24 November, 2023

Update on the Ramsgate Clock House renovation project

The Ramsgate Clock House (formerly the Maritime Museum) in Ramsgate Royal Harbour has been returned to Thanet District Council in preparation for its refurbishment as part of the Levelling Up Fund programme in the town.

The Clock House building had been leased to the Steam Museum Trust since 2012 and is now back under the council’s management. The building is Grade II* Listed, and is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register, due to its continued deterioration in recent years.

The council has secured £19.8m of funding for Ramsgate through the government’s Levelling Up Fund. £1.48m of that funding has been allocated to start the refurbishment of the Ramsgate Clock House. The ambition is to bring the much-loved Clock House back to life as a heritage hub for the town, as well as creating a hospitality space in a new extension. The refurbished Clock House will create a focal point where visitors and residents can start their exploration of Ramsgate. 

The initial designs were on display at the public engagement event held in July 2023 at the Crane Shed in Ramsgate Harbour, and can be viewed on the council’s website.

In partnership with the Ramsgate Heritage Regeneration Trust (RHRT, operating as Ramsgate Tunnels), a further funding application was submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Fund in July 2023. The application is for an additional £2.5million of capital funding to support the scheme, and £500,000 to deliver heritage development and activities. The National Lottery Heritage Fund process is over two stages; the first phase includes developing and finalising the design of the building, engaging with Ramsgate’s communities on its heritage and taking the plans through the planning process, including listed building consents. The outcome of this application is expected to be announced in January 2024.

Now that the council has taken back the management of the building, detailed surveys and investigations can be undertaken. These will support the development of the design of the project and the delivery of the full scheme. The council will also assess and carry out urgent works required to stabilise the building, to prevent further deterioration of the fabric of the building, before the main refurbishment works start.

Cllr Ruth Duckworth, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Property, said: “I am so pleased that the project to refurbish the Clock House is moving to its next phase. The Clock House is an important part of Ramsgate’s heritage, and will provide the ideal starting point for visitors to the town.”

John Walker, Chair of the Ramsgate Society said: “The Ramsgate Society has been engaged in the plan to renovate and restore the Clock House since 2016. The project took a big leap forward when Thanet District Council secured a substantial grant from the Levelling Up Fund in 2021. Since then a great deal of work has been undertaken by the council’s project team and the recent surrender of the lease by the Steam Museum Trust has enabled further progress. We look forward to working with the council to deliver this much needed museum and heritage centre which will act as a focal point for visitors to Ramsgate.”

The Maritime Museum previously displayed a large number of items, until its closure in 2021. Many of these were on loan from the HMS Stirling Castle collection. These items have been returned to the National Royal Navy Museum for conservation. It is planned that a number of the items will be returned to the museum when the renovation is complete, when there are suitable conditions for their display.

The remaining Maritime Museum collection was transferred to the council when the lease was returned. These items will now be reviewed and assessed, and moved into safe storage in readiness for their return to the refurbished museum. Over the coming months, the collection will be catalogued. There will be opportunities for the local community to be a part of this process, and further details will be provided in the new year.

Read more about the Clock House refurbishment project here

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