Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Saturday, 27 December 2008

A few pieces of Victorian Margate

During the summer of 1985 the Jetty entrance destroyed in the storm of January 1978 was demolished and removed to make way for the construction of the breakwater and slipway behind the Droit House. During the construction period wooden steps were erected halfway along the Rendezvous car park from the green heart pile and cross beams salvaged from the Jetty entrance, this was done to provide access to the foreshore below. When the breakwater and new slipway was completed the steps were removed and the promenade was made good. Two years later in the summer of 1987 a concrete ledge was constructed . The intention of the ledge was to lessen the impact of the waves that crashed over the Rendezvous car park in the wintry Northerly gales during January and February. This proved to be very effective creating a backwash that would clash with the next on coming wave, fortunately for us beachcombers the backwash would erode areas of sand.
At the height of some storms the sand would occasionally disappear completely stripping away the sand to the chalk bedrock. When this first happened in 1993 there was a large area about the size of a tennis court where the sand had completely disappeared. Considering the area was the site of the Marine Palace destruction in November 1897 there was an abundance of many Victorian items found relating to the Marine Palace, like an enamelled sign, a fire place, brickwork, tiles and a large wheel that had remained more or less where they fell since 1897. The small items like coins however, had been pushed by the tide into holes and cracks in the chalk.
Where the wooden steps had been constructed a few years earlier the remaining holes from where the piles had been had left deep holes that seemed to have attracted coins, buttons, badges and other metal ware like a magnet. There was handfuls of the stuff and it was just a matter of picking the items out of the icy water and it was just my luck it was blowing a blizzard at the time, but I stuck it out.
I found many Victorian coins and other items of the period included the silver coins and 1897 jubilee medallion pictured above, as you can see from the picture, salt water and silver does not mix resulting in corrosion. Other finds included lead soldiers, lead dress weights, lead musket balls, lead bullets and lead piano weights. The lead piano weights were interesting because in the account of the storm of November 1897 the grand piano lost from the Marine Palace was smashed against the promenade wall.
Below is a picture of the makeshift steps taken in 1985 with the Droit House in the background.


ascu75 aka Don said...

cheers Tony interesting as always I used to love walking the fore shore and your exploits bring back those memories thanks mate.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Thanks Don,a lot of people do not realise how much history is lying buried under their feet when walking the foreshore.