Sunday, 4 May 2008


Out and about in the early afternoon on May Bank Holiday Sunday, found me in Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate within the space of 2 hours. Broadstairs was sedately crowded; Ramsgate Harbour area and Marina was throbbing and Margate Beach very quiet despite a hot sunny afternoon and the town even quieter.

Despite seeing the grim road-works pictures on BigNews Margate a while ago, I was shocked to see The Old Town end still looking like a building site and no less than 3 buildings overlooking the proposed 'cafe culture' area, covered in scaffolding. At the present rate of preparation of the chic units in the old storage sheds on the Harbour wall, the season will be over before they are ready.

Surely, this is a sea-side resort I thought, with the brief 'season' only running from May to September and yet all the preparation work for the start of the season has not been done. Why not? Is KCC really that insensitive to the needs of a town in 'dire straits', that the road works could not have been finished off for the May Bank Holiday?

I do not know who is responsible for this telling piece of photo-montage work on Matassa's closed Ice-cream parlour on the front of The Arlington Arcade. It seems to have used pictures of Beirut's rubbish dump by the Med with sights and images of Margate and conveys a clear message. (Click on it for detail and is that Tracy's 'unmade bed' about to float out to sea?)

A close up with the art-work already vandalised with the 'Margate' sign torn. Does anyone know who has put it up?
If this piece of work has been paid for and inspired by the TC crowd (director, curator and assorted artists of a gallery that has yet to be built) or TDC in an attempt to pretty up the closed shop hoardings then they clearly have been had!
It does seem to be telling a blunt message 'Margate is a dump'. 2008 looks to be another lost 'season' for traders desperately trying to survive.


Anonymous said...

The wasted public money on art in Margate requires a public review. The amount of money spent has not attracted people to the town, and these valuable resources could have been spent on other more productive forms of regeneration. Visiting Margate today it was dead, which does seem somthing is wrong not that TDC seems to notice!!

Bertie Biggles said...

Is there anyone out there, who can come up with how much TDC are spending each year on TC related costs? My understanding is that the funding 'promised' to build the thing will not affect us in 2010 but this is 2008 and how much is it costing us at the moment?

Who is paying the salary of The Director, Curator,various artists; the costs of The Droit House; the costs of M & S etc? Does any-one know? Surely TDC council tax payers have a right to know?

Peter Checksfield said...

Art isn't just about making things look pretty...

And Margate was busy yesterday (saturday), thanks to Margate Rocks (funded by TDC I believe).

chris wells said...


The running costs of TC are paid by a combination of KCC and Arts Council monies, in the main. As far as I am aware there is no TDC money involved.

Bertie Biggles said...

Thanks, Chris. Do you have any idea what costs are per year at the moment? When TC 1 was abandoned, I think figures for salaries etc to that point had exceeded £1,000,000?

Peter, I accept your point about art not necessarily being pretty but that montage is kicking Margate when its down and I hope was not funded by TDC, KCC or Arts Council but was an 'independent' statement.

Anonymous said...

If Margate is going to thrive,control over the behaviour of the local scroats is going to have to be dealt with. This is the real issue in Margate.
Saturday evening I was on my way to a function which meant I went through the market Square and onto the front by Cafe G. The square was full of loud and foul mouthed yobs and their tarts drunk,shouting obscenities at a deafening volume. This was about 7pm. I tried a local pub (no names) and found the same situation in there. It was not a place one would want to spend anytime in even if Bruce Willis were giving away free autographs round the corner. Everywhere you go in Margate at any time of day or night, there are drunks and nutters to contend with. No one will want to come here until this issue is dealt with.

chris wells said...

From memory, Bertie, I think its about £1.3 million for next years budget, having been trimmed from around £1.6m. Will check accuracy this week.

Bertie Biggles said...

Thanks, Chris.
I am sorry 10.51 that your experinece of Margate during the evening was spoiled. Maybe we need a greater police presence?

Anonymous said...

Margate -boarded up shops along the promenade from Arlington Houses to the harbour; boarded up shops in the High Street;no decent shops -all fled to Westwood Cross or gone out of business. No focal point apart from beach.

Broadstairs-lively town centre with hardly any empty premises; pretty gardens along the promenade.

Ramsgate- busy harbour with boats of all kinds; not many shops, though, too many charity shops or tacky ones.

Says it all, really. Turner Centre to revive Margate? Doubt it.