Ramsgate Tunnels celebrates its 10th anniversary as a visitor attraction this year and is kicking off a series of events with a postcard design competition for children.
In January 2014, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £84,500 to the tunnels and they were reopened to the public six months later in June 2014, just 75 years after they were first opened as a wartime shelter in 1939.
Since then, volunteers have transformed the heritage attraction into one of the leading visitor destinations in the south east of England.
To mark ten years of the visitor attraction the Tunnels staff and volunteers have launched a competition for children under 16 to design a postcard on the theme of ‘We Love Ramsgate Tunnels’. The competition winners will be picked from three age groups 4-7 years, 8-11 years and 12-16 years. The three winning designs will be printed as limited edition postcards and a design for a canvas bag will be produced and printed from the winning designs to be sold in the gift shop.
The competition winners will receive a free 2024 family pass for Ramsgate Tunnels, art supplies, 5 postcards printed with their winning design and a limited-edition canvas bag produced from the winning designs.
The design can incorporate any aspect of Ramsgate Tunnels, an historic event, part of its architecture, or one or more of its many uses throughout history, but it must be focused on Ramsgate Tunnels. The design should prominently include the two statements ‘We Love Ramsgate Tunnels’ and ‘2014-2024’. The artwork should be A4 sized (29.7 x 21 cm) in either landscape or portrait format.
The Ramsgate Tunnels 10th anniversary children’s art competition is run by Ramsgate Tunnels. It is open from now until 4pm on 17th March. Winners will be notified by 14th April.
Find details and download an entry form at https://www.ramsgatetunnels.org/10th-anniversary-art-competition/
Originally constructed as a railway to connect the harbour of the town with the main train line, Ramsgate Tunnels are two and a half miles long and in some places are as much as 27 metres below the surface. The largest of the tunnels, dates back to October 1863, when it was opened as a railway tunnel serving Ramsgate Harbour Station. The line closed in 1926, when the current Ramsgate station opened. However, the tunnel was brought back into use in 1936, when a narrow gauge railway ran between Hereson Road and the seafront.
The second phase of construction for the Tunnels was during the Second World War, when the Mayor of Ramsgate commissioned the construction of a series of tunnels to serve as underground shelters to protect the inhabitants of Ramsgate. Due to Ramsgate’s close proximity to Europe, the town suffered from heavy bombing during the Second World War.
The tunnels provided sanctuary for many thousands of the town’s residents. The tunnel system utilised both the disused 1863 mainline railway tunnel, and a newly created horseshoe shaped tunnel running from the East Cliff to the West Cliff with entrances dotted throughout the town, so nobody need be more than four minutes ‘brisk walk’ to seek shelter when the sirens sounded.
News of ‘Ramsgate Tunnels’ spread far and wide and soon magazines and national newspapers sent photographers and reporters to report on this remarkable feat of engineering, which had been spearheaded by Ramsgate’s Borough Engineer, R.D. Brimmel, and the Town Mayor A.B.C. Kempe.