Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Rendezvous cark park beach

This picture is of the Marine Palace the first building to be built on the present day Turner Centre site at the Rendezvous car park. The original picture is in the Margate Museum collection
and this one is a laminated laser copy. As mentioned earlier the Marine Palace was destroyed during the storm of the 29th November 1897 . Thankfully, the account of the storm is well documented thanks to Margate photographer George Houghton who photographed the events and published a "Great Storm" booklet, in which the photographs are a good guide to the debris field which for years has remained buried. Most is buried within the infill of the Rendezvous car park. However, on the seaward side there are many items still buried in the sand. Not all items are from the Marine Palace, some are Victorian from the same period lost by the typical Victorian visitor.
Many items can still be found today and this article is a bit of a guide where to look.
For a start you need to be halfway along the Rendezvous car park looking out to sea. On your right is the groyne at Fort Point as shown in this postcard, the postcard was produced in April 1919 and is of the "Dunvegan" a coaster which ran aground and was wedged on the groyne for a week. The view in the postcard is from the Winter Gardens.
On your left is the slipway behind the Droit House and directly below if the tide is out is a ledge running the full length of the promenade that was built in 1987. This ledge acts as a wave breaker directing the waves back into the next on coming wave and lessens the power of the waves. In Northerly gales the backwash erodes the sand leaving patches of newly uncovered chalk bedrock on the beach below at low water. It is amongst the rock pools and cracks in the chalk that many small items can be found. There are also large items like brickwork, tiles and blocks of stone that can also be found.
Below are four photographs of items I have found on the site. I have found many coins on the site and these are just a sample. In one photgraph there is a Victorian Gothic Florin, 2 silver threepenny Joeys and a white metal Victorian 1887 Jubilee medallion. The penny that is pictured is interesting as it has been elongated by being put on a track and something has run it over. There is a possibility it could have been put on a Tram track.
The two upright bottles pictured where also found on the site, both are local. One is a M.J.Harlow lamont stopper mineral bottle and the other is a M.J Harlow table water bottle with a crown cap lip, both are late 1890's type.
Like all Victorian beach sites there are always lead toys lost by children on the beach which are easily picked up with a metal detector. The two men on horse back are German manufacture. The baby, cat and cannon are more than likely British manufacture.
The beaches around Thanet are awash with shot and musket balls that can easily be picked up with the metal detector and this site is no exception, but they are difficult to date. The two piano weights pictured with the shot are interesting because during the storm of November 29th 1897 the Grand Piano from the Marine Palace ballroom was washed into the sea and smashed against the sea wall. In one area close to the Fort Point groyne I found many piano weights which may have came from the Grand Piano.
Over the years I have found many items and those pictured are just a small sample, even the items I found are just a small sample of what is buried.
All it needs is a exceptionaly strong gale to move the sand and more items will turn up, it is a matter of when.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Tiger Moth

As the Margate Museum remains closed for the foreseeable future, members of the Margate Historical Society are still dealing with the enquiries the Museum normally handles on a day to day basis. Eventhough the magazine is no longer published the core members are still active researching to seek and conserve the history of Margate, research does not stop at Margate. In fact the history of Broadstairs, Ramsgate, the Villages and rural history is equally respected.
My blog is doing a rerun of old articles published about 9 years ago when the fee paying membership was low and the circulation of the Magazine was less than a hundred. So it is important to get all this information on the web and share it with those who are interested so they can build up personal archives.

The closure of the Margate Museum has left scars, especially the way the system turned and alienated Historical activists or the band of brothers as I like to call them. The commitment by some local politicians to our history and heritage is nothing more than a load of lukewarm gestures which is laughable. Things could have been done differently, however TDC have chosen the difficult path as usual. So now it is up to us to promote Margate's History and do something about it.

Getting back to doing what we do best, I had a enquiry about a Tiger Moth ditching in the sea of Margate in the 1950's. Instead of emailing the details to the chap, I thought I will share this one as some people do have good memories and could add to the account.

