Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Rendezvous cark park beach







This picture is of the Marine Palace the first building to be built on the present day Turner Centre site at the Rendezvous car park. The original picture is in the Margate Museum collection
and this one is a laminated laser copy. As mentioned earlier the Marine Palace was destroyed during the storm of the 29th November 1897 . Thankfully, the account of the storm is well documented thanks to Margate photographer George Houghton who photographed the events and published a "Great Storm" booklet, in which the photographs are a good guide to the debris field which for years has remained buried. Most is buried within the infill of the Rendezvous car park. However, on the seaward side there are many items still buried in the sand. Not all items are from the Marine Palace, some are Victorian from the same period lost by the typical Victorian visitor.
Many items can still be found today and this article is a bit of a guide where to look.
For a start you need to be halfway along the Rendezvous car park looking out to sea. On your right is the groyne at Fort Point as shown in this postcard, the postcard was produced in April 1919 and is of the "Dunvegan" a coaster which ran aground and was wedged on the groyne for a week. The view in the postcard is from the Winter Gardens.
On your left is the slipway behind the Droit House and directly below if the tide is out is a ledge running the full length of the promenade that was built in 1987. This ledge acts as a wave breaker directing the waves back into the next on coming wave and lessens the power of the waves. In Northerly gales the backwash erodes the sand leaving patches of newly uncovered chalk bedrock on the beach below at low water. It is amongst the rock pools and cracks in the chalk that many small items can be found. There are also large items like brickwork, tiles and blocks of stone that can also be found.
Below are four photographs of items I have found on the site. I have found many coins on the site and these are just a sample. In one photgraph there is a Victorian Gothic Florin, 2 silver threepenny Joeys and a white metal Victorian 1887 Jubilee medallion. The penny that is pictured is interesting as it has been elongated by being put on a track and something has run it over. There is a possibility it could have been put on a Tram track.
The two upright bottles pictured where also found on the site, both are local. One is a M.J.Harlow lamont stopper mineral bottle and the other is a M.J Harlow table water bottle with a crown cap lip, both are late 1890's type.
Like all Victorian beach sites there are always lead toys lost by children on the beach which are easily picked up with a metal detector. The two men on horse back are German manufacture. The baby, cat and cannon are more than likely British manufacture.
The beaches around Thanet are awash with shot and musket balls that can easily be picked up with the metal detector and this site is no exception, but they are difficult to date. The two piano weights pictured with the shot are interesting because during the storm of November 29th 1897 the Grand Piano from the Marine Palace ballroom was washed into the sea and smashed against the sea wall. In one area close to the Fort Point groyne I found many piano weights which may have came from the Grand Piano.
Over the years I have found many items and those pictured are just a small sample, even the items I found are just a small sample of what is buried.
All it needs is a exceptionaly strong gale to move the sand and more items will turn up, it is a matter of when.















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