Last week I went to Margate for a class trip with one of my courses from my MA program. The class looked at different approaches to heritage and regeneration through heritage, and we went to Margate as an example of culture-led regeneration. In the past five years both the Turner Contemporary, and the Dreamland theme park have opened, and tourism has begun growing rather rapidly.
I was able to get a good deal on a last minute train ticket from London, so the journey there was wonderfully easy– minus the fact that I nearly missed my train both leaving and returning. Morning departures are always surprisingly difficult for me–. without fail I manage to leave fifteen minutes past when I actually need to leave. When I’m travelling with Cameron he’s been known to tell me an earlier departure time than necessary, which is annoying but always helpful. When I’m travelling alone, though there’s no help.
It was really lovely to be by the ocean, even if it was just for a few hours. I grew up by the beach and definitely took it for granted. Going to college in a landlocked state in the US definitely made me realise just how lucky I was to get to go to the beach whenever I wanted. There is something wonderfully calming about being by the ocean– the combination of the water, the smell in the air, all of it.
Once I got to Margate I went straight to the museum to meet the rest of my class. It was super easy to find from the train station, and only about a ten minute walk along the beach. I was worried that the weather would be bad, but thankfully there was quite a bit of sunshine.
The Turner Contemporary is small but well organised, and has a gorgeous view. The entry had two pieces by Yinka Shonibare, one large installation with books bound in his well-known batik fabrics, and emblazoned with names of famous people who’ve moved to the UK from elsewhere and have contributed something to science/culture/society/etc. There was another really cool piece called Balance of Power with two mannequins with globes for heads placed on a seesaw which slowly tipped from one side to the other. Meant to symbolise the shifting balance of power during the first world war, it was a definitely eye-catching, especially in-front of the expansive view of the sea where a lot of the conflict took place.
We listened to a brief talk by a member of staff who attended the same department at King’s that we are all a part of, and explored the current exhibition before having a session for questions and breaking for lunch. I went with a few people from my class to a pizza place called GB Pizza, which was delicious and had a really nice, relaxed atmosphere.
Everyone was headed to Dreamland, but I had to catch my train back to London from an evening class. It was a real nice afternoon, and the proximity to London means I will probably be going back sometime soon, especially as the weather continues to warm up!