Today was Mick Twyman's funeral and amongst the large gathering was as the Americans put it, a "huddle" of local Historians. It was nice to meet so many old and new faces all connected with the History of Margate and Thanet in general .
Over the past week or so I been thinking on how the the whole shape of the interest in the history and heritage of Margate is changing . Some of it I am sure is due to the Turner Center, the Internet and access to properly researched information .
Looking into it a bit deeper this new Renaissance is also represented by the interest taken into the buildings, artwork, archive and artefacts of the town. The buildings do speak for themselves and the collection of artwork held by Thanet District council does the town credit when people get a chance to see it. The archives have grown steadily over the years thanks to Mick Twyman and the Margate Historical Society and the access to information is always improving . This has left the artefact collection of Margate's History looking a bit thin on the ground and fragmented. This is not due to neglect it is just a indicator on how much everything else has improved.
Artefact collections are not really a local authority finaced thing as they usually come about by private collectors donating collections to local Museums. A fine example of this type of collection was a private collection of Ramsgate pot lids donated to the Ramsgate Museum that were lost when the Ramsgate Library burnt down and are irreplaceable.
A individual building up a private collection is not such a bad thing as it does preserve history however the downside is the public at large do not get the opportunity to see it. With the pressure on public finances the chances of the Margate museum reopening are slim and considering the contents of the TDC collection is a secret, the only hope is a private venture.
In the meanwhile I am now starting my own data base of the artefact's that are passing through on the Internet or have been found locally. As I come across items I will start to post them on this blog with any supporting information from the Margate Historical Society archive.
The picture above is a 2 inch diameter Victorian paperweight of the "new landing place" at Margate and the image is of the Jetty how it looked after 1857, this paperweight sold recently on ebay for £21.25. On the left is a print dated 1860 of the "new landing place at Margate" of a similar theme published by Kershaw & sons which Mick Twyman gave me many years ago. Both the print and paperweight would have been how the Jetty would have looked between the years 1857 to 1876 before a extension was built. The reason for building the extension was to allow paddle steamers to berth at different states of the tide and wind direction. This was further extended in 1897.
The photograph is from page 16 of the Margate Historical Society publication Bygonne Margate is of the jetty when the above mentioned extension was being constructed in the spring of 1876. The pile driver can be seen pictured on the jetty head.