Saturday 24 April 2010

Reminder for the Empty Shops workshop April 30th

Got a nice reminder from the folk organising the Empty Shops Initiative event in Margate (30th April 2010 from 12.30 on Margate's Harbour Arm

"Dan Thompson and every one at We Make Margate are welcoming people to come and find out more about how to use any empty space to revitalise a community.

The event is very informal, so no one will miss anything. There will be a display of photos of many shops both empty and revitalised and a great opportunity to find out about which is a great way of community publishing. Bring some of your pictures of empty shops and you can have a try on the day.

The History walk from Margate Train station which starts at 10.30am. Look out for Kate with a name badge on! If you have not yet confirmed your place for the walk please do so by return of email to Don’t forget your camera as there will be lots of great photo opportunities and to help you local photographer Kim Conway will be joining you on the walk."

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Empty Shops Workshop and Tracey's Lights

The 30th of April will be busy down at the Margate Harbour Arm. It's the day of the Empty Shops workshop and seminar with Dan Thompson from the national Empty Shops and Spaces Initiative. In the evening it is the switching on of Tracey Emin's neon on the Droit House. Nice innovative uses for our historic buildings in Margate.

The workshop runs from 12 noon until 5.30pm.

More info:

Sunday 11 April 2010

In the Press: The future of theme parks by the Independent

Today's Independent has a feature on Dreamland and the general state of global theme parks.

Hold on tight: Britain's amusement parks are closing fast...

... but their historic white-knuckle rides are being rescued. And just in the nick of time

By Andrew Johnson

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Big Dipper, Blackpool is a classic roller coaster built in 1921 by American William Strickler

The Big Dipper, Blackpool is a classic roller coaster built in 1921 by American William Strickler

    Saturday 10 April 2010

    Top 10 things in Margate by The Guardian

    Nice article in yesterday's Guardian:

    "The once-glorious seaside resort may have fallen on hard times, but after years of neglect a new £17.4-million art gallery is at the forefront of a bid to restore "Merry Margate's" fortunes. And, having missed out on the gentrification that transformed many of Britain's coastal resorts, Margate is now beginning to capitalise on its nostalgic, retro appeal.

    Opening in the spring of 2011, the Turner Contemporary will aim to entice the arty crowd away from the chichi streets of Whitstable and Broadstairs down the coast, and celebrate the resort's proud association with the arts – from JMW Turner to Tracey Emin – in the process.

    But there's no need wait until it opens before making the hour-and-a-half long trip on the new High Speed train from St Pancras International. Look past the brutalist façade of Arlington House waiting to greet you and you'll find grand Victorian and Georgian buildings, ornate enough to rival the smartest squares of the capital; vibrant, buzzing cafes and art galleries, smart boutique B&Bs - and even a Michelin-rated restaurant.

    1. The Mad Hatter's Tea Rooms

    Mad Hatter's tea room, Margate Photograph:

    With Tim Burton's new movie fuelling Alice in Wonderland fever, where better to have afternoon tea? The Mad Hatter's is old-fashioned English eccentricity at its glorious best, with Victorian clutter vying for shelf space with year-round Christmas decorations on two floors of a lop-sided corner building. Pots of tea or coffee and doorstop-sized slices of boozy fruitcake and Victoria sandwich are served up by the Mad Hatter himself, resplendent in waistcoat, bow-tie and tinselled top hat. Be sure to spend a penny in the impressive turn-of-the-century toilets too.
    • Lombard Street, +44 (0)1843 232626.

    2. R G Scott's Furniture Emporium

    R G Scott's Furniture Emporium, Margate Photograph: Louise Oldfield

    Sprawled across three dusty floors of an old ice-cream factory, R G Scott's is a world away from the eye-watering mark-ups and careful tip-toeing of its London equivalents. There's antique furniture, quirky bygones and architectural salvage stuffed into every corner waiting to be sold at a refreshingly honest price. The basement also houses Junk Deluxe and 20th Century Frocks, selling 20th-century design classics, kitsch curiosities and vintage clothes.
    • Grotto Hill, +44 (0)1843 220653.

    3. The Reading Rooms

    The Reading Rooms B&B, Margate

    The Reading Rooms opened in 2009 to a fair degree of scepticism about whether Margate was ready to sustain such a sumptuous place to stay for the night. Six months on, the diary is bulging, it's won a place in the coveted Mr & Mrs Smith directory and makes the perfect place to indulge yourself after a day exploring the coast. The delicious locally-sourced breakfast is served straight to your room – just the thing to wake up to after a perfect night's sleep in a ginormous La Maison bed.
    • 31 Hawley Square, +44 (0)1843 225 146; Rooms from £110 per night.

