Issue 14 - Autumn 2019

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MARGATE autumn 2019



Modern-day Seaside Stories


Turner Prize Guide

finding the centre

books & literature

pool is always cool

The scoop on this year’s famous art prize

Margate’s most exciting regeneration project

Locals championing the joys of the written word

Why it’s time to get your ducks in a row














S AT 2 1 D E C

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Margate Mercury


Welcome to our autumn issue From the Founding Editor & Publisher Clare Freeman

Contents 5

The Scoop


Autumn Hotlist


Eggy Dave Encounters


Portraits of Margate


Exhibition News and Stage and Screen


The Insta Edit - the accounts we’re following


The Turner Prize Guide


Music News


What’s on at Margate Now - highlights of this year’s festival


Margate’s Film Fest - a guide to this year’s Margate Film Festival


Food News


The Book Brigade - locals championing the joys of the written word


The Mural Makers - the story behind Margate’s TS Eliot mural


Finding The Centre - the town’s most exciting regeneration project


Uncovering Margate Cemetery - inside one of the town’s largest public green spaces


Pool is Always Cool - why it’s time to get your ducks in a row


A New Way to School - we discover a radical learning community in Margate


Children’s Margate - activities for kids


Adventures in Colour - meet the town’s colour consultant


Inside Margate Museum - behind the scenes at this landmark building


Short Stories - creative new fiction from local writers

Published by Margate Mercury Ltd © All rights reserved Copyright 2019 Margate Mercury Ltd


fter three years at the helm of the Margate Mercury this, dear readers, will be my last issue as Editor. It’s been a rollercoaster few years, and I often have to pinch myself to believe that an idea I sketched on paper in 2016 is now a profitable, well-known publication. I have never published or been the Editor of a magazine before so it was quite a leap into the unknown. My previous business had been unsuccessful and left me wary about starting another. But I was - like so many who come here - seduced by Margate and after a few visits declared: “I’m going to start a magazine in Margate!” Thankfully, instead of ridiculing me (this was, after all, a place I wasn’t even living in yet), my family and friends supported me. I’m deeply grateful especially to my parents who have been my rock throughout this journey, always there to listen, support, and encourage. Starting and running a magazine hasn’t been the easiest journey, and there have been many difficult and challenging times. I can’t thank Ros, our sub / deputy editor, enough for supporting me through these times, always there to give advice and listen. They say the key to a successful business is the team, and this is definitely the case with this magazine. Without the talent and hard work of all involved - including Ros, Lizzy, Jen, Leona and all the section editors and contributors - it wouldn’t be what it is, so a huge thank you and congratulations to them. I am leaving you in the very capable and trusted hands of Lucy Edematie, stepping up from being our section editor, who I’m sure will do a stellar job continuing to make this a popular, inclusive, inspiring magazine, which our town can be proud of. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and this magazine since its inception. Here’s to its exciting next chapter. Peace and love, Clare x

Section Editors & Contributors Property & Interiors, History  Ros Anderson Theatre & Entertainment Lucy Edematie Art & Culture  Twinkle Troughton Sports, Health & Wellness Jo Usmar

Food & Drink  Lisa Harris Charities & Current Affairs   Lucy Edematie  Music Tom Stephens Adam Tinnion Children Emma Dublin






@margatemercury Issue Fourteen, Autumn 2019 (September to November) Founding Editor & Publisher Clare Freeman Design Lizzy Tweedale Sub-editor John Murphy Advertising Jen Brammer and Amy Braid Intern Leona Chapman Front cover Cynthia Lawrence-John photographed at The Mulberry Tree by Ben Driftwood Print Mortons Print Advertising and distribution enquiries Writers


Aimee Louise Lewis Alastair Hagger Anna Bang Andersen Brian Gutierrez Dale Shaw Dave McKenna Jim Biddulph Matthew Charles Ros Anderson Tia Duff

Andrew Hayes-Watkins Ben Driftwood Caroline Dyal Jim Biddulph Jo Bridges Joel Knight Sheradon Dublin Illustrators Emma Falconer Jade Spranklen Michael Goodson Rebecca Thomas

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Scoop Image by Frank Leppard

Image by Rebecca Douglas


You heard it here first

Image by Sterling Chandler


The Margate Caves reopen


Writer Clare Freeman

Handmade Tiles launches range made by Thanet’s artists


Moksha reopens at Eucalyptus

After a 15-year campaign by the charity Margate Caves Community Education Trust, and funding from a crowdfunding campaign, The Heritage Lottery, Kent County Council, and many others, The Margate Caves have reopened. The ancient labyrinth of caves in Cliftonville - adorned with stunning murals and first opened in 1863 - can now be enjoyed by visitors, along with a new community building with a gift shop, a large community room with kitchens and an accessible interpretation room giving visitors a history of the caves and its site. The caves will be open every day until 27 October, 10am to 5pm, then Friday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm, over the winter period.

Local artisan tile company Handmade Tiles is launching a new range, Margate Tile Makers. The project will see up to nine artist-makers in Thanet develop their own tile ranges, with the aim of reintroducing and encouraging handmade tile-making as a mainstream artisanal skill in the UK. “With Brexit (potentially) imminent, and the potential negative economic impact with price increases on imported goods, we are looking to meet the demand of UK buyers looking to purchase custom handmade tiles at reasonable prices while creating work for local artists and increasing and circulating revenue within our local creative community,” says owner Sarah Hopkinson.

The Moksha store at 35 Hawley Street has reopened to focus more on making natural and alternative health more accessible through both treatments and workshops, including aromatherapy, reflexology, yoga therapy and sound healing. “Working with aromatic plants and nature’s energies, we will provide a space where clients feel listened to, understood and nurtured, restoring vitality of their being,” says owner Alex Bottomley. “We aim to run a series of events and workshops around common and not so common health concerns and conditions - including stress, anxiety, insomnia, hormonal imbalances and digestion - in order to arm people with new methods to support themselves and their friends and families.”

1 Northdown Road

Visit or contact hello@eucalyptus. space to find out more and book your treatment.


Werkhaus launches its own line of clothes

Former Ambrette restaurant reopens as The George & Heart


Sweatshirts go on sale to support young people

Werkhaus, a shop on Margate’s High Street and online retailer selling modern, ethical non-seasonal womenswear, accessories and curated vintage pieces, will be launching their own collection of clothing this September. All the clothes will be made from excess fabrics from the clothing industry, designed by Werkhaus and made in Margate. “We will be launching with a four-style capsule collection of a shirt dress, apron dress, skirt and a boilersuit - all with pockets of course!” says co-owner Cynthia Lawrence-John. “Each style and colour is limited by the available fabric and once it’s gone it’s gone, and then new fabrics will be introduced.” Prices will range from £99 to £190.

The duo behind The Sun Deck’s popular Tikki bar, Kelly Napoli and her partner Dan, have taken over the former Ambrette restaurant and will be reopening it as a pub bar and kitchen with guest rooms this September. “Our plan is to have one area with a pub/ bar feel and to use the kitchen and restaurant space to host different pop-ups and kitchen takeovers,” says Kelly. “The bar will be serving botanical cocktails and local Northdown Brewery beers. We are also going to serve a good roast on a Sunday and have BBQs on Saturdays.” The duo also plan to refurbish the eight former hotel rooms on the top floor in to crash-pad BnB-style rooms, double rooms and a larger suite, along with a treatment room.

Rachel Young and Hannah Cox, the duo behind the Margate-based clothing company MatchyMatchyMe, have created a sweatshirt in collaboration with local youth charity Arts Education Exchange to support the organisation and its students. The sweatshirt, “Margate Town, My Town”, was designed by the students, with the slogan taken from lyrics from one of their recently released songs. 100% of the profits from the sale of the sweatshirts will go to support the organisation’s music programmes, giving local young people the opportunity to write, record and release their own music. The sweatshirt, priced at £45 and made at a Fair Wear Foundation-certified factory, is available in candy pink or black.

Head to their shop at 30 High Street to view the range.

Book your stay now at @georgeandheart

To purchase a sweatshirt visit @matchymatchyme or website

autumn Hotlist Compiled & written by Leona Chapman

SEP Margate Rhythm & Rock 2019 A rock weekender with headline acts including Wilko Johnson, The Blockheads and Lindisfarne 6 to 8 September Various times Winter Gardens

Ozora Studios and Claire de Lune Studios Opening Party A one-off open studio in this incredible space with artists Abigail Ozora Simpson, Clare de Lune and Louise Francis Smith

Art’s Cool: Modern Nature

1927: Roots

A celebration of Spanish wines and tapas from different regions of Spain

Modern Nature is a new band comprised of the musicians Jack Cooper (formerly of Ultimate Painting and Mazes) and Will Young (Beak>) 20 September, 7pm to midnight Elsewhere

A re-telling of folktales from The Aarne index through to 1927’s signature fusion of handcrafted animation, storytelling and a live score 27 September 7.30 to 8.40pm

A town-wide Jazz festival featuring headliners Pee Wee Ellis, Liane Carroll and Theon Cross

Various Locations

Bots Like Us A new body of work by Clare Pattinson exploring humanoid robots

Theatre Royal Margate

Art Car Boot Fair: Love Edition An exciting one-day event where the public get to meet, haggle and buy from a wonderful line-up of artists 28 September 1 to 5pm Dreamland

7 September 2 to 10pm

20 to 29 September Various times

Ozora Studios

The Booth

The OhSoRetro Show 2019

Social Sewing Day

The 6th annual installment of this popular show. Over 1,500 classic and retro cars, scooters and motorcycles, live music, trade stands and lots more

Wheels & Fins An independent, music and action sports festival overlooking Joss Bay 7 and 8 September

29 September, 10am to 4pm


The Recreation Ground, Palm Bay Avenue

Eat Drink Margate A two-day festival highlighting the best food and drink in Margate, featuring street vendors and a farmers’ market 7 to 8 September 10am to 6pm Dreamland

Margate Swing Festival A vintage seaside dance weekend with an evening ball, vintage clothes fair, tidal pool beach swim, high tea and sunset outdoor dancing 14 to 15 September various times Nayland Rock Hotel

A day of sewing and meeting other sewists, with a delicious lunch at the Mad Hatter included 21 September, 10am to 4pm

Thanet 5k Colour Run

4 & 5 October Various times

Margate Jazz Festival 2019

20 to 22 September Various times

Tapas Festival

OCT Gloria Scott

Sew by the Sea

Three days of the best food and drink from Kent including demonstrations, a bar, pop-up tea room and tasting sessions 4 to 6 October, 10am to 6pm (5pm on Sunday) Victoria Gardens, Broadstairs broadstairsfoodfestival.

We Are Family Market & Meet A curated market for families with quality stalls from local makers selling handmade clothing, quilts, nursery décor and more 5 October, 11am to 4pm Margate Baptist Church wearefamilymargate

Health, Beauty & Holistic Fair A well-being fair featuring homemade beauty products, crystals, massage and more 13 October, 10am to 4pm Winter Gardens coastalcrystals

South Pacific A 10-time Tony awardwinning musical theatre masterpiece centred around two unlikely love affairs 17 to 19 October Various times

Gossamer: Preview

Theatre Royal

Get a first look at this exhibition curated by artist Zoe Bedeaux of 20 artists who all work with the medium of tights or stockings. The exhibition ends on 15 December

A rare UK performance from a legendary modern souldisco vocalist

27 September, 6 to 9pm Carl Freedman Gallery

The world’s leading Beatles historian Mark Lewis presents the history of Abbey Road on its golden anniversary


Broadstairs Food Festival 2019


The Beatles: Hornsey Road with Mark Lewis

A colourful, family-friendly 5k run along the beautiful Thanet coast in aid of Pilgrims Hospices 20 October, 9am to 1.30pm The Oval, Palm Bay

Amy Grimehouse A film screening, Q&A and party from the legendary cinema/arts club night Amy Grimehouse 25 October, 6.30pm to late Tom Thumb Theatre

Totally Wired Halloween Party Kent’s biggest and best alternative party returns for their 14th Halloween installment 26 October, 9pm to 2am Dreamland

Margate Film Festival A jam-packed programme of films and events around the theme Against the Tide 23 - 27 October Various times

NOV Adventures in Comics

The biggest scare festival in Kent returns with all-new terrors

An exhibition from comic creators as part of Marine Studios’ First Fridays 10th anniversary

4 October, 7.30pm to 2am

Select dates from 18 October to 1 November, 6 to 11pm

1 November 6.30pm

Olby’s Soul Cafe


Marine Studios

2 November, 7.30 to 9.30pm Theatre Royal

Art’s Cool: Warmduscher Warmduscher, described by NME as “a grime-funk Sin City,” come to Margate as part of their Tainted Lunch Tour 7 November 7pm to midnight Elsewhere

Reel Big Fish Southern California ska-punk legends Reel Big Fish with support from [Spunge] and Lightyear 21 November, 7pm to 11pm Dreamland

Margate Bookie festival ‘The friendliest lit fest by the sea’ returns 22 - 24 November Various locations

