Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

A Margate Historical event this Saturday 22nd November


I have joined this event and I have now found a home to display my finds from the Margate area. For the first event I will be displaying all my finds found during the sea defence works in early 2012 including the photographs I took.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Thanet coastlife in Cuba part 2 - more fossilized coral.

Following on from the previous posting, I have put together a series of photographs to act as a guide for anyone visiting this part of Cuba. Also for those who are interested in the subject of fossilized coral.
The photographs were taken September 2014 on the beach opposite the Sol Rio de Luna y Mares  Playa Esmeralda , Guardalavaca , Holguin province , Cuba. I suggest anyone visiting this hotel to bring a snorkel you will not be disappointed as everything is in shallow water and safe.


The patch of rock lies directly opposite "la Pinta " beach restaurant and as is terraced forming a number of reefs under the water.


It is not very deep and this guy is snorkeling in about a meter and a half of water. The sea bed is a mass of fossilized coral and living coral. Sea shells, fish and sea urchins are abundant.


 Above is a example of the fossilized coral found snorkeling. This haul took around five minutes to gather together.



Just as much can be found on the foreshore like these large pieces of fossilized coral that can be found ashore below the strand line between the rocky area and the sand.



One of the many larger pieces found ashore.


Examples of selected pieces found snorkeling. 



Examples of sea shells found on the strand line and on the fossilized reefs. I kept it simple by keeping one of each species and colour to take home. I must mention that none of these were difficult to find and there are plenty of them.



A Tiger Lucine sea shell , there are many of these to be found in the water and I kept just this one.


I like this piece as it does resemble Pasta, so I now own a piece of fossilized Pasta.I only took a four small examples of fossilized coral out of Cuba and photographed the rest.  I do know that fragments of fossilized corals are exempt from international convention so I was in the clear. Plus previous experience with Cuban authorities is don't get greedy and you will be alright. 



Sunday, 5 October 2014

Thanet coastlife in Cuba.

Recently I spent two weeks holiday in Cuba and as usual I took the opportunity to completely map out the area of the coast where I am staying. The intention being to build up a small collection and just to log where items can be found and seen out of interest. The part of Cuba where I was staying was on the Atlantic coast in Holguin province at a hotel called Sol Rio de Luna y Mares situated  in Guardaclavaca.
The area of beach opposite the hotel is well publicized on youtube and all contributors have covered everything very well. So what are the main features and what can be found and seen ?
I suppose the most outstanding feature has to be the fossilized coral that is unmissable. To the left of the hotel beach there is a small headland of which I had attached as a photograph, plus it can also be seen clearly seen on youtube. This headland consists entirely of fossilized coral like the cliff behind it. Both the cliff and headland have many interesting formations of which I have photographed below for reference.



Above, the headland as seen to the left of the Hotel Mares.



The cliff face as seen facing the head land.


Fossilized coral formations as from ground level.


Above and below more coral formations at ground level.





Lumps of fossilized coral pushed up against the cliff by the tide.


A view from the headland looking back at the hotel.


Above and below close up view of the fossilized corals.


Below, further in from the waters edge many lumps of fossilized brain coral are be found. This was the largest piece I came across and used my shoe to give so idea of scale.

Friday, 5 September 2014

A message in a bottle


Found yesterday in Pegwell Bay Ramsgate (4/9/14). A message in a bottle cast adrift from the Cunard cruiser " Queen Victoria " in the North Sea on the 23rd August 2014. I have made contact with the person who cast the bottle adrift informing him that it took 12 days for his bottle to reach shore.
I found the bottle when looking for sea coal something I have been doing over the past few weeks around the Thanet coastline. The origin of the sea coal is unclear and I really have to put it down to flotsam and jetsam either from spillage or shipwreck. Below I have photographed some of the different grades I have picked up. Left is sub bituminous, middle six pieces are bituminous and on the right a piece of canal coal. Also I have picked up another lump of coal weighing over 14 kilo , the origin I believe is from a shipwreck.


Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Droit House Dream Land exhibition at the Droit House Margate Harbour.


I am always interested in the new history projects that arise from Margate and the Dream Land exhibition at the Droit House was not a dissapointment. Not to be confused with Dreamland amusement park the film show is excellent and covers Margate's sea side history as a holiday resort as told through local  peoples memories with old and recent footage. The exhibition is open today and tomorrow Sunday 31st August until Monday the 1st September closes at 17:00 hrs.

