Friday 31 May 2024

The origin of the name Margate and some thoughts on Ramsgate Tunnels.

Some thoughts on the origin of the name Margate, the name variously appears as Merkat, Mergade, Meregate and Margate in Medieval documents.


Merkat is an obsolete form of the word Market, I can’t find anything for Mergade, with Meregate a mere had a huge amount of different meanings including a shortened form of mermaid and merman. All of the local history sources I can find go with the origin being in Meregate from mere being a pond lake or some such body of water.


In documents going back to around 1200 the place is most commonly called St John’s or Margate.


I think there is a lot going for straightforward mar (spoiled) and gate. Inasmuch as for anyone building some sort of sea gate in the form of a pier or jetty, it would have soon been  spoilt by a storm.  


Margate isn’t mentioned in The Doomsday Book, so would have been insignificant in 1066.


Back in the olden days when the names of places were derived the Wantsum Chanel was still navigable offering a variety sea gates for shipping that were more sheltered than Margate.


I am still banned from posting on the “We Love Old Ramsgate” Facebook group so decided to focus on Margate today. Margate storm photos from the Mick Twyman collection.


Margate is having a bit of a bad time on the local history front with the museum closing link to article

Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about Ramsgate where we do have a very lively local history attraction in the form of the Ramsgate Tunnels. One strange aspect of this attraction is that the western half of it is closed and probably always will be link to photos of the tunnels at that end


Here at Michael’s Bookshop in Ramsgate today we have been much busier than I expected considering the weather.Here is the link to the latest books we have priced

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Click to Expand, Old Thanet Postcards and a Ramble from Michael's Bookshop here in Ramsgate.

 Starting with Palm Bay in Cliftonville with its very distinctive pavilion.

Margate Sands

On to Ramsgate, although this first one is St Lawrence, but I suppose you know what I mean

This last one was the only one to say anything on the back so 1929 or before

On to the ramble and I find I don’t know what to say, minds gone blank. OK here we go.


Last Friday’s blog post about the origins of the name Thanet had a lot of interest, plenty of comment on the local Facebook groups I linked it to. No real conclusions on the origin of Thanet. I have been temporarily banned from posting on the “We Love Old Ramsgate” Facebook group, best not speculate why.


I think I will have a go at the origin of the word Ramsgate next. The earliest reference to the town is in the Kent Hundred Rolls of 1274-5, "Christina de Remmesgate have stopped a common road at Remisgate" before spelling was invented so Ramsgate is spelt differently in the same line.


I’m back at work in Michael’s Bookshop here in Ramsgate after having had three days off in succession due the bank holiday, business if fairly slow, I guess people spent out over the bank holiday. We have put out a fair amount books out today, here is the link.

Friday 24 May 2024

The name Thanet, how old is it?

Julius Solinus, writing between 300AD and 350AD, is the first of the Roman writers, who mentions it by the name of Athanaton and Thanaton. The Saxons afterwards called it Teneth, and Tenetlonde,

Change of language, and length of time, it has been softened it to Thanet, as it is called at present.

As you can see, here at Michael's Bookshop in Ramsgate I have been reading some of our Thanet local history books.

On With the name Thanet. The following pictures are pages from the 1736 edition of John Lewis's The History and Antiquities as well Ecclesiastical as Civil of the Isle of Tenet, in Kent. We do a cheap paper edition of this. Here is the link 

The pictures of the pages should expand for reading with a bit of clicking and I hope you can see that trying to work out the origin of the name Thanet is a bit of a non starter. 

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Click to expand, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Margate pictures and ramble from Michael's bookshop in Ramsgate.


Starting with this Broadstairs card and going by the clothes I am guessing around 1960. With a bit of clicking you can expand it and see what I mean.

I am pretty sure this Ramsgate one is before 1900 as the Granville tower looks to be taller (the height was reduced in 1900)
This one after 1901 as as it shows a tram (tramway opened in 1901)
Tis one after 1911 from the postmark

This one after 1904 as the pavilion has been built.

These two Margate Cliftonville cards, mid 1900s?

On to the ramble. If you have been following me for the last few days then you can see I have started tentatively blogging again. I don't want to say too much about that in case I don't keep it up, the stats say quite a few people are looking at the posts, but of course these days there is very little feedback.

I have been linking the posts to what seem like appropriate Facebook groups and I hope everyone is happy about this, group admins please let me know if you are not.

On to the ramble. I have just finished Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, which is very good. I wanted to follow this up with something completely different so I have just begun a re read of David Lodge's "Deaf Sentence" I wanted something funny and this fills the bill. It is fairly difficult to find reasonably modern humour that actually makes me laugh and this is doing trick.

Bookshop wise we are reasonably busy today so sorry if this is a bit fragmented. Here is the link to the most recent books we have had in and put out for sale. 

We went book buying in Canterbury yesterday, I spent a long time in Waterstones looking at "Escher the Complete Graphic Works"  £25, so have just bought it on Ebay for less than half the price, which says something about shopping in this modern world. Fortunately here at Michael's Bookshop in Ramsgate our prices are mostly less than the books are online.

Monday 20 May 2024

Click to expand, Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs old postcards. A booksellers ramble mostly about Stephen King.

 Starting with Ramsgate

I think these two of Ramsgate Harbour are 1960s or 1970s. The trots (boats moored side by side) mostly had people living on them, collectively known as the inner harbour cruising club.

This next one postmarked 1910 as you can see, Ramsgate pier on the right for more info on this we publish a book about it, here is the link 

This one postmarked 1913, so before then. This is before The Queens Head and the buildings around it was redeveloped so worth a bit of clicking to expand and look at the back of the Old pun etc.  

Margate next

I think these two Margate ones are 1960s, the top one shows Margate pier, we publish a book about it here is the link

Finally Broadstairs 
Not sure of the date I am guessing 1920s

Now for the ramble. Running a secondhand bookshop gives a particular slant on life and a particular view of the area you live in. This means I can answer the question. What books do Thanet people read, which author is the most popular? Up until recently it was Terry Pratchett, but recently this has changed to Stephen King. 

To be honest I am not all that keen on horror fiction and had never read any of his books, what I didn't realise is that he also writes fantasy fiction, something that I am fairly keen on. I have been reading his "Dark Tower" novels which are a series of seven books, which - if you like - are Stephen King's Lord of the Rings. I have to admit that it is a very good series and I am going to be hard pushed finding something that I haven't read and is as good. There are some parallels with "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder and some with "The Magus" by John Fowles, as well as the obvious major fantasy quests.  

I did read Salem's Lot during reading the Dark Tower series as you pretty much have to to follow The Dark Tower series, so it may be another Stephen King next. Any Recommendations?

I also think that it is about time I reread the local history books that I publish, this is something I hope will help with my Thanetonline blogging which had rather dried up. I will probably start with John Lewis's book written in 1736, The History and Antiquities as well Ecclesiastical as Civil of the Isle of Tenet, in Kent The Second Edition, With Additions here is the link to it A word of warning here, don't read the first edition which is a much shorter book and had a lot missing compared the the second edition, which is by far the best.

I am still using the blog as my main place to post and then linking the blog post so social media like Facebook, this is mainly because blogger handles large pictures better, so when you click to expand the pictures expand a lot more.