Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Friday, 31 October 2008

A Skinhead day at the sea side 1981.

Many seaside towns are warmly remembered in the annals of history by the Party Political conference seasons and the political events that happened at the time. Margate on the otherhand had Bank Holiday Monday. When hoards of youth cults would descend on the town with the different factions clashing on the sea front causing mayhem.
Since the Mods and Rockers discovered Margate in 1964, Margate's venue as a best kept secret for a punch up was open to all. Whatever the cult they were nobody until they have made the national headlines at Margate. Earning notoriety there were many cults and I suppose the cult that stuck out the most and had the same reputation as the Daleks has to be Skinheads.
One such incident happened on Easter Bank Holiday Monday 1981, 200 rampaged through the town resulting in 27 youths and 1 girl appearing in court. Trouble started early afternoon when the group had gathered outside the railway station chanting "Sieg Heil" at the Police. Then it was "Remember Brixton, Riot!Riot!Riot! Kill the Black B*******! " as they started running through the town with clenched fists causing tourists to scatter in fear. One skinhead was arrested along the seafront for possessing a two foot piece of wood with four nails sticking out and many skinheads were arrested for threatening behaviour.
Appearing in court the following Thursday the total cost for a day out in Margate costs the skinheads £1,835 in fines and £425 in costs and warrants issued for the arrests of three skinheads who did not turn up.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Bank Holiday 1977 and the Punk Rockers

A extremely rare photograph from my collection taken on Bank Holiday monday above the slope leading to Dreamland outside the Cinque Ports Public House (Punch & Judy).
The pubs are turning out to close for the afternoon with rival punk and teddy boy gangs spilling out onto the seafront.
Following publicity in the Sun newspaper, the Teddy Boys were in town and were going to sort it out with the Punks on Margate Seafront following a series of highly publised punch ups in the Kings Road , London.
The Police are preventing the Punks from entering Dreamland to avoid any clashes with the Teds who are in the fairground. It appears from the photograph that somebody has over stepped the mark and is feeling the long arm of the law.
In the top right of the photograph the words Punk can be seen on a leather jacket. Central to the Photo there are also a couple of Johnny Rotten look a likes. Other points, is that only one person is wearing flares and the Police vechicle looks like a scouts bus.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Discarded records revealed

In this months "Bygonne Margate" by the Margate Historical Society there is a very interesting article by John Robinson which will be of interest to Museum watchers. It really does highlight how bad local officials can be when it comes to conserving our heritage. I have reproduced the article as it stands for all to read with permission from the editor of the magazine.
It is a well known fact amongst local historians that many records and items went "missing" during the local government changeover in 1973/4. The late Dr Alan Kay donated a very old map of Margate to the Margate Museum that was salvaged from a skip by a workman during these so called clearances. He spoke to me on a few occassions on the subject and since then I have always kept a mental note of what I have seen. So in June 2006 when I gained access to the TDC records stored under the main Post Office, I just couldn't believe my luck. The same applies to the time I spent in the Margate Museum, plus the information I received from John Willliams a former curator when the museum was set up. Also my time as a District Councillor and being chairman of the joint museums committee has given me access to things Joe public will never know. This is perhaps the reason why TDC have denied my Freedom of Information Act request to a list of the art and artefacts they own on our behalf.
Even though I heap critism on TDC by the cartload I honestly believe the Art and Artefacts on their list to be correct to the time it was compiled in 1973/74.The staff employed by the EKMT have ensured that this has remained the case throughout the EKMT management period. The handover of TDC items from the EKMT will be a just a formality and TDC without doubt will look after the Art collection because of the immense value. However, there are many items donated to the archives and collection that may be unrecorded like books etc.,, Museum watchers need to be vigalent about. Plus recorded items donated to the Margate Museum when it was a charity as the items are subject to charity commission rules. Then there is all this post 1973/4 archive TDC have. What will happen to thisarchive ?
So Museum watchers there is plenty to look out for as John Robinson's article does highlight.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Margate Artwork