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Manston airport debate and a false accusation.

On July 30th a motion was put to Ramsgate Town Council regarding night flights at Manston airport should the airport ever reopen. The issue was debated in public and a vote was taken that Ramsgate Town council is opposed to night flights. The majority voted in favour including myself. I voted for the motion because I felt this is acting in the best interest of the people I represent in Central Harbour Ward. Also I must add that I was elected on a no night flight ticket so my vote was never in question.
I do have personal views on Manston and I believe Manston it is a failed commercial airport. However because it is important infrastructure that does have a part to play in the economy of the area I support the idea that every avenue should be explored to try and reopen it as a small viable commercial airport. As it stands this is going to be difficult task for all involved.
When Manston closed it was because of commercial failure and had nothing to do with opposition to night flights and I will continue to support the no night flight campaign. So it is a case of Manston Yes, Night flights No but being a realist the future of the airport does look bleak unless huge investment can be found.
I am quite open where I stand and even read and contribute to the Save Manston Group facebook page following the debate. As far as the debate goes everyone has a contribution to make whether they support a 24/7 cargo hub, completely against, no night flight or whatever and the good thing about this it is non political something that is rare for Thanet.
There does seem to be a downside to this open debate, being that there are elements of the Save Manston Group that have completely gone against the rules of civilised open debate. I have had a false accusation against me published on their facebook page. I have been accused of voting for no night flights because I want Manston to close because the company I own has a demolition contract to demolish and recycle Manston , also it goes on to say  I stole the contract off Downfast. This is ridiculous because I do not own a demolition company. The  author of the remark thinks I have something to do with Ovenden demolition which is untrue. Others in the group immediately picked up on this and jumped on the bandwagon. Surprisingly the posting was allowed to stand and even after I posted a disclaimer that attracted even more sarcastic comments. Obviously I have complained and received and apology from the group leaders. However I have looked deeper into the Save Manston Action Group facebook page, printing off pages of comments . I have found  there are personal attacks on individuals that are appalling and one that really stands out is a slur on Thanet District Council.
Following the last full council a posting was published on their page that was factual, honest and praising  the progress made with Thanet District Council. However on a following posting someone posted a road sign , on it was the word "corruption" and the caption "TDC" and this was allowed to stand. Now what sort of message does that send out to an outsider viewing the page for the first time.
I am not the first  to face this treatment from SMA commentators. I have received emails and communication from others that have been subject to hostile and intimidating abuse of which they are innocent.
For a group that supposed to be at the heart of the debate is going to find itself on the fringes if the thuggish mob rule element is not weeded out.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The sea weed problem and coastal changes in photographs.


I have been sorting through some of the 3,500 images I have on disc for an exhibition on coastal changes by the North East Kent European marine sites project. I am not sure if they would use any of them but I am sorting out a few anyway and the choice is theirs.
I came across this one of Palm Bay Cliftonville taken by Margate photographer George Philip Hoare in 1914. What I find interesting is the amount of sea weed ashore something that is unusual in any Cliftonville photograph during that era as everything was always kept to a certain standard.


Another George Hoare photograph of the cliffs at Clifftonville I suspect this one was taken from the Fort Steps before the Winter Gardens was built and the lower promenade that was in filled with the chalk dug out from the Winter Gardens construction.



I not sure if I have put this one up before, Botany Bay Broadstairs un dated. Provides a good record of cliff erosion when compared to a current day photograph of the area.







Friday, 25 July 2014

One lump or two


Following on from the previous posting when I came across lumps of coal and old pieces of ships timbers ashore. A week later I returned to the site of my discoveries only to find that the beach had completely changed and that the tides that  had pushed my discovery ashore have now reclaimed everything by taking it back out to sea again. All except this large lump of coal and a beam end of a ships timber riddled with terrado worm. This piece of coal photographed with a golf ball I found nearby weighs in at 14.6 kg. To find a lump of coal this size on the foreshore is unusual as big lumps normally range at 1 to 2 kg.
My gut instinct tells me that an inshore wreck of a collier somewhere along the coast is scouring out. It is difficult to pin point which one as our southern coastline is littered with wrecks of many 19th century colliers that never completed their hazardous voyages from the North East in winter time. The maritime coal trade  into Thanet is well documented and so is the loss of life bringing a much needed commodity to keep 19th century southern homes warm in winter time. Many of the vessels even though they were sea worthy were near the end of their days and loaded up to capacity . Given that the demand for coal was always in the most harshest of weather the law of averages does point to the fact that some vessels would not make the final destination. This was generally accepted and many shipping owners would only insure the cargo and that really does speak volumes on how they operated in a very profit orientated lucrative trade.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A mysterious appearance and some beach finds.





