Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

From the Folkestone Herald Published 6 January 2000


SUSAN Tilley, writing on behalf of Steve Humphries, director, producer and writer for Testimony Films, of Bristol, is seeking Herald readers’ memories of Edwardian childhood for what is described as a major new BBC1 documentary for broadcast this year.

Obviously, she says, those readers will now be in their nineties or hundreds and it may well be that younger relatives or carers may care to respond to the appeal on their behalf.

“We are a company specialising in social history programmes based on the life stories of the elderly - our Channel 4 series Green and Pleasant Land is one example,” says Susan.



“We have made a number of award winning series like Veterans, for BBC 1, The Call of the Sea, for BBC 2 and The Roses of No Man’s Land about nurses during the Great War (1914-18) for Channel 4.”

Susan Tilley goes on to say that the current research concerns experiences of childhood at the beginning of the century and she adds “I am interested in stories from readers, now in their nineties or hundreds, of growing up in the 1900s.

“An Edwardian childhood was very different from today. For many it meant poverty, strict discipline, a ‘seen and not heard’ attitude from adults and, going out to work at a very young age.

“Boys and girls had few toys and had to invent many of their own games and entertainment.

“A huge gulf separated the classes: at the top rich children led pampered lives while at the very bottom, 50,000 boys and girls had a tough, institutionalised childhood in the nation’s orphanages.

“If you have vivid, personal stories of the 1900s or know an elderly relative who has, please write to me, Susan Tilley, at Testimony Films, 12 Great George Street, Bristol BS1 5RS.”

One of the readers who was particularly interested in the photograph of Denhams featured in Memories at the beginning of December is Pat Large, of Hadlow, Tonbridge, who was sent a copy of the article by a cousin.

And she wrote to tell me: “My late father, Roland Herbert Ludlam, known as Ron or Rolli, worked for Denhams until he became ill.” Sadly, she added, he subsequently died in 1954 at the age of 41.



Pat adds that she would be interested to hear more about the radio and electrical business of Denhams.

Well, Pat, Doug Denham, 83, who built up the business, contacted me soon after the Memories article appeared and has promised to contact me soon with more details. So watch this space!

He did tell me he started off at 14 making bicycles and, after signing up in the RAF reserve, was called up in the air force only to be captured and became a prisoner of war of the Japanese for over three years.

After the war he built up his electrical business, at one time renting out 10,000 TV sets and having 14 vans. Not bad for a business which
began with a shop in Church Street and later had one three-wheeler vehicle delivering accumulators!

The business secured some major contracts and he particularly remembered converting the old Cheriton Laundry from steam to electric power over one weekend and a contract to rewire 2,000 houses.

Mr Denham, who has outlived three wives, has two sons, three daughters, six grandchildren and one great-grand-daughter living in Australia.

At one stage he went to Australia but did not like it and ca-me back to live in Dorset. He has been a widower for six years.


Otto Marx photo 1937

PROBABLY dating from around 1937/38 this big outing group is made up of staff of the former Folkestone building company of Otto Marx which carried out many large construction contracts in the district.

It was the firm's annual outing and they were headed for Hastings. The company’s offices were in Sandgate Road.

In the front row, second from the left, is Bill Gains, Len Marx is eighth from the left and Otto Marx ninth from the left, while Bill Houghton is fourteenth from the left.

The picture was shown to Alan Taylor by Cyril Miller, who is seventh from the left in the fifth row from the back. In the same row, fourth from the left is Stan Patrick, and ninth from the left Clarence Miller, while Jimmy James is seventh from the left, in the second row from the front.

I would pity anyone who had to note down a full, left to right caption, with ail the names!


League of Lasting Kindness.

Folkestone Herald reader Mrs J. Ratcliffe is wondering if anyone can remember the “League of Lasting Kindness” to which she belonged as a child. She believes it was a large organisation and recalls the members had little badges. It was run by the Herald, in the 1930s. She would like to know when it started and other details. Her Wye number is 01233 812925.



Folkestone top town for volunteers to fight Boers.

