Tribute paid to Margate Museum Trustee and town history stalwart Ian Dickie

Margate Museum's Ian Dickie

Tribute has been paid to stalwart of Margate history Ian Dickie following sad news of his death, aged 72, yesterday (November 10).

Ian was a trustee and co-ordinator with the Margate Museums trust and a constant presence at the museum in the Old Town.

The grandad-of-two was found at his flat after a concern call to the fire service which was attended by firefighter and Ian’s friend David Gorton.

Speaking on behalf of Ian’s family his sister Marilyn Robinson said: “He was loved by all his family. We will miss his warped sense of humour and silly jokes which he sent every day without fail to cheer us up during these uncertain times.

“Even though he was in pain he always had an opinion that would raise a smile. God Bless you Ian.”

Margate Museums Trust Chairperson Robin Haddon said: “First and foremost, our sincere condolences to Ian’s family and we wish them strength and health at such a challenging time.

“We are facing a great loss, not only as a fellow human that was well-liked and admired by all that came to know him, but also to Margate Town as someone who loved the town and possessed an unparalleled knowledge base of its past and present.

“Ian was a fellow Trustee of the Margate Museums Trust (operating the Margate Museum and Tudor House) and the Museum’s co-ordinator. He was an unstinting servant to the Margate Museum initially under the auspices of Thanet District Council (Friends of Margate Museum) from 2010 until 2015 where he Chaired a voluntary group who steadfastly opened the old town museum to the general public, schools, films, universities and the ever growing visitors base to Margate.

“He was then instrumental in forming The Margate Museums Trust (Charity No: 1173031) in 2016 with the aim of establishing a best in class museum(s) right in  the heart of The Old Town of Margate.

“Under Ian’s guidance volunteers staffed the museum and managed the research exhibitions as well as guide visitors round the museum imparting their rich local historical knowledge.  Ian was often found at the museum after hours working closely with the local Kent Universities, TV Companies, film units and journalists. He certainly knew his way around the deep and heritage rich archives of Margate.

“Ian was quick to correct inaccurate historical facts including the Mods & Rockers recap by BBC South Kent where he pointed out that aspects in the Film Quadrophenia were Margate-based not Brighton!  He also published in 2013  “A Short History of The Theatre Royal Margate – A brief history of Theatre Royal from its days in Dane Valley to Fountain INN Stables to current site, with Pictures of changing building, plans and star attractions.”

Robin and Ian at the opening day/evening of Dreamland Margate June 2015

Ian was educated after school at Greenwich University. He further studied Business Administration/Management at Canterbury Christ Church University and his background covered training and assessment work for the British Nurses Association, Senior lecturer at East Kent College (health related) as well as an Inspectorate for care homes. Ian had also owned a professional Catering business and worked as a theatre director.

Robin added: “As chair of the Margate Museums Trust I speak on behalf the entire Trust and its volunteer base in that we are extremely saddened by this sudden loss to us as individuals and to our town and the history museum; we will no doubt feel this sense of disbelieve and confusion for some time.

“He loved Margate, understood its historical and heritage significance, knew all the facts and figures across all the world wars involving the Thanet populace and had a burning desire to see Margate Town grow and thrive again. He was disappointed not to be included n the Town Deal Team and the local People’s Panel team that he applied to but gave solace in the fact that progress was possible, and the Museums were short-listed on the panels list for further financial consideration.

“It is particularly poignant that Ian is not there with us on Armistice Day, a day he held in high regard and always appreciated those that gave their lives for our future generations; coupled with the unrelenting support he showed to the nurses in care home, nursing homes and hospitals across the board and the announcement this week of a potential Covid-19 virus vaccine… these events would have brought joy to his heart.

“Ian literally honoured the Museum each and every day and we do hope that one day, our Trust will be in a position to honour Ian’s memory by working out a solution with the local Council in order to achieve our aims and ambitions of a top-class local history museum, coupled with the mayors parlour (Old Town Hall), and Tudor House. Evolve and establish these historical locations as must-see visitor attractions and continue to be the pride and place of Margate, as Ian strived for over the many, many years!

“Ian will always be remembered – rich in knowledge yet humble in attitude.  One of Ian’s sayings included:

“No matter how big your house is,

How recent your car is,

How big your bank account is,

Our graves will be the same size… Stay Humble!”

Ian among those welcoming to the Museum Admiral Lord Boyce…. Together with Sir Roger Gale and Stuart Piper Battle of Margate 1387 curated by Felicity Stafford

Margate Mayor Mick Tomlinson said: “Such a shock to hear of the sad death of Ian. He has been a close friend for many years. I first really got to know him, when colleagues tried to win the Licence for Local Radio in Thanet, we were based in the upper floor of what is now a car repair garage in Nash Road. Friends and I would put out the programmes, with Ian behind the scenes, we sadly did not get the licence, but the fun all of us had, I will never forget.

