Margate Rock(s?)

July 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Travel | 1 Comment

The arrow was pure gold
But somehow missed the target.
But as all Golden Arrow trippers know,
It’s better to miss Naples than hit Margate.

– James Agate

The great filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger took inspiration from critic James Agate’s lines when coming up with the name of their production company, The Archers. I’ve been thinking of this little mock poem of late because tomorrow, torrential rain notwithstanding, I am going on a trip to Margate.

A lot of people I’ve told about this seem to share Agate’s opinion (‘why would you go to Margate?’) but I’ve already been to Italy this summer (and have some tales to tell of the gelato – but that will have to wait for another post) and am quite excited about a damp and grey trip to a faded English seaside town. Aside from beautiful beaches, a listed Victorian seaside shelter where T S Eliot pondered and wrote ‘The Wasteland’, and a shell grotto, there’s also a brand new gallery, the Turner Contemporary, plus a wealth of antique shops and some enticing sounding places to eat and to stay. A full report to follow on what I hope will be a delightfully old-fashioned but slightly rough-and-ready seaside excursion, sort of Brighton Rock meets Enid Blyton. Should this post actually be called ‘Blyton Rock(s?)’…?


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  1. I have often imagined Enid Blyton at the Grand Canyon, after role in her fictionalized trip to america in her novel , The Queen Elizabeth Family, (which actually reflected her only trip to the USA in 1948, she suggested making a trip to America in order to see the countryside.

    Stephen Isabirye is the author of The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (

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