Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Friday, 17 June 2011

A View of Ramsgate

This not the best of photographs but it suits my archive just fine as it is another Ramsgate print in local Government ownership. This print is titled "View of Ramsgate " and is one of the few actually owned by Ramsgate Town Council, the original is painted by William John Huggins marine artist (1781 - 1845 ) and this is an engraving by E . Duncan.
Easily dated by the lighthouse (pre 1842) the print is one of a series of works by various artists of the entrance to Ramsgate harbour in gale force conditions. Judging by the works of the likes of Turner, Cooke and de Loutherbourg, Ramsgate harbour must have been a difficult harbour to enter if the wind was not in your favour in the days of sail.
In a edition of bygonne Kent volume one number four page 229 there is a article on the three cannons found by the East Pier on 21st February 1980. Written by Bill Lapthorne it details the discovery of the three cannons and mentions the amount of vessels that sunk after missing the entrance to the Harbour and ended up hitting either the East or West pier wall.Bill quotes "On 22nd December 1822, seven vessels were wrecked on this spot and fifteen men drowned. Due to this Admiral Spranger published a booklet "Remarks on Ramsgate Harbour".
In Richard Larne's shipwreck index of the United Kingdom volume section two there are many accounts of sinking's at the entrance to the harbour. For example the "Hazard" on 23rd November 1820, " in going into the harbour, struck the West Pier, carried away her bowsprit and part of the bow, filled and sank in the harbour". Reading through further Ramsgate shipwreck accounts , in some cases the vessels were colliers bring in cargoes of coal from the North East which were full to capacity bringing down their cargoes regardless of the weather in what is a lucrative trade keeping Ramsgate warm in the winter months. Mick Twyman of the Margate Historical Society who researched the coal trade into Margate actually found evidence that on these hazardous journeys it was only the cargoes that was insured and not the crew or vessels.
On another point this could also give some arguement to the origin of the sea coal that occasionaly turns up on the Ramsgate and Pegwell Bay coastline.
Last week I was on the end of the West Pier looking across to the East Pier, just thinking how much history could be laying under the sand on the sea bed in the harbour entrance and out side walls, perhaps something we will never know.

Finally, a photograph of one of the Ramsgate cannons found 21/02/1980 outside the East Pier wall. This cannon a carronade is now situated on the terrace of Bleak House Broadstairs.

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