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28 October 2014

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You are in: Kent > Coast > Point 4 - Pews and pupils

St George's Church, Ramsgate

St George's Church, Ramsgate

Point 4 - Pews and pupils

This part of the walk takes you through the centre of town and up to St George's church with its impressive and newly renovated lantern tower.

The Hairdressers at number 15

Number 15 Harbour Street

As you wander up the pedestrianised Harbour Street look out for the hairdressers at number 15. This is the oldest building in Harbour Street.

Peak inside and you'll see the old timbers. Until around 1780 the streets were consisted of beaten earth and would have been lined with these kind of cottages.

Continue along Harbour Street past Hardres Street and into the high street. Walk as far as Church Hill on the right hand side and turn up here towards St George’s Church.

St George's Lantern Tower

St George's Lantern Tower

As you approach the church you'll notice the high tower topped with the very impressive octagonal stone lantern which has recently been renovated at a cost of £1, 240 000. Restoration work began in January 2001 and the last scaffolding pole was
removed in September 2004.

Each face of the lantern bears a letter spelling St George and the weathervane on top has a bullet hole in it that was collected during the Second World War.

The church was consecrated in 1827.

If it is open, go inside to see one of its treasures, the Dunkirk Window commemorating evacuation of Dunkirk. If it is not open you can see a postcard of the window here.

The window depicts ships setting out from the harbour, troops wading out from Dunkirk beach, a nurse attending the wounded at Ramsgate station and troops receiving communion.

The Dunkirk stained glass window

The Dunkirk stained glass window

Our old friend Sir Billy Biscuit was a treasurer of the church and, although his body was buried in the crypt of St Mary’s in Wanstead there is a memorial plaque to him and Lady Curtis in the Lady Chapel.

Take a wander right round the church for great views of the tower and from the back. On the way round have a look over towards the grand looking buildings beyond the high wall and fence on the left if you're walking clockwise.

This is Chatham House School. Founded in 1797 as Humbles Boys' School, the current site is its third. In the early 20th Century it was one of the biggest grammar schools in England.

Chatham House School

Chatham House School

Since the 1944 Education Act it has been a state grammar school with famous old boys including ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath who died in July 2005 and Sir William Wratten who led the RAF in the first Gulf War.

In fact Chatham House has the sixth highest number of Who's Who entries for state schools and Old Ruymian Edward Heath, who was born in Broadstairs, was the first state-school educated Prime Minister in office.

When you have finished admiring the church and school retrace your footsteps back down Church Hill. When you get back to the High Street turn right, cross the road and head up Chapel Place.

Church opening times:

  • Every Wednesday during July, August and September between 11am and 3pm (including ramps for the disabled)
  • 10th & 11th September Heritage Open Days – your chance to go up the Lantern Tower and into the crypt. Check the Heritage Open Day website for times

last updated: 06/03/2008 at 14:22
created: 19/07/2005

You are in: Kent > Coast > Point 4 - Pews and pupils

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