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.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)