Art Auction A fundraising art auction for Palm Bay Primary School’s art department 22 November, 7pm Walpole Bay Hotel

The Lovelys Christmas Market Beautiful handmade gifts by local artisans and makers as well as original paintings and limited edition prints 23 November to 31 December (Monday-Saturday), 9am to 5pm Lovelys

you’re born and you need to get clean. you wake and you need to get clean. you exercise and you need to get clean. you make love and you need to get clean. you work hard and you need to get clean. you travel on crowded, hot trains and you need to get clean. you die and you no longer need to get clean. next customer please. we only want you for your body

2a, Addington Street, Ramsgate. Open 10am-5pm every Saturday. email

necessarily heeded Sir David Attenborough’s warning concerning plastic) and travel guide writers who are keen to include Margate in all the “top places to visit”, “best city escapes”, “fifty totally vibe hipster retreats” lists that appear in the Sunday supplements about once a fortnight. “Margate is a town on its knees” was and still is my favourite description of the town, mainly due to my curiosity about the description. What we were doing on our knees was never clarified to me, but whatever we were doing, we were doing it out of desperation. My favourite review of Margate was one of many damning reviews back in a time when the phrase “Brexit” didn’t exist and our only woe was a country-crippling credit crunch. A credit crunch readers, I’d like to remind you - took Woolworths as its statement trophy kill (#NeverForget). If the credit crunch was as evil as, say, the Night King in Game of Thrones, then Woolworths was Khaleesi’s harpooned dragon. Sadly, unlike the dragon, there was to be no resurrection for the pick’n’mix masters. (Well, that is not really true. A good share of Woolworths stores throughout the nation are still filled with sweets, toys, DVDs and albums. Sadly the albums are not what the youths would call “peng”, “fleek” or “bang on trend”. No, the best you’ll find is the greatest hits of Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, or - if you’re lucky - Craig David’s Born to Do It.) The good news is though that such musical feasts will

only cost you a quid now, as Poundland has taken over one hundred Woolworths wastelands. And if it isn’t a quid jamboree there’s a high chance it’s a B&M or - the haven for mums - Iceland. Unlike these other towns, our Woolworths building is in fact dedicated to the arts, for it is now the site of the terrific TMS. Perhaps for some readers, the initials TMS will trigger memories of the Top Margate Soldiers, a notorious gang of young lads who ruled the streets of Margate. (An absolute favourite of the TMS was the punch machine that used to reside out of the front of the Flamingo Arcades. Many an hour was enjoyed in folly thumping a head-sized punching bag and revelling in the three digit score it would produce.) This TMS, TMS 2.0 if you like, stands for The Margate School, the brainchild of Uwe Derkson, a man who hopes the school’s syllabus will directly benefit the town in which it proudly resides. TMS have held many free classes for locals, from video editing to theatre, one of which led to me being left in there with a man dressed as a walrus. TMS are keen to offer exhibition space to local artists. They have also recently announced that they are accredited to teach a Masters course, which is wonderful. More exciting still is their announcement to reinstall the punch machine on the seafront. This has certainly raised some eyebrows, but if it gives the Thanet youths something else to punch, I’m all for it.

“A total eclipse of the arts would be a fair way of diagnosing what has happened to Margate”

Writer Dave McKenna

Illustration Jade Spranklen

A dose of Margate life from a local with an egg-shaped head

A total eclipse of the arts” would be a fair, albeit a slightly elaborate-poncey, way of diagnosing what has happened to Margate ever since that superb sleek namesake of everyone’s favourite Mallord opened its doors in April 2011. Turner Contemporary is often and rightly credited as the catalyst that started the regeneration of our once-tired seaside town, now adored by day-trippers (who haven’t all

Rose in June Friendly pub, open for drinks 4–11pm Wednesday–Friday, 12–11pm Saturday/Sunday 49/50 Trinity Square, Margate CT9 1HT Instagram @Rose_in_June_Margate

K . G .W I N T E R S








EMAIL: 01843 293247

• MONTHLY FARMERS MARKET • 50 Marine Terrace, Margate, CT9 1XJ 01843 269 431

Portraits of Margate

A photography project from Caroline Dyal, Portraits of Margate celebrates our diverse and interesting community with portraits of its people - each recommended by someone else living here. margate

Portrait: Phil Age: 50 Occupation: Artist who draws pints for a living. Owner of Fez. “My aim for Fez was always to have a community with those who have just moved to Margate and those born here. Fez hats were adopted by the British in the late 19th century as smoking hats. When seen in the UK they were synonymous with someone who was well travelled, and comfortable with other cultures. Fez welcomes everybody regardless of race, religion, persuasion or gender.” What does Margate mean to you? “Margate is my home from home; it reminds me of Hartlepool in its faded glory. Both are now changing for the better.” Aspirations: “I am an artist. Fez has been my ‘Installation’ work in progress. Will it ever be finished? Who knows?

Taken in Fez 40 High Street, Margate

We will continue to make Fez a place where anybody can relax, feel comfortable and meet new friends.” Icons: “Elvis and Ena Sharples ”

Photography: Sterling Chandler Model: Lily Breuer

WerkHaus Margate

modern . utilitarian . womenswear @werkhausmargate

WerkHaus Margate 30 High Street Margate CT9 1DS

The little pink shop in Hawley Street Lifestyle, Fashion & Kids

30 Hawley Street Margate CT9 1QA @margaux_home_margate

Margate Mercury

Exhibition News Writer Twinkle Troughton


ith the world-renowned Turner Prize coming to town, Margate is going to be brimming with exhibitions this autumn. On 28 September The Art Car Boot Fair, the world’s most anarchic and exciting art fair, is taking over Dreamland! With this year’s theme of LOVE, artists will be encouraging you to love each other, the planet, art and Margate. Don’t miss out on your chance to purchase works straight from the artists such as Ben Eine, Vic Reeves, Mr Bingo, Geraldine Swayne, Juno Calypso and many more! Advance tickets are available at Over at Pie Factory Margate, Syncretism by textile artist Dan Chilcott blends the ancient Roman gods with nautical and pastoral imaginaries through knit, stitch and sculpture in an engaging exhibition, 11 to 13 October. This is followed by Individual Perspectives: Earthbound Women & Friends by The Earthbound Women and chosen guest female artists displaying their individual contemporary perspective and interpretation of their world,

Stage and Screen Writer Dale Shaw


he Margate Film Festival returns from 23 to 27 October, showing a diverse selection of cinematic wonders connected to the theme “Against The Tide”. Expect future classics, independent revelations and lots of surprises. Many of last year’s events sold out, so make sure you book early at There’s more film fun as DJ Yoda brings his Filmstock to Dreamland’s open-air cinema on 7 September, featuring live re-scorings of cult movie classics, screenings and more. Fans of iconic British comedy classics are in for a treat as a tribute to Morecambe and Wise, An Evening of Eric and Ern, brings some sunshine to the Theatre Royal on 3 October, while the unforgettable rag and bone cart of Harold and Albert pitches up at the Theatre Royal on 22 November to celebrate an early Christmas With Steptoe and Son.


thoughts and ambitions, 1 to 12 November. Also at Pie Factory is Steve McPherson: in the Future, a solo exhibition of recent works highlighting an urgent and current theme, including assemblage, photography, installation and sculpture using marine plastic found on the beaches of and around Margate. Carl Freedman Gallery’s second exhibition is a group show called Gossamer, curated by Zoe Bedeaux. The exhibition brings together 20 artists who all work with the medium of tights or stockings, posing the question: “How are considerations of race, gender and sex bound up in these gossamer threads?” Artists include Leigh Bowery, Sarah Lucas and Louise Bourgeois. From 27 September to 15 December. Quartet at Lombard Street Gallery is four

‛Hey babe don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine from the shop on your way back home from work’ by Joseph Knight

There’s also a wealth of more contemporary comedy heading our way this autumn. The Theatre Royal sees the return of Tape Face on 14 September, quickly followed by “Chubster” Hal Cruttenden on 25 September. Also at the Theatre Royal, Jack Dee presents his new stand-up show on 4 October, then the slightly more high-energy Russell Kane appears at the Winter Gardens on 9 October. And three comedy heavyweights bring the funny in November. First, the legendary Count Arthur Strong presents more questionable showbiz anecdotes at the Theatre Royal on the 9th. Ed Byrne is taking a long hard look at himself at the Theatre Royal on the 23rd, while the Mouth of the South Rob Beckett brings his Wallop to the Winter Gardens on the 27th. Plus there’s the inimitable “people’s poet” John Cooper


exhibitions by four artists: Dawn Cole, a printmaker, explores the overlooked and discarded; Dan Thompson, a writer, examines Englishness after a year-long journey; Tracey Thompson, a painter, considers landscape and identity; and Graham Ward, a painter, responds to pilgrimage, illumination and the sacred, 28 September to 8 October. Joseph Wales have an unmissable line up of exhibitions this autumn, including Want Sum? by Broadstairs artist Mark Hampson who has created a site-responsive arcade installation incorporating sound, sculpture, video and large format print works, from 26 September to 20 October. This is followed by Margate artist Chris F Clarke who returns with a new solo show Heads Down Charge (with a magpie fetha). In her new studio at Joseph Wales Studios, Chris has been producing an entirely new body of work including paintings, collages and pen drawings, all brimming with wit, chaotic energy and ambiguous, multilayered meanings, 24 October to 2 November. Bots Like Us is a new body of work exploring humanoid robots by Clare Pattinson at The Booth. Opening on 20 September 6-10pm, the exhibit will be open until 29 September by appointment only. Urchin Wines have two superb exhibitions for you: painter Joseph Knight will be exhibiting his beautiful Twombly-style abstract paintings from 6 September to 30 October, followed by ceramic artist Sara Calothis who will be showing her large-scale totem poles for the first time, which she cites as symbolic empowerment pieces, from 31 October to 28 November. Enjoy your autumn of art in Margate and do remember to check ahead for opening times!

Clarke at the Winter Gardens on 21 November. There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained this season, as the beloved nursery rhyme There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly gets the theatrical treatment at the Theatre Royal on 26 October. National treasure Michael Rosen brings his children’s book show to the Theatre Royal on 6 November while another kid’s favourite, Stick Man, pops into the Theatre Royal on 16 to 17 November. There’s plenty of more grown-up entertainment too as the acclaimed 1927 Company returns to the Theatre Royal with their new production Roots on 27 September. George Eliot’s Silas Marner is staged at the Theatre Royal on 9 October and there’s more literary action as Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land reaches the Theatre Royal on 1 November. For the braver amongst us, EF Benson’s brilliant ghost stories, Night Terrors, chills the Theatre Royal on 7 November. Musical lovers are spoilt for choice in upcoming months. The Theatre Royal welcomes The Wizard of Oz (5 to 8 September), Footloose (5 and 6 October) and South Pacific (17 to 19 October). If that’s not enough, then head to the Winter Gardens for That’ll Be The Day on 19 October. There’s an additional treat for music connoisseurs as the Bradstow Symphony Orchestra, Thanet’s new resident Symphony Orchestra, plays their inaugural concert at the Sarah Thorne in Broadstairs on 6 October. An Evening of Eric and Ern at the Theatre Royal

CHRISTMAS PARTIES This Christmas give your guests and staff an all-you-can-treat celebration to remember. Whether you want to feast, dance or roller skate, have 10 or 1000 guests, Dreamland has the perfect party night for you.

Full details and prices available on request



W W W. D R E A M L A N D . C O . U K

Margate Mercury



1 @marvellousmargate Swoon over beautiful pictures of Margate taken by locals and visitors. 2 @bookbuoy We love this bookshop’s beautifully curated shelves. Follow to get insightful book recommendations from the store’s owner Rob. 3 @margateglass Check out the impressive stained glass pieces by @tygerlillie in this feed, all sold at 125a Northdown Road. 1



The Insta Edit

5 @werkhausmargate We love the clothes at this shop, and in this feed you can see them modelled along our picturesque coastline. It’s definitely werk-ing for us.

Compiled & written by Tia Duff


Tasty, colourful, ecoconscious: here are the Insta accounts we’re following this season

4 @ramsayandwilliams Enjoy delicious ice cream and carefully-selected vintage pieces all in one place.

6 @jordan.t.gray Jordan’s artwork is sure to add a burst of humour and colour to your feed. You’ll also be the first to know about his upcoming exhibitions. 5

7 @dalbysquareheritage A great collection of vintage pictures of Cliftonville and updates about the preservation of Dalby Square, an initiative that has been running for the past six years. 8 @tastemargate Get your Margate food fix with this feed of delicious food from different restaurants and cafés around town. A great way to make it easier (or harder?) to pick somewhere to eat.




9 @margoinmargate Enjoy pictures of this artist’s work, including beautiful ceramics as well as paintings. 10 @mcphersonsteve We love the work of artist Steve McPherson who makes pieces of art using the plastic he has collected for over 20 years in Margate and its surrounding beaches. 11 @storeroombycurve Enjoy mouth-watering pictures of this café’s wonderful coffee and food, which tastes as good as it looks.