MP FOR Folkestone and Hythe Sir. Edward Sassoon set off for a trip to Egypt by way of Khartoum. Folkestone Town Council decided to waive the district rates payable by the families of reservists called up for service in South Africa and the Mayor wrote to Dover Council suggesting they consider doing the same. More than 40 men of the Folkestone company of the Buffs, aged between 20 and 35, were reported to have volunteered for service in South Africa and subject to their being medically fit would form a company and sent out to join the 2nd Buffs Regiment Another company would be formed as Reserves on their enlistment for a minimum of 12 months. Capt Gosling, popular CO of the Folkestone company was to lead the men going out to Africa. More men had volunteered from the Folkestone Company than from any in the battalion by a long way; The Channel ports were mourning the death of one of the pioneers of organised steamship crossings carrying the Royal Mall, as well as the Belgian and French mails, Joseph George Churchward, 81. A year before he gave up public service after 50 years, retiring as chairman of Dover Rural District Council. For years he lived at Kearsney Abbey, now a public park.



New Year gets off to bad start with port tragedy.

THE NEW Year got off to a bad start with a tragedy in the harbour, a lorry being blown Into it during stormy weather at low tide and the owner-driver William Belsey, a horse meat carrier, from Whitfield; Dover, was killed. The lorry fell 20 ft and landed upside down In the mud trapping Mr Belsey who was killed, In his cab. Just before the incident the lorry had apparently been Involved In collision with a car driven by Albert Edward Hance, a driver for local baker Mr L. T. Jarrett. Reviewing the past year the Folkestone Herald noted that there were no particularly remarkable events, apart from the discovery of the burled remains of an important Roman villa at East Cliff, but there had been a record number of visitors to the town by train and the town had never had a summer season before when there had been a greater number of visitors. The Town Council decided to drop further consideration of the West Cliff House site, off Sandgate Road, for a band pavilion following a letter from land owner Lord Radnor who said he had offered to give land at Clifton Crescent, but not West Cliff House for a pavilion. It was agreed to seek tenders for a band pavilion in front of the teas Concert Hall for which Parliamentary powers had been obtained to spend up to 100,000.



Year dawns with dispute over Pavilion bar music.

THE YEAR began with deadlock between the Town Council and the Musicians’ Union which banned ‘canned’ music for dancing at the East Cliff Pavilion. The Union wanted a trio, at least of musicians to be employed on certain if not all nights of the week. The council held that the cost could not be justified. The trouble was It was a licensed restaurant to which the public had a right of entry and to make a charge for entry was difficult. To cover the cost of a ‘band’ of 13(!) a week the Pavilion would have to sell 1,100 drinks. During ploughing of extensive pasture at Burmarsh, opposite Paire's Cottages some very large stones, apparently the foundations of an old moated house of large proportions, were unearthed just below the surface. Charles Beeching and his two sons began digging to remove them but were thwarted by the large number involved. Medieval pottery was also unearthed and at the request of the Folkestone Herald well known local archaeologist Miss Ann Roper Inspected the site. The panto Aladdin at the Pleasure Gardens Theatre attracted large numbers, including a remarkable party of a thousand from Deal, travelling In 13 double-decker buses. Tribute to the courtesy and kindness of Folkestone people whether in shops or offices, or humble porters, was paid by Ruth Adam, wife of Kenneth Adam, the BBC's PR director, of Great Chart.



Arts director slams hasty demolition of old property.

ONE OF the most pleasant towns on the South Coast in the mid-1960s Folkestone was a mess In 1975 - according to John Evelelgh, principal of Folkestone Arts Centre who condemned those who permitted the demolition of old buildings “without being able to put up better ones” in their place. If there was shortage of money for rebuilding then means should be found to modify or renovate the old ones, he said, as Canterbury had done, with multi-storey car parks sited away from the town centre with its pedestrian precincts. Foreland Marine (Folkestone) Ltd set a triple goal for 1975, aiming to put the town on the map as a marine centre. It revealed plans for two new models to be built at Its Warren Road works, exhibiting again at the national boat show at Earls Court and to stock a complete range of world-beating water skis. A ships chandlery business was also planned. Federation Homes Ltd were refused consent to build on the old TurnpIke Campsite of 20 acres, at Hythe, at the rate of 15 homes an acre. Also turned down was a block of 34 flats on the former School of Infantry land in Hythe. on traffic grounds. The council also rejected plans to knock down Morehall service station and adjoining house to build a bigger garage, on the grounds demolition of the house was not justified and it was an area where commercial development was undesirable.


If anyone should have any a better picture than any on this page, or think I should add one they have, please email me at the following address:-