Isle of Thanet Kelly's Directory 1936

Ramsgate & St Lawrence


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The town is situated in a valley running southward to the sea, on rising ground east and west.

The town faces south and is chiefly built on high ground.

There is a wide arterial road from the western end of the town to the West Cliff, which has opened up St Lawrence Cliffs, upon which the Corporation have constructed at a total outlay of about £200,000 extensive promenades, an arena, capable of seating 2,500 people, pavilions, bowling greens, tennis courts and putting greens. Inclined ways lead to the Undercliffe drive and rock gardens; there is an artificial beach on a part of the Western foreshore adjoining the Undercliffe drive.

The town is governed by a Corporation consisting of a Mayor, 8 aldermen and 24 councillors. The town was incorporated in 1884 and is divided into eight wards, which are called respectively, East Cliff ward, West Cliff ward, East Central ward, West Central ward, Sir Moses Montefiore ward, St Lawrence ward, Northwood ward and Southwood ward.

St Lawrence College was founded in 1879 since when its buildings have been continually augmented the latest addition being a memorial chapel and library. The Junior School provides for boys from 8 to 14, the Senior School provides for those from 14 to 19 years of age. The College stands on an estate of 160 acres. A company  of the Officers' Training Corps is attached to the College.

Chatham House College, in Chatham Street was founded in the year 1797 and occupied a site of twenty acres. It was entirely rebuilt, is under the control of Kent Education Committee and is known as Chatham House County School for Boys.

There is also the Convent of the Assumption in Goodwin Road.

A harbour was commenced in 1749-50, but in the course of three or four years disagreement arose amongst the principal officers about the width of the entrance, and the works were put a stop to until June 1761. Another difficulty then arose through the deposit of sand and sullage choking up the harbour and in 1773 the sluices were first brought into action. In a survey made in August 1782, the basin was found to have fourteen feet of water at spring tide while in the harbour in the channel under the east pier the depth amounted to nineteen feet at the same time. The building of the cross wall to form the basin prevented the waves from breaking upon the shore as they had hitherto done. In 1787 an advanced pier was carried out in a south easterly direction from the head of the east pier to facilitate the entrance of shipping in rough weather.

The front suffered during the gale of 1897 and although the storm was felt with less violence on this side of the island the whole of the covered seats, shops etc on the Promenade between the pier and the railway station on the sea wall were destroyed.

The Borough Council took over the administration of the harbour from the Ministry of Transport in 1934.

The Municipal Airport is at Rumfields which is less than five minutes journey by car from the Harbour.

The Royal Victoria Pavilion which was built by the Municipal Authorities is on the old stone yard near Ramsgate Harbour.

St Georges Church was consecrated in 1827. There are sittings for 1,500 persons. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £550 with residence. It is in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury and has been held since 1928 by the Rev William Albert Richard Ball M.A. of Emmanuel College Cambridge who is a surrogate. There is a chapel of ease dedicated to St Mary in Chapel Place.

Christ Church in The Vale is a building in the Early English style and was consecrated in 1847. The living is a vicarage net yearly value £400 with residence. It is in the gift of the Church Patronage Trustees and has been held since 1931 by the Rev. Percy M Townend M.A. of St Johns College Durham who is a surrogate.

The Sailors Mission Church in Military Road is served by the clergy of Christ Church.

St Luke's Church was consecrated in 1876. The living is a vicarage net yearly value £440 with residence. It is in the gift of trustees and has been held since 1935 by Rev. Gilbert Hemming Williams.

St Marks Church, Northwood is a chapel of ease to St Luke's.

St Paul's Church is in King Street. The living is a vicarage net yearly value £500 with residence. It is in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury and has been held since 1919 by the Rev. Thomas Williams B.A. of St David's College Lampeter.

The Roman Catholic Church of St Augustine's on West Cliff which was designed by Welby Pugin esq. is a church of pure Gothic architecture.

The Benedictine Abbey on the opposite side of the road was built for the fathers of this order who serve the church. The Chapel of the Convent of the Assumption, Pegwell Bay is served by St Augustine's.

The Roman Catholic Church of SS Ethelbert and Gertrude is in Hereson Road and was built in 1902; there are 300 sittings.

