Thursday, 29 December 2011
Friday, 23 December 2011
This is entirely my own point of view and understanding and is not Ramsgate Town Council or Labour Party policy, so I would appreciate any point of view.
There remain many unanswered questions over the continued closure of the Ramsgate Maritime Museum and over the past year even before I was elected to Ramsgate Town Council I have thought in the back of my mind that perhaps Thanet District Council does not want the Steam Museum Trust to operate a Museum from the building. Bearing in mind all the controversy and the legalities of the previous East Kent Maritime Trust running the venue plus all the problems and cost involved does TDC really want to follow the same path again ?
Over at Margate for example the Museum has reopened with the use of volunteers overseen by one council officer. This has been an outstanding success and this is not due to TDC favouring Margate over Ramsgate. It is due to the fact that at Margate, TDC owns all the artefacts and the building so it is just a case of opening the doors. There is nothing political about any of this because all TDC did at Margate was to foster goodwill and now they have a flexible museum service run by volunteers which in all honesty could be a model for struggling local authority Museums throughout the country.
Now if the Steam Museum Trust was to vacate the Maritime Museum would it be a disaster, well the answer would probably be no if the TDC model at Margate was applied to Ramsgate. For example TDC owns the Ramsgate clockhouse building and there is enough goodwill in Ramsgate to form a volunteer group as the magnificent Ramsgate Tunnels project has proved that.
The next question would be what do we put in it? My research over the past six months does point to the fact that TDC owns a substantial collection of Ramsgate items. Which would then put Maritime Museum in the same position as Margate, a TDC building with TDC items that could be run by volunteers. Also it must be also taking into consideration that some of the items locked away in the Maritime Museum are owned by TDC anyway plus there many items that are still loans from Ramsgate people. If push comes to shove the SMT could loans items to the new volunteerMuseum group.
Finally, all it would need is the visitor information centre to move into the Museum and I would say it would be game, set and match.
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Monday, 12 December 2011
Sunday, 11 December 2011
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Monday, 5 December 2011
Friday, 25 November 2011
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Friday, 4 November 2011
Ralph Hoult has sent me this for anybody who is interested.
“If you love the past then you should come to the KING'S of Ramsgate for Ramsgate Remembers a two hour Variety Show and remembrance ceremony Friday 11th Nov from 7.15pm or my Ramsgate at War Slide show on the 17th Nov at 7.30pm both will bring back memories of those great bygone days.”
Thursday, 3 November 2011
1. The purpose of the Ramsgate town collection is to acquire, preserve and interpret art and artefacts and associated information relating to the historic borough of Ramsgate and present town of Ramsgate.
2. The current collection of framed prints and paintings were the property of the borough of Ramsgate and became the property of the Ramsgate charter trustees in 1974 due to local government reforms. In 2009 when the Ramsgate charter trustees ceased to be, the collection became the property of the Ramsgate town council.
3. The acquisition policy will be to acquire art and artefacts associated with the borough of Ramsgate and the geographical area of the current town of Ramsgate. With the inclusion of acquiring art and artefacts that were once the property of the historic borough of Ramsgate 1884 to 1874.
4. The town council will compile a data base of all the art and artefacts that were once the property of the historic borough of Ramsgate 1884 to 1874 and will compile a data base on past Ramsgate civic history.
5. The town council recognises its responsibility, in acquiring additions to its collections, to ensure that care of collections, documentation arrangements and use of collections will meet the requirements of an accredited standard. It will take into account limitations on collecting imposed by such factors as incurring cost, storage and care of collection arrangements.
6. The town council will take account of the collecting policies of other museums and other organisations collecting in the same or related areas or subject fields. It will consult with these organisations where conflicts of interest may arise in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of resources.
Acquisition and Disposal Policy
1. The acquisition and disposal policy will be published and reviewed from time to time, at least once every four years.
2. The town council will exercise due diligence and make every effort not to acquire, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, any object , unless the town council or responsible officer is satisfied that the town council can acquire a valid title to the item in question.
