Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Sweeping Sands

I have managed to recover "Black's Guide Book to East Kent" (1909) which was lost in the attic for some years. It makes fascinating reading. On Margate:

"We emphatically repudiate the sweeping criticism of the popular authoress to whom the name of Margate suggested nothing but 'sixpenny teas' and a vulgar flavour of shrimps floating, unbidden in the air. Miss Marie Corelli is recommended to make a visit to Cliftonville, with rooms, say in Sweyn Road or one of the new large hotels; and in fact to obtain a more through acquaintance with teh 'upper' and pleasanter side of the the Margate of today."

What Marie Corelli, born Mary Mackay would make of the place 99 years further on is anyone's guess but the little green book is an absolute treasure trove of traveller's information from a long lost time; hotels, walks, teas, excursions, histories and of course, bathing machines!

"Merry Margate can boast some advantages not possessed by it rival neighbours, monotony here, there cannot be."

I may get around to quoting some excerpts on Broadstairs and Ramsgate too but meanwhile, I'm enjoing this little time machine view of another world.

By the way, if anyone is following the excellent BBC mini-drama "Ballet Shoes" that screened last night, look out for the aerial scenes that we shot with the BBC last summer opposite Reculver.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure that she would be sad to see the present state of Margate.

Hotels boarded up or full of non locals! Shops shut and boarded up ( just look at the pedestrian precinct where peacocks etc used to be! ) and locals deserting the local shops to go to the disaster that is Westwood Cross!

Why a disaster? Because they are all chain shops, so the money goes straight out of Thanet! Good for the local economy? NO!

Death of Margate, YES!

But the council cares! Yes it does! It is giving us a Gallery on the sea front. What they haven't told us is that when it is built, it will have painted on the side of it, " R.I.P.Margate ".

How kind, at least they're giving us a headstaone! Oh, sorry; they're also giving us a cafe society!!!

DrMoores said...

Implying that the council doesn't care is the same as suggesting that I don't care either. You and others simply fail to grasp what a local council is and does and can do. "the council should this" and The council should that"

Where private business is concerned and indeed, private houses and hotels it's so-called market forces that prevail; the same for just about every struggling sea-side town in England.

And once again, you don't understand that the Turner is something being given to us; a potential re-generation lifeline that could as easily have gone somewhere else. As we aren't paying for it what's your problem?

Anonymous said...

We cannot undo the disaster of Westwood Cross which could have been avoided as at the time of its planning, did not the Labour Govt have a policy on discouraging out of town centres that required extra milage , traffic etc? However, our TDC went ahead with it at full steam and with enthusiasm and in the process killed Margate. As for Turner, how is it costing us nothing?
Who owns The Droit House? Who is giving the TC project rent-free space in M&S? How many people are employed directly and indirectly in the project and who pays the bills? What is the cost of TDC time and effort spent on this project so far? Who has to under-write its costs should it turn out to be a 'beached-whale'? The problem about silencing critics like 1.05am is the very coyness of TDC about its costs incurred so far. Have we got real figures yet that can be put in the public domain, Doc? Or is embarrassment about the true cost so far (assuming the £6million + was a loss to EU Taxpayers only?) preventing TDC 'coming clean' on the issue?

DrMoores said...

I'm not going into this again. Enough has been written, very succinctly on the subject, over the last few years on this "Blog" and elsewhere to answer your questions. Everything is in the public domain and has been agonised over. Look it up here for starters using the search facility. I would however suggest that you move on to more productive subjects. You really have to stop blaming TDC for everything. Councils have had very little real control over the rapid advance of local planning and urban development thanks to this government. Thanet isn't alone!

Anonymous said...

I am not blaming the present TDC but your Labour predecessors in respect of Westwood Cross. I just have an old-fashioned viewpoint that TDC should have at the heart of what it does 'the needs and interests of Thanet citizens'. If Margate is a great place to go to for its locals then others will be attracted to it. There is no way you can argue that is the reality at Christmas 2007; an empty High Street and parking spaces free on Sat 22 Dec in Cecil Sq? An amazing downturn in such a short time. My heart bleeds for the surviving traders in Margate.