This week there has been media attention on a little bay in Cornwall where lego from a lost cargo container has been washing up. The thread of the article being the mysteries of the sea.
At this moment in time I am working on a mystery of my own. About a fortnight ago I came across big lumps of coal washed up in one small area on the foreshore this included large lumps of ships timber and a base of a large earthenware pot. The largest piece of coal weighs just over two kilo and going by the barnacle growth they have been on the sea bed a long time. So why all of a sudden do large lumps of coal and ships timbers suddenly move off the sea bed and end up on the strandline. They may be all unrelated  instinct does tell me that an inshore wreck is breaking up. Anyway I will find out tomorrow when I revisit the site.


A nice surprise this week a piece of Amber found at Ramsgate.
 

 
A few fossils all found in the past fortnight in three locations in Thanet.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Manston air crash 1948

 
I have received this email regarding the Manston air crash 1948, something I am sure local historians will find interesting for their archives. The author has no objection to me circulating the email and is pleased to share this information.
 
My name is Malcolm John Andrews, aged 78. After resigning my commission with the RASC in 1963 I moved to Belgium where I married Liliane Vanbrabant.and have lived here to this day.
 
On Sept 18 1948: I lived in Dane Valley, Margate with my mother Gertrude May Andrews and my baby brother Brent. I was aged 11 (born Feb 1937).  At the time of the crash, my father, Francis Andrews, was an RAF flight engineer serving in Palestine (part of the UN Mandate).
 
On that fatal day my mother and, I believe, two other friends, decided to cycle up to Manston Airfield to see the Battle of Britain display. My mother had Brent on the back and I had my own bike. I cannot recall the other friends but we were all by bike.
 
I was about 50m ahead of the others near Vincent Farm when the mosquito roared over my head and crashed onto the roadway. The explosion threw me off my bike and, when I came to a few moments later, I found myself lying on my back in a vegetable field. Frankly I was too young and too dazed to recall every detail but there was a blazing mess of plane and cars on the road and billowing black smoke. Keeping away from the heat I simply waited for help, not knowing if my family members were hurt.
 
Surprisingly quickly a policeman approached me and asked me to go home and wait for news. Of course there was no-one at home and I did not have the key, so I went to the next-door neighbour (Mrs Morris?) in a bungalow like ours in Dane Gardens. Later the police arrived and I was moved to my uncle and aunt’s place, also on the Dane Valley road.
 
Ironically, my father received a telegram saying “wife and son killed in air crash” but he had no idea which son.
 
Consequently I went to boarding school (Sir Roger Manwoods) in Sandwich then Boys Squadron RAC, then RMA Sandhurst and was finally posted to (West) Germany in the early 60’s.
 
I am now anxious to correspond with all those involved in that disaster.
 
Malcolm (Mel) Andrews,
Clos de Valognes, 8
1410 Waterloo, Belgium
Phone : +322 3844362. Mobile : +32 478 2895330

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Thanet's conjoined oysters



During the recent Fircroft school trip I was so amazed how fascinated everyone was when they came across an area of large pacific oyster shells, especially those shells that were conjoined. Something I admit I just take for granted when walking the beaches. I often think like with most things Thanet people from outside Thanet look at things more with an artistic eye than us locals. So judging by this photograph I can now see why. Each conjoined oyster is unique with a mixed range of colour and shape leaving them open to interpretation whether it be craft or plain natural.
Pacific oysters have now been on our shoreline in large numbers for over two decades and are now classed as an invasive species by Natural England. Locally there is a local expert on the subject and his name is Willie McKnight, his work can be accessed on the internet for further reading.
Thanet's pacific oysters originated from the spat from the outlet pipes of the North Kent oyster farms and against all odds have bedded down on the chalk reef around the Thanet coastline. In some areas of coast this has had very little impact but in some bays they have formed reefs that is out competing indigenous species. To date Natural England have culled around 75,000 oysters in critical areas in a bid to contain the species. Over the past few winters many of the shells from the cull have made their way ashore along with the batches of shell from the winter kill.
In the photograph are shells from the winter kill that had been bedded on a unstable base like soft chalk, flint or another shellfish. The rough winter sea  has dislodged the mass of shell from the oyster reef and worked its way ashore providing winter feed for sea birds. The shells then break apart and become scattered and buried in the sand close to the strandline and eventually to breakdown naturally. These shells in the photgraph are a couple of years old and have been slightly stained by the natural mineral elements in the sand and I suppose they do have this appeal.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Broadstairs Botany Bay sea potato

