Stormy Margate

Stormy Margate

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Manston airport debate and a false accusation.

On July 30th a motion was put to Ramsgate Town Council regarding night flights at Manston airport should the airport ever reopen. The issue was debated in public and a vote was taken that Ramsgate Town council is opposed to night flights. The majority voted in favour including myself. I voted for the motion because I felt this is acting in the best interest of the people I represent in Central Harbour Ward. Also I must add that I was elected on a no night flight ticket so my vote was never in question.
I do have personal views on Manston and I believe Manston it is a failed commercial airport. However because it is important infrastructure that does have a part to play in the economy of the area I support the idea that every avenue should be explored to try and reopen it as a small viable commercial airport. As it stands this is going to be difficult task for all involved.
When Manston closed it was because of commercial failure and had nothing to do with opposition to night flights and I will continue to support the no night flight campaign. So it is a case of Manston Yes, Night flights No but being a realist the future of the airport does look bleak unless huge investment can be found.
I am quite open where I stand and even read and contribute to the Save Manston Group facebook page following the debate. As far as the debate goes everyone has a contribution to make whether they support a 24/7 cargo hub, completely against, no night flight or whatever and the good thing about this it is non political something that is rare for Thanet.
There does seem to be a downside to this open debate, being that there are elements of the Save Manston Group that have completely gone against the rules of civilised open debate. I have had a false accusation against me published on their facebook page. I have been accused of voting for no night flights because I want Manston to close because the company I own has a demolition contract to demolish and recycle Manston , also it goes on to say  I stole the contract off Downfast. This is ridiculous because I do not own a demolition company. The  author of the remark thinks I have something to do with Ovenden demolition which is untrue. Others in the group immediately picked up on this and jumped on the bandwagon. Surprisingly the posting was allowed to stand and even after I posted a disclaimer that attracted even more sarcastic comments. Obviously I have complained and received and apology from the group leaders. However I have looked deeper into the Save Manston Action Group facebook page, printing off pages of comments . I have found  there are personal attacks on individuals that are appalling and one that really stands out is a slur on Thanet District Council.
Following the last full council a posting was published on their page that was factual, honest and praising  the progress made with Thanet District Council. However on a following posting someone posted a road sign , on it was the word "corruption" and the caption "TDC" and this was allowed to stand. Now what sort of message does that send out to an outsider viewing the page for the first time.
I am not the first  to face this treatment from SMA commentators. I have received emails and communication from others that have been subject to hostile and intimidating abuse of which they are innocent.
For a group that supposed to be at the heart of the debate is going to find itself on the fringes if the thuggish mob rule element is not weeded out.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The sea weed problem and coastal changes in photographs.


I have been sorting through some of the 3,500 images I have on disc for an exhibition on coastal changes by the North East Kent European marine sites project. I am not sure if they would use any of them but I am sorting out a few anyway and the choice is theirs.
I came across this one of Palm Bay Cliftonville taken by Margate photographer George Philip Hoare in 1914. What I find interesting is the amount of sea weed ashore something that is unusual in any Cliftonville photograph during that era as everything was always kept to a certain standard.


Another George Hoare photograph of the cliffs at Clifftonville I suspect this one was taken from the Fort Steps before the Winter Gardens was built and the lower promenade that was in filled with the chalk dug out from the Winter Gardens construction.



I not sure if I have put this one up before, Botany Bay Broadstairs un dated. Provides a good record of cliff erosion when compared to a current day photograph of the area.







Friday, 25 July 2014

One lump or two


Following on from the previous posting when I came across lumps of coal and old pieces of ships timbers ashore. A week later I returned to the site of my discoveries only to find that the beach had completely changed and that the tides that  had pushed my discovery ashore have now reclaimed everything by taking it back out to sea again. All except this large lump of coal and a beam end of a ships timber riddled with terrado worm. This piece of coal photographed with a golf ball I found nearby weighs in at 14.6 kg. To find a lump of coal this size on the foreshore is unusual as big lumps normally range at 1 to 2 kg.
My gut instinct tells me that an inshore wreck of a collier somewhere along the coast is scouring out. It is difficult to pin point which one as our southern coastline is littered with wrecks of many 19th century colliers that never completed their hazardous voyages from the North East in winter time. The maritime coal trade  into Thanet is well documented and so is the loss of life bringing a much needed commodity to keep 19th century southern homes warm in winter time. Many of the vessels even though they were sea worthy were near the end of their days and loaded up to capacity . Given that the demand for coal was always in the most harshest of weather the law of averages does point to the fact that some vessels would not make the final destination. This was generally accepted and many shipping owners would only insure the cargo and that really does speak volumes on how they operated in a very profit orientated lucrative trade.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A mysterious appearance and some beach finds.