When the Margate Museum was managed by Thanet District Council between the 1987 and 1994, the Museum budget allowed the purchase of aquisitions to the collection. One such aquisition was this fine painting by Alfred Clint circa 1830 at a cost of £2,500. Today this painting is valued between £20,000 to £30,000 and is on display in the stairwell of the Museum. TDC at the time published a set of postcards featuring the artwork in the Museum and up until closure they could be purchased from the Museum and from the tourist information centre, and are still on sale in the information centre.
On the back of this postcard pictured above is the number 6712 which I assume must be the number of the painting as is appears on the TDC list, as I cannnot imagine it to be a postcard number. The list of public artwork cannot be obtained from TDC under the Freedom of Information Act, so I will be putting the postcard collection in due course on my blog to keep Museum watchers in the loop.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

The original "Centre" Margate

You do not see many like this, this photograph is of a model made of the "Centre", Margate in the early planning stages by the Borough of Margate Town Council.
Borough of Margate central area redevelopment phase 1 was the name of the project, and looking at the original plane compared to what we have today there is certainly a difference.
Please feel free to copy and download.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Changing Coastline - St Mildreds Bay

St Mildreds late 1950's Sunbeam style, These photographs were actually used for multi scene family postcards. In each photgraph the old first world war seaplane station slipway can be seen and perhaps the only surviving photograph of the Pedloes that operated from the bay during that period. Two of the photographs do have people strategicaly placed for postcard production , like the person posing in the deckchair in one of the pedloe photographs.
These photographs are copied from the Margate Museum collection please feel free to download.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Digging the Pettman bathing station site.

In the last week of January 1996 a series of strong Northerly gales hit our coastline with such ferocity demolishing the wartime Tongue Fort on the Tongue Sands and running aground a ship called the "Argus". The Tongue Fort up until that point was one of the oldest concrete structures in european waters, built during the second world war as a gun platform as part of a defence system. Very often visitors to the town would often mistake the structure as a oil rig seeing it boldly on the horizon on a clear day.

The "Argus" had run aground due to a power problem and was soon refloated with the aid of a tow. Within days of the "Argus" being refloated wooden planks from a wreck started to appear on the strand line. Indicating the "Argus" had past through a wooden inshore wreck.Each plank heavily iron stained which is a indicator that the carvel (wooden pegged) built vessel was carry quatities of iron.

There was a short period of calm, then came another north easterly gale. This time I was prepared and set out to follow the debris trail from Foreness Point to the Margate Jetty site looking for shipwreck planks. It was a bitter cold day and snowing when I took my son who was ten at the time for a treat to show him the ropes. The gale had blown strongly during the night and we expected to find some good finds.

We had done pretty well until we came to Newgate Gap, the site of the Pettman bathing station which once stood on the site as seen in the postcards. The sand had been stripped away down to bare chalk and protruding from the chalk was the stumps of the steel posts that once supported the bathing station. When the steel posts were driven into the chalk during construction the chalk shattered leaving a small crater like hole around the cut off stump still in the middle. The crater or hole, had filled up with sand and due to wave action metal items ended up being drawn into the hole. Using a trowel my son and I dug out the hole and found many coins in layers as we dug down to about 3 feet. Most of the coins were pre first world war and were more than likely lost by people using the bathing station at the time. In total we found 176 coins, the oldest being a 1889 Florin. Unfortunately finding coins do not have a historical significance, but the Pettman key fob I found did. The Pettman & Co Bathing at the time would hire out chalets and lockers for people to put their items in. The keys issued would have a fob attached offering the finder 2 shilling reward if found and returned. The fob pictured obverse and reverse is the one I found at the time which has been recently returned to me from the Margate Museum.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Changing Coastline- Epple, Grenham & Minnis Bay

Seven photographs in the Sunbeam collection of the changing coastline between Epple Bay , Grenham Bay and the cliffs at Minnis Bay. Taken around 1958/59 they are copied from the Sunbeam collection in the Margate Museum. Without doubt these quality photographs are a natural history record of the Geological changes to the Chalk Cliffs in these areas compared to todays concrete sea defences. Some of these photographs may have appeared elsewhere but I have grouped the lot together for downloading.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Changing Coastline- Pleasurama and the Marina Pool

A little something for the weekend, Ramsgate how it used to be Sunbeam style. The final four of the Ramsgate copies I made from the Margate Museum collection. Perhaps the most unusual photograph is the entrance to the East Pier, taken from a ship perhaps. The background detail is a perfect time capsule of the goings on in that part of the Harbour, I think around 1948/49. But then I may be wrong.
Please download and store in your Ramsgate archive as TDC will be taking control of the Margate Museum soon, and with no clear Museums policy, gems like this will not see the light of day for a long time.

