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Former stable block to north of East Court

A Grade II Listed Building in Ramsgate, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3381 / 51°20'17"N

Longitude: 1.43 / 1°25'48"E

OS Eastings: 639002

OS Northings: 165479

OS Grid: TR390654

Mapcode National: GBR X0M.2C7

Mapcode Global: VHMCW.QMVK

Plus Code: 9F338CQJ+72

Entry Name: Former stable block to north of East Court

Listing Date: 4 February 1988

Last Amended: 22 May 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1203575

English Heritage Legacy ID: 172050

Location: Ramsgate, Thanet, Kent, CT11

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Ramsgate

Built-Up Area: Ramsgate

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

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A former stable block (now workshops, storage and accommodation), designed by Ernest George and Harold Peto in 1889-1890 for Sir William Wills (later Lord Winterstoke).


The stable block to a large villa, designed by Ernest George and Harold Peto in 1889-1890, for Sir William Wills (later Lord Winterstoke).

MATERIALS: red brick laid in Flemish bond and green Westmorland slates covering the walls of the first floor and attic and the roof, with timber and moulded brick dressings.

PLAN: the building has two floors. The ground floor had stabling, loose boxes, a carriage house with accommodation at first floor level. Garaging was later incorporated at the eastern end of the ground floor and the stalls and loose boxes were converted to classrooms. The first floor accommodation was then opened out to create one open space at the western end, with the removal of partitions.

EXTERIOR: the south front faces towards the house, East Court and repeats the jettied and gabled appearance of the main house. To the left is a covered walkway at ground floor level. This has square posts supporting a lean-to, corrugated iron roof with an ogee profile. In the brick walling behind this are four half-glazed doors with windows immediately to their side. The first floor walling above this is slate hung and has two windows of four casement lights. To the right of this are a projecting bay at ground floor level and a gabled wing of two storeys at far right, in front of which is a gabled porch of one and a half storeys. The first floor overhangs the ground floor, as do the gables, which, in common with the rest of the building, have fishscale slates. Both gables and overhang are flared to their lower body. The ridge has a tall brick stack to right and a louvered ventilation turret to left.

The road front has three horizontally-sliding garage doors to ground floor level with a lean-to roof above, perhaps indicating an extension when the use switched from carriage house to garage. At first floor level a gable is placed off-centre to right and has a four-light casement . As before the gable is hung with fishscale tiles.

The northern, rear side has a single-storey projecting brick wing to right of centre with a blocked door to its eastern flank. To left of this are an external staircase with hood at first floor level, and a projecting gabled bay which may have been a taking- in door for a hay loft.

The western end has a four-light ground floor window, and a two-light, first-floor window, above which are swept overhangs and a gable.

INTERIOR: the stalls and loose boxes at ground floor level have been converted to classrooms and are now use for storage. Kitchen spaces and the garages have been converted to a workshop. At first floor level the individual rooms to the western end have been combined to form one large open living space and kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms at the eastern end have been reconfigured.


Ramsgate is situated on the east coast of the Isle of Thanet, facing France and the Low Countries. Originating as a fishing village within the medieval parish of St Laurence, Ramsgate’s development from the C16 was driven by the strategic importance of its coastal port. Ramsgate became associated with the Cinque Ports as a limb of Sandwich from the C14. Late C17 trade with Russia and the Baltic resulted in a wave of investment and rebuilding in the town. In 1749 the construction of a harbour of refuge from storms in the North Sea and Channel was approved, and a cross wall and inner basin were completed in 1779 to the design of John Smeaton. Later improvements included a lighthouse of 1794-1975 by Samuel Wyatt and a clock house of 1817 by Wyatt and George Louch.

From the mid-C18 Ramsgate became increasingly popular as a seaside resort, its expansion being accelerated by road improvements and faster sea passage offered by hoys, packets and steamers. An assembly room, warm water baths, subscription libraries and places of worship were joined by new streets such as Effingham Street and speculative crescents and squares on the East and West Cliffs such as Albion Place of about.1791-1798 and Nelson Crescent of about 1800-1805. During the Napoleonic Wars Ramsgate became a busy garrison town and a major port of embarkation. Ramsgate’s importance in the 1820s is attested by its patronage by the British and European royal families and the creation of a separate parish by Act of Parliament, served by the large Church of St George (1824-1827). The harbour is the only one in the British Isles which has the designation ‘Royal’, granted by George IV.

The arrival of the South Eastern Railway’s branch line in 1846 opened up Ramsgate to mass tourism and popular culture, bringing a range of inexpensive, lively resort facilities intended for the sorts of middle- and working-class holidaymakers depicted in WP Frith’s painting ‘Ramsgate Sands’ of 1854 (Royal Collection). Wealthier visitors were accommodated at a respectable distance from the town in developments such as E W Pugin’s Granville Hotel of 1867-9. Competition with other Kentish resorts stimulated a series of large-scale improvements in the late-C19 and early-C20 including the construction of the Royal Parade and landscaped stairs and pathways at the eastern and western ends of the seafront to join the upper promenades to the Undercliff walks. New schools, hospitals and services were also built. The thriving town attracted diverse faith communities; Moses Montefiore founded a synagogue and a religious college at East Cliff Lodge, while A W N Pugin built St Augustine’s Church and the Grange as part of an intended Catholic community on the West Cliff.

In 1940 the harbour was the point of return for many of the small boats involved in the evacuation from Dunkirk and war-time precautions included the digging of extensive air raid shelter tunnels in the chalk beneath the town. Ramsgate remained a popular holiday destination until the advent of cheap foreign travel in the post-war decades. Falling visitor numbers were exacerbated by the decline of the town’s small trades and industries, fishing and boat-building. However, a ferry and hovercraft port and the large marina created in the inner harbour in the 1970s have continued to bring life to the area.

East Court was built in 1889-1890 by Ernest George and Harold Peto for Sir William Henry Wills, later Lord Winterstoke. Wills had a fondness for the sea and one of his prized possessions was a large motor yacht called The Sabrina. His business in the tobacco industry, in which his family had extensive interests, caused him to travel in America, where he may have become acquainted with the 'shingle and stick' style of architecture which was itself associated with Norman Shaw's brand of neo-vernacular. Hilary Grainger (see SOURCES) believes that the commission is likely to have come through Peto's connections. East Court, which was first known as East Hill, was designed by Ernest George, who had served his apprenticeship under Richard Norman Shaw.

The house was owned by the Wills family until 1932, it was inherited by Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills who, in addition to being the first female mayor of Ramsgate, was also the patron of Sir Ernest Shackleton who was a frequent visitor to the house. From 1933 until 1952 it was owned by Sir John Bayley and from 1953 to 1982 by the Church of England Children's Society, followed by the East Court School for Dyslexic Children. The house and stable block are now (2018) in separate ownership.

Reasons for Listing

The former stable block to the north of East Court by George and Peto, of 1889-1890, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* the building, by noted architects Sir Ernest George and Harold Peto, has a striking and original appearance which successfully combines a variety of influences;
* it is in a style which remains loyal to native vernacular traditions while acknowledging the wider influences which trade and improved communications made possible.

Historic interest:

* it is a good example of an outbuilding to a late-Victorian house, for a wealthy businessman and his wife, reflecting their aspirations and lifestyle and the developing technology of domestic life and transport at the time, which anticipates the Edwardian era.
Group value:

* the building has strong group value with the adjoining East Court (also by George and Peto and listed at Grade II*) and group value with the various buildings of Winterstoke Gardens (all Grade II).

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