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Blue Plaques appear in Margate...

Margate Civic Society and The Margate School have joined forces to install two Blue Plaques on Kent County Council’s Kent Adult Education Centre in Hawley Square, Margate. Both of the Blue Plaques celebrate notable artists, Walter Sickert and Christopher Alexander, who taught in the building at the time when it was Thanet School of Art. The Plaques were unveiled by the Mayor of Margate, Cllr Heather Keen, at 2pm on Friday 21st October.

The building which is now the Adult Education Centre was opened as the Thanet School of Arts and Crafts on 8th July 1931, being built on the site of the 18th century library. It is in the Art Deco style and was given Grade II listing in July 2018, not least for the survival of rooms and internal features dating from the building’s opening. Since the Thanet School of Art closed in 1974, Kent Adult Education has offered a wide range of adult education courses from the building including life drawing, silversmithing, drawing and painting and calligraphy. Kent Adult Education also provides a range of classes for the whole community including English, maths, IT and English for speaker of other languages. It’s sister brand Kent Training and Apprenticeships also offer work ready programmes for learners age 16+ from the building.

Walter Richard Sickert RA RBA is recognised as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. He was born in Munich, Germany, in 1860, he and his family settling in London in the late 1860s. He first visited Margate in around 1882, when his mother Nellie, who suffered from poor health, was recuperating. At the age of 74 in 1934, he settled in St Peter’s. As a famous artist, he was invited by Mr Moody, the Principal of Thanet School of Art, to give guest lectures which he carried out very successfully. Walter Sickert died in 1942.

Christopher Alexander ARE ARCA was a notable and very talented local artist. He was born in Margate in 1926 and after the Second World War won a place at the Royal College of Art. He taught at the Thanet School of Art in the early 1960s prior to moving to teach at Canterbury College of Art. He produced a huge number of drawings and paintings, many showing Margate and other places in Thanet. He died in 1982.

Margate Civic Society was formed in 1968 and remains dedicated to its aims of encouraging high standards of architecture in Margate and its environs; stimulating public interest and care for the history and character of the area; and encouraging preservation, development and improvement of features of amenity and historical interest.

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The Margate School is a liberal arts initiative set up under the Coastal Community Fund with Arnold Schwartzman OBE (who originally studied at Hawley Square) as Patron

to help revive the High Street and support the 'creative cluster' with numerous facilities. It has strong links with the Rouen-Le Havre School of Art & Design and has held many exhibitions over the last four years including the annual Thanet Young Artists and has instituted a free Junior Tech Club.

A community garden is now well underway as part of the 'Art, Society, Nature' philosophy.

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KCC’s Margate Adult Education Centre offers a wide range of courses including arts, crafts, languages and literature. It is known for its Life Drawing courses and has a fully equipped silversmithing studio.

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