “disoeuvre”. The PhD I did at Middlesex University developed this, resulting in a few published articles, as well as a tiny book The Disoeuvre, whose four voices are visual, diaristic, didactic and quotations from other people.
Does life in Ramsgate have an impact on your practice? Yes, in that I frequently invite people who are local to sit. Yes, in that I started working with Refugee Tales, an outreach project that uses storytelling to draw attention to the inhumanity of detaining refugees, because it partly came out of a local network.
How do you choose who to paint? In part the work is about exchanging personal recognition with my sitters (as opposed, for instance, to algorithmic surveillance or the standardisation of selfies), so I like to paint people whose social status renders them individually unrecognised (eg asylum seekers), along with others who are more securely visible. For me, a sitter is part of a particular series so I invite people accordingly. I usually ask someone to do a minimum of two full days sitting – more is more interesting. I’m excited by difference and the problem of translating whoever it is into watercolour paint.
Where can people see your work? There is an exhibition that I’ve worked on with another artist, in which I have to remain anonymous for the safety of the other artist, so it’s hard to publicise! Two of my books came out earlier this year and can be ordered online: The Disoeuvre: an Argument in 4 Voices and Psycho-Neurological Poem in 3 Parts & A Clean Heart and a Cheerful Spirit at felicityallen.co.uk. Artist, archivist and researcher Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski
Harry Pye —
Life Drawing Class by Team Beswick and Pye
It wasn’t until you were 30 that you started painting. How did you start?
You’re also a prolific curator. What is it about curating that you enjoy? When I was a schoolboy I promised myself that I would surround myself with creative people. I love to put other people’s art on walls and make it look interesting. Sometimes people say they’ve seen something in the show that’s made them want to go home and try making a painting of their own.
I stumbled across a really inspiring show of work by an artist called Mathias Kauage at London’s Horniman Museum. His paintings were very colourful and direct and they made me feel happy. John Lennon said he wanted his songs to be like postcards. I felt that what Kauage was doing in each painting was sending out a postcard to the world.
Can you tell us about your magazine The Rebel? My parents had a copy of The Rebel by Albert Camus on their bookshelf. I was way too young to understand what Mr Camus was talking about, but I loved looking at the cover. Right before secondary school I began making a zine called The Rebel that featured silly drawings and cheeky interviews. Many years later I started a blog called The Rebel. I promote projects I like or am involved with and I interview artists, comedians and pop stars.
How do you start a painting? I like putting different colours together, so it often begins with simple experiments. Some of my paintings are made collaboratively with friends and some of what I do is Neo Pop Art. Some paintings are inspired by painters such as Henri Matisse or Vincent van Gogh.
Tell us about your distinctive playful style of painting.
Where can people see your work?
If I have problems I can’t deal with I sometimes paint just to cheer myself up. When I did my foundation course in Camberwell, a tutor said my work was both “funny – as in peculiar, and funny – as in ha ha!”. And when I went to do a degree in Winchester a tutor said my work was like “a merry-goround of insanity”.
See my new work on Instagram @harrypyepaintings and find out about events by subscribing to my blog therebelmagazine.blogspot.com/. I’d love to have a solo show in Thanet in 2020. If anyone has a suitable space please contact me via my website harrypye.com. On the Road Painting
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POWER to CHANGE International Women’s Day may just be 24 hours, but Thanet has a festival lasting over a week to coincide with it, exploring issues around feminism, women and girls through a rich programme of local arts and cultural activities. Here, some of those involved reflect on the past five years of the festival, as POW! gears up to stage another spectacular programme, which this year will launch in Ramsgate
Jan Ryan - Festival Director —
Sarah Tait - Poet —
As a Ramsgate poet, and a local woman, I’ve closely followed POW! Thanet since its inception. In 2018 I gave a poetry reading and workshop based on the life of Jane Pugin, the “Grand Old Lady of Ramsgate”. A primary motivation is when I can use my words to engage new audiences, which the historical angle of the Mrs Pugin story achieved. I find it most rewarding when I’m able to share poetry with those who might not be previously familiar with what poetry can offer them. I do believe this to be one of the most successful aspects of the POW! Festival. I’m involved again this year, delivering a series of workshops
at Copperfields, Newington (an assisted living facility). Culminating in a performance to be delivered by the participants at Copperfields. Being able to take poetry directly to where it’s wanted and needed - for me that’s worth its weight in gold. I grew up in Thanet and have lived here for most of my life, so I have a good understanding of our coastal area, and an awareness of the challenges and celebrations of being a local woman and poet within an ever-changing world. POW! Thanet does, for me, seek to combine these perspectives as a vehicle for reflection and change. Long may it continue to give local poets like myself a platform with which to seek to benefit my home town.
