This expansive Grade-II listed house sits on Nelson Crescent, just off Ramsgate Harbour. Extending to approximately 3,900 sq ft internally, the six-bedroom home has been extensively renovated throughout while respecting its Georgian sensibilities. Original fireplaces and panelling have been painted in sympathetic hues by Farrow and Ball, and sit alongside contemporary interventions like a bespoke kitchen and marble-clad bathrooms. The current layout compromises a four-floor main house with a basement annexe, which is accessible via its own entrance. Externally, a flagged yard to the rear provides parking for two cars. Nelson Crescent is wonderfully located, with the sea to its front and Ramsgate Station just a short walk away, running regular and fast services to London St. Pancras International.
Setting the Scene
Built on the cusp of the 19th century, Nelson Crescent exemplifies the high Georgian domestic style. With its Chinese pagoda-inspired canopied balconies, gossamer ironwork, railings and supports, the façade of the home speaks a language of classicism combined with Eastern-inspired decorative ornament.
Overlooking Ramsgate Harbour, which was built as a result of the Great Storm of 1703, Nelson Crescent was constructed during a time of great patriotism brought about by the Napoleonic Wars. Ramsgate was a busy garrison town, with tens of thousands of troops embarking and disembarking through the harbour to take part in overseas battles. Although little trace remains today, the town was previously fortified, with rifle shooting on the sands and drill parades in Spencer Square. In the later Regency Era, George IV departed Ramsgate Harbour for Hanover; upon his safe return, he was pleased to bestow a ‘royal’ designation on the harbour – the only one in the country to be honoured as such.
During the Victorian era, the benefits of sea air were enjoyed by wealthy families seeking refuge from city smog. A secondary royal patronage sealed Ramsgate as an eminent seaside resort when Queen Victoria took to holidaying there at the historic Albion House Hotel. Now a popular coastal town with a bustling community, Ramsgate retains a great deal of its fine Georgian and Victorian architectural integrity. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
Forming part of a landmark terrace overlooking the Royal Harbour, the townhouse sits comfortably in the middle of Nelson Crescent. Built between 1798 and 1801 from white stock brick, the building is separated from the road by spear-headed railings, and a classically mounted door provides an imposing entrance to the house.
At the front of the plan is a large bespoke kitchen with wonderful views of the sea. A vast island is set centrally, while units are topped with pristine quartz worktops complemented by white-painted cabinetry. Concealed Siemens appliances keep the line of the kitchen simple and traditional cast iron radiators have been added beneath both windows. Adjacent is a comfortable sitting room with direct access to the rear garden, with bespoke built-in cabinetry and walls finished in a buttery ‘Wimborne White’ by Farrow and Ball. There is a handy boot room and utility space at the end of the plan, which also benefits from direct access to the garden.
The main entertaining spaces of the house are set on the first floor, in accordance with the piano nobile tradition. There are commanding views over the sea and, in the distance, the French coastline can be seen from the projecting chinoiserie-style balcony, bounded by a geometric wrought iron balustrade. With imposing volumes, the drawing room has 10-ft ceiling heights and three floor-to-ceiling original windows. Stripped floorboards run underfoot and there is an original Carrara marble fireplace on one wall. A secondary sitting room, or bedroom, sits adjacent and has been finished in a rich ‘Myrtle Green’ by Mylands.
The second floor is home to a vast principal bedroom suite, which unfolds across three rooms. To the front, the bedroom overlooks the harbour and is finished in soothing, neutral shades of paint. A bespoke walk-in wardrobe sits adjacent, and rich sisal carpet runs underfoot throughout both rooms. Overlooking the quiet back garden at the rear, the expansive primary bathroom is clad in Marfil marble, with a free-standing Charlotte Edwards bath and a walk-in shower. A twin vanity and WC complete the space. There is a secondary bathroom on this floor, which has a shower, vanity and WC.
Three tranquil bedrooms sit at the top of the house, with a separate family bathroom with a shower, bath, WC and vanity.
On the lower-ground floor, there is a self-contained annexe. The space can be connected to the rest of the house via a doorway and stairwell that lead to the ground floor or closed off, with a separate entrance accessed via a stairway to street level. Spanning some 1,073 sq ft in its own right, the space is made up of a large kitchen-diner, bedroom and vaulted bathroom.
The Great Outdoors
To the rear, there is a large flagged terrace which is a veritable suntrap in summer months. Beyond this, there is parking for two cars via double wooden gates providing access to Addington Place at the rear.
