A glorious artifact of the Margate Fire Department, circa 1909, this banner was carried in parades and ceremonies and hung in the firehouse as a point of pride for the citizens of Margate. Made of cotton canvas, its hand painting is designed to fool the eye, substituting paint for unaffordable, expensive fabrics, applique and frills.
This particular shape of banner is a “gonfalon,” a banner with streamers hung from a crossbar and ending in a point. Gonfalons were used by Medieval Italian princes, guilds and ecclesiastical offices to announce their presence. Today, colleges and university students parade behind a gonfalon at commencement activities.
Once a common feature of fire departments everywhere, it seems that few such banners have survived the ravages of time. Our banner recently underwent extensive restoration and is preserved in protective materials to prevent degradation associated with light, airborne hazards and the human touch.
Please visit our museum to see this banner plus many other fabulous pieces of Margate Fire Department history.