Friday, June 17, 2011

Margate Museum

A mention, for those who are visiting Margate, since all being well with this weekend  it will be busy for the Big Event, one little gem that may be overlooked is Margate Museum, which these days is generally open on Saturdays.

Not having been myself for a while, I wondered if it would be open this weekend, since its one of those things, because of its close proximity, you always think you can put off  but as many of us know, its future is to some extent not entirely clear, it has become a bit more precious

I've done a few museums in my time and this, has to be one of the better ones, the beauty of it is, for me, how cluttered it appears but also how, what was once so familiar and mundane, has become precious and extraordinary.

Before I get anymore pretentious, if you get time or it starts to rain have a gander, the building itself more than justifies the trouble, the magistrates court and the old police cells.

Earlier in the week I mentioned some of the other attractions which will complement the Big Event Weekend like the Turner Contemporary but this is a gem you might otherwise miss, open as I understand on Saturday only between 11am and 5pm run by volunteers, so thanks to them in advance.

PS Briefly the forecast for tomorrow is sunny intervals, and this part of east Kent generally gets more sunshine so hopefully the Big Event will be a great success particularly now that Old Margate and the town is at the heart of the event.


  1. Interesting find on KCC website is this being promoted by the Freemasons in county hall ?

    Masonic Province of East Kent

    Many believe that these should be confined to a museum, might add wasn't too comfortable with the children being in the video.

  2. Tony,

    Good photographs as they keep a good record of public items. Glad to see the Edwardian plate donated by Terry Purser on display to the left of the cup in the top Photograph.

  3. I love this museum. I recommend it if you haven't been and i do hope it survives. The building and its contents are interesting.

  4. The Museum has been opened this Spring for the first time since TDC withdrew funding in early 2009. For many years the building and collection were "managed" by the notorious East Kent Maritime Trust who trousered vast sums of money while the building rotted. They are still in a dispute with TDC.
    The Friends of Margate Museum (FOMM)was formed in February (following a rumour that the entire archive was to be sent to Maidstone) and has been providing volunteers to staff the building during these openings. The Council has pledged to support the FOMM's regular opening of the attraction but has said that there are no funds available to refurbish the building or preserve the collection. It seems that with 20% cuts in their budget next year TDC is expecting the volunteers to keep the Museum ticking over ad infinitum until a solution can be found.
    Visitors should be under no illusions about the uncertain future of this remarkable Museum, based in part of the Old Town Hall . The ground floor once housed the old Margate police station, while the upstairs was formerly the magistrates court. The museum was moved to this venue in the mid-eighties. The collection is a rich historical resource, encompassing all aspects of Margate's history. Yet until recently the council has shown no interest in re-opening it to the public. Apparently there is no money yet today in the Gazette I read that Ramsgate's seafront shelters have been showered with £450,000 by TDC. The man behind this council grant is Nick Dermott, who is in charge of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)team at TDC. The contract for the scheme has been awarded to that stalwart DJ Ellis, a good friend of TDC.
    There is something very odd going on here. Despite the strong visitor numbers during recent openings Nick Dermott has not offered the FOMM any assistance at all or shown any interest in preserving this extraordinary collection. The building itself should be on the English Heritage "Buildings At Risk" register as the Dreamland cinema and Shell Grotto are. The Shell Grotto has just secured funding from EH based on this listing yet it is not even a building.
    Worse still there is open warfare between the Chair and Vice-Chair of the FOMM. Support is now polarised between the two factions. At present the Chair appears to be secure. She has been given a key to the building by a TDC official, thus allowing her to control access to the premises. Her opponents accuse her of incompetence and of having dictatorial tendencies. She has apparently gathered a cabal of supporters around her who are attempting to establish a controlling interest in the future of the museum. The Vice-Chair is supported by many influential figures who have advised him to keep his powder dry.
    Meanwhile the building and the collection continue to deteriorate. Since the burning of Ramsgate library that town has almost no historical archive. Margate does, for now. With a fraction of the £20 million spent on the Turner Gallery this wonderful collection could be preserved. There is very little about Margate in the Turner Gallery but there is huge public interest in the story of our town. Despite the current difficulties the Museum can still be saved. But not by the despotic methods employed by the current Chair of FOMM, the gorgon-like Sharon Rowe. Watch this space and do please visit the museum. It belongs to all of us, not just the clan who use Milo's as a Command Bunker. They are a deliberate distraction, deployed by TDC to distract us from the real villain of the piece: Thanet District Crimelords, otherwise known as TDC. Bless 'em all.

  5. yes great to see it open.1 notice with disbelief Fiona is charging £2 a head to go on the Pier this weekend!!also limiting people(if there was'nt so many ruddy cars there would be room)It begars belief...

  6. Seems both reasonable & sensible to me 11:26. It's not as if people HAVE to go on the pier to see things...unlike when EVERYONE was (illegally) charged by TDC to go on public land at Palm Bay.

  7. I wonder how the proprietors of the cafes feel about that.

  8. wonder if the traders on the pier think that Peter,I was talking to a family who wanted to go to the cafe out on the pier,but it would have cost them £8 before they even hada cuppa,so they went elsewhere,and know you don't have to go on the Pier but in the 60 years i have lived here i have never known the like...

  9. 5 22 the charge when I was on the Harbour Arm was at an advisory level by allowing discretion.

    I understand the taking were going to charity.

    I've only lived here for 53 years but I seem to remember that when the old pier was in existence that a charge was made to access that.

  10. People should really get the FACTS right!! there was no charge to get on the pier today it was a optional donation to Demelza house the sugested amount was £2 for adults but this was just a guide, my family and i contributed over the recomended amount but the couple before only gave a £1. When i spoke to the guys doing the Gate they where please to get any donation, they also mentioned TDC put a limit on the amount of people alowed on so it seemed the easiest and best way to control. As i said always best to get the facts first!

  11. wonder what it takes to shut you up Peter...

  12. Beautiful women often leave me speechless. How about you ol' chap?