Locals in Margate are hoping the new Turner Contemporary gallery will help to revitalise a town where a declining tourist trade has left buildings empty and high levels of unemployment. They are hoping that the new art gallery and its links with 19th century artist JWT Turner will transform Margate in the way the Tate gallery turned a sleepy seaside St Ives in soutwest England into an artistic mecca, or the way the Guggenheim revived Spain's industrial city of Bilbao.
The “art effect” is already having an impact. Anticipating a cultural resurgence, entrepreneurs have begun moving into Margate's quaint but rundown Old Town, opening galleries, cafes and vintage boutiques. Some 40 new businesses have opened since last year. Others hope to re-open the old Dreamland amusement park and preserve its antique rides which include Britain's oldest roller coaster as part of a raft of visitor attractions that could once again draw vacationing families to the beach resort.
Image: the new Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate, England