As a girl Queen Victoria had holidayed in the town and ‘we have pretty stories of her delight when she was allowed to play by the seashore, and go for long donkey rides or country walks on one of her many visits…’ According to Burnand’s and May’s comic Zig Zag Guide to the Kentish coast published in 1897, the train would have arrived in Ramsgate in a slow and dignified manner, for ‘It does not do to come rushing and screaming into Royal Ramsgate, nor to enter into the town all panting, puffing and blowing.’
Despite the ‘Royal Ramsgate’ tag, the blatantly populist brand of entertainment on the beach and in the town – Sanger’s Amphitheatre had opened in the high street in 1883, and was capable of accommodating 1500 people – was aimed at the lower middle or working class tourist, the target audience with which Ramsgate was snobbishly associated. Nor did all the locals see this influx of visitors as an opportunity. In the year Sanger’s Amphitheatre opened, one disgruntled local shopkeeper complained that ‘they are ruining Ramsgate by these cheap trains […] they bring down mobs, who come only for the day, and bring their dinners in their pockets. They spend nothing in the town, and they drive away resident visitors’.