We had already done the historic buildings open in Ramsgate with the person who was saying with us over the weekend so we did Margate yesterday.
This may be my warped impression but is does seem that Margate’s council owned iconic buildings are getting better use and public accessibility than the Ramsgate owned ones. It would have been nice to have Albion House and Ramsgate Maritime Museum open for national heritage day. Where the new localism bill will take us with our iconic buildings I don’t really know, my understanding is that local groups will be able to take them over from the council and run them for some benefit to the local community. It is a difficult to tell what the real situation is with the council and the iconic council owned sites in Ramsgate, to have one major site closed, falling into dereliction or having developers playing some sort of waiting game while the council fails to implement agreements would seem to be a misfortune two possibly carelessness, however having as many as we have here in Ramsgate seems like a deliberate strategy to bring economic ruin to the town.
When it comes to local government the way people perceive what is being done with their money is often as important as what is actually being done with it.
Anyway that said we did the Tudor House first. To get this into some sort of historical perspective The Tudor House is probably about 500 years old. There is very little in the way of historical record relating to Margate that predates about 300 years ago.
In terms of written history relating to this area and period the main source are the letters from the reigning monarch to the lords warden of the Cinque Ports, these give the impression that Margate in the 1500s was a prosperous small town.
At this time outside of food which was mostly sourced locally, the main commodity that was traded and therefore generated wealth was wool, the various stages that turned it into coloured cloth was where the money was to be made. I would seem likely that the Tudor House would have been related to this trade in some way. Dealing in wool cloth, weaving dying and so on, in the early 1500s was on the money, this would have been a substantial house probably owned my a wealthy merchant. Three hundred years later in the early 1800s the Tudor House was owned by Frances Cobb the Margate brewer, and there is an exhibition of pictures related to local pubs and brewing on the walls of the Tudor House. Within the limitations of photography I have tried to photograph as much of this exhibition as I could.
Here are the links to the pictures
Then into Margate Old Town for lunch at Cup Cake, my children ate theirs without complaint, which is about the highest accolade that can be bestowed.
Here are the pictures
My cheese on toast, £1 for an extra slice, recommended for fat men, was excellent. There were various stalls selling bric a brac and I bought some tubes of watercolour paint, a major attraction here was that they had been priced during the period of currency decimalisation in 1971. this meant that a tube of paint priced at 2/6 had also been priced at 12p or one priced at 5/- also at 25p. artists quality watercolour paint sells for about the same price as a UK paperback, now between about £5 and £7.50 a tube depending on the pigment. I am not sure if any of the paint in the tubes will still be usable after forty years, I will try it and see.
Next to Margate Museum, this is housed in the old police station and court house and I was particularly please to find that the courthouse that had been closed last time I visited the museum was open this time.
The court, police station and prison cells show clearly the localised justice system that worked so well in England for so long. The key to this was having policing and courts localised so that the police and magistrates were part of the local community and the maintaining of civilisation was dealt with as part of the local community.
Much of the museum relates to regulation of local trading in terms of weights and measures, as always though in costal towns there is the added dimension of seafaring and tourism, at the moment there is an emphasis on the part that mods and rockers played in the history of Margate, when they descended on the town for a brawl.
Here are the pictures
Then on to the Walpole Bay Hotel cream tea for us and ice cream for the children, the museum within the hotel although not part of heritage open day – it’s open and it’s free anyway – is an important collection illustrating English domestic life over the last 100 years.
The cream tea was excellent as usual, I always recommend this one to visitors to Thanet who are trying to understand how our seaside towns functioned as resorts.
Here are the pictures
There were some ships sheltering off Margate and I took a few pictures from Walpole Bay, not sure how the pictures will come out, I think it depends on how steady my hand was as this is zoom and crop, here they are
As usual I have published all the pictures on the camera card and am yet to look at them myself, so I expect some of them will be pretty awful, it in fact, may be best not to look.