AskDefine | Define margate

Dictionary Definition

margate n : red-mouthed grunt found from Florida to Brazil [syn: Haemulon album]

Extensive Definition

Margate is a seaside resort town within the Thanet district of East Kent, England. It lies east-northeast of Maidstone, along the North Foreland of the coastline of the United Kingdom.
Margate's history is closely tied to the sea; it was a "limb" of Dover in the ancient confederation of the Cinque Ports.


Margate was recorded as "Meregate" in 1264 and as "Margate" in 1299, but the spelling continued to vary into modern times. The name is thought to refer to a pool gate or gap in a cliff where pools of water are found, often allowing swimmers to jump in. The cliffs of the Isle of Thanet are composed of chalk, a fossil-bearing rock.
The town's history is tied closely to the sea and it has a proud maritime tradition. Margate was a "limb" of Dover in the ancient confederation of the Cinque ports. It was added to the confederation in the 15th century. Margate has been a leading seaside resort for at least 250 years. Like its neighbour Ramsgate, it has been a traditional holiday destination for Londoners drawn to its sandy beaches.
Margate had a fine Victorian era pier which was destroyed by a violent storm in 1978.

Margate railway station

Margate railway station serves the town of Margate in Thanet in Kent, England. Train services are provided by Southeastern Trains.


seealso List of mayors of Margate Since 1983, the Member of Parliament for North Thanet, covering northern Thanet and Herne Bay, has been the Conservative Roger Gale. At the 2005 General Election, in North Thanet the Conservatives won a majority of 7,634 and 49.6% of the vote. Labour won 32.2% of the vote, Liberal Democrats 14.4% and United Kingdom Independence Party 3.9%.
Margate is within the Thanet local government district. The town contains the seven electoral wards of Margate Central, Cliftonville West, Cliftonville East, Westbrook, Garlinge, Dane Valley and Salmestone. These wards have seventeen of the fifty six seats on the Thanet District Council. As of the 2007 Local Elections, nine of those seats were held by the Conservatives, seven by Labour and one by an Independent.


Margate also consists of Cliftonville, Garlinge, Palm Bay and Westbrook.


As of the 2001 UK census, Margate had a population of 40,386.
The ethnicity of the town was 97.1% white, 1.0% mixed race, 0.5% black, 0.8% Asian, 0.6% Chinese or other ethnicity.
The place of birth of residents was 94.2% United Kingdom, 0.9% Republic of Ireland, 0.5% Germany, 0.8% other Western Europe countries, 0.7% Africa, 0.6% Eastern Europe, 0.5% Far East, 0.5% South Asia, 0.5% Middle East, 0.4% North America and 0.3% Oceania.
Religion was recorded as 71.6% Christian, 0.7% Muslim, 0.2% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.1% Sikh and 0.3% Jewish. 17.1% were recorded as having no religion, 0.3% had an alternative religion and 9.8% didn't state their religion.
For every 100 females, there were 92.0 males. The age distribution was 6% aged 0-4 years, 16% aged 5-15 years, 5% aged 16-19 years, 31% aged 20-44 years, 23% aged 45-64 years and 19% aged 65 years and over.
11% of Margate residents had some kind of higher or professional qualification, compared to the national average of 20%.


As of the 2001 UK census, the economic activity of residents aged 16-74 was 33.8% in full-time employment, 11.8% in part-time employment, 8.0% self-employed, 5.5% unemployed, 2.2% students with jobs, 3.9% students without jobs, 15.5% retired, 8.3% looking after home or family, 7.9% permanently sick or disabled and 3.6% economically inactive for other reasons. The rate of unemployment in the town was considerably higher than the national rate of 3.4%.
The industry of employment of residents was 17% retail, 16% health & social work, 13% manufacturing, 9% construction, 8% real estate, 8% education, 7% transport & communications, 5% public administration, 6% hotels & restaurants, 2% finance, 1% agriculture and 6% other community, social or personal services. Compared to national figures, the town had a relatively high number of workers in the construction, hotels & restaurants and health & social care industries and a relatively low number in real estate and finance.
In more recent years, as tourists have travelled further afield, Margate's unemployment rate has become higher than much of the rest of southeast England.


