Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Kings Steps - my view

In today's Thanet Times (24/01/12) there is an article about what now appears to be the partial demolition of the Kings steps / stairs landing stage. There has also been a fair amount of natter on facebook on the subject , some misguided and some very good points made.
Personally I just cannot understand why some people have made it an emotive issue because the battle to conserve the Kings Steps ended in the early 1970's during the late Margate Borough Council era and the early Thanet District Council period.

The current construction came about after the construction of Marine Drive in 1886 and the landing stage and steps were constructed some time after. On the right of what is now the blocked off entrance there was once a flight of stairs that lead down to the sea and acted as a landing stage when the tide was in. The steps were very long and broad most cast in concrete with a few stone ones worked in. They were made like this to accommodate a queue of people boarding or leaving a vessel and they were known as the Kings Steps following on from a historical tradition of a flight of stairs known as the Kings Stairs that were set back further in the Parade before reconstruction in 1886. On Anthony Lee's website there are a number of maps where the original location of the Kings Stairs can be seen.
The steps by 1970 were starting to become unrepairable, unsafe and costly to maintain. Soon it was becoming mission impossible for the local council and the decision was made to demolish the steps. There was local opposition but demolition went ahead leaving a repaired landing stage that in effect was acting as a breakwater for the waves that lashed Marine Drive in stormy weather than anything else. Eventually the landing stage become silted and the landing stage remained unused for decades.

That is until now and the current construction of the Margate coastal sea defence project will see them gone forever or should I say out of view. In a way I am surprised to see that they are going to be conserved within the structure of the revetment of the sea defence works.
If they were made of stone that had been crafted I could understand that and the need for conservation, but we are talking about Brett's finest ready mix concrete. In fact some areas are repairs less than 20 years ago.
I think it is right to keep them intact as they are a solid foundation for the revetment but to wrap them up as a conservation measure before they are buried does seem a bit silly, costly and time consuming.


ascu75 aka Don said...

It is laughable

Fiona S said...

Thanks for that clarification, Tony.

Tony2 said...

Drove past sea defence works today and noticed a placard saying Turnstone Quay. Seems very apt as the turnstones will love it when its built.
Nice to know someone is thinking about coastal wildlife.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Tony, I also think the turnstones will love that stepped revetment especialy if there is a strandline, say three of four steps.