RAMSGATE Summer 2021
Modern-day Seaside Stories
Out and about with Ramsgate’s metal detectorists
Star of the small and big screen on bringing film to Ramsgate
How to picnic with taste and in style
Editor Lila Allen
Founder & Editor-in-Chief Clare Freeman
Welcome to our summer issue!
Publishing assistant Emilia Fuller
Design director Lizzy Tweedale
Bethany Chater Jaron James Eleanor Marriott Russ Pullen Storme Sabine Ed Thompson
Illustrators Molly Pickle Jade Spranklen
Stylists Lynsey Fox Katy Lassen
cover image Brenda Blethyn by Storme Sabine
Print Mortons Print
10 Brenda Blethyn – an interview with our
homegrown acting legend as the Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival celebrates five years the Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival
9 Hotlist – it is back: a round-up of events for
12 Film festival round-up – highlights from
Social media manager
Russell Chater Gemma Dempsey Vanessa Fairley Sean Farrell Andrew Flood Eleanor Marriott Rachel Mills Laura Nickoll Keith Ross Elinor Seath Lynne Wallis
Gemma’s jaunts – our columnist is feeling anxiously optimistic are emerging as the town unlocks
6 New in town – find out what new businesses
Co-founder & Advertising director
5 Summer news and openings – the scoop on what is happening around town
13 In the frame – meet some of the filmmakers who call Ramsgate home
From the Editor Lila Allen
16 Under the radar – out and about with the
have long been coveting this issue – Ramsgate’s national treasure Brenda Blethyn on our cover is a dream come true, and it has been a year in the making (no prizes for guessing the story behind the delay). But, serendipitously, the timing almost couldn’t be better. Brenda is here to tell us about the Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival, this year celebrating its fifth anniversary – Happy Birthday! – and her image on our cover also symbolises so much of what we are all no doubt trying to harness: hopeful optimism. Standing on the steps of Jacob’s Ladder, looking out across this very Royal Harbour onto the open waters ahead, Brenda’s affectionate gaze is proudly optimistic and it is an attitude that shines through in her interview with the Recorder. The day of our shoot the sea was looking tranquil, despite the wind, so I will take that as a very good omen. And this issue is full of good news. Alongside the film festival, things are looking lively in Ramsgate this summer. The Hotlist is back, having had a lockdown-cation in previous issues, a sure sign there is lots to see and do. We have been catching up with a host of creatives bringing you plenty of nourishment, from Margot
Bandola whose paintings combine the everyday with the absurd, our resident filmmakers filling the big screen and galleries at home and abroad, to the indie-pop hotshots whenyoung writing their upcoming album from their new Ramsgate home. As the Turner Contemporary moves into its tenth year, Ramsgate will imminently host an installation by the world-renowned sculptor Conrad Shawcross; the realisation of a project entirely led by Ramsgate children. It invites you to see the world through their eyes, and is a hopeful, colour-filled vision, making optimism almost the theme of this issue. In an era of the great outdoors being nearly as familiar as your front room, we’re taking you out picnicking with a choice selection of local produce and picturesque spots, as well as introducing you to the hobby of metal-detecting. Ever wondered what treasures have been unearthed? We have the scoop. And now we’re all starting to see a bit more of each other out and about again, it’s time to look the part. Our new fashion feature meets the people who have been turning heads in Ramsgate. All in all, things are looking good.
detectorists digging up lost treasure
18 Fairtrade winds – aboard the sailing ship bringing Fairtrade produce from around the world to Ramsgate
21 A moveable feast – eating outside has taken on a whole new meaning and we have the essentials packed
26 Float your boat – a look at the boating pool past and present
28 Meet the musicians: whenyoung – the
indie-pop trio on life in Ramsgate and the new music they have been writing
31 Rummaging in Ramsgate – antiques
to bric-a-brac, we bring you the ABC of shopping vintage in Ramsgate
35 Turn to the left – style in our streets: the people turning heads in Ramsgate
38 Through a child’s eye – the school
children behind Conrad Shawcross’s installation for Ramsgate
41 The punkiness of paint – Margot Bandola
prepares for an exhibition of her paintings
44 Thanetians – Russ Pullen introduces his
latest subject of his project photographing Thanet characters
45 Bird watch – the long-tailed tit makes an appearance
46 Unsung heroes – Malcolm Wilkinson, Ramsgate’s Town Sergeant
Summer 2021 – May to July
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Summer News and Openings
ith staycations your most likely getaway this summer, Ramsgate is a good place to be. It is wonderful to see restaurants, cafés and pubs throwing open their terraces and gardens, and shops inviting customers back in through their doors. We are also excited to see new ventures in various stages of development. Ones to keep an eye on are Little Ships, who have plans for a second venture in town. Quite what they are cooking up is still under wraps, but it is an exciting prospect from the team bringing us delicious local produce, fish and, of course, doughnuts. It promises to be tasty. We are relieved to learn The Honeysuckle Inn is still on track to open despite making the news after a lorry crashed into the building. The damage wasn’t so bad as to set back the new team behind this historic 17th century pub. They will be offering drinks and bar snacks from May/June (facebook/honeysuckleinn). Another newcomer is Node (name still tbc) on Turner Street, a café offering small bites, coffee and snacks fusing local produce with Vietnamese food culture. They plan to open in June and will also be hosting an art space (Instagram @node.cafe).
As we have all become more accustomed to online shopping and takeaways, we notice new businesses starting up. Launching as we go to press is Peckish Curry Club, delivering home-cooked plant-based meals to households in Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate (peckishvegan.com). For pescatarians OM Fish delivers locally caught fish to your door, with daily updates on fresh catches (facebook. com/OMFish21). In King Street things seem busy. Our beady-eyed team have been delighted to find Oban Supermarket stocked with tinned dolma, fresh mint
A dose of Ramsgate life from a lady about town
and Turkish pickles, Glam, a new event hire company helping make any event sparkle, and Jasmine, a new tailors and launderette. Perhaps a good sign of things to come as Ramsgate reshapes in the wake of a difficult year. More widely, questions are being asked about what a future Ramsgate might look like. The council have announced plans to bid for £20m for the regeneration of the town from the government’s levelling up fund. In May, Heritage Lab CIC became one of only seven organisations in the UK to be awarded a Heritage Development Trust pilot grant to regenerate Ramsgate’s historic buildings. The two-year £60,000 grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) forms part of a national programme to help transform high streets and town centres in England by supporting charities and social enterprises to develop sustainable new uses for redundant or underused historic
ell hello summer! We thought you’d never get here. We’re always pleased to see you, but in 2021 you’ll be met with a whole range of emotions: excitement, lust, relief, desire, anxiety and ennui – thanks to the last 18 months aboard the rollercoaster Covid-19, closely followed by that other perilous fairground ride, The Mutant (s) Train. So which of these emotions will I be feeling and what kind of jaunts will I be looking forward to? How long will it take to decompress and transition back into the social being that is me? First up: anxiety = aerosols. Prior to the pandemic this word meant pungent air-freshener, euphoriainducing spray paint or naughty whipped cream. Now it means a picture of a human head, mouth open, spewing forth a fountain of particles carrying the dreaded Covid on each and every droplet nuclei. This causes me anxiety. I love going to music gigs, art shows, charity shops, pubs and restaurants, all of which will mean I’ll be breathing in my fellow concert-goers, shoppers, diners and imbibers, and they me. Consider it a molecular Mexican standoff. But what’s the alternative? Stay home and go bonkers? No way Jose! So that’s decided, I’m going in and going out! Next up: where to go and what to do? I’m definitely bored of home cooking so I’m looking forward to dining and drinking out and about. What is particularly good about these activities is that neither involves a mask. I‘ll really feel
buildings. Heritage Lab will announce their new projects later this year and local businesses or individuals who want to get involved can find out more heritagelab.org.uk/join Also engaging with questions about the high street’s future is Ramsgate-based creative practice Mooch, which has won a national commission from Historic England, and will be displaying works in some of Ramsgate’s empty shops over the summer. Linking the coastal resort towns of Ramsgate and Ryde on the Isle of Wight, Mooch Twin Towns will create maps exhibiting model shops designed by participants in the project. It is part of a national project mapping High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) zones (a £95 million government-funded programme being delivered by Historic England to unlock the potential of high streets across England). Templates for Ramsgate’s 12 HSHAZ shops, illustrated by art students at Broadstairs College, will be posted as a craft pack for people to re-imagine the shop facades throughout May. Email your name and address to info@ mooch.co for a template. Beyond the summer, we are looking forward to the 200th anniversary of our Royal Harbour. With four years in the planning, the main festival takes place 24-26 September with hopes for a Royal visit. The full line-up of events will be unveiled soon, and there is still time to get involved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org So much to keep us going through the summer and beyond, where else would you want to be?
emancipated from lockdown when my face is free. Until that day arrives I’ve been trying different types to see which is the least irritating. The ones with a bendy bit over the nose improve my spatial coordination enormously. Things are already stressful enough without falling A over T. Online mask-wearing tutorials have helped me avoid looking like I’m having an eyeball sauna. The type of fabric is crucial. Polyester makes me perspire and that’s before Thanet summer kicks in. Were I a lot younger, these conditions would bring on a bad case of “macne”. So that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about. I’m a big fan of shopping local and am excited to see a few new places getting ready to open. But while masks are de rigueur, my browsing time will remain très short. I can’t wait to be able to properly chat to the shop staff or friends I see in the street – it is these everyday interactions that I have really missed. Being able to embrace once again will be a joyful day indeed. Even better if I know the person I’m hugging. One thing I will miss are my Covid dreams. During lockdown they were really vivid and oddball – such as the time I threw a jar of cold mayonnaise to Pope Francis and he caught it between his skinny thighs and thought it was the funniest thing ever. And in the absence of anything else to amuse me during lockdown, I thought so too.
New in town
LAURENT DELAYE GALLERY
Tak and Caroline Peppas are an Anglo-Greek / Anglo-American couple from London with a recently added addition: Tak’s mother from West Sussex, Collette. When they decided to leave the pollution and cramped London house behind, Ramsgate was a perfect place to relocate and have a shop. Where else can you be surrounded by beautiful architecture, have a lunchtime swim, and live in a largely pedestrian street? The shop is named Limarni, the Greek word for harbour. Tak’s mother, Collette, has a large collection of furniture, silver, china and homewares to fill the shop with. Tak and Caroline run their own handbag company called Coco Barclay and make most of their own products, with further manufacturing in London. They have a shop in Greenwich and one of their first customers in the new shop recognised their bags from there. The plan is to make leather and vegan bags with a bespoke service available. There is an area at the back where people can enjoy a coffee and look through all the leathers and fabrics. Dog leads and harnesses are also planned.
You may well be familiar with Laurent, who has hosted two exhibitions in Vinyl Head Gallery in the last year. Following on from his highly successful Winter Salons, showcasing cutting edge contemporary art from around the world, he was looking to open a gallery of his own when the opportunity came to return to the same space. Vinyl Head Gallery was looking for new occupants, and so the Laurent Delaye Gallery will arrive in Ramsgate. It has been a fascinating journey for the man behind the name, with the original Laurent Delaye Gallery situated in the prestigious Saville Row in London’s Mayfair. Credited with discovering the likes of Grayson Perry and with an interest in emerging and established artists from Thanet and around the world, it promises to bring new horizons to Ramsgate with its first exhibition Transformations planned for 27 May.
