One of the reason of the under pinning of the stone pier is not to complement the Turner Centre or create a work of art it is about strengthening the stone pier itself. The stone pier was constructed to replace the pier that was destroyed in the storm of 1808 that also flooded Tivoli. Part of the stone pier is constructed on chalk bedrock and the other part including the square head is constructed in sections on wooden piling over the old creek, the reason for the underpinning work.
Before the arrival of the railways the stone pier was the lifeblood of the town along with other constructions that previously stood in the same vicinity. The three main trades being agriculture going out and coal and visitors to the town coming in , not forgetting all the maritime trades that also worked the harbour. It will be from this activity that I will focus most of my finds.
So far I have mentioned the rich finds of the more generic items that are going to turn up and these finds are starting to mount up.
One subject I haven't touched on is the evidence of wartime activity and the results of storms that have hit the harbour. During the second world war the defended area was bombed , the original droit house was destroyed and then there was the Dunkirk arrivals. All offering a great potential for some great finds.
Over the years storms have hit the harbour with devastating effect and as I write there is a small boat all bashed up against the sea wall by Manning's shellfish stall. This small boat is made of fibre glass with stainless steel fittings a far cry from when boats were made of wood by craftsmen and the fittings were hand worked copper. However, buried under the sand there are many remains of wooden boats and recently I came across part of a wrecked boat and I was even able to identify it.
During the 1970's there was a Margate fisherman who I won't mention by name who would buy cheap floating wrecks for fishing. One boat he bought was a clinker built double ender about twenty foot long, this boat was built in 1910 and was the first fishing boat that former Margate life boatman Alf Manning fished from as a boy. The boat was lost in a SW gale in the 1970's moored by the slipway and a piece of it still lies buried there today.
Many years ago at margate after a storm weather bound fishermen would gather up boat wreckage flotsam and burn it in piles to retrieve the copper fittings to sell as scrap, so for anyone digging the harbour this could well be the source of copper nails that will be found concentrated in some areas.
In fact the whole harbour area will be a mine of scrap metal of maritime origin for anyone looking to make a bob or two. There are boat engines, lead, copper, brass , phosphorus and stainless steel that can be found. Maybe not in large quantities by at today's current scrap prices it is something that cannot be ignored