Friends visited us this weekend in Margate, and, having chatted to the patient, sun-bleached men who run the swing boats on the beach, reported varying views on whether the town was… ‘changing’. Meanwhile I visited Haeckels, a business that seems to me to represent the best of what might be changing about Margate.
It’s a skin care and fragrance shop-cum-laboratory where all the products are ‘made from Margate.’ Dom, the enthusiastic and knowledgeable owner, collects seaweed from Thanet’s chalky, empty beaches, to make into beauty products and scented candles. He told me that he feels we’ve lost trust in this island’s capacity to give health via our indigenous plants, preferring instead to seek the natural in more exotic climes like Bali.
He has taken over a little shop facing the old Lido, and inside created a suitably atmospheric alchemist’s lair. The whole place smells gorgeous. Dom explained that they’re working on GPS scents, where you get a satellite reference and the mix of natural smells you find there. He’s even trying to crowdfund a contemporary sauna housed in a mobile bathing machine. I came away inspired by his passion for the natural and historical elements that make Margate special, and with the smell of Seaside Bonfire candles in my hair.
All images from Haeckels/The Curio