Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Ramsgate's Cinque Ports trophies ?

Since January I have been auditing the Ramsgate town Council collection of art and artefacts. Out of curiosity I have been taking a look at the Ramsgate town silver. Among the town silver collection I have come across three trophies with military connections. The town council has no provenance on them and I am looking at the possibility they may have Cinque port connections.

The first trophy of interest is known as the Ramsgate rifle challenge trophy. It has no engravings or base. The maker of the trophy is  William Aitken of Vyse Street  Birmingham and the year the trophy was assayed was 1902. Below is a close up photograph of the top with a rifleman with a bent rifle due to the top being dropped. The uniform of the rifleman may be a indication of  what unit he belonged to.

The next cup photographed is one of a pair of the same size . The one photographed above and below  is hallmarked sterling silver, made in Birmingham in 1904. The maker is William Aitken Vyse Street Birmingham, the same makers of the Ramsgate rifle challenge cup dated 1902.
It is engraved on the front " Best Aggregate, Challenge Cup, presented by Regimental Sergeant Major J. W Chapman." On the back it is engraved "1906 B.M Stirrups, 1913 F.G Friend".
There are no records or references to the cup so this cup is now up for a bit of research. I also have reason to believe that this small J. W Chapman cup once had a lid and that is also missing. 

The next cup photgraphed below is hallmarked London 1869 and has a Victoria young head duty mark. The makers mark is HH and that is the mark of Henry Holland of Holland, Aldwinckle & Slater. It is engraved "The Ladies Cup" “A challenge cup presented to the 1st company CPAV on behalf of the ladies by Lieutenant John Croker Barram September 1869". It also has engraved the names of previous winners of various military rank. They date from 1869 to 1881, 1890 to 1899 then 1905, 1911 and 1913. The last winner was bombardier F .G Friend 1913, the same name appears on the best aggregate cup above for that year.
 On the ladies cup  most of the winners are either a gunner of bombardier and because of this  I now suspect that CPAV stands for Cinque Port Artillery Volunteers.

I do welcome any comment that will be of use to Ramsgate Town Council in piecing together their history.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

An up date on the Ramsgate Town Council collection.

Part of press for the Ramsgate town seal undergoing restoration.
It has been a long time since I last researched something continuously starting virtually from a blank piece of paper with little else in the way information on a subject up until now I know very little about. Looking back over the past six months I have made some measurable progress on the Ramsgate Town Council collection and today I have reached another milestone by breaking all links with Thanet District Council. It is not that TDC is something bad it is because today I have straightened out the inventory by returning all TDC owned items in the RTC collection back to TDC. This includes returning 22 items that were as loans,unlisted loans,misplaced items and strays.
It is important that everything in the RTC collection now belongs to the Town of Ramsgate whether it be a Civic item, Cinque port item, insignia or a gift to the Town and we (RTC) have our provenance intact. This is the key to a future Town Council collection and if my report gets through intact on Tuesday I will move forward on the next phase. That will be to take on Kent County Council.
It may sound confrontational but it is not, I just feel more needs to be done in Ramsgate regarding Ramsgate's art and artefacts because it does feel as if the fire at Ramsgate library was the day Ramsgate's artefacts died of which it is not.

When I challenged TDC regarding its Thanet collection at Margate there was so much denial and lack of action. It was a bruising battle and looked like a forlorn hope at times but the end result has made it all worthwhile because TDC are now acting as a responsible authority. Plus I am the one having the last laugh because I know there are a few people out their thinking they have turned me over big time by pushing me out to the fringes. When really they are now doing is exactly what I set out to be done ten years ago and that is to get them to manage the collection responsibly and come up with a plan.

So what would be my KCC objective ?

The first thing to do will be to have a list of everything single Ramsgate artefact KCC have on their books and scrutinize each item that has a pre 1974 Borough of Ramsgate provenance. 
Under the 1974 local government agreement all Borough of Ramsgate civic items were transferred to the Ramsgate Charter Trustees and KCC retained the library and museum collection. For some reason some civic items did remained in the museum collection even though  they were the property of the Ramsgate Charter Trustees.
Then in and around 1990 due to severe damp problems at Albion House civic items from the Albion House cellar were stored in the basement of Ramsgate library. They were still there at the time of the fire and it is never been made clear what was stored there, what was lost and what was salvaged. The only salvaged items returned to the Charter Trustees was the press for the town seal and the Dame Janet Stancomb Wills silver scroll box that contained the scroll giving her the freedom of the Borough of Ramsgate.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The 7th Earl of Cardigan and the Ramsgate Town silver.