POW! has been going for over five years now, steadily growing in both scale and the number and range of women involved. 2020 marks our fifth festival and, unlike the previous four, we are opening in Ramsgate appropriately at the Royal Victoria Pavilion and by Ramsgate’s mayor, Cllr Raushan Ara - in the same spot as where 110 years previously Emmeline Pankhurst campaigned for votes for women. I have been involved since 2015, when a group of us, inspired by POW!’s founder Christina ClarkeMacQuaid, came together to create the first festival. By opening the festival in Ramsgate this year, we are firmly putting the spotlight on the many partnerships we enjoy with the town, such as with Pie Factory Music, currently working with Amy True, and with Copperfields Retirement Home, which is currently hosting poetry workshops run by Sarah Tait. Each of Thanet’s towns has its particular focus. In Ramsgate it’s music and cabaret, both of which are integral to POW!’s programme. Artists such as jazz vocalist Sabina Desir and Screaming Alley producer Lara Clifton are regularly part of the festival, while Ramsgate Music Hall is pivotal to its music programme.
The most memorable POW! event, though, for me, was in last year’s festival when musician Jessica Lauren created the Mermaid’s Purse at the Sailor’s Church on Ramsgate Harbour an evening of song and spoken word inspired by the sea, in a setting that was really magical. This year you will find us at the old fire station, which is hosting a market of work by East Kent female makers; at the Red Arrows Club in Newington with Wink the Other Eye (produced by Screaming Alley); at the Falstaff, which hosts Salon du Chocolat’s salacious tales of the power of chocolate; and at the old Granville Hotel for stories of women whiskey distillers and a chance to sample several varieties of the drink. This is my last festival with POW!. It has been really exciting to see how far POW! has come in the last five years. We started out as a small local project and now we are a registered charity with a ten-day festival and a programme of community projects. Funding permitting, our aim next year is to operate year round. Thanks to support from Ramsgate Town Council, POW! has a significant presence in Ramsgate this year. It’s one we want to maintain and build on. We hope you enjoy having us around.
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Sabina Desir - Vocalist —
This is my third year participating in POW! and this year myself and Jessica Lauren are curating a piece entitled Freedom Road, combining music taken predominantly from the American civil rights movement, with visuals and audio recordings. The very talented cellist Francesca Ter-Berg will feature in the performance and the work of artist Karen Vost provides the backdrop. POW! have invested in the area and therefore the people, involving local businesses, community and drawing on a wide range of expertise in Ramsgate and Thanet. In doing
so they have pulled the gaze to the many positive elements that are happening in Ramsgate and the wider area. Collaborations between many artists have been fostered and blossomed. The poisonous myth that women do not work well together is blown out of the water! The confidence and “can do” attitude is infectious. I hope that POW! continues to grow as a diverse vehicle for the hopes and aspirations of all women, regardless of background and age, for spectators and participants alike. For a festival happening in this corner of the country, it sure is making some noise!
Here’s one member’s reflections on being involved in POW!:
I went with friends from East Kent Mencap’s GOLD group to the Garden Gate project. We learnt about poetry, making plants, and displaying them on green foam. It was very relaxing and we learnt stuff. We are supporting POW! Festival in March. We are making all kinds of bits for the window of GOLD, 215 Northdown Road. I was so surprised at what we can do as strong women all as one team. Billie ( facilitator) made me realise how we treat things and how important the gardens are. Thank you so much to everyone for involving us.
Matilda Sutton - Artist —
I left Thanet just over four years ago in 2015, to start my degree in fine art at Newcastle. This was, I understand, the same year that POW! first began. The Ramsgate I left was, as it is now, very beautiful and quite strange. It was full of magic and special places that inspired me to draw and to make, and was my home when making became the method through which I could explore what it meant to be a girl and a woman. There was nothing quite like POW! back then. It is so exciting and a little emotional
POW! in Ramsgate —
East Kent Mencap — POW! has given a voice to a group of women with learning disabilities who face many barriers when trying to be involved in society. The POW! projects East Kent Mencap members have been involved in have given them the chance to express their creativity and work with artists. Without the festival’s funding, support and contacts, these projects wouldn’t have happened. We hope this partnership continues for many years! East Kent Mencap’s GOLD group is for people with a learning difficulty in Thanet who live independently, receive less than five hours of support a week, or live with unpaid carers and receive no other support.
