Tuesday, 28 July 2009


Another occasional guest post from the man who may be the oldest blogger in Thanet? My colleague Cllr. John Watkins is a man who pays attention to detail. Pictured here in his Margate Central ward outside Margate Media Centre on the morning of the recent Thanet Pride he has put on a pink shirt in solidarity. He has some good news......

‘Our Maritime Museum is off the Rocks,

They’ve cut loose all the Anchors

A brand new plan is on the Stocks,

They are no longer run by …….


It is great news that Thanet District Council’s cabinet have been advised to sign a 99 year lease with the Steam Museum Trustees for the occupancy of the Clock House in the pier yard Ramsgate.

A fresh start can now be made for the Ramsgate Maritime Museum, under the stewardship of new trustees who could, actually, run a successful whelk stall.

Someone once wrote that ‘those who forget their history are doomed to re-live it’. With this in mind I would like to list some of the reasons which may have led to the East Kent Maritime Trust (EKMT), the former occupants, being effectively sacked by Thanet District Council.

One reason could be the thousands of pounds per annum of Thanet Council grant fund money that was paid to Mr. Jimmy Godden for a first floor suite of five offices overlooking the marina on Harbour Parade Ramsgate. Office space that would have been more appropriate for a profitable, large sized company.

Or perhaps it was the more than £40,000 spent on consultants in recent years, whilst paying their own local permanent staff poverty rates of pay. Then again there was the approx £75,000 in fees, plus £62,000 penalty, paid over to the legal profession, for the mediation concerning their hugely expensive and totally unnecessary squabble over the tug Cervia.

In addition to all this, the EKMT inexplicably failed to produce any annual reports and accounts for over three years, until November 2008, contrary to Charity Commission rules. This was whilst still continuing to receive, with no questions asked, their regular annual £80,000 grant from Thanet District Council, funded by the local rate payers.

At the start of 2008 the East Kent Maritime Trustees, who included three senior local Tory politicians among their number, were able to carry forward funds of almost £223,000. This sum included money from bequests, donations, grants and sales. However, in spite of this they still found it unavoidable to make every one of their loyal staff members redundant (I was one of them, and have carried on working on a voluntary basis), thus depriving seven local workers of their livelihoods and tipping them all out into a very uncertain future.

The EKMT 2008 Annual Report and Accounts for this charitable trust, which are due to be published soon, should make for some very interesting reading. With any luck, a sizable proportion of the £267,616.00 bequest that was given to the museum will soon be passed across to the Steam Museum Trust to spend on future projects at Ramsgate Maritime Museum."
For more on Thanet Conservatives having problems managing Ramsgate Harbour facilities click here for Bertie Biggles detailed dissection of the recent Ramsgate Port audit.


  1. Richard Card wrote:

    "I reported the matter of the Butler Trust money to the Charity Commission. I was the first, and I think only, person to do so. The Charity Commission already hadan inquiry running into EKMT.

    The fact remains that we still do not know whether a deal was struck to pass the legacy money, £267,000, to the Steam Museum Trust in effect as a quid pro quo to get EKMT trustees (like Bill Hayton) off their unlimited personal liability hook re Cervia deterioration damages.

    In other words a new museum service should not only have £267,000 but also a substantial amount paid from the pockets of the EKMT trustees."

    He also went on to make a number of comments that related to Cllr. Hayton but were lenghty and off the thread of this post which I have not posted.

  2. Can you elaborate on the grants paid to J Godden? Are they recent? How much and for what purpose? Has not TDC wriirn off debts from this individual in the past and is it not still owed money for fencing at Dreamland?

  3. Mark,
    Lets not forget the Margate Museum which is the real victim here, of which you have failed to mention in the list of EKMT failures. Now that the Ramsgate Maritime Museum has been settled will the Margate Museum issue be allowed to fade away like the Gazette campaign.
    The future of the Ramsgate Maritime collection was never in doubt the issue was the lease of the clock house, once that was settled it was business as usual. Also the displacement of the EKMT was not about being sacked by TDC it was more along the lines of a hostile corporate take over by SMT. The SMT knew exactly what it was doing over the Cervia realising the financial turmoil the EKMT had put itself in and realising TDC had enough of the EKMT incompetance. However, I do feel the SMT will be a far better option than the EKMT ever was and what really matters they are a profesional outfit.
    Getting back to Margate Museum. TDC has not got a clue what to do with it even though the leader of TDC was quoted as saying it would not close. TDC own the entire collection and currently pay for the insurance, storage and conservation of the collection.
    Part of the collection was donated by local people in good faith and it appears it is all the property of TDC to do exactly what they please which does not fill anyone in historical circles with confidence. Overall the future of the Margate Museum is very bleak.

  4. Bertie
    They were not grants. It was the commercial rent paid for the first floor offices in the building owned by Godden (above the amusement arcade). The rental costs paid came out of EKMT's annual funding from TDC.
    Very well informed anon 17.11
    £30,000 for "burlesque" entertainment from TDC or money for Margate museum, I know which I would choose. I could go on with many other areas of expenditure which are not as important as Margate museum. It is our history, it is our culture, we should pass it on to future generations and it is being discarded. I wonder if someone approached TDC about a lap dancing festival what the response would be? See