3. The town council will not acquire any biological, geological material, archaeological and human remains.
1. By definition, the Ramsgate town council has a long-term purpose and holds collections in trust for society in relation to its stated objectives. The town council therefore accepts the principle that sound reasons for disposal must be established before consideration is given to the disposal of any items in the town council collection. The town council or responsible officer will confirm that it is legally free to dispose of an item and agreements on disposal made with any donors as applicable will be taken into account.
2. The town council or responsible officer will ensure that the disposal process is carried out openly and with transparency. The method of disposal will be by sale or exchange.
3. Ramsgate town council or the responsible officer will not undertake disposal motivated principally by financial reasons.
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Sunday, 30 October 2011
Fifteen years ago we had a series of storms during January and February that certainly gave the local papers plenty to report, like the loss of the Tongue Fort, remains of the decaying Margate Jetty coming ashore and remains of a wooden shipwreck on the tide line at Foreness Point. This was no typical winter as the wind direction was almost permanently North East over a four week period battering into the stone pier (harbour arm) day after day.
Anything regarding Margate Jetty always interests me, and when artist Jean Lloyd wanted to know the colour scheme for the Jetty in 1960 I was happy to oblige. The black and white photograph is of her sitting on the jetty in 1960 and the painting is a present to her sister.
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Following on from yesterdays posting, there is only one other occasion I can remember when deep digging took place within the Margate harbour area. That took place sometime in the 1980’s, I am not sure of the exact date, however I do remember the event well.
During the 1980’s there was a proposal to construct a marina at Margate Harbour only to reach no further than the drawing board. A number of surveys did take place resulting in a number of bore holes in the harbour. Once the data had been collected and the equipment moved all that remained after the survey were small dark mounds of dark sand dotted around the harbour. Like the Parade dig the makeup of the freshly dug mounds of sand was a dark smelly mixture of coarse sand and clay.
Using a metal detector I only found one metal item and that was a small lead round disc with the number seven hand cut in the old style. Other non metal finds were typical of the sort of finds you expect to find on the banks of the river Thames such as shards of salt glaze pottery, broken clay pipe bowls, stems and pieces of broken smooth glass of different thickness. There was only one significant find and that was a shard of a Bellarmine flagon bearing part of the face of the effigy. I did show this find to a number of people who were familiar with Bellarmine flagons and it was agreed that the shard had been deliberately shaped and the piece probably dated from the 1690’s. Bellarmine flagons were often used in witchcraft rituals but it was impossible to tell if the shard had been fashioned for that purpose. I did keep it for a number of years and eventually I gave the shard to Sarah at the Grotto for their collection.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
When the metal detecting hobby first took off in the 1970’s I doubt if many people kept records of finds and I suppose I was just as guilty as everyone else. Prompted by the new sea defence works I have recently been compiling records of pre First World War finds from the Old Margate area, mostly from memory and from the notes taken at the time. Most of my finds and other peoples finds are not what I call spectacular but they are authentic Margate and do tell the story of Margate as a resort from 1735 to the outbreak of the first world war in 1914. Out of the three Thanet towns Margate does have the largest archive that is being constantly being researched and updated by local historians and a up and running Museum manned by enthusiastic volunteers which is a blessing. However, such research needs items and artefacts and this is the line of local history I have now taken up as a friend of the Margate Museum.
Recently I have been researching the area where the Margate sea defence works are to be constructed as most readers of my Blog will know. Going through my notes and an old article I wrote for the Margate Historical Society I came across some information from when sea defence repair works that took place in the early 1980’s from Margate Harbour slipway to the Kings Steps.
At the time it was not the coins that I found that was of interest but it was the makeup of the ground they were digging up and the content. At the time I never realised that the area that was being dug up was where the town drain once spilled its contents from King Street into the harbour. When the repair works commenced the diggers dug at the base of the internal wall at the Parade near the Harbour slipway dragging up this smelly silt consisting of layers of coarse sand that looked like a mixture of grit, black sand and clay. The grit being small stones, crushed shells, coal dust and bone fragments. Amongst this mixture I found many small shards of pottery and glass, pieces of clay pipe and animal bone. The shards were diverse with some being reddish colour and unglazed, some were thicker covered in a brown speckled glaze and then there was the more obvious Victorian China. The glass pieces were worn smooth and the clay pipes were all broken with all different bowl designs. As for the bone finds, sometime after the works had finished I did find an animal jawbone with teeth and I also picked up some random animal teeth when the spoil heaps washed down.
