Thursday, 9 February 2012

The sea defence diaries (08/02/12) - at last, some real mud

This is how the back wall of Margate Harbour looked this morning (08/02/12) at daybreak. The sea was calm and this was the first opportunity to get round the square head in daylight hours for well over a week. Looking at the photograph the new piling is now in place waiting to be capped with concrete. The older piling put in after the 1953 was also visible along with the debris uncovered during the recent pile driving. Around the area of the 1953 piling there are large amounts of concretion that have fused together metal objects since 1953. As time was not on my side and the tide had turned I left the concretion for another day, even though I had bought a hammer along to break it up. Instead I dug up against the wall hoping to find more pieces of the 1815 Balustrade which turned out to be fruit less as the only find was metal, mostly Lead work from the stone pier and fishing weights of all ages and designs.

Around the square head the sand had settled after all the digging that had taken place as mentioned in the previous posting. As it was safe to walk on, I found the most visible find was stone work from the stone pier. However I did not
carry out a full search as a valuable prize lay around the corner in the harbour entrance. The prize being piles of freshly dug mud scattered over a wide area.

As you can see in the photograph some of the digging has been very deep. The mud was incredibly smelly even for a cold day, something I did not notice once I started finding things. Once I got stuck in did not take long to fill up a bucket with items.

One of the Breheny guys did come down and warned me of deep holes in the harbour that were filled with water and silt, so I knew I had to tread carefully.

All the finds were laying on the surface including this railing post from the stone pier.
Amongst the finds I found a neck of a broken glass bottle something I could easily date from around the 1780's, I found a necked Victorian ginger beer bottle and when I emptied out the contents I found the bottle to be full of coal dust which is a real indicator what the harbour bottom must have been like when the bottle was lost. Other finds also included bone, copper items, sea coal and pipe stems.

On these occasions I am entirely focused on the area I intend to search. However, out in the low water area of the main sands there has been a washout leaving large lumps of clay that originated from the old creek. It was so tempting I gave it a look, finding mostly patterned shards . One shard was from the refreshment pavilion Margate Jetty. The Jetty pavilion was destroyed in a fire in 1963 that pre dates the find. However, the font of the lettering does suggest that the shard is even older, possibly 1930's. Another shard had the words OXO in a shield. OXO and Bovril shards within a shield date from the Victorian and Edwardian era when hot drinks were served along Margate seafront for the early morning bathers using the bathing machines.

Finally, a mystery find found this morning on the corner of the square head and the back wall. It is a steel bar with a right angle bend with a blob of iron added to the end of the bent end. At first I thought it may be an arm broken from a fly press but I am not so sure. Any ideas ?


MAC said...

Could it be the stock from an Admiralty or Fisherman's pattern anchor?

Can't tell the size from the picture, but given the location it might be the (too) obvious choice?

Tony Beachcomber said...

Michael thanks, I have worked out the original diameter of the bar is around 1 3/8". The length is around 17" and based on those dimensions I am sure you have hit the nail right on the head.