26 Harbour Street Find Coco Barclay on social media
1 Addington Street laurentdelaye.com
RAMSGATE PROMENADE MARKET The Green Tara has turned red, and with it a new venture has opened: Ramsgate Promenade Market. With echoes of its sister business The Old Kent Market in Margate, also painted red, Ramsgate’s Promenade Market will host a range of foodie businesses with space for up to sixteen traders, from street food curry to vegan cuisine, a microbrewery and coffee roastery. There are also plans to host independent boutiques and make this a destination for locals and visitors alike. Already in residence are Food on Focus, run by couple Anthony and Agi and offering Hungarian street food and European-inspired dishes. Along from them you will find The Dog House and Grill offering gourmet burgers and hotdogs. 98 Harbour Parade Find Ramsgate Promenade Market on Facebook foodonfocus.co.uk @TheDogHouseandGrill on Facebook
SPICE GARDEN The menu at Spice Garden is ready to blow you away with a diverse variety of Indian dishes that are flavourful and rich in spices offering a distinct and complex flavour. With several signature dishes to suit everyone’s cravings, and crafted by a highly experienced chef, the team pride themselves on the food sent out the door, working hard to provide mouthwatering dishes. Owner Md Atikur Rahman has been in the Indian restaurant industry for six years working as a waiter, and Spice Garden is the realisation of a dream to own his own business. “After countless sleepless nights, it is finally here,” he says. Being close to the sea has always been a draw, and together with friends and a few family members, they aim to bring Ramsgate one of the best dine-in Indian cuisines. “Here at Spice Garden not only do we take pride in the food we provide, it is done with precision and care,” says Md Atikur. “We promise you will not be disappointed!” Customers can also bring their own drinks with no corkage charge. 85 Hereson Road spicegardenrestaurant.uk
A design-led lifestyle store and cafe offering a fresh approach to eating, drinking and shopping. Find us in one of the Military Road Arches, overlooking Ramsgate’s Harbour.
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2a WEST CLIFF ROAD RAMSGATE, CT11 9JW Just up from Waitrose, next door to Kwik Fit
The Modern Boulangerie @themodernboulangerie @tmboulangerie
Yoga studio + cafe Daily yoga classes (Studio opens 17th May) Vinyasa / Yin / Power / Hatha / Meditation / Chair Yoga / Iyengar
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Yoga Alliance Accredited
Wholefood cafe (takeaway + outdoor seating) Friendly community cafe serving seasonal, locally sourced food and speciality coffee. Cafe Open Wednesday - Saturday 8.30 - 3pm Sunday 9.30 - 2pm 25-27 Queen Street Ramsgate CT119DZ
Summer Hotlist Summer Hotlist MAY Ramsgate Radio Look out for the regularly changing schedule. Future highlights include a special with Ramsgate Music Hall, a programme about our youth clubs and the opportunity to cook alongside some of our best chefs.
Art sale Displaying 20 artists who live locally with work ranging from colourful abstracts, landscape, figurative paintings, collage, photography, print and ceramic pieces. 21-23 May HOLD Creative Spaces, G3A Paragon Works, Albert St holdcreativespaces.co.uk @holdcreativespaces
Great Ramsgate Spring Clean An annual event organised by Keep Britain Tidy. Groups in different parts of town all organise their own events; the Town Team/ Ramsgate Town Council will lend out litter pickers and bag hoops, TDC will supply rubbish bags. 28 May - 13 June Find Ramsgate Litter Pickers on Facebook
Royston Robertson Exhibition Well known local cartoonist from Broadstairs. Until 12 May York Street Gallery, 22 York Street yorkstreetgallery.co.uk @yorkstreetgallery
Positive Retail Pop-up Retail venture selling preloved “good stuff ”. Model based on partnership with the seller, 50% to them and 50% to the shop. Our pillars are Change (we want to see change in retail), Community (here in Ramsgate) and Circular (for the circular/ sustainable economy).
Unquiet Landscape exhibition Artist Lisa Hawkins works in oil paint and presents her East Kent landscapes. 29 May - 5 June, 10am - 4pm The Front Room, 10 Bellevue Road
Isle of Thanet Photographic Society annual exhibition of prints. 9-16 June
Ramsgate Music Hall is back with this first event: Richard Fearless (AKA Death in Vegas) DJ set – strictly vinyl.
York Street Gallery, 22 York Street
After a pause in 2020, the regatta is back. The six-day event is widely recognised as the “friendly regatta” and the family-friendly alternative to Cowes Week.
Lockdown winners exhibition Showcasing the 2020 Lockdown competition winners: Mel Chennell, who produces exclusive limited edition black and white photographic prints, focusing on the environment and the people we see around us every day; Julia Rogers, artist, painter, tutor who runs the HOLD creative space in Albert Street; and Sue Ferrer, artist, painter and tutor, also known for her beautiful ceramics. McGillan & Woodell, 43 Queen Street
positive-retail.com IG: @positive_retail
Until 12 May
Spring Exhibition Part 2
Muir Road Lockdown Art
McGillan & Woodell, 43 Queen Street
Spring-related exhibition of paintings.
26 May - 2 June
See the work of the residents of Muir Road in Ramsgate who created mixed-media artworks using recycled materials as part of the Great British Art Exhibition.
Katrina Dallamore Exhibition Ramsgate-based artist whose work is concerned with the exploration of colour.
Kent Film Foundation: Covid Film Challenge Virtual festival showing short films from around the world from over 400 submissions, made in response to and under the constraints of lockdown and bubbles. In association with Ramsgate International Film & TV Festival. Until 4 June
28 Addington Street
York Street Gallery, 22 York Street yorkstreetgallery.co.uk @yorkstreetgallery
Transformations exhibition A mixed-media group exhibition, launching the new programme of the Laurent Delaye Gallery. 27 May - 25 July Laurent Delaye Gallery, Addington Street laurentdelaye.com @laurentdelaye
Spring Exhibition Part 1 A celebration of Bluebell paintings. 12-19 May York Street Gallery, 22 York Street yorkstreetgallery.co.uk @yorkstreetgallery
Prom and Prams Free Ramsgate Mummy walk and talk. 12 May and every Thursday 11am FB: @promandprams IG: @promandprams
Lockdown winners exhibition Showcasing 2020 Lockdown competition winners: Peter Campbell Saunders, former magazine art director and photographer now painting full-time; Molly Lambourn specialising in decadently intricate drawing inspired by literature exploring themes of womanhood, self, and mundanity; and Sharon Hendy, with a love for exploring fairy tales and childhood fears. 27 May - 9 June McGillan & Woodell, 43 Queen Street mcgillanandwoodell.co.uk @mcgilanandwoodell
Mick Cairns and Daughters exhibition A mixed media collaboration by Ramsgate artist Mick Cairns and his artistic daughters Sally-Ann and Mandy.
York Street Gallery, 22 York Street
York Street Gallery, 22 York Street
Eastcliff Community Group
Divided Attention: Julia Rogers exhibition
Do you want to have a say in local events and activities? The East Cliff Community Group works to improve the neighbourhood and help residents enjoy life.
Pieces reflecting Julia’s quirky insights into human nature, such as luck and chance, repurposed found objects and reference to mythology.
7 June and every first Monday of the month
HOLD Creative Spaces, G3A Paragon Works, Albert St
Find Eastcliff Community Group on Facebook or email eastcliffcommunitygroup@ gmail.com
Resurfacing: Russell Chater exhibition Wall based work from the recent archive addressing themes of surface, display and transience. 11 June - 4 July 10am - 4pm The Front Room, 10 Bellevue Road @bellevue_front_room
Life drawing: Tuesdays, 2-4pm Open Art Surgery: Fridays 10am-5pm. Work in the Open Access studio on your own art with tuition available all day. Other classes and workshops to be announced on the website soon, including language of drawing, immersive drawing, calligraphy, painting, movement visualisation and mark making. HOLD Creative Spaces, G3A Paragon Works, Albert St holdcreativespaces.co.uk @holdcreativespaces
21 May - 27 June
Rob Clarke exhibition Exhibiton of large photographic pieces of items produced to be photographed as well as functional design items. His work has an underlying thread of design and fabrication. 24-30 June McGillan & Woodell, 43 Queen Street mcgillanandwoodell.co.uk @mcgilanandwoodell
John Sweeney John is a London based artist who studied at Epsom School of Art. Paintings in oils.
18-23 July ramsgateweek.com
Ramsgate Town Carnival A community event held once a year to bring the local community together. It is a street celebration that is growing year on year to promote social cohesion and integration. Anyone and everyone can be involved! 25 July facebook.com/groups/ ramsgatetowncarnival
Alter: Russell Chater exhibition Playful whitewashed marks meet reverential altarpieces. New paintings and photographs.
30 June - 14 July
30 July - 22 August 10am - 4pm
York Street Gallery, 22 York Street
28 Addington Street
yorkstreetgallery.co.uk @yorkstreetgallery @johnsweeny30
MADA - Miral, Anita, David and Alan exhibition
Sarpa Salpa Expect mood-lifting new music from this alt-pop band. It is sure to be banging as Ramsgate Music Hall reopens with this its first gig.
Four artists from Broadstairs and Margate bring works created during a year of lockdown and isolation using various media.