After spending a bit of time researching  I have now come up with some provenance of the previous owners of the Tomson & Wotton wine coolers in the Ramsgate Town Council collection. The wine coolers were given to the Borough of Ramsgate by Ramsgate brewers Tomson & Wotton in 1934 to commemorate 50 years since the borough was incorporated in 1884. Hallmarking dates the wine coolers as 1839 and the makers are R & S Garrard , London the crown jewelers.

The crest on the liner is a sea horse argent and above is an earl's coronet. In Debrett's complete peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 1838 this crest is the crest of the Earl of Cardigan. The hallmark on the liner is 1840 and that dates the wine coolers at the time of James Thomas Brundenell 7th Earl of Cardigan. History remembers the 7th Earl of Cardigan as leading the charge of the light brigade on the 25th October 1854 during the Crimean war. Other research points to the very colourful life the 7th Earl lived. He died on 27th March 1868 after falling off his horse.

There are two identical coat of arms on the base of the wine coolers . It is hard to tell which is the front or the back but they are in this alignment in relation to the handles. The crest is identical to that of the Earl of Cardigan including the motto "en grace affie " on grace depend. This to came be found in Debrett's complete peerage 1838. There is one slight difference and that is what is known as a Fret on the right hand half of the shield otherwise everything else is the Earl of Cardigan. The wine cooler is hallmarked 1839. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Displaying the Ramsgate Town Council collection and a ramble.

The original Ramsgate civic collection of historic art in local Government control was instigated by Dame Janet Stancombe Wills in 1912, the origins being fine art.
Over a century later what remains of the collection overall is a very poor record of Ramsgate's historical past as seen through art and artifacts. However, Ramsgate's documented history of archive and photographic images does remain wholly intact thanks duly to a group of  dedicated local historians. There are many factors that have led to the demise of the historic Town collection like the fire that destroyed the museum in the town's library and very poor record keeping at local government level that has led to all sorts of problems.
I have just finished finished a report for Ramsgate Town Council (RTC) that will be going to committee regarding the items RTC own. I have now listed most of the items under RTC ownership with recommendations of a way forward. I have also mentioned that within the other two local authority collections, Kent County Council and Thanet District Council there does exist  enough items to restart a Ramsgate Town  collection should the opportunity arise.
However, the first stage really is to find out what items are where and record everything on a data base. This will include gathering information on Ramsgate artifacts local authority does not own with the intention of building a knowledge base of such items.
I am looking at starting in the future a Ramsgate historic art and artifact group, an online research group that will publish all findings online for search engines. Recently on facebook I have put on a few items from the RTC collection on the Friends of Ramsgate seafront page and that has proved to myself that such an interest does exist.

I have spoken to a number of RTC Councillor's including the Mayor with the intention of arranging an open evening at the Custom House to display items that RTC own for public viewing. Once I have a date everyone will be informed.

            Below are some more of the items owned by Ramsgate Town Council.

Limited edition print by Alfred Smith listed as number 243 out of 250. The view is of shellfish stalls opposite the Custom house in Harbour Parade. The print is dated 1976. 

1960's ariel view of Ramsgate Harbour.

Acrylic on board “The Slipway” September 1978, painted by A Shepherd, Kingsgate, Broadstairs. 

Framed signature of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother 18th July 1986. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Ramsgate Town Council collection

Following a report to the amenities committee of Ramsgate Town in November 2014 , I have now been tasked to take an in depth look at all the items of art and artefacts Ramsgate Town Council have in their collection. This follows my original report was about the status of the remaining Ramsgate art and artifacts in local government collections.
The fire at Ramsgate library in 2004 almost completely wiped out the Ramsgate collection of fine art along with many artifacts. However spread over the three authorities, Kent County Council , Thanet District Council and Ramsgate Town Council there is still a small viable collections of fine art and artifacts.
However all three authorities are beset with problems. KCC with the loses due to the fire, TDC with the auditing of their collection due to council officers not following procedures in the past and Ramsgate Town Council following the move from Albion House and the lack of space to house the collection they own at the Custom House.
My task with the RTC collection is to audit the entire collection in order of relevance based on the provenance of each item.  In some cases the provenance will need to be strengthened like the town silver for example, the makers and year of assay has never been recorded from the hall marks.
I have opted to keep the collection based on Civic and Cinque ports history as that is the historical roots of Ramsgate Town council . There is small collection of fine art and  other miscellaneous items. I must add that what I am suggesting is not set in stone as it is up to the other Ramsgate Town Council members to decide.
I have many findings and taken many photographs of which I have posted a few with some details.