Changing Coastline - Eastcliff and Pleasurama 1938

Another what the "Lutwaffe would have seen", aerial view of the Eastcliff Ramsgate taken around 1938. The buildings lost in August 1940 in a bombing raid on Albion Hill and Albion Place are as they were before the raid incluiding other areas like Camden Square.
I am not sure if ECR's mansion was built then, I have tried enlarging to see if I could find a posh looking place, so far I have had no luck.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Changing coastline- Palm Bay & Friends Gap

Moving eastwards from yesterday with this aerial photograph of the eastern end of Palm Bay. Taken around 1959, the Palm Bay eastate is just fields of sea breeze barley. Just below is Friends gap looking secluded and peaceful.
This picture is another copied from the Sunbeam collection at the Margate Museum. Looking through those I have copied I have noticed that most of the pictures were taken in either 1938/39, 1948/49 and 1958/59.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Changing coastline - Cliftonville Sundecks

Three photographs Clitonville sundecks circa 1959 from the Sunbeam collection in the Margate Museum. The one of the left is the Walpole Bay toilets and beachhuts(1959) as seen from the cliftop looking down, this building was demolished in the early seventies to allow extension of the Promenade. The top left is another clifftop photograph looking down, again around 1959 of Walpole Bay sundeck looking west. Top right is Palm Bay sundeck looking east of the same era , on the clifftop at Foreness is a radar mast older readers will certainly remember.
Both Sundecks were demolished shortly after the storm in January 1978 after remaining derelict for a number of years.
Looking at the Palm Bay there is a feature from world war 2 in the clifface. Firstly download load the picture, then expand on the groyne where it joins the promenade then follow in a line to the base of the cliff passing through 4 people. Then work your way up the cliff and you will see a retangular slot in the cliff. That slot is a dummy machine gun pill box built in 1940 to fool the Germans that the coastline was fortified when our country was under threat of invasion. There were two in the vicinity this one was removed in the 197o's after a child climdeb in and got stuck and the other was a concrete block that still remains today.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Changes behind the Seabathing Hospital 1901

Three postcards taken behind the Seabathing Hospital seaward side, the first on the left taken pre 1900 showing the slipway from behind the Seabathing Hospital leading straight to the beach. The second top left taken in 1901 shows the promenade under construction. The third top right is with the promenade finished and the Westbrook Pavillion finished, a pre first world war 1 view definately.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Comic Postcards and the Law

When the flower shop at the top of Margate High Street closed some time back another chapter in the chronicles of our seaside heritage disappeared. This time the casualty being the comic postcards that were very popular during the post war "kiss me quick" hat era of seaside sauciness through to the 1970's. The flower shop was run by Fred Houghton who to many throughout the trade knew him as Mr Postcard. Over the years he sold thousands of saucy postcards to the working class day trippers who loved their double meanings of references to sex and nudity. Postcards by the arch villain depending how you look at it, was the Picasso of the Pier, Donald Mcgill were very popular.
Mcgill postcards were artistic and took the sexual double meanings and references to the very edge, the public loved it but the local authorities didn't. Fred sold these postcards along with those by Bamforths Postcards from his shops in the High Street, Cliff Terrace,Newgate gap kiosk and on the end of Margate Jetty. I asked him once whether he had run ins with the law over the years and with a mischievous grin he replied "Yes". In fact during the 1950's people were always on his case and he loved it and the old fox never got done . He told me that the best place to sell the best postcards was on the end of the Jetty just before the boats picked people up to take them home. All it needed was a good lookout out and it was money for old rope.
He told me about a raid in the 1950's when Postcards by Donald Mcgill were targeted by the police in Margate in 1953. I asked Suzannah Foad at the Margate Museum if there were any articles in the 1953 newspaper archive about these raids and she found an article that on the 19th August 1953 the police raided a number of shops in Margate and confiscated 1,824 comic postcards, mostly those by Donald Mcgill. The case went to court in October 1953 and the cards were ordered to be destroyed.
I have attached an article for download which I did for the Margate Historical Society giving more details on the court case.
In the years before the closure I started buying comic postcards from Fred just for the interesting conversations, plus I had persuaded the Margate Museum to start a collection of comic postcards of which I donated many.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Eastcliff from the air pre 1940

