I love me a bit of kitsch, and it doesn’t come more gloriously cheesy and tongue-in-cheek than The Old Kent Market, Margate. This former cinema on Fort Hill dates from 1911 and, typically of a purpose-built cinema of its era, has a huge vaulted ceiling.
This rather lovely building has a bit of a chequered past. It morphed from a cinema to a bingo club in 1963, morphed back into a cinema which screened uncensored sex films in 1979 and was converted into a snooker club in 1982.
And now? A three-year long restoration plan has transformed it into one of the quaintest little indoor markets stuffed full of small business owners selling their wares.
Below: It made me smile to see one of the smallest pubs in the country next door to one of the smallest Indian’s in the country. No far to stagger for a late night curry.
The above sign says it all really. The owners of these tiny businesses were full of enthusiasm for their new ventures. There were plenty of stalls to have a nosey around, enough of a food selection to keep the whole family happy and there was a definite buzz in the air – the whole place just makes you want to smile.
It’s warms the cockles of my heart to see innovation and imagination being put to good use. The people behind this project deserve a slap on the back. Though how on earth they managed such an ambitious project with Thanet council overseeing it is beyond me.
I have been visiting Ramsgate for nine years now, and I have never in my life come across the incompetence and short-sightedness that is frequently demonstrated by Thanet District Council. As a boat owner I spend quite a bit of money to moor in Ramsgate Marina, money that I see frittered away every day.
The list of promises that boat owners here are proffered, only to be quickly followed by excuses is mind boggling. The security is downright appalling, repairs fail to be carried out (Mr Chic fell through a rotten pontoon plank last year just a few weeks after he was back on his feet. He had endured a long period of recuperation following the breaking of his back and neck, only to be put back months by lack of maintenance) and some of the services that we pay for continue to be ‘out of order’. Rant over (maybe, I feel a blog post coming on).
As it looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time in Ramsgate over the next few months or so, I do believe I’ll be paying The Old Kent Market, Margate another visit or two. If only to marvel at what can be accomplished, in spite of Thanet council!