At the time I was not the only person with a metal detector as often happens in Margate. Therefore the entire area was metal detected many times over and even to this day I have no idea what other people found.
I did find two 1797 Cartwheel Pennies in a well preserved state, one I donated to the Margate Museum and the other I kept and surprisingly I still have. Other finds included some badly worn lead tokens and a badly pitted South African Republic florin from the 1890’s featuring the head of Paul Kruger which was a strange find.
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
This collection represents what remains of the collection of items I found from the period 1978 to 1993 following the aftermath of the 1978 storm and the following sea defence works that took place at the Margate Jetty entrance and along the rendezvous car park promenade. These coastal changes brought about erosion that took place along the coastline from Fort Point to the former Margate Jetty entrance and out towards the area where the 1824 Jarvis Jetty once stood in the cut, on the same site stood the 1853 Jetty that was destroyed in the January 1978 storm. Erosion was not a permanent feature and only occurred after a series of northerly storms. The rendezvous site is also the site where the Marine Palace was destroyed on 29th November 1897 when the sea wall was breached; today the Turner Centre occupies part of the site.
During the digging many features from the Marine Palace were found plus pieces of Margate Jetty and these were left as found. I found some items from the late 1690’s period right up to the start of the First World War, overall I must have found about 150 items of relevance to the site and the time period specified. Many ended up as donations to the Margate Museum and private collections. The remaining items I have listed below are the part of the pre 1914 collection that I still have.
· 1876H Penny
Marine Palace site
· 1873 half penny
· One penny token Priestfield furnaces 1811
· Worn 1799 halfpenny
· Worn George III halfpenny
· 1897 Victoria diamond jubilee medal
· 1879 farthing
· 1872 badly worn gothic design florin
· 1887 sixpence
· 1894 three pence
· Six balls of lead shot ( a quantity donated to the Margate Museum)
· 2 piano weights believed to belong to the Marine Palace grand piano that was washed over and smashed against the sea wall.
· Lead toy baby
· Lead toy lioness
· Lead toy horse with rider
· Lead toy cannon
· Lead seal embossed Aleney Dover
· Complete Mineral Water bottle M J Harlow Margate flat bottom Hamilton design with crown cap. post 1892
· Two bottlenecks string neck design black thick glass circa 1790 to 1820
Jetty entrance and cut
· Complete Bottle J M Taylor Camberwell rounded bottom Hamilton green aqua with blob top.
· Worn George III penny
· Worn George III penny
Some of the pre 1914 items were donated to the Margate Museum as listed below
· Marine Palace brass token “weekly ticket” “F Piaggio” “Princess Rooms”
· Lead shot still with moulding tabs
· Small handmade copper boat fitting
· Old copper boat nails
· Handmade brass nails/tacks
· 1891,1892,1893 pennies
· 1867 half penny
· 1843 sixpence
· 1845 copper halfpenny counter stamped “W”
· 1799 Cartwheel penny
· Lead dress weight
· Lead stud
· Minton Tile from the Marine Palace
· Decorative Victorian brass button
· Hovis Token
Other finds donated elsewhere
· Neck of a Bellarmine Flagon with effigy (1690’s)
· Two lead tokens with a cross and four pellets on in each corner
· Complete Reeve & Co Margate mineral water bottle green aqua internal screw top cylinder
Large handmade bronze nail
Other items I either sold or cannot trace.
· Margate Pier and Harbour Company button
· 9 ct gold ring
· 1908 Territorial Medal
· George III and George IV copper coins
· A collection of about 20 Victorian bronze Farthings and Halfpennies all around the 1860’s period.
