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.
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.
Yes, it’s true. They seemed to have escaped the scourge of seaside sadness. There would appear to be more sorry resorts on the east coast.
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!
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Thank you very much, Peggy. Very flattered indeed!
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.
this place sure looks depressing…especially that horrible tower whish was built right on the beach! Jesus! Please let us see the other dimension of Margate soon!
Definitely not the right place for a massive tower block! The other sides to the town make up for this disappointment for sure.