For at least 250 years, the town has been a leading seaside resort in the UK, drawing Londoners to its sandy beaches. It was the first resort to introduce bathing machines and deck chairs, in 1898.
Like Brighton and Southend it was infamous for gang violence between mods and rockers in the 1960s.
Margate faces major structural redevelopments and large inward investment. Its Dreamland Amusement Park (featured in "The Jolly Boys' Outing" extended episode of the television series Only Fools and Horses) was threatened with closure because of the increase in value of the site. In 2003, one of the arcades on the seafront was destroyed by fire. This has created a new potential entrance point to the Dreamland site. In the following years, 2004–2006 it was announced that Dreamland (although somewhat reduced in its amusements) would reopen for three months of the summer; a pressure group has been formed to keep it in being. The group is anxious that the UK's oldest wooden roller coaster, The Scenic Railway, a Grade II Listed and the third oldest in the world was sadly destroyed in a fire on April 7th 2008. It was planned that the Dreamland site will reopen as a heritage amusement park in the near future with the Scenic Railway at the centre. Classic rides from the defunct Southport amusement park have already been shipped in as well as parts of the now demolished Water Chute at Rhyl. More details on Dreamlands future can be obtained from The Dreamland Trust web site.Today the Dreamland roller coaster is one of only two early twentieth century scenic railways still remaining in the UK and the only other surviving UK scenic railway is located in Great Yarmouth and was built in 1932. If the Dreamland scenic railway is not rescued the Great Yarmouth coaster would then be the last of its kind in the country. The Margate roller coaster is an ACE Coaster Classic.
Other attractions - Cliftonville next to Margate has a classic British Arnold Palmer seaside mini golf course.
A controversial gallery, The Turner Contemporary, has been proposed, as an alternative to Margate's traditional tourist trade, and when built it would have formed part of the harbour itself. Some critics, however, questioned the prudence of placing part of Britain's national art treasures in a spot that is exposed to the full fury of the North Sea. Thanet District Council have now moved the building from the harbour wall, to a plot of land adjacent to the harbour because of the spiralling costs for a sea born building. Work has a projected completion in 2009. The scheme had been supported by the artist Tracey Emin, who was brought up in Margate. It is hoped the gallery will help regenerate the town in the same way St Ives has benefited since the introduction of the Tate gallery.
There are two notable theatres, the Theatre Royal in Addington Street - the second oldest theatre in the country - and the Tom Thumb Theatre, the second smallest in the country, in addition to the Winter Gardens.
An annual jazz festival takes place during a weekend in July.
Margate Museum in Market Place explores the town's seaside heritage in a range of exhibits and displays.
The Shell Grotto, which has walls and roof covered in elaborate decoration of over four million shells, covering 2000 square feet, in complex patterns, was rediscovered in 1835, but is of unknown age and origin.
In addition there is a Tudor House in King Street.
Margate features as a destination in Graham Swift's novel Last Orders and the movie made version of it. Jack Dodds has asked to have his remains scattered at Margate. The book tells the tale of the drive to Margate and the memories evoked on the way. It also features at the start and as a recurrent theme in Iain Aitch's travelogue A Fete Worse Than Death. The author was born in the town.
Draper's Mill is a smock mill built in 1845 by John Holman. It was working by wind until 1916 and by engine until the late 1930s. It was saved from demolition and is now restored and open to the public.


Notable connections

  • In Big Brother 7 (2006), Big Brother briefly went on holiday to Margate and left the house-mates under the rule of Automated Big Brother.
  • In One Foot In The Grave the Meldrews stated they had visited Margate and Dreamland Margate in an episode was named "Dreamland".
  • Dreamland Margate
  • In 4 July 1978 Siouxsie and the Banshees played Dreamland Margate.
  • Fiona Phillips of GMTV fame lived as a child in Canterbury and is quoted as saying, "I used to love Dreamland at Margate; it was such a little child's idea of another world then. It was my Disneyland really."
  • Bad Manners front-man, Buster Bloodvessel (born Douglas Trendle on 6 September, 1958, London) founded the all too briefly popular 'Fatty Towers' Hotel/Restaurant, serving high-cholesterol cuisine. Buster also invested heavily in Margate Football Club, who were promoted to the Nationwide Conference in 2001.
  • The harbour area was also used in a music video by Chas & Dave for their song "Margate" (on their album Joblot) in 1982.
  • Two films by Tracey Emin, CV Cunt Vernacular (1997) and Top Spot (2004), are set in the town. Also, the play Hannah and Hanna by John Retallack is set in Margate. First premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001, it tells of the impact on the town had by an influx of Kosovan refugees.
  • Only Fools And Horses 1990 Christmas special "The Jolly Boys' Outing" was filmed all over the town including Dreamland, the railway station, Palm Bay and hotels in Dalby Square.
  • The Margate Exodus is a contemporary re-telling of the Book of Exodus, the story of Moses and his search for the promised land. A story about identity and migration. Written and directed by filmmaker Penny Woolcock, Exodus is a film for Channel Four shot on location in Margate, mainly in Dreamland. Exodus Day was a day of filmed live events that took place on Saturday 30 September 2006. The film was shown in 2007 at the cinema and on Channel Four.
  • J.M.W. Turner spent long periods in Margate and would use the skyscapes as inspiration for many of his paintings. Turner drank in what is now the oldest pub in Margate, The Northern Belle, and regularly travelled to Seasalter near Whitstable to sketch and paint the skies over the Isle of Sheppey, spending hours at Reculver to paint the skies over Margate and Sheppey from a different perspective.
  • Oscar Wilde described Margate as Ramsgate's 'nom de plume' and preferred the drinking dens of Margate to the more plush Public Houses and Hotels of Ramsgate whilst waiting for his passage to the continent.
  • Benjamin Beale invented the bathing machine in Margate, which popularised sea bathing amongst the Victorians. His bathing machines were pushed toward the shoreline so Victorian ladies and gentlemen could change into their bathing costumes and then walk immediately into the sea.


Margate is twinned with the following cities:


External links

margate in German: Margate (Kent)
margate in Spanish: Margate
margate in French: Margate
margate in Dutch: Margate
margate in Polish: Margate
margate in Romanian: Margate
margate in Simple English: Margate
margate in Swedish: Margate
margate in Volapük: Margate
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