York Street Gallery, 22 York Street yorkstreetgallery.co.uk @yorkstreetgallery
Rudiment: Ruth E Rollason exhibition Explorations of the basic elements of type from an artist whose passion is for combining thought, letter shapes, and the handwritten word. 3-11 July 28 Addington Street
Group show A textile-themed small group show with the working title Stitched up(!)- a Running Thread. 30 July - 1 August HOLD Creative Spaces, G3A Paragon Works, Albert St holdcreativespaces.co.uk @holdcreativespaces
Vivienne Yankah exhibition Solo ceramic show exploring coastal connections. 16-25 July 28 Addington Street vivyankah.com @vivienneyankah
Home by the Sea exhibition Mike Samson’s annual exhibition of Thanet seascapes in oils. 4-18 August York Street Gallery, 22 York Street yorkstreetgallery.co.uk @yorkstreetgallery @mikesamsonart
BRENDA BLETHYN: Writer
Photographer Storme Sabine
Golden Globe, BAFTA, Cannes Film Festival award winner and Ramsgate cheerleader Brenda Blethyn talks to the Recorder about film, growing up in Ramsgate and whether her next series should be set in her hometown, as the Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival celebrates its fifth year
Every Sunday our parents took us to the Palace Cinema. It’s where Argos was until recently,” recalls Brenda Blethyn excitedly. “There were two films a week and they switched halfway through. Mum would say, ‘Hey Bab, go and check the poster to see if they’ve switched the film yet.’ I remember looking up at the screen and seeing these huge 40-feet high superstars with these magical lives. They were in a world we weren’t part of, on another planet. It never entered my head that I might be up there on the screen like them, not in a million years.” Decades later, now a doyenne of the small and big screen, Brenda is helping to bring film from around the world to Ramsgate screens as patron of the Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival. Born in 1946 in a house with no bathroom on the Plains of Waterloo to parents William and Louisa Bottle, Brenda was the youngest of nine children. Widely regarded as a national treasure, she has become most famous in recent years for her portrayal of ITV’s dour DCI Vera Stanhope, and is cherished and championed on her home turf. Brenda is delighted that the gritty new thriller Adverse featuring Mickey Rourke is to have its UK premiere on the opening night of the film festival. “Mickey Rourke! It’s amazing! We are closing with the documentary Tonton Manu, about an African saxophonist in his eighties – I can’t wait to see it. Last year we even got Nick Broomfield on the judging panel.” That an actor of Brenda’s standing chooses to remain in Ramsgate rather than upping sticks to Hampstead, for example, is something Ramsgate’s residents are immensely proud of. She is one of ours, and homegrown to boot. “My head and my heart are in Ramsgate. I absolutely love it here,” she says. “It sounds spooky, but I can still see people who’ve long gone, like my dad standing there at the market place when it was buzzing and so alive, with a policeman in the middle of the road directing the traffic. There were department stores, an M&S, four
FROM SMALL TOWN TO BIG SCREEN
cinemas, loads of shoe shops, so many people. It was hopping. I hope we are going to see those days again.” Brenda moved back “home” to Ramsgate with her husband Michael 15 years ago and spends half the year here and half in the north-east filming Vera. Having moved to London aged 17 to work in a bank, she came relatively late to acting, although her love of cinema is wrapped up in childhood memory. “I loved Barbara Stanwyck and Bette Davis,” she recalls, “but Doris Day was my all time favourite. She just drew you in. My favourite film has got to be Calamity Jane, but she was great in dramas too and was under-rated as a serious actress.”
“My head and my heart are in Ramsgate. I absolutely love it here” Brenda joined amateur dramatics groups to hone her yet to be discovered talents and in her late twenties enrolled at the Guildford School of Acting, first appearing on stage at the National Theatre in 1976. In 1980 she won an award for her role in Nell Dunn’s celebrated comedy Steaming, then a little later met director Mike Leigh and a lifelong relationship began. “Secrets and Lies  is one of the films I’m most proud of, it’s just terrific,” she exclaims. Brenda has worked in theatre and television throughout her career, but her place in British film history was cemented
in 1998 when Little Voice was released, co-starring Michael Caine and Jane Horrocks, with Brenda cast against type to play a hard-faced, domineering mother to Jane Horrocks’ cripplingly shy daughter. Today there is an innocence about this remarkably fresh faced 75-yearold, who has a girlish breathlessness when talking about things she is passionate about, the antithesis of the cynical DCI Vera Stanhope. Brenda becomes very animated when talk turns to the fifth Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival which runs 3 to 6 June. She is full of praise for Sylvie Bolioli, director, actor and Ramsgate resident, who started the whole thing. “We had just a handful of submissions for the first one – now we have 220, from 45 different countries,” she enthuses. This year sees an increase in submissions from Latin America and Africa, with 58 feature films and 152 shorts submitted. “The festival is for everyone,” Brenda makes clear. “A concerted effort must be made to let people from here know it’s for them too. It’s a perfect opportunity to see a lot of good films.” She is keen to stress that everything can be watched from the comfort of home, something introduced last year as a result of the pandemic. It is a development she welcomes. “This is a perfect opportunity for those who might not go out and buy a ticket and go to the cinema to watch a film… They can sit and watch it in their own front room,” she says. “There are also courses on how to get an agent, script-writing taster sessions, and workshops on how to raise funds to make a film,” she adds. A short film about the making of the festival’s Anchor Bronze Award will precede the opening-night screening of Adverse, with funds going towards the cost of casting and installing the late artist Dominic Grant’s statue of King George IV to mark 200 years since Ramsgate’s Harbour became Royal. “Ah Dominic,” Brenda says wistfully. “You couldn’t meet a nicer fella, and it is a spectacular work of art.” Her support for projects like
this, and her patronage of the film festival, is steeped in her passion for the town that she wants to see do well, a passion that spills out into her desire to see more investment in Ramsgate. “There is lots of talk about Margate. It gets lots of investment and I don’t begrudge them a penny of it, but… give Ramsgate a little help too. We’ve got a beautiful harbour and we are about to celebrate its 200th year anniversary… and they’re trying to build an arts venture with the arts barge. I love everything that is there for the community. We used to have a skating rink when I was a kid. I wish we had one now, or a skateboarding area for young people, for everyone.” When Brenda returns to her beloved Ramsgate she enjoys nothing more than walking her five-yearold cockapoo Jack who, with a mischievous glint in her eye she confesses, she acquired without prior discussion with her husband. “Michael loves the dog now. When I arrive home the first thing he does is cuddle Jack.” Then, with that sense of charming girlishness again, she continues, “The walk to Broadstairs via the beach is glorious. You can have adventures and find treasure! I once found an injured eel that had hurt its mouth on a line, and it had become stranded on the beach. I managed to save it and got it back in the water. I love walking the other way to the bird sanctuary at Pegwell. It’s such a special place. We have everything here on our doorstep. We are so lucky.” We are fortunate indeed to have all that and Brenda Blethyn among us, the icing on our prized slice of Thanet cake, promoting the film festival and the town itself. “We will have to see about getting a series made that is set in Ramsgate won’t we?” she says. But what? Sometimes truth is more compelling than fiction. How about the story of a talented young woman from a humble Thanet background who went on to become one of the UK’s most valued and adored actors, who was awarded an OBE, won a collection of prestigious awards, and worked with the likes of Michael Caine, Sir Ralph Richardson, Robert Redford, Julie Walters and John Hurt? It is hard not to imagine youngsters with hidden talents gazing starstruck at Brenda Blethyn on the screen, unable to imagine that one day it might be them up there, just as she herself did as a girl, gazing up at her movie heroines. If a talented kid from Ramsgate who had no material advantages in life can make it on the big screen, why shouldn’t anyone have a go?
For more information and tickets for the 5th Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival visit: ramsgatedigitalcinema.co.uk
Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival: the round-up Opening with the UK Premiere of Adverse, starring Mickey Rourke, showing the International Premiere of the documentary Phil Liggett: The Voice of Cycling, and closing with the UK premiere of documentary Tonton Manu, the Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival is celebrating its fifth year. Showing 58 feature length films, 152 shorts, music videos and pilot TV episodes, and with content from 45 countries, it promises a feast for the eyes
A first-time director prize will be awarded in Brenda Blethyn’s name, and this year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Dominic Grant, who sculpted the festival’s coveted Anchor prize, renamed the Dominic Anchor. There are several categories in which films will be competing:
With several in the pipeline, here is a selection of what is on offer:
Best Narrative Feature (Bronze Statuette) Dominic Grant Award Best Narrative Short Best First Time Feature Director Brenda Blethyn Award Best Documentary Feature Best Documentary Short Best Animation Feature
film makers, working with limited budgets and compressed timelines, often find themselves without funds or resources for visual effects. Veterans, Dave Kiddie and Brian Carbin of Stone Dogs, a VFX post production house, share their advice and insights along with some before and after case studies to help you shoot more effectively for a smoother post production process.
Case study: Codumentary, a movie made by one-man band Jonathan Beales - screening followed by a discussion with the director.
How to get an agent advice and top tips from British actor Ian Sharp.
Best Animation Short Best Local Film
Offering a wide variety of films from adorable animations to teenage dramas selected with the help and feedback of a specialist youth panel. The programme is divided into two sections: films aimed at eight to fourteen-year-olds, and fifteen to eighteen-year-olds.
Best Actor All films will be screened ramsgatedigitalcinema.co.uk
Best Music Video
Facebook: Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival
Best Experimental Film
Visual effects for short films: short
Best Web Series Pilot
The festival is also partnering with the Kent Film Foundation, which is screening its Covid challenge competition, a collection of films
exploring the challenges of the pandemic. The films will be available to stream strangelovefestival.com
African focus Bringing viewers the best of subSaharan current cinema, including films from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria, the programme will be completed by a panel discussion about the most recent developments in streaming and distribution on the African continent.
Fight Back Film Awards The festival is the first to host these awards which celebrate filmmaking made by and telling stories about veterans. The awards will take place 19-20 June. A special screening of Kajaki: Kilo Two Bravo set in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2006 and a Q&A with director Paul Katis, writer Tom Williams and veteran cast member Stuart Pearson will take place 5 June.
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IN THE FRAME Writer
From big budget blockbusters to short experimental film, Ramsgate is home to filmmakers from across the creative spectrum. As the Ramsgate International Film and TV Festival gets underway, Russell Chater meets some of the talent already here ▲ Polaroid from This Memory Won’t Last shoot. Credit: Helga Fannon
ith its dramatic skies, grand architecture, impressive history and glistening sea, it is not hard to see why Ramsgate attracts filmmakers. During lockdown, film has arguably become more important as a means to both escape and connect. Despite all bringing something different to the table, these filmmakers share an interest in language, memory and this town we call home. Originally from Gothenburg, Helga Dorothea moved to Ramsgate via London in 2015, the extra space and peace appealing to the mother in her as much as the filmmaker. Helga has embraced Ramsgate, using it as an inspiration and backdrop, and working with many local people. She was commissioned by Heritage Lab CIC to create a video to support their Granville Hotel project, collaborating with local composer Donna McKevitt, artist Sophia Schorr-Kon and poet Jan Noble.
Her current project, This Memory Won’t Last, is more personal. Working from an extensive stash of negatives taken by her father and forgotten for 35 years, the images record her very early years – a time she can’t remember. The project focuses on the power of memory, its “slippery nature” and “surreal narrative”, and how we are shaped by it. “We will be archives for someone else to make sense of,” she says, while acknowledging that the project might especially resonate with people separated from loved ones during the last year. The work will be shown at the Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea in July, and at the Royal College of Art, where she will complete an MA in June. Helga is also planning a radio programme with Ramsgate Radio to track the film’s progress. Helga has worked in a variety of creative jobs over the years and found that moving image, particularly the “pulse and chaos” of analogue film, best suited her practice. Her
filmmaking is a way of “weaving together” words and recollections that come back to her like “embroidery stitches”. Surrealism, optical illusions, non-linear time, and the power of words and writing pervade. Having initially studied literature, Julia Dogra-Brazell “shifted an acquired interest in storytelling, poetry, history and memory” to visual culture and ultimately experimental film. Her films are “fleeting, fragmentary and provisional, incorporating randomly reconstituted literary texts, extended soundscapes and overlaid voices”. Despite a preference for film over video enduring for many years (perhaps because of her use of analogue cameras when she worked as a photographer), Julia’s films are now shot mainly on iPhone. Although Julia moved to Ramsgate in 2016, commitments for screenings in London and Tokyo meant that it would be two years before the unique rhythms and histories of Ramsgate, from the daily ebb and flow of the ►
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◄ Julia Dogra-Brazell.
