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‘Royal Ramsgate’, so-called because Princess Victoria had spent holidays there in 1835 and 1836, largely succeeded in distancing itself from its more louche counterpart Margate in the popular imagination, for most of the 19th century. Dickens’s ‘The Tuggses at Ramsgate’ sends a newly monied Tuggs family to Ramsgate as a genteel holiday destination where – by implication – they will be safe from meeting any of their old friends.
The fictional cockney tourist Mrs Brown complains in 1874 that ‘parties is a deal too genteel there for me’, and as late as 1897 John Strange Winter (Henrietta Stannard) dissects the Thanet seaside resorts in ‘‘A Seaside Flirt’‘ as ‘quiet little Westgate, dull Birchington , vulgar Margate’ and ‘detestable stuck-up Ramsgate’ respectively (5). The Granville Hotel, opened in 1869, http://glorious-and-unknown.co.uk/ramsgate-the-granville-hotel/ catered to a wealthy clientele (guests included Florence Nightingale) and features in the ‘‘Zig Zag Guide’‘ by Punch editor and Ramsgate resident F. C. Burnand in the 1890s.
But this picture of affluence and respectability is compromised by Dickens himself as early as the 1840s. Writing to a friend from nearby Broadstairs he gleefully describes ‘Wild beasts too, at Ramsgate, and a young lady in armour, as goes into the dens while a rustic keeper who speaks through his nose, exclaims, “Beold the abazid power of woobbud!”’ Another humourist, Israel Zangwill, observed wryly in 1896 that ‘When you see – as I saw last Bank Holiday on Ramsgate beach – Edwin and Angelina asleep in each other’s arms, the situation strikes you as too simple for analysis. It is like the loves of the elements, or the propensity of carbon to combine with oxygen.’
©The British Library Board 068404 Source EVAN.2689.
Bibliography Burnand, Frances Cowley, illustrated by Phil May. ‘‘The Z.Z.G., or Zig Zag Guide round
and about the bold and beautiful Kentish coast…[ellipsis in original] BL reprint of 1897 original. ‘‘
Sketchley, Arthur. ‘‘Mrs Brown at Margate.’‘ London: Routledge .
Storey, Graham and K. J. Fielding, eds. ‘‘The Pilgrim Edition: The Letters of Charles Dickens. ‘‘ Volume 5: 1847-1849. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977.
Winter, John Strange [Henrietta Stannard]. ‘‘A Seaside Flirt. ‘‘ London: F. V. White & Co., 1897. Zangwill, Israel. ‘‘Without Prejudice. ‘‘ Printed by Amazon, no details. .