6/03 | 6-7pm OPENING EVENT WITH CLLR. / MAYOR RAUSHAN ARA POW! opens with music, dance, singing and hula-hooping (Costume making at Wetherspoons from 3.30pm) Meet outside Royal Victoria Pavilion 6/03 | 7.30pm WINK THE OTHER EYE CABARET EVENING Red Arrows Club 5-15/3 | 11am-4pm BE KIND Artist Margo McDaid aka Margo in Margate exhibits. Vinyl Head Gallery
even, to have the opportunity as a new graduate to show my work back home as a part of this fantastic festival. Especially a festival celebrating the contributions of and exploring the issues facing women and girls today. The creative efforts of women and girls have been undervalued, under-represented and even erased for a lot of history. I really believe a local, communitymade festival such as POW!, made by and celebrating women, is so vital not only in its power to change this story, but also in its potential to inspire young people in the area to utilise their voices, creativity and agency.
7/03 | 10am-5pm EAST KENT WOMEN MAKERS MARKET Radford House Old Fire Station 8/03 | 11am-midday BONHOMME: WHAT'S COMING OUT OF THE BOX Immersive family show. Pie Factory Music 8/03 | Midday-2pm THANET WOMEN'S DAY Hosted by Raushan Ara, bring a dish reflecting your culture to share. Fundraising for mental health charity Speak Up CIC. Min donation £10. Ramsgate Tandoori 8/03 | 2-4pm CLAY AND IDEAS MODELLING Using clay to ask 'how can girls change the future?' Ages 4-99 Pie Factory Music
9/03 | 8-9.45pm SALON DU CHOCOLAT: SCARY LITTLE GIRLS Chocolate and forbidden literature The Falstaff 14/03 | 2-3pm SONG BENEATH THE TIDES BOOK LAUNCH Author Beverley Birch reads from her fiction book for teenage girls. Moon Lane Bookshop 14-15/03 | 11am5pm IDEAL HOMES Tongue-in-cheek 'ideal' objects created by artists inspired by the 'Ideal Home Exhibition' EMPOWERMENT CHAIRS Clornie Designs produce a chair inspired by women of Thanet. Radford House Old Fire Station
PROPERTY & INTERIORS
Designs for living Writer
Ramsgate-based interior designer Gabriel Holland talks beautiful buildings, female architects and what makes a fail-safe seaside colour palette What brought you to Ramsgate? I spent ten years living in Dorset after leaving south-east London where I was born and grew up. As a Londoner I found the countryside quite a struggle, but I did realise that for me having the sea close by is an absolute must. Then, visiting a friend in Ramsgate in the autumn of 2013 I walked into the Queen Charlotte pub and thought, “These are my people”. They were the art school crowd of my student days. On my return I announced to my husband that we were moving. We landed in Ramsgate permanently the following autumn, much to the bemusement of many people who questioned Dorset to Thanet.
How would you sum up the ethos of your design practice? I suppose “less is more”. I prefer to keep my interiors calm, simple and timeless, plus I always aim to respect the architecture of a building. I’m not interested in what is fashionable or the latest trend, rather I design spaces that suit both the client and the building. Image by Sam Chivers
What have you worked on in the area recently? My project Roseyard has been very exciting, the conversion of a number of agricultural buildings just outside Sandwich into a luxury holiday rental for 22 guests. With poured concrete floors, rustic beams and huge original Crittall windows it has been great to work on something that has a whole different scale than a standard house.
Ramsgate has many beautiful buildings - is there one you’d love to get your hands on? Obviously the Home for Smack Boys is a gem, but a space that has always intrigued me is the Balcony Restaurant above Argos in the High Street. Not an obvious one with its 1950s balustrade and sheer concrete facade, but I would love to see inside it and imagine what it would have been like during its heyday, when Ramsgate was at the height of its time as a holiday destination. It has a wall of glazed doors that look to fully open up - how amazing if that were to become a club now.
