Point 2 - King George & Billy Biscuit
King George IV hated his estranged wife. And it was this hatred of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, a cousin he married in 1795, which gave Ramsgate Harbour, which you will see to the right, its unique Royal title.
In 1820 George inherited the title of King of Great Britain and Hanover. Needing to visit Hanover in September 1821, he decided that he would sail from Ramsgate instead of Dover.
“Multitudes met her on the beach at Dover with loud acclamations, banners and every sign of popular enthusiasm.”
So he sailed from Ramsgate and the citizens did not disappoint with their send off and reception. Thrilled to bits he “denominated” Ramsgate to be a Royal Harbour.
The Obelisk was erected to mark the King’s visits and it soon became known as the Royal Toothpick.
Before setting sail King George stayed with his very good friend Sir William Curtis in Cliff House overlooking the west pier of the harbour.
Sir William was born in 1752, the son of a baker who, among many other products, made ships’ biscuits. And after inheriting the business, expanding it and making a whole pile of money, satirists came to call him Sir Billy Biscuit.
But despite his obvious business nouse and keen ability in the political arena, Sir Billy was nearly illiterate. It is said that it was he who thought Reading, Writing and Arithmetic all began with the same letter – thus inventing the phrase “the Three Rs”.
Sir Billy Biscuit was a generous and hospitable man and in later years he became known as the “Father of the City”. When he died in 1829 every shop in Ramsgate closed in his honour and an immense crowd followed his funeral cortege. He'd had quite an effect on the place.
Wander on now from the Obelisk to the harbour.
last updated: 06/03/2008 at 14:22