Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Margate Old Town - The Fountain Inn

Looking into the Margate Historical Society archive regarding the Margate Old Town, I came across some notes by Alan Kay that may be of interest for those who have an interest in Margate's former commercial centre.
Alan writes as follows allowing for a slight modification by myself. The Fountain Inn - "An early coaching inn in Margate's History was the Fountain Inn a Cobb's house on the corner of King Street and Fort Road, the site today being the former Lloyds Bank.
The deeds of the original Fountain Inn go back to 1681 ; presumably this was an early site of a spring or fountain. The later pump lane where the Old Town water was drawn was a few yards away.
For the next two hundred years the Fountain Inn was a important tavern where stage coaches would set off to join up with the London bound stages at Canterbury. The Inn also featured considerably in the social and commercial life of Margate at the time. The corn market for Thanet farmers was held here in 1777, the Philanthropic Club was established here, and the chair club was important amongst business men in 1769. The club had 45 Margate members, where 45 pots of beer,45 pots of stout,45 bowls of punch and 45 loyal toasts were drunk. A chair club probably derived it's name from each member taking the chair in turn to propose the many toasts to everyones's health.
During the 1750's touring actors and comedians would hire the barn behind the Fountain Inn and convert it into a theatre pit. It was not until 30 years later in 1786 that Mate and Robson purchased the site of the present Theatre Royal, and public theatre in Margate moved from behind the Fountain Inn to the Theatre Royal.
By 1882 Cobb's Margate bank moved a hundred yards along King Street to the Fort Road corner, which necessitated the demolition of the Fountain Inn and build the current building.In 1891 Cobb sold his private Margate Bank to Lloyds Bank.
The Fountain Inn continued as a weather bordered building further up Fort Road and was closed and demolished in 1970."

Behind Lloyds Bank there is a passage off King Street called Alkali Row where originally five cotages stood, the last being occupied in 1934. The name of the passage took the name from the seaweed burners in the late 18th and early 19th century, one of the small industries that thrived in the old town. Seaweed was burnt to a powder called Alkali which we now would call potash. The material was expotrted through Margate Harbour to the low countries to provide glaze for their pottery industry.

Sorry I cannot produce a image of the Fountain Inn as I have a problem with the scanner, the information should be sufficient.


MA said...

Brilliant idea! The Margate Historical Society archives will be given a breath of fresh air and new life if digitised. So much painstaking work went into them, ot would have been a shame not to have had it accessible. It's such a useful resource.

Suzannah Foad said...

I have two picture you could use. Will email them to you now