The coin is a 10 pence piece to give some idea of scale.


This time of year Botany Bay Broadstairs is such a wonderful place to beachcomb  and in this settled weather many finds do turn up that generally do not survive in the winter seas. On example is the sea potato a relative of the sea urchin. Sea potato's are not rare but finding one intact on the Thanet coastline  is. This is because the shell is paper thin and when held it does have that fragile feel similar to holding a birds egg. This trio came ashore a few weeks back when we had a touch of north in the wind, a perfect time to walk the Botany Bay strandline.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A day at the seaside - Thanet seashore safaris

Some of the finds, clay pipe bowl and a stem. Bottom line left to right two slipper limpets , carpet clam and a pacific oyster.


Sea shore safaris are very much now the "in" thing at many seaside resorts where the shoreline  holds an abundance of marine life . With 22 miles  of chalk reef and coastline Thanet can clearly rate in the top ten UK venues with the vast diversity of marine life that can be found on our foreshore.
On these credentials it is surprising that nobody has really thought of this before. But then being local we do take so much of our natural environment for granted.
Since the surge way back in December 2013 I have spent most of my spare time on the beach recording and building collections of the lesser known species from our coastline. This includes my stones of Avalon amber project that is going very well.
So when I was approached by a London  school to act as a guide for a beachcombing trip I jumped at the chance just to show and explain what Thanet has to offer. Beachcombing can be a lonely pastime and I thought it would be nice have a bit of company for a change and many pair of eyes can be better than one. So today was my first trip with a school group, and the group being the Fircroft Primary School Tooting. The venue being the Nayland Rock Margate a flat expanse of rock near Margate main sands and not far from facilities like a toilet and a shelter.
The party arrived at 09:45am, split into three groups and the first group arriving in time for low water. With all groups I was amazed by the  enthusiasm and their adventurous nature  as they searched everything the rocks had to offer, often bombarding me with questions as they foraged the coastline picking up sea shells as if it was treasure. It was unfortunate the tide was on the move for the third group  keeping us closer inshore but I am sure all groups were pleased with the experience and the finds.
A sample of every single sea shell the beach had to offer was found by all the groups. The most popular finds being the Pacific rock oyster and the variety of common whelk shells. They even found rarities for the area and that did surprise me, the most stunning being a small Wentletrap shell.
I learnt a lot from the experience and I am sure they did. As for myself it was a learning curve for  other trips I may do in the future. Overall it was a very good day and they left Margate with a very good impression.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Finding sea shells at Botany Bay Broadstairs

Over the past decade Botany Bay Broadstairs has become increasingly popular for all sorts of activities. One of the reasons I believe is that the headland  of coastline from Foreness Point to Kingsgate Bay that forms Botany Bay is completely natural. Gone are the concrete promenades that form the Thanet sea defence system leaving the area as nature intended with very little evidence of the twenty first century.
Off shore is where the water from the Thames Estuary , Southern North sea and the Northern end of the English channel merge. This leaves the entire shoreline open to all sorts of possibilities for the intrepid beachcomber when the wind blows directly on shore.
The shoreline is incredibly clean and on the right winds and tides many interesting finds can be found on both the high water and low water areas. There are three main types of fossils that can be found, being belemnites, sea urchins and the marble size fossilized sponges. Towards the Kingsgate Bay side of Botany bay the Micraster  heart shape sea urchin can be found. I do not consciously look for fossils in the area as I collect the sea shells but when I do come across fossils I do pick them up. So I do know of their existence.
All the sea shells that are found are common to the south coast and they come directly off the chalk reef that surrounds the Thanet coastline. The area has to be one of the best for finding dog whelk, netted dog whelk and piddock sea shells. Then there are mussel shells, whelk, slipper limpet, common limpet, periwinkles, carpet shells taking the second ranking. Even though cockles, pacific oysters and razor fish shells are common to Thanet they are less prolific in the Botany Bay area giving them third ranking.
There is one observation I have made regarding Botany Bay sea shells  and these are the shells of the common whelk. The whelk shells are bigger, thicker, heavier than those found elsewhere in the Thanet area  and all bear the scars of a turbulent life. This suggests to me that the whelk has completed its live and death cycle and these whelks have not been harvested from deeper offshore and then dumped  inshore after they have been picked like many of the whelk shells that litter the Margate and Ramsgate areas of the Thanet coastline.
In the Botany Bay area I have found small scallops shells, Baltic tellin, thin tellin, prickly cockle, sea urchins and sea potato sea urchin shells and these have been on rare occasions on favourable winds.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Thanet coast - pretty in pink