Credit: Goso Tominaga
sea to the slower “accretions of architecture and geological strata”, started to really seep in and influence both her subject matter and the pace of her editing. Since 2018 she has been working on The Storyteller, a trilogy set on the margin of land and sea, with many scenes filmed locally and featuring local residents. Julia hopes to complete the final film by the summer, while the first has already shown in the US (including at the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, guest curated by actress Tilda Swinton) and at Silverland Studios in Ramsgate as part of the Festival of Sound in 2019. The completed trilogy is due to be shown at Danielle Arnaud gallery in London. Meanwhile another short film, Footnote to a Season, will premiere at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in Germany in May this year. International screenings are also key for James Kermack, who reveals that he should have been travelling the world right now, promoting his second feature film Knuckledust, an action thriller with dark comic undertones. It was bought theatrically by Samuel Goldwyn Films and first released in the US and UK in December 2020, before
“Speaking to these filmmakers, it emerges that they all have formative links to the coast” hitting streaming giant Hulu with a worldwide release underway this year. Jumping from a £40,000 budget on his first film to £1.5 million on this, the film features the actors Phil Davis, Kate Dickie and Jaime Winstone among others.
On a visit to Ramsgate with his fiancée and newborn daughter last summer, James could see himself living and working here, with “ideas brewing for screenplays set in the area”, showing off the “beauty and timelessness” of the place. They wasted no time and moved in October. As well as directing and screenwriting, James is also an actor, appearing in productions including Chernobyl, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Doctor Who. It is the writing and directing that are paramount, however, and a walk on the beach armed with a trusty notepad and pencil helps James formulate ideas. In his first film, Hi-Lo Joe, the central character deals with memory, trauma and mental health issues. James references David Chase’s work on The Sopranos as a masterclass in writing. Complex characters and great dialogue are crucial. James also loves the work of John Carpenter for its “pure cinematic enjoyment”, and the Walter Hill film Streets of Fire (which he describes as a “wild and crazy, neon flecked, neo-noir rock musical”), referencing it as a particular influence on his latest film. Speaking to these filmmakers, it
▼ Moe Dunford as 'Hard Eight' -
lead actor in Knuckledust. Credit: Featuristic Films
emerges that they all have formative links to the coast. Julia spent part of her childhood in Kent, regularly using the (now defunct) hovercraft service to travel to France from Pegwell Bay. Helga grew up in coastal Gothenburg, and James had family holidays to Thanet as a child. The power of childhood memory and the pull of the sea, perhaps? The need for space and solitude is also a shared connection. Helga talks of necessary “pockets of silence”, while Julia says her practice is a relatively “solitary pursuit”, often undertaken in the early hours. That said, despite online platforms reaching (admittedly at times wider) audiences, there is agreement that the physical reopening of cinemas, galleries and festivals can’t come soon enough. James’s Knuckledust was intended as “a big, bombastic visual cinematic feast”. Cinemas are a “great connector between creators and audiences”, he says, reminding us that although the creation of films can, at times, be a solitary affair, enjoying them together is something we have missed.
helgadorothea.com juliadograbrazell.com featuristicfilms.com/knuckledust
THE RAD AR Writer
Photographer Jaron James
Spot someone out with a metal detector and you can’t help but wonder what treasure they are seeking. The Recorder meets three enthusiasts and discovers a world of unearthed historic relics, antiquity schemes, and even a community finders service
rom Julius Caesar landing at Pegwell in 55BC, to St Augustine’s arrival at the same spot 600 years later, to the Viking raids of the ninth century, the relics of Ramsgate’s past are all around us. But not everything can have been uncovered. Enter the detectorists silently scouring the headlands and coast, rhythmically sweeping their magnetic wands, focused solely on frequencies, like bats guided by their sonic reflections. Patrick Isaacs and Terry Morris are two local detectorists whose curiosity was piqued from an early age. “Ever since I was a kid seeing the old boys down on the beach, I used to be straight over asking what they found,” Terry says. For another Ramsgate detectorist, Sylvie Bolioli, it is a passion she happened on in adulthood. “I hated history at school because of how it was taught,” she recalls. “But I loved exploring and when I realised that it was actually possible to go and detect... I loved it.” Metal detectors have been widely available since the 1960s, and shows like The Detectorists or the film The Dig have aired in recent years, but the activity still carries a romantic allure because of its relative obscurity. So how does it work? “There are all sorts of machines. Some work better on sand, some on land, some are fully submersible for saltwater,” Patrick informs me. “Budget-wise you can spend thousands. But basically it sends a frequency down which gets repeated back to the machine and
you listen in the headphones. You get different tones for different metals.” An area can be researched, but there is no way of knowing what lies below until you actually dig it up. Patience is a prerequisite. “Tinfoil will sound like silver and bottle tops sound like gold. So you end up with pocketfuls of bottle caps and ring pulls,” says Patrick. “My pride and joy is a 1554 Queen Mary and Phillip shilling, a 30mm silver coin. That was one of my first ever finds – I was hooked. Beginners luck, just outside Canterbury on a club dig,” he exclaims. Sylvie was also lucky. “It was my second time ever going out detecting. I got really big-headed because I was the only one that day to find a Roman coin,” she says, showing off one of many she now has in her collection. For all three, the sheer joy of uncovering an object that has remained untouched for hundreds of years is the driving force. These relics when pieced together can unlock swathes of British history. “I don’t care about the value,” says Sylvie, as she carefully lifts a 14th century casket key from her treasure case. “Who held that key? Those are the things that I really like.” It is not as simple as finders, keepers; a whole system is in place. All artefacts found should be reported through the Portable Antiquities Scheme via a Finds Liaison Officer. They deem what is classed as treasure which then goes to the Coroner. You must have the land-owner’s
permission to search, and agree a split on any potential earnings. For the beaches a licence can be sought through the council. But, as in the fairytales, where there is treasure there are pirates and “night-hawking” is commonplace; treasure hotspots or historical sites are raided by thieves looking for a hoard to flog. It is this minority activity that discredits the majority of detectorists, and puts a strain on relations with archaeologists. On the beaches, there is a different problem. “Someone posted with a reward on Facebook about losing a ring down on the beach. Every man and his dog with a metal detector turned up. It incensed me because that ring wasn’t going back,” explains Terry. “There are no real guidelines. I’d like to see something imposed, like before 10am and after 6pm,” Patrick adds. When Terry and Patrick grew tired of these opportunists they set up the Thanet Beach Hunters, a voluntary retrieval service stretching from Cliffsend to Birchington. “We’re not in it for the money. If you want to give anything, give it to the RNLI,” Terry says reassuringly. Patrick recounts a particularly touching story. “A lady lost her engagement ring at Botany Bay. She was American and her fiancé was English. They spent hours trying to find it. It was two weeks after that she got in touch. I found it and sent her a picture. I didn’t know at the time that she was in America, she phoned me in tears. Her fiancé was about to fly out that weekend to marry her and I managed to get the ring to him in
◄ Sylvie Bolioli time. $3,500 worth of platinum and diamonds, a really happy ending.” Detectoring has grown in popularity, but acquiring land permissions has become increasingly difficult. Many farmers are reluctant. The notoriety of night-hawkers means many blankly refuse enquiries. Other areas have simply had the soil swept aside and been built over. Patrick’s previous club, Saxon Shore, based out
▲ Patrick Isaacs
of Broadstairs, folded because they couldn’t acquire enough permissions to detect. Having a club is important for the community, accreditation and the wider access to land. Membership is open to anyone. Patrick and Sylvie are members of Cinque Ports Detectors Club in Sandwich which is currently operating at capacity. “It’s a brand new club, there are lots of great
► Terry Morris
things happening. Anyone with a bit of land please contact us,” Patrick pleads. Some of the most important archaeological finds in modern times have been a result of metal-detecting. The Portable Antiquities Scheme has over 1.5 million objects registered. We must cherish the ancient history buried beneath us and in doing so empower those helping enrich our knowledge of the past: the detectorists.
Find Cinque Port Detectors Club and Thanet Beach Hunters on Facebook For advice on metal detecting please visit the National Council for Metal Detecting website and adhere to all local Covid-19 restrictions ncmd.co.uk
A 19th century Serbian medal found by Sylvie and her box of unearthed coins
ON THE WATER
Photo credit: Sarah Hewes
atching historic vessel Gallant making her way under sail into Ramsgate Royal Harbour is like stepping back to a time before consumerism and 200,000-tonne container ships. This summer our harbour will once again welcome the beautiful 1916 one-time herring lugger (or “logger”), having hosted her maiden visit last year, as she delivers ethical produce using only the power of wind. New Dawn Traders are the broker for a network of producers, ships and port allies, all working towards “supply chains that put planet and people first”, and here in our corner of Kent, Chris and Vanessa at Kent Sail Cargo are the port allies. Gallant and her crew will be in Ramsgate at the end of May to drop off green coffee, cacao and panela (unrefined whole cane sugar) direct from the Caribbean, before sailing to Portugal to collect olive oil, almonds, sea salt and wine, for delivery to us in August. Chris at Kent Sail Cargo first got involved when he was working at the Greenpeace Café at Glastonbury, where they wanted to limit monocrops
FAIRTRADE WINDS A historic sailboat is taking on the challenges of the future. The Gallant offers a windpowered alternative to cargo and is once again bringing Fairtrade produce from around the world to Ramsgate Harbour.
Photo credit: James Bannister
and single-use plastic. They chose to use olive oil imported through the sail cargo movement and Chris realised Thanet was on the shipping schedule. As the port allies, Chris and Vanessa are the connection between the crew and town. They are the welcome committee, help with the ton of laundry that can’t get done at sea, point the crew in the direction of good pubs and cafés (last year, the mostly French crew were delighted with breakfasts at Topps Café), but most of all they are responsible for organising pre-orders to fill the hull. Thanet’s major stockist is the Grain Grocer in Cliftonville. In Ramsgate, Little Ships stocked up last year on sea salt, olives, olive oil and port. Owner James Thomas loves the idea of the old world meeting the new – he watched Gallant online on her journey along the south coast of England (as I type, I can see her current location, just south of Miami). This year Union Ramsgate will be brewing with Curve Coffee Roasters, who are roasting the imported green coffee beans locally. Individuals can also pre-order online and go to the quayside (the Commercial Quay near the RNLI) to pick up produce when Gallant is in harbour. As Chris says, it’s more interesting than going to the supermarket. Sail cargo cultivates a connection between the consumer and the producers who grow our food, like those in Portugal, including Reigado Farm, where some of the
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olive trees are over 1,000 years old, and Jorge Vieira, who grows rice using holistic integrated agriculture to protect local birdlife. Last time Gallant was here, I went aboard to talk to skipper Jeff Lebleu. He talked about navigating the commercial routes of Europe and the Atlantic, utilising trade winds that have been used by sailors for
“Sail cargo cultivates a connection between the consumer and the producers who grow our food” centuries. Jeff is on the water 360 days of the year and his passion for this great experiment is palpable. A merchant navy officer by trade, he worked on conventional cargo ships for many years, but sailing is his passion. He spoke gently about how big ships are operated and what the impact is on the environment, explaining he “wanted to do something for the planet and the future”. He believes that most of what is shipped isn’t really needed. “If we really need things that come from somewhere else, maybe we can try and ship them in another way, in a cleaner way,” he enthused.
