Sunday, 25 May 2008

Harbour Arm opening weekend

Thank goodness the weather was better on Friday and Saturday than today. The opening of the Harbour Arm works has gone off with a real success. Lovely to see it all come together. They really pulled it off at the eleventh hour.

IOTA Gallery put on a great exhibition of works with the promise of more quality contemporary art to come. Sorry it's gone from Ramsgate, folks, but it's just the kind of organisation needed by Margate if it's to live up to the arts being at the centre of regeneration.

The renovations of the fishermen's sheds look to be great quality. The idea of swapping out the top hatch loading doors for glass panels has worked brilliantly.

Spending time at the end of the Arm it's clear what a great view of Margate this is and how the cafe bar at the end will be one of the best spots in town. Immediately at the water's edge without traffic in between you, your thoughts and the view of Margate.

On Saturday there were foodstalls, which I hope will continue on a regular basis (although no info on that yet). There is a lack of small food shops in central Margate and a weekly food market could be a real draw for visitors and a positive addition to the town.

Last night's celebrations were topped off with a firework display that was simply stunning. So yes, I'm a bit gushing about the new kid in town, but it's well deserved. It came together from conception to realisation in record time. I look forward to many happy hours spent looking back to Margate and seeing it all come together.


  1. I too would like to raise my hand in the air and shout "Hurrah!" for the harbour arm. :)

  2. A brilliant new perspective on Margate!

    The new IOTA gallery is great space, sensitively refurbishd and it's opening was a success, attracting a considerable crowd. I am looking forward to alfresco dining at the fish restaurant and bar at the end of the harbor arm -it was so uplifting to sit under the lighthouse, surrounded by sea, looking back onto the old town.

    I got a glimpse of a possible bright future for Margate.

    I was also impressed by the newley-laid traditional granit cobbles on the harbor parade. A big improvement to have outside tables for the Harbor Cafe and Fish Factory instead of a car park.

  3. Yes! Yes! Yes! "Hurrah!" for the harbour arm. :)

  4. Calm down annnon 12:37 anybody would think you were employed by TDC to talk the whole thing up.

    Personally I think the whole thing is long overdue and TDC has had a mountain to climb since it was compulsory purchased and the farce regarding the Turner Center mark 1.

    I haven't visited it yet and it does appear to be a weather dependant seasonal facility . I just hope that the boats come back along with the maritime trades that once occupied the harbour. At present there is one working fishing boat. Margate Harbour has always been a working harbour and I think once that working maritime element is back, the new concept will have every chance of success working side by side.

  5. While a working Harbour may seem like a sound economic idea - i doubt very much that it would work side by side with the new development.

    The fishing (working) harbours that i have spent time around are always oil polluted, diesel smelling, fish gut rotting, red rusty boat staining, dirty industrial holes that would, I feel, not really go with the cafe culture, art gallery visiting pleasant day out.

    Maybe some light recreational craft would be an added bonus, and yes dredging the silt and mud away would be ideal and probably essential to maintain maritime sustainable usage. But take Ramsgate as an example of good harbour management no doubt under the auspicious co-ordination of TDC - a port that is in constant use and needs dredging - ah yes lets sell the dredger???

    Fishing is not the answer to Thanets or Margates economic drudge, the seas are over fished, the beaches already spoilt by long lost nets, lead and lines, but you being a beachcomber would know that.

    I do not have the answer to the problem, but will champion any development that has potential and vision and seeks to bring economic as well as cultural wealth to our tainted isle.

    I thank you, and good night.

  6. Annon, I meant small boat builders, chandlers that sort of thing. Anyway the fishing industry doesn't put people off visiting whitstable, it is always busy.

  7. At last some positive comments on the Harbour Arm! I've just read some of the negative blogs and it made me feel like banging my head against the wall. Thank you to everyone who made the weekend a success, and to all the guys who worked so hard to make it ready. Phil's gallery is a triumph and more good stuff is to come.

  8. Fiona - credit where credit is due I think. :) The weekend went off with a new energy I thought. And that's despite the weather doing it's usual best for bank holiday. Looking forward of more to come!

  9. I don't think visitors to an art gallery in a seaside town would mind a bit of fishing boat action, especially if they could eat some of the fresh fish in a restaurant on the harbour.

    The small working fishing fleets in towns like Whitstable or Hastings are an attraction. People go there to just to eat fish.

    If Thanet Council got the dredger back, they could dredge Ramsgate and Margate…