This week there has been media attention on a little bay in Cornwall where lego from a lost cargo container has been washing up. The thread of the article being the mysteries of the sea.
At this moment in time I am working on a mystery of my own. About a fortnight ago I came across big lumps of coal washed up in one small area on the foreshore this included large lumps of ships timber and a base of a large earthenware pot. The largest piece of coal weighs just over two kilo and going by the barnacle growth they have been on the sea bed a long time. So why all of a sudden do large lumps of coal and ships timbers suddenly move off the sea bed and end up on the strandline. They may be all unrelated  instinct does tell me that an inshore wreck is breaking up. Anyway I will find out tomorrow when I revisit the site.


A nice surprise this week a piece of Amber found at Ramsgate.
 

 
A few fossils all found in the past fortnight in three locations in Thanet.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Manston air crash 1948

 
I have received this email regarding the Manston air crash 1948, something I am sure local historians will find interesting for their archives. The author has no objection to me circulating the email and is pleased to share this information.
 
My name is Malcolm John Andrews, aged 78. After resigning my commission with the RASC in 1963 I moved to Belgium where I married Liliane Vanbrabant.and have lived here to this day.
 
On Sept 18 1948: I lived in Dane Valley, Margate with my mother Gertrude May Andrews and my baby brother Brent. I was aged 11 (born Feb 1937).  At the time of the crash, my father, Francis Andrews, was an RAF flight engineer serving in Palestine (part of the UN Mandate).
 
On that fatal day my mother and, I believe, two other friends, decided to cycle up to Manston Airfield to see the Battle of Britain display. My mother had Brent on the back and I had my own bike. I cannot recall the other friends but we were all by bike.
 
I was about 50m ahead of the others near Vincent Farm when the mosquito roared over my head and crashed onto the roadway. The explosion threw me off my bike and, when I came to a few moments later, I found myself lying on my back in a vegetable field. Frankly I was too young and too dazed to recall every detail but there was a blazing mess of plane and cars on the road and billowing black smoke. Keeping away from the heat I simply waited for help, not knowing if my family members were hurt.
 
Surprisingly quickly a policeman approached me and asked me to go home and wait for news. Of course there was no-one at home and I did not have the key, so I went to the next-door neighbour (Mrs Morris?) in a bungalow like ours in Dane Gardens. Later the police arrived and I was moved to my uncle and aunt’s place, also on the Dane Valley road.
 
Ironically, my father received a telegram saying “wife and son killed in air crash” but he had no idea which son.
 
Consequently I went to boarding school (Sir Roger Manwoods) in Sandwich then Boys Squadron RAC, then RMA Sandhurst and was finally posted to (West) Germany in the early 60’s.
 
I am now anxious to correspond with all those involved in that disaster.
 
Malcolm (Mel) Andrews,
Clos de Valognes, 8
1410 Waterloo, Belgium
Phone : +322 3844362. Mobile : +32 478 2895330

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Thanet's conjoined oysters



During the recent Fircroft school trip I was so amazed how fascinated everyone was when they came across an area of large pacific oyster shells, especially those shells that were conjoined. Something I admit I just take for granted when walking the beaches. I often think like with most things Thanet people from outside Thanet look at things more with an artistic eye than us locals. So judging by this photograph I can now see why. Each conjoined oyster is unique with a mixed range of colour and shape leaving them open to interpretation whether it be craft or plain natural.
Pacific oysters have now been on our shoreline in large numbers for over two decades and are now classed as an invasive species by Natural England. Locally there is a local expert on the subject and his name is Willie McKnight, his work can be accessed on the internet for further reading.
Thanet's pacific oysters originated from the spat from the outlet pipes of the North Kent oyster farms and against all odds have bedded down on the chalk reef around the Thanet coastline. In some areas of coast this has had very little impact but in some bays they have formed reefs that is out competing indigenous species. To date Natural England have culled around 75,000 oysters in critical areas in a bid to contain the species. Over the past few winters many of the shells from the cull have made their way ashore along with the batches of shell from the winter kill.
In the photograph are shells from the winter kill that had been bedded on a unstable base like soft chalk, flint or another shellfish. The rough winter sea  has dislodged the mass of shell from the oyster reef and worked its way ashore providing winter feed for sea birds. The shells then break apart and become scattered and buried in the sand close to the strandline and eventually to breakdown naturally. These shells in the photgraph are a couple of years old and have been slightly stained by the natural mineral elements in the sand and I suppose they do have this appeal.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Broadstairs Botany Bay sea potato

The coin is a 10 pence piece to give some idea of scale.


This time of year Botany Bay Broadstairs is such a wonderful place to beachcomb  and in this settled weather many finds do turn up that generally do not survive in the winter seas. On example is the sea potato a relative of the sea urchin. Sea potato's are not rare but finding one intact on the Thanet coastline  is. This is because the shell is paper thin and when held it does have that fragile feel similar to holding a birds egg. This trio came ashore a few weeks back when we had a touch of north in the wind, a perfect time to walk the Botany Bay strandline.