Another poached aerial photograph copied from the Sunbeam collection in the Margate Museum archive, owned by TDC. This one was taken above the inner harbour pre August 1940, and looks very much like the view the Lutwaffe would have had during the bombing raid in August 1940 on Ramsgate.
From this view certain buildings can be seen that received a direct hit on that fateful raid.
The abscence of traffic is also noticable considering the amount of people on the beach.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Birchington Square from the air

This Sunbeam aerial photograph of Birchington Square is part of the Sumbeam collection in the Margate Museum and I think it is a must have for Birchington bloggers. At present I have it as a background on my computor and looking the picture full screen, the photo quality is that good I feel as if I am in the aircraft just looking down. Feel free to download and you can see what I mean.The detail is remarkable and I have been trying to date it, any ideas ?.
I have copied 29 Sunbeam photo's on disc from the museum collection before it closed and many have been featured before on Simon Moores Thanetlife, Michael's Thanetonline and my Thanet Coast Life. The Sunbeam collection in the Margate Museum does run into hundreds and some once belonged to the publicity department of the Borough of Margate.
At the last auction held at the Westgate Auctions on the 5th October there was a pile of about 20 arial sunbeam photographs up for auction. They were stamped in green on the back Robert Crittenden, Estate Agents and carried a "M" number. Unfortunately I was not present to see how much they went for.

Margate Sundeck and Sunbeam photgraphs

This postcard dated around late 1940's early 1950's is of the Bathing Pavillion on Margate main sands.Commonly known as the Sundeck it was opened on 23rd July 1926 to accomodate 320 bathers. Designed by a Mr G C Wilkins and built by L H Snowdon of Kingsgate at a cost of £28,000. The construction used about 410 tons of steel , the steel stanchions were bedded five feet into the chalk, and the main decking area was 305ft x 88.5 ft wide and the approach was 112ft x 40 ft wide. This construction survived numerous storms and a world war before being demolished in the late 1980's.
On the day of the opening the Mayor was given a gold key by the contractors. Declaring the Sundeck open the Mayor stated that Margate was one of the most up to date and enterprizing towns in the kingdom. How times have changed.
On the nearest left hand corner on the sundeck is a sunbeam photo's kiosk. Sunbeam photographed any vistor regardless of class and status as they walked along the promenades, sundecks and pier, later selling the photgraphs from pick up kiosks. In fact Sumbeam photgraphed everything and the record of their works is a fine example of social history of vistors to Margate. Thanet District Council does own a fine collection of topographical black and white Sunbeam photographs of the coastline and other locations taken pre war and post war. The collection is housed in the Margate Museum and is catalogued. I have copied many of the photographs for use on my blog and some are in the archive of Simon Moores Thanetlife blog. On the Margate Museum website there is also a brief history of Sunbeam Photo's on this month's featured article.
Finally, the picture of the Viking ship I use as my picture is a sunbeam one. It was taken off Viking Bay in 1949 as the Viking Ship approached the Bay. Today as we all know the Viking ship now displayed at Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Dr Peete's Margate Charity

In 1907 following the death of Dr Thomas Peete a Margate charity was set up from the proceeds of his estate. A sum of £50,000 was placed into a charity for the people of Margate who faced hardship, the qualification being that the individual must have lived in the Parish of St Johns,Margate,Northdown,Garlinge and Westgate on Sea for a period of no less than 15 years.
This charity is still in operation today and believe it or not, Margate people can still make applications for a hardship grant from the charity. The Margate Charter Trustees are involved in the set up and I am sure any Margate councillor who attends Charter Trustee meeting on a regular basis will be delighted to help Margate residents in these troubled times.
I have attached the history of Doctor Peete's, Margate charity for all to download from the Margate Historical Society archive.

