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The Marina Palace of Varieties (sometimes termed `The Établissement') was situated by the pier entrance. The building was officially opened as the Granville Marina Music Hall by Earl Sydney on 5th July 1877 as part of the development of Granville Marina by Edmund Davis of the Granville Hotel. The hall had a superficial area of 4,557 square feet and was capable of seating over 1,000 people. Davis also erected a row of houses and shops under the cliff (thereby necessitating the removal of some 80,000 tons of chalk) and a slope road from the Marina up to the East Cliff. Other attractions at the Marina included a roller skating rink, restaurant, café with outside seating, gardens and baths. In 1882 the Marina was acquired by the Ramsgate Marina Hall and Baths Company, which had been incorporated on 3rd June 1882 with a capital of £10,000 (£10,000 x £1 shares). Unfortunately, the Company soon folded and on 27th February 1885 it was put into liquidation.
In the winter of 1892 a new skating rink was added at the Marina Hall/Theatre and skaters were accompanied by a full string orchestra. Two years later the Marina was leased to F.C. Dew of the RMP&LC from 29th June 1894 for 21 years through bankers Coutts & Co. Notwithstanding, on 14th March 1895 the Kent Coast Times reported: The Ramsgate Marina, Pier & Lift Company Ltd, now offered for subscription, only amounts to £25,000, which will be sufficient to acquire the Marina and Pier, to carry out the proposed extensions, and construct the lift. The company was incorporated under the Companies Act 1862-1890. Capital £30,000, in 6,000 shares of £5, of which 5,000 are now issued; 1,000 in reserve. The RMP&LC was registered on 27th March 1895 and by 15th July 1895 2,085 shares had been taken up.
A design for the proposed elevator lift had already been drawn up for the RMP&LC by The Otis Elevator Company in May 1894. The lift was to be housed in a skeletal iron tower standing on concrete foundations at beach level, which would be protected by a concrete wall. Hydraulic power would work the lift car using a 2000 gallon water tank at the top of the tower and a second tank placed in the engine room at beach level. The engine room would be excavated out of the chalk and house the discharge tank, gas engine and pumps. The water from the top tank would be carried to the elevator in a supply pipe passing down through one of the legs of the tower. After being used to power the elevator, the water would be discharged into the lower tank, and then be raised by the pump to the top tank to be used again. A waiting room would be provided at the lower station, whilst at the top, an iron gangway led to the lift. There was also a tentative proposal for another building on the cliff top that would blend in with existing structures.
The existing Marina and Promenade Pier were acquired by Ramsgate Marina, Pier & Lift Company for £19,050; the pier being sold by Head Wrightson for £6,000. However, as the sale was taking place, the 21st March 1895 edition of the Kent Coast Times reported: On Thursday 14th, shortly after mid-day, the Ramsgate smack `British Queen' (skippered by Parnell) drifted and fouled the Marina Pier, carrying away the vessel's mizzen mast, post, fore rigging and damaging the bulwarks. The ironwork of the pier was extensively damaged.
The pier was repaired and by May 1895 was in the hands of the Ramsgate Marina, Pier & Lift Company when it suffered another mishap. The Kent Coast Times of 9th May 1895 reported: There was a fire on the Marina Pier shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday evening (6th). A large portion of the decking (45 x 20 ft) was destroyed while the pier was being repainted.
In the same paper was the report that, from 1st July 1895, there would be daily performances on the pier by the Royal Fusiliers, stationed at Aldershot, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.
The pier did reopen for the season on Monday 1st July, the first under the ownership of the Ramsgate Marina, Pier & Lift Company, with F.C. Dew managing both the pier and Marina Theatre. The pier was decorated with flags and fairy lights and the day was rounded off with a grand firework display.
Amongst the entertainments laid on by Dew on the pier were theatrical and variety shows in the pavilion, free concerts every evening at 7.30 and dancing between 9.30-10.30. The Gilbert King Operetta Company was another attraction. Admission to the pier remained at 2d, and divers continued to be a popular feature. In August 1895 Minnie Johnson dived off the pier twice daily and in the following month the Beckwiths (comprising of two ladies and a man) gave diving and swimming displays.
The Marina Company also provided a new refreshment buffet on the north side of the pier head in the former shelter/kiosk. The south side kiosk was to be similarly converted. On 2nd September 1895 the buffet was granted a wine and beer licence (a spirit licence was added on 1st September 1896). However, this welcome news for the company was rather offset by the lift scheme having to be abandoned due to opposition by residents of the East Cliff (an idea of how the lift would have looked can be gained from viewing photographs of the original lift at Shanklin, which was very similar in design).
For the 1896 season, a cinematographe was installed in the Pier Pavilion and shows were given daily at 11.45 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Pier and Marina also gained three constables when William Wilson, Thomas Clarke and William Fogwell were sworn in.
The Marina Theatre was altered in 1896 at a cost of £1,320. The work was carried out by Henry Hinds of Ramsgate and included a new lobby, cloakrooms and refreshment rooms.