Margate Clock Tower
Margate shown within Kent
|OS grid reference|
|– London||64.1 mi (104 km) W|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Thanet North|
Margate is a seaside town in the district of Thanet in East Kent, England. It lies 38.1 miles (61.3 km) east-north-east of Maidstone, on the coast along the North Foreland and contains the areas of Cliftonville, Garlinge, Palm Bay and Westbrook.
Margate was recorded as "Meregate" in 1264 and as "Margate" in 1299, but the spelling continued to vary into modern times. The name is thought to refer to a pool gate or gap in a cliff where pools of water are found, often allowing swimmers to jump in. The cliffs of the Isle of Thanet are composed of chalk, a fossil-bearing rock.
The town's history is tied closely to the sea and it has a proud maritime tradition. Margate was a "limb" of Dover in the ancient confederation of the Cinque ports. It was added to the confederation in the 15th century. Margate has been a leading seaside resort for at least 250 years. Like its neighbour Ramsgate, it has been a traditional holiday destination for Londoners drawn to its sandy beaches. Margate had a Victorian pier which was largely destroyed by a storm in 1978.
Since 1983, the Member of Parliament for North Thanet, covering northern Thanet and Herne Bay, has been the Conservative, Roger Gale. At the 2010 General Election, in North Thanet the Conservatives won a majority of 13,528 and 52.7% of the vote. Labour won 21.5% of the vote, Liberal Democrats 19.4% and United Kingdom Independence Party 6.5%.
Margate was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1857. This was abolished in 1974, since which date Margate has been part of the Thanet district of Kent. The town contains the seven electoral wards of Margate Central, Cliftonville West, Cliftonville East, Westbrook, Garlinge, Dane Valley and Salmestone. These wards have seventeen of the fifty six seats on the Thanet District Council. At the 2007 Local Elections, nine of those seats were held by the Conservatives, seven by Labour and one by an Independent.
|Climate data for Margate|
|Average high °C (°F)||7
|Average low °C (°F)||3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||33.4
|2001 UK Census||Margate||Thanet||England|
|Over 65 years old||19%||22%||16%|
|Under 18 years old||15%||21%||19%|
At the 2001 UK census:
The place of birth of residents was 94.2% United Kingdom, 0.9% Republic of Ireland, 0.5% Germany, 0.8% other Western Europe countries, 0.7% Africa, 0.6% Eastern Europe, 0.5% Far East, 0.5% South Asia, 0.5% Middle East, 0.4% North America and 0.3% Oceania.
For every 100 females, there were 92 males. The age distribution was 6% aged 0–4 years, 16% aged 5–15 years, 5% aged 16–19 years, 31% aged 20–44 years, 23% aged 45–64 years and 19% aged 65 years and over.
11% of Margate residents had some kind of higher or professional qualification, compared to the national average of 20%.
At the 2001 UK census, the economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 33.8% in full-time employment, 11.8% in part-time employment, 8.0% self-employed, 5.5% unemployed, 2.2% students with jobs, 3.9% students without jobs, 15.5% retired, 8.3% looking after home or family, 7.9% permanently sick or disabled and 3.6% economically inactive for other reasons. The rate of unemployment in the town was considerably higher than the national rate of 3.4%.
The industry of employment of residents was 17% retail, 16% health & social work, 13% manufacturing, 9% construction, 8% real estate, 8% education, 7% transport & communications, 5% public administration, 6% hotels & restaurants, 2% finance, 1% agriculture and 6% other community, social or personal services. Compared to national figures, the town had a relatively high number of workers in the construction, hotels & restaurants and health & social care industries and a relatively low number in real estate and finance.
For at least 250 years, Margate has been a leading seaside resort in the UK, drawing Londoners to its beaches, Margate Sands. The bathing machines in use at Margate were described in 1805 as
four-wheeled carriages, covered with canvas, and having at one end of them an umbrella of the same materials which is let down to the surface of the water, so that the bather descending from the machine by a few steps is concealed from the public view, whereby the most refined female is enabled to enjoy the advantages of the sea with the strictest delicacy.