Mount Zion Strict Baptist Chapel is in Camden Road, Abbots' Hill. There is a Baptist Church  in Cavendish Street and the Union Church is in Crescent Road, Ellington. The Congregational Church in Meeting Street was founded in 1662 and rebuilt in 1838. The Methodist Church, Hardres Street was founded in 1811. There are Methodist Churches at Northwood, Manston, Queens Street and Denmark Road. In connection with the above churches there is one at Cliffs End and another at Sarre. There is also a Methodist Mission Hall at Newcastle Hill, King Street. The Brethren meet at the Foresters Hall and in the South Eastern Hall, Belmont Road. The Jewish Synagogue is in Honeysuckle Road off Hereson Road. The Salvation Army Citadel is in High Street and the Ramsgate Brotherhood hold their services in the Assembly Rooms, High Street.

The obelisk  on the pier was erected to the honour of George IV on his return from Hanover on the 8th November 1821.

Half a mile eastward of the Granville Hotel is East Cliff Lodge built in the Gothic style in 1803; it was formerly the summer residence of King George IV when Prince of Wales and was afterwards for some years the residence of Sir Moses Montefiore bart. It is at present vacant.

Albion House, in Albion Place was a residence of the Duchess of Kent and her daughter, afterwards Queen Victoria, as was also West Cliff House (one of the most beautiful marine residences in England). Albion House is now used as offices of the Corporation.

The Ramsgate Club is at 56 Harbour Parade. The Ramsgate Conservative Club Ltd is in West Cliff Mansions. The Working Men's Club is in Chatham Place, near the Town Station.

There is a Conservative Working Men's Institute in St Luke's Avenue.

The Royal Temple Yacht Club founded in 1857 has its headquarters on the West Cliff. This Club holds an annual Yachting week.

The Ramsgate General Hospital and Seaman's Infirmary, West Cliff Road was founded in 1848 and it is for the medical and surgical treatment of the sick poor resident in Thanet, and for all seamen of all nations brought into the Port of Ramsgate. It has 101 beds and  is a registered training school for general nursing. In October 1909 the present building was opened by Earl Brassey G.C.B.. The cost was about £16,000 which sum was chiefly defrayed by the legacy of John Nicholas esq. A children's ward built as a town war memorial was opened in 1925.

The Nurses Home opened in1927, containing 30 bedrooms and offices was built by Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills D.B.E., J.P. A maternity department opened in 1931 was given by the same generous donor. An X-ray annexe equipped as a memorial to the late Dr Edward Fisk was opened in 1934.

The Sailors Home and Sailors Church are situated on the Military Road near the ascent to the Cliff named Jacobs Ladder.

The population of Ramsgate including the area added to the Borough by the County of Kent Review Order 1935 is 34,422. The area of the municipal borough is 3,624 acres.

The Palace Theatre is in  High Street.

The Granville Gardens and Winterstoke Gardens are on the East Cliff and on the West Cliff is the St Lawrence Cliffs Estate, including an undercliff drive and the Prince Edward Promenade, which were opened in 1926 by King Edward VIII then Prince of Wales. On the West Cliff under the promenade is a Theatre, known as the West Cliff Theatre, which will seat over 1,000 people. There is on the East Cliff a sunken enclosure protected from the wind by glass screens. There is a bathing establishment on the main sands; a bathing pool with cafes adjoining and equipped with the filtration plant was opened at Marina sands in 1935.

Excellent sea fishing may be had off the coast.

The Thanet Bowls, Tennis and Croquet Club have well laid out grounds on the East Cliff, adjoining East Cliff Lodge.

The Royal Victoria Pavilion was erected by the Corporation on the sea wall near the harbour at a cost of over £35,000; it consists of a large concert hall, while on the outside and round the roof is a promenade which forms a covered public shelter on wet days; it will hold 1,500 persons.

There is also the Kings Theatre near the market as well as a number of picture theatres.

At Ellington, near the entrance to the Southern railway Station is the Public Park and Pleasure Ground.

The Warre Recreation Ground is at St Lawrence and lawn tennis, bowls and cricket can be played for small fee. In addition to the above grounds the Corporation have laid out Spencer Square gardens for tennis and putting.

