Thursday, August 13, 2009

Margate (via Kingsgate)

We were toying with the idea of going to Margate as we had heard on the grapevine that Margate is being hailed as the new 'Hackney by the Sea'. Not to mention the faded charm of the esplanade, with artists such as Tracey Emin getting involved in part of the council's current regeneration scheme to support and sponsor artists, it's no wonder that there has been talk surrounding the seaside town. Not quite Whitstable or Broadstairs (but clearly not trying to be either), it is still a way off being cool again but there are definitely the first signs emerging. Wandering round, we noticed the shop windows filled with artists' installations but even more exciting was the Turner Contemporary Space which we stumbled accross just as we were about to leave. Mark parry's ice-cream cone installation was one of the best things in there but there were lots of other things that we wish we could have had more time to appreciate too. You can read about Tracey Emin's proposed piece here.

Just as we were leaving Margate, one of our friends who works for a creative exhibtion planning studio phoned and as a coincidence told us that she is most probably moving to Margate as her office is relocating there. Bizarre, there is a buzz beginning it would seem. We'll be going back soon to see how it is progressing...


  1. I hope you're right about Margate's future. Being born and bred there, I don't share your optimism. For years Margate has been going downhill. I do not believe there's the vision, political will, creativity or innovation amongst those in power to make a real difference.

    Your second photo down of the garish plastic hoarding above an amusement arcade, in my opinion, is just typical of the absurd decision making of the local authority in recent times. How could you allow that to be plastered over a beautiful Regency building once the Kent Hotel?

    The recent news that Margate is now the most boarded-up town in the UK confirms what I have been saying and writing for years - Margate is the failure capital of the UK.

  2. What a shame you feel that way. Perhaps it is easier for us to be open-minded about somewhere we have never visited before and hear little snippets of exciting news about. Our journey so far has taken us through a mixture of old and new holiday resorts because although we could choose to focus solely on the new popular 'staycation' destinations, we feel it is hard to do so without identifying the old favourites.

    Our fascination with the old arcade/funfair signage may not be shared with everyone but as we weren't fortunate enough to experience the Kent Hotel before it was 'plastered over', we were looking at what was in front of our eyes, in the little time we had to explore.

    Coney Island in New-York ( is an interesting case study on regeneration of seaside towns. Although not in England, the once run-down, ghetto resort is now the epitome of cool. Capitalising on the magic of carnivalesque funfairs of the past, Coney Island is a weird and wonderful place to visit nowadays.

    Whether or not this kind of thing is possible with Margate is yet to be seen but as romantics and optimists, it would be lovely to think it was : )