Sunday, 4 March 2012

The sea defence diaries - Tranquillity

As mentioned in my previous posting the underpinning of the Margate Stone Pier is now complete and a feeling of tranquillity has returned to that part of the harbour where the deep digging and pile driving has taken place. The entire area has been levelled off and all the excavation holes have been filled in just as quick as they were dug.This in turn has left a very short window to watch the digging, make finds, take photographs and make future plans where to search next.
From my research I think I have now found an answer as to why some areas of the harbour are completely barren of old finds. It appears that in 1948 some 4,000 cubic yards of silt were dredged from the harbour and regular dredging took place up until 1958 to allow large coal boats to enter the harbour. This in turn explains why there have been clusters of 1960's & 1970's finds, mostly maritime related
Also I have now found out that in 1832 a severe gale damaged the stonework surrounds of the lighthouse along with other damage to the outer parapet. This now explains why I have found two different styles of Baluster.
I still expect to make many more finds in the coming months as there is a large area of silt in the harbour to be dispersed by the tides. Considering that the sand and shingle bank that has been ever present off the square head was levelled off during the under pinning , I think the missing bank should help the harbour drain off easier and allow the silt to move freely for a while, that is until nature puts the sand and shingle bank back.

Elsewhere, attention is now been directed on rebuilding the remaining wall of the demolished boating pool that houses the Tivoli Brookes outlet pipe. The south wall which is the stretch of wall from the Clock Tower to the Kings Steps now seems to the center of attention as Easter approaches. Some work has started in the revetment area between the Kings Steps and the Harbour slipway and a large amount of sand has been turned over. However, I think with the metal detector users going over the area everyday I do think the chances of myself finding metal finds will be remote.

On Saturday I popped into the Margate Museum to discuss what they require on top of the items they already have for the exhibition of items found around the coast and their related history including items I have found during the sea defence works. I have been allocated the Harry Potter room which is the cupboard under the stairs to store my finds.
The Museum is now open at the weekends and the volunteer friends group have put a lot of work in to get the Museum up and running. It appears that there may have to be a complete audit of the Museum collection as it appears that during the latter years towards of the East Kent Maritime Trust management many items that were donated and collected have not been properly recorded.

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