Did You Know About The Isle of Thanet
Who doesn’t like an interesting fact or story? Learn about some of the stories and developments of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate with our #Didyouknows
- Our coastline represents 20% of the UK’s and 12% of Europe’s coastal chalk and we have the longest continuous stretch of coastal chalk in Britain
- Thanet has 250 hectares of internationally important chalk reef
- The Isle of Thanet is a historic landing place rich in heritage, entwined with remarkable architecture and the inspiration for famous authors, architects and artists
- JMW Turner, one of the greatest British artists came to Margate often during his lifetime, to capture the sea, the skies and to see his landlady Sophia Booth.
- T.S Eliot composed the key lines of 'The Waste Land' poem at the Nayland Rock Shelter whilst in Margate
- Margate’s Tudor House is thought to be one of the oldest of its kind in Kent, built around 1525 and believed to be the home of a wealthy yeoman farmer
- Margate’s Tom Thumb Theatre, one of the smallest in the world, is a converted Victorian Coach House
- The Beatles played at Margate Winter Gardens for 6 consecutive nights? In 1963 their album Please Please Me, was topping the charts and they were mobbed by fans. So much so that they needed to make their escape through a little known tunnel, the same tunnel which during WWII led to cells where German pilots were interrogated.
- Margate and Ramsgate are ‘Limbs’ of the 'Confederation of the Cinque Ports'
- Margate Marine Bathing Pavilion (Sun Deck) on Margate Main Sands was the first of its kind anywhere
- In 1791 The Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, opened in Margate for those seeking a cure for tuberculosis. Patients were exposed to the fresh sea air and the hospital had its own seawater reservoir. This was the first of its kind
- Margate, was the first place to offer and popularise donkey rides on the beach, starting back in the early 1800s.
- The town's most famous visitor was Charles Dickens who got inspiration for his books here
- Kingsgate Bay was originally called “St Bartholomew’s Gate” until King Charles II landed here and ordered that the name be changed
- Princess Victoria, later to become Queen Victoria, visited Broadstairs and Ramsgate
- York Gate Broadstairs, a pointed arch built in 1540 with 2 wooden doors to protect the town from attack by the sea
- North Foreland lighthouse was the last manned lighthouse in the UK, becoming automated in 1998
- Louisa Bay was originally called ‘Goodstone steps’. Thomas Russell Crampton built a lattice-work bridge across the gap here and it was renamed ‘Louisa Bay’ after one of his family members
- Was it Joss Snelling named after the bay or Joss Bay named after him? Joss Snelling, the notorious smuggler and head of the Callis Court Gang is said to be named after Joss Bay. He was fined £100 for smuggling at the age of 89!
- Viking Bay was renamed in 1949 after the commemorative landing of a Viking Ship, marking 1500 years since the landing of Hengist and Horsa
- Viking Bay was actually the training ground of the British Olympians for the 1924 Paris Olympics. (A very famous storyline depicted in the film ‘Chariots of Fire’)
- Ramsgate is the only “Royal” harbour in the country after King George IV granted its Royal designation in 1821 in appreciation of the town's hospitality when he embarked with the Royal Squadron from Ramsgate for Hanover
- 19th century architect Augustus Pugin designed and built his own house 'The Grange' an example of his Gothic architecture in the town
- 'Hugin' Viking Ship, at Pegwell Bay is a replica sailed to Thanet to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of the invasion of Britain
- King George VI Memorial Park Ramsgate is home to the Grade II* 19th century curved Italianate Glasshouse, brought to the town in 1832
- Ellington Park was designed by the Victorian landscape company Joseph Cheal and Son, known for their work at Hever Castle
- Ramsgate has its own Meridian Line which is 5 minutes and 41 seconds ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The Ramsgate Meridian Line was laid in 1819 and the clock tower inscriptions went up in 1822. In 1848 Ramsgate abandoned RMT in favour of GMT.
- Pegwell Bay is part of Kent’s largest National Nature Reserve
- English poet, illustrator and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti is buried at All Saints Church, Birchington with a Celtic Cross marking his grave and a memorial stained glass window inside the church
- The first manufacturer of cycles specially designed for ladies was in Birchington
- Westgate was home to a Royal Naval Air Service Station
- Minster Abbey is one of England's oldest religious building and is still occupied today
- St Augustine’s Cross, a celtic stone cross was erected in 1884 to commemorate where St Augustine celebrated the first mass when he arrived, bringing Christianity to England
If this has got you intrigued, discover more about our Curious Coast