Indeed, according to Maiklem, the echinoderms had not only appeared in Ramsgate; they could also be seen on beaches in the neighboring town of Broadstairs. All in all, then, the incident was what London’s Natural History Museum would term “one of the biggest mass strandings on record for the U.K.”
And, as it happens, other ocean-dwellers had turned up on shore, too. Fish were also among the stranded, along with a number of crabs, sea urchins and sea anemones. One explorer even discovered a pair of false teeth on the Ramsgate beach. But why had so many of the creatures been washed up in the first place?
Well, adverse weather conditions were cited as a possible cause in some quarters of the British press. At the time of the stranding, the U.K. had been suffering from a prolonged cold snap that had brought heavy snow and freezing temperatures – the result of an anticyclone that was subsequently dubbed the “Beast from the East.”