Out and About
Ramsgate is swiftly developing quite a cultural scene, with a variety of independent shops, restaurants and cafés within walking distance. It is less than a 10-minute walk to the historic harbour for wonderful fresh fish as well as new cafés, including Archive Homestore. A nearby boutique hotel, The Falstaff, runs a locally-beloved coffee shop and deli on Addington Street. This street has several independent retailers and vintage boutiques, including some wonderful antique furniture dealers such as Paraphernalia. Other local favourites include Little Ship, Flavours by Kumar and the Dining Rooms at Albion House. Sundowners are a must at the Albion House or the Royal Harbour Brassiere, located at the end of the harbour arm, both of which command fabulous sea views. The recently opened Union Café serves as a yoga studio and an excellent spot for lunch. The Modern Boulangerie is known for its freshly baked bread, while Sorbetto serves authentic Italian ice cream. Waitrose is only a five-minute walk from the house.
It takes under an hour to walk along the coast to Broadstairs, which has enjoyed a palpable resurgence in recent years. The town has a thriving community of independent shops and restaurants including the Michelin-starred Stark and renowned seafood spot Wyatt and Jones. The Funicular Coffeehouse is built into the old ticket office of a long-decommissioned clifftop funicular. The old town itself remains a haven of antique shops and cafés and Morelli’s ice cream parlour is a wonderfully over-the-top institution on the seafront.
Nearby Margate is also experiencing an exciting period of change and is home to the internationally renowned Turner Contemporary art gallery along with the recently restored Dreamland amusement park. Head towards Sandwich, about eight miles south, to check out Delf Farm Shop for locally grown produce and Updown Farmhouse for a luxurious staycation or gourmet meal (or both). Both are accessible by car in less than 20 minutes. Only a few minutes further is The Dog at Wingham, a gastropub and boutique hotel.
The house’s setting on the Kent coastal path means it is possible to walk along the promenade to Margate and beyond or stroll along the endless sandy beaches when the tide is low. Pegwell Nature Reserve is also an excellent place for a relaxing walk. There is plenty to do within the town, including visiting the Victorian tunnel system or going to one of the many art galleries that have opened on the other side of the harbour. Ramsgate Festival of Sound, in late August, turns the town into a buzzing hub.
Ramsgate is well connected to the rest of the area of Thanet by train and road, meaning that the towns of Margate, Deal and Canterbury can all be accessed in under 30 minutes. Vale Square is a one-mile walk from Ramsgate station, which runs fast direct services to London St Pancras in approximately 75 minutes. The Eurostar is easily reached at Folkestone.
Council Tax Band: A
Ramsgate sits within a string of seaside towns on the coast of the Isle of Thanet, once a distinct entity to England before the channel that separated it from the mainland silted over. It is a ‘Limb’ of the Confederation of Cinque Ports, a historic group of coastal towns in south-east England that was originally formed for military and trade purposes. Today the Confederation of Cinque Ports comprises seven head ports and seven limbs and still plays an active part in the formal affairs of state.
The Christian missionary Saint Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great, landed near Ramsgate in 597 AD, bringing Christianity to the English. His tomb would become a shrine, that was later destroyed, along with his remains in Canterbury, under the orders of King Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell in 1538. Renowned 19th century architect Augustus Pugin—famous for his designs of the Houses of Parliament—constructed St Augustine’s church between 1845 and his death in 1852. Considered one of Pugin’s most personal designs, it was built next door to The Grange, his home. Today both buildings are Grade I-listed.
The earliest known reference to Ramsgate was in 1275 when it was referred to in Anglo-Saxon terms as ‘Remmesgate’, referring to a gap in the cliffs. It remained under the jurisdiction of the Head Port of Sandwich until the 18th century when the merits of the sea waters as a remedy for ailments were increasingly acclaimed. This instigated the influx of health tourists to the area which kickstarted the construction of affluent hotels and residences for those travelling from London to take in the healing waters. The arrival of the South Eastern Railway line in the mid-18th century saw the city emerge as a popular seaside resort, and in 1863 the addition of the London Chatham and Dover line, paired with spectacular sea views, made Ramsgate a prime location for development.
Simultaneously, Ramsgate became known as a strategic point for naval operations. The construction of a new harbour saw it emerge as a critical launching point in the Napoleonic Wars, and as a launch base for those headed on the rescue mission to Dunkirk in WWII. Ramsgate’s strategic position also made it a target for enemy bombing raids in both World Wars, opening up pockets of the town for subsequent redevelopment. These very different influences in Ramsgate’s development have combined to confer the town a rich mix of historic building types in close proximity which is rarely seen elsewhere.
A final claim to fame for Ramsgate is that Vincent Van Gogh lived here for a year in 1876, stating that “this town has something very singular, one notices the sea in everything”.
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