 
 
Most of the colours of seashells  found on the Thanet coastline do tend to be plain and those shells that have any tinge of colour do tend to fade once the animal inside has died and the shell is washed up on the strandline. However there is one species of shell that seems to hang on to its colour, and that is the Tellin  otherwise known as the Tellina . The colour range varies  from a bright pink to yellow and can be with stand being weathered by sand and tides longer than most sea shells. There are two types of Tellin that can be found around the Thanet coast, being the Baltic Tellin and the Thin Tellin . The number one spot for finding these in masses is to the left of the old hoverport slipway at Pegwell Bay Ramsgate. Second hot spot being Minnis Bay in Birchington .
Photographed are today's find from Pegwell Bay and these are the pick of the bunch that took about half an hour to pick up.

 
 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Exploring the Thanet coast even deeper.

Sometime ago I took the decision to drop local history and work on other subjects regarding the Thanet coast. I took the decision to drop local history because I was being marginalised by people who have no real  depth of knowledge of the subject and I can see no point in being a member of a group, museum or society any more. As life is to short to worry about people like that I am now totally freelance on what I do regarding the Thanet coast.
Recently I have been reading up on Dr Arthur Walton Rowe who without doubt in this modern age is one of Margate's and Thanet's forgotten sons. This guy was amazing because he studied and made many  discoveries in and around Thanet. I am also inspired by the fact that he was also a conchologist and as there is no shortage of sea shells on the Thanet coastline , I thought I will now concentrate on sea shells for the rest of the summer. To date things are going really well and I have literally thousands of sea shells .
All of my finds are being photographed and below is a photograph of more recent finds. As you can see in the photograph some of the shells have holes in them. This is caused by a predator and in this case it is these little chaps on the right of the photograph. They are known as sting winkles and the attach themselves to a suitable prey, boring a small hole into the shell to eventually suck out the contents. These finds came from the Western Undercliff area of Ramsgate.


Below is another common species that can be found in abundance along the south coast. In Thanet they do take some finding and these examples in the photograph came from the Pegwell Bay area of Ramsgate. They are known as the prickly cockle and the distribution is from Southern Norway to the Med. Like the common cockle they are commercially exploited.


I do not expect to make exceptional discoveries, but by photographing and publishing my finds it is a record of what Thanet does have to offer to people outside of the area.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Mods , Rockers and Margate bank holiday disturbances.

Last year my Dad died and recently I have been going through some of the items that once belonged to him. This includes items relating to the time he was in the special constabulary. Based at Margate he served from the mid 1950's to the early 1980's resulting in 27 years of service. As far as I can gather he never missed a bank holiday duty on Margate seafront and he dealt with all the youth cults that descended on Margate during that era. Teddy boys, razor gangs, mods, rockers, skinheads , punks  etc., he experienced the lot.
Being an ex serviceman servicing in the Royal Military Police he could handle himself and he told me many stories.I once asked him who were the toughest and hardest group he ever had to deal with and without doubt it was the 1950's Teddy Boys from London who would carry razors and when there was a fight between rival gangs there was no such thing as rules except grassing. People would be cut up bad and nobody saw a thing.
The Mods and Rockers bank holiday riots in 1964 is something that is being commemorated at the moment and I struggle to think why . A few years ago I asked my Dad about his role in the event. Well it appears that when the rivals gangs stormed Margate main sands and the sea front, families on the beach fled to Dreamland for safety. All available specials including my Dad were issued with pick axe handles and were positioned at the Dreamland entrances . Believing that rival gangs were in Dreamland other gangs tried to enter into Dreamland. However, they did not stand a chance up against ex servicemen armed with pick axe handles so Dreamland remained safe throughout the riots on that day. This left the regulars to deal with the disturbances elsewhere.
On a more local note my Dad told me his experiences dealing with the trouble in the Bali Hai , Cinque Ports , Galleon , Coxswain and the other pubs used by the London beano's . This was a time when his Police issue truncheon came in very handy.
Looking through his scrapbook it is horrendous to think that during this era that violent gangs of youths descended on Margate looking for bragging rights. Something I am sure ruined Margate's reputation as a sea side resort for generations to come.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Shelling off the Thanet coast.


