The Ramsgate Home
for Smack Boys



Photo by Paul Farmer. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Founded in 1881 on Ramsgate Harbour, this home was for boys apprenticed to the smack fishermen. The boys were taken from the workhouse and were often orphans or abandoned.


Smacks were large sail boats. The sails were initially white but, when a few years old, would need a protective coating which gave them a distinctive red colour.


Fishing on such boats would have been hard work and very dangerous for a young boy but could potentially give them a job for life.


The Smack Boys' Home meant that they had somewhere to stay in relative comfort when they were not at sea.


Before the Home was bult, the boys were often put up in rooms above the Sailors' Church next door.


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