Sunday, 26 June 2011

Margate Historical Society Meeting 14th July 3pm - 5pm

The Margate Historical Society are having a meeting in the Baptist Church in Cecil Square, we are using the big hall at the back entrance, and will be havinf a speaker from Underground Kent see flyer below.

'Thursday 14th July at the Baptist Church, (New Street Entrance) From 3pm till 5pm Margate Historical Society invite you to come and hear about the Society and how to become a member as well as a talk from Barry Stewart of Underground Kent. FREE to Members of the Historical Society, open to non members for subscription of 50p included tea/coffee and biscuits. PLEASE CALL TO BOOK PLACE AS THEY ARE LIMITED ON 01843 223300'

Margate Museum opening 25th June 2011 Tony Ovenden

Today I did my bit as a volunteer for todays opening at the Margate Museum which was also a great opportunity to have a good look around with the intention of seeing what was there from Ramsgate in the Museum archive. It has been four years since I last looked at the archive and it was a bit of a surprise that nothing was dusty and everything was in its place. However, it did take me a while to familiarise myself with the files. It was no surprise the vast majority of the files were Margate related, from Ramsgate there were five main files on Ramsgate in general, two files on Ramsgate pubs, one file on Ramsgate Mayors with research notes and smaller files on subjects like Sally ferries etc., Most of the Ramsgate archive were copy documents all neatly filed with a few photographs and some original material which are all ideal for scanning. Looking at all the files it is clear that the vast majority can be scanned which would easily reduce the storage space by about seventy five per cent or more. The most refreshing thing about the archive being that every part of Thanet is well represented and it all can be scanned and stored on a data base.

There is not much Museum gossip to write about other than that the loans from the Medway Steam Preservation Society are to be returned as the loan period is near the end, which will make some space available in the maritime room.

Overall, the day did go well and considering the economic climate and the pressures on local government finances, I think it is a good idea by TDC to open the Museum to coincide with events using the volunteer base from the Friends of the Margate Museum until firm decisions about the Museum are made.

On July 4th the Friends of the Margate Museum will be having a meeting at the Old Town Hall at 19:30 hrs for those that are interested

Friday, 24 June 2011

Starting Out Again by Tony Ovenden

Following the disastrous fire a few years ago at the Ramsgate library the question that went through the minds of Margate historians was what would we do if the Margate Museum suffered the same fate and how would we react. This led to a great rethink within the Margate Historical Society which by then had become fully independent from the Margate Museum. The decision was to research and publish quality articles and distribute the findings as far and wide as possible. Very much the same as what the Margate Civic Society is doing at present, producing and distributing quality items. So if the hub of information is affected by a disaster then information can be pulled back in and it can be business as usual. A fine example of Margates history stored outside the recognised hub of the Margate Museum and library and how it can be achieved has to be Tony Lee's Margate history website which is featured on my favourites side bar.

However, this does not resolve the problem of replacing artefact's which does sound a daunting task. A key to this is how the Margate Museum developed in the past ten years and how easy it is thanks to the Internet to acquire historical artefact's. In fact it is now possible to set up a Museum on a relatively low budget and with public donations of items the possibility of setting up a collection within a year or so is achievable.

I could never understand why after the fire at the Ramsgate library that the history of Ramsgate as told in artefact's and exhibits sort of died, and when the Maritime Museum closed it seems as if everyone sort of gave up. Exceptions being, Ralph Hoult who happens to have his own private museum, Terry Wheelers fledgling Ramsgate Historical Society and the Ramsgate History forum on the net.

Now that I have settled in as a Ramsgate Town Councillor, I have been slowly but surely going through every single print of Ramsgate on the Internet, looking at where I can source items should I need to, I have also started a database on Ramsgate artefact's, I have started buying in items and I am researching into Ramsgate items in local authority ownership. In fact I am using everything I learnt through experience at the Margate Museum as a Margate Historian and I am now applying it to Ramsgate. I doubt if I will ever be an "expert" on the history of Ramsgate but I do know I have the minerals to do something about its sad decline.

I came across this excellent engraving from the Illustrated London news which is going through ebay at the moment for £18.50, it is so tempting.