Margate faces major structural redevelopments and large inward investment. Its Dreamland Amusement Park (featured in "The Jolly Boys' Outing" extended episode of the television series Only Fools and Horses) was threatened with closure because its site became worth more. In 2003, one of the arcades on the seafront was destroyed by fire; this has created a new potential entrance point to the Dreamland site. In 2004–2006 it was announced that Dreamland (although somewhat reduced in its amusements) would reopen for three months of the summer; a pressure group has been formed to keep it in being. The group is anxious to restore the UK's oldest wooden roller coaster,
The Scenic Railway, which is Grade II* Listed and the second oldest in the world, was severely damaged in a fire on 7 April 2008. It was planned that the Dreamland site would reopen as a heritage amusement park in the near future with the Scenic Railway at the centre. Classic rides from the defunct Southport amusement park have already been shipped in as well as parts of the now-demolished water chute at Rhyl. More details on Dreamland's future are on the Dreamland Trust website. Today the Dreamland roller coaster is one of only two early-20th century scenic railways still remaining in the UK; the only other surviving UK scenic railway is in Great Yarmouth and was built in 1932. If the Dreamland Scenic Railway is not rescued, the Great Yarmouth coaster will become the last of its kind in the country. The Margate roller coaster is an ACE Coaster Classic.
There are two notable theatres, the Theatre Royal in Addington Street – the second oldest theatre in the country – and the Tom Thumb Theatre, the second smallest in the country, in addition to the Winter Gardens. The Theatre Royal was built in 1787, burned down in 1829 and was remodelled in 1879 giving Margate more national publicity. The exterior is largely from the 19th century. From 1885 to 1899 actor-manager Sarah Thorne ran a school for acting at the Theatre Royal which is widely regarded as Britain's first formal drama school. Actors who received their initial theatrical training there include Harley Granville-Barker, Evelyn Millard, Louis Calvert, George Thorne, Janet Achurch, Adelaide Neilson and Irene and Violet Vanbrugh, among others.
An annual jazz festival takes place on a weekend in June.
Margate Museum in Market Place explores the town's seaside heritage in a range of exhibits and displays, and is now opened at weekends by a team of volunteers.
First discovered in 1798, the Margate Caves (also known as the Vortigern Caves) are situated at the bottom of Northdown Road. They are currently closed to the public.
The Shell Grotto, which has walls and roof covered in elaborate decorations of over four million shells covering 2,000 square feet (190 m2) in complex patterns, was rediscovered in 1835, but is of unknown age and origin. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building.
Margate's Jubilee Clock Tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, although not completed until 1889. It had a Time Ball mechanism, mounted on a mast atop the tower, which was raised a few minutes before 1pm each day and dropped at precisely 1pm, thereby allowing residents, visitors and ships to know the exact time. This was, of course, in the days before wireless transmission of time signals. The Time Ball fell out of use many years ago, but following a suggestion by Arnold Schwartzman OBE RDI, a former Margate resident, Margate Civic Society raised funds to have the Time Ball repaired and brought back into use. This was successful, and a civic ceremony celebrated the restoration on 24 May 2014, Queen Victoria's birthday and the 125th anniversary of the Clock Tower's official opening. The Time Ball now drops at 1pm each day and is one of only a handful of working time balls in the world.
The former chairman of the Margate Civic Society, John Crofts, had a plan to develop a centre that would explore and show the link that the painter JMW Turner shared with Margate. Turner described the Thanet skies as the "loveliest in all Europe." In 1994 Crofts became increasingly determined to create such a gallery and in 1998 the Leader of Kent County Council met a number of people from the art world to discuss the idea. They hoped that the centre would regenerate the once-thriving town of Margate and offer an alternative to Margate's traditional tourist trade. In the late 1990s, the County Council offered to fund the building of the Turner Gallery. Additional funding was contributed by the Arts Council England and South East England Development Agency. In 2001 the Turner Contemporary was officially established. The view from the gallery is similar to that seen by Turner from his lodging house. The site initially proposed formed part of the harbour itself, but some critics questioned the prudence of placing part of Britain's national art treasures in a spot that was exposed to the full fury of the North Sea. To reduce the cost, Thanet District Council chose a new site inland from the harbour wall. The scheme was supported by the artist Tracey Emin, who was brought up in Margate. The building itself was designed by David Chipperfield Architects after the abandonment of the design by Snøhetta + Spence architects. Building work started in 2008 but the project's initiator, John Crofts, died in 2009. The Turner Contemporary Gallery officially opened on 16 April 2011. It is hoped the gallery will help regenerate the town in the same way St Ives has benefited from the introduction of the Tate Gallery.
Across the road from the gallery in Margate Old Town there is a community of independent shops. Accessed from the seafront via Market Street, Duke Street and King Street this area is clustered around the Old Town Hall and Market Place. There is also a small museum in the Market Place which provides information about the history of Margate. In 2012 Margate was chosen as one of the towns to benefit from the Portas Pilot Scheme aimed at regenerating some of Britain's run-down High Streets.
