1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Margate

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MARGATE, a municipal borough and seaside resort in the Isle of Thanet parliamentary division of Kent, England, 74 m. E. by S. of London by the South Eastern & Chatham railway. Pop. (1891), 18,662; (1901), 23,118. It lies on the north coast of Thanet, and is practically contiguous with Westgate on the west and with Broadstairs on the south-east, owing to the modern extension of these popular watering-places. An electric tramway connects Margate with Broadstairs and Ramsgate, and during the season it is served by numerous pleasure steamers from London. An esplanade faces the sea along nearly the entire front of the town, and is lined with hotels, shops and dwelling-houses. A jetty exceeding a quarter of a mile in length permits the approach of vessels at all tides. It was built in 1854 and subsequently enlarged, but a pier was constructed by John Rennie in 1815, and is now chiefly used by fishermen and colliers. The church of St John the Baptist, founded in 1050, contains some portions of Norman architecture, the remainder being Decorated and Perpendicular. It is rich in ancient brasses and monuments, including a brass to Sir John Daundelyon (1443), whose family occupied a manor in the neighbourhood as early as the 13th century. The manor house of Daundelyon, or Dent de Lion, with its gateway of the early part of the 15th century, remains between Margate and Westgate. Charitable institutions include a deaf and dumb asylum (1875–1886), the Metropolitan infirmary for children (1841), and the royal sea-bathing infirmary, established in 1791 and enlarged through the munificence of Sir Erasmus Wilson in 1882. Dane Park (33 acres) was opened in 1898.

Margate (Meregate, Mergate), formerly a small fishing village, was an ancient and senior non-corporate member of Dover. In 1347 it contributed 15 ships of small tonnage at the time of the siege of Calais. Throughout the 14th century references are made to Margate in crown regulations regarding fisheries and shipping. A pier existed before 1500, but by the reign of Henry VIII. it was in a decayed condition. The amount of corn shipped was evidently small, the droits being insufficient to keep the pier in repair. Under Elizabeth Margate was still an obscure fishing village employing about 20 small vessels (“hoys”) in the coasting and river trades, chiefly in the conveyance of grain, on which in 1791 it chiefly subsisted. The droits increased, but were not properly collected until 1724. In 1777 the pier was rebuilt. It was about this time that Margate first began to be known as a bathing-place owing to its fine stretch of firm sand. In 1835 Margate was still a liberty of Dover and no right of citizenship could be acquired. In 1857 it was incorporated. In 1777 a weekly market was granted on Wednesday and Saturday. It is now held daily, but principally on those two day.