Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

More on Margate bottles.

 Recently I have been expanding my collection of Margate mineral water and ginger beer bottles to coincide with a future exhibition at the Margate Museum. Also on a more personal note I am looking at the Margate Museum collection with the intention of helping to  improve the quality of the collection.

 It is a well known fact that during  the late Victorian era up until the start of the First World War that many varieties and designs of mineral water and ginger beer bottles circulated in Margate, a  lucrative market that was dominated by the big three M J Harlow , Reeve & Co and Barrett & Co. 
In these days of information technology the information regarding the many mineral water and ginger beer manufacturers is coming together and a like most research we can be awash with detail and very little in the way of a tangible artifact.
Margate at the moment is going through this heritage renaissance supported by a network of people that are good at what they do. So my contribution in all of this is to seek artifacts for display  either  trawling through the internet, going to auctions or even digging them up myself.
This year I have acquired a few bottles, some I have dug up at the sea defence works and listed on my blog and others that have originated elsewhere.
The two green aqua bottles I have photographed on the top left are M J Harlow mineral water bottles. The one on the right is a Codd's bottle and was found under floorboards in a house in Eaton Road Margate by an electrician. It is embossed M J Harlow High Street Margate and that dates the bottle as pre 1898 when M J Harlow moved from the premises at 94 High Street Margate to a purpose 
built manufacturing premises at Addiscombe Road Margate or Chaucer Road as it was known then. Next to the Codd bottle is flat bottom Hamilton with a  crown cap this bottle would have been used for table water. This bottle has an embossment  that was adopted by M J Harlow when they moved into the Addiscombe Road premises and has a similarity in design to one of Harlow's rivals Reeve & Co.
Below the two bottles is a M J Harlow screw top ginger beer bottle from the same Margate High Street premises. This bottle is molded in a mold that came in four sections , this enabled the bottle manufacturer to use the same mold for other client's by simply changing the name plate which in turn kept  costs down. The bottle is  embossed "Homemade Ginger Beer"  a local industry that was very popular with the Victorian visitor.The next bottle below it is a crown cap olive green bottle and had a generic use, it dates  from the 1920's and was a common design used up until 1924 when the M J Harlow ceased to trade and sold out to Barrett & Co.

                                                                            The stone ginger beer bottle to the left  is one of the many designs used to sell ginger beer brewed  at the Reeve & Co premises at Hawley Street Margate. The company was established in 1849 and had the largest share of the ginger beer and mineral water market supplying the hotel trade. This bottle commemorates the company being in business for over 60 years. All Reeve bottles were well made and most  had makers marks. However this bottle  has staining  in the glaze  the transfer print is weak plus there are no makers mark. Therefore I have now this feeling that this bottle was more than likely made during the later years of the first world war.  When I bought this bottle it did not have a Reeve &; Co stopper, fortunately I was able find one during the excavation that took place construction of  the Margate  sea defence works and it fits perfectly.                                                                                     

Finally, this bottle to the left is another Reeve & Co ginger beer bottle. This bottle also has no makers mark and was origanaly manufactured as a plain bottle and was later acid etched. 
Reeve & Co also supplied soda syphons to the hotel trade in Margate. The soda syphons were also acid etched and those supplied to the more upmarket hotels carried some stunning designs on coloured glass.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Parker Collection

In last Friday's Gazette  (06/07/12) there was an interesting article on this vast collection of art and artifacts held by Kent County Council at Maidstone. It appears that the KCC collection is so over whelming that some KCC members are proposing that perhaps they have  far to much in the collection and perhaps some items should be sold off that are under used or irrelevant to the collection.Obviously a debatable point with many pros and cons. However, my first thoughts when reading the article was how did KKC manage to accumulate such a large collection in the first place and what is the origins of this valuable collection.
Thirty eight years ago on the 1st April 1974 local government changed and district councils came in to being and many assets of the former borough councils in Kent became property of KCC. This included library and museum collections that were soon to become centralised by KCC. In some cases this was good as old items could be stored and conserved in monitored conditions.In other cases this resulted in many old borough collections being "looted" and their whereabouts unknown and centralised.
Take the Bourough of Margate collection for example, part of the Borough collection had a sub collection known as the Parker collection that consisted of 10,420 items of which there were 7,406 prints and 1,136 illustrations.
One local researcher recently went into the Margate library and asked to see anything from the  Parker collection only to be presented with a box with a few brown envelopes of items that gives some idea of what has happened to Margate Parker collection.

Now if KCC should even consider selling anything off that originated from Thanet, then perhaps it should as a gesture of goodwill return anything back to the Town of origin.

Finally, I should add that the Parker volume has now been traced and the research will continue and I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Captain Scorpion

It does make a change exploring a different coastline even though it may be thousands of miles away from home. In this case my chosen destination was the Playa del Carmen  beaches Yucatan province Mexico.
I have done this area before so I was eager to add my collection of previous finds, plus for once I had a decent camera so I could photograph larger finds.
I was even fortunate that there was a hurricane passing through  the  Gulf of Mexico and that had a dramatic effect on the sea. In turn all the weird and wonderful started to appear on the strand line. including this piece of driftwood I photographed. It was fascinating watching these barnacles move as I picked up the lump of wood.
These barnacles were on everything coming ashore including pieces of plastic. Other finds included many sea shells and there was enough coral to fill a skip.
I did venture into the Mayan Jungle the objective was to snorkel part of the under water system of caves in the area. These caves have magnificent stalactites and the depth is darkness and  overall the site is awesome. While I was changing into my harness to abseil down a cave shaft I trod on a scorpion and the little sod stung me. I could feel this adrenalin rush and our Mayan guide told me that my tongue will start to feel numb as he prepared this ball of mud and leaves to apply on the area where I had been stung. I was not bricking it as my thoughts reflected back to the days of British India when a Brit was bitten by a snake the cure was lashings of Gin and Tonic. Therefore I could be in for a couple bottles of tequila on the house.
Fortunately or unfortunately the Mayan cure of mud and leaves worked and I just carried on and had to forgo the Tequila. However, the rest of our group were Americans and for the rest of the day they named me Captain Scorpion something that seemed to stick for the rest of the holiday.