Geocache: Margate - Northdown Road
Location: 101 Social, Northdown Road
Title of geocache: ECC Margate Northdown Road
The Margate GeoTour was created by a group of people living locally, who were interested in uncovering Margate’s unique history. Through discussion and research, sharing memories and local knowledge, they selected six locations in Margate to make up the GeoTour.
In March 2020, the UK went into a national lockdown and the project was put on pause. When the group reunited almost a year later, they revisited their relationship to the local area. Working with sound artist Dan Scott, they created a series of audio responses for each location, using poetry, music, historical research and conversation to bring new meaning to familiar places.
Hear Franca and Jemma talk about the history of Northdown Road and their experiences of being old and new residents of the town.
Sharon: Well done, you found the fourth cache on Turner Contemporary’s geocache tour, as part of England’s Creative Coast. We’re now on the Northdown Road. Look up and see if you can spot the pineapples. Pineapples were a sign of prosperity and were so expensive that people had to hire them to impress their friends.
Franca: We were talking about Northdown Road as being like sort of an artery in the area seen as an organism. The area is so full of different cultures and different life experiences and different classes, different backgrounds and ages and preferences. Northdown road is a sort of a channel that crosses the area and conveys all of these different experiences.
Jemma: It’s an opportunity isn’t it.
Franca: It is amazing.
Jemma: Each one of those roads that comes off of Northdown Road is so different and there’s all these secret little kinds of pockets of communities that are just off of Northdown Road. The Synagogue which is closed down now but is reopened, there's also The Order of The Druids is off of Northdown Road. There's four churches on Northdown Road as well and every road is so different. So, some have huge detached houses with swimming pools and then a few roads later, you have houses of multiple occupancy and mental health support buildings, support for homeless people, community centres and then everyone sort of comes out of their little roads into Northdown Road as the main artery. It’s everything and nothing all at the same time isn’t it, it’s like a big meeting space almost.
A lot of the roads coming off of Northdown Road there was a lot of squats, a lot of parties that happened in those squats and there was a lot of after parties. The Lido on the seafront used to be a goth club every Friday and when that shut at midnight, there was always someone who lived either on or near Northdown Road that had a flat of some variety. Usually, you used to climb in through the window and you never know who was going to be there. It was always a really random blend of people. Although it wasn’t a glamorous night out by any means, it was an odd kind of community. You could meet up with people and meet people that you wouldn’t normally talk to. There weren't the amount of social places to spend time like we have now to spend time, the Lido was kind of it if you were a young person. So, being able to meet other people in the area even though it was a bit dodgy, it was kind of nice and I do look back on it with a certain level of fondness.
Franca: It’s a bit like a place that has room for you. You can be whatever you want to be, whatever you are and you don’t have to change. For example, if I were to open a social space in Islington or Milan or Paris, I would probably have to adapt to the area. I wouldn’t be able to be myself. Whereas in Northdown Road, you can and it’s incredible.
Music is Double Dare Ya by Bikini Kill, a regular feature at Jemma's band practice on Northdown Road. (Please note this song contains strong language. Audience discretion advised)
Sound collected and edited by Dan Scott.
Geocache container is by Elouise Farley. Insta: @ladywood___