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PROPERTY & INTERIORS
You worked as a colour consultant for Farrow & Ball. How important is colour in your work? Colour is a huge part of what I do, and knowing how to read a building is important; looking at spaces and also considering how the light falls. Working with clients it is imperative that you listen to them. One person’s dark, comforting room will be another person’s gloomy nightmare. Having said that I love to push people with colour and make them take chances that they would be too scared to do on their own. Sometimes I think buildings talk to us. One of the strangest things that has happened on more than one occasion has been when I have worked on a historic property where I have been absolutely adamant about a room being a particular colour, only to be informed later that when the room has been stripped back this was in fact the original paint colour in the room.
Where do you live in Ramsgate?
Gabriel’s seaside colour tips — We have incredible light down here but also it can make looking at colour tricky. Being on an “island” we are surrounded by water on three sides, and this can reflect the light so intensely that sometimes it can feel overwhelming. For me the obvious palette would include the colours around us in nature here, the green-blue of our sea, the chalky white of the cliffs, some of the stone colours in our pebbles and the deep greens of the brassica fields. With our astonishing light though we can get other colours too, including amazing pinks from our evening skies, intense grey clouds shot through with bright orange sunlight and soft yellow summer sands.
I am very lucky to live in a beautiful five storey Regency house in a terrace designed by Mary Townley on the West Cliff. It has some beautiful proportions and Georgian details including shutters, cornices, French windows onto a wrought iron balcony, a curved bay window, sash windows and timber floors throughout, all of which have an easy, comfortable scale and feel to them... The female architect perhaps?
How have you used colour in your own home? Funnily enough I find for my own home I want to keep everything as simple and pared down as possible. I spend so much time thinking about colour for all my projects that I feel my own home has to remain neutral a space where I can cleanse my eyes. My home is a place for me to look at the art on the walls and so is mainly off white walls and grey floors classic art gallery aesthetic I guess. gabrielholland.com
Images top, middle, right: Sonja Earle Photography
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Sheer heaven Writer
From Vivienne Westwood fabrics to kitting out a Girls Aloud tour, Ramsgate’s King Street haberdashery pulls in customers from as far away as Scotland, and it all started with a market stall. The Ramsgate Recorder takes you inside a world of ribbons and gingham - and a wall of buttons
rom its beginnings as a market stall to supplying materials for Downton Abbey and a Girls Aloud tour, The Haberdashery and Fabric Shop has been a treasure trove for textile aficionados for more than 30 years. Enthusiasts, costumiers, artists and other makers head for the King Street store from far and wide, for the family-owned business’s mindboggling array of fabrics, fasteners and other accessories. Downstairs the haberdashery has a huge range of lace, ribbon, threads and yarns. Upstairs is the fabric shop, which offers a curtain and blind-making service, and is packed with thousands of rolls of material costing no more than £10 a metre. There are more than 30 types of gingham alone. The highlight, and worth a visit on its own, is the wall of buttons. Metal buttons, nautical buttons, heart-shaped buttons, toggle buttons… Every kind of button. Stretching more than 15 metres, it is probably the biggest button wall in Europe. When the Recorder visits the shop, owner Doug Chapman serves a steady stream of customers - some regulars and some first-timers, like Suzi Woodgate from Deal. Suzi is after material to make a ginger Highland cow for a friend. Doug helps her find the very fabric and she hands over £2.75, the price kept down by his low minimum purchase of quarter of a metre. “I do all sorts of crafting,” Suzi says before heading downstairs to find a bell for her cow. “It’s the first time I’ve been in here, but I’ll be back now I know it’s here. This sort of place is a goldmine.” Doug’s dad, also called Douglas, was a market trader in Thanet in the early 1980s. He started specialising in haberdashery as he was buying up stock from textiles factories hit by hard times and international competition. He moved into selling the fabric offered to him at those factories. Doug Senior and his wife Sandra opened their
