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Dickens House Museum celebrates Charles Dickens' long connection with Broadstairs (1837-1851).

It is housed in the cottage that was Dickens' inspiration for the home of Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. According to the reminiscences of Charles Dickens' son Charley, they regularly had tea there with Miss Mary Pearson Strong, and her belief of her right to stop the passage of donkeys in front of her cottage became the donkey incident for the character of Betsey Trotwood.

Visitors to the Museum will be able to view the original Parlour, where Dickens would have taken tea with Miss Strong, as well as items that once belonged to Charles Dickens including letters written about Broadstairs, his writing box and mahogany sideboard, along with a fine collection of prints by H K Browne (Phiz), one of Dickens' principal illustrators. There are also displays of Dickensian memorabilia, Victorian costumes and Victoriana, as well as a feature on "Our English Watering Place". It was in 1851 that Charles Dickens wrote this affectionate record of the town and its inhabitants.

The museum has a gift shop selling books, stationery, gifts and  homewares. The museum is owned by Thanet District Council, there is a House Manager and is staffed by a team of volunteers, who are passionate about Charles Dickens and happy to guide visitors around the unique house.

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The RAF Manston History Museum started life as the RAF Manston History Club in 1986 with the intention of presenting exhibits and artefacts connected with this famous airfield from its beginning on 29th May 1916 as Royal Naval Air Service Manston.

Housed in a large wooden hut that had been used by the Intelligence Section during World War 2, the museum has had a couple of moves to other buildings before settling in its present location, the former Mechanical Transport Section hangars, in the mid 1990s. Starting with a small but dedicated band of enthusiasts, the museum has developed and expanded at a steady pace until we now have approximately 100 members and some impressive exhibits.

The museum membership consists entirely of volunteers who are essential to the museum's survival and are often the first point of contact for visitors. Perhaps fittingly for a museum dedicated to presenting the history of Manston as a military and civil airfield, the museum occupies one of the oldest buildings still extant from 1916. The museum includes many collections and exhibits such as the 1940s Experience, Operation Chastise (the Dames Raid) photographic gallery and an extensive exhibition room displaying many of the weapons and munitions used by the RAF Regiment to defend the airfield and range from World War I to the present day.

The grounds include a garden of remembrance, a small shop and the Naafi Cafe. In 2021 the museum was an Aviation Heritage Awards Winner.

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Margate Museum is housed in a Grade II listed building over two floors, the oldest part being from the 17th century. Formerly the Magistrates Court and Police cells, the museum opened in the 1990s with a dedicated volunteer team maintaining and presenting a unique collection of Margate's history including that of the Borough Police from 1857, sea bathing and bathing machines, the 1815 arrival of Paddle Steamers, Cobbs Brewery and Bank. We have many unique examples of paintings, prints and engravings. There is the Seaside Room, Maritime Room, World War I and World War II room all displaying an eclectic range of historical items.

There is a gift shop with various postcards, stationery items along with varied local history books.

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The Tudor House is the oldest building on old Meergate, built in 1525 and a unique example of a 'transitional house', bridging the gap between the Medieval open hall and early modern houses with two storeys throughout. The building was clearly of high status with distinctly showy and noteworthy features that were advanced for their time.

Over the years, the building has been home to Master Mariners, Flemish weavers, Cordwainers and farmers. A 1776 map shows a sizeable farmyard surrounding the dwelling, including a malthouse, which still exists to the rear, built to make Barley Beer.

Much of this land was subsequently sold off, but the beautiful gardens surrounding the house are now lovingly tended by our volunteers.

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The Margate Caves have  been welcoming visitors since 1863. Originally dug as a chalk mine in the 18th century it went largely forgotten for more than 100 years before being rediscovered and restored for personal recreation and then, eventually, as a tourist attraction. Despite its huge popularity during the Victorian period and on into the 20th Century, the Caves were closed in 2004. ​

In 2011 the Friends of Margate Caves and The Margate Caves Community Education Trust (TMCCET) began a campaign to save the Caves and reopen them to to public.​

Our success in negotiating a long lease on the site, building a Visitor Centre and Community Rooms and conserving the Caves for future generations, is thanks to our committed volunteers, generous professional team and the continued support of funders and the public.

Our volunteers help up us keep the Caves thriving. We have a variety of opportunities that can fit every timescale and skill set. We are a small friendly team and if you feel you can help us do a good job we would love to hear from you.

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STEERING GROUP

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Thanet Tourism Services,
Thanet District Council

Thanet Tourism service, for Thanet District Council are delighted to be partners in the Thanet Heritage Volunteer Project. The Isle of Thanet has a wonderful collection of small heritage attractions who rely heavily on volunteers to be able to operate. 

The Volunteer Hub will provide much-needed support and guidance to attractions that will help to rebuild volunteer numbers and improve diversity of the volunteer base.

The Tourism Service contribution to the project includes providing support to the hub manager in the way of advice, assisting with contacts and facilitating engagement with partners. Providing marketing and promotional support, networking opportunities, and helping to evaluate the project. 

The council's involvement in this project demonstrates the awareness of the importance of volunteers to the heritage sector locally and the need to provide support and improve diversity in the volunteer opportunities locally.

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When The Margate Caves Community Education Trust became a registered charity in 2014, its stated aim was:

"To advance the education of the general public in the subject and meaning of the environmental and social history of the Margate Caves and the Isle of Thanet - and to provide opportunities for learning and education that support the local community in tackling disadvantage for public benefit."

This project perfectly encapsulates these aims and we're excited to lead on it after many years of discussions and funding bids, and we're very grateful to our partners for sharing the vision!

VOLUNTEER HUB PARTNERS

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