Ramsgate Margate and Broadstairs are the three main towns on The Isle of Thanet situated in the far southeast of England, I run the bookshop in Ramsgate see www.michaelsbookshop.com and the www.thanetonline.com website. I publish over 100 books about the history of this area click here to look at them.
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Mayday Margate Mayor, pinch and a punch and a ramble about dignity.
The policemen have been getting younger for some time and
now it’s the mayors, despite being the only councillor with a formal
qualification in politics, one of the only councillors I have ever seen in
action, trying to do something positive for Margate here in Ramsgate, we must
of course ask ourselves is he dignified enough and also is Margate dignified
I noticed some time ago when I had a minor operation
that the surgeon performing it was a lot younger than me, well at the time,
going under as it were, my main concern was obviously, was he qualified, in
retrospect I do wonder if an unqualified, but older and more dignified amateur
would have been more interesting.
Pretty sure it said something about a fousand years of
history earlier, dodgy area history and some of Margate’s has been most
undignified, overall the dignified bit of Margate history, is a bit difficult
to pin down.
Mind you at the moment the local Conservatives seem to
mostly be backing the losing horses, night flights, gay marriage, maritime
museum and now young people in politics. I guess there must be some sort of age
limit here as the youngest Conservative Prime Minister was only two years older
I guess though that from the blue point of view, it would be
best, if we are going to have red mayor, for he or she to be a bad mayor and I
doubt that Will will be that.
One thing that does concern me a bit is that the only
councillor who appears to have a qualification in politics isn’t in the
With Margate there was certainly a brief period of dignity
in the early 1800s before the steam boats made it the easiest and cheapest
seaside destination, this picture is from 1810 an ooses dignity, or at least ooses.
I think the first mayors would have been the bailiffs or
maires of starting from the Norman conquest in 1066, at that time I think it would only
have been cities that warranted a maire the spelling is a bit variable, anglosaxon is not my strong point.
My guess is that for the most part they would have been
pretty much young thugs.
The first written reference for possibly a Margate maire, that I
can see at a glance, is written by order of the regency of Isabella and Roger,
Edward III being to young to govern after the abdication.
Pardon the translation, my latin being as rusty as my
computer coding: 1338 To Bailiff Mergat. Merchants of Spain Catalonia Lombardy
Aquitane have the king’s friendship and are to be compassionately received.
On the whole I would say from the correspondence the
monarchy and barons of the Cinque Ports had considerable trouble with the men
of Mergate, who were often liberating the cargos and throwing the crew over the
side to drown.
If Will makes it far enough, he certainly wouldn’t be able to
lay claim to be the youngest Thanet MP as he wouldn’t beat Harmsworth, 2nd
Viscount Rothermere (29 May 1898 – 12 July 1978) the Conservative politician,
In 1919, he was elected as a Unionst [Conservative] Member of Parliament for
the Isle of Thanet.
The lowest ebb of Margate’s dignity was written up by
Admiral Howard, after the Spanish Armada.
"The men have long been unpaid and need relief." The lack of
fresh water caused an outbreak of disease and they went to Margate for help. As
they were still waiting for their wages to be paid they were unable to buy
fresh food for themselves. Howard wrote bitterly: "It is a most pitiful
sight to see, here at Margate, how the men, having no place to receive them
into here, die in the streets. I am driven myself, of force, to come a-land, to
see them bestowed in some lodging; and the best I can get is barns and
outhouses. It would grieve any man's heart to see them that have served so
valiantly to die so miserably."
Anyway if I can get it to work this little film about
Dreamland in its heyday I think sums things up.
O Dreamland is a 1953 documentary by British film director Lindsay Anderson, filmed at Dreamland.