first shop above a school uniform retailer on King Street in 1986. After five years they moved to bigger premises on Harbour Street, where they traded for 17 years, before splitting the haberdashery and fabric businesses over two shops on King Street and Broad Street. Four years ago they brought the businesses back together at the current site. In April last year Doug, who is 44 and worked in insurance before joining the family business, took over when his parents retired in their early seventies. Doug says the business has benefited from the craft boom that has swept the UK and the influx of arty people setting up home or business in Thanet. “The baby boomers have retired and have thought: ‘What are we going to do?’ And they’ve got the time,” Doug says. “People remember the days when they made clothes and are going back to it. We’ve also got a lot of faithful local customers that we’ve known for years and years.” One such customer is Christine Bilham, from Westgate, whom Doug is helping with some
“People remember the days when they made clothes and are going back to it” gingham cloth. She has been making for decades and recently completed her City & Guilds in patchwork and quilting. “I started making my own clothes when I was younger because it was cheaper and I used to buy the material from Doug [Senior] at the market,” Christine says. “He’s always managed to have good fabric and often end-of-lines from big manufacturers.” Customers also include creative professionals attracted by low prices and hard-to-find items amassed over the decades. Artists, photographers and set designers come to source materials or simply seek inspiration, with one long-standing customer based in Scotland. Amanda Rook, the store’s manager, says they have supplied lace for costumes in Downton Abbey, fringes for Girls Aloud’s backing dancers and fabric used to decorate Canterbury Cathedral. Turner Contemporary is also a regular customer, for materials used in children’s workshops and other
requirements, including decking out Paula, the gallery’s lifesize polar bear puppet, for Margate Pride in 2018. Amanda has worked at the business for 25 years. But after shifting the store’s vast stock three times in that period she says: “I’m not staying if there’s another move!” Shelly Goldsmith, a leading textile artist and lecturer, has sourced most of her materials from the haberdashery since moving to Ramsgate 13 years ago. Her finds have included Vivienne Westwood fabric and moquette created by industrial textile designer Marianne Straub for the London Underground. Shelly used braids from the haberdashery for a piece commissioned for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s 150th anniversary last year. “There are a couple of amazing haberdashers in London but they are much more expensive and they haven’t got that archival feel,” Shelly says. “It’s so eclectic. It’s an absolute treasure.”
As well as buying from regular suppliers, Doug continues to pick up excess stock from factories at the right price, including from a sports shirt manufacturer that closed in Deal a few years ago. He reckons he may still sell products his dad bought in the early days. He points out a green fabric with red squares that a customer told him was used to cover the seats |of phased-out slam-door commuter trains. Lack of merchandise isn’t a problem though. The Broad Street site, which doubled as a warehouse, is still full to the rafters with stock, including 50,000 rolls of two-inch elastic. Doug says he will probably sell much of this elsewhere and is considering opening another shop outside Kent. “We just need enough to keep us going for the next 20 years,” he says. That’s good news for makers in the know who can continue to visit on the lookout for inspiration and the unexpected.
FOOD & DRINK
Party of one Brunch at The Falstaff
Sushi at Kyoto Sushi and Grill
Royal Harbour Brasserie
The arrival of February can mean just one thing: Valentine’s Day is on the way, and with it the onset of couples occupying every restaurant table in town. But with solo dining on the rise, here’s a round-up of where to take yourself on a hot date in Ramsgate
Sit at the bar or grab a stool (they’ve recently added more bar-eating space) for some happiness in the half-shell a glass of local stout is the ideal companion - or one of many local seafood dishes.
Peter’s Fish Factory Order fish and chips and head to the beach to watch the sunset. Cocktail at Zest (courtesy of Sarah Fennell)
he pleasure principle dictates that to enjoy eating out we should do it with others, but must eating out be a social act? Conventional wisdom might subscribe to this idea, but sometimes the best company is your own. Some of my most enjoyable meals have been eaten solo: grabbing a stool at a seafood restaurant and devouring a platter of oysters; ordering a succession of small plates at a tapas bar and sipping a cold glass of Albariño with my head in a favourite book; eating pie and mash in a cosy pub nook with the weekend papers; or slurping a bowl of noodles while catching up on food podcasts. It’s liberating: you’ve only yourself to please, you can daydream or people-watch to your heart’s delight, you order whatever you want, and you don’t have to wash the dishes. What’s not to love? Solo dining is on the increase, restaurants are more welcoming to tables-for-one than ever, and Ramsgate has more than its fair share of counter seating, bars and window seats where you can relish solitary sustenance - whether you prefer a lavish lunch, crave a quick snack, or fancy a simple supper and just can’t be bothered to cook.
