Monday, 20 August 2012

Margate, The Erotic Turner Contemporary, Toilets, Dreamland, Regeneration, Parking and Pictures.

With the heat, weather forecast, the previous post about Margate, I figured Margate would be at its busiest so I went to see the situation for myself yesterday. I guess I know Margate fairly well and understand how it functioned with Dreamland and now with The Turner Contemporary.

Back in the early 70s when I worked as an engineer at Dreamland, The Lido and Margate’s Golden Mile, I didn’t have a problem parking that I remember, but yesterday parking was the key issue.

I went to some boot fairs during the early hours, mainly because it was too hot to sleep, boot fairs now seem to be mostly made up of things that failed to sell on Ebay, I think I arrived in Margate at about 10am and parked on the Dreamland site, this is £2.50 for all day and I guess is where most of Margate’s visitors park.

I was greatly in need of the loo and made my way to The Turner Contemporary which is very convenient in this respect and thoughtfully pondered the steady stream of people entering the gallery, making for the loos and then leaving the gallery.

I wonder do these people figure in the statistics, a quick look at the erotic art exhibition by, Turner, Rodin and Emin and I was in the mood to paint, this requires a seat and a cup of tea.

The picture above was inspired by erotic aspects of The Turner Contemporary, the dark blue bit in the middle that should have been a bluey grey, was caused by shock induced by an artistic incident, I dipped my brush in my tea by mistake.
 For a cup of tea, served in a civilised fashion at a reasonable price with an excellent view I don’t think you can beat Lola and Company on the harbour arm. My wife had Coffee, which she said was very good too.
Margate beach seemed as busy as it used to be in the 70s by the time I had painted my picture and finished my tea and evidently Margate is where the government funding is going in Thanet, which raises the question of infrastructure if the results are successful. 
The area outside The Turner Contemporary already runs a continual level of parking rage, as people turn up by car to what is supposed to be a national attraction, only to find they can’t park.

By about 3pm I had had enough of crowds and returned to the car park on the dreamland site, it was completely full with hot and fairly angry people driving around in it looking for non-existent spaces, I removed my car with difficult due to the three others who were all trying to get into the empty space at the same time.

If you go to any commercially run place where there are likely to be a lot of people turning up to spend their money then parking the car is not usually a problem.

Supermarkets, boot fairs and so on have got this sorted out properly.

With The Turner Contemporary the commercial aspect isn’t a problem, Kent County Council have taken £1.6 million out of our tax contributions and given it to the gallery to pay for running expenses this year.

Large amounts of government funding will be made available for the Regeneration of Dreamland and presumably a great many people will turn up there, but the parking issue needs solving, otherwise they will drive around in circles, until they are very angry and then go elsewhere. I doubt that there will be parking problems at any of the competing theme parks.  

here is the link to the pictures straight from my camera card of yesterdays visit to Margate 

I will ramble on here.      


  1. Parking? It isn't a problem for all the tourist venues in London and other cities. That's why we have public transport. Once upon a time there was a massive car park. Now it is a derelict Colditz-like monument to folly ... called Arlington where Tesco seem to have lost the will to do anything. Unless, of course, you know something that we don't.

  2. I thought in the 70's trippers came to Margate by charabanc, many often missing their departure time and trying for a lift on any available departure. And the lucky few came on the Royal Daffodil, but maybe that was the 60's.
    But Michael, you could walk to Ramsgate railway station and do the 11 min trip to Margate for £6.80 for a family of 4 if you have a family railcard. But a similar family with card comming from London would pay for cheap day return over £65 and £78 high speed.
    Not cheap but I guess Dreamland will need to bring back cheap rail/entrance tickets.

    As an aside, when you can fly to Spain from London cheaper than you can get to Margate by train I cant see many passengers comming to Manston by train for European flights.

  3. Most people still don't know about the (free) car park round the back of The Winter Gardens, where there's nearly always spaces unless a show is on.

  4. Better keep quiet about it hen otherwise those of us in the know will never find a space again!!!

    1. I don't drive so it doesn't bother me! : )

      I agree with the other poster by the way Michael, why on earth didn't you get the train instead?

    2. Peter, I got up at 5.30 and went to the boot fairs two of which were in fields near Sandwich and Dover. Topping up mostly with paperback titles that I was running low on in my bookshop, by the time I arrived in Margate I had a Volvo estate with about 100 kilos of books in it, which I added to there. I guess the majority of these books would have either been pulped or found there way into landfill if I hadn’t bought them to resell for reuse, I hope the overall environmental effect was positive.

      As for the parking, I know Margate fairly well and could have parked for nothing, but wanted to see how the average visitor would get on trying to park.

  5. I cant understand why as Peter surgests we dont have the Winter Gardens parking sign posted but then that would be sensible not a traite Margate is well known for. I am glad you are recycling the books.

    1. I don't think they want to encourage people to park there, as it causes problems if there's an event on. But it's owned by TDC, not The Winter Gardens (it also goes as far as The Lido, so there's plenty of spaces).

    2. Don Peter, my guess is that the council have got some daft agenda here, the main two things The Turner Contemporary lacks is sensible vehicle assess to the harbour arm and its disabled parking spaces and reasonable parking for visitors.

      Obviously the vehicle access needs to be via the entrance to The Winter Gardens car park through to the harbour arm, not through the pedestrians outside the gallery and the parking on the promenade needs to be utilised for the gallery.

      On the book recycling front, what I try to achieve is reuse where possible and responsible recycling where there is less demand for a book than supply.

  6. Michael,

    You insuate that TDC has, "some daft agenda". I am shocked. Surely, such a thing could never happen.

  7. Seems there is a problem with the Portas £100k regenertion project Margate Town Team founders resign news with a fall out with the TV program makers.


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