Monday, 16 April 2012

Ramsgate Maritime Museum to open

Ramsgate’s Maritime Museum is set to re-open to the public in time for the May Day bank holiday weekend.

The museum was first opened over 25 years ago and prior to being closed down in 2008 by the East Kent Maritime trust, had become a well established, nationally recognised community asset, housed in the landmark grade 2 star, listed Clock House building in the Pier Yard. In it’s prominent position at the Royal Harbour , it was visited and much appreciated by many local residents and visitors to the town. This included students and tourists from across the world, as the museum visitor’s book would testify.

In February 2008 a petition signed by almost a thousand local residents called on Thanet District Council (TDC) to “Save our Maritime Museum”, demonstrating their concern regarding the closure and possible disposal of the valuable collection of maritime artefacts. This petition was noted and then completely disregarded by the Conservative administration of the time and the listed building has remained closed up and forlorn since 2009, with both the fabric of the building and it’s collection at risk, due to damp, rot and vandalism.  
Labour TDC Leader Cllr Clive Hart said "I'm delighted members of the public will soon be able to view the artefacts again, with displays and information that details the work, courage and sacrifice of our maritime nation’s seafarers. This includes the 18th century jack tars of Nelson’s navy aboard the HMS Stirling Castle sunk on the Goodwins, the brave 19th century Ramsgate Lifeboat men and the 20th century servicemen during world war 2, at Dunkirk and in the Royal Navy coastal forces based atPleasurama, the servicemen who helped save our country from the Waffen SS, the Gestapo and the 
Concentration camp. From “England Expects” to the “Dunkirk Spirit”, they all deserve to be remembered and honoured by both the people of today and future generations". 
Cllr. Clive Hart, TDC Leader, hands the keys of the museum to Mr. Michael List Brain, Chairman of the Steam Museum Trust, who will now operate the museum, following the signing of a 25 year lease for the Clock House and Smeaton dock.