12 What could be better than a sustainable fashion brand running on girl power, all started in Margate? A feed of sun-soaked pictures of beautiful clothes which “inspire confidence” and are “celebrating sisterhood”. 13 @seasidesesh Get a behind-the-scenes look at this Margate recording studio where upand-coming local musicians perform. 14 @_josephwales_ A great Margate arts space with lots going on. Follow to keep updated on the exciting exhibitions and events happening here.







Art's Cool listing_Mercury Margate.indd 1

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We are coming to Margate!

Borneo Art Collective We are a collective group of artists from around the world. Our movement is inspired by a concept ‘Berjalai’ long existed in Borneo, this means conversing with the world. Please contact us or visit our website and social media to find our where we will be launching and stocking our recent book, more information and future events. Be a part of our story. @Borneoartcollective

Wendy Teo Email: Website:

Toni Giddings Email: Website:

The Margate coffee shed Handcrafted Artisan Coffee Organic loose leaf tea Freshly baked pastries All Day brunch Light lunches Smoothies Milkshakes Kentish ice cream gifts in the heart of Margate old town

12-13 the parade

Margate Mercury Writer

Twinkle Troughton


Courtesy of Turner Contemporary


The Turner Prize Guide


The world’s most prestigious art prize comes to town this autumn. But what exactly is it? We tell you everything you need to know

Helen Cammock, The Long Note 2018

Oscar Murillo, Collective Conscience 2018 at the 10th Berlin Biennale

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, After SFX 2018 in The Tanks, Tate Modern


Tai Shani, DC Semiramis, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and The Tetley. Photo Jules Lister

he Turner Prize is widely considered one of the most prestigious art prizes in the world, and it is about to land in Margate! With celebrations galore in store, 150 local volunteers have been recruited to welcome the estimated 250,000 guests who will head to the town between September and January, who will also get to experience a bursting programme of fringe exhibitions and events. As Margate takes centre stage in the world of art, and with so much going on, we thought we would highlight some of the who, what, where and why...

a lot of support for younger artists. The prize was first awarded in 1984 and was established by a group called the Patrons of New Art who set out to encourage and increase access to contemporary art. Judged by an independent panel each year, the prize itself is announced in a televised ceremony, this year to take place on 3 December, and the winner receives £25,000, with the three other shortlisted candidates receiving £5,000 each.

The impact of the prize being hosted in towns outside London has proved to be beneficial, with visitor numbers increasing by more than 100%, having a positive economic impact on local shops, hotels and businesses, as well as boosting the town and host’s (Turner Contemporary) visibility on an international scale. To allow for ample footfall, the gallery will be open seven days a week for the duration of the prize.

Why has the prize come to Margate?

Who is the prize for?

What is the Turner Prize?

Every other year, the prize leaves Tate Britain and is presented at a venue outside of London, usually to a City of Culture host. This is the first year however that the prize has gone to a town which hasn’t been a host, but also unlike previous prizes, this year’s has a direct connection with JMW Turner. Previous hosts include Tate Liverpool, Baltic in Newcastle, Ferens Art Gallery in Hull and Ebrington in Derry.

Each year four artists are shortlisted by both a jury and public nominations. The Turner Prize stipulates that the award is given to a British artist. However, this can mean an international artist working in Britain, or a British-born artist who is working globally. The prize is in recognition of a particular exhibition of the artist’s work which is deemed exceptional, rather than an overall view of their career as an artist. ►

The Turner Prize is an annual award for the visual arts, given to artists who are considered to be innovative in their work. The prize was named directly after JMW Turner, an artist who is well known to Margate and who in his time pushed boundaries in art. He was a controversial figure who also showed

WANT SUM? It might be shite, it may be magic Mark Hampson | Thurs Sept 26th - Sun Oct 20th

The Island Of Bad Art [And Other New Discoveries]

Prints from the Royal Academy of Arts | Thurs Sept 26th - Sun Oct 20th

Heads Down Charge (with a magpie fetha) Chris F Clark | Fri Oct 25th - Sat Nov 2nd


Jennifer Hooper, Rosaleigh Harvey-Otway, Rosie Reed Gold Tue Nov 5th - Sun Nov 10th


Ceri Elliston, Claire de Lune, Abigail Ozora Simpson Louise Frances Smith | Wed Nov 13th - Sun Nov 24th

On The Cusp

Robert Aberdein | Thurs Nov 28th - Tue Dec 1st

"I make art about..."

UCA MA Fine Art Graduates | Tue Dec 3rd - Sun Dec 8th


Corinna Spencer, Helen Bermingham, Kate Harrison, Kate Knight, Twinkle Troughton | Wed Dec 11th - Sun Dec 15th

The Mourning After - Lost Objects

Jacob Weeks, Rachel Letchford, Tom Groves Wed Dec 11th - Sun Dec 22nd 07971 621 811 @_josephwales_ @J. Wales Studio Check for further information on shows and artists

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Who are the 2019 participants? 1 Oscar Murillo is a Colombian artist who currently lives and works in various locations. His work reflects on his own experience of displacement, migration and crossing borders, and the social fallout of globalisation. He uses a variety of techniques including painting, drawing, performance, sculpture and sound. 3

2 Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a “private ear” who is interested in how sound crosses over into politics. With human rights and advocacy at the forefront, Abu Hamdan’s work investigates crimes that have been heard and not seen. He recreates particular situations through sound and performance.

3 Helen Cammock works in a variety of media including photography, poetry, spoken word, song, printmaking and installation. Cammock spent a decade in social work in Brighton, which has continued to be a leading influence in her practice. Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel, describes her work as “giving a voice to those who have been silenced”.


4 Tai Shani uses performance, film, photography and installation to explore themes of hierarchy and patriarchy and responses to experimental narrative texts, in particular the feminist text Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies.


Who has won the prize in the past?

Volunteer Programme

The Turner Prize will often propel artists in to the limelight and their careers can sky-rocket following the international exposure. Previous winners have included Damien Hirst, Gilbert & George, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Chris Ofili, Steve McQueen, Rachel Whiteread, Gillian Wearing and Grayson Perry. In Margate this autumn we will have a unique opportunity to see works by 22 former Turner Prize artists. Margate-based curator Lee Cavaliere has curated We Must Cultivate Our Garden, an ambitious exhibition to be held at Dreamland’s Sunshine Café which will provide an insight as to what the prize has been about over the years, highlighting the socially engaged practice of many of the participants and winners. Lee tells us: “The Turner Prize has always had one eye to the future by nurturing and celebrating emerging artists. This exhibition is about potential: through the artists that made the Turner Prize (many of whom are now household names) and through the possibilities of the building itself, a long-disused icon of Margate’s golden era.” The exhibition is supported by the Arts Council, Margate NOW and The Sixteen Trust (in partnership with TDC) and is open from 13 September until 18 October.

Sarwah Mhanna, the volunteer project manager, tells us about the volunteer programme: What is the role of a volunteer and what will the work entail? The volunteering role is a dynamic and publicfacing role; volunteers will be welcoming visitors arriving into Margate at the station and sharing information about the Margate NOW programme activity happening that day. They will be running tours for visitors to the Margate NOW events and invigilating Margate NOW exhibition spaces. What do you hope the volunteers will gain from the experience? We want every volunteer to have fun, learn new skills, meet new people and feel connected to the exciting programme running throughout the town. We are working closely with Thanet JobCentres to create a training programme that also provides unique skills and up-to-date experience. Who can volunteer? The programme is open to all Thanet residents.


If you are interested in volunteering for Turner Contemporary and Margate NOW during the Turner Prize 2019, then the deadline for volunteer programme applications is 13 September, with training from 10am - 4pm on 18 September. You can find out more at

Dates for the diary 28 September 2019 – 12 January 2020 28 / 29 September Turner Prize opening weekend 11 October / 1, 8, 14 November Turner Prize late night events 28 September to 13 October Margate NOW, with a number of events and exhibitions continuing until 12 January 2020


Margate Mercury Victoria Pomery on the Turner Prize Writer

Twinkle Troughton


What do you hope visitors will take away from Turner Contemporary and Thanet during the Turner Prize?


Courtesy of Turner Contemporary

Director of Turner Contemporary Victoria Pomery tells us more about preparing for this international event and her hopes for it Tell us about the experience of preparing for the Turner Prize coming to Turner Contemporary Preparing for the Turner Prize 2019 coming to Turner Contemporary has been hugely exciting. As soon as it was announced that Turner Contemporary was to be the host for the 2019 exhibition, we began planning and thinking about how we could connect a large and diverse audience with contemporary art. In May, the Tate announced the impressive shortlist of artists: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani, who we are now working with to develop the exhibition for our spaces. We have created a new volunteer programme, secured funding to deliver a town-wide programme with a consortium of dynamic partners. Margate

NOW has connected with thousands of children and young people to inspire them about the Turner Prize 2019 and much more. What do you hope locals will gain from the Turner Prize 2019 being in town? Our audiences will have access to some of the most exciting contemporary art that exists right now on their doorstep. At Turner Contemporary, the Turner Prize 2019 will be free, like all our exhibitions. Creativity plays such an important and powerful role in daily life, so it’s an amazing moment to visit and connect with work by living artists. JMW Turner had wanted to set up a prize for young artists in his day, and seeing the prize here in Margate, where he was so inspired, will be momentous.

I hope visitors will be curious and think about the world in which we live. All four artists have a powerful body of work that deals with highly relevant social and political issues. I also hope that everyone realises that there is a unique creative hub here, and that Thanet is a place to visit all year round! Margate NOW will see artworks, events and happenings take place in unusual spaces across the town. We are working with a brilliant network of partners to make this happen, including Margate Festival, Open School East, Resort, 1927, Crate and Limbo Studios, Dreamland Margate, Kent County Council and Kent Libraries, Thanet District Council, Southeastern and local artists. What else should people look out for? Turner Contemporary is working with international sound artist and electronic musician Yuri Suzuki to create a new work for the gallery’s South Terrace, in partnership with Kent Libraries. A new work Printed Whispers is being developed by Yemi Awosile in collaboration with Open School East, local groups and organisations, who will make use of natural resources and reconditioned objects, sourced from the local area. There will be a whole range of work, events and happenings for Margate NOW from artists that came through the open call. Further highlights include theatre company 1927’s fantastical sequence of evening projections, created in collaboration with 500 local primary school children.


~ M A R G AT E ~

TOM DRAKE garden design

PRE-LOVED VINYL at Elsewhere 21-22 The Centre Margate /coastvinyl



reclamation with a modern approach bespoke design : makeover : lighting



Margate Mercury


Photography Claire Fasulo

Dress & Wings

Erin Laurel Hayhow

My music is… People call it Pop or Trip Hop but I’m not sure that resonates with me. I go with what sounds good to me in the moment. Having eclectic tastes means it can go from one extreme to another depending on my mood. I listen to… On tour, we have a playlist with various artists we absolutely adore like Malik Djoudi, Monoloc, Tricky. Plus a couple of amazing acts we discovered while we were in Japan like TAMIW and Fishmans. How was your recent tour? We were on the road with a wonderful team for six weeks in the USA, Japan, Korea, and some very cool venues in Europe. It was the very first time I’ve played in Asia and I absolutely loved it. We’re going back there soon for different festivals. What is your favourite type of gig to play? I love playing in churches. There’s something special about playing in sacred spaces; it’s intense. What inspired you to first make music? When I look back, I guess I have always been an artist. I tried many different things as a kid, including painting and sewing, but I’ve always been more sensitive to sound and music. I wrote my first songs when I was maybe nine or 10. I had a band with my girlfriends, and we were doing gigs in the garden! I took classical singing classes, then later I started to DJ and programme my own music. What made you move to Margate? I used to live in Lille. I needed fresh air, something new and different. The day I moved here I was a bit lost; I didn’t have a place to stay, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know if Margate was the right place for me. I was looking for an inspirational place to write my second album. I decided to go for a swim in Botany Bay and it was magical. I knew I’d made the right decision.

another friend of mine, is an amazing singer and percussionist from Guinea. How did you end up working with Pete on “Tinker Toy”?

Orgone was released on 5 July on vinyl, CD and digital. It took me three years to complete from start to finish and it’s been written almost exclusively in my studio in Margate Old Town.

We were studio mates for a year in the same space in Margate. I was writing my album and he was working on his latest piece as well. We just became friends, started to hang out and listen to music, talk about philosophy, and naturally, after a while, doing a song together became obvious.

My favourite Margate musician is…

What’s your favourite Margate hangout?