The Gallant crew is a mix of experienced sailors and volunteers. The crew members demonstrated the knots they had learned and showed me the calluses on their palms from the voyage. They learn quickly to tack and jibe, manoeuvring the boat (Jeff seemed unconcerned whether she was called a boat or a ship) through the wind. Precise navigation is possible with the digital equipment they have aboard, but trainees also learn to sail by the stars, and use the moon to understand tides. At sea, they sleep in same-sex cabins and take watches throughout the day and night. They are disconnected from the rest of the world – definitely no wi-fi – and downtime means chatting and playing music. The crew said that seeing Ramsgate from the water was exciting, and they were delighted by how handsome the town looked and by their warm welcome. Harbour Master Robert Brown allocates a safe berth for the vessel “dependent on her draft, length and beam” and reflected on how satisfying it must be for the crew “to see cargoes safely landed, having predominantly worked them by the power of the wind and human toil”. Thanet District Council, who own the port and harbour and declared a climate emergency in 2019, say they “embrace the ethos of low carbon transportation”. Historic sailing vessels are a delight to have in our harbour. And it is incredible to be able to support the global sail cargo movement from our own home town.
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FOOD & DRINK
MOVE A ABLE FEAST Writer
he reality of our Great British Summer often makes picnicking feel like an act of defiance, but strike it lucky and nothing is more bucolic. Maybe you consider picnics the bane of the season, or perhaps you are the nostalgic and optimistic type. Either way, it is hard to deny that eating outside elevates a humdrum meal to something special. Everything tastes better outdoors. Come the languorous days of summer, with outdoor dining de rigueur, the beach might seem like the obvious choice for an al fresco meal (aka “sand sandwich”), but there’s an abundance of perfect picnic spots elsewhere, from woods and parks to rose gardens and nature reserves. Here are a few of our favourite local spots to spread a rug.
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE Built in 1842, the Grade II listed granite lighthouse on the West Pier of the Royal Harbour is a stunning spot to pause and refuel. Order a seafood platter from Cannon’s fish stall, grab some cans of local Gadds’ beer and a box of chips, choose a bench (no view is a bad one) and you are good to go, though bear in mind its precipitous setting makes it nerve-wracking for parents with young children. If you fancy exploring more of the coast, hire a bike from Harbour Bikes and take your feast with you.
► With thanks to: Cannon's for the shellfish platter; Peter's Fish Factory for chips; Gadds' for the locally brewed beers; Harbour Bikes for the bike hire; shell plates found at Cats In Crisis charity shop
MONTEFIORE WOODLAND Head past the Montefiore Medical Centre on the East Cliff and you will spot the walled perimeter of Montefiore Woodland – the perfect spot for a Mad Hatter’s tea party. The woodland was formerly part of a 24-acre estate owned by the renowned humanitarian, philanthropist and campaigner for Jewish emancipation, Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885), and his wife Judith Cohen. Adjoining the woodland is the Grade II listed synagogue built for the Montefiores in 1833, and the domed mausoleum where they are buried. Spot the bird and bat boxes installed by the Friends of Montefiore Woodland, a team of volunteers who have transformed the woodland into a tranquil space complete with a wildflower meadow (they hold bat walks on summer evenings). Pick a cool, shady spot under the woodland canopy or in one of the clearings, and expect plenty of friendly squirrels.
FOR FOOD AND DRINK With a picnic anything goes, as long as it is portable. Keep it simple and stuff a bagel and beer in a rucksack, or channel Ratty and Mole from Wind in the Willows and push the boat out with sumptuous wool blankets, glassware and wicker basket. Whatever you are in the mood for, these local purveyors and producers tick every box: Archive 17 MILITARY ROAD Freshly-baked quiches and savoury bakes, tarts, cakes and pastries, and very good coffee, plus Kentish juices, crisps and other snacks
Union Café 25-27 QUEEN STREET Coffee from Margate’s Curve roastery, vegetarian food, beautiful bread by Frank Bread, and handblended teas
BB Pasta and Pizza 49-51 KING STREET Takeout pizza
Hive Café 13A GEORGE STREET Pre-order an afternoon tea to take to your favourite spot
Falstaff 16-18 ADDINGTON STREET Bread, bagels and pastries from Margate’s Modern Provider, Portuguese custard tarts and Marzena’s Polish apple cake Modern Boulangerie 2A WESTCLIFF ROAD Delectable bread and pastries Cannon’s Fishmonger & Seafood Stall HARBOUR Pre-order a seafood platter or rock up for shellfish ready to go J Prentis 18 KING STREET The place to pick up the best of Kent’s seasonal gluts, from local cherries, strawberries and plums to apples and pears Peter’s Fish Factory 96 HARBOUR PARADE Shakey Shakey Fish Bar 75 HIGH STREET For fish and chips
Papa George 4C YORK STREET Greek restaurant for delicious dips, souvlaki, stuffed vine leaves and salads to take away
FOR EVERYTHING ELSE Harbour Bikes 20 MILITARY ROAD Hire bikes from Toby in the Arches on Military Road if you fancy taking your picnic further afield Archive Wool blankets, throws and wooden boards Elephant in the Room 45 QUEEN STREET Fun cutlery and tableware Potters 72 HIGH STREET Blankets, crockery, homewares and cushions
Viking Bakehouse Oh, those doughnuts… And that bread. Ramsgate baker Russell Sullivan is currently selling his wares from Smiths Coffee Shop in Broadstairs 8 DUNDONALD RD. His bakes are worth a special trip (swing by Staple Stores for a cruffin while you are in the area). Watch this space for Ramsgate suppliers
Petticoat Lane Emporium 47 DUMPTON PARK DRIVE Baskets, hampers, tins and vintage crockery galore
Gadds’ Ramsgate brewery behind the Ravensgate Arms, Bottle Shop and Ravensgate Arms by the Sea at the Boating Pool. Available at Pysons Road outlet 4 HORNET CLOSE, PYSONS ROAD IND EST, BROADSTAIRS, the Bottle Shop on KING STREET, or home delivery direct from the brewery at ramsgatebrewery.co.uk
▲ With thanks to The Falstaff for the custard tart; Viking Bakehouse for doughnuts; Archive for the blanket and iced carrot cake; Modern Boulangerie for the macarons; The Haberdashery for the gingham fabric; Belladonna florist; basket, hamper, cake stand and vintage crockery all from Petticoat Lane Emporium
Ramsgate’s charity shops A great source of vintage tableware and picnic paraphernalia
54-56 Harbour Parade Ramsgate CT11 8LN
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We are a harbourside restaurant and café in Ramsgate oﬀering relaxed all day and evening dining, using local ﬁsh, free-range meat and produce from our allotment. Open 7am-9.30pm
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Traditional butcher's sausages, hand made on the Isle of Thanet using out door reared Kentish pork Stocked and used by: @beachesbroadstairs | @rosefarmshopramsgate @margate_cakehouse | @themodernboulangerie @kent.fresh | @modernprovider | @staple_stores @ginasoldkentbakery | @neptuneshall For more information and to order find us online
FOOD & DRINK
PEGWELL BAY COUNTRY PARK Just a short drive west of Ramsgate, beyond the Hugin replica Viking ship and the derelict hoverport (being gloriously reclaimed by nature) is the entrance to Pegwell Bay Country Park, part of the Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve – 615 hectares of beautiful dune pasture, mudflats, salt marsh and scenic coastline. A Special Site of Scientific Interest, the former landfill site offers a vital refuge for migrating birds. Don’t forget your binoculars – on a clear day, from the western edge of the reserve (Stonelees) you can usually spot the colony of seals. A coastal path circumnavigates the reserve (bordered with fronds of wild fennel) or head inland, where you might spy grazing highland cattle or semi-wild konik ponies. Be mindful of signage regarding access restrictions – it is a protected conservation area and picnickers should be careful not to disturb the wildlife.
MORE LOCAL PICNIC SPOTS
DIY PORTABLE FEAST IDEAS Hard- or soft-boiled eggs, with a jar of dukkah for sprinkling/dipping
A roast chicken packed up with mayo, mustard, pickles and bread
Swap soggy sandwiches for spanakopita or bánh mì, and anything else that comes in its own edible wrapper, from samosas, Scotch eggs, empanadas and gala pie to quiche and flamiche
Chilled gazpacho or ajo blanco in a cold flask
Robust pasta-, bean- or grain-based salads Frittata, or tortilla – that happy synthesis of egg, potato and onion Cold noodle salad with handfuls of herbs and a tangy, spicy dressing Sweet and spicy baked chicken wings with plenty of napkins
A watermelon, a chunk of feta, and a knife Meringues, a tub of cream and a punnet of seasonal Kent berries: make into a “mess” on site and hand out spoons Stick with finger food or take proper cutlery (and a tea towel to wrap it all in when you are done) Condiments are everything (do not forget the mustard)
Ellington Park King George VI Memorial Park Bench on East Cliff Chine West Cliff Lawns West Cliff Rose Garden Albion Place Gardens Western Undercliff beach Ramsgate Main Sands Benches in the harbour
▼ With thanks to: Papa George for the stuffed vine leaves, dips and beans; Archive for the quiche, juices, sausage rolls, crisps, boards and blankets; The Falstaff for the salt beef bagel, scones, croissants; Modern Boulangerie for bread; plums and tomatoes from Prentis; Potters for the wooden boards; Elephant in the Room for bamboo spoons and plates; Sean Tillett from STiR Woodcraft, for the wooden spoons
PAPA GEORGE Best Greek Souvlaki in Ramsgate
At Papa George we offer meals of excellent quality and invite you to try our delicious Greek Souvlaki. The key to our success is simple: providing quality consistent food that taste great every single time. We pride ourselves on serving our Ramsgate customers delicious genuine Souvlaki dishes.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support. Opening hours
Tuesday - Saturday 12 noon - 9pm
Tel: 01843 597351 www.papageorgetakeaway.co.uk Just oposite Wilko, 4c York Street, Ramsgate CT11 9DS
coffee • cakes • croissants vegan • gluten free
Napoli-style pizza, made to order in Margate.
