A Hanoverian Watering-Place: Margate before the Railway

  • John Whyman
Part of the Problems in Focus Series book series


A craze for sea bathing and seaside holidays grew out of the publicity given to the medical advantages of sea-water treatment in the 1750s and 1760s, and Margate was the first of the Thanet coastal towns to cater for visitors in search of health and pleasure by the sea. A guidebook of 1813 observed that ‘It was merely a fishing town, and one dirty narrow lane … was the principal part of the town. From the salubrity of the air, and the convenience of sea bathing … it eventually rose from its state of insignificance into a handsome and even celebrated town. The cheapness and convenience of the packet boats have doubtless greatly contributed to the popularity of the place.’1 This contemporary observation belonged to the coaching and hoy era of Margate’s history. The eighteenth-century foundations of Margate as a seaside resort had been built up on communications by coach and hoy. Hoys were originally single-masted cargo sailing vessels, usually carrying corn into London and returning to Thanet with shop goods; accustomed to taking passengers, they gave way during the later eighteenth century to sailing packets and sailing yachts.


Eighteenth Century Bodleian Library Coastal Resort Seaside Resort Bathing Machine 
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References and Notes on Text

  1. 8.
    E. W. Gilbert, Brighton: Old Ocean’s Bauble (1954), p. 55.Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    Mrs Beale (ed.), Reminiscences of a Gentlewoman of the Last Century: Letters of Catherine Hutton (1891), 25.Google Scholar
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    John Poole, ‘Margate’, The Amaranth (1839) p. 69.Google Scholar
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    G. A. Cooke, A Topographical or Statistical Description of the County of Kent (1830 edn), p. 1.Google Scholar
  5. G. W. Bonner, The Picturesque Pocket Companion to Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs, and the Parts Adjacent (2nd edn, 1831), pp. 6–7.Google Scholar
  6. 23.
    Lady Dorchester (ed.), Recollections of a Long Life by Lord Broughton (1909), II, 133.Google Scholar
  7. 24.
    George Keate, Sketches from Nature, Taken and Coloured in a Yourney to Margate (5th edn, 1802), 66.Google Scholar
  8. 29.
    F. M. L. Thompson, English Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century (1963), p. 1.Google Scholar
  9. 30.
    Anthony Hem, The Seaside Holiday: The History of the English Seaside Resort (1967), p. 124.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alan Everitt, R. C. W. Cox, Michael Laithwaite, D. M. Palliser, Alan Rogers, W. B. Stephens, John Whyman 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Whyman

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