On 3rd September 1953 a De Havilland 82A Tiger Moth (G-ANEX) took off from Ramsgate Airport.The aircraft owned by the Ramsgate Flying Club was piloted by 19 year old Robert Paterson (USAF personnel based at Manston). The aircraft ditched in the see off Margate and the pilot was rescued by Taffy Rooke in his boat "The Wanda". Later the Aircraft was under tow by Taffy Rook and sank off Palm Bay where it still remains today.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A little stroll on the Beach

In these troubled times I couldn't think of anything more relaxing than a walk on the beach. It is made especially interesting that our beaches are full of so much history waiting to be discovered and most of all it is free.
Many collections can be built up by the patient eagle eyed beachcomber and one of my favourites is picking up small shards of earthenware bearing names and motifs, something I did when my boys were small. The hot spots being the main beaches of Thanet which were frequented by over two hundred years of visitors, events and maritime activity.
Finding shards of earthenware is so easy, it is just a matter of walking on the wet sand below the high water mark and just follow your instincts. Above are two pictures from my collection of shards bearing the names of paddle steamers companies that used Margate Harbour. Both are from the 1890's and were found amongst the shingle at the entrance to Margate Harbour. The black and white piece is from a tea cup of the Victoria Steamboat Association and the other is from a plate of the New Palace Steamers Ltd.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

A rare Margate token.

This token was issued by F.Piaggio proprietor of the Marine Palace, Margate circa 1890's and was found at the base of the Rendezvous car park after a storm in November 1993. The token is exceptionally rare and was issued by the Marine Palace as a weekly token to use Marine Palace facilities, very much on the same principle as the wristband worn today on holiday complexes abroad . The token is made of brass and has a 22mm diameter.
The Marine Palace was destroyed during the storm of 29th November 1897 when the sea defences failed. I found the token amongst other debris from the Marine Palace uncovered in the November 1993 storm. Like many of my finds during that period the token was donated to the Margate Museum collection

James Holness a Victorian Margate Hero

This article researched through the Margate Museum archive (when it was open), is about the heroism of Margate born Second Officer James Holness, the hero of the sinking of the steamship "Kenmure Castle" on February 2nd 1883. It has a nice touch of the London illustrated news about it. Please feel free to download for your archive.

World War 2 plane crash at Margate Railway Station.

John Williams aviation historian of the Margate Historical Society has supplied me with some information of a plane crash at Margate Railway Station during the second world war that some readers may find interesting.

On 26th June 1944 a Mosquito Mk VI (NS880) of 605 Squadron (UP/RAL) returning to RAF Manston was flying at around 1000 feet when it was seen to be breaking up and fall to the ground in flames around Margate Railway Station. The bodies of the pilot Flt Lieutenant John Reid DFM service number 128102 (age 23) and Navigator Pilot Officer Roy Edgar Phillips service number 176751 were recovered from the crash site.

John has also supplied me with details of a American B17F-BO of the 301 st bomb group of 419th Squadron ditching in the sea one mile off North Foreland on 26th June 1944 . All the crew were rescued. I have attached the details below.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Alphabet of Margate "C"

More pages of Alan Kay's alphabet of old Margate from the earlier editions of the Margate Historical Society (1998 - 2000) covering the letter "C". These pages are for down loading and are excellent references for captions and research.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

He used to live here Sir Thomas Staines

Sir Thomas Staines was a naval hero and a close friend of Nelson, he served his country well and had a illustrious naval career. He was born at Dent de Lion , Garlinge in 1774 and lived at Grove House , Garlinge.
This article is from a series "He used to live here" produced by Alan Kay for the Margate Historical Society magazine.
The article makes interesting reading especially if you live in the Garlinge area, please feel free to download as it was Alan Kay's intention for his work to be circulated.

The Alphabet of Margate, words starting with "F"

Alan Kay left a great deal of his work to the Margate Museum which has been added to the archives. One project he worked on was to produce the A to Z of Margate which featured places, streets and organisations. The A to Z was published in the early editions of the Margate Historical Society Magazine and I have scanned a sample of the "F" words.
Please feel free to download and use for reference.

Minus Bay , Birchington

I have seen some spelling mistakes in my time and this one does take some beating, The postcard published by Photo Precision ltd St Albans has spelt Minnis Bay incorrectly. Other than that it is a excellent photograph of early 1950's Minnis Bay.
On the subject of spelling mistakes, I once saw a menu where someone had missed the "s" from spotted dick.

Margate 1952

This article is a insight of what was happening in Margate in 1952, the Cliftonville Hotel caught fire and the Mayor's salary rose from £600 to £3,150 (all sounds familiar) and a ex army officer was fined for stealing pig swill . Entertainer Terry Thomas was granted the "Life freedom of Margate Deckchairs" and was sent a deck chair with a fabric name plate by the Mayor of Margate. Plus made to measure suits cost £7 15s
The article is from the Margate Historical Society archives and was compiled by Eddie Brewster.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Poorhole Lane

The name Poorhole Lane , Broadstairs is one most Thanet residents are aware of, however most people are unaware of the history of Poorhole Lane. This article by Mick Twyman clarifies some interesting points and is for downloading.