Eat-in & Take-away
01843 226 852
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 33 Hawley St. Margate Old Town CT9 1QA www.scissortail.co.uk @scissortail_
89 Canterbury Rd, Margate
FLOAT YOUR BOAT T
As the Boating Pool opens for another season of pulling in the crowds, we look back over almost a hundred years of show-stopping entertainment from Hollywood glamour to a dynamic arts space, and even a moment when it was home to some monkeys
Historical images courtesy of
Thanet Community Development Trust
he West Cliff Bandstand and Tea Pavilion has played a central role in Ramsgate life for nearly a century. Built in 1929, the bandstand was demolished and changed into a boating pool in 1961, with the remaining original buildings awarded Grade II listed status in the 1980s. The bandstand, now boating pool, has provided locals and visitors hundreds of hours of quality entertainment, millions of cups of tea, played host to a number of world class celebrities, and has been the first and last stop, over many years, for the legendary annual Ramsgate Carnival. It has survived a world war, and adapted to meet the needs of contemporary Ramsgate life. As it looks towards its 100th birthday, new plans are unfolding, ensuring the building lives on into the next 100 years. In the first world war, parts of Ramsgate were devastated, and the 1920s saw a time of renewal and growth. As part of this regeneration, the Pleasure Gardens were built on the West Cliff, providing visitors with stunning sea views while they enjoyed a game of golf, boules, or tennis. Inspired by the Italian Renaissance period, architect Basil Deacon worked with local contractors WW Martin
(still active in Ramsgate today) to create an outdoor entertainment space with capacity for 2,000 visitors, circled by two buildings overlooking the sea at a cost of £18,256. The West Cliff Bandstand and Tea Pavilion was born. Crowds flocked to the bandstand during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. They were regularly entertained by the celebrated Freddie Hargraves and his Band, famed across Kent’s coastal towns, who excited audiences with lively concerts, singers, tap dancers and talent shows. A highlight on the yearly calendar was the Miss Ramsgate Carnival Queens, attracting world famous celebrities of the time, including singer and stage and screen actor Jessie Matthews OBE, and American movie star Gloria Swanson of Sunset Boulevard fame, in which she played Norma Desmond. Owned by Thanet District Council, the boating lake has been looked after by the Thalis family since the 1970s. First George, who ran the show for twenty years before selling on to his brother Andrew, who also ran the Corner House restaurant in Ramsgate, where Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in Harbour Street stands now. Andrew then passed the boating lake baton to his children Thalis and Katy. Katy is
still there today. For the last 50 years the café side has remained relatively unchanged, with a real local fanbase. Visitors include early morning dogwalkers, locals popping in for breakfast or lunch, and drop-offs from the open top bus tours. “The boating pool brings a lot of memories for a lot of my customers,” says Katy Nicolaou, leaseholder since 2004. “They remember coming here as a child and now with their grandkids. It’s very nostalgic for some people.” Inside the café, there is a mix of arcade and penny machines which draw the crowds. Outside, throughout the summer, members of the Ramsgate Thanet Viking Model Boat Club showcase their impressive collection of model boats on the lake, while being careful to dodge excited visitors on pedalos. There is also a play area for children and a mini go-karting track. On the other side of the pool, the building has had many different guises. Most notably in the 1980s it was a sanctuary for monkeys. There is little detail to be found about this era, but Ralph Hoult OBE and Honorary Freeman of Ramsgate Town, suggests that the monkeys didn’t last very long; long enough, however, to earn it the name the Monkey House. Over the years, the Monkey House has been an arts space, and in the early 2000s was used as a gallery by the then active Isle of Thanet Arts (IOTA), headed up by Phillip Oldfield. More recently Katy has installed a small music studio and bar, allowing her to host weddings and, a highlight from
her seventeen years running the show, a mini V festival in 2010 and 2011. It is no secret that, while she loves her work here, Katy is looking to downsize and has been trying to sell the lease to the boating pool. Unsurprisingly, it has attracted a lot of attention. Closest to securing a sale has been local bar owner Danny Potts, whose ideas for the site included draining the pool and hosting a festival. But that was not to be, which is where the Ravensgate Arms joins the story. Last year, in a bid keep business going, Ravensgate Arms owner Roger Bell went scouting for a local outdoor spot where he could keep his customers happy through lockdown restrictions. He approached Katy at the boating pool and, thanks to incredible local support, Roger managed to open on the boating pool site within three days from picking up the keys. Despite a challenging year, and the ongoing gamble with the weather, 2021 is set to be bigger and better for the Ravensgate Arms by the Sea, with plans including working with a new mobile pizza company Sourdough Eyes and a programme of DJ gigs. With any luck you will be reading this on a deckchair, at the boating pool, with the sun on your face and a pint in your hand. Cheers!
MEET THE MUSICIANS: WHENYOUNG Photographer Joel Kerr
With a new album on the horizon the indie-pop trio talk to the Recorder about staying still in lockdown, the new music they have been writing and living in Ramsgate through it all You’ve been championed by Radio 1 and the music press, but for those that don’t know whenyoung, who are you and how would you describe your music? We are Aoife, Andrew and Niall, a three-piece band hailing from Ireland. We make alternative pop music.
You’re childhood friends; rather than grow apart, you’ve grown together. What role has music played in your friendship and memories of growing up? Music was a vital form of escapism for us growing up. Learning to play instruments and songs was, in hindsight, a formative element of growing up. But it was when we became teenagers and sought out our own taste and style of music, art and fashion that we found like-minded spirits, ie each other. So music brought us together as teens, bonding over, sharing and experiencing music new and old. All the memories we have together are centred around music. We loved all the old punk stuff like Patti Smith, Blondie, Pixies, the Cure, Talking Heads. There is a bar in Limerick called Costello’s, it was like our HQ before we moved to London to form the band and give it a real go.
never spend too long in one place, but there are always the touchstones that you return to regularly in moments of downtime, home in the west of Ireland, London and now Ramsgate. This pace of life, exposure to different places, homesickness and uncertainty at times, among other things, has influenced and shaped us and our music. We actually wrote most of our upcoming album between two coasts, from a cottage in Doonbeg on the Atlantic Ocean to our flat in Ramsgate on the North Sea.
Margate features in your video for “Pretty Pure”, finishing with Aoife escaping into the sea dressed in a wedding dress. Was that your introduction to the wonders of Thanet, and is it a metaphor for your Ramsgate move? We were living in London at that point, but we’d been down Thanet way a few times. We were taken by the area and decided to shoot the video down there, in and around the Walpole Bay Hotel, with the help of some friends. We didn’t know at the time but maybe Aoife was subconsciously trying to swim around the headland to get to Ramsgate!
You formed in London, hail from County Clare, and two-thirds of you now live in Ramsgate. Can you tell us about your journey and whether place has had an influence on your music and style? We can’t help but see a draw to water...
Your songs often tackle difficult but current subjects including social inequality, mental health and suicide. How have you all been managing this past year and have you felt moved to engage through your music with the world we find ourselves in?
Up until last year movement and travel went hand in hand with being a musician. It’s a nomadic lifestyle. You
Our music and lyrical content is a mirror of the experiences we endure and our innermost thoughts
and struggles. We write our music primarily for ourselves as a means of catharsis. It has been a strange year, but we’ve been blessed in many ways to have Ramsgate as our isolation base. There are not many better places to be! During the first lockdown when uncertainty was rife, we felt very much compelled to engage through music. We wrote, recorded and released a song called “The Prayer” from our bedroom studio in our flat in Ramsgate, donating all the proceeds to the charity Women’s Aid. The song was a means for us to make some sense of what was happening to the world and to try to connect to loved ones far away. We created a timelapse music video from the windows of our flat on West Cliff, trying to convey the sense of isolation, but with an element of hope and togetherness. We ended up performing the song on BBC World News live from our living room. It was all very strange moving to a new place and having our world turned upside down in the space of a week. During the first few months of the pandemic we were playing a few acoustic shows a week for various causes and charities online, it was bizarre but incredibly grounding.
Your second album is about to launch. What can people expect from the music? We spent the majority of the year writing our upcoming album and then recording it in Wales. It feels very much like a progression for us as artists. We’ve pushed our heads above the parapet, something that we couldn’t have done before. We’ve felt more liberated in the songwriting
ramsgate recorder process and, as a result, the music is more expansive and genre-bending than our debut. Writing a lot from a home studio setup meant that we found ourselves experimenting more with sounds, both electronic and organic. We knew we didn’t want to make a repeat of our first album so intentionally we broke up the rulebook and questioned every decision in the musical arrangements, trying to break the familiar habits. We have been more efficient and strict; if a part didn’t improve the song it didn’t make the cut. Lyrically, Aoife has delved deeper, searching for clarity of mind, and there is a particular emphasis on self-love, the beginning of all love. A continuous theme throughout the album is embracing her femininity through learning to self-love. The album begins in the pain of an old narrative, arcs in the possibility of change and resolves in intention.
Ramsgate has a thriving music scene and we’re excited to see it growing. How would you describe what you’ve found here so far? It’s a weird one for us because we moved here a week before the pandemic hit. We had all these grand ideas of meeting local creatives, going to gigs at the Music Hall, setting up a studio and assimilating to seaside life only to have the walls come tumbling down. That said, we have still met a few lovely people down here and bumped into some familiar faces. The creative scene seems to be thriving here and why shouldn’t it be with the rich cultural heritage and beautiful natural landscape that Ramsgate boasts. We hope that some of those grand ideas will be a possibility this year, we have some shows pencilled and hope to be performing live again by the autumn. We will have to play a local show sooner or later!
Your new album is arriving just as we start to emerge from a year of lockdowns, social distancing and a difficult time for the music industry, live music in particular. What do you hope to find on the other side? Any changes you’re hoping are here to stay? It would be sad if we didn’t learn from this experience. There are many facets of life, not just in the music industry that were unsustainable. Our hope is that on the other side there will be greater respect and emphasis on the importance of the arts in society. Another hope is that we all look after ourselves better, prioritise our quality of life and hopefully the thirst for live music will be stronger than ever.
Where can readers find out more about whenyoung? You can listen to our music on Spotify or any streaming service, follow us across all social media @whenyoungband or just give us a Google.
19-21 Harbour Street, Ramsgate CT11 8HA www.nice-things.co.uk
Nice Things, a gallery and shop nestled by Ramsgate's royal harbour, sells beautiful and unique art and gifts. Visit us or shop online to see our unusual collection of handmade pottery, glass, jewellery and textiles by independent makers and artists, to find nice things which are authentic, colourful and fun ! Nicethingsramsgate
Nice Things, Ramsgate
EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique
MARCELLO Male & Female Hair Salon
EFT or ‘tapping’ is a simple yet powerful technique which can help to clear your symptoms by releasing subconscious beliefs and emotions Typical issues that can be helped include: * Stress * Anxiety * Feeling overwhelmed * Depression * Trauma including PTSD * Loss and grief * Low self esteem * Clear limiting beliefs
“I left each session feeling lighter, freer and joyful. Past traumas no longer haunt and restrict my life. Every day is now lighter, freer and joyful regardless of the circumstances. Emotional freedom.’‘
For more information visit
www.healingheartsandminds.co.uk To book an appointment with Diana Cox in Ramsgate or via skype, email
email@example.com or call 07908 528 661
WELCOME TO MY SALON MARCELLO SALON is a premier hair salon in Ramsgate, providing an excellent service to clients for 31 years. MARCELLO creative stylist: Marcello learned his specialist cutting and colouring skills from as far afield as the leading salons of Europe to Toni and Guy and Vidal Sassoon. He then opened his own salon in Ramsgate where he uses all those technical skills together with his own Italian creative flair to give you the perfect hairstyle.