It is very difficult to estimate how many items I found that were post first world as no records were kept and this total also includes large amounts of ammunition, bullets and cartridge cases from the Second World War. Also there is a unrecorded total of pre decimal currency found in the area lost from the Margate Jetty .
This past week I have been going through my final tallies of the items worth noting that I have found on the beaches in the Old Margate area in preparation for an exhibition to coincide with the sea defence works taking place in Margate. The purpose being to list what remaining items I still have identified as pre first world war. Rummaging through old notes I came across a list of finds, found in the Kingsgate area in 1998 which I never realised I still had. The finds were old bottles that I had found as a result of a roof collapse in the back of the cave in Kingsgate Bay. This incident happened in the spring of 1998 and resulted in a hole in the Captain Digby car park.
Of all the items I found I only kept three for my collection and the rest were either donated to other collections or left as found. The list of items worth mentioning reads as follows.
· 20 “M J Harlow Margate” Codd bottles all necked, 18 at 8 ounce, 2 at 12 ounce (left as found) probably necked by schoolboys for the marble stopper.
· 3 small “M J Harlow Hamilton” bottles all necked (left as found) one acid etched M J Harlow.
· 8 ounce Codd bottle “M J Harlow Margate” complete in green aqua (donated to the Margate Museum).
· 12 ounce Codd bottle green aqua plain with no embossment (donated to the Margate Museum).
· “Eliman’s for horses” green aqua bottle (donated to the Drapers windmill trust Margate).
· Plumtree Southport meat ceramic pot (donated to the Margate Museum).
· “Bead and Bendicott poor man’s friend” ceramic pot (donated to Dickens House Broadstairs).
· 2 Earthenware blacking bottles (donated to the Drapers Mill windmill trust Margate)
· 1888 “Philpott” Ramsgate mineral water bottle ( donated to the Terry Wheeler Ramsgate Collection)
· 2 Earthenware small ink bottles ( donated to the Margate Museum)
· “Reeve & Co Margate” Mineral water olive green bottle internal screw top cylinder complete with stopper maker JK. (Still in my collection).
· Pot lid base. (Still in my collection).
· Flat glass stopper diameter approx 60mm embossed “Cannington Shaw St Helens”. (Still in my collection).
· Also found and left in situ, a Victorian girl’s shoe decomposed and various butchered animal bones.
Sunday, 23 October 2011
Today I have been looking at the pieces of broken glass from Margate main sands that I have picked up this year and from last year. Throughout this summer and like the previous summer, for some unexplained reason the tide uncovered an abundance of old glass on certain areas of the wet sand. The glass even though it looked unsightly and threatening was totally inert and blunted. Most of the glass in general was this worn smooth green aqua glass often found on most old beaches along with worn broken bases of wine and ale bottles. Amongst the glass there were many bottle necks with many hand finishing styles from different time periods. After a thorough examination I discarded most of the glass at the local bottle bank keeping only the hand finished bottlenecks for dating.
Dating bottles is always a tricky subject as styles did not change overnight and many bottle makers often kept to the techniques they were apprenticed to. In manufacturing glass bottles there were three great leap forwards in manufacturing from the 1600’s to the dawn of the 20th century. There was the production method of changing from wood fires to coal fires allowing the use of a greater furnace temperature allowing the use of thicker glass, there was the use of mould and the innovation that came with it and finally mechanisation. Also in each case this led to many design changes.
I started researching bottle neck finishing styles from around the 1730’s period onwards as 1735 is the date considered to be when Margate started as a seaside resort. It seem as a bit of a coincidence but 1735 is also the year when it was considered that English wine and ale bottles finally became cylindrical as a opposed to the previously free blown onion shape. However, the “string rim” remained, with the more flattened string rim being the older which is shown quite clearly in the photograph of some onion bottles I took at the Hastings shipwreck heritage museum. The broader and thicker glass string rim “V” is dated 1790’s to 1820’s. From the 1820’s to 1890’s a more broader and clean cut string rim then appeared on most corked bottles.
