Ramsgate Station: Poems & Text

Ramsgate Train Station, Saturday 10th May 2014, from 9.00am - 9.30am

On Saturday 10th May 2014, a train will be waiting at 9.00am at Ramsgate railway station in Kent, England, to begin a journey to London’s Charing Cross Railway station. The train will be special; it will contain the first ever live sound installation that will play with the noise and resonances of the actual train to an live audience who will be travelling to London. Forming part of a two-year abstract performance work named Resting Place, this event will become part of a bigger production in 2016. Before leaving Ramsgate, actor Harry Vendryes will recite a poem and extracts of the diary of Clarice Spratling, the VAD nurse whose diary this project is following. On arriving at Charing Cross a short performance will take place, considering the thoughts of Clarice when she arrived at the station almost 100 years ago on her journey to France to nurse wounded men.


The poem Harry will be reciting was penned by a soldier in the autograph book belonging to the Grandmother of artist Dawn Cole, who was a VAD Nurse in Epsom, Surrey in 1916. The words that follow are extracts from Clarice’s diary that touch on motion without really get anywhere;- the in-between bits.

He was only a shabbily dressed recruit

He was his only mother’s son

He was new to the uniform he wore

He was new to the sword and gun

He enquired of the Sergeant, who was having a smoke

Where shall I sleep tonight

The Sergeant looked at him and cried

You can sleep where the hell you like

He was only a soldier hurriedly drilled

Every nerve in his body was more than thrilled

He was there in the trench, taking aim at the Hun

For it was neck or nothing and the hour had come

He enquired of the Sergeant, who was having a smoke

Where shall I sleep if I am killed

The Sergeant turned and sharply said

You can sleep where the hell you like

T.W Sterrett Sept 28th

Extracts from Clarice Spratling's Diary

Sept 28th: We arose at 6am, went down to breakfast and arrived on Charing X station at 7:30am where all was bussle and confusion. We had to run and hook a porter to get our luggage weighed and registered etc, get our tickets from our Commandant, who was on the platform superintending, get our brazzards etc from arms and identification ties for our neck and finally landed in a first reserve saloon, all empty for Folkestone. It was an express train, so got there in no time. —————————————————————————————————————————————-

Sept 28th: Boarded the boat which was waiting and found a seat and settled ourselves for a nice trip as the day was perfect.All went well till we were half way across and I began to feel just a wee bit funny. Peck and Buckett insisted on marching me up and down the deck, till I was quite alright again. Finished the trip quite in A1style. —————————————————————————————————————————————-

Oct 18th: Had a half day off today so decided to go to Boulogne (about 3 miles from here) by train and see if I could find Mrs Faulkenbury. Peck managed to get her half day as well so we hurried over our lunch and started on our journey. —————————————————————————————————————————————-

Oct 20th:

Had 3 hrs off and went for a walk to the Napoleon’s Monument, I should think about 1 mile from here. Peck and a Red Cross V.A.D named Olivia. When we got there we had a lamp with a candle inside to take upstairs with us – don’t know how many but thought we must really reach the sky —————————————————————————————————————————————-

Nov 5th: Went for a walk out to the old fort rock. It was low tide and we were able to walk right round it.

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Nov 9th Buckett, Peck and I went to Boulogne to the Cathedral. On the way we had to change cars as sea was washing over the tram lines. Very rough and windy, pouring with rain. Went over cathedral – very beautiful.

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Nov 10th: Went for a long walk to Ambleteuss, about 4 miles. Glorious morning, back in time for lunch – nothing else exciting. —————————————————————————————————————————————

Nov 14th: Sunday. Arose about 9am. Went to Boulogne with P and B to the cathedral to the service there. Priest wore a gorgeous gown of lace and emerald green over it. Singing was very nice indeed. Came home to lunch and went for a long walk to Souverain Moulin. Country looking grand. Had tea and pancakes at a little inn and walked home in the moonlight. —————————————————————————————————————————————-

Nov 15th: Walked to Boulogne forest after lunch . Tram to St Martin and walked until we met a car driven by Tommy’s who asked us if we’d like a lift. Car was A. 1. Went to La Capelle by car, about 10 minutes from forest and had tea at La Capelle after spending about half an hour in forest. Very quaint old women carrying fire wood on their backs. Walked home in moonlight to St Martin where we met another car with one Tommy who took us on to Boulogne. Did a little shopping and came home from B in an ambulance: still awfully cold. —————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dec 29th: Went to a panto at Conval. camp. Was splendid - taken by Assis. Matron in motor —————————————————————————————————————————————-

Harry Vendryes is an actor living in London and is the voice of Clarice throughout Resting Place, you can find out more about Harry by visiting Nancy Hudson Associates

Image: www.ramsgatehistory.com

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