01843 592027 • MARCELLOSALON.CO.UK
RUMMAGING in RAMSGATE Writer
Courtesy of businesses
Home improvement has been high on many people’s agenda, and what better and more sustainable way than sourcing everything second hand. From antique dealers to brica-brac Ramsgate offers rich pickings, and it’s not just the goods on sale that have a fascinating story
ARCH 16 Before moving to Ramsgate in 2000, Ivor Warton-Woods rubbed shoulders with Boy George and members of Led Zeppelin at his recording studio at Camden Lock in London. He has traded “antiques, vintage and retro junk” since arriving and opened Arch 16 in the harbour ten years ago. Items for sale include musical instruments, glassware, spotlights, cameras and projectors and, at the time of writing, the front of an old Renault car. “We sold an old TV camera because the buyer just thought it was a beautiful object,” Ivor says. He plays classical piano in the arch and, after a passing DJ heard him, is now sampled by grime artists. “It means there is music coming out of the arch at the same time as trading antiques,” he says.
16 Military Road facebook.com/arch16ramsgate
Counselling & Therapies for Mental Health Antenatal & Postnatal - Grief - Anxiety Depression - Relationship recovery - Stress - ADHD & Additional needs Person centred, Humanistic-led counselling (Integrative) for short or long-term therapy. Sessions are held in person (covid-safe centre), online or outdoors (walking or seated), and are Thanet based. Additional referrals for specific, integrative, alternative therapies also available. Appointments made Tuesday-Saturday between 8am-8pm. Please email or call with any questions or to register. Ages 16+.
07908 700 250 firstname.lastname@example.org
Baker Street Cafe and Bar open from 17th May
SIMPLY DANISH Each month, Flemming Moberg makes a four-day round trip in his ex-Royal Mail van to his native Denmark to replenish the stock of mid-century furniture for his shop in Ramsgate’s vintage quarter. Customers from Thanet, London and further afield come for the “clean lines and very high-end materials” of Danish design. Simply Danish is stocked with beautiful but functional furniture and lighting in immaculate
condition. “Lighting is very popular because designers say if you don’t have the correct lighting the furniture won’t look right,” he says. Flemming, a former retail manager at B&Q and Ikea, opened Simply Danish in Margate in 2013 but moved to Ramsgate, where he lives, in late 2019. “Business has been at least as good here,” he says. “I’m in business because it’s my passion.”
68 High Street simplydanish.co.uk
PETTICOAT LANE EMPORIUM
STORIES & THE PAST
“Everyone said I was mad,” says Richard Tozer, recalling the reaction to his plan for a giant antiques market in Ramsgate. Six years later Petticoat Lane, housed in a former warehouse, has more than 180 traders filling 200 pitches plus a café and bar. The entire retro experience is there – from furniture and mid-century goods to records, clothes and porcelain. Richard has been in the antiques trade since leaving school and spent much of the 1980s in Harrods’ antique department serving customers such as the Sultan of Brunei. He then concentrated on furniture restoration and dealing, before his brainwave, which has become more than a business. “Some of our traders make good money and some don’t care if they make money,” he says. “We have an amazing community feeling here.”
Stacey Briskey has been buying antiques since she was 15 in her home city of Rockhampton, Australia. She sold items on Etsy, the online vintage platform, before moving from London, where she was a teacher, to Ramsgate two years ago. Stacey opened Stories & The Past in December 2019, selling an eclectic mix including jewellery, small pieces of furniture, glassware and clothes. Unusual items when we visited included a set of German Mickey Mouse comics and a signed photo of the Beatles taken by Dezo Hoffman. “I source things if people ask me,” Stacey says. “Mirrors are popular and a lot of people want Art Deco vases.” With only a few months open before the first lockdown, Stories & The Past hasn’t traded during the summer season. “I’m looking forward to finding out what it’s like,” Stacey says.
47 Dumpton Park Drive petticoatemporium.com
84 Queen Street @stories_and_the_past
Andrew Davidson’s passion for vintage objects started when his grandmother showed him her china cabinet at home in Aberdeen. “What she called her treasures were of no financial value but they all had a story,” he says. While working as a retail area manager in London he sold antiques in Bermondsey and Greenwich market. After moving to Thanet in 2005 he opened Paraphernalia in Margate in 2011 and a second branch in Ramsgate five years ago. Both shops sell lots of tables, chests of drawers and chairs as well as smaller items down to vintage postcards. In normal times Andrew is on the road half the week buying items in the UK, France, Germany and Belgium. He has recently added vintage kimonos, Kokeshi dolls and small pieces of furniture sourced direct from Japan to Paraphernalia’s range.
When Andy Harley moved to Ramsgate four years ago he was “burnt out” after decades of buying and selling antiques in London. “I came here to stop but then I got the itch again,” he says. With items accumulating in his house, Andy spotted the perfect shop in Addington Street, and Aitch was born. Everything in Aitch spends time in Andy’s home before going on sale, and there are, he says, no rules. When the Recorder visits there are two Royal Doulton chimneys, a 1950s barber’s chair and a pair of toy dogs on wheels. The window display changes twice a week and Andy also sells his own paintings. “I’ve been an antique dealer and interior designer all my life,” he says. “Now I’m just doing what I want to do.”
2 Addington Street @paraphernaliavintage
35 Addington Street
Open Thurs-Sun 11:00-4:00 Come and visit our brand new shop Limarni in fabulous Harbour St. We are an eclectic mix of people, reflected in our offering: antiques, collectables, gifts, designer bags and accessories. Bespoke services also available. Mention the Ramsgate Recorder with your first purchase and get a 10% discount.
STYLE ON THE STREET
Since the 1800s the fashion set has been drawn to Ramsgate, and it turns out the legacy of the promenade is not confined to history. Stylist Katy Lassen has often had her head turned by people on our streets and has teamed up with photographer Ed Thompson to bring you a new regular fashion feature. Here Katy introduces some of Ramsgate’s style icons ◄ Shirley, also known as the most stylish woman in Ramsgate! The actress is a masterclass in tonal layering and shows us that a strong look never goes out of fashion.
▲ Ramsgate born and bred, Mike is a familiar face from his stint as top barista at Archive. Mike knows how to accessorise this full black summer look perfectly. It is all in the detail.
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◤ Local hairdresser Jerome is taking socks and sandals to the next level. Oversized silhouettes teamed with a bright blue sock, Jerome’s look is the ultimate in high fashion comfort, straight out of Dover Street Market. ◄ Steve is a vision in multiple shades of mustard, complementing textures of wool, cotton and corduroy. Another fan of socks and sandals, Steve’s elegant approach to dressing stands out from the crowd.
▲ New mum in town Lizzie caught our eye with her modern take on a classic workwear look finished off with the best accessory you can get - a very cute baby strapped to your front. Baby Winnie has nailed pattern-clashing and she is only one! We have high hopes for her as Ramsgate’s next style icon.
Katy Lassen is co-founder of @alsojournal and runs @WeSeaFaces which offers casting and production support to photographers and teams shooting in Thanet
ART & CULTURE
THROUGH A CHILD’S EYES Writer
Images courtesy of
John Sainsbury Photography
A new installation by world-renowned artist Conrad Shawcross is coming to Ramsgate’s seafront. It is a bold and vibrant realisation of the vision of children in Ramsgate whose imaginings led to its creation
e often hear that children are the future, a trope trotted out without much thought. True, they will be here when the adults are long gone. But how many of us actually stop to listen, see, even think like a child to imagine what their future might look like? Pioneering Places, a project run by Turner Contemporary, has attempted just that. Since 2018 the Margate gallery has been working with 70 Ramsgate children from St Laurence Church of England Junior Academy and Ramsgate Arts Primary. Through weekly sessions working alongside artists and historians, the children were tasked to come up with a concept for an installation for Ramsgate Harbour to make the town an “even better place to live, work and visit by exploring heritage, developing civic pride and connecting artists and communities''. The realisation of that brief is soon to be unveiled on the East Cliff: Conrad Shawcross’s Beacons will see four galvanised steel structures each topped with a steel disc manually turned using a handle. The colourful, bold installation brings a world renowned British artist, with a number of major international public commissions, to Ramsgate. And it is
the children we have to thank. From the beginning, the reins of this project were firmly in their hands, something Mike Brown, art teacher at Ramsgate Arts Primary, confesses was unfamiliar territory. “I was a little bit terrified at the beginning. Teaching is often prescriptive, but this was child-led which is a little unheard of. The children were so in control, they selected everybody,” he explained, including Conrad Shawcross. Sinead Stoddart, a stop-motion animator and model maker, found herself on the sharp end of this selection process. When she turned up for her interview as an artist on the project at the Turner Contemporary, she was met by the children. “It was the most fun interview I’ve ever had, there were activities and play including craft. That’s so me!” she enthuses, but is quick to stress childled does not mean just doing what the child says. The challenge for the teachers, artists and historians involved was getting the necessary learning across in a way that engaged the children, and got the best out of them. “We are very closed-minded and biased as adults. Through this project our minds changed,” Sinead explains. “We didn’t take anything for granted. If something didn’t work we asked the children, why?” She recalls a particularly memorable session when, in response to the children’s feedback about a workshop on mechanics that hadn’t engaged them, they got in a load of tyres from a local garage to try something different. Sinead saw the value of responding and rethinking the teaching when one of the children ran past rolling a tyre shouting, “I’m an engineer!” “It made my day. It was just a wheel!” says Sinead. Another memorable session saw the children given special access to the derelict Pleasurama site where they created giant sculptures using wool. Mike recalls the children were “gobsmacked. It was a real wow moment. They turned something derelict and rundown into something beautiful.” Parent Aimee Atkins who worked with the children, gaining a City
and Guilds Creative Enablers certificate, saw the benefits in her son who had never shown an interest in art. “Galleries can feel like very adult spaces, somewhere you have to be quiet,” she says. But here he was “coming out smiling. He could express himself freely, as opposed to conforming. He could open up and relax. There is no right or wrong with art, it’s down to passion, what you find interesting and stimulating,” she explains.
“It was a real wow moment. They turned something derelict and rundown into something beautiful” The project is now coming to fruition, just as the children involved are set to move from primary to secondary school; a symbolic moment as another milestone of growing up is realised. Through Conrad Shawcross’s realisation, Beacon is a communication from them to us about all our futures. The installation addresses themes identified by the children through their research of the town: “play and playfulness”, “caring” and “modern machines”. “I am hoping that Ramsgate will see the hope, inspiration and creativity that has come from the children,” says Michelle Palmer, Headteacher at St Laurence Church of England Junior Academy. “They are the future and want the installation to remind everyone that if we work together the future will be brighter and Ramsgate will be an even
better place to live.” Nick Budge, headteacher at Ramsgate Arts Primary, adds that, since the project,“the children feel differently about Ramsgate. They have a far greater knowledge about it and are willing to share that it’s a great place we live and you need to know about it.” Mike, teacher at the same school, believes the children will be “proud of it. They will think, ‘I was a big part of that.’ It will have a legacy.” Talk of legacy is apt. The installation also comes in a milestone year for the Turner Contemporary which in 2021 celebrates ten years. Conrad Shawcross was one of the first artists to exhibit there. Now his work is to be displayed beyond the confines of the gallery and down the road in Ramsgate. “I am really excited to be working with the young and brilliant minds of tomorrow to realise a new beacon of friendship and welcome to the Kent coast,” he says. For both Sinead and Aimee who grew up and went to school in Ramsgate, it signifies change. “Thirty years ago you might have been taken to London with school,” Aimee recalls, “but there was nowhere down here,” she says. “The Turner has been hugely beneficial for Margate,” says Sinead. “It’s nice to see Ramsgate getting some of that too.” Like the Turner, Pioneering Places has had broader impacts beyond its immediate goals. Sinead has incorporated elements she learned from child-led teaching into her work with university students. Both Ramsgate Arts Primary and St Laurence Church of England Junior Academy have incorporated elements from the project into its curriculums. And it has brought new people into the gallery that perhaps never thought it was a space for them. “For a lot of parents and children in the area it has opened minds to something that seemed inaccessible,” says Aimee. As a work of art, Beacons brings something different to Ramsgate, and will no doubt draw new visitors to the town to see it. But perhaps the biggest hope for those involved is that it will help us all see our town through different eyes: children’s eyes.