There is very little on the internet regarding the variety of sea shells that can be found around the Thanet coastline. So I thought I post a photograph of some of todays finds just out of interest for casual reading. In the photograph are the lesser known sea shells that can be found. All were found around the Pegwell Bay  side of Ramsgate though to the northern end of Sandwich Bay. The shells in the bottom right hand corner are interesting because they are Coquina shells and they have a world wide distribution. Generally they are found in warmer waters and I have come across them in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote and in the tropical waters of Cuba. They do vary in colour and the predominate colour off Thanet is pale yellow as seen in the photograph. I am not sure if they are native to this part of Kent or the should I say the northern end of the English Channel. Could they be the result of global warmer or could they be an invasive species like the rock oysters that are appearing everywhere on the chalk reef around Thanet. this is something I will have to look into.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Albion House Ramsgate - a piece of missing history and the contents.

This document is a new addition to my archive of  Ramsgate art and artefacts and it is a Thanet District Council report on the fate of the Ramsgate artwork when it was kept a Albion House. Looks like at the time there must have been a terrible damp problem at Albion House.
The document does make sorry reading as it explains why almost everything TDC own regarding Ramsgate historically is in such poor condition.







Thursday, 8 May 2014

Bob Bradley



I have just heard the sad news that Bob Bradley has died and by the sound of it, in tragic circumstances. Bob worked at the Margate museum and for a period of time and in the years before the place was closed he took responsibility for running the museum. Bob was a collector and he had a huge collection of Second World War memorabilia covering the home front. He also had a huge collection of weapons and I dread to think what the Police must have thought when they entered his house.
Bob was an honest bloke and he didn't mince his words and told people exactly what he thought. We had a difference of opinion when issues regarding the museum came to light. It was more about my approach of making it public he didn't like but we did agree to differ. Regardless of what happened in the past I am still saddened to hear of his death. His greatest achievements in my eyes has to be his contribution to building the museum archives and his efforts to build the Second World War collection especially all the artefacts the museum holds  relating to the home front and life in Margate at the time.

TDC Cobb Shell collection - the missing document


In the past I have mentioned the Cobb shell collection that was once held in the old Margate Library in Victoria Road. The collection was then transferred to Thanet District Council in 1974 during local government reorganization. In 1991 the collection of 17,000 sea shells was given to the Powell Cotton Museum , Birchington . Some months ago I did make enquires with TDC regarding this decision because the PCM would like to return the collection back into the public collection. Before that TDC did not have a clue about the decision and they didn't even know they once owned them. That was only made known to them when I presented an old Margate Museum document. I have now retrieved the original document that details the reasons why it was given away. The document has one interesting fact and that is, even though it is known as the Cobb collection there are no records held by TDC to show the Cobb family actually owned it, mind you that is certainly down to the old Borough of Margate and their poor record keeping which in all honestly TDC have inherited. In one paragraph it does state that the collection has never been properly catalogued a statement I have come across on many occasions.

I must add that I did not use the freedom of information act to get this document. I obtained this through my own resources and research so there have been no costs involved to anyone other than myself.

Finally, I must add that the collection has never been displayed at the PCM and there are no plans to ever display it at the PCM.






Wednesday, 7 May 2014

TDC artefacts - a tactical retreat

It has been some while since I have said anything regarding the TDC collection of art and artefacts. Following the decision by TDC to adopt a new management policy and to carry out a full audit, something I must say has never been fully completed since TDC was formed. I think it is time for a bit of an update.

