Off island reader Veronica writes:
So sad to read that the museums are due to be closed. Is the UK's history no longer of interest? What is wrong with the local government there, have they no idea how to raise funds to keep important places open?
I think the key words there, Veronica, are 'no' and 'idea'. Let's take the Millionaires' Playground as an example. Wikipedia can only manage two lines on Ramsgate under the heading 'Arts and Media':
The Gallery IOTA (Isle Of Thanet Arts) is based on the towns west cliff. Ramsgate Maritime Museum near the harbour quayside has exhibits showing the evolution of Ramsgate Harbour and East Kent maritime history. Ramsgate's sole cinema and theatre is the Granville Cinema, situated on Victoria Parade, in the town's Eastcliff area.
Hmmm. Now, can anyone spot the deliberate errors? Yes, that's right, IOTA skedaddled almost two years ago and are now based on Margate Pier/Harbour Arm/Jetty whatever it's called these days (where they're currently exhibiting the wondrous works of Baldwin and Bushell). Ramsgate Maritime Museum is about to close so that it can be flogged off to developers by the nuff-nuffs at the council. That leaves the Granville Theatre and Cinem who try their hardest, poor loves, but, really, I think most people would struggle to describe a rolling programme of 'psychic nights' and amdram productions as 'culture'. I guess our library, oops, sorry, 'gateway', which got toasted in 2004 is currently being rebuilt, but there's no sign yet of when it's going to re-open.
Still, there's no point feigning surprise that Ramsgate's culture has disappeared or gone 'oop north'. It's all in the Politburo's 5 year plan, which they published last year, and which can be summarised thus:
Margate - Turner Centre, arts and culture
Ramsgate - Port and flight path
Broadstairs - Don't for gawd sake touch this as most of us live there and we like it the way it is
The Rest - Concrete.