Who We Are
Under Margate, just minutes from the Old Town and at the end of Cliftonville's Northdown Road, lie Margate Caves. Former chalk mines, they've been open to visitors from the 1800s but closed in 2004. We're going to reopen them in 2019 - but we need your help to run some events before then, for people who remember the Caves and to introduce them to people who are too young to have seen them, or moved here since they closed.
We’re the Margate Caves Community Education Trust, and we’re a registered charity. We want to restore the Caves, reopen them, and build a beautiful new visitor centre and community rooms with landscaped grounds above them. We will lease the site from Thanet District Council, for a peppercorn rent, and run the Caves as a charitable concern - for the good of the town, rather than the benefit of individuals.
What We're Doing
We're in an interesting location - minutes away from Margate's regeneration successes the Old Town and Turner Contemporary, but on the edge of some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK. We have ambitious plans to provide something valuable for visitors and for local people - a new visitor centre and community rooms, providing an entrance to the reopened Caves. We're uniquely placed to tell the story of Margate's growth as a seaside resort, explain how that's rooted in the landscape, and work with local people to celebrate that heritage.
The Big Lottery and Heritage Lottery Fund think our plans are achievable and have given us their backing, but now we need your help to bring the project to life.
Why We Need Your Support
Before our big build starts, we need to explore the site.
Iron Age ditches were found on a dig on the site next door to ours, possibly part of a hill fort or enclosed settlement. So the history of our site starts with some of the earliest known settlers on the Isle of Thanet.
We need to get started with the archaeological work on our own site right now, Spring and Summer 2017 - and we need your help. This crowdfunding campaign let's us support our archaeological evaluation including some test digs. It will let us hold some events, workshops and talks before and during the building of our new visitor centre and community rooms, and takes us up to our opening in Spring-Summer 2019.
This project has been approved for funding through the Heritage + The Crowd match funding. It has received a bridge of 50% towards its fundraising target from Heritage Lottery Fund.