Saturday, 9 June 2012

The sea defence diaries- the final chapter

Today I took into the Margate Museum everything single item I have found during the sea defence works at Margate. All in all it represents about seven months work of photographing and digging  in and around the Margate Harbour area.
The final phase of the sea defence works has been a bit of a disappointment as I never realised that very little digging would be taking place around the Kings Steps area where the revetment is to be constructed. However this has been out weighed by all the information gathered and items founds during the underpinning of the Stone Pier since the end of December.
This morning I took full advantage of the effects of the recent strong South Westerly winds that have scoured the through the silt in Margate Harbour from earlier the digging. Today I found three old bottles, one complete clay pipe and part of an animal jaw bone.
One of the bottles was embossed Weavers Plumstead which just happened to be a small company once owned by the Grandfather of  John Williams (curator of the Margate Museum). So on those credentials I let him have the bottle.The other bottles were a Weston's dairies milk bottle and the other was an early coke bottle.
From now until September beach combing  finds do fall sharply because  everything  is either covered in green sea weed making it hard to see and the weather is not as volatile like in the Winter months when the sand can easily erode on one tide.
In summing up, I have found clay pipes and stems dating back to the early 1700's , fragments of bottles also dating back also the the 1700's and many shards dating back to that period. Unfortunately nothing is complete except a few clay pipes.
From the 1800's to the 1900's  I have found a whole range of items that represent Margate as tourist resort during that period, plus items relating to Margate Harbour as a working harbour. In this category I have found complete items like bottles both glass and earthenware.
The finds that interest me most and have 100% provenance are pieces of the stone pier constructed between 1812 to and 1815 that were lost in the February storm of 1953 when the lighthouse on the end of the stone pier collapsed into the sea.

In September the exhibition at the Margate Museum will be about History of the area in and around the Jetty in including the Harbour area, I suppose the entire area as seen in the  the view of the Webb painting in the Turner Centre . Many of my finds found during the sea defence works will be on display, but not all as the exhibition will not be about items found during the sea defence digging. Once the exhibition is finished the Museum can take whatever they want for their collection and I will keep the remaining items to form another collection of the finds found during the underpinning of the stone pier to accompany the photographs I took.I hope to have something in place for the 60th anniversary of the storm in February 2013.