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Friday, 21 October 2011
I first started metal detecting the Margate coastline in 1976 and at the time it was the equivalent to giving a folk guitarist an electric guitar as it did become a case of lets Rock ‘n’ Roll. Thirty five years later, half a lifetime in some cases, I am able to reflect on all the finds that have be made and from experience and research, and I am able to map out what to expect in the future.
Metal detecting Margate falls into three categories. First there are the Clintonville Bays taking in the Lido, Newgate Gap, Walpole Bay and Palm Bay. Then there is the second area I call old Margate from Fort Point groyne near the Winter Gardens, along to where the Turner Centre is, round to the outside of the Harbour Wall, inside the Harbour along the Parade, across the main sands through to the back of the Nayland Rock Hotel and ending behind the Sea Bathing. Finally there is the third area of the West Bays, namely Westbrook, St Mildred’s and Westgate Bay‘s.
Most of my finds and experiences have been the Cliftonville Bays and Old Margate. At their peak the finds at the Cliftonville bays were amazing as the area was perfect for metal detecting with the shallow sand covering over a solid chalk base. Overall the finds did not come into hundreds but thousands upon thousands of individual items. Almost every item was 20th century and was either war debris like bullets, bullet cases or shrapnel or items lost by visitors like personal items like coins and jewellery. At the time as everything found was still in living memory very little was recorded or collected as most items were mass produced or unrelated to an event or had no provenance and barely anything was older than the 1860’s. However, out of the many items found there were still some very interesting finds that should not be disregarded. Eventually after twenty years of constant metal detecting and the construction of groynes and sea defences that have created silting, today as it stands there is very little to be found at the Cliftonville Bays except in a few cases where the sand is deep.
Old Margate there is a different picture because I know that most of the items lost in the mid 1960’s going right back though to the 1800’s, 1600’s and beyond have never been recovered. This is because over the centuries Margate has suffered from silting since the final construction in 1815 of the harbour wall, this in turn has led to layers of history being time locked by continuous silting
Margate during the summer months is constantly metal detected with metal detectors users chasing items lost by visitors. However, in the past thirty odd years there has be very little found on the upper surfaces of the sands that can be regarded as historical except when we get these windows of opportunity. These are caused by nature or by manmade excavations. In each case whenever there been a case over two to three meters of sand being removed from the wet sand in the harbour area there has been evidence of finds dating back to the pre 1860 period and in some cases items from the late 1600’s. There has also been some natural occurrences when for some unexplained reason there will be a small area of the beach that will erode unearthing shards dating back to the late 1790’s plus some old coins. In most cases I have been in on the act.
The finds from repair works and natural occurances during the 1970’s and 1980’s have not been vast running to about less than two hundred but they do point to greater things to come if they are regarded as samples taken from such a small area where work has taken place. Finds have included leads tokens, shards of bellarmine flagon, clay pipes, fragments of onion bottles, Nuremburg tokens, Cartwheel pennies, George III coinage, early Victorian Coinage to name a few.
In the coming months the Margate sea defence works will begin and I am absolutely sure there are going to be some very interesting finds based on all the sampling I have come across. This summer was also very interesting as we had some erosion on the beach that unearthed evidence of Victorian sea side activity which is unique. So on the back of this , Margate this winter is going to experience something very special.
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Monday, 17 October 2011
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Friday, 7 October 2011
Friday, 23 September 2011
On Wednesday 28th September the tidal pool at Walpole Bay will be drained for routine maintenance. There will be a number of marine experts on hand.
7.06am Low Tide in Margate - Sunrise at 6:56am
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
While on the subject of the Margate Museum it was so refreshing to see the progress that has made the Museum fully functional due to the volunteer friends group working under the supervision of Chris Tull a TDC officer who has given up a lot of his own time working with the volunteers to get the museum up and running. The idea of opening the museum using volunteers at the same time as other events going on in the town seems to be working well and visitor numbers have easily beaten all past statistics when working a ratio of days open to visitors attended. From a TDC point of view I guess this is plus for them as they have provided a Museum service and a fully functional visitor attraction that has played a part in the business regeneration of the old town without having to pump buckets of our money into it like they have done in the past.