Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cliff Bottom Mansion

Crumbling cliff tops! Our crusading local biblio-bloke, Michael Child, has unearthed the April 2005 engineers' report into the state of our East Cliff, and it doesn't make for reassuring reading. Lowlights listed under 'Summary of Defects' include:

Displacement and failed concrete in concrete barrier
Various cracks
Exposed, rusting reinforcement
Large void behind one of the arches
Horizontal displacement of wall face

The report continues:

There is evidence that the facade's original purpose is to minimise the weathering effect on the chalk cliff face (and this) has not been entirely successful due to lack of maintenance and due to penetration of rainwater giving rise to particle migration.

If my cliff top mansion plummets beachwards I'll have to change the old moniker by deed poll. Somehow, though, Beach Bungalow Bill doesn't quite have the same ring.

More pics of 1947 West Cliff collapse.
Engineers' report on the crumbling East Cliff.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

So in fact the Council has been foresighted and prudent in not replacing your temporary fencing. I would however be sorry if you did fall victim to particle migration.

Steven Seagull said...

An alarming prospect.
I can see how a man in your position would not wish to be looked down upon.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Anonymous 9:17 - What irks people around here is precisely that - this was meant to be temporary fencing. More than two years would hardly be considered 'temporary' in most people's books.

Of course they've been prudent in erecting the fencing, they'd be pretty reckless if they didn't stop people going near the edge of a crumbling cliff. The lawyers would have a field day.

The trouble seems to be that the council have linked the repair of the cliff face to the Pleasurama development. That's a big mistake. The Pleasurama site has been an eyesore for getting on for ten years now, and I wouldn't lay odds on it not being like that for another ten years. So do we have to put up with this carbuncle on the face of our splendid East Cliff indefinitely? It seems that way.

And when the council adds insult to injury by attaching a Ramsgate Is Beautiful - Let's Keep It That Way banner to Harris fencing that seems to be spreading daily (I'll show you the picture if you want), no wonder we think they're a bunch of f*cking t*ss*rs (pardon my Ezekiel).

Anonymous said...

Didn't the railway run through there from Dumpton?
I can remember when the trains dropped people off at the beach at the East Cliff, surely that would weaken the cliff structure.
But I would like to think history has been checked on this matter but then when has common sense ever applied.

Michael Child said...

9.17 when Jacobs Babtie said 2 years ago the “work should be done during the next financial year to ensure the safety of the public or safeguard structural integrity or avoid a high cost penalty.” Also that construction work involving driven piles should be avoided, do you think that TDC advising the developer to pile drive and that they had set aside funds to repair the damage afterwards means they have been foresighted and prudent?

Eastcliff Richard said...

Anonymous 10:57 - The railway did indeed run through a tunnel from Dumpton to Ramsgate Sands station, which used to be on the site of the Pleasurama eyesore. The main line closed in 1926, I believe, but it was replaced with a scenic railway, when the site became 'Merrie England', which took people in the dark past various illuminated world tableaux.

I suppose it would have deposited them at the dog track, which used to be where Wyevale and a large housing development are now.

During WW2 the tunnels became part of a substantial air raid shelter system, and there are some fascinating pics of this on Vince's Caves and Tunnels blog, Thanet Underground.

There's also a full exploration of the system and pics of the railway on Subterranea Britannica here.

And, of course, if you want to dig into local history even further I'd highly recommend a visit to Michael's Bookshop, either online or on Ramsgate's trendy King Street, on the junction with the Plains of Waterloo.

Michael Child said...

The biggest void behind the development I have so far discovered on an old map is Wellington caves it appears to be about the size of 6 Wellington Crescent houses and uncomfortably close to the crescent, it wasn’t surveyed as no one knew of its existence at the time of the survey. The railway tunnel is adjacent to the sites eastern end however the most dangerous looking bit is next to the western end of the site behind the houses see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/kt/