The attempt to sell Dane Park land in 2005.

Remember the attempt by TDC to sell off land at Dane Park in 2005, well this is the response by the Margate Historical Society which contibuted to TDC backing off. Please feel free to copy anything I put on my blog and put it in your own archives and use it for the good of Margate.
The article was not written by me, and the author Mick Twyman has allowed me to use this article on my blog for the good of Margate. This is because we believe in Margate, we were born in Margate and we will do anything to seek and conserve the History of Margate.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Ditched bomber on the Nayland Rock

On the morning of September 3rd 1940 at 06:20 am a Whitley mark 5 bomber ditched on the low water mark close to the beacon on the Margate side of the Nayland Rock. The reason for the landing was because the bomber had run out of fuel after returning from a raid on Geneo, Italy. The crew a bit shaken and wet were unhurt.
For the remainder of the second world war the wreckage remained and was scrapped soon after the war. Unfortunately the removal was incomplete and wreckage of the fuselage and part of the cockpit remained buried in the sand. The exact location of the wreckage was about 100metres slightly to the North East behind (seaward) of the old Nayland beacon, which it just a stump that can be seen at low water today. The current beacon today is a new one and is actually on the Nayland Rock itself and just happens to be situated close to the ribs of a wooden wreck.
During the 1990's the sand on the wrecksite started to shift for reasons unknown and pieces of wreckage started to appear, lighter pieces were washing up alongside the Nayland Rock where the sand meets with the rocks and pieces were also found behind the sun deck pool. Some pieces were stamped "AW" which were the initials of the manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth.
On one very low spring tide in 1997 I did very well and found most of the items as seen in the newspaper article. At the time they were blackened and looked awful, but I managed to clean them up using rhubarb. The method was simple, I worked out the shape and dug it in the soil, then I used a dustbin bag to line the hole and placed the item on top. I then boiled up loads of Rhubarb I had already growing in the garden and covered the parts. After a couple of days the rhubarb had turned black. After removing the item and bag I buried the Rhubarb and cleaned the aluminium part. It was almost as clean as a whistle.
Later I donated the parts I found in 1997 to the Margate Museum collection and the remainder to the Manston History club.
Today small pieces can still be found around the Nayland Rock area, they are distinguished by the rivet holes and if you are lucky, "AW" or manufacturing part numbers.

Sea bathing dolls and Margate Museum Artefacts

A very interesting article in todays Gazette (03/10/08) on page 15, which raises concern over the future of the Sea Bathing Hospital Dolls and their future. The Gazette now raises the question for the first time of artefacts being removed from the Margate Museum. Considering that the majority of items in the Museum are property of Thanet District Council, interested parties should be really concerned . Even though the items maybe a donation, it can be assumed they can do whatever they like once the Museum is closed because the EKMT agreement ceases to be, simply because TDC are the legal owners. We could all cry foul because under Charity commission rules disposal would come under Charity Commission guidelines. But Charity Commission guidlines only apply to the EKMT as they are the registered charity. Now considering that all items in the Maritime Museum are EKMT aquisitions then they are protected by Charity Commission guidelines as EKMT has enjoyed charitible status.
Unless TDC has given up ownership of the items in the Margate Museum to the Charity(EKMT) then there is nothing TDC can do but follow the Charity Commission guidelines. Somehow I do not beleive TDC would such a thing because firstly because their collection of art and artefacts are worth more than £500,000 plus all the records of items of art and artefacts in the Margate Museum are stored on CD's and kept in the TDC safe. So it can be assumed that TDC are the legal owners and they in fact paid a Charity (EKMT) to look after their collection.
This does raise a question to the ownership of donated items to the Margate Museum when the Museum was under charitable status, because the donor forms which are a legal agreement between the donor and the museum, states that the donation is to the Museum and not TDC or the EKMT.
This is something the Council's solicitors should really need to address, who are the legal owners of what ? before there there is any talk of removal.