We have so many talented musicians! Pete Doherty obviously is a crazy talented writer and composer; I loved working with him. My friend Daisy (aka BABii) just released an album. Falle Nioke,

I love to go and work at Cliffs. My friends and I have a Saturday morning Hotpod Yoga ritual and I also love Union Yoga very early in the morning. I love an after-work swim at Walpole, a nice beer at

Tell us about that album…

The Harbour Arms or the Lifeboat in the winter with their huge fireplace! And, of course, The Tap Room for a good G&T. Also, I worked with Open School East and composed songs for the annual Margate Carnival with Cliftonville children. It was a very exciting, inspiring and funny project. If you were given money to invest in Margate, how would you spend it? We definitely need proper music-recording and rehearsal spaces! We have lots of art studios, but it’s difficult for musicians to find a space to work with sound. I would definitely go for that, with a view of the sea; how nice would that be! ? Facebook / Twitter / Instagram: @sarasaraonline

Margate Mercury



By Shannen Long, a Margate-based photographer working with local artists and venues 07/09 | Slaves - Wheels + Fins

Compiled & written by

Adam Tinnion

Our Live Music Editor Adam Tinnion - who is also Videographer/ Editor/ Tea Maker for Seaside Sessions and Music Management with Lazy Daze Records - has compiled the ultimate playlist to get you through the autumn. Each artist is local to the area and there’s a combination of live Seaside Sessions and official music videos 1


Leaves (Official Video)

Ramsgate four-piece Argyle released “Leaves” back in February 2019. Jake takes heavy influence from indie-folk bands such as Bear’s Den and Mumford & Sons. 2

Ross Uttridge

Burning Light (Official Video)

Ross hails from Thanet, and picked up everything he knows here - including his band who are also the band for Argyle. “Burning Light” is the latest single from Ross, released in June.


Tom Birch

Romania (Live Video)

08/09 | Babe Rainbow - Elsewhere

I recorded this session with Tom over in Ashford at Anchor Baby studios. The setting is perfect for a live video and we recorded eight tracks during this session. “Romania” is my personal fave.

Babe Rainbow are stopping by Elsewhere this September to share their psychedelic beach vibes all the way from Byron Bay.


Claire Pitt Wigmore

Intoxicated Girl (Live Video)

CPW is the first artist on the Lazy Daze roster and this track is her first single. She came to film this live session back in February to kick off an exciting new stage in the life of Seaside Sessions and Lazy Daze. 7


Jon Grayson

Piece By Piece (Live Video)

This track was voted as one of the top five Seaside Sessions of 2018 when Jon came along with his band to perform in his first session. He came back in March 2019 to perform solo.


Damo Holness

Latch (Cover) (Live Video)

Despite knowing Damo for years, it still took over two years to record a Seaside Session with him. Filmed at his barber shop in Broadstairs, Damo recorded this cover alongside a couple of original songs.

12/09 | WREN - Fez Kieran Newell has been a ghost-writer for many musicians but is now offering up a fusion of indie-rock, hip-hop, grime and reggae under the name WREN. 20-22/09 | Margate Jazz Festival Olby’s Soul Cafe Reaffirming Margate’s relationship with all things jazz; this year’s event is expanding across multiple locations, creating a townwide event.

Disturbing The Peace (Live Video)

25/09 | The Pale White - Elsewhere

Following on from Claire, Nifty are the second act signed to Lazy Daze. Claire is also in the band, yet their sound couldn’t be more different. Fusing rap lyrics with rock music, Nifty cross boundaries with their sound.

Following huge support slots, a run of sold out northern dates, and their latest critically acclaimed EP and single, Newcastle’s indierock outfit are set to hit new heights over the next year.


24/10 | Squid - Elsewhere


Silence (Live Video)

This is taken from the second session I recorded with Abi & Matt from Liotia, and while it’s definitely my favourite tune from them, it’s very closely followed by “Blackout” which I recorded during their first session.


Squangey Bobbins

Brand New Day (Official Video) 3

This mighty punk duo return to Kent for Wheels and Fins Festival 2019 at Joss Bay. Not only headlining but curating the Saturday line-up which includes Lady Bird, FEET, and Queen Zee.

The most unique name on the circuit! Lewis, AKA Squangey Bobbins, released his album Electric Vinyl in 2018. This is my favourite track from the album. 10


After three packed sets at Glastonbury Festival and a headline slot at Margate’s Caring is Creepy this year, you must witness Squid. Their incendiary live shows are positively transcendent in their chaos and fever. 26/10 | Totally Wired Halloween - Dreamland Dem Wired Boys return to Hall By The Sea for Totally Wired’s 14th Annual Halloween Party. The biggest and best alternative Halloween event in Kent, featuring everything from indie through metal and beyond! 16/11 | The Selecter - Dreamland Ska royalty are coming to Margate to celebrate their 40-year career. A staple of the 2-tone genre.

Lost (Official Video)

21/11 | Reel Big Fish - Dreamland

I’ve written about Coldbones before. They’re simply sensational and to see them live was one of the best experiences I’ve had at any gig. This track was released in early 2018, with visuals by Nick Suchak who also plays bass in the band.

Expect a hyperkinetic stage show, juvenile humour, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska.

Watch and listen here:

Thursday Club - The Tap Room A recurring event featuring local and visiting musicians. Thursday Club provides a safe space where you are invited to come and perform songs or poetry you’ve been working on. Send an email to thursdayclubmusic@ or just show up.

Margate Mercury


What’s on at

Margate Now Compiled by Margate Festival

This autumn Margate NOW, a dynamic and inspiring arts festival, offers the chance to enjoy a multitude of artists’ work around town. With so much going on, we’ve compiled this guide to direct you to our favourite events and happenings


his autumn will see an abundance of exhibitions and events taking place in celebration of the Turner Prize coming to town. Working busily behind the scenes for months and with funding from the Arts Council, Margate Festival have partnered with Turner Contemporary, 1927, Open School East, Kent County Council, Dreamland, Thanet District Council and Southeastern to bring us Margate NOW, an impressive and wide-ranging festival featuring exhibitions, installations, dance, performance, film and much more. They’ve even had a special guest curator, the actor and art collector Russell Tovey, to help select the final line-up. Some of the partners themselves will be delivering ambitious projects for the festival. Turner Contemporary have commissioned sound artist Yuri Suzuki to create a site-specific piece titled The Welcome Chorus, to be situated on the gallery terrace. Theatre company 1927 have collaborated with local schools to bring us Raree Tales, which is a series of animated folk tales projected throughout the town in December. And Open School East have co-commissioned Printed Whispers, a textile and spatial intervention by designer Yemi Awosile. “Art can be powerful and engaging and I am looking And the rest of the forward to seeing the town festival is equally as brought to life in unusual, eventful, so here are surprising and entertaining ways. I’ve really enjoyed a few highlights from helping to curate and select the Margate NOW artists for the 2019 festival. It’s programme, looking at great to be able to support and encourage the creation of what local and visiting new art and new ideas.” artists alike have in ― store for us: Russell Tovey, Guest Curator

Ash Mukherjee Margate Mārgām This Immersive Dance Theatre by award-winning choreographer Ash Mukherjee explores mindfulness and mental health through the classical south Asian temple dance style Bharatanatyam. Margate Mārgām (top left) will be presented in the form of pop-up shows, workshops, flash mobs and a full-length performance at various venues throughout Margate.

Charlie EvaristoBoyce and Jordan Gray Margate Box Project Get involved as Margate artists and printmakers Charlie Evaristo-Boyce and Jordan Gray build a miniature version of Margate. The Margate Box Project (bottom left) is a series of workshops revolving around drawing, print, sculpture and animation, engaging with the local community and fellow artists to collaboratively create an interactive installation.

Genetic Moo NOW Digital Hundreds of people have been involved in the making of NOW Digital (top right), a celebration of collaborative art using computers and technology in the historic Woolworths building on the High Street. Engage with interactive artworks, try your hand at creative coding and experience film, music, electronics and visuals made by a growing local digital scene.


Margate Mercury



Heather Tait

Teresa Limbrick

Cliftonville West 2014-2019

Komma Hem

Cliftonville West 2014-2019 is a photographic snapshot of the community that Margate photographer Heather Tait lives in, an area that is changing fast. Cliftonville remains one of the poorest wards in the country despite the rapid socio-economic changes taking place through “gentrification”. It’s a culturally rich, ethnically mixed and dynamic part of Margate. This project is a photographic snapshot of a moment in Cliftonville’s history.

Immerse yourself in the “now” of Margate’s elusive underworld in Komma Hem (bottom left), a film which follows three dancers as they move and merge with their surroundings of the old Pettman’s building and Botany Bay. Within the film Teresa’s handmade silk dresses are worn by three dancers performing stories inspired by dark fairy tales and folklore. During the premier film screening at Elsewhere there will be an additional live performance by Anna Westin.

Jessica JordanWrench Departures Departures is a noisy text installation, based around a purpose-built split-flap display, exploring the radically unstable concept of “now”. This installation will be on view at Margate Station throughout Margate NOW.

Jemma Channing The Margate Manifesto The Margate Manifesto invites the public to help create a declaration of intent and a vision for Margate’s future through public workshops and open conversation. These discussions and ideas will be drawn together to create The Margate Manifesto. Everyone is invited; Margate artist Jemma Channing (left) wants your input on how we can come together to make it happen.

Transit Collective Margate Reimagined Through a combination of walks, workshops, artworks, poetry and architecture, Margate Reimagined (bottom right) is a present-day vision of Margate with an alternative past. Find out how in the 70s there was a proposal to flood the town and turn it into the UK’s version of Venice. Bringing together heritage both real and imaginary this project speculates about a town that might have been or could yet become.

Zoe Murphy Here, You Are Home Margate designer Zoe Murphy is creating a collection of printed fabric flags for the town and its people. Stationed at various locations throughout Margate, the inspiration for the flags (top left) will be drawn from people’s stories of home and flown from a fixed point, always in motion. These printed textiles are a signal that wherever you are: you have a place, because wherever you are, you are the place. You are home.

For dates, times and venues of all events, please check the full programme at

"We're really excited to be welcoming everyone to Margate Now 2019. We want you to feel as much a participant in this year’s festival as a spectator. Artistic activities and pop-up events will be occurring around every corner throughout the festival which aim to surprise, delight and inspire. Please join us in the festivities and celebrate Margate's amazing artistic and cultural community" ― Jo Murray, Coordinator of Margate Festival

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Margate Mercury

Above the Clouds, 2019

Margate's Film Fest Writer Kate Williamson

Margate film festival returns in October with a jam-packed programme. Here Founder Kate Williamson tells us more and gives us her highlights

to view the full programme visit

Margate in film


fter a sell-out season last year, Margate Film Festival returns from 23 to 27 October. The 2019 edition will explore themes around its title Against The Tide, focusing on personal and political rebellion, censorship and migration. The festival is the first of its kind for Kent, embracing the gritty, DIY, glitchy, experimental take on cinema, encouraging interactivity and sparking debate through British and international features, shorts, workshops, Q&As and live performance. This year’s festival features over 25 events across six venues with back-to-back screenings at Tom Thumb Theatre all week, featuring symbolic sea creatures, misunderstood outsiders, taboo relationships, surrealist terror and lesser-heard local stories. Events include a night of exploded film and electronic music on Saturday 26th, part of NOW Digital by Genetic Moo, a 10-day digital art festival (18 to 27 Oct) along with Us & The Sea, a shorts programme taking a critical look at our relationship with the sea, on Sunday 27th. Margate Pride takes over the Friday night with a celebration of queer film and DJs till late. There will be a showcase of local filmmaker’s work, a “Sunday Silent” family live score at The Palace cinema in Broadstairs, a jam- packed weekend of screenings plus other pop-up events and exhibitions.

With its fascinating history and landscapes, Margate has become a popular location for filmmakers. Here three filmmakers screening at the festival tell us why they chose to shoot here.

Above The Clouds Feature, 2019 | Dir. Leon Chambers & Wri. Simon Lord | Kent Premiere + Q&A Director Leon Chambers and Screenwriter Simon Lord have been working together for almost a decade, and their first short film, serial-killer rom-com Lonely Hearts was also shot in Kent, where Leon grew up and still lives. Above The Clouds is a road comedy in the spirit of US indies like Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. It follows headstrong Margate teen Charlie as she sets off from Thanet to the Isle of Skye in search of her real father. Simon also co-wrote another Margate-set film, Jellyfish (also screening at MFF19), which portrayed a very different side of the town through the experience of a very different teenage girl. Leon and Simon are currently working on their second film, time-travel satire Then Again. “We chose Margate for its cinematic setting and for the Turner Contemporary, which features prominently in the plot,” says Simon. “For a road movie, it also doesn’t hurt that Margate is about as far from Skye as you can get without falling into the sea.” ►

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Exodus Feature, 2007 | Dir. Penny Woolcock | + Q&A

Exodus, 2007

Exodus is a contemporary retelling of the Biblical story of Exodus, shot on location in Margate, telling the story of a neofascist politician who puts immigrants into a ghetto, but his adopted son helps the brutally oppressed people fight back. The film features Antony Gormley’s sculpture “Waste Man” which was made over a six-week period, out of 30 tonnes of waste materials that had been gathered by the Thanet waste disposal services and by local people.

