Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Friday, 11 January 2013

Sixty years ago.

Sheet piling about to be capped note the spoil that had been dug out.
On night of January 31st this year will be 60th anniversary of the great storm of 1953 that devastated the coast of Eastern England that changed the coastline for some areas for a generation. Margate was no exception and suffered badly from flooding and extensive coastal damage that included the loss of 1829 replacement Lighthouse on the end of the  Stone Pier. It is ironic that a solution to prevent a repeat of that fateful night is due to be completed 60 years later in the spring of this year, namely the Margate sea defence works.
The sea defence work started in late December 2010 providing a once in a lifetime  peep into the past, thanks entirely to the deep digging that took place. Regular readers of my blog will know I have kept a detailed account of the work that took place and of the items found during the underpinning of the Stone Pier.
Shortly after the storm of 1953 reconstruction work started of the Stone Pier that included a new lighthouse. The site was cleared, stone work salvaged and the debris was reused for infill. The work was completed in 1954 and the area directly  below the newly constructed lighthouse was underpinned burying stonework from the original 1815 Stone Pier  construction and the 1829 replacement Lighthouse.
During  2012 works the previous 1954 working was dug out and replaced. This provided an insight into the construction of the Stone Pier with stone work, lead work and pieces of  200 year old wooden piling being found.Others finds included munitions, metal work, glass and many shards of various description  that I collected. One of the problems I had was identifying the shards found and I was to find that the solution was to refer to their point of origin which was London.
I was soon to stumble across many of the London mud larking blogs. One in particular on my side bar mudlarking.blogspot.co.uk is amazing because it identifies items from the the smallest piece of shard. This has now caused me  to review every piece I have found since 2010 in the Margate Harbour and Main Sands area .
 My shard finds are split between the Marine Studios, the Margate Museum and what I have found recently and I am sure that with a bit of detailed research something very interesting will turn up.

In the above photograph is the underpinning below the lighthouse of the Stone Pier through to the square head waiting to be capped. Extensive digging took place in this area and once the spoil washed through so many items were found.


Above, examples of lead work found. On the left a piece of a stone joint with its lead casing and on the right lead work that secured a railing. Both are from the original 1815 construction and both were recovered from the 1954 underpinning that was dug out and replaced in 2012.

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