A sports ground of over 55 acres at Jacky Bakers farm was presented to the borough by Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills D.B.E., J.P.; it has three pavilions, football, cricket and hockey grounds and a miniature golf course.

The Isle of Thanet Electric Supply Company Ltd run their trams from the Southern railway Station round Ellington, through St Lawrence to the West cliff and New Road and Harbour and thence on by Madeira Road to Broadstairs and Margate.

The Market is situated in the centre of the town at the junction of the main streets.

The Jewish College and Synagogue are in Honeysuckle Road.

The Town Hall is in Queen Street; underneath is the market. there is a portrait of Queen Victoria, painted by Fowler in 1839; also portraits of Sir Moses Montefiore, Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills and other benefactors to the town.

A library and Institute the gift of Andrew Carnegie esq. was erected in 1904 in Guildford Lawn. The upper floor is used as a Museum.

The Sands are reached from the East Cliff Promenade by a flight of stone steps named Augusta Stairs while on the western side Jacobs Ladder forms a means of communication from the Pier to the West Cliff. There is a lift from the end of the promenade to the Marina, and another near the old Southern Railway Station site of the Harbour Station which gives access to the sands from the East Cliff.

Pegwell Bay or Shrimptown adjoins.

Under the County of Kent Review Order 1935 part of the Urban District of Broadstairs and St Peters was added to the borough of Ramsgate, and part of the borough was transferred to the Urban District. The parish of St Lawrence Extra and parts of the parishes of Garlinge & Minster were also transferred to the borough of Ramsgate.

Saint Lawrence

Is now within the area of Ramsgate and includes the hamlets of Manston, Haine, Ozengell and Pegwell. The church is in the centre of the village and is dedicated to St Laurence. It was originally founded as a chapel of ease to the mother church of Minster and was dedicated to St Laurence, Archdeacon of Rome and Martyr. The earliest mention of this chapel of St Laurence is found in "Thorne's Chronicle" 1124. There is little doubt that portions of the present buildings are of much greater antiquity. The early Norman church was in existence by 1062 and consisted of all that part of the central tower which is built through hewn stone, the nave, a portion (about 20 feet in length) of the present chancel, wets door and south door to the nave, but without the present aisles, transepts and side chapels. The church was first enlarged in 1175 and the side chapels built about 1225. The tower was struck by lightning on the 26th August 1438 and when repaired was raised to its present height; extensive repairs were again executed in 1619. The roof of the nave is 14th century work, about 1350 and the chancel has an open timber wagon roof and also appears to be 14th century work; the belfry contains a peal of ten bells. There are two noteworthy ancient brasses of the 15th century; one on the north wall of the sanctuary (Nicholas Mauston) and the other fixed to the vestry screen (Joane St. Nicholas). All the windows are filled with modern glass mostly in Perpendicular style, and several have been refilled with faithful reproductions of the windows which formerly existed in these positions; the east window was inserted in 1902 as a memorial to Queen Victoria who as a girl worshipped in the church. There are two old chests in the church; one of oak with a flat top and three locks; the other dating from the 15th century of oak and iron bound with two of the original locks still attached. Upon the ceiling of the nave are a number of hatchments, among them being those of Lady Catherine Stuart; James Townley esq. of Townley House and Townley castle, Ramsgate; Sir Thomas Wilde, first Lord Truro afterwards Lord Chancellor of England; and Elizabeth Baroness Conyngham. The original churchyard was consecrated on 9th September 1275; it has been enlarged on five different occasions, but space for burials is now limited. The advowson was granted by Edward VI in 1549 to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The following parishes have been taken from the Mother Parish:- St Georges, Ramsgate in 1827; Holy Trinity in 1845; and St Luke in 1875. The living is a vicarage net yearly value £450 with residence. It is in the gift of the Archbishop of Canterbury and has been held since 1927 by the Rev. Charles Paul Cowland-Cooper hon. C.F., M.A. of Keble College Oxford. St Catherine's Church at Manston is also served by the Clergy of St Laurence Parish Church. Holy Trinity Church was built in 1884-45. The living is a rectory in the gift of the vicar of St Laurence. There is also a Methodist Church. 

This page was last updated on 05-Mar-2021.

Copyright © 2008 Janet & Richard Mason.