A Westgate wartime incident

The archive of Dick Hambidge is the most detailed of life in Westgate on Sea during the second world war. Most of Dick's work has at one point been published in the Margate Historical Society magazine.
This article is about a event on 8th May 1944 when a shell fired from the Tongue Fort landed in Westgate killing 15 year old Victor Jones.

Doing the decent thing.

This morning I donated the Spitfire part I found at Ramsgate to the Spitfire and Hurricane museum. I informed the curator of the pilots name and where he is buried and the rest of the details. As I left the museum I felt pleased that thanks to quality research , Sgt Guy Chesnut now has a piece of history behind him. Like many of the servicemen buried at Margate cemetery every one has history behind them. Thanks to John Williams, Mick Twyman, Alf Beeching and Chris Sandwell a lot of work has been undertaken researching each individual serviceman buried at the cemetery so future generations can now have a written record of their sacrifice. John has so much information he has enough content to give guided tours.

Good news for once on the front page of today's Isle of Thanet Gazette that the Ramsgate maritime museum is to reopen following pressure by the Labour party petition and the Isle of Thanet Gazette's campaign. I think the overwhelming support given to the Gazette's campaign even surprised the Gazette. However, the Margate Museum issue is still to be resolved with KCC getting a mention in dispatches.
To be honest I think merging the collection and archives with KCC and the libraries is the only option.

There is a quote by the TDC spokesman that did make me smile, " There is also the possibility of involving volunteers in a short term role," He added but warned " There are issues around the long term future of volunteers and the care of artefact's". I couldn't possibly think where the first part of that comment is being aimed at. Any ideas?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Eastcliff Spitfire Crash more info

Following my previous posting I now have a source of further information. A Frank H.Zieglar was an intelligence officer posted to 609 squadron from January 1941 to 1945. In 1993 Crecy books published a book by Frank Zieglar titled "The story of 609 squadron under the white rose"ISBN O 947554 29 7. The incident relating to Seargant Guy Alexander Chesnut crashing his spitfire on 11th June 1941 at Ramsgate is mentioned on page 200.

"Sergeant. Chesnut - one of a pair of Canadians ( the other was Ken Laing) who had recently arrived. Hit in the engine over the Channel he tried to stretch his glide over the Ramsgate cliffs- and failed to do so by a few feet"

I do not know where the crash site is but the spitfire was obviously smashed to pieces but it does raise a question what the pilot was trying to do flying at a low altitude with no power in a built up area. There could be a possibility he was badly wounded, something we will never know.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Bobby's Northdown Road , Cliftonville

Christmas 1972 F.J.Bobby & Co closed its Margate store for good, a week later after the New Year sale the Northdown Road closed ending 85 years of trading. Bobby's as it was known to people of a certain age was the nearest thing Margate and Clftonville had to a West End store . This article written and researched by Alf Beeching, Mick Twyman and John Williams was published in the Autumn 2007 in the Margate Historical Society magazine and details the history of a shopping era in Northdown Road, Cliftonville and Margate High Street.
Please feel free to copy and download to your archives.

A summer flying tragedy July 1938

On 17th July 1938 a Miles Hawk G-AFEU belonging to the Thanet Aero Club left Ramsgate Airport never to return. This article from the Margate Historical Society Magazine April 2003 is by Mick Twyman and Alf Beeching. It details the deaths of Majorie Walk and Edmund Betts in a tragic flying accident over the sea off Margate. Please feel free to download and add to your archives.

