History Files


Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 25 April 2010



Thanet Part 12: Churches of Ramsgate

King's Church

The King's Church is a Pentecostal church which sits on the eastern side of the lane known as King's Place, which links lower King's Street to Abbots Hill. It is visible from King's Street itself. By 1936, Mount Zion Strict Baptist Chapel existed in Camden Road, Abbots' Hill, a few metres north of this location (since replaced by Mount Zion House), while the present building was the King Cinema. That closed, probably in the 1980s or 1990s, and the Baptists took over the site.

Cavendish Baptist Church

Cavendish Baptist Church sits on the southern side of Cavendish Street, opposite Cavendish Villa. It was an early nonconformist place of worship in Ramsgate, at a time when the town was undergoing a building boom after the Napoleonic Wars. It existed as Cavendish Chapel by 1849 but probably closed after the Second World War, when congregations dwindled, and merged with King's Church. The building is now Clarendon House Grammar School Arts Centre.

Hadres Street United Church

Hardres Street United Church, is on the western corner of Hardres Street and Broad Street. It opened before 1849 as Beulah Chapel, and later became a Wesleyan Chapel. In 1911, the Wesleyan Centenary Hall & Sunday Schools was also opened a little further up Hardres Street. The church was badly damaged during the Second World War and had to be replaced. When the Meeting Street Congregational church closed, the churches merged at this site.

St George the Martyr

St George the Martyr sits at the top of Church Hill, off Church Street and Broad Street. With the building of the Royal Harbour and the interest in sea bathing made popular by royalty, the population of Ramsgate rapidly swelled. At a meeting in 1823, the decision was taken to build a church to seat 2,000 with free sittings for 1,200. Land was purchased from the Townley family and the Gothic church was built to a design by Henry Hemsley (who died before work started).

St George the Martyr

The church was consecrated on 23 October 1827 as Ramsgate's central Anglican parish church, replacing St Mary's Chapel-of-Ease in Chapel Place (closed in 1939 during the wartime evacuation of Ramsgate). The ceremony was attended by the great and the good of the day, with tickets being sold and the entire town's accommodation filled by visitors. Church Hill was something of an off-street backwater by 2010, when the church appeared to be closed.

Ramsgate Congregational Church

Ramsgate Congregational Church is on the southern side of Meeting Street. Founded in 1662, it is unknown what form the first church building took, but the burial ground next door (on the left here) confirms its existence. The burial ground closed in 1743 and Barrossa Cottage was built on the site. The present church building was opened in 1838, but the members later merged with Hadres Road Methodists. The old building is now a Centre of Excellence.

Society of Friends

The Society of Friends, or Quakers, meet in Ramsgate in a small, purpose-built chapel which is entered via the southern side of Thomson's Passage, where it connects to Chapel Lane, off Elms Avenue & Guildford Lawn. The chapel faces northwards into Chapel Lane itself. One of the Society's most famous members was Elizabeth Fry, recorded as a minister in 1811, who died in Ramsgate on 12 October 1845 and was buried at the Friends burial ground in Barking.

Salvation Army Citadel

The Salvation Army Citadel's main entrance, a large-fronted and fairly impressive two-storey edifice, lies on the northern side of 167 High Street, on the corner with Belmont Road, but this less-noticed side entrance is on the eastern side of Belmont Road. The Army has been here since before 1936, although their headquarters at the time were recorded as being at 9 Oxford Street in Ramsgate. The exact date at which they were established in the town is unknown.

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Ramsgate East & West, is on the northern side of the High Street, at No 189. Like the Salvation Army, the Jehovah's Witnesses have been in Ramsgate since at least 1936, but minor nonconformist groups in Thanet are poorly attested, and this case is no different. The date at which the meeting, and the impressively simple building, were originally established is unclear, but one local remembers it going up in the early 1990s.

Belmont Road Pentecostal Church

Belmont Road Pentecostal Church is on the western side of Belmont Road. In 1936 it was listed under 'Brethren - South Eastern Hall, Belmont Hall'. By 2010 it looked to be well past its best, with its brickwork, especially around the entrance, visibly crumbling. Two small windows at the front were bricked up before 1984 and no signage exists to show the church is still in use, although small metal plaques were positioned on the filled-in windows in 1984.

Additional information by Steve Wylie.

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