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Margate is a seaside resort town within the Thanet districtmarker of East Kentmarker, Englandmarker. It lies east-northeast of Maidstonemarker, along the North Forelandmarker of the coastline of the United Kingdom.

Margate's history is closely tied to the sea; it was a "limb" of Dovermarker 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 Thanetmarker 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 Dovermarker 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 Ramsgatemarker, it has been a traditional holiday destination for Londoners drawn to its sandy beaches.

Margate had a Victorian pier which was destroyed by a violent storm in 1978.

The Thanet Offshore Wind Projectmarker was under construction in 2009 and the site is now visible from the seafront.

Margate railway station

Margate railway station, constructed in 1926 to designs by Edwin Maxwell Fry, serves the town. Train services are provided by Southeastern Trains.


Since 1983, the Member of Parliament for North Thanetmarker, covering northern Thanetmarker and Herne Baymarker, 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 was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1857. This was abolished in 1974, since which date Margate has been part ofthe Thanetmarker district of Kentmarker. The town contains the seven electoral wards of Margate Central, Cliftonvillemarker 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 Cliftonvillemarker, Garlingemarker, Palm Baymarker and Westbrook.


Margate experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.


Margate Compared
2001 UK Census Margate Thanet England
Population 57,008 126,702 49,138,831
Foreign born 5.8% 5.1% 9.2%
White 97% 98% 91%
Asian 1.2% 0.6% 4.6%
Black 0.5% 0.3% 2.3%
Christian 72% 74% 72%
Muslim 0.7% 0.5% 3.1%
Hindu 0.2% 0.2% 1.1%
No religion 17% 16% 15%
Over 65 years old 19% 22% 16%
Under 18 years old 15% 21% 19%
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 Irelandmarker, 0.5% Germanymarker, 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 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%.


Junior and infant

Secondary modern and grammar


  • Farrow House School
  • Laleham Gap School
  • Royal School for Deaf Children


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 south eastern England.


For at least 250 years, the town has been a leading seaside resort in the UK, drawing Londoners to its beaches, Margate Sands. The bathing machines in use at Margate were described in 1805 as "four-wheeled carriages, covered with canvas, and having at one end of them an umbrella of the same materials which is let down to the surface of the water, so that the bather descending from the machine by a few steps is concealed from the public view, whereby the most refined female is enabled to enjoy the advantages of the sea with the strictest delicacy."

Like Brightonmarker and Southendmarker it was infamous for gang violence between Mods and Rockers in the 1960s, and mods and skinheads in the 1980s.

Margate faces major structural redevelopments and large inward investment. Its Dreamlandmarker 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 to restore the UK's oldest wooden roller coaster, The Scenic Railwaymarker, which is Grade II Listed and the second oldest in the world, and which was severely damaged in a fire on 7 April 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 Rhylmarker. More details on Dreamland's future can be obtained from the Dreamland Trust website. Today the Dreamland roller coaster is one of only two early-20th century scenic railways still remaining in the UK; the only other surviving UK scenic railway is located in Great Yarmouthmarker 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 - Cliftonvillemarker next to Margate has a classic British Arnold Palmer seaside mini golf course.

A controversial gallery, the Turner Contemporarymarker, 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 Seamarker. 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. Construction work on the project has a projected completion of December 2010. 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 Ivesmarker has benefited since the introduction of the Tate Gallerymarker.

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. The Theatre Royal was built In 1787, burnt in 1829 and remodelled in 1879 giving Margate more national publicity. The exterior is largely from the l9th century.

An annual jazz festival takes place during a weekend in July.

Margate Museum in Market Place explored the town's seaside heritage in a range of exhibits and displays until it was closed in late 2008 when the local authority suddenly withdrew funding to a number of museums.The Shell Grottomarker, which has walls and roof covered in elaborate decoration of over four million shells, covering 2,000 square feet, in complex patterns, was rediscovered in 1835, but is of unknown age and origin. It has been designated as a grade I listed building.
Tudor House
There is a 16th century 2 storeys timber-framed Tudor house built onto a flint plinth, in King Street.

Margate features as a destination in Graham Swift's novel Last Orders and the film 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.

T. S. Eliot who recuperated after a mental breakdown in the suburb of Cliftonvillemarker in 1921 commented in his poem The Waste Land Part III - The Fire Sermon:
On Margate sands.
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.

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.


  • Margate Boxing Club.
  • Margate Yacht Club.
  • Margate F.C. is one of the most famous football teams in non-league football. They play at Hartsdown Parkmarker. The club has played in the Conference National, but they are currently aiming to gain promotion out of the Isthmian League Premier Division.
  • National beach volleyball competitions are often held on the main sands.
  • The Margate Big Sky Beach Race run on the beach at Margate has its 5th event on 6th and 7th March 2010 and attracts a number of the UK's top quad riders and racers as well as some from overseas. Spectating is free and usually attracts thousands of visitors over the weekend. The event is run by the QRA UK.
  • Trinity Cheerleading Squad

Local media

Margate has two paid for newspapers, the Isle of Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times, which are owned by Northcliffe Media. Free newspapers for the town include the Thanet Extra, part of the KM Group; and yourthanet, part of KOS Media.

Local radio stations are KMFM Thanet, owned by the KM Group; and the county-wide stations Heart Kent, Gold and BBC Radio Kent.

Twin towns

Margate is twinned with the following towns/cities:

Larnaca, Cyprus in 2008


  1. Oulton, W.C. (1805) The Traveller's Guide; or, English Itinerary, Vol II, p. 245. Ivy-Lane, London: James Cundee.
  2. There is an unflattering portrait of skinheads and a Cockneyfied Margate in Paul Theroux, The Kingdom by the Sea, 1983:24-26.
  3. ACE Coaster Classic Awards

16. The town appeared on BBC TV's "The Apprentice" in May 2009.

17. The town was the title of a minor UK hit by Chas & Dave in 1982.

External links

Further reading

Oulton, W.C. Picture of Margate, and Its Vicinity [1820] Paternoster Row, London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. (2005 reprint) Ramsgate, Kent: Michaels Bookshop, ISBN 1905477201. Title page of original edition: [63225]

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