Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Provenance - Westgate on sea

Sometime ago I posted a photograph of a Spode filigree design coffee mug circa 1825 .The mug was brought ashore by a local Ramsgate fisherman who has loaned it me. Recently he gave me some other items to looks at and to put the record straight I asked him where was the exact location this mug actually came off the sea bed, something I suppose I should have asked him in the first place. He told me that it came off Westgate about  two and a half miles out and North West from the old South East Margate bouy ( in old money). Being an ex fisherman myself I knew exactly where he meant.and it is an area where the sea bed is a mixture of  soft mud and sand, perfect ground for sole fishing. Thinking about it,  about thirty years ago it was an area where things would turn up in nets including bones which more often than not we would throw them back over the side as soon as we found them. How the mug got there is impossible to say but I can at least now list this item as a Westgate relic.
While on the subject of Spode this is a shard I found on Margate main sands earlier this year. Typically Victorian it is a relic of a Victorian sea side holiday.  I was hoping in the new year to add to my Margate collection of beach shards, but unless we get some really bad storm force weather that will cut through the main sands in 2014 the out look is grim with such a large build up of sand in the bay. The good thing about the 22 miles of Thanet coastline is that I can guarantee there will be something else that will keep me occupied.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The tidal surge at Margate December 2013

 The effect of the recent tidal surge on Margate was nothing more than an exceptional high tide. In fact the sea defence system was not even challenged. Even the temporary sand barrier on Margate main sands put up by Thanet District Council even withstood the test, saving Marine Terrace from a costly clean up. Over the years and more so in the past decade the amount of sand on  Margate main sands has increased. In my lifetime the beach has doubled in size and changed its shape on numerous occasions producing many beach combing finds. The recent tidal surge has reshaped shaped the beach again for the second time this year and from the high water mark to the low water areas the sand has leveled out. If it stays like this then the beach users in the summer are in for a treat. As for myself it is a bit of a disaster as all the historical sites are now re buried but it can wait as most of it has been there for centuries.
Not a lot came in with the tide during the surge except a few large lumps of sea coal that constantly roll around out there on the sea bed. There was also many sea shells that had been uncovered mostly Whelk , but I did find a tropical one, a small conch. The origin from this I know. Its origin came many years ago from a tourist shop in the Arlington Arcade Margate. The shop sold many tropical sea shells and was run by Terry Purser who was also a bit of a show man and knew how to pull of a publicity stunt. When he received a consignment of sea shells in from abroad a few of the crates somehow managed to get wet inside. This caused mildew in transit and the shells were not up to a retail standard. So discreetly,  he arranged for the shells to be scattered on the low water mark on Margate main sands. Given a few tides people started to find tropical shells scattered around the main sands.The dicoveries made the national newspapers including the Sun and for years after that people actually believed that tropical sea shells could be found at Margate.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Typhoid at Margate

In 1873 the local government board were concerned about the high death rate among the  people of  Margate and sent a Dr Harris to investigate. In his report it was stated that Margate had the eighth highest town death rate  from preventable diseases in the country and this was due to poor sanitary conditions and lack of drainage. Recommendations were made to the town council and public health board to resolve the issue.
In 1886 there was an outbreak of typhoid . The local government board  tired of the lack of decision by the council sent another inspector in 1887 to investigate further. In his report he listed many reasons for the Typhoid outbreak, like people keeping pigs in their back garden, cess pools , poor sanitary and drainage conditions to name a few. When the report was made public the holiday trade collapsed and there was public out rage at the lack of progress. There were public meetings and counter claims, the most ridiculous being that with a death rate of  only 13.2 people per thousand from "scrofulous" diseases that Margate was in fact healthier than most towns. I have posted documents from the time for further reading - Tony Ovenden.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Being for the benefit of Mr Kite

During the sixties the Beatles wrote and performed a song "Being for the benefit of Mr Kite" that just happens to be one of my favourite Beatles songs . As the story goes John Lennon was influenced by a Victorian circus poster and what he wrote in my eyes was a masterpiece that captured the ambiance of Victorian showmanship so well. In fact when I listen to the song it reminds me so much of Dreamland as I saw it when I was a kid .
The same applies to Victorian posters that advertise an event the song seems to kick in , I try to work certain lines of the poster into the song by changing lyrics but I am not that good at it. Recently I came across scans of a few local posters that are classic Victoriana  and they are well worth a download for you to enjoy.
It is interesting to note that children received a souvenir medal that was in white metal and a souvenir mug all limited edition stuff and it does make me wonder if there are any still around to day in a collection somewhere.