Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Friday, 23 September 2011

Walpole Bay pool autumn draining

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


I always find September 21st a turning point on the coastal calender now that the big tides have now passed and as we enter in Autumn the real beach combing begins.
It is this moment in time I think through my approach to the coming winter and work to my predictions. If the long range weather forecast is to be believed this winter should be as good as the last one with plenty of gales, snow and rough seas. So what are my predictions and approach ?
Well top of the wish list is a great storm along the lines of 1897, 1953 and 1978 which if repeated would shift the sands so I can access areas where I know things are buried. However, storms are not booked to order so instead of dreaming I will have to settle for what I know and that has to be the potential of the forthcoming Margate sea defence works and the effect on the main sands at Margate throughout the winter months. My objective being to find and build as big collection of as many items as possible to reflect the seaside history of Margate from the 1730's period to the present day. The good thing about this type of collection is that the collection does not have to be perfect because the age of each item will tell a story and considering that all things Margate are now being seen through artistic eyes I sure it will be appealing. The sea defence works are not due to start until October but now is the time for me to walk the entire area like Archaeologists do a field walk before a dig, picking up any item I believe to be over 100 years old to start of the collection. As things stand at present this is going to be easy as there has been some erosion on that area of the main sands uncovering many bits and pieces. Since the summer the main sands have been a goldmine of small bits and pieces and the shipwreck remains are still in situ as mentioned in previous postings.
A few days ago I donated a a pre 1914 pipe bowl to the Margate Museum bearing a image of the main sands and bathing machines. As John Williams was putting the pipe bowl into the smoking cabinet I noticed the many clay pipe bowls on display in the cabinet and couldn't help admiring them. It then suddenly dawned on me that I actually found a large proportion of them and donated them to the Museum as I found them many years ago. The interesting point is that that they all came from the Margate main sands and Margate harbour area which is a indicator of what can be found when the sea defence works get going.

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.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Big Margate Dig

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.
The area of where the works are to take place around the Marine Drive area is of special importance because this is where the bathing machine first operated in the 1730's from the area known as Hazardous row and also where the bathing rooms from the lower high street entered the sea by steps. It is unfortunate that Marine Drive constructed in the late 1880's has probably sealed in most of this history. However, I am still sure there is still plenty of opportunity to make some interesting discoveries outside the sea wall as some of the silt does date back centuries.
So what is the evidence ?
Well in the past I have known of three cases where diggers have dug up the black silt/mud/clay that I cherish on such digs. One time being when the boating pool was dug out in the seventies, another being repair works to the Kings Steps and repair works to the sea wall side of the Parade. In each case vast quantities of coins and artefact's dating back to the 1700's were found from what is a relatively small area in comparison compared to the new sea defence works. I must stress that at the time many people with metal detectors dug in these areas and hardly any finds were recorded at the time and previous finds are either based on my personal experience and word of mouth.
This time I do hope with internet forums, blogs, and facebook etc., that as many finds as possible will be recorded. I often think wouldn't it be amazing if a Margate dig project could be set up to record all finds from Margate sands and Harbour area from the start of the sea defences work to the late spring 2012 with the intention of forming some sort of a display for the summer. Or is that me being too much of an idealist.