Archive (courtesy of Sarah Fennell)
Flavours by Kumar A great place for an early supper: maybe a selection of starters, or go all in and order the pungent, signature black-spiced pork curry.
Kyoto Sushi and Grill Go for saki or jasmine tea and a plate of sushi or sashimi, a bento box or the “Kyoto lunch”.
Townley’s Go to town on a classy plate of scallops, their “mini fry” (expect discerningly-sourced produce), open crab sandwich or a solo brunch.
Ravensgate Arms Sit at the bar downstairs and graze on anything you fancy from Arya’s smallplates menu. Maybe ox cheek gnocchi, a plate of grilled padron peppers or the delectable Snickers pud (I’d go for all three).
Archive Order Swedish meatballs (these aren’t for sharing), the generous scrambled eggs with sourdough, or a sweet fix and decent flat white. All-day brunch is served from 9:30am, lunch specials from midday, and there’s a lovely selection of soups, salads and tarts. (Note: menu is limited on Tuesdays.)
Zest Café Nab the warm spot by the window (there’s a heater under the bench) and order the spirit-rousing all-day breakfast (the vegan version is great) or stacked burger.
The Falstaff The perfect place to stop for breakfast, brunch or lunch (from 7:30am Monday to Saturday, 8am Sunday) when you’re craving a
moment of calm and more than just a refuel. For sore heads, ordering the “green scene” or “chunky monkey” smoothie is a no-brainer.
Thai Passion Pull up a stool at the noodle bar and order handmade wontons or a generous plate of pad Thai.
Little Ships The bistro-style seating at Little Ships is an ideal set-up for solo dining, and food is available all day.
The Empire Rooms Sit in the lovely little bar area, where you can order anything from the seasonal menu, maybe the chorizo Scotch egg or a comforting plate of roast pumpkin with lentils and celeriac purée.
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ART & CULTURE
Calling all Thanetians
Ramsgate photographer Russ Pullen is looking for you. Here the Thanet born owner of Level Eleven introduces his new column for the Ramsgate Recorder. Could it be your face featured in the next issue?
s a portrait photographer in a country experiencing a period of such massive political turmoil, and with Australia aflame, polar icecaps melting and the US poised for a war with Iran, I often ask myself if photographing people is really that important in the scheme of things. Yet, I do believe it is. It’s a fact that photographs become more valuable as the years go by because they immortalise our families, our friends, our relationships, homes and life. In today’s digital age, they should never be “lost in a house fire” or otherwise misplaced, and future generations will have access to more images of their forebears than ever before.
About a year ago, I decided that I’d like to do something a bit different. I want to expand things and shoot Thanet’s story without any ‘commercial demands.’ I’m born and bred in Thanet, and every morning when I arrive at my Edwardian harbourside studio in Ramsgate, I realise how lucky I am to live in this corner of the world, amongst the folks that reside here. Our home is defined by those around us and I want to get them “in the bag” – the local heroes, the famous (and infamous!) the interesting looking characters, quirky personalities and folks you’ll recognise from local politics, charities, the military, club leaders and businesses. We’re going to photograph them ‘level eleven style’ in a way they’ve not experienced before for a potential charity exhibition in 2021. So, stay tuned! Over the next few issues, we’ll bring you some teasers from the Thanetians Project. We hope you’ll enjoy them – but this is also a shout-out. We’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in being involved, or you can put us in touch with somebody you know who should be photographed. email@example.com
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t’s a feather in our hat to be introducing Keith Ross, a new arrival to the Ramsgate Recorder brood. The more eagle-eyed among you may know Keith from his appearances on BBC Springwatch and The One Show showcasing our parakeets and kingfishers or his guided nature walks taking in bird life from Ramsgate to Pegwell Bay. We are lucky to be in a corner of the country which hosts a stunning nature reserve, with rare fauna and flora, making this a bird-spotters paradise. Each issue, Keith will take us under his wing and tell us about a member of the flock of our feathered friends that visit these shores. He begins with a spring favourite, the cuckoo. (PS there’s no such thing as a seagull!)
