Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Sand Castles

I always find that nostalgia is a more debatable and attractive subject than pure History with one of my favorite topics being what people did to earn money when they were young.
Thanet youngsters in the past were always fortunate as the area was packed out with visitors in the summer months and there was plenty of scope to earn a shilling or two. One very old method to earn a honest shilling“Grotto-ing”.
“Grotto-ing” was typically Victorian and involved building artistic sandcastles involving patriotic designs decorated with shells. The whole idea was to entice the onlookers to throw down a half penny in appreciation of the designs. A good location was always where people could look down onto the beach from a promenade, sundeck or the pier.

There had always been a local argument as to whether this was begging. In Victorian and Edwardian times children from orphanages and convalescent homes would make elaborate designs in the sand and appeal for coppers (not the boys in blue). In June 1901 Margate Police arrested some “sand scratchers” and they were fined 2/6d for obstructing the sands. By 1921 the practice seemed to have some approval, with Margate Borough Council granting a Mr. C.Marriot permission to work from Margate Sands as a sand artist for a fee of £7.00. With or without approval the practice by youngsters continued with the last historical reference being in 1937 when two youngsters were fined 5/- each for “begging” on Clintonville sands. However, it has to be remembered that Clintonville sands were always considered to be up market and were patrolled by beach wardens. Margate Sands had less attention as it was always considered a little bit down market.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely story.