One of the main visual attractions of the Margate harbour area in the pre Second World War years was a huddle of buildings around the harbour area and on the clifftop and road leading to Margate harbour. Some buildings dated as far back as the 1690's. All by the outbreak of the second world war were to fall to one of the worst planning decisions in Margate's history. In 1935 the local council made a decision under a so called "slum" clearance programme to compulsory purchase the areas of Bankside (Turner fame), Paradise Street and Fort Road with the intention of demolishing the entire area and replacing it with a dual carriageway to be known as Fort Hill. Even though there was strong local opposition to the idea the Council still went ahead with the programme and by January 1939 most of these buildings photographed had gone.
Above the most famous victim, the Metropole Hotel site of the modern day Turner Centre . The construction of the Turner Centre has seen the single carriage way reinstated to how it was in the 1920's when the name of the road was Paradise Street. In fact a very good comparison can be made today standing in the same position. To the left of the photograph is Neptune Square that can been seen photographed below.
Neptune Square with many wonderful buildings spanning all eras from the 1690's. In the top right hand corner of the photograph is the seaman's institute photographed below.
The seaman's institute built in 1865 had many uses and was also used as a look out and for signalling..An effort was made to save and conserve the building as a maritime museum but the council was determined to annihilate the area and this was refused.
Also for the axe Fort Road and Fort Arcade, this area was opposite the current Police Station site.Note the top of the seaman's institute above the second and third shop in from the right.
Bankside , All the buildings to the right of the stairs were demolished including Caudle's restaurant , the Hotel Metropole and the Ship Hotel. Note the imposing seaman's institute almost central to the photograph.
Finally above, the end result a dual carriage way to nowhere, concrete walls and a bleak landscape. All thankfully has now gone thanks to the Turner Centre.
All photographs originate from the Mick Twyman archive please feel free to download and reproduce.