Ramsgate Royal Harbour

The construction of Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and was completed in about 1850. The two most influential architects of the Harbour were father and son John Shaw and John Shaw Jr, who designed the clockhouse, the obelisk, the lighthouse and the Jacob’s Ladder steps.

The Harbour has the unique distinction of being the only harbour in the United Kingdom awarded the right to call itself a Royal Harbour. This was bestowed by King George IV after he was taken by the hospitality shown by the people of Ramsgate when he used the harbour to depart and return with the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1821.

When Ramsgate Harbour was closed to local shipping in 1914 many Ramsgate trawlermen relocated to Brixham in Devon. Over forty Ramsgate fishing smacks were lost during the Great War and fourteen local fishermen were lost to enemy action by submarines. Skipper George Judge died in an Aberdeen Hospital and was brought home and buried in Ramsgate Cemetery.


Because of its proximity to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both during the Napoleonic Wars and for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

The Royal Harbour, the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom, deserves to be maintained to a high standard.
Surly the jewel in Ramsgates crown has got to be our wonderful seafront with the harbour at it’s heart, this vital piece of history is ours to care for, not just today, but for generations to come.

FoRS will do all in it’s powers to enable our Royal Harbour to remain the attraction it always has been, past, present and into the future…

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