In all the years the Margate Museum was open my only criticism would be the lack of emphasise on our maritime past. One theme in particular was smuggling and even today throughout Thanet this subject is never exploited to the full tourism potential. The last time someone did anything on the subject was when Louis Longhi opened a smugglers museum in the dark dank cellars of Bleak House. It was a total success and the only reason it folded was due to ill health , it also has to be realised that Bleak House Museum never received any funding from anyone and was totally self financing. Smuggling off the Thanet coast was a more intense, brutal ugly business and out strips Cornwall any day. The only reason Cornwall has such a high profile on the subject is because of good marketing and the coastline in some places is undeveloped and captures the image of the time. If the truth was known, the Cornish smugglers were really pussies as they mainly smuggled wool of all things.
Getting back to the Margate Museum the development of the Maritime Margate was always stifled because there was this fear of treading on the toes of the EKMT and being in direct competition with the Ramsgate Maritime Museum. Yet the strange thing was that the EKMT never stood in the way of museum development at Margate and promoted maritime history where ever they could.
So instead of developing Maritime Margate we ended up with bomb alley and a double dose of World War two. I have attached photographs of the the artefact's the museum displayed on Maritime Margate and as you can see centuries of Maritime History could quite easily be displayed in a bedsit which does the subject no justice whatsoever. The collection even though small has some excellent items worth noting, such as a medal awarded by the President of the United States to Robert Parker for the role he played in the rescue of the crew of the Northern Belle in January 1957, also there is a Gold RNLI badge awarded to Bruce Fleet for his lifetime service to the RNLI which is in the bottom right hand corner of the cabinet. The piece of metal painted black is more than likely an unlisted item that is in the museum and is part of a railing from the Margate Jetty. All what you see in these photographs are all artefact's associated with Maritime Margate in the museum which does not do the town any justice whatsoever.
Here is a little maritime question for you, where did the Captain Digby get its name?
Answer: Captain Henry Digby was the Captain of HMS African at the Battle of Trafalgar and was a relative of Lord Holland who owned the Kingsgate estate at the time.