We Do Like to be Beside the Seaside!
On Friday, 7 June, a group of nine INUF members, accompanied by Chris Tzanetis, INUF’s Manager, Humaira Hussain, Project Coordinator, and Martha Quinlan, Trustee, made a day trip to Ramsgate.
They met at Ithaca House at 9.15, and set off by train from Stratford International, arriving at Ramsgate at about 12.00, as there were some delays on the train journey. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty awful, though there were some dry periods between 2pm and 5pm.
The group started with a delicious fish and chip lunch on the sea front, followed by a walk on the lovely, clean beach, which was empty, except for one man and his dog!
The INUF group walking on Ramsgate Beach.
They then made their way to Ramsgate’s leading tourist attraction, the Ramsgate Tunnels, pausing for tea and cake at the Tunnel Teas Cafe. The tunnels are a 31⁄4-mile network, dug beneath northern Ramsgate in 1938, to serve as a vast, deep-level, air-raid shelter for the town's inhabitants. The town's borough engineer, R. D. Brimmell, devised the scheme in the late 1930s, when war between Britain and Germany seemed likely, as Ramsgate's location on both the English Channel and North Sea, its proximity to the Thames Estuary and RAF Manston, and its large port facilities, made it a likely target for heavy aerial bombing.
It was opened by the Duke of Kent on 1 June, 1939, three months before the outbreak of war. The network was capable of sheltering 60,000 people, although Ramsgate's civilian population at the time was approximately 33,000. The tunnels were sealed after the war, but following three years of renovation in the early 21st century, the lower section of the tunnel was reopened to the public in 2014, as part of the Ramsgate Tunnels tourist attraction. The INUF group took the 1.5 hour tour, which they found very interesting.
INUF members in the Ramsgate Tunnels.
They then decided to take the 30-minute, bus trip to Margate, as several museums were shut. They arrived there at about 6.30pm, and visited the beach there, finally leaving at around 8.30pm, arriving back in Stratford at about 9.30.
“My mum used to take me to Ramsgate over 20 years ago,” said Matt Russell, one of the INUF members, who went on the trip. “The Tunnels were the most memorable part of the visit, but the harbour is attractive, and the fish and chips were nice, too.”
A view of Ramsgate Harbour.