RAMSGATE MILITARY & HERITAGE TRAIL
Use this page and its sub-pages to learn more about Ramsgate and walk the trail.
ABOUT THE RAMSGATE MILITARY & HERITAGE TRAIL
Through this Trail, we will showcase some of the most interesting, as well as the lesser well-known, sites of historic importance. By bringing these areas to life, we hope both locals and visitors will appreciate the hidden significance of the area in which they’re standing.
Through this website, the Blue Plaques, and the booklet, you will find out all about Ramsgate’s past and present.
The whole walk is a loop, starting and ending at the same spot in Government Acre; allow for a full day to complete this. Otherwise, it has been broken down into smaller sections, each one focusing on a particular geographical district of Ramsgate. These sections are one-way routes, so you will need to find your way back, but are shorter and last between 30 minutes and two hours.
Accessible and alternative routes can be found in the guidebook at the start of each walk's section.
For those wanting to do the walk in sections, remaining on flat ground and avoiding the hills, you can do the Trail in the following chunks: West Cliff follow walks 1, 2, & 6; Town Centre/Harbour follow walks 3 & 5; and, East Cliff follow walk 4.
While every effort has been made to credit photographers where necessary, it is believed that the photographs and pictures used are out of copyright. If you know the copyright owner of any pictures used, do get in touch so we can correctly credit them.
Without the support of so many different people and organisations, this Military and Heritage Walking Trail of Ramsgate would not have been possible. We give our sincere thanks to:
The Armed Forces Covenant for funding this project and making it all possible; and to their local officer, Tracy Evans, for her guidance in the early phases of the project;
Our very many volunteers, whom provided countless hours of dedicated effort to researching, writing, designing and helping with the creation of the Trail.
Thanks to Nick Dermott and Edwina Crowley, both of Thanet District Council, for their help and advice throughout the project.
A very warm thank you also goes to Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School for their students’ research into Chatham House School during World War One, with special thanks to Charlie, Gayain, and Liam whom gave a wonderful presentation of their findings. Thank you also to their teacher, Mick Moody, for his support for the students.
Thanks also go to Thanet District Council and all the owners, managers and stewards of the buildings whom gave permission for the blue plaques to be on their property;
Alongside the support of the Armed Forces Covenant, Persimmon Homes South East very generously provided funding towards another plaque and an exhibition of the work produced by our volunteers and the WHSmith Foundation were kind enough to provide funding towards stationery costs.
And thank you to anyone we may have forgotten to mention!
FOREWORD BY RALPH HOULT OBE
Ramsgate is a town rich in heritage, with an amazing history having played a large part in our nation’s past. This booklet seeks to bring that heritage to life by walking you through history and allowing you to see and feel some of the events of Ramsgate’s past. The trail was the idea of Andrew Morris, the Heritage Manager at Thanet Community Development Trust (TCDT). This small local charity set about fundraising for the project (see the Acknowledgement’s Section for a list of supporters) and over two years – and with a little help from their friends – they have
brought this proud town’s military heritage to life. I love Ramsgate, I especially love its history, and I’m very proud to put my name to this project.
Ramsgate’s documented history started over 2000 years ago, when Julius Caesar landed at Ebbsfleet in 54BC, where he built his fort which was recently rediscovered. Later, in AD 449 we had the Saxons, when Hengist & Horsa with 40 ships came to our aid. 1,500 years later, the Viking ship Hugin was rowed across the North Sea in celebration of their visit and now sits in Pegwell Bay, not far from the original landing site.
In AD597 we had the arrival of Saint Augustine, who went on to Canterbury to convert England to Christianity. During the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Ramsgate was the main embarkation & disembarkation port for troops.
This is a trail, supported by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, which has our local military history at its heart. For example, very few people realise that during World War One (1914-1918), Ramsgate was listed as the most bombed seaside town in the UK. These were terrifying times when Zeppelins filled the sky raining bombs down onto the people below.
Twenty years after the end of the war to end all wars, and due mainly to the suffering endured during the Great War, the then Mayor, Councillor ABC Kemp approached the Government in 1938 three times to get permission to build air raid shelters for the whole population of Ramsgate. The government of the day insisted that there was not going to be a war, however, in the end “ABC” got his permission to build. Calling on East Kent’s proud coal mining history it took the Kentish Miners just nine months to build three and a half miles of tunnels all over Ramsgate saving thousands of lives over the next 6 years of bombing and blitzkrieg.
Please, dip in and out of the booklet and follow the trail wherever it leads you. Enjoy.
Ralph Hoult OBE
Honorary Freeman of Ramsgate
AKA “Mr. Ramsgate”