Monday, 26 November 2007

Harbouring Thoughts

All the horrible stuff going on in a Margate back garden reminded me that I'd been there once. Veering away from Dreamland and the pleasure beaches I came across this marvellous little building on the harbour. Once the Customs House, it was built in 1812 and sported the official coat-of-arms with its motto 'Dieu et Mon Droit' (God and My Right). Known ever since as the Droit House, it is now the worryingly- titled 'visitor intrepretation centre' for the planned Turner Contemporary Art Gallery which I think was once going to be a huge sail-like building anchored to the sea bed. Turner lived in Margate for twenty years. The only other astounding fact I know about Margate is that the railway once proudly claimed that it had the longest station lavatories in Britain, to accommodate the urgent rush of daytrippers from trains arriving from London. Ron Combo, a frequent visitor to the comment pages of this blog, and myself can attest to the fact that not only is it no longer true but on our desperate visit it was also locked.


Diplomat said...

You're so clever at dating some of our fine buildings - what accuracy and dedication to your research. Stands the clock at 13 minutes to three - a little early for tea but the building does have me reaching for the toasting fork and kettle. The owner's bravery in recognising the nom-de-gaff is outstanding and to be aplauded. Great pic of course.

Peter Ashley said...

Do you know, I had actually thumbed through Pevsner for the date, not found it, sworn, and then noticed it on the fascia.