X Anniversary Short, 2019 | Wri./Dir. Yvette Farmer | Kent Premiere

X Anniversary, 2019

X Anniversary, 2019

Yvette moved to Margate 18 months ago and filmed her latest short film here six months ago. In X Anniversary four Margate locals remember their ex on very different anniversaries. The same actor fluidly plays all four characters, flowing from one personal story to the next, exploring themes of change, grief, regret, LGBTQIA+, wants and desires. Yvette says: “I wanted the characters and stories to feel deeply embedded in Margate. Actor Keeley Forsyth, our stylist and I, ran around scouring local shops for wardrobe to add authenticity. During filming I was moved by how supportive and respectful local people were. When the curious asked about the former-local, alwayslocal and new-local characters in the film, they all responded that yeah, they sound like types you’d find in town. It was important to me to shoot cinematically. I wanted to capture Margate’s imperfect beauty. Yes there’s dirt and decay here but to my eye that’s texture on outstanding architecture and scenery. A special shout out goes to Kent Film Office who advised and assisted with locations. They issued very last minute film permits in time for the shoot, and not having to pay for permits for the street and coastal path filming helped my modest budget work.” X Anniversary screens in the Local Shorts programme.

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B ER Broccoli Beetroot Parsnips Blackberries Damsons Plums Cobnuts Spinach



Apples Pears Celeriac Wild mushrooms Leeks Pumpkin Kale



Swede Red cabbage Brussels sprouts Jerusalem artichokes Chestnuts Turnips


Food News Everything you need to know about eating in Margate

Cliffs are expanding their kitchen space when Curve Roasters move out into their own venue. Cliffs will then host evening pop-ups with the Bus Café team: expect seasonal, goodvalue food on Friday and Saturday nights throughout autumn and winter.

Compiled & written by Lisa Harris

Dreamland food festival launches on 7 and 8 September with talks from local food heroes including Café Barletta, chef Kate de Syllas, Curve Roasters, Angela’s, the Bus Café and the Goods Shed. Dig into their ice-cream festival, with over 32 million flavour combos, or stroll around the farmers’ market and street food stalls. Free to enter from 10am to 6pm.

Food from Bulgaria and the Balkans launches at Urchin from 18 September. Chef Aleksandar Taralezhkov serves up classic dolma rolls and stuffed mussels, as well as giving dishes an inspired, contemporary twist like kimchi cabbage rolls or cured egg yolk spanakopita. Follow @UrchinWinesMargate for more information.

Rendezvous ethelbert crescent

If you haven’t tried Rendezvous yet, it’s time you did. Set next to the playground on Marine Drive with a sea view from the ample leather booths, there's also a sofa area if you've got buggies and plenty of room for kids to play around. It's run by the Muir family, who also run Margate train station café, and bright paintings by a local arts charity decorate the walls, which make it feel part of the community. It's homemade, honest food: get a traditional or vegan fry-up that will keep you going all day (although they serve it until late if you're not a morning person), toasted cheese or bacon sandwiches, or classic sarnies with generous fillings and a cup of soup. Filling, friendly and affordable - it's going to be our new favourite weekend brunch spot.

Modern Provider bakery has expanded and relocated to a new premises off the High Street. Ben will be reopening his bakery and coffee shop in The Centre from Wednesday to Sundays, where you can see the ovens at work, pick up his famous milk loaf and sip on a latte. There’ll be toasted sandwiches for lunch, bread-making and macaroon workshops, and occasional evening pop-ups. Follow @ModernProvider on Instagram for updates. The team behind Bow’s Kitchen has taken over the Crescent Victoria Hotel on Fort Crescent and the Theatre View Restaurant below the hotel, which they’ve transformed into a bar and steakhouse. Rump, sirloin and rib eye are on the menu, as well as cauliflower steak and vegetarian options. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm, and the bar is open Tuesday to Sunday from 2pm.

Tom Cawte is Head Chef at the Post Office restaurant on Cecil Square. You may know and love him for his Cheesy Tiger fame, but he’s now serving up simple and seasonal Catalan-inspired dishes with modern European classics like smoked wild prawns with saffron aioli and 30-day aged sirloin steak with salsa verde. Don’t worry: there are cheese toasties too. Open Wed-Sat 1210pm and Sun 12-4pm. Woody’s restaurant is hosting a tapas festival on 4 and 5 October, where they’ll be celebrating Iberian dishes including Galician octopus, cured beef croquetas, patatas bravas, regional cheeses and traditional almond cake from Santiago de Compostela.


The Table wine bar opens in Broadstairs in September, serving cheeses, charcuterie and antipasti with an eclectic wine menu. It’s run by Joe, an experienced chef, and Jenny, who founded Mothers Meeting, which inspires and connects talented women. She’ll bring her networking skills to The Table as they host talks, events and exhibitions. Open every day except Tuesday. Follow @TheTableBroadstairs. Angela’s fish restaurant will now open for lunch and dinner on Tuesdays, which means there’s one more place to get delicious food midweek. Angela’s will be closed on Sundays, but Dory’s remains open Wednesday to Sunday 12-7pm as usual. Middle Eastern take-away Ful and Falafel has opened on Marine Gardens. Inspired by Cairo’s street food, their signature ful is a slow-cooked fava bean mash, ready to dip with freshly baked pitta or wrap up with homemade pickles and Egyptian falafels. There’s vegan options and complementary sage leaf tea too. Open 10am-6.30pm every day, except Wednesday and Sunday. Follow @MargateFulandFalafel on Instagram. The Mad Hatter Tea Rooms is hosting talks about Margate’s key historical sites. Enjoy a cuppa and their legendary cakes alongside a Q&A with The Shell Grotto (16 Sept), Margate Caves (4 Oct), or The Spitfire Museum (date TBC). £15 per person including refreshments. Book by email (themadhattertearooms@ or via Facebook.

Alexandria Café is a new Egyptian street food café Visit them on Market Street for a traditional Egyptian breakfast, koshary chickpeas with rice and garlic sauce, or fattah beef with rice and fried bread. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Friday 11am until 9pm, and 9.30am until 11pm on weekends.


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Margate Mercury


Rebecca Thomas (

fr om ts local exper Wine lovers are spoilt for choice in Margate. We ask our favourite local wine experts for their recommendations

Westwell Field Blend Urchin Wines “Westwell Wines are so local to us between Faversham and Ashford. Adrian, the winemaker, and Marcus, the vineyard manager, took over three years ago and they’re finally releasing the first vintage they’ve had complete control over. We have their Classic Ortega Ferment in our refill bottles, but we love the punchy red Westwell Field Blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with flavours of plums and bruised apples for autumn.” Cantina Giardino Paski Bottega Caruso “All of our wines are from the south of Italy; they’re all delicious, but one that stands out for us is Cantina Giardino’s orange wine, Paski. It’s 100% Coda di Volpe grape, which means “tail of the fox”. The grape has been cultivated on and around Mount Vesuvius for millennia and helped make some of ancient Rome’s cult wines. It’s made biodynamically, in much the same way as it would have been in ancient times, with wild yeasts and not a chemical in sight.”

Casa Belfi Colfondo Frizzante - Cafe Barletta “Whether you’re looking for an aperitif or something easy drinking to sip all night, this fizzy wine is our favourite recommendation for a cider or Prosecco drinker. Ever so yeasty, totally refreshing and slightly funky. It’s perfect with our raw sea bass dish or anchovies with ricotta, and an excellent bottle to have on the terrazza watching the scenic railway go by.” Weingut Brand, Pinot Noir Pur, 2017 - Hantverk & Found “This is a delicious, young Pinot from the Brand Brothers in Pfalz, Germany. Its slightly tart cherry and plum notes have been getting rounder over the summer and, as it’s a light red, it can take a bit of a lower temperature, so it’s refreshing even in the warm early autumn days. We’ll have a glass with almost anything to be honest, but we particularly love it with the smoky flavours of our shiitake, smoked prawn and chive gyozas.” Davenport Horsmonden White 2018 - Dory’s “Davenport winery is everything we believe in at Angela's and Dory's. Firstly it’s brilliantly drinkable – making a wonderful, clean and structured wine that’s the perfect accompaniment to seafood. However, it is the fact that it’s biodynamically farmed and English that makes it so special, which means its impact on the environment is as minimal as possible. We absolutely love it!”


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Sometimes avocado on toast just won’t do. When you need a proper fry-up in Margate, here’s where to go

Marina Café If you love formica tables, you’ll love this place. Tucked under the seafront promenade, underneath Sundowners, this 50s-style cafe is an institution. A set breakfast includes all the classics from £3.80. 24 Marine Drive. Dane Park Kiosk Did you know the kiosk in Dane Park serves breakfast? It’s nothing fancy, but it’s set in one of the greenest spots in Margate. So now there’s no excuse not to walk the dog. Starts from £3.50.

Tivoli Café Don’t miss one of Justin’s big breakfasts. Starting from £4.50 with free tea or coffee and bread and butter, toast or fried bread. We love it with extra bubble and squeak. 7-8 Tivoli Road Parker’s Rita and Sophie cook a classic fry-up in this retro café with outdoor seating, just off the top of Northdown Road. Dig into their all-day breakfast from £5.50 or try one of Rita’s legendary omelettes. They’ve been keeping locals happy for over 20 years but it’s still a well-kept secret. 3 Northdown Parade (next to the The Tap Room)

The Dalby Café The champion of Margate fryups, The Dalby is guaranteed to fill you up. Especially if you tackle the famous Mega Breakfast which includes four sausages, a beef burger and chips. We love the classic brekkie with extra black pudding from £5, with free tea or coffee. 4-6 Dalby Road. Other fry-up favourites include: Black Cat (from £6.95); Café Darcy (from £5.80); Cafe Kussan (from £3.70); Café Vinny (from £4); Cliffs (from £9); Olympia Café (from £4.50); Rendezvous (from £4.90); The Kitchen (from £3).

Margate Mercury



The Book Brigade Writer Aimee Louise Lewis

Photographer Sheradon Dublin

As the chillier evenings roll in, why not tackle those postsummer blues by curling up and escaping into a world of stories? We meet five Margate locals championing the joys of the written word


Rob McCrae owner B O O K B U OY “People buy with their eyes. It’s the gateway drug to a good book. Then you pick it up, start reading it and you’re hooked,” says Rob. Book Buoy radiates gallery vibes. The small curation is displayed with covers facing out, asking to be perused as readable works of art. It’s a collection that Rob describes as “esoteric and eclectic”. The shop has niche selections across a spectrum of fiction, non-fiction, design, cult, classics, art and children’s books, the last of which has been a surprise hit. “A lot of people seem to buy kid’s books for parties,” he says, “Someone told me the other day that their child had been given five Book Buoy books for their birthday.” Maybe it’s because fatherhood is rubbing off on Rob’s book choices. He juggles shop proprietorship and full-time parenting. Rob, his girlfriend Gemma and baby Arlo moved down from London to pursue Rob’s lifelong dream. “I always thought it would be amazing,” he says, “You can play your own music, choose your own books. It’s rare you get to live out something you’ve wanted since childhood.” Book Buoy is located at 28 Hawley Street. Make sure you catch it when it’s open, Friday-Sunday 11am-4pm. And for Rob’s witty recommendations follow @BookBuoy on Instagram.

Nine years ago, Gavin was a volunteer at the bookshop for two afternoons a week “to get out from under my wife’s feet”. Today he is manager of the Pilgrims Hospice bookshops in both Margate and Canterbury. “I’ve always read,” he says, “but this was my first dip into retail. I don’t even like shopping. I do love books though.” The stunning Old Bank Bookshop is stacked with a vast array of second-hand gems. “It’s all donated but I pick the best,” says Gavin, “All of our thrillers and paperback fiction are almost new, never grubby, yellowed or tatty. Sci-Fi can be as tatty as you like though. People buy them in droves! And our kid’s section is brilliant. The books are in great nick and we start them at fifty pence - pocket money prices.” Of course it’s also all for a good cause. “All of our profits go to the hospice,” says Gavin. “Not for anything flash, it’s to keep the lights on and that’s really important, even if it’s not sexy. If you live in Thanet, at some point you or someone you care about will use the hospice. If you buy a book from us it’s a fraction of the price and nearly the same quality as a new one, and you get to give to a vital service.” Sounds like a great deal! Visit the friendly folk at The Old Bank Bookshop on The Parade, open 9.30am-4.30pm Monday- Saturday and 10am- 4pm on Sunday.

An independent bookshop in Margate.