This signed photograph is of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother .The photograph was taken by Dorothy Wilding . The frame is Sterling Silver and has a Birmingham  hallmark 1948. The makers mark is Henry Hobson Plante of 12 Bury Street W1 . The portrait is one of a pair as the other is King George VI  with the same details.

Some of the town silver does have an Art Deco influence like this trophy . Made in 1936 by S. Blackensee & Sons Ltd Birmingham and assayed in 1936. It does carry an engraving " Ramsgate Venetian Fete Challenge Trophy presented by the Corporation of Ramsgate 1936."

Most of the Ramsgate Town Council  silver is very traditional like this one on the table. The cup is known and engraved as the H H Green cup. Herbert Horace Green was Mayor of Ramsgate in 1900 and his details are on the Ramsgate Town Council website.
 On the base is a small plate that was assayed in Sheffield in 1925, the maker and engraver of the plate is Martin Hall & Co . The engraving reads "In memory of Herbert Horace Green ESQ Justice of the Peace for the County of Kent and 25 years for the Borough of Ramsgate, March 3rd 1926, Presented to the Ramsgate Borough Police to be awarded for the most meritorious act of the year". 
The cup itself was assayed in Sheffield in 1868 and there is a Victoria young head duty mark present.  The makers of the cup are Richard Martin & Ebenezer Hall. (RMEH).  

In the framed section all the armed forces are represented. Most of the items presented to the Ramsgate Charter Trustees the predecessors to the current Ramsgate Town Council. I have posted a framed presentation from the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment when they exercised their right as Honorary Freeman on 19th September 1998. 

In the RTC collection there is some artwork by local artist Denys le Fevre  and his work on the Synagogue and Montifiore Mausoleum is very attractive. 

This map is from the Cinque ports section of the collection and it is by local artist Denys le Fevre. Also in the Cinque port collection there are three copies of the loyal address. 

This framed print is one of three of William Friths " Ramsgate , life at the seaside " owned by RTC . Two are engraved by C W Sharpe published by the art union of London 1859 and the other is a later edition as in early 20th century. Also under William Frith  there are three framed detailed sections of the print by C W Sharpe taken from periodicals.

There are not many loose photographs in the RTC collection. This one from 1959 will eventually be disposed of from the collection and given to another collection once copied.

Excluding the town silver and the photographs of past mayors that are stored in the flat I have listed to date 79 items in the RTC collection of which 19 maybe classed as fine art.
I have not listed all of the twinning items and some of the smaller repro prints as they will be a subject of a debate when I present my report to RTC.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Ramsgate Town Council and the Tomson and Wotton wine coolers.

Ramsgate Town Council is reviewing its entire collection of Art and Artifacts. Each item being audited and on a new data base. Most important of all the provenance of each item is to be researched in better detail. I have now taken up this task.
In the collection there is a pair of wine coolers in silver gilt.They are made by R & S Garrard and the hallmark is London 1839 , the hallmark on the liner is London 1840. The collar has no year date but has the Victorian duty mark and the Robert Garrard makers marks.
The detachable is engraved   “presented by Tomson & Wotton Ltd to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Town’s Incorporation 1884 to 1934”.  The liner has a crest of an Earl's coronet with a dragon kneeling. On the base there are four crests one being the town of Ramsgate. The others are undergoing further research and I have have taken many photographs and these are a few.

One of the pair

The wine cooler taken apart with the liner and collar

The engraved collar "presented by Tomson & Wotton Ltd to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Town’s Incorporation 1884 to 1934”

The crest on the liner

The crests on the feet. At present three are being researched.

Above the town crest of Ramsgate and below the decorative handle.