“Ian ran a Bistro in Hawley Square Margate and also kept the Broadstairs Carnival alive, but moved on to get involved with the Margate Museum in the Old Town. His knowledge and love of Margate was amazing, I would pop in and have a coffee and chat on occasions just for a few minutes but stayed sharing our stories about our great town.

“It is so sad that Ian will not see how the Museum is moving on. He is a great loss to the town and his many friends.”

Former Thanet council leader and Margate mayor Iris Johnston said: “I am sorry to hear such sad news of Ian’s passing in the community as only a few days ago he seemed in excellent form. “Passionate about the Margate Museum and town’s history… his knowledge was unsurpassed.

A great loss to all of us and that for the town and I send my deepest sympathy to his family.”

‘Grandad cup’

Jamie Ingram and Heidi Cadby, from the Mad Hatter tearooms where Ian was a regular, said: “Ian was the first person we met in Margate Old Town, our friendship turning to one more like family. Our children gave him his own Grandad cup to use when he came into the tearoom.

“We will miss his frequent visits, funny stories and advice. He was a truly kind and wonderful man, who put everybody else before himself. We will treasure the storybook collection he wrote for us about our tearoom. Not long after we first opened Ian began writing little anecdotes on the back of our napkins, which he later turned into stories about the escapades of The Mad Hatter and our cakes! Ian was one in a million and we shall miss him greatly.”

Loyalty and boundless enthusiasm

Friend and colleague Mick Minter said: “Ian will be sadly missed for all the hard work and loyalty to the Museums. He was not in good health recently but persevered and kept the faith in looking forward to the re-opening of the museums with the volunteers after the national lockdown.”

Andrew Perloff – Chairman, Panther Group PLC – Patron for Margate Museums Trust added: “I was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Ian Dickie, who I first met nearly 10 years ago.

“It was his boundless enthusiasm, encyclopaedic knowledge, and energy for all things Margate and, in particular, Margate Museum, that encouraged my brother and me to donate to the museum.  Ian’s managerial skills allowed the museum to become a charity, and an important feature of Margate’s prominence.

“He worked tirelessly in promoting the museum in the interest of Margate, which in turn encouraged more visitors to the resort’s attractions. He will be sadly missed.”

Ian with the Admiral Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, in 2017


David Gorton, who owns The Old Cottage in Margate High Street, says Ian’s historical knowledge led to many of the discoveries at the pub.

He said: “When I arrived in Margate 10 years ago, one of the first people that drew me into realising its history and hidden treasures was Ian. He showed my partner around “his” Margate museum like an excited schoolboy. Never missed an inch. Our interest was rewarded by then being shown other areas which the public don’t see.

“Ian’s sadness over the historic “boxed up” artefacts that couldn’t be displayed and the condition of the roof of the abandoned Old Town Hall as he walked us round, was palatable. His philosophical kindness was infectious and despite his health issues nothing seemed to deter him. In the Old Town of Margate he negotiated everything with long term use of crutches to walk and yet a friendly smile for everyone.

“He was the finest and most knowledgeable ambassador for Margate and its visitors the town has ever had, or is likely to have. He is hugely respected for all he did and tried to do, in preserving Margate’s historic past, and indeed, its present.”


  1. So very sad to reading this. What a loss Ian will be to Margate and especially the Museum. It was my pleasure to have known him and turned to him many times for advice. RIP Ian.

  2. Very sad news, I first met Ian back in the early 90s when he came to the studios of HIT FM in the Broadway Broadstairs and became a news reader on the station. His support for everything local and his knowledge will be missed in Margate. My thoughts go out to his sons and family. RIP Ian

  3. Possibly the greatest Ambassador Margate ever had. He organised so many functions, all to the benefit of Margate, all with selfless enthusiasm. He was one of those chaps that, if you wanted to know anything about Margate, he probably knew it.
    R.I.P. Ian, from myself, & a Past Mayor 2015-2016, who is the one in the greetings photo.