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Margate Mercury

Francesca Wilkins owner T H E M A R G AT E BOOKSHOP Second-hand books grace the same shelves as ones fresh off the press at this bookshop in the heart of the Old Town. “People come in for a story. The value of a book isn’t the price. If you only have a couple of quid rather than a tenner you are no less of a worthy customer. It’s just different means and different preferences,” says Francesca. The mint façade and Francesca’s graceful presence have quickly become part of the townscape since doors opened this year in May. However, the path from dream to reality wasn’t quite so swift. “I worked my arse off to get here,” she says. For three years Francesca ran a café and volunteered at Word on the Water to build the skills and the confidence she needed. She’d also bike rather than bus to work to save every penny possible. And, was it worth it? “Absolutely!” she says, “My vision was to create a bookshop for Margate, not just one in Margate. It’s not only a location for buying books. I have all sorts of events and on Mondays I hire out the room upstairs for free to any good cause. This is a space for the community, which is exactly what I wanted it to be.” Chill out with a cup of Curve Roasters coffee while you browse the books at the shop located at 2 Market Place. It’s open every day 10am-6pm. Alternatively, buy online at themargatebookshop. com. For book recommendations and event updates check out @TheMargateBookshop on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Connor Sansby producer M A R G AT E B O O K I E “‘The Friendly Lit Fest by the Sea’ isn’t just a nice tagline, it’s core to the ethos of the Bookie,” says Connor, one of the most recognisable faces (and beards) on the Thanet poetry scene. “Being a writer or a reader can get really lonely and having this big party where everyone can connect is tremendously motivating and liberating.” Connor has been involved for three of the five years that the Margate Bookie has been going, in addition to running his prolific poetry publishing house Whisky & Beards. “The beauty of the Bookie is the variety of different styles and subjects. We break with the high-brow clichés that literature festivals seem to have and host loads of different activities. It gives everyone the chance to discover sides of reading or writing that might appeal to them most. We

have everything from fiction to nonfiction, poetry and prose, for adults and kids.” Connor’s chief responsibility is the Bookie Slam, which showcases Thanet poetry talent alongside national treasures. Poets pit their words against each other for a shot at the Kent Poetry Championship. “Our next thing is to take the Bookie Slam on tour,” he says. “It’s time to take on the challenge of getting people into poetry who don’t think they are.” Hang out with Connor and co at the Margate Bookie Festival from Friday 22 November until Sunday 24 November at iconic venues around Margate. Check out for line-up information and tickets, and follow @MargateBookie on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Margate Mercury

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albion – stores. 27 Fort Road Margate CT9 1HF 01843 280000

A design-led lifestyle store and cafe offering a fresh approach to eating, drinking and shopping. Find us in one of the Military Road Arches, overlooking Ramsgate’s Harbour. Available for events & private hire. 17 Military Road Ramsgate CT11 9LG Tel. 01843 580666 archiveramsgate




Margate Mercury



Bryony ‘Bee’ Bishop founder BEE’S BOOKSHARE “I haven’t read all the classics. Sometimes I find them impenetrable, inaccessible or unenjoyable. And what I really wanted to do with Bookshare was to democratise reading. A Dan Brown is just as important as a Virginia Woolf if you’ve enjoyed it,” says Bee. Bookshare departs from the traditional book group format, preferring to ditch the deadlines and open up meet-ups to encompass banter about any book. Simply bring one along you’ve loved or loathed, chat about it and then swap it for something else you fancy the sound of. It can be fiction or non-fiction. Every genre and everyone is welcome. “It’s very intergenerational,” says Bee, “Since we started in 2012 it’s been a mix, from teenagers to eightysomethings, from all walks of life and all types of reader, both casual and avid.” Surprisingly, Bee wasn’t always one of those avid readers. “I got into reading a little later than most, when I was twenty,” she says, “It was a stressful time at uni and I was very unwell. It was my dad who suggested I pick up a fiction book. That’s when I discovered the power a story can have to destress and positively impact your mental health. I couldn’t do without it now.” Join Bee at Bookshare’s new home, The Margate Bookshop, on Sunday 1 September, 10 November and 5 January. For other updates and bookie chit-chat follow @ BeesBookshare on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or visit

Ben’s Book Business Tips

Want to start up your own book business, or need some advice to help your business flourish? Here Ben Edmonds, a business consultant for small creative businesses and designer-makers, shares his top tips for creating a successful business in Margate

1. Know your value

3. Time is money

Do you know why Margate needs your business? Do you know why you need your business? Write this down as a commitment to your future self.

Don’t forget to track your own time, even if you can’t afford to pay yourself a salary yet. Time is valuable and should be connected to your prices in some way. The challenge is creating the habit. Read more at

2. Google yourself Make sure your name, hours and contact details are easy to find, along with a brief description of what you’re doing. Get an email address that matches your trading name and website. Google yourself incognito to see your customers’ perspective - potential buyers are unlikely to come back if they turned up and you were closed, or you keep changing your hours.

w e s o rt.c o.u k

4. Limber up Check in at the start of each day. Five or ten minutes is enough to review your priorities and set a broad focus for the day. Discuss this with a colleague. Can they hold you to account? 5. Work on your business as well as in it No doubt you work in your business most days. Successful business owners also make time to work on their business, by developing the processes and systems that make it profitable, robust and satisfying.

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Margate Mercury


The Mural Makers


Writer Twinkle Troughton Photographer Andrew Hayes-Watkins

Regular train travellers may have seen that a tiled mural now adorns a wall in the Margate Station waiting-room. The mural which reads “TS Eliot” has a curious story behind it, devised by two people who met in LA, but who both have connections to Margate. Curator and producer of the mural Kamilla Blanche tells us how it came to be

with artists. I have varied experience from helping develop arts initiatives to working directly with tourism to drive interest. Margate has a lot to offer in arts and culture locally as well as internationally.

T S Eliot Foundation and Margate Civic Society who stepped in and gave us the funding we needed.

What brought you to Margate?

Arnold Schwartzman OBE RDI is a prolific graphic artist who lives in LA but has a personal connection to Margate in that he is from here, and so I wanted to honour his work in the arts and his ongoing contribution to the town he grew up in. Arnold has an incredible knowledge of Margate’s history, and he came up with the fantastic design. It was also his idea to install the artwork on to the porcelain tile.

Tell us about what you do.

The mural was originally embraced as part of Turner Contemporary’s Journeys with the Wasteland exhibition, to celebrate the writings of TS Eliot. However, the funding and location for the project (unrelated to Turner Contemporary) were rescinded. Arnold and I had committed personal monies, so we decided to approach Margate Station who, along with Southeastern, were very supportive. I am also grateful to The

I am an independent arts producer and curator; I worked for the City of Los Angeles as Director of Arts and Culture overseeing the largest arts district there. The job ticked a lot of boxes for me because the city values its cultural diversity and recognises the legacy of that diversity within the arts. I connect people but I can also work creatively

I am a London bird who moved to LA in 1998, but I always missed England and wanted to return home. I came to Margate as a child with my parents, so I have some sweet memories on Margate Sands. I would always meet Arnold, who I created the mural with, at various events in LA. He would always tell me about Margate and that there was a growing arts community here, so I came back for a vacation for a week and loved it. How did the TS Eliot mural come about?

Tell us about Arnold, your collaborator.

What’s next? I am excited to be curating some exhibitions with The Margate School. We will be formally dedicating the TS Eliot mural on 14 September, and I will continue to do rolling exhibitions in Margate Station in partnership with TMS. I am also curating an exhibit with London Moroccan pop artist Hassan Hajjaj, taking five musicians to The Ford Theatre in LA as a part of Hassan’s My Rock Stars series art installation.

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Margate Mercury



Finding the Centre Writer Alastair Hagger

A once rundown 1970s shopping district, The Centre, is undergoing a transformation. We get the inside scoop on Margate’s exciting regeneration project

Images Courtesy of The Centre

abutted private residences and small traditional shopkeepers. Mid-19th-century maps of the district feature milliners, tailors, perfumers and mahogany dealers; there is a “Literary and Scientific Institution”, a vicarage, and a fountain. A century later the area’s heyday had passed, the theatre was nearing its end days, and a number of residences had been condemned by the Housing Committee as “unfit for human habitation”. Margate’s heart had ceased to beat, and public appetites had shifted towards convenience and modernity. But after several decades of relative prosperity at the end of the last century, The Centre was confronted with its own impending obsolescence when the big retailers abandoned Margate for the millennial heft of Westwood Cross in 2005. Like town centres across the UK, this little precinct had discovered for itself that there is always a bigger fish. Thankfully, some bright, innovative thinking is now throwing it a lifeline. The new owners of The Centre are Evolve Estates, who have recognised an opportunity in the precinct that both bolsters and transcends its retail origins. “The Centre is not a beachfront parade,” says Evolve’s Director, Joe O’Keefe. “This is a local

Now Margate has a heart.” It’s May 1970, and the Thanet Times is gushing over The Centre, an L-shaped pedestrian shopping district launching the first phase of an ambitious Central Area Redevelopment Scheme. “It’s the biggest shake-up Margate has ever seen,” booms the newspaper. “And it will undoubtedly be the best thing that has ever happened to the Margate housewife.” Fifty years later, and The Centre has evolved almost as much as the gender-specificity of our shopping habits. Built on the south side of Cecil Square, the scheme added, in 1974, the library and municipal offices that still stand today. Until the 1960s, the area was dominated by the Hippodrome Theatre, itself a reincarnation of the New Grand Theatre on the site of the old Royal Hotel. Courtyards Thanet Times, 1970

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Margate Mercury

“Regeneration and local need go hand in hand. If you get the regeneration right, the local need will be met”

The fairground mural by Sprankenstein Design


shopping centre served by local people, for the most part, who are there all year round. The environment must be welcoming and pleasant, and the offering is obviously key. We are working incredibly hard on bringing interesting retailers and operators into our scheme that will generate ‘dwell time’ and more regular visits.” Central to this offering is a long-term commitment to the power and draw of the UK’s £90 billion creative economy. “We want to maximise the creative hub in Margate,” says O’Keefe, “while creating our own pop-up studios and pitches for hotdesking, retail and business owners.” Of the 20 retail units Evolve took over, only one is still available (Evolve would particularly welcome enquiries from prospective tenants interested in opening a coffee shop). “We are in regular dialogue with the council, locals, and our tenants, who are perhaps the best barometer for understanding what is and isn’t working,” O’Keefe says. “For us, regeneration and local need go hand in hand. If you get the regeneration right, the local need will be met.” One of The Centre’s tenants has already taken a leading role in both rejuvenating the aesthetics of the thoroughfare and encouraging more creators to buy into the vision. Sarah-Jane “SJ” Cook, an architecture-trained former art director, owns The Centre’s vintage clothes outlet Margate Superstore, and is now working closely with Evolve to maximize The Centre’s potential as a new hub for maker-creators. “Our ideas for creating a new creative destination matched immediately, and it made perfect sense to work together,” says O’Keefe. SJ is managing The Centre’s largest unit, UpMargate, a “new creative hub providing affordable work and retail space for designers, artists and start-ups”. Opening later this year, UpMargate will offer pop-up studio/retail space for creators on the ground floor, and a larger studio space upstairs. “Each of those people will have their friends, their social media, their followers. So it’s creating a community,” SJ says. “Obviously it’s not going to happen overnight, but we’ve got to do something with it. It’s here, we’re here, there


are other tenants coming in. It will be a nice little pocket that just needed some love.” And it’s an exuberant, colourful love, inspired by the vibrant La Boca area of Buenos Aires. The Centre’s units have recently been painted in vivid hues redolent of a sticky chunk of sweet seaside rock, and a playful Sprankenstein Design fairground mural brings to life one of the larger walls at the south entrance. “It’s a bit tongue in cheek, but I think somewhere like Margate can take it,” SJ says. “This is an old 70s shopping centre – it’s blocky, it’s utilitarian. But these colours bring me joy. How can you argue with a pink lamppost?” Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, believes projects of this kind are an essential component of the town’s accelerating regeneration. “If we’re going to get this right, you can’t waste that space – it’s got to be brought back into good and productive use,” he says. “What Margate is seeking to develop is a 12-months-of-the-year economy. I’m not seeking to decry the seaside holiday offer – that’s important. And they’re not mutually exclusive. You’re looking at two economies operating in tandem: the traditional seaside economy, and the conferences, the concerts, and the arts-related businesses and industries.” He cites Tracey Emin’s printworks project, and Uwe Derksen’s proposed liberal arts The Margate School, as other local creative initiatives that can build on the watershed shift in perspective triggered by the opening of Turner Contemporary in 2011. “Without that, what’s happening in Margate would not be happening,” he says. “The longterm future for Margate - which is in the process of reinventing itself - is very exciting indeed.”

