In the old seaside town of Margate, in the English county of Kent, not too far from the town’s harbor, is a mysterious underground cavern with 70 feet worth of winding passages. The passages are about 8 feet high and they lie no less than 6 feet underneath what appears to be a typical English neighborhood with houses and gardens. Who built them and for what purpose is a mystery. Even more fascinating is the effort that was undertaken to decorate the walls and ceiling of this mysterious grotto with millions of seashells.
The grotto was discovered, as the story goes, by Mr. James Newlove in 1835 when he was digging a duck pond. When Mr. Newlove’s shovel broke through the ground, he sent his young son Joshua down the hole to explore. Minutes later Joshua emerged and described to his father the strange discovery they had made. Word about the Shell Grotto came as a surprise to the people of Margate because no one had heard about it before. Neither there were any tales of its construction. As the news spread, scores of eager visitors descended upon Mr. Newlove’s property, which was when James Newlove began to see the commercial possibility of his find.
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