The 1948 Battle of Britain air display disaster at RAF Manston

On 18th September 1948 disaster struck at the RAF Manston Battle of Britain air display. A Mosquito taking part in the air display crashed onto the traffic attending the air display at Vincent Farm killing 12 people including the crew. This article from the Margate Historical Society magazine Autumn 2005 gives three eye witness accounts of the terrible events.
Please feel free to download.
This is an account was sent to me by Peter G Wall to add to the archives. Thank you Peter.
I too was at the Manston air show in 1948 aged 11. I was with my parents and 4 year old sister Janetta.
There was a band and a small parade and Lord Tedder took the salute.
When the flying display began we stood on the crowd line, about three quarters of the way down the runway. I remember the Mosquito flying past inverted and at speed and too low to get out of the roll he was performing. The aircraft appeared to clip the ground and burst into a ball of smoke and flames. 13 year old (Trixie ) Lewis was killed that day, she was a friend and she attended the Saint Andrews Reading Street, Girl Guides, where I was in the Wolf Cubs. In 1998 on the 50th anniversary of that fatal air crash I tended her grave in Saint Peters Church Yard, It was very overgrown and in a poor state as she then had no family left to look after it. I wrote to someone a few years back who was writing a history of Manston Aerodrome and he said he would contact the war graves commission or someone like that to see if they would take over the grave maintenance. Alas I have not been back to have a look.
As fate would have it I was also at the Farnborough Air show in 1952 when a DH 110 disintegrated killing the crew and 29 spectators.
I was also in Saint Peters Church Yard in April 1952 playing cowboys and Indians when an American Thunder Jet crashed in the High Street, none of this has put me off flying though and I am off to Kenya next month.
Yours sincerely
Peter G Wall

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Memories of a Westgate Schoolboy in World War Two

Following on from the Westbrook Hawker Hurricane crash I covered earlier, I found an account in the "Memories of a Westgate schoolboy in the Second World War" series by Dick Hambridge and Mick Twyman published volume 6 number 4 of the Margate Historical Society Magazine October 2003. The article covers the Whitley Bomber ditching off the Nayland the Westbrook Hawker Hurricane crash in 1940 and the crashed Heinkel III at Woodchurch.
Please feel free to download for your archives.

Cliftonville from the Air , 31st August 1954

This photograph was emailed to me today by Charles Bates, it is Cliftonville from the air on 31st August 1954. It is one of those pictures you can spend all evening maginfying.
Charles is enquiring for any information regarding the Tiger Moth that crashed landed in the Sea off Foreness Point in the 1950's. The Tiger Moth was under tow by the "Vagabond" when it sank off Palm Bay. The "Vagabond" was skippered by that old maritime scallywag Taffy Rooke, who some reader may remember with affection.
If any readers have recollections of either , all comments are welcome.

Westbrook Hawker Hurricane crash 2nd June 1940

Opposite the the old Westbrook Bathing Pavilion on the flat chalk bedrock is the crash site of a second world war Hawker Hurricane. The crash site is nothing more than a deep hole in the chalk filled with sand and is very difficult to find amongst the other sand bars on the flat chalk bed rock. During the 1990's a beachcomber friend of mine found this hole and dug out the remaining Hawker Hurricane parts to form his own collection. Recently, Simon Moores of Thanetlife viewed this collection and gave it a mention on his blog.

The Hawker Hurricane had been returning from a mission over Dunkirk on 2nd June 1940 when it ran into difficulties in which the pilot officer Robert Wilson bailed out and survived.
Sadly Pilot Officer Robert Wilson was to be killed in action on Sunday 11th August 1940 at 14:25 hrs engaged in combat with ME109's and crashing in the sea off Margate.

The information I have for down loading and is a good reference and comes from the archive of John Williams.

Monday, 18 May 2009

A part from the Eastcliff Spitfire crash June 1941

Recently I posted a picture of an aircraft part I found on Ramgate main sands at the end of April, thanks to Elliot Smock a specialist in Second World War crashed aircraft recovery, the part was identified by the VACB stamp as a Spitfire part. VACB standing for Vickers Armstrong Castle Bromwich the manufacturers of a 1000 MK II spitfires between June 1940 to July 1941.
I have since been in contact with John Williams one of Thanet's Local History band of brothers. John is a aviation historian and has very detailed knowledge of Second World War losses and combat missions , he like myself is a member of the Margate Historical Society.
According to archive on 11th June 1941 a Spitfire MKII (P8654) of the Royal Canadian Air Force based at Biggin Hill was engaged in combat over the English Channel and was damaged as a result. At 17:05 hrs the Spitfire was reported as crashing into the Cliffs at the Eastcliff area of Ramsgate . The pilot Sgt Guy Alexander Chestnut (R/61485) of the Royal Canadian Air force was killed, he is buried at Margate Cemetery section 50 grave 15940.
The Spitfire MKII (P8654) is recorded as built by Vickers Armstrong Castle Bromwich Ltd (VACB) contract number B981687/39/C.23/C and was delivered to 609 Squadron Biggen Hill on 24th May 1941.
In all probability considering the location on the coast, where the part was found and the serial numbers the part would be considered as originating from that incident.
If any reader has any aircraft bits or believes they may have what maybe a aircraft part you wish to identify or the recorded history please contact me by email and I will forward the enquiry to Elliot or John.