Ramsgate is an English seaside town on the Isle of Thanet in East Kent; it was one of the great English seaside towns in the 19th century. Other towns in Thanet are Broadstairs and Margate, with Ramsgate being the most southerly. Ramsgate's main industries are tourism and fishing, and there is some light industry. Population (1989 estimate) 38,200.
In Roman times the Isle of Thanet was separated from the English mainland by a stretch of water (the Wantsum channel) but it subsequently silted up and is barely navigable. The present population of the Isle of Thanet is about 250,000.
Ramsgate has two notable churches. St Lawrence-in-Thanet was built in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 13th. St Augustine's was designed by Augustus Pugin in 1847 in the neo-Gothic style. Its dedication commemorates Augustine, the first archbishop of Canterbury, who landed at Ramsgate in AD 596 and brought Christianity to Britain.
Ramsgate Harbour is the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom, King George 4th having awarded the title following his successful visit in 1821. The Harbour is now the site of one of the largest and most thriving marinas on the UK south coast with passenger ferries sailing regularly to the Continent.
Because of its proximity to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both for the Dunkirk evacuation and during the Napoleonic Wars. 4,200 ships left Ramsgate Harbour to rescue men from the Dunkirk beaches during World War 2.