Bird Watch Writer
On still mornings from the beach at Westcliff you can sometimes hear them calling across the bay. The adult cuckoos can sometimes be seen chasing each other around the nature reserve and the old hoverport, often using a favoured tall tree to perch and call from.
with blue-grey upper parts, head and chest, with dark barred white underparts (sometimes described as looking like striped pyjamas). With their sleek body, long tail and pointed wings they can often be mistaken in flight for a sparrowhawk. The female times her arrival to coincide with the host bird having made its nest and laid its eggs. It waits for a chance to sneak into the nest and lay a single egg. When the cuckoo egg hatches the young chick pushes the other eggs out of the nest so that the adults feed only it.
What they eat
Cuckoo’s love to eat hairy caterpillars, but as some parts are poisonous the bird shakes out any toxic substances before swallowing the prey. If you’re very lucky you might see a big juvenile cuckoo being fed insects by its much smaller host bird parents.
One of the most iconic sounds of spring and summer is the cuckoo, and here in Ramsgate we are very fortunate to still have a few of these endangered (red list) birds arriving from their mammoth migration from Africa around April/ May to Pegwell Bay nature reserve.
Where to spot in Ramsgate
Molly Pickle’s cuckoo illustrations are available to buy with a limited print run of 10. Priced at £20, 10% is being donated to Monkton Nature Reserve, a 16 acre wildlife oasis reclaimed from a former chalk quarry and home to many protected and endangered species of fauna and flora attracting innumerable bird-life. You can order prints via Instagram message @mollypickledesign
The cuckoo is a fascinating bird and is known as a brood parasite. The females lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, especially meadow pipits, dunnocks and reed warblers. It is a dove-sized bird
You’re a lot less likely to see, or hear, a cuckoo these days. Since the early 1980s cuckoo numbers have dropped by 65 per cent. A combination of a loss of habitat and the knock-on effects of that to their host species affect them here in the UK. But deforestation, hunting on migration routes, climate change - causing host birds to nest earlier and declining insect numbers are also thought to have had an impact. The sound of a cuckoo calling is something everyone should experience.
To join Keith on a guided nature walk contact email@example.com. You can follow Keith on Twitter @ramsgatebirds
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Suzy Humphries Writer
Courtesy of Carlos Dominguez
Since moving to Ramsgate over a decade ago, Suzy has been instrumental in promoting and growing the town’s arts scene. We catch up with her as she prepares to hand over the reigns to some of her cherished projects
wo decades ago Suzy Humphries walked around the chalky bend from Broadstairs, where she and her husband Clive often came for the day, and saw Ramsgate for the first time. In 2007 they sold their flat in Sydenham, held their noses and dived into Ramsgate ahead of the mass migration of Londoners. “We needed a kick up the arse,” Suzy recalls brightly. “Moving here was different to anything we’d ever done. There is such synergy with Ramsgate and south-east London, rich and poor side by side, the meaningful next to the ugly. It’s Lewisham-on-sea. Art for me is all about place, and Ramsgate isn’t nowheresville. It makes an impact.” Leaving behind a long career in London theatre production where she worked with some giants of the stage such as Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen, it was inevitable that Suzy would get involved with arts projects here. She helped to set up Ramsgate Arts shortly after her arrival, with the idea of doing something about art and place. “Everyone we met was creative,” recalls the former ballet dancer from Wolverhampton, who has a charming propensity to use what anyone born before l970 still calls the F word. “There was so much unexploited potential, but there wasn’t as much as a painting in a window. We wanted to celebrate this amazing place.” Ramsgate Arts mounted a project called Love Hate Hope to find out what people wanted. Residents said they found Ramsgate apathetic and dirty, while local artists said they would literally burst if something didn’t happen soon. “We needed an arts festival,” recalls Suzy, “but no one believed we could do it. They said things like, ‘Nothing works, and everything we have is taken away.’” Ramsgate’s first Summer Squall festival in 2010 was a glorious hit. Suzy and eight others, including Labour councillor Susan Kennedy, made it happen. They had just £29,000 - £23,000 from the council and another £6,000 they fundraised. They staged 51 events over three days. “The sense of confidence it inspired, the optimism, was palpable,” says Suzy. “Something shifted that
