Owner Story: Captain's Quarters, Margate

When the interior of a property gives hints at the history of the exterior, your curiosity will no doubt be piqued. And when the name of the building links it to a warship painted by one of the most famous British artists then there is clearly more to know about this place, that time, and why we’re still fascinated by the lure of this British coastline.

  

The Captain’s Quarters apartment in Margate has been freshly renovated by Liz and her partner Bob and is testament to her artistic flair and his craftsmanship skills. Londoners to their finger tips, in 2016 they swapped full-time city life for the Kent coast after having had a holiday home for many years in nearby Broadstairs. Margate appealed to them as an opportunity for a second home for its up-and-coming thriving arts and cultural scene as much as its views and sea air. As Liz says, she likes the fact that everyone currently has an opinion about Margate. “It may have its unloved corners, but it’s unashamedly proud of its claim to be the original seaside resort” she said.

Situated on the second floor of the block and looking directly at the sea, The Captain’s Quarters has access directly onto Margate beach itself and the nine miles of walkable sandy coastline that follow it. The sea views from the beautiful regency bay windows in the lounge makes visitors feel they are on the bridge of a ship and in part, gave rise to the apartment’s nautical theme.

  

Living room: Before (left) and after (right)

The apartment sleeps 4+2 people in two bedrooms and is perfectly suited for young children (highchairs and travel cots provided) and is ‘dog friendly’. The vast green common space directly outside the apartment will suit both needs perfectly.

It was the unusual name of the building, Temeraire Court, that inspired Liz and Bob to research the link to JMW Turner, one of the most celebrated British artists and sometime resident of Margate. His links with the town led to the founding of the Turner Contemporary Gallery that, since opening in 2011, has sparked an artistic and tourism renaissance in Margate.

  

The Regency building dates from 1825 when it was built as the Fort Lodge Hotel and it was at the fashionable centre of the town’s Victorian seaside glory days. Later it was renamed as Temeraire Court after HMS Temeraire. Famously the warship was sent to rescue the beleaguered HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1812. Her last voyage was captured by Turner in 1838 and the story and the painting have had such an impact over the years that by 2005 the painting was named as the nations’ favourite in a poll. With this illustrious naval history, the interiors of the Captain’s Quarters have been updated to reflect pride in the heroics of the story and the region’s naval history.

Adorning one whole wall of the open plan lounge Liz decided to mount a specially commissioned antique world map with a sea faring theme. The furniture and furnishings throughout the apartment give a Captain’s nod to a typical naval cabin. Antique binoculars, a tide clock and a working barometer will equip any aspiring Captains to spot approaching pirates and the treasure chest of board games and books will keep everyone busy if the weather closes in.

  

Inspired by a mooring the Temeraire may have made in tropical climes, the main bathroom has an exotic birds and wildlife theme. Bold, bright tropical colours here contrast with the muted colours in the living room and Liz and Bob have allowed their imagination to run wild. There’s a bamboo trellis with birds and butterflies whilst the floor is ‘decked’ to remind all sailors in the Captain’s Quarters exactly where they are.

In contrast again, the newly updated kitchen may be ‘galley’ in inspiration but it’s size is remarkably un-ship like and full of the latest land-faring cooking equipment any ship mates would be readily familiar with.

  

Margate’s tale of re-invention has been well told in recent years but Liz and Bob hope to inspire many more holiday makers with the Captain’s Quarters. They have fallen in love with Margate’s updated yet old fashioned charms. Time spent here could include a day at the revamped Dreamland theme park, a night out at the Winter Gardens followed by a cocktail in one of the new bars or a long walk on the beach. The new ‘Old Kent Market’, a re-imagined indoor farmers market is one of Liz’s favourite recommendations with its own bakery, food hall and cafes. Away from the town itself staying at the Captains Quarters gives easy access to other seaside Kentish towns including Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Deal and beyond. Even escaping back to London has had a 21st Century update with the new high-speed connection into St Pancras in just over an hour.

Any Captains seeking a peaceful navigation of this new, old fashioned holiday resort will get their sea legs in the Captain’s Quarters. It’s set fair for a peaceful sailing into holiday history.