Born into a family of generations of mariners, Albert John Emptage earnt his living by the sea, having begun to work with boats at the age of eight. Whilst he had a turbulent domestic life, his skill at sea was undisputed. Albert was a member of the Margate lifeboat service for 40 years, many of them as coxswain. It was not just his height which made him a ‘giant of a man’.
Frank Sidney Smith was born in Thanet Union Workhouse. He had a difficult start in life, spending his early life in the children’s home at Manston. And much of his adult life was traumatic.
Art became Frank’s therapy, a way of processing his life and understanding himself. His work has become recognised as “an extraordinary work of social history.” Anthony Daniels, The Telegraph, 2001