The working party looking into the issues regarding the artefacts management have decide not to investigate what went on in the past. All they want to do is audit the physical stock they have and move forward. Sounds a sensible move if you know naff all about the collection which probably covers almost everybody. A horrendous decision to someone who knows far more than they should but then this is Thanet District Council after all.

The new management policy is more about damage limitation and it will succeed as I know the numbers are now stacked up against me. For example two members of the Friends of the Margate Museum have said to me they do not like my accusations of theft against them. The point is that I am not accusing anyone of theft all I have been trying to get across is that there are items missing from the original inventory. This was reported to TDC in 1991 and I have the paperwork to prove it. But then that is no surprise because a council officer said to me that people were leaving the Friends of the Margate Museum because of my accusations, but then this is the same officer who also hinted to the Friends group that if they rock the boat they are out. So I can take all of that with a pinch of salt. The problem is that I am now on my own and I have to make a bit of a tactical retreat and I am keeping well clear of the Margate Museum and I do not trust anyone that is for sure. Especially when I brought up a question about the Parker collection and the condition of the items only to be put down by the guy who has taken over the museum data base who just happen to be a son of a Councillor.

Anyway enough of the moaning and onto progress, I have retrieved a interesting document it is a TDC one and it details some  info on the Albion House collection that was never made public. It  probably explains why the Ramsgate collection is in such appalling condition. I am writing a letter to the Gazette first then I will publish the document on my blog.

I have something on the Cobb shell collection, once again one of these documents TDC have trouble finding so I have informed Quex who now hold the collection and I have past it on to Iris . I will also put that on my blog.

Any way got to go and be rest assured I do have a few more bullets left in the chamber.

Monday, 21 April 2014

X marks the spot ?


As of late I have been privy to some of the items that have come up off the sea bed in fisherman's nets off the Thanet coast. This item was picked up off the Kentish Knock and has been doing the rounds on Facebook. Lumps of concretion off a wreck on the sea bed can give many clues to the origin of the wreck, especially with a lump of porcelain attached. Just by looking at the photograph the first thing that comes to mind is an East Indiaman  either English or Dutch and given the location it is a strong  possibility. I have been given the position of the find and research has turned up 71 wrecks or strandings in the vicinity of the find. In that list the is a record of a stranding of a East Indiaman "Juliana"  in 1821 in the vicinity of the find. Also there are listed four vessels that sailed from Antwerp and Amsterdam that were lost on the Kentish Knock between  1817 to 1820 all carrying general cargo. One in particular was carrying raw silk and that is open to possibilities as silk and porcelain are East Indiamen imported items . It may be difficult to actually pin point the find at present to a particular vessel but at least I can point the finder in the general direction until more items are found.

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Thanet coast , after the surge and the coal dust deposits.


After the surge and the following gales during January and February patches of coal dust appeared along the Thanet coast, in some ares there were patches of larger fragments. I took home buckets of the stuff just to pick through it and get some idea of the make up. In the photograph below are some of the shell specimens found in the coal that predominately turned out to be European sea Cowries also in the photograph is a spiral shaped shell. The shell is known as a Wentletrap and is very unusual along the Thanet Coastline.
 The coal in general is a mixture of everything most domestic coal and the origin is far and wide. However the pieces that are darker are fragments from the gas works coal and they are harder and do polish up well. This type of coal is often used to fake Whitby Jet.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Thanet coast and the stones of Avalon


The tidal surge of the 6th December 2013 and the following two months of gale force winds have had a more profound impact on the coastline of Isle of Thanet than most people realize. Many of the people who really know and understand the coast have noticed the changes, resulting in many finds. As for myself I have set up a new collection of raw Amber found since day one of the surge and this is part of it. Finding Amber on the Thanet coastline is nothing new but it is highly specialized and takes a great deal of understanding of  wind , tides and the seasons to be good at it.
I have had other  Thanet Amber collections before of which  I have given away or loaned. One collection I call the Nordic collection found off Margate is on loan at the Margate Museum but unfortunately they seem to have difficulty in returning it to me.  I have now found these people just impossible to deal with so I have started a new collection and this time I am not going to part with a single piece of it. It is going to be the biggest collection ever amassed from the south of Thanet coast and I am going to call the collection. " The  Stones of Avalon" because  it all originates from the south westerly winds.

Above in the palm of my hand are some of the pieces found since 6th December 2013, the day of the surge.