Friday, 21 September 2012
The new season
All attention once again will be the Margate sea defence works. Throughout summer which is generally bad for beachcombing I have been researching the items I have found during the previous spring and winter. I have started to record all my finds from the Margate Harbour area from the Georgian era (1714 to 1830) and identified almost all of my Victorian finds.
In the photograph above is a shard alongside a five pence piece with the initials GJK in blue. There have been a number of other pieces found with these initials . I have been reading through many local directories from the 19th Century and have so far drawn an absolute blank, so this piece does remain a mystery. Maybe I could have read the initials wrong and they could be GSN and if that is the case then I could be looking at General Steam Navigation.
Other discoveries have been lumps of wrought iron that suggests iron was once imported into Margate harbour. Many years ago I did find a Priestfield iron and coal one penny token dated 1812 on the rocks below the promenade where the Turner Center is today and it could be that both are linked, but that really is a long shot.
Prior to 1750 Margate was a port of call for Dutch and Flemish traders and I have good reason to believe that glass fragments I have been finding may have links with the low countries. Same applies to some of the the pieces of clay pipes I have been finding in the harbour area. Internet search engines can provide all the information to identify the age and designs of clay pipes. From this information I have found that most of the clay pipe bits are Victorian and a few date from the 1700's and one I suspect is Dutch , dating around the late 1600's.
Once the sea defences are completed I am sure the real beachcombing will begin and it will be very interesting to see what happens we we get a set of strong North Westerely Gales as the back wash from the revetment will churn up the sand. The same will happen in westerly gales inside Margate Harbour as the build up in the past year from the digging is only soft silt.This process of storms and erosion will last years as the harbour and main sands will change shape to accommodate the sea defences and this promises some interesting finds for years to come.
Finally I see on the Thanet life blog I seemed to have earnt the name Militant Beachcomber on his sidebar which really does come across as old school paranoia.