Seaside sadness

Britain’s seaside towns have a reputation of being tired, neglected and lacking in charm – and Margate in Kent, south-east England is no exception.

Visitors to the town arriving by train from London on the sleek high-speed train might be disappointed by first impressions.

It is dominated by a 1960s tower block which sits close to Dreamland, an amusement park which currently lies idle. Another small parade of shops now sits derelict and is a depressing den of graffiti.





This urban wasteland overlooks the golden sands of the beach, while gaudy amusement arcades offer the only recreation.

The town’s high street, meanwhile, has a poor selection of stores and is anything but bustling.

Just out of sight, there is a building bearing the sign ‘Limbo’. It seems to sum up the feeling of this slice of coastal life.

And back to the huge tower block, some large letters in a window spell out ‘Tesco’ – the name of the UK’s biggest retailer.

There is a row over whether the store should be allowed to move into Margate. It looks and feels more like a cry for help.






But there is more than one side to every story. Margate has more than one dimension which I will reveal soon.

10 thoughts on “Seaside sadness

  1. I grew up in Bognor Regis so I know what you are saying! On the other hand, there are some very beautiful and well-cared for coastal towns, Lyme Regis being an excellent example.


  2. Tell me about it! I grew up in Redcar (an my family still live there), which sits on the north-east coast and is completely encircled by a declining steel and chemical industry. The sea front comprises a strip a run down/dingy amusement arcades, fish & chip shops, ice-cream parlours and cafés, and the high-street is full of boarded-up shops, pound shops and rough/sketchy pubs/bars.


    • There are quite a few dead end seaside towns in this country which is a real shame. It shouldn’t take the arrival of a major art gallery to breathe a bit of new life into one of these places. I bet there’s a right chilly wind at Redcar too!


  3. Pingback: Things I learned this week…and last « Peggy Isaacs

  4. Sadly, I recognise only too well this side of Margate. I have visited there numerous times in my youth and teens – I remember the amusement park only too well, and had seen its decline in the years I visited there. It’s unfortunate that Thanet District Council had let the town decline in order to save others like Ramsgate and Herne Bay. A couple of friends of mine work for Kent Constabulary, and the posting they dreaded – and the one one of them got – was Margate… (There are as many murders in Margate per year as in the rest of the county put together…)


    • Yes, I went there as a child – my aunt and uncle ran a guesthouse in “posh” Cliftonville. I walked up there and found it very sad too. However, I did see glimmers of hope which I’ll reveal shortly.


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