Artists impression: Conrad Shawcross Studio
ART & CULTURE
THE PUNKINESS OF PAINT Writer Vanessa Fairley
Courtesy of artist ▲ Margot in the mirror
From the everyday to the absurd, Margot Bandola’s freeform paintings are a window on the chaos of the world, both inside and out. As she prepares for a solo exhibition of new work, she talks to Vanessa Fairley about her work and inspiration
e are all probably feeling more intensely connected with our local area than ever before, whilst still harbouring a longing to see new places, to refresh our eyes and minds. And what better way to begin our new journeys than with a visit to the Pie Factory in Margate to see the paintings of Ramsgate local Margot Bandola. Hers is a vision bursting with imagery from the beautiful to the chaotic. Female figures and faces contend with leering animal forms, tumbling through light and darkness into water, tunnels and rows and rows of tiny terraced houses. Margot takes daily inspiration from the local area: “You can wander and wander and get a 180-degree view of the coast.” She particularly loves how the shape of the shoreline changes in Ramsgate, from the stretches of
▲ “Balloon Up”
beach to the curve of the harbour and on to the supporting wall arches of the West Cliff. And it is not only the landscape that inspires her. The artists, musicians, and all the different local characters she encounters feed into her work. She can find herself recreating an image she might have only glimpsed for a second and tells of a particular form that keeps appearing in her current work. “I glanced through a window to see a woman, leaning over the arm of a sofa, her proffered elbow held out to a parrot. It keeps popping up, sometimes as just a shape,” she says. Margot’s paintings offer these moments and gestures, these flashes of a dream or a memory, for us to interpret for ourselves and recreate as our own stories. Slapped or smeared onto the canvas, daubed or stroked, the application of the paint is as interesting as the subject matter. “I love the punkiness of paint. That you can be so rough with it,” she says of her painting process, which is not dissimilar to playing music. “Each piece has its own identity.” Freeform jazz, in her opinion, perhaps not surprising from an artist who showed a free spirit from an early age. Growing up in Ponteland, Northumberland, Margot was expelled from school and planned to retire to Cornwall at 16 to paint. Years later, still painting, she enrolled in the Bristol School of Fine Art and, after a period working in animation on big name features, a degree from the National ►
Jon Key Chosen Family No. 2 (Sharina) 2020
Breakfast Under The Tree
curated by Russell Tovey
5 June – 15 August 2021 CARL FREEDMAN GALLERY 28 UNION CRESCENT MARGATE
▲ “The Belling Dresses”
Film School followed. Painting remained the preference. She doesn’t know what she is going to paint when she begins, and finds it exciting to discover the images as they happen. She works fast at the beginning, to “knock back the white of the canvas”. This combative spirit is reflected in the imagery she is known for: “Lots of women. Being themselves. Strong and fighting.” She sees influences and notices connections after painting. “It’s entertaining and compelling for me. I can’t stop,” she says. Her paintings are not related to a narrative and are for people to interpret for themselves. She loves to “juxtapose dark themes against the absurdity of life”. In “The Belling Dresses” puffed out skirts suspend seemingly angelic forms, depicting the Victorian suicide jumpers of the Bristol Suspension Bridge – a historical discovery from her art school days in Bristol. Feminine collars, puff sleeves and bouquets of flowers jostle with wolflike forms, bared teeth, or gaping holes for eyes. “It is an absurd and beautiful quality of being human, how in one moment we manage to worry about all the plastic in the ocean and also a hangnail,” she notes. Far from static pictures, Margot forces the viewer’s eye to move, dancing around the canvas. In “Balloon Up” our vision is catapulted from a seated woman in a bikini and vivid green sun hat, to an outstretched form of ghostly white, ready to tumble
and break the momentarily hovering peace. Composition is deeply important to Margot. She achieves a balancing of chaos which is deceptively simple. She currently has six paintings that just aren’t working, and which may never make the cut. “They’re over-cooked. Some I put away for a while and return to with fresh eyes,” she explains, saying it can take years to finish a piece. “I’m a bit obsessed with composition. If it’s calling out to me that something is wrong, I turn it upside down or view it through a mirror.” This part of painting, the constant looking, is for Margot “endlessly interesting”. She works in a studio in her garden and laughs as she tells me her neighbours must think she is so vain, always holding up a mirror to look at a painting just out of sight. If your eyes are hungry for sustenance, or you perhaps feel a kinship to Margot’s battle with chaos, then do not miss this opportunity to see these paintings in the flesh. Margot has captured moments from out there in the world, which allow us to look inward and see further than we expected.
Margot Bandola’s exhibition It Came on the Radar is showing at Pie Factory, Margate, 21 May to 1 June piefactorymargate.co.uk For more information visit margotbandola.com or follow margot_bandola on Instagram
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Bird Watch LONG-TAILED TIT Writer
he long-tailed tit is arguably the prettiest of the tit family. Its subtle pink, white and black colourings and distinctive long narrow tail make it a very elegant looking small bird. You often hear it making its si-si-si-si-si call before seeing it, frequently flitting through tree branches in large extended family groups of eight to 20 birds. Around the end of February long-tailed tits begin creating their rounded egg-shaped nest, one of the most unusual nests of any bird in the UK, expertly woven out of lichen, moss and over 1,000 feathers, held together with strands of spider’s web. The nests are often placed in the fork of a tree or in a thorny shrub. Although these nests can be very hard to find, one of the best
very lucky they can sometimes be seen huddled up together side by side along a tree branch. Long-tailed tits mainly feed on insects and invertebrates. They are also partial to caterpillars and the eggs of moths and butterflies. Although mainly a bird of woodland, hedgerows and parks, they will come into gardens, so we can all help them out in the colder months by putting out fat-ball feeders, suet blocks, small seeds, breadcrumbs, finely grated
cheese and peanuts. Don’t forget that all birds will appreciate you for putting out a small bowl of fresh water, especially during the summer.
If you would like the chance to see long-tailed tits and other wildlife, I do guided nature walks from Ramsgate to Pegwell Bay. Due to Covid-19 these walks may be postponed. Contact me at email@example.com for details
places to look is in the bramble and hawthorn bushes at the old Pegwell hoverport. Nests built early in the breeding season can take up to three weeks to complete; those built at the end of the breeding season can be completed within just a week. The male and female take turns at building it. Once complete a small entrance hole is left so that they can access the nest to brood between eight to 12 eggs and feed the chicks once they have hatched. The way the nest is constructed allows it to expand to accommodate the growing chicks inside. As a small bird, the long-tailed tit can suffer high death rates during particularly cold winters. During this time they will often roost together in an attempt to keep warm. If you are
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Calling all Thanetians
With just months before Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour celebrates 200 years, Level Eleven Studio owner Russ Pullen is photographing Thanet characters for an exhibition. Here he introduces his latest subject: Marcus Redwood
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s I write this, I’m genuinely excited that we’ve reached that magical day when pubs have reopened. So this issue’s Thanetian almost chose itself. If, like me, you’ve enjoyed the pubs and clubs of Thanet for (many!) years, then Marcus will undoubtedly be a familiar face. He has been a presence at the doors of clubs and pubs for as long as I can remember, supplying professional door supervisors through his company Marc-One Security. Our shoot was enormous fun. Marcus has a huge number of fabulous stories from a pretty exciting career – he even cleared up a few old mysteries for me! I thought this shot told his story in one photo, though it was tough choosing a favourite. Now we’re allowed to reopen, I’m really keen to crack on with my Thanetians project, with the exhibition planned for September. So please get in touch if you’d like to be considered. We’re looking for all sorts of personalities, styles, looks and stories among the people of the Isle of Thanet. You’ve just got to be interesting! Drop me a photo and some details about yourself to email@example.com
Unsung heroes: Malcolm Wilkinson Writer & Photographer Eleanor Marriott
Meet the Mayor’s mace-carrying military aid, whose history is steeped in Ramsgate’s past
t is common knowledge that Ramsgate has a mayor, but did you know we also have a Town Sergeant, whose job includes carrying a ceremonial mace? Octogenarian Malcolm Wilkinson (aka Mac) has filled this role, on and off, since 1997. The role of town sergeant is a military position, stemming from Ramsgate’s naval past. The town was originally governed by Sandwich, the head “Cinq Port”, but it became a Borough in 1884, which meant it was now allowed its very own mayor. That same year the local philanthropist Moses Montefiore presented the town with an ornamental mace. And so the role of Ramsgate “mace bearer”, or “town sergeant”, was created. Coincidentally Mac also comes with a naval history. One which brought him to Kent in 1954, and his father and grandfather before him. All three trained at Chatham Naval College. He met his wife Marion in Chatham and it became their base camp for several years, where he helped bring up their two children in between postings. In 1997 the family moved to Ramsgate, and Mac, who had since retired from the navy, responded to a post for town sergeant. “I was interviewed in the morning and working for them in the afternoon!” he proudly recalls. Aside from protecting the mayor from would-be attackers with a mace,
what does Mac’s job entail? “I’m like a portable secretary – principally a chauffeur but also responsible for making sure the mayor knows where to be, who to meet, and what to wear,” he explains. He has also been keeping the ceremonial robes in order, right down to the frilly jablet worn underneath the mayoral chains. No mayor wants to be caught without a spotless jablet or, worse still, without one at all. (That did once occur, Mac confesses, but an improvised handkerchief saved the day.) In addition, he’s been polishing
and protecting the town’s silverware, including its splendid collection of silver trophies. In 2005, at the age of 70, Mac finally laid down his mace – that is until the call came to resume duties from Ramsgate’s 66th mayor, Trevor Shonk, ten years later. At 85 he retired again. But then COVID-19 came along, and the tricky task of finding a replacement was put on hold. So Mac is still involved, keeping things on a steady keel and the silverware shining. “I love the job to bits and I care a lot about its historical side,” he explains.
Mac has spent considerable time researching Ramsgate’s history, and subsequently giving talks about his findings. “It’s important to know these things because it’s our heritage. If you don’t know about your town you won’t look after it,” he says. Both through his time as town sergeant and his voluntary work, Mac has looked after his adopted town very well. So much so, he probably deserves a medal, or at least his name on a Ramsgate trophy. And I know just the man to take good care of it, even if he is officially retired.
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