Saturday, December 11, 2010

Turner + Reminder- Tudor House– this weekend

Until such time as Thanet Council work out a way to make a quick buck from Margate's Tudor House, by selling it, once in a while this remarkable house will be open to the public for the the odd day or so, as is the case this weekend.

I have made reference to the Tudor house on numerous postings, and if there is theme in all this ,it is of wasted opportunity. Those involved specifically with Margate renascence, frequently use the this phrase "The Margate offer" which is almost as meaningless as it is irritating.

Currently if such a thing exists, the Margate offer, consists of one as yet to be opened but impressive gallery several years late, and a burgeoning art economy which has grown in expectation, however a lot of potential is still tied up in and held up in the future.

I'll believe in "the Margate offer" when Dreamland is revived in some way ( what's going on with that?), Margate has its museum back and those buildings like Arcadia Hotel and Fort Hotels are sorted not hidden ( are these really going to be tarted up by the Turner opening in April?).

My view is that much of Margate regeneration has simply been mishandled, too little to late, as with Arcadia, even the Milestone hand over ceremony of Turner Contemporary from KCC to the gallery trust was a private affair with a handful of the great and good on hand and apparently none of the public, who as taxpayers are paying for this, were on hand to witness the event.
claddingwhathappenedOne thing that has troubled me, and I note others is the finish of the Turner building, this comment from Michael Child made on Thanet Life "...I thought it was supposed to be coated with glass and glow"  or this from Amanda Baillieu of BDonline (Builiding Design) " And while the CGIs show the light bouncing off the building’s pearly cladding to evoke the spirit of  JW Turner, in the flesh it looks flat and charmless and cheap.

Since its out there, I'd like to know what happened to the outside of the building, this quote from the architect "....capture the same unique light that inspired Turner." at the time I understood that the building would be clad in some sort of glass with perhaps iridescent properties which would indeed reflect and enhance the buildings look, however the outside although white, looks dull and uninspiring and I'm sure I've seen a similar finish on some supermarkets and train stations.

Anyway if you haven't taken the opportunity go see the Tudor House, this is a beautiful building not built by committee the arts council or flippin KCC enjoy it while you can. Sorry for the late mention.

* CGI Computer Generated Image


  1. Tony, I very much agree with you on this one about the appalling neglect of the Tudor House by Thanet District Council.
    In the ten years prior to the closure of the Margate Museum and the Ramsgate Maritime Museum it must be remembered that TDC paid over £1 million in grant to the EKMT to keep both establishments running. As for the Tudor House there was very little spent in the past ten years except for essential maintenance which was poorly done and to little to late. Even during my time as a councillor and up to the present day there has always been this anti feeling within TDC against the Tudor House and this was even before the squeeze on council finances.
    This was down to two reasons. Firstly, the EKMT had a powerful lobby as some of its trustees were councillors and the officers involved with the Tudor House would always pull the card that the Tudor House is a replica when in fact it is a renovation as a large part of the building is original. This was down to the work of Alan Kay who produced a document proclaiming the Tudor House was a replica and the officers would always use his argueement when challenged. One year the Margate Historical Society were fortunate enough to open the Tudor House for a weekend. In that weekend more visitors visted the Tudor House which was empty than the whole season for the Margate Museum. When this was pointed out The MHS was never invited again to man the museum. I know others have opened the Tudor House since then and they too can vouch for the popularity of the house. But for some reason TDC does not want it open and it would be interesting to find out why.

  2. As for the Margate Museum, I was one of its strongest supportors, I put 10 years + of my historical work into the museum and the Museum posses 90% of my archive etc., which is a gift to the people of Margate and future generations. So when it comes to discussing the Margate Museum I guess I have the minerals.
    I always knew the museum would close becuase the EKMT was living off grant dependancy and was always in the firing line should resources get tight. When the closures were announced there was two different arguements for Ramsgate and Margate. Michael Child, Dave Green and John Watkin have delivered a excellent arguement for the Ramsgate Maritime Museum which I agree with.
    However, in the case of the Margate the whole subject of a Museum provision is a whole different ball game. The Margate Museum cannot go back to as it was and a new policy should have been thought out when the Margate Museum closed to coincide with Turner Center opening. This has not happened and everything seems to be on hold and mothballed. I can only assume it is being kept in that state for the new incoming Labour administration in May to sort out.

  3. One of many Thanet conundrums Tony. Money is tight and having somewhere for people who visit the area to go is low on the list of priorities and when said people come and see sod all they wont come back the council says I told you so. And when they dont came back cos of the lack of things to see the go somewhere else and tell their friends and neighbors dont go to Margate there is nothing there go to so and so we had a great time there. ETC ETC. i TRY AND PROMOTE tHANET AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY but the museums and other attractionms need to ATTRACT people sun sea and sand dont cut it anymore. The Turner centre looks amazing at night. Not my words but those of my son who is 20 and not known for such compliments

  4. Don, looking at it through another angle, at lot of Margate's problems are due to lack of business confidence and only the brave are taking the risks.
    About thirty years ago Hastings and Whitstable did have shanty town status and look at them now. All this changed becuase something was done differently.
    I hope the Turner Center does work.

  5. I think I would still prefer Margate to Hastings which remains one of the more dangerous places on the south coast. Whilst Whistable may have acquired some kind of London set image, Hastings is still a bit sad.

  6. I suppose it depends on who is running things


  7. That would seem to be logical, almost Vulcan in its perception of the obvious.