Margate features as a destination in Graham Swift's novel Last Orders and the film version of it. Jack Dodds has asked to have his remains scattered at Margate. The book tells the tale of the drive to Margate and the memories evoked on the way. It also features at the start and as a recurrent theme in Iain Aitch's travelogue A Fete Worse Than Death. The author was born in the town.
- On Margate sands.
- I can connect
- Nothing with nothing.
Draper's Mill is a smock mill built in 1845 by John Holman. It was working by wind until 1916 and by engine until the late 1930s. It was saved from demolition and is now restored and open to the public.
The town appeared on BBC TV's The Apprentice in May 2009.
'Margate Fhtagn' is a song by UK steampunk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. The story of the song combines the Victorian tradition of the seaside holiday with the works of H. P. Lovecraft, specifically the Cthulhu Mythos. It tells the story of a Victorian family going on a seaside holiday to Margate, which gets interrupted by Cthulhu rising from the sea.
The 2012 BBC drama True Love was set and filmed in Margate. The show had its first public screening at the Turner Contemporary.
Junior and infant
- Palm Bay Primary School
- Drapers Mills Primary School
- Garlinge Primary School
- Cliftonville Primary School
- Holy Trinity and St John's C of E Primary School
- Salmestone Primary School
- St Gregory's Catholic Primary School
- Northdown Primary
- Hartsdown Academy
- King Ethelbert's School (Birchington)
- Ursuline College (Westgate-On-Sea)
- Marlowe Academy (Broadstairs)
- St George's School (Broadstairs)
- Charles Dickens School (Broadstairs)
- Farrow House School
- Foreland School
- Laleham Gap School
- St Anthony's School
- Royal School for Deaf Children and Westgate College.
- Margate F.C. play at Hartsdown Park. The club has played in the National League, but they are currently playing in the National League South.
- National beach volleyball competitions are often held on the main sands.
- The Margate Beach Cross Weekend, run on the beach at Margate, had its 9th event on 26 and 27 October 2013 and attracts a number of the UK and Europe's top quad and solo riders along with SSV pilots. The event is run by the QRA UK.
Margate has two paid-for newspapers, the Isle of Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times (which is now delivered free to some areas), which are owned by Northcliffe Media. Free newspapers for the town include the Thanet Extra, part of the KM Group; and yourthanet, part of KOS Media. Local radio stations are KMFM Thanet, owned by the KM Group, community radio station Academy FM (Thanet); and the county-wide stations Heart Kent, Gold and BBC Radio Kent. Thanet Community Radio also offers an online community podcasting service for Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate and the wider areas of Thanet.
Margate is twinned with the following towns / cities:
- Split, Croatia
- Larnaca, Cyprus
- Idar-Oberstein, Germany
- Astana, Kazakhstan
- Kosovo, Serbia
- Malmö, Sweden
- Yalta, Crimea
- National Piers Society (retrieved 6 January 2011)
- There is an unflattering portrait of skinheads and a Cockneyfied Margate in Paul Theroux, The Kingdom by the Sea, 1983:24-26.
- "Election 2010". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
- "2007 Election results". Thanet District Council. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- "Averages for Margate".
- "Neighbourhood Statistics". Statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- Kent government Web site: Business Intelligence Statistical Bulletin, November 2012 - 2011 Census: Ward level population
- Oulton, W. C. (1805) The Traveller's Guide; or, English Itinerary, Vol II, p. 245. Ivy-Lane, London: James Cundee.
- "Dreamland campaign is stepped up". BBC News. 1 April 2006. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
- Aitch, Iain (26 March 2002). "Seaside special". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2008.
- "Dreamland rollercoaster blaze 'probably started deliberately'". Kent Messenger. 7 April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
- "Fire rips through rollercoaster". BBC News. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
- ACE Coaster Classic Awards
- "Theatre Royal". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
-  Thorne on the Theatre Royal Margate Archive website
- "The Grotto". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
- "Tudor House". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
- Margate's Turner Contemporary art gallery set to open
- "Draper's Windmill". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
- West, Jenny (1973). The Windmills of Kent. London: Charles Skilton Ltd. pp. 54–56. ISBN 0284-98534-1.
- Margate Beach Cross Weekend
Oulton, W.C. Picture of Margate, and Its Vicinity  Paternoster Row, London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. (2005 reprint) Ramsgate, Kent: Michaels Bookshop, ISBN 1-905477-20-1. Title page of original edition: Google Books
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Margate.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Margate.|
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Margate". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Margate Civic Society
- Margate Cliff Railway (Cliftonville Lido) (1913-1970s)
- Open Directory Project