For enquiries about retail space in The Centre, contact James Crittenden from Clarke and Crittenden on 01843 841123. For enquiries about a pop-up space in UpMargate, contact SJ via





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Margate Mercury

Uncovering Margate Cemetery Writer & photographer Jim Biddulph

Nestled on Margate Road lies St John’s Cemetery, a treasure trove of history and Margate’s sole active burial site

Images below courtesy of Chris Sandwell St John’s Cemetery volunteers q

Chris Sandwell q


nconspicuous from the road and generally overlooked for fear of missing the next turning when heading to the tip, St John’s Cemetery is in fact one of the town’s largest public green spaces. At a whopping 36 acres it continues to serve its original function while also offering a sanctuary for wildlife, including rarities like hares and a small population of albino squirrels. The moment I passed through the ornate cast iron gates and up the yew treelined driveway, I was struck by the tranquillity and sense of calm that the space creates. While sombre in mood, it’s an unquestionably beautiful environment - but that hasn’t always been the case. My visit, on a sunny day in early August, was to partake in a tour organised by Chris Sandwell who is a member of Friends of Margate Cemetery. The Friends are a voluntary organisation made up of retired pensioners who since 2000 have dedicated their time to restoring and preserving the cemetery grounds. The group’s formation, originally by Margaret Mortlock, the then Chairman of Thanet District Council, was timely; due to years of neglect the cemetery was all but completely overgrown. Peter Cox, who has been volunteering as a Friend for some 15 years, described the scenes during the 16-year clear-up job: “Apart from the pathways you couldn’t really go anywhere, and all the burial areas were completely and densely covered.” Even today, while the council are responsible for digging graves, cutting grass edges and employing staff to carry out some of the heavyduty maintenance of the space, the Friends are still the ones who keep graves in order as well as sharing details of the site’s rich history. At 68, Chris is the youngest of the group and has been enthusiastically carrying out the tours, which average 10-15 fascinated visitors, for the past decade. Following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather, he served in the Margate Lifeboat crew for most of his adult life, while working for the local sorting office. His local knowledge, particularly that of maritime history, is unique and vast. He starts the tour by explaining how the cemetery was created as a result of the Metropolitan Burial Act of 1852, which came about when “increasing population, combined

“The ever-filling grounds are home to graves spanning over 150 years, some completely unmarked, including that of the infamous and vicious smuggler Lucky Dick Ovenden” with limited space, meant that by the middle of the nineteenth century, church graveyards had become seriously overcrowded and unhygienic”. Up and down the country land was acquired and cemeteries were born. Originally open farmland, St John’s was completed in 1856 with the first recorded burial, that of Harriet Ross who had died of TB in the local Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, taking place on 8 October. The ever-filling grounds are home to graves spanning over 150 years, some completely unmarked, including that of the infamous and vicious smuggler Lucky Dick Ovenden. As well as sections dedicated to specific religions, including those of Hebrew and Greek Orthodox faith, there are plots for those who died in each of the world wars, including German pilots shot down over the town, and many a grave for those who lost their lives at sea. Perhaps one of the most tragic is that of promising young pilot Edmund Leonard George Betts (known as Elgy). In 1938, Elgy mysteriously crashed a light aircraft with local beauty queen Marjorie Walk aboard into the sea, killing both. Chris’ tour weaves its way through the stunning grounds and delivers many more tales from Margate’s rich past, and with green woodpeckers and jays flying overhead, it is a genuinely uplifting experience. But with the number of Friends steadily dwindling, there is a risk that many of the graves and the stories that come with them could be lost. Let’s hope more volunteers join the merry band soon. To find out more about volunteering and whether further tours are possible call the cemetery on 01843 577333

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Pool is Always Cool

Writer Anna Bang Photographer Ben Driftwood

Passionate pool player Anna Bang shares her love for the game and shows us why it’s time to get your ducks in a row for autumn


y love of pool started with wanting to find out what the intense-looking guys walking about with cased cues were up to. Having your own cue seemed committed. Once I got over my shyness and tried playing I discovered that pool isn’t the waster’s pastime some film directors use as a lazy shorthand for a shady character or location - rather it is the best fun! I’ve played in Margate, London, Berlin, Paris, New York, Copenhagen and Istanbul, and have never felt out of place. Women players aren’t the rare unicorns you might expect them to be. There’s a decent amount of us out there claiming a space at the table, proving that Steve Davis’ infamous quote, “You can’t play snooker without balls”, is indeed balls. Pool is a wonderful way of staying sharp; it encourages you to be tactical, use geometry and focus to encounter the sheer joy of those shots doing their thing. Most pubs can’t afford a pool table. They take up space that could be used to seat paying customers and are also expensive to upkeep. Luckily though, there are many places to play in Margate. Both the Lido Pool Hall and Bugsy’s have several tables so are a great place to start if you want to keep a low profile as a newbie. There’s a friendly atmosphere and none of the “you’re not from around here” vibe fans of B-movies may expect. The Wig & Pen, The Mulberry Tree, Quart in a Pint Pot, Odd Fellows, Bull’s Head, Sundowners and The Britannia all also boast tables. I spoke to four Margate residents to discover why they love playing pool. Pool player Ron Scott, photographed at The Mulberry Tree


Joe Lye p Painter-decorator and DJ “I started young,” says Joe. “Eight years old. My dad would take me to the pub, pop a £1 coin in the table and that was me sorted. He taught me how to play. As he was a regular in the Canterbury pubs, no one minded me being there.” He recalls how his worst moment playing involved being ‘seven balled’ on his birthday at The Wig & Pen. (In pool, if the black is sunk while one player still has all seven of his balls on the table, he has to drop his trousers and run around the table.) Joe’s favourite places to play in Margate are the Lido for snooker and The Wig & Pen for pool. “Pubs and pool go together. Without a pool table a pub is just a crap living room!”

Ron Scott ► Owner of RG Scott Furniture Mart Margate: An Emporium of everything Antique, Old Fashioned and Unusual “Pool helps me switch off; it’s relaxing,” says Ron. “All day long I’m worrying about paying the bills, wages, running a business. It’s on your mind. I play in a league so every Sunday night I’m either at the Lido or my local, The Mulberry Tree.” Ron has played pool for 45 years and although league playing can be stressful as you’re pitting yourself against different people all the time, it’s also fun. “People who join a league are generally team players so you meet some great people that way.”

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Polly High q Owner of joinery manufacturer Dovetail Joint Polly High is another well-known Margate face. An artist and joiner, she began playing pool as a 16-year-old when she started work at an art gallery in Bond Street. She’d meet a friend every day for lunch and they’d play at the Superama, a large pool hall on London’s Carnaby Street that sadly doesn’t exist any longer. Regular practice makes you dynamite at pool and, as you can imagine, she got very good indeed and didn’t get trounced till she was 19. “Love it!” she says. “I especially love playing ‘murder’, a great game if there’s a group of you. You each put a £1 down, you have three lives where you have to pot a ball and last one standing wins all the money.” Despite arthritis making it harder to play, she still enjoys a game at The Mulberry Tree.

Cynthia Lawrence-John p Co-owner of clothing store WerkHaus As well as co-owning WerkHaus, Cynthia is the Visual Arts Curator for POW! Thanet and a fashion director. “I played as a kid as a way of spending time with my older brother at the youth club,” she explains. “It was either boxing gloves or a pool cue. Pool was less painful! Recently I started playing again and remembered how much I enjoyed the focus. I like the geometry of it and the way nothing else exists while you’re at the table.” She recommends checking out YouTube videos for picking up tips on how to play. She and her son also enjoy watching snooker on BBC. “There’s something about the slow inevitability of the balls being successfully potted that’s very calming. And Theo loves the theme tune, so happy days!”

“I like the geometry of it and the way nothing else exists while you’re at the table”

Thank you to The Mulberry Tree and The Wig & Pen


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A New Way to School Writer Naomi Fisher Photography Courtesy of EKSS

What happens when the kids make the rules? Naomi Fisher discovers a radical learning community in Margate where children can play all day

Kezia Cantwell-Wright, a founding member of EKSS


en-year-old Cameron is jumping on the sofa. He’s a student at East Kent Sudbury School (EKSS) and he’s telling me how it works: “I get to do whatever I want except break the laws… There’s lots to do. I like to play with my friends and other stuff.” A staff member appears. “Hey! Stop!” I assume she’s telling him to get down, but she explains that he’s jumping on someone’s lunch. The lunch is removed, Cameron continues to jump. It turns out there’s no rule against jumping on sofas, but there is one about putting away your lunch. I realise that something unusual is going on here. EKSS is based on the principles of democracy and self-directed learning. Children and staff create and enforce the rules together. One seven-year-old proposed that pigs should be banned from school in case they ate all the food. The community discussed it and concluded the ban wasn’t necessary, but each suggestion is considered seriously. Cameron shows me his giant picture of the solar system. He’s included Jupiter’s storm, and he tells me how it will get smaller and in 300 million years will be gone. No one asked him to draw this picture. He chooses what he does, the philosophy being that people learn best when they are doing activities which are meaningful to them. It’s nothing like I expect a school to be. No classrooms, no desks, and no staffroom. There’s Lego, a doll’s house, board games and books. And everywhere you look, busy children. Some are running around, others are chatting, two are on computers and one is organising the art cupboard. This isn’t because it’s breaktime. It’s like this all the time. EKSS is a part-time learning community for

home-educated children, meeting in Cliftonville Community Centre. They are hoping to become a full-time independent school by Sept 2020. Kezia Cantwell-Wright is a founding staff member. She explained that they believe that each child’s learning is unique: “We don’t say that there are intelligences or talents that are more valued than any other. We won’t make them feel like a failure or that they are behind, just because they don’t learn to read at a certain age.” Rachel Jones is a staff member and mother of three children at EKSS. Her eldest son passed the Kent Test but chose to attend EKSS. Isn’t she worried he’ll miss out? “Is he going to live up to his potential in a Sudbury [democratic] school? I think yes, because he will have the ability to follow his own passions. It’s not just that things are placed in front of him, he can think about what he wants to do in life.” Different parents have their own reasons for making the choice. Antoinette Reid, whose sixyear-old is at EKSS, explained to me that as a black parent, she wants liberation and encouraging a sense of agency to be central to her daughter’s education. For Jones, it’s about mental wellbeing. “There is so much in life that people are fighting for and trying to get, and getting worried for, which just isn’t worth it. At the end of the day if they’re happy, that’s really what counts.” East Kent Sudbury School, Cliftonville Community Centre, 23 St Pauls Road, Margate, CT9 2DB 01843 224237


Margate Mercury

Children’s Margate

Compiled & written by

Emma Dublin

Whether you’re looking to sign your kids up to a weekly class, join a one-off creative workshop or enjoy an afternoon at the theatre, Margate has it all

Weekly Activities

For Discovering Wildlife WHAT: Cabbage patch outdoor play WHERE: Windmill Community Gardens, Margate CT9 3RX WHEN: Thursdays, 10.30am-12.30pm HOW MUCH? £2 for the first child, £1.50 each for further children This weekly carer and toddler group encourages little ones to join in with den-building, bug-hunting and ponddipping in a wildlife-rich environment. There are also stories, singing and arts & crafts activities, and the chance to grow, pick and cook seasonal fruit and veg. Take a packed lunch and dress for the weather forecast! TO BOOK: Call 01843 280555. Suitable for age 5 and under

For Great Communicators

For Budding Athletes

WHAT: Hearing Hands British sign language lessons WHERE: Scout Hut, St Crispin’s Road, Westgate CT8 8EB WHEN: Monday & Friday 4.30pm5.30pm, term time only HOW MUCH? £5 per session

WHAT: Margate Junior Parkrun WHERE: Hartsdown Park, Hartsdown Road, Margate CT9 5QY WHEN: Sundays, 9am HOW MUCH? Free, but advance registration is required

Encourage children to learn an additional communication skill with these weekly, hour-long Level 1 BSL lessons, aimed to raise awareness of deaf culture and promote inclusivity in schools and society. TO BOOK: Call 07920 021737. Suitable for ages 6+

This weekly 2K timed running event caters for children of all abilities. While kids can check their results and set themselves time challenges, the real emphasis is on having fun and encouraging an active lifestyle. TO JOIN: Register at margate-juniors. Suitable for ages 4-14

For Keeping Fit While Having Fun WHAT: Hula-hooping skills WHERE: Blessed Dance Co & Studios, Channel Road, Margate CT9 4JS WHEN: Weekly from September. Visit website for dates HOW MUCH? £5.50 per class. Hoops provided This Bean Spins hosts a weekly fitness class with a twist, literally! Children can learn the art of hula-hooping, boosting their self-confidence while mastering tricks and games that are sure to impress their friends. TO BOOK: Call 07376 132150, For ages 6+

For Promoting Mindfulness WHAT: Mindful Yogis WHERE: All Saints Church Hall, Margate CT9 5QL WHEN: Wednesdays weekly from 4 September, 3.45pm and 4.45pm HOW MUCH? £5 per session with a 50% discount for siblings Encourage kids to take time out and explore yoga and mindfulness through songs, stories, games and activities. These weekly sessions hosted by Well-being Warriors have a focus on inclusivity. TO BOOK: Call 07738 444061. Most suited to ages 4-10

Margate Mercury


Events and Workshops


On Stage this Autumn

For Budding Artists

For Fun Family Activities

The Wizard of Oz

WHAT: Dot Kids Sunday Sessions WHERE: Cliffs, Northdown Road, Margate CT9 2QN WHEN: 13 October & 10 November, 11am to 12.30pm HOW MUCH? Sessions cost £15, which includes all materials and snacks

WHAT: We Are Family Market & Meet WHERE: Margate Baptist Church, New Street entrance, Margate CT9 1EG WHEN: 5 October, 11am to 4pm

Presented by Stage Door Theatre Company and adapted from the muchloved 1939 film by the Royal Shakespeare Company, this family-friendly show brings the story’s most popular songs and moments to the stage.

