Thursday, 24 November 2011
MARGATE'S SHELL LADIES FIND NEW HOME
Margate's Shell Ladies have found a new home in Margate, after spending the last four years signposting the way around the town.
Artist Ann Carrington created a total of 13 Shell Ladies, each of them seven feet tall, as part of an arts commission for the Margate Renewal Partnership. They formed a trail to guide people around the Old Town. Each was given the identity of a notorious Margate Lady and the trail attracted 2,323 people during their first season. At the end of that season, the bronze Shell Lady, affectionately named after J M W Turner's lover, Mrs Booth, was unveiled at the end of the Harbour Arm.
Originally intended to only be a temporary public artwork, the Shell Ladies proved to be so popular that they have had numerous other public outings during the following years around Margate. However, they now require extensive restoration, maintenance and dry storage, so it has been agreed that they will return to Ann Carrington's ownership.
She will carry out the work required to them and look after them on an ongoing basis. They will continue to live in Margate, where Ann is also based, and they will be available for hire for occasional outings. This fee will cover their ongoing maintenance, delivery and the people who have to supervise their appearance.
On their final removal from their Marine Parade temporary home, cars slowed down to watch them being wheeled out, people wound down their windows and many people pointed. Ann said, "It's amazing, I forgot what an impact they have on people."
Council Leader Cllr. Bob Bayford is in charge of regeneration at the council. "The Shell Ladies were a huge success when they first arrived in the town. Over the last few years, they've become a recognisable part of the summer in the town, with locals and visitors lining up to pose with them. I'm delighted that they will be staying here and will be carefully looked after to ensure that they can continue to play a role in Margate over years to come."