Stormy Margate

Stormy Margate

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The sea defence diaries - volunteer No 43

Yesterday I became a card carrying member of Friends of the Margate Museum no 43 and along with my renewal as a ten year member of the Margate Historical Society and my life membership of the Margate Civic Society. I think it goes without saying that I am taking the Margate Heritage Renaissance seriously.
Last night the friends group of the Museum met and there were many issues raised mostly Museum issues and TDC issues of which everything I must say was very positive.
The sunbeam collection held by the Museum will soon be part of a new national archive of sea side photography and this is going to be a Christchurch university project. It will be the first of its kind in the country and Margate will be first or should I say Thanet. This because in the collection there are many photographs of Birchington, Westgate, Cliftonville, Kingsgate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, all of good quality. The photographic collection belongs to TDC along with the entire collection at the museum.
Within the next year the entire TDC Margate Museum collection will be audited renumbered and hopefully streamlined. It is estimated that the entire collection is valued at £450,000 with the most expensive item being the Webb painting in the Turner Center that is valued at £100,000. However, I must add the most valuable items are not kept at the museum.
Visitor numbers are easily expected to pass the 10,000 target the museum has set for a period. One of the Queens bodyguards from the recent royal visit even returned in her time off with her family to take a look at the museum.

Within the Margate museum collection there are many Ramsgate items, it is good news for Ramsgate that Ramsgate photographs in the TDC sunbeam collection will be in the national archive and will go online. The same I suppose will eventually happen to all artwork as most of it will be online. As I am a Ramsgate Town councillor I can ensure Ramsgate readers of my blog that I am noting Ramsgate items in the collection at Margate. In the bottle cabinet are some Ramsgate bottles and on the top shelf for example to the far left is a cream coloured ginger beer bottle. The bottle is impressed George Sykes and it is a rarity. George Sykes in 1878 was producing Mineral Waters from a store at 68 King Street Ramsgate and around 1882 moved his works to a factory at 17 Turner Street. Sykes ceased trading in 1891.

As mentioned in previous postings the Museum will be working on a project called calamity coast - flotsam and jetsam to coincide with the Margate sea defence works, Maritime heritage and the the Thanet art scene. Of which I must say the latter has gone off the Richter scale in my estimations.

I have been going through a few more of my finds found during the sea defence works and I have photographed a few more below.



I have started picking up broken bottle bases that have any inscription, emblem or lettering. This base has the emblem of E.G Wastall , the company started in 1874 had a wine and spirit merchants at 19 High Street, Margate. The bottle base dates pre 1914.





I have found a piece of plate of the New Palace Steamers design. The company ran paddle steamers from London to Margate in its hey day from the 1890's to the start of the First World War. The small piece bearing the company logo was found over a decade ago the larger piece found in February this year was found near the same location.





Broken bottle necks to fuel my obsession of finding Margate Georgian items. It is almost an impossibility to find Georgian bottles intact so I have to settle for broken pieces. The two on the left are around 1730's, the piece to the right of them are probably 1780's and the four on the extreme right are from the 1800 to 1830 period.





These three fragments are common examples found during the sea defence works digging and in the main bay. On the left a neck of a Codds bottle late Victorian, base of a Hamilton torpedo shaped bottle probably 1880's and a top of a Ginger Beer bottle probably late 19th or early 20th century.







Example of iron work found around the square head of the harbour entrance. using a golf ball to give some idea of the scale. To the left a broken stock from an Admiralty pattern anchor. In the middle an iron ball with a hole running straight through it and on the right a rather large Thimble used in maritime rope work.




A few of the miscellaneous items found inside the harbour when the deep digging was taking place over a week ago.






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