Drop the kids off and pop upstairs for a leisurely brunch while they learn about a prominent artist and create their own piece of art inspired by their work. Children will explore the experimental cut-outs series by Matisse in the October session, while November’s workshop will focus on the creativity of slogan art looking at the works of Bob and Roberta Smith. TO BOOK: Visit Suitable for ages 5-16

Fill a few hours at this pop-up family market featuring products and crafts from local makers and fun activities for kids, including a craft session by Art Stars Kent. HOW MUCH? Entry is free

5-8 September, various times Theatre Royal Margate 01843 292795,

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly Pam Adams’ best-selling book is celebrating its 45th anniversary, so what better time for The People’s Theatre Company to present their fun, singalong show, suitable for kids of all ages. Join in with well-known songs including “Incy Wincy Spider” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. 26 October, 2.30pm Theatre Royal Margate 01843 292795,

Stick Man Kick off the Christmas season with Freckle Productions’ adaption of Stick Man, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s hit children’s book, packed with puppetry, songs and live music. Will he ever get back to the family tree? 16-17 November, various times Theatre Royal Margate 01843 292795,

*GET INVOLVED* Booking is now open for Aladdin, this year’s Christmas panto from Wicked Productions at Theatre Royal Margate. Auditions for the junior chorus will be held on 22 September, 11.30am-1.30pm, with registration from 11am. Visit the Facebook page at Margate Panto for more details.


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The store also offers a complete commercial range designed for commercial applications such as offices, restaurants, hotels and the leisure industry. With professionals experienced in interior projects, they are able to collaborate with larger project teams or simply create perfect solutions for smaller projects. BoConcept Canterbury’s Contract Director, Chris Bishop says “With over 50 years of in-house experience in the construction industry we seek to create exceptional solutions for our customers and business clients alike.” Rachel continues, “Great furniture doesn’t have to cost the earth. We create products

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Margate Mercury


Adventures in Colour


Writer Ros Anderson Photographer Jo Bridges

Drowning in a sea of paint swatches? Stuck in a decorating rut? Claire Templer’s colour consultancy helps homeowners decorate with confidence and flair

Image by Tracy Jones

Carl Jung said colour is the mother tongue of the subconscious,” Claire Templer tells me when we meet. “It’s something we all understand instinctively. It’s spoken to us since the beginning of time, and communicates messages to us all day long.” It is this take on colour, concerned with the way it can make us feel as well as how it looks, that sets Claire apart from the average interior designer. Claire set up her colour consultancy Colour Ventures after her first daughter was born, moving away from her original career in IT. She studied with colour psychologist Angela Wright before taking a degree in interior design at the KLC School of Design. Since moving to Margate she has undertaken a number of projects, ranging from single homes to full houses. “When I go into a home I do a lot of research,” Claire says of the process. “I immerse myself in the client’s taste, and the history of the property.” Anything can provide a jumping-off point for a scheme, from the client’s taste in movies to a specific dress, or even a plant in the garden outside. “When we first get together everything is on the table. Pinterest boards, drawings, magazine pull-outs.” Working with the client’s tastes Claire then develops a colour palette for the house, which can extend to all the furnishings and finishes as well as just paint colours. Claire sees her role as offering advice and encouragement, and possibly pushing

“Every project is unique, because I always design around the people who are going to be living there” clients out of their comfort zone a little. But not too much. “I’ve learned over the years never to persuade someone into something they really don’t like,” she says. “No matter how good I think it will look, they have to live with it.” The process, she says, is one that needs time, both for ideas to evolve, and for clients to settle into what is often a new space, before making any definite decisions. And while the powers of persuasion are certainly part of her professional skill-set, she sees her job as facilitating a harmonious scheme for the owner, rather than imposing her own ideas. “I would say I don’t have a style,” Claire says. “I probably have a bit of a richness to the work, but every project is unique, because I always design around the people who are going to be living there.” Claire’s knowledge and passion are infectious, but I wonder whether providing interior design services can be seen as an unnecessary expense. “It is one of the challenges,” she agrees, “that people think ►


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it’s a luxury service and they can’t afford it. But I’ve established a lot of trade discounts locally and it can create quite a significant saving. And it really saves on redoing things later, so you’re not thinking, ‘Oh gosh, that was a mistake.’ Decorating is expensive, even just replacing paint. So I save my clients time, energy, and I help them make decisions confidently.” It is this aspect of the job that she enjoys most, helping a homeowner to keep their vision alive during the long process of renovating, and inspiring them to make choices they’ll love for years to come. “Having someone who knows how to manipulate colour to give the mood and feel they’re after can really enhance the quality of life that they have inside their house,” Claire says about her work. “I love it. It’s really rewarding. To see a project finished is the best thing. The best.” See more of Claire’s projects at or follow her on Instagram @colourventures

Creating a coastal colour palette

Claire offers her advice on creating a colour scheme inspired by life by the sea “The first winter I lived in Margate I discovered the wind was a physical thing! I could almost bite on it, which I’d never experienced in London. The colours of the coast can be so bleak at times, but wild, and there’s a beauty in that. If people were going to build an interior scheme around the colours of the coast I would encourage them to look at not just the typical sea colours, but also the colours that are found in shells, the sunsets, the rocks. That could range from pinks to blues, purples and browns. And then you can play with textures too – smooth sand, rough rock – and look at how those can be incorporated. The colours can be in the tiles, with neutral walls, or in furnishing with wools and thick fabrics.“



Margate Mercury


Inside Margate Museum Writer Twinkle Troughton Photographer Joel Knight

Margate Museum is a curious collection of memorabilia, artworks, seaside paraphernalia and much more, a unique archive of Margate in years gone by. Architect Helen Leask, a trustee at the museum, tells us about the team’s ambitious plans for this landmark building, including renovating its interiors and widening their outreach

What’s happening behind the scenes at Margate Museum? Since establishing the Margate Museums Trust (MMT) we have been very busy professionalising our operations, gaining charitable status and putting us on the path to accreditation with the Arts Council. We have also established the Museum as an Asset of Community Value and created a new brand identity with the generous pro bono design services of Gordon Beckett of Mauve Studios, which has been adopted in our new external signage. Tell us about the recent renovations. We are thrilled to have carried out a modest refurbishment of our main entrance and reception area, which was formerly the sergeant’s office of the old police station. We have revealed the original volume of the space and refurbished the original parquet floor. New full-height doors have been installed, and we’ve opened up our side entrance to create a ramped wheelchair access to the ground floor. The concept was to create a library/study-like space: intimate, calm and welcoming. We also have a new dedicated shop area which will be stocked with Margate Museum branded tote bags and

sustainably sourced goodies, enabling us to raise more funds for our charity for future projects. How did you make this happen? I became a trustee of the MMT, and as the sole principal of Leask Architecture I offered my services pro bono to design and administer the reception works, for which we were granted Listed Building Consent in October 2018. A generous donation from the Perloff family match-funded the MMT’s contribution - thanks to our generous visitors who have made small but significant donations whilst visiting the museums - and helped make the project a reality. The works were expertly executed by G&W Gardner and the beautiful internal joinery was fabricated by Margate-based The Shop Joinery. What events do you have coming up? Our Turner’s Margate exhibition opens on 21 September and runs parallel to the Turner Prize. This fantastic exhibition focuses on Margate as JMW Turner would have known it as a schoolboy and into adult life as an artist. It’s being supported by The Heritage Fund, enabling us to broaden our audience and work with fantastic local professionals: Daniel Sutton of Designmap on the exhibition design and Gordon Beckett on

the graphics. Support events include free “Paint it like Turner” workshops and a Georgian food and music fayre, so stay tuned on our Facebook page (Margate Museum) for news! What future plans do you have? We have big ambitions for renovating and improving the museum. TDC currently own the building and the museum’s collection but are planning to carry out a community asset transfer process, which will enable us to bid for its ownership, enabling us to access grant funding for future much needed renovations. We also welcome donations! We have a tremendously devoted team of knowledgeable volunteers, who bring such enthusiasm to the visitor experience. We are actively looking for more volunteers, so would welcome anyone with a love of our local history to join us.


Margate Mercury


Orange Peels in the Sand Writer

Brian Gutierrez


Michael Goodson


f you’re from Thanet, you’ve probably seen me. I’m Reggie, the gorgeous Seagull (that capital letter was deliberate) shrieking, squawking, and occasionally cursing on a laptop around Margate. I prefer the food here, especially the chips. Actually, I’m chomping on a couple right now. Mmm-squawk! You’re probably thinking: “Woah! A Thanetian Seagull communicating via the written word?” Well, yes. My lifestyle is built for it, eavesdropping and getting uncomfortably close to you all. Although, most of the conversations I hear are as dry as the white streaks I left on an Audi the other week (when it was still sunny). Once, I heard a man describing a footballer’s foot that was, apparently, yellow like a banana. What can I possibly do with that? Write a slap-stick tragedy about a footballer and his swollen feet? Mind you, mine aren’t the prettiest. They’re also fruit-like and remind me of orange peels. Side note: good stuff - use description for existential poem or short story. Title? Orange Peels in the Sand… Any who, it’s amazing what you’ll find whilst flying around and dodging rocks from children. I found this clunky laptop chucked in an alley. And, although it reeks of urine and dry beer, it’s the only tool a writer really needs - that and unwebbed feet. But I try my best, or scream - depends how I feel. I like to think that spreading the message of a Seagull’s life, through prose, motivates me to carry on. Speaking of which, here’s a story (or selfreflection piece) that gives a whole new meaning to struggling writer.

Penny Rope Writer

Matthew Charles


rom a distance I watched the sun descend, casting a flamingo pink across the sea. The stone pier silhouetting and droit house standing proud announcing the time was near. I grabbed my duffel bag and crept down the slip road leading to a promenade with cliffs towering over on my right. I continued along finally reaching an opening into the cliffs leading to tunnels which veined beneath the streets of Margate. I threw my duffel into the confined gap and hurled myself after. The small cove lead to an open space. Cold stones surrounded me, dampness latched onto my skin and crept into my lungs. There was a beauty within the tunnels, not quite like the grotto with its richness of curiosity

As I rested on the steps of an old Victorian house, I smelled the loveliest vinegar in the world and I, a squalid, downcast bird, was hungry. It wasn’t the vinegar smell of sweat and perfume as I find on summer nights, but of chips. Squawking, to alert the owner to my presence, I zoomed off and followed the scent, proclaiming in mid-air: “I’m coming, look out!” (I am a decent bird after all.) The owner, a

and wonders behind the creation. An eerie sense flooded me as I ventured deeper into the winding passages, my torch only reaching darkness as I entered another vein leading me deeper under Margate. A room appeared storing crates which were covered in old sheets, concealing their possessions. Taking hold of one of the sheets, I peered at what was underneath. An echo of footsteps disturbed my investigation. Hastily searching for another exit to escape I realised the only way out was the way I had come. Flinging myself behind a crate, my heart pounded and a heat of sweat surged through me from where I hid. Three outlines walked closer clearing the gap between me and the way out. I leapt up and ran as shouting erupted, filling the caves before the stomping of feet followed. They were closing in as they announced my directions of twists and turns, torch light mimicked their running hitting me like a flood light. My feet stumbled along the uneven surface and skipped over old tracks. A set of stone stairs appeared leading to a hatch above. Reaching my hand out I clutched the lever in desperation. Finally, I broke the door open and scrambled up, flinging it closed behind me. I dragged an old chest

large man with tattoos up his neck, waved his arms. At last, I thought, a generous invitation, until I noticed they were aimless slaps. His girlfriend screamed. My wings flapped around them and I wish they would have heard me say, “No dramas! I’m leaving!” But I guess they didn’t. He yelled something about ducking and a runt (I quite couldn’t catch that) and the chips landed in the sand. I dived toward them and lifted as many as I could into my beak. As I flew off, with salt and sand on my tongue, the man raised his fists in rage, yelling. Later that evening, as I sat on the beach with a belly full of chips, I looked out into the distance, digging those orange peels of mine deep into the sand, and wept. I know, I know. It’s a bit sloppy. But don’t forget, I’m a damn bird. Anyway, back to my observations… and chips! See you around!

over the wooden panels which were now banging in anger. Moonlight streamed through the lattice windows of the front room, the embers of the fireplace flickering the night to an end. The hatch eventually gave way as I hurtled towards the front door and scurried down a small pathway leading to the main gate. An officer appeared around the corner of the cobbled wall protecting the Tudor House. He stood with his arms open as I ran into him. There were no excuses that would escape from his grasp. His hands clamped my arms as he escorted me with no sign of interest to what I had witnessed. HMP Penny Rope Prison sign stood waiting for me. A grey cell door revealed a small arched chamber with a wooden bunk held by chains. The warden appeared with keys jangling from her belt, she locked the cell and peered through the barred window shaking her head before sliding the shutter leaving me with my shadow staring back at me on the white stone wall. The light shut off, finding myself in darkness I navigated with my hands when they stumbled across a thick rope, I held it tightly in my grasp and sat on the edge of the bunk.


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