Thursday, 23 March 2017

Margate in 1904 and today watercolour paining and reflections

My bookshop being closed today as it is Thursday I went bookbuying in Faversham, Herne Bay and Margate, three towns with five secondhand bookshops between them, this type of day which culminated in my winding up painting in Turner Contemporary Art Gallery’s café leaves me thinking that something must be done about the Thanet town centres.


As I sketched a bit more of the view in Margate the news came through that Margate Caves has been awarded a further million plus in funding and will open in 2019. I think part of the problem with Margate town centre, is Turner Contemporary itself, the current exhibition lacks any conventional work of art which could be a draw for conventional people with conventional money. 

By this I mean that when we had – for instance – our Trace displaying sketches of blue women inserting something blue where the sun don’t shine this was offset by having Rodin’s Kiss. There is nothing of the order of The Kiss in the gallery at the moment and the visitor numbers seem very low – apart from the café and the loos that is.

I see in the offing we have Phyllida Barlow, Michael Armitage, I hope these will be crowd pullers, but have my concerns. I also feel that as the gallery is mostly publicly funded with a fair chunk coming out of the council tax there is some responsibility to pull in the crowds, to make the shops work.

The gallery has had a good run recently with Grayson Perry and JWM Turner Adventures in Colour, but they need to keep it up.

All of these following pictures were taken in Margate in 1903 for the the first book with lots of photographic adverts, useful for dating old Margate photos and I recommend you come into my bookshop here in Ramsgate and give it a browse in conjunction with the Margate street directory for that time. If you can’t get to Rmasgate easily here is the link to buy it online http://michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/margate_and_westgate_with_birchington_1903_04.htm










For the dedicated followers here is the link to the books that went out in my bookshop yesterday http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/mr-benn-in-bookshop.html

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Wetherspoons Royal Victoria Pavilion opening rumoured to be delayed

I have heard from two different sources today that the new Wetherspoons pub at the Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate that was due to open in June won’t now open until September due to issue related to the roof of the building. 

I have added a few pictures of the Royal Victoria Pavilion to the post.























and here it is yesterday 




Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Mockett’s Journal and the answers to the tricky Broadstairs photos.

I suppose in terms of trying to form a picture of Thanet 200 years ago, the nearest you can get to sitting down over a meal or a drink with a local resident from that time is reading Mockett’s Journal.

John Mockett (1775~1848) was a farmer in the Isle of Thanet at the beginning of the 1800s. He was a churchwarden to St. Peters Broadstairs in the Isle of Thanet at a time when the parish administered local government, so he had considerable responsibility for the care of the population and the environment.

His journal provides an insight into life at that time in Thanet and particularly Ramsgate and St Peter’s.

He was partly responsible for, farming the poor sic. in Thanet and notes that the keeper of St Peter’s Poorhouse erected a public cage to display offenders.

Some of his thoughts involve a sort of mental triplethink, eg. When coaches first appeared in England a law was passed to prevent men from riding in them as it was thought too effeminate.

So the plan with this post is look at the picture of John Mockett  and read some of his journal, we have the whole book in the bookshop, for the very keen.


















The answers to the tricky Broadstairs pictures in yesterdays post are, Trinity Church, with tower. Snow & Co was 17, High St. The Prince Albert, High Street, midway between the station and the seafront and Balmoral Hotel with Balmoral Gardens (facing the sea) Albion St.


Some of the scarcer Middleton Press local railway books went out in the shop today, all of them under a tenner, see the bookshop blog http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/middleton-press-southern-in-bookshop.html