Thursday, 29 December 2011
Friday, 23 December 2011
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Monday, 5 December 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.
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.
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Saturday, 17 September 2011
This autumn through to the late spring of 2012 promises to be a year of discovery following the announcement that sea defence works at Margate are to begin. To many it may be a inconvenience and others it will be something to moan about. But for those of us with the knowledge this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a insight into the early history of maritime Margate and early seaside history as the digging for the defence works will cut through layers of anaerobic silt that has built up over centuries.
Saturday, 4 June 2011
John's reply is as follows;
"This may well be a left-over from the air-raid of 1st June,1943. The aircraft taking part were Focke-Wulf Fw190fighter-bombers of 11/SKG10. If it had been dropped by a Junkers Ju88 or a Heinkel He111 you would have a stick of bombs,i.e. quite a few craters in a line across the beach and lower town area.The lower part of the High Street received a 500 kg bomb from one of the twelve aircraft taking part (Messrs Tumbersand White Fuller's destroyed). The raid took place at 13.00hrs on Tuesday,1st June,1943. Bombs fell at the following locations;-St.Peter's Road, Thanet Road, Northdown Road, Laleham Road, Dalby Square, St.Mildred Road, St.Pauls Road, Milton Square, Warwick Road, Cornwall Gardens, Approach Road,High Street, Athelstone Road, Dane Park and Lower Fort Promenade. One 500kg bomb failed to explode. One bomb (500kg) destroyed Holy Trinity Church. Total casualties;-sixteen killed, thirteen seriously injured and fifty-seven slightly injured (War Graves Commission lists nine civilians dead.)."
I should also add this very same raid caused the Tudor House to list sligthly and caused the collapse of the north wall in the Grotto alter chamber. However, I am not sure the impact it had on the Margate caves.
Friday, 3 June 2011
Thursday, 26 May 2011
From Tuesday evening onwards the chances are that the wooden (oak) ship wreckage recently exposed this year on the low water mark opposite Godden's Gap Marine Terrace Margate will be seen. This should be around 17:45 depending on the wind holding the tide. However, the evening of Wednesday to Friday should be even better.
I have come across this image on the web at njscuba.net/artifacts/obj_hull_wood.html which is a excellent guide to the parts that can be found laying in the sand. Hopefully I should remember to bring my camera this time.
The area around the wreck is a littered with remains of bottles over 100 years old, the Thanet Coast project is now aware of this and so is TDC. Even though the glass is inert and blunted it does not give a good impression for a tourist beach. So if everyone who visits the wreck brings a carrier bag and takes away at least a dozen pieces I sure the area will be clear in time for the warmer weather.
There is every chance that complete Victorian bottles can be found , also some interesting embossed fragments of glass can be picked up. On thing to also look out for is pieces of plate that bear the names of the paddle steamer companies that used the Jetty and the Harbour Arm.
Monday, 23 May 2011
This morning I dropped into Marine Studios in Albert Terrace to give the studio my collection of items that I picked up last year and this winter including the Mitten crab samples, about twenty pieces of Amber and a collection of clams. As I looked out of the window across the main sands the tide was out. Directly out from Godden gap on Marine Terrace on the low water mark I could see this gully that the Margate metal detector users have been telling me about. From where I was standing I could see a few timbers from the wreck that had exposed this winter in the same gully.
I had heard about the wreck uncovering a few months ago and this was the first opportunity I have had to give it a good look. By closer examination I estimate the wooden wreckage to be about 25 feet long and between 6 to 8 feet wide and scattered around there are a number of ribs from the wreckage. The condition of the timber is excellent and the ribs are laying loose so they can easily be carried off the beach. Around the wreckage are deposits of clay from the Tivoli Brooks and a mixture of shingle and loose chalk. Amongst the layers of chalk and clay there were shards of plate, clay pipe stems, broken bottles, worn beach glass and all the debris associated with the Victorian / Edwardian seaside up until the 1930's. I carried out a quick search of the area and it was quick with the tide coming in. Finds included a complete lamont pattern mineral water bottle circa 1880's and a part of a M J Harlow mineral water bottle minus a neck probably dated around pre First World War. I also came across a large granite block which may have been ballast from the Wreck.
Dating a wreck like this can be difficult and does take a great deal of research, however I do have a theory.
As soon as I saw the wreckage I was amazed at the amount of timber because being so close to Margate as a single wreck would have been completely salvaged as every available piece would have been used by the local population even if it was used for firewood. Therefore I would assume that the wrecking could have happened at a time when more than one vessel was wrecked. The theory being that rich and easy pickings and financial reward would take priority of firewood. This would then point to the storm of 24th November 1877 when the wind changed dramatically from SSE to NNE severe force gale driving all the shipping anchored in the Margate Roads onto the shore. This events surrounding this storm are well documented in the Margate Historical Society archives by Mick Twyman, John Willaims and Chris Sandwell.
In the Margate area alone seven ships were wrecked during that storm and many were driven ashore damaged. On Michael's Thanetonline, Michael published a postcard some time back of a badly damaged Margate Jetty that was damaged by the " Charles Davenport" that had been driven along the coast by this gale and sliced into the Jetty. In the background of this postcard many sailing ships can be seen aground in the bay and on the Nayland which would have occupied all the available local labour from carpenters , seamen and salvagers. Also taking into consideration all the loses on the North Kent coast I am sure the coastline would have been littered with easy pickings for the local population who would have had the luxury of ignoring such a bounty on Margate main sands.
I stress this is only a plausible theory until further research is carried out