Welcome to New London signing at Book Bodega, Ramsgate

Book Bodega, Ramsgate
Book Bodega, Harbour Street, Ramsgate
Book Bodega signing with John Rogers, Ramsgate
Welcome to New London book signing
Book Bodega signing with John Rogers, Ramsgate
Love this desk they provided for the signing
Book Bodega signing with John Rogers, Ramsgate
Cathy Rogers, Bob and Roberta Smith, me, Heidi, Dad, Jessica Voorsanger

What wonderful Sunday afternoon at Book Bodega in Ramsgate signing copies of Welcome to New London – journeys and encounters in the post-Olympic city. It’s a real gem of a bookshop and this was in fact my first signing outside London. So lovely to share the event with friends and family and meet regular viewers of my YouTube channel.

Ramsgate Harbour

After the book signing we walked above Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour and settled in the Churchill Tavern for a couple of pints of Canterbury Ale nestled on a corner that’d been sketched by Vincent Van Gogh during his time in the town.

Thanks so much to everyone who came.

There are signed copies of Welcome to New London available from Book Bodega.

A walk around the town of Ramsgate

Exploring the seaside town of Ramsgate on the Isle of Thanet in Kent

In these dark days of midwinter and Tier 4 Covid restrictions, it’s comforting to look back at this summer walk around Ramsgate with my wife and my sister.

The walk starts in Ellington Road where we talk about the tunnels that run beneath the streets from Ellington Park to the seafront. From here we pass through Vale Square, past Vinyl Head records to Addington Street with the Falstaff Hotel where Wellington plotted tactics during the Napoleonic Wars, and the Queen Charlotte pub. We visit the studio of the artist Bob and Roberta Smith who shows us his paintings of Thamesmead in South East London that he’s currently working on. We also look at Bob’s new book, You Are An Artist, which I took the photographs for.

From Bob’s studio we walk along Paragon Street to Royal Crescent and look at the statue of Vincent Van Gogh in Spencer Square and the house where Van Gogh lived in 1878. We also see the school where Van Gogh taught, at 6 Royal Road, Ramsgate. We descend the steep set of steps known as Jacob’s Ladder to Ramsgate Sailors Church at Ramsgate Royal Harbour. Then we walk around the Royal Harbour to the Harbour Arm.

walk around Ramsgate

From the Harbour we pass the Royal Victoria Pavillion pub we walk up Kent Place and look at the tiles inspired by Pugin, designed by local school children. We follow Wellington Crescent to the Plains of Waterloo where Karl Marx stayed in 1879, before heading to Artillery Road where Marx’s daughter, Jenny Marx lived. Continuing along King Street, was pass the Ravensgate Arms, one of the finest pubs in Ramsgate. We then turn into Ramsgate High Street where the walk ends.


Cathy Rogers, film-maker http://cargocollective.com/cathyrogers

The Sailors’ Church Ramsgate

Sailors' Church Ramsgate

Near the foot of the vertigo inducing Jacob’s Ladder at Ramsgate Harbrour sits The Sailors’ Church and Harbour Mission. It was built in 1878 to provide spiritual guidance to the crews of the sailing smacks operating out of Ramsgate, particularly the young apprentices known as ‘Smack Boys’. There were rooms above the chapel where the boys could stay in relative comfort when ashore. The church also provided refuge for the survivors of shipwrecks.

Sailors' Church Ramsgate

There was not a soul around when I popped in yesterday. The peacefulness of the space put me in mind of the Sailors’ Reading Room in Southwold.

Sailors' Church Ramsgate

Euro Art Happening on the beach at Ramsgate

The other Sunday I took a ride down to Ramsgate to film Bob and Roberta Smith’s EU Referendum inspired art happening on the beach in Ramsgate. Bob installed a large painting on legs in the channel with France behind in the distance – the work baring the statement WE HAVE ONLY GOT EACH OTHER – a phrase used by Bob’s 92-year old mother when they discussed the forthcoming referendum on EU membership.


Ramsgate Walkabout


Ramsgate is the frontline of the fightback against UKIP – unavoidable in the Queen Charlotte pub whose landlord is running against Nigel Farage in the 2015 General Election. This painting by Bob and Roberta Smith faces the bar.


And you plonk your pint of locally brewed Gadd’s ale down on one of these #UKIPPUTMEOFFMYBEER mats.

Pig Alley

Pig Alley is too much to resist – the town centre is lacerated with narrow passageways – if only Walter Benjamin had made his way to Thanet.

Karl Marx Ramsgate

The house where Karl Marx laid down his head for a short time on The Plains of Waterloo

Karl Marx Ramsgate

Benjamin could have come to Ramsgate following the footsteps of Karl Marx who stayed in the town in 1879 visting his daughter,  Jenny Longuet Marx who  lived at 6 Artillery Road.


Wonder if Marx ever slipped in the Oddfellows Hall for a pint and heard stories of an eccentric young Dutch painter who was working in the town as a teacher. Vincent Van Gogh used to take off for London on foot, doing the journey in 3 days.


Whatever Ramsgate was once renowned for it’s developing a reputation for its micropubs. This is the selection on offer at the Ravensgate Arms when I dropped in on an Sunday lunchtime. It’s the Ramsgate branch of Penge’s Late Knights brewery, their Dawns Early Light APA going down very well in the heat of an open fire.