Saturday 15 December 2007

Margate Museum Under Threat of Closure

Astonishingly, those folks at TDC have come up with the idea to close the Margate and Ramsgate museums. On their website they state:

"TSR18 Museums and grant to the East Kent Maritime Trust
(Saving £100,000)

The Council currently grant aids the East Kent Maritime Trust, who provide museum services and supervise collections at Margate and Ramsgate. Sadly the council grant of around £100,000 a year supports services that are used by only around 10,000 visitors each year – equating to a subsidy of around £10 per visitor. This is not sustainable in the current financial climate and the Cabinet believes that this grant must cease in 2008/09. The Council will discuss with the Trust the best way forward to achieving the following objectives:-

  • A thorough review of the current museum exhibits, with the aim of establishing a series of high-quality themed exhibitions which can be displayed at various venues across the district and, possibly, county.
  • The presentation of a core, static museum display on the ground floor of Albion House, Ramsgate – in rooms not required for civic accommodation
  • The release of accommodation currently occupied at both Ramsgate and Margate for potential alternative commercial or community
As part of this change programme, the Council is willing to fund a post for two years to support the reconfiguration of the Museum collections."

It seems there are two key things:

1. They calculate the museums receive 10,000 visitors per year.
I for one, as a newcomer to Margate, and interested in finding out about the history of the town and the house I had bought, I was told over and over again by TDC officials that the Margate museum were the ones to speak to. I doubt my numerous visits counted as official visits to the museum. The maps that were photocopied and excited phone messages from staff as they'd dug up another piece of history for me were above and byond what I expected from a local museum.

2. The release of property for development. Plain and simple.

TDC should be better spending funds in Margate to promote the good of what they have rather than closing more down and handing it over to the developers. The old town and Margate as a whole needs more attractions not less. This doesn't seem to be joined up thinking. I think people need to protest at this latest proposal. I'm sure we can think up of more novel ways to cut expenditure.


  1. I too saw the story released in the paper. I was thoroughly shocked and dare i say it un-surprised to see that another "attraction" is being obliterated by our council and it's members.

    Recently, I had a friend down from another county and he was shocked at the fact Margate seems to be getting worse. Although he is a huge fan, he expects to see certain things at a seaside town.

    I took him in to the Tudor House (King Street), on one of it's rare openings. He was astounded to see such a wonderful house believing that much more could be done with it.

    He ask how much use and promotion it gets. I was a little embarssed to say, 'hardly any'. This again is another example of the lack of thought and consideration our local spoke's people have.

    I am sure that individually they are great people. However it does feel as if themselves don't use it and it makes them no money they will close it down.

    To be honest I am fed up with it. I have so much anger about it all it could write forever.

    There has to be something we (the people who care) can do. If anything the museums at both locations need investment not closure. Maybe the business rates generated from WWX could be used to invest in our now much abandoned towns.

    Afterall it seems that WWX is all that TDC is interested in.

  2. I've lived here 31 years and wouldn't know where or when to go to local exhibits if you paid me. Maybe things would be better if locals knew where to find such things.

  3. Putting my business hat on for a moment the issue for defeating this is the number of people to key funded locations. As a heathen I have already mentioned at the Thanet Star that I knew not that Margate Museum existed so I bet other heathens don't know.

    Now considering that the council expects around 198 people a week to use the funded services a simple device would be to get out on the streets with 10,000 leaflets and lots of friends and get the town talking.

    I'd also set about approaching groups like FIT (Fathers in Thanet), and the Sure Start programs and talk to them about promoting the services to their clients and members as part of their educational push. Ditto all schools and if some local tycoons with spare cash could set sponsor some sort of learning day...

    That is joined up thinking.

  4. Fantastic post and great responses. I cannot say any more than that!