  4. Rest in Peace…I just saw him on the television yesterday…Len Goodman’s holidays of our lifetime speaking about Margate…x

  5. Ian will be sadly missed by anyone with an interest in Margate. Not least by his team of volunteers. We valued and appreciated his support. Thank you Ian, you are a hard act to follow. RIP

  6. Rest in peace my old mate, from those days when we shared and performed on stage at the Seabathing Hospital Pantomimes, to sitting in your video shop night after night writing and re-writing the panto scripts til we got it right, reading each part and not stopping until it was perfect, this we did for the annual pantomimes at Drapers Mills School,we called them Two Dicks Productions, to directing “Oh what a loverly war ” for RAOS at the Granville Theatre,to PTFA meetings and in later years chats by the stage door of the Theatre Royal, so much we have done together,so sad to loose an old friend, rest in peace. x Dick Thomas

      • Of course I had a rope tied to me and wanted to go further but kept being pulled back by the people left outside I think your dad and Rod.What I didnt know until I tried to return back out of the small crawl space was that it had started to rain heaverly and the water was coming off the playground and heading down the opening of the tunnel and flooding the area that I had to return to, so quite right he wanted me out before I drowned ha ha.Happy happy days.

  7. Ian will be sadly missed by many. Not least by the team of volunteers. Guides, Archivists, Auditors, etc. We will miss his support, guidance and knowledge. Also of course his friendship. Rest in peace Ian.

  8. Ian made me feel very welcome and was so helpful when I arrived in Margate to research my book about Rev.d David Railton and the Unknown Warrior. Unlike some he was never territorial or guarded and showed me great kindness during my short visit. My deepest condolences to his family.
    Rest In Peace

  9. What a sad, sad loss for Margate, all that ever crossed paths with Ian and this that now never will.
    Ian Dickie worked tirelessly with Filigree Mask in production of A Savage Tale in 2015 – bringing history and some of the stories of the Tudor House to life. Ian educated us all. He was passionate about Margate, history and very much about theatre.
    I am honoured to have met with and had many great conversations before and since our collaborative production and will always be thankful. Ian will never be forgotten, he is part of Margate’s culturally rich heritage.

  10. Ian was a passionate man. A good man. A man who gave unconditionally. He wanted the best for everyone. He wanted everyone to smile and to be happy.

    I will strive to continue these values.

    Thank you all for your kind words.

    He was so much, to so many. To me he will always be, Dad. X

  11. Ian was such a kind man, he gave so much time to Margate. I met him when I found a incendiary bomb
    in the dug up road in the Dane Valley. This was some years ago now, but he always remembered my name. Made everyone welcome at the Margate museum and the Tudor House.

  12. I met Ian (Mr Dickie back in the day), when I was a student at Thanet Technical College. I then bumped into him again years later when I worked at The Theatre Royal. It was like time has stood still. He was so kind and thoughtful. I would occassionally bump into him at Adsa and we would remember about the old days. I am very sad to hear this news but privileged to say that I knew him. Rest in peace Ian x

  13. I was a volunteer at the museum for many years. Ian will be sadly missed by us. He will be I irreplaceable.
    Condolences to his family and his many friends.

  14. As a volunteer at Margate Museum I worked with Ian for ten years and came to value his friendship even his wacky sense of humour and awful jokes! He enabled me to learn so much about the history of the town that I have called home for over forty years and encouraged me to share it with others. His passion for Margate and vast knowledge of the town’s history was second to none. He is irreplaceable and I will sorely miss him.

  15. I hardly feel qualified to comment having only volunteered at Margate Museum since 2013, but I fully endorse Sue Waller’s comments, and those which precede them.

    There’s the old saw about graveyards being full of indispensable people: in Ian’s case I fear that might be true; he will be irreplaceable as the doyen of the Margate Museum. Ian was always informed, interesting, entertaining and appreciative of my, by comparison, mundane efforts.

    My memories of Ian are of a thoroughly decent gentleman – or, as Bertie Wooster might have said, “an all round Good Egg.”

    Thank you Ian, my thoughts are with those closest to you, God Bless.

  16. I’m glad to say that I got to know Ian, over the last ten years, as a volunteer at Margate Museum.
    We worked together on many ventures concerning the history of Margate, my home town.
    One of the most memorable events was the 50th Anniversary Exhibition of the Mods and Rockers in Margate. With Ian’s encouragement and unfailing positivity, we all worked long hours and called in many favours but were thrilled by the fantastic public response to our efforts.
    Over the years, my respect for Ian’s knowledge and his determination to share it with as many people as possible has grown immeasurably.
    He really is irreplaceable, both as a historian and as a friend.
    Thanks for the memories, Ian.

  17. Ian supported my Renal Charity S.O.L.O. in the past before my health deteriorated and had nominated the charity for an award in helping invisible disabilities related to kidney health. My charity was recognised by Capital One radio and i accepted a plaque on behalf of the work that the Volunteers did in Holistic Healing for patients in order to raise £15,000 for the Q.E.Q.M. hospital and a machine to help patients..

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