Shell Grotto

Shell grotto Margate
Shell grotto

The Shell grotto only 4.7 miles away from Newington.

History of the Shell grotto.

The story goes that in 1835 Mr James Newlove lowered his young son Joshua into a hole in the ground that had appeared during the digging of a duck pond. Joshua emerged describing tunnels covered with shells. He had discovered the Shell Grotto, its walls decorated with strange symbols mosaiced in millions of shells. Is it an ancient pagan temple? A meeting place for some secret cult? Nobody can explain who built this amazing place, or why, but since its accidental discovery visitors from all over the world have been intrigued by the beautiful mosaic and the unsolved mystery.

In truth, the Grotto’s discovery may or may not have involved duck ponds, shovels and small boys. A number of different stories have been told, and with nearly 180 years’ worth of exaggeration, embellishment and sheer deceit, there seems little chance of unpicking the gossip from the reality. However he came upon it, James Newlove could clearly see the commercial potential of his find. The Grotto opened its doors to the public in 1838, and came as something of a surprise to the people of Margate; it had never been marked on any map and there had been no tales of its construction told around the town.

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