    4. Nayland Rock Shelter

    T.S. Eliot shelter Nayland Rock, Margate Photograph: Thanet District Council/PA

    Poet TS Eliot penned his poem The Wasteland while sat beneath the Nayland Rock shelter, when he was recuperating just up the coast in Cliftonville in 1921. The bracing coastal air was once well-regarded for its medicinal qualities, and at this time the town was a popular spot for shell-shocked war veterans seeking solace in the smart hotels along the seafront. The structure, which looks out over Margate's sands, has now been granted Grade II listed status after a long campaign backed by former poet laureate Andrew Motion and Alan Bennett, who suggested the splendid Victorian shelter should be listed regardless of any literary associations.
    • Nayland Rock Shelter, Marine Drive

    5. The Harbour Arm

    The Harbour Arm, Margate

    Since it was given a colourful splash of paint a couple of years ago, the Harbour Arm (a 19th-century stone pier) has become home to artsy hang-outs like BeBeached – a cosy, dog-friendly cafe selling delicious Sunday roasts – an ice-cream stall, a bicycle hire shop and a couple of artist's studios. At one end sits Droit House, soon to be adorned with Tracey Emin's neon declaration of her enduring love for the town, at the other stands a proud sculpture of a "shell lady" by artist Ann Carrington. Other ladies are wheeled out during the summer months, each named after a famous lady of Margate – from Baroness Orczy who wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel to Phyllis Broughton, a local gaiety girl.
    • Margate Harbour Arm, CT9 1JD. BeBeached, +44 (0)7961 402612; Caitlin's Beach Cruisers bicycle hire, +44 (0)7956395896.

    6. Shell Grotto

    Shell Grotto, Margate

    If the shell ladies manage to whet your appetite for all things crustacean, take the short walk to Shell Grotto, a bizarre network of tunnels adorned with mosaics made entirely from sea shells. The site was discovered in 1835 when local James Newlove lowered his son into a hole he discovered while digging a duck pond, but its origins remain a beguiling mystery. Some say it's the site of an ancient pagan temple, while others scoff that it's a mere Regency folly. Whatever the story, it's a fantastic place which is more than worth the criminally cheap £3 entry fee.
    • Grotto Hill, +44 (0)1843 220008;

    7. The Indian Princess

    The Indian Princess, Margate

    The backstreets of Margate are the last place you'd expect to stumble across a Michelin-rated restaurant, but the Indian Princess scored a first for the town when its modern Indian cuisine was listed in the latest guide last month. The menu gives locally-sourced ingredients a modern Indian twist with dishes like Bengali-style sea bass, Kentish lamb with aromatic basmati rice and most intriguingly of all, chocolate samosas served with a creamy cardamom sauce. The gourmet lunch specials are good value at £19.95 for three courses. Booking is a must.
    • King Street, +44 (0)1843 231504;

    8. The Arcades

    The Flamingo arcade, Margate

    No trip to the British seaside is complete without whiling away a few hours and whittling away a few pounds in the arcades that line the seafront. The best of the bunch is the gaudy, baby-pink Flamingo, with its kitsch façade of a thousand lightbulbs; or you could head for the arcade at Dreamland, a once majestic theme park which (apart from the arcade) is currently closed but due to reappear as the UK's first "heritage" theme park in 2011. This is where Paddy Considine plied his trade in 2000 film The Last Resort, when Margate doubled for the fictional seaside town of Stonehaven.
    • The Flamingo, Marine Terrace +44 (0)1843 296 160. Dreamland, Marine Terrace

    9. Margate Sands

    It's not for nothing that Margate was once the king of British seaside resorts. To the first-time visitor expecting the usual expanse of pebbles the beach is something of a revelation, with the sweeping sands, clean and golden enough to grace the Costa Brava if only the mercury were able to crawl up a notch or two. There's a cafe on the main sands should you need an ice-cream or a beer to cool off, and Manning's seafood stall is a short stroll away should you want to lunch like the cockney holidaymakers of yore.

    10. The Old Town

    Just across the road from the site of the Turner Contemporary is what's been optimistically dubbed the "creative quarter" by the tourist board. In reality the Old Town is a pretty network of quaint streets where a smattering of trendy cafe bars awkwardly brush shoulders with traditional spit and sawdust-style boozers. You can shop for retro design classics at Helter Skelter, have a browse around the numerous art galleries springing up on a near weekly basis, before taking the weight off your feet at the Harbour Cafe with a coffee and a home-cooked burger.
    • Helter Skelter, Market Place, +44 (0)7885 592 880; Harbour Cafe, 5 The Parade, Margate, +44 (0)1843 290 110.

    Wednesday 7 April 2010

    No Use Empty Scheme Qustions

    Picked up on ECR this week. Questions raised on the efficiency of the No Use Empty scheme at the Thanet Local Board meeting held at the Media Centre.

    Thanet Local Board meeting minutes here.

    Sunday 4 April 2010

    Margate Architecture in the Guardian!

    Blimey! What have we done to deserve that?
    But while we ponder this, here's the link:

    The horror of Dreamland, the history of Cliff Terrace, and the wonder of Britain's leading futurist florist.