Friday, December 14, 2007

Seaside postcards 36 & 37: Kids' Stuff

ramsgate comic postcardBack to normal service after our Paris delights, and a style of postcards from the 1930s focusing on the growing importance of children in the holiday process.

Edwardian postcards were mostly about adults and the sheer novelty of the seaside holiday for many - by the 1930s, we have lidos, swimming pools, the beginnings of mass tourism.

These two cards from Dennis have pull-out strips of photographs showing the Marina swimming pool, the Harbour Cafe (now the Harbour Lights restaurant) as well as the traditional sights such as Madeira Drive, the Pavilion, and the Harbour. More recent constructions include The Chine, the New Underhill Promenade at the West Cliff and Winterstoke Gardens.

It was a busy time for the municipal developers, which makes it all the more depressing that this pride in the town and its surroundings seems to have all but disappeared, judging by the enthusiasm by the council for simply 'switching off' elements of local culture and heritage - choosing not to have a gallery or museum element in the replacement Ramsgate library, withdrawing funding for the museums, allowing once important buildings to lie idle and rotting - the Customs House and West Cliff Hall being the most glaring examples.

It may not be their fault that non-council operations choose to close - Model Village, Motor Museum, and so on, but the council has to take the lead in creating a cultural climate that encourages something other than bars and cafes - I love 'em, but I need more (and so do potential visitors, I suspect)!

ramsgate comic postcard

1 comment:

Michael Child said...

Nice cards again.

When the motor museum closed I spoke to the owners who told me that they were not worried about making a profit but were not prepared to run it at a loss. They wanted a small amount of help from the council, which was first promised and then later refused. I have no concrete evidence to base this on and my memory of the matter is a bit vague I think it had something to with a grant for repairs and improvements.

The model village had been the garden of the house behind and was left to the people of the town in perpetuity for use as a model village. The owners asked the council to let them turn it back into their private garden, saying that they could no longer contend with falling visitor numbers and rising vandalism, this the council allowed.

The biggest problem being that the closing of shops and leisure facilities has a knock on affect of making what’s left less viable, so that in the end we wind up with nothing.

The human beings in the Thanet towns have become a species that needs its environment protecting at the very least by planning decisions biased in favour of keeping what’s left.