Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The origin of the Margate Town mace.


In 1957 the Borough of Margate produced this small historical paperback book to commemorate the centenary of the incorporation of the Borough of Margate in 1857. Since then this little pocket book has had many reprints which for many years was sold through through the local library , it is perhaps the best pocket sized history book on the history of Margate ever produced.
Many of the articles originate from a series of articles that appeared in old editions Isle of Thanet Gazette at the time, including the article on page 7 on the subject of the Margate Town Mace. In a previous posting I mentioned that on the Margate Charter Trustees website there was a article on the Margate Town Mace for downloading. However, in this little book there is more detail about the Mace which makes the subject of the Mace more interesting, which is as follows.
"Kinsale lost its status with the passing of the Irish Municipal Act" "The municipal insignia were sold by auction at Kinsale on 6th May 1861. The Mace, 79 3/4 oz in weight, was of the usual form and decorated with the arms of George II and Kinsale arms. It was purchased by the Rev Dr. Nelign of Cork, who sent it to Sotherby's for sale, Mr Bernhard Smith found it in the hands of Mr Cooper of Holborn, from whom he purchased it for the sum of 18 18s 9d, on behalf of Sir George Bowyer" . Sir George Bowyer was later to present the Mace to the town of Margate.
Ben Streatfield a previous town Sergeant like all town sergeants was a proud guardian of the mace at civic events. He was also a bit of a comedian and would often kid someone on, that the mace contained ashes of dead Mayors. He would ask the person if they would like to have a look, then as he carefully unscrewed the Mace he would pretend to sneeze scattering the non existent ashes much to the shock of the onlooker. You would be surprised how many people fell for it.
Following my recent discovery of a Borough of Margate civic spoon, of which I returned to the Mayor and Charter Trustees. My interest in the Margate town silver collection has been re ignited , especially from what I can remember when I was a Charter Trustee from 1995 to 2003. I did actually keep records on the Town Silver, especially around the time when B N Carthew revalued the collection and removed the tarnishing that had built up and put a protective coating on the Mace. Also at the same time some minor repairs were undertaken to remove small dents from some of the cups and a silver flag and a piece of silver rigging were commissioned to replace the flag and rigging that went missing when the silver boat was on display at a previous Mayor's Ball at the Winter Gardens.
Unfortunately all my archive on the subject is locked away in the closed Margate Museum and I have no access to it. However, I do regard the subject of the Margate town a very interesting one worth further research.

5 comments:

Katie Did! said...

Good article :)

Jeremy Jacobs said...

I have a copy of this book!

Tony Beachcomber said...

Excellent Jeremy,
My copy is the ninth reprint what is yours,
I am trying to work out how reprints there were as this little handbook was very popular in its time.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

I'll dig it out. Of much more interest is a booklet from 1962. Shows Margate off at it's very best.

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