year. We ignited a spark. The place has changed now. I am proud to have been part of that.” That same year Suzy opened her shop Nice Things where she was putting in 80 hour weeks, alongside the demands of the festival. By 2012 she was holding monthly craft fairs in the Custom House foyer to showcase the work of local artists. Ramsgate Arts got involved with the Looping The Loop festival in 2012, when Thanet was selected as one of eight areas in the UK to benefit from funding for arts projects in deprived areas. “It was a very weird and interesting time,” says Suzy, who will be 60 this May. “We were the only people doing large-scale arts stuff in Ramsgate. Nothing else competed.” Suzy has now scaled down her involvement with Looping The Loop but continues to advise on marketing and strategy. The Summer Squall, largely regarded as Suzy’s baby, became The Festival of Sound in 2018 and was extremely well received, with high-quality installations from some of Ramsgate’s most notable artists. When Suzy reveals that she has just handed it over to the festival’s Creative Director Andrew Gibson, along with Festival Producer, and the Recorder’s very own Gemma Dempsey, the most smiley woman in Thanet becomes
tearful. “Every single thing I’ve done I’ve ended up passing on. I’m good at setting things up to develop and flourish, but it’s hard to let things go that you care about,” she adds after a pause, with a faraway look. “It’s been such a silly life, really.” She is shocked at the continued negativity about Ramsgate, in spite of its growing reputation as a culturally thriving area. “Margate has the Turner, Broadstairs has its Dickens connection, but we don’t have an identity. We need one. Ramsgate is a town of two halves, east and west, a round town that meets in the middle with the harbour as its beating heart. We are ordinary and extraordinary, rich and poor, but we aren’t a divided community. You can’t sum up Ramsgate in a sentence - that’s what an identity would give us. And we badly need to clean up the high street. Empty shops can chip away at a town’s confidence.” If you go into the town centre for a coffee one morning and notice that all the benches have been painted bright blue, it will mean that one of Suzy’s plans to brighten up the area has come to fruition. “I’ve always wanted to guerrilla paint the benches,” she says excitedly. “Just think how nice it would look. You can transform an area by doing such little things.”
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Ramsgate Recorder Spring Crossword Each answer starts with a diﬀerent letter of the alphabet (except Q+Z), can you solve the rhyming clues to ﬁll in the grid? We’ve given you some letters to Start!
Puzzle compiled by local poet Harry Baker feel free tweet him for clues or clarifications @harrybakerpoet
*As a bonus challenge the answers in red are Ramsgate institutions advertising in this very issue! Feel free to ﬂick back through the pages for inspiration/help… W
Answers at: ramsgaterecorder.com
Each answer starts with a different letter of the alphabet (except Q+Z), can you solve the rhyming clues to fill in the grid? We’ve given you some letters to Start!
A In this café you can store records of what’s gone before (7)
While it feels like its own planet, a better way to describe Thanet (4)
Where this is set - the place to be, where one might enter sheepishly (8)
Eels may be smooth, starfish are bobbly, this type of fish is the most wobbly (5)
The mischief they cause may seem iffy (almost sounds a little fishy!) (5) If strategy is what you’ve planned, this thinking gives the upper hand (8)
Puzzle compiled by local poet Harry Baker - feel free tweet him for clues or clariﬁcations @harrybakerpoet. Answers at:
A place for working under cover (maybe even with a lover!) (7)
C Type of chocolate snack thats name is kind of onomatopoeic (8)
K Shot from the Empire State Building, seems no way to treat a King (4)
D When bugged by Bugs, he comes unstuck - he never was a lucky duck (5)
U They’re after what is not their own until the throne is overthrown (8)
From bestest buds to freshest spuds, this quality runs thick as mud (6)
M If your favourite dish is korma, put it this way when you order (6)
V There’s nothing better on this earth than knowing deep down we have worth (8)
While providing gourmet courses it’s wild how you source your sauces! (8)
N Mr Edmonds’ at his best if celebrating something festive (4)
W A strong way to describe the sea, but not so when it comes to tea (6)
G I might sound like a total nutter but could you clarify your butter? (4)
O Not a bassoon, you big buffoon, but higher up (like a balloon!) (4)
X The natural partner to a phloem, hard to fit into a poem! (5)
H In the corner’s where he’s sat, it’s thumbs up for this little Jack (6)
Y We mark how long we’ve been alive in multiples of 365 (4)
*As a bonus challenge the answers in red are Ramsgate institutions advertising in this very issue! Feel free to flick back through the pages for inspiration/help…
Work only brings us so much pleasure, it’s our free time we truly treasure (7)
The place to come to pick up planters - Watch out for Expelliarmus! (7)
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