Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

From the Folkestone Herald Published 17 February 2000

Lucky escape.

BRIAN Marshall, of Cow Gate Lane, Hawkinge, kindly gave me the extended loan of the book Dover and The Great War, a well illustrated work by J.B. Firth, published by local brewers Alfred Leney & Co Ltd years ago and long out of print. It has a host of interesting photographs, including ships and Naval leaders of the brave Dover Patrol, with whom many local seamen and marines served.

And now Brian has come up with a book extract about a former local ship wrecked off Devon 86 years ago and the rescue of the crew who were forced to take to a ships boat.

The brief story is told in Devon Shipwrecks, by Richard Larn and published by David & Charles, of Newton Abbot, London and Vancouver.

It’s not clear what she was called when she sailed as a steam packet from Channel ports, but at the time of the wreck, on January 28, 1914, she was the Bristol-owned Collier.

The author says that the remains of wrecks are not usually visible for long on the coast of Devon and Cornwall, but the boiler and some iron frames of the steamer can still be seen.

She was one of the smallest steamers to be lost on the Devon coast, at 114 tons but, says Richard Larn, the Collier once sailed as far afield as Australia. In fact she had a remarkable career.

Built in the shipyard of J. Reid, of Port Glasgow, in 1849 she had become the oldest steamship on Lloyds’ Register when she was lost one day while making a routine trip on home territory - the Bristol Channel.



On the way to Hayle, in ballast, she was steaming in dense fog, when her captain and mate on deck saw the red light of Bull Point, which, too late, warned them they were in great danger. Before they could take evasive action the vessel went ashore on Rockham beach at dead low water and as the tide turned she was washed higher up on the beach and she was stranded — wedged between two rocks.

The Morthoe rocket life saving crew gathered on the clifftop but were too far away to be of assistance.

Fortunately, however, the steamer’s crew got off in the ship’s punt and they were picked up by Ilfracombe lifeboatmen who had been towed to the scene by the steamer Devonia.

Those rescued were Capt Wright, the mate Jefferies, engineer Thomson, two firemen, three able seamen, a dog, a cat - and a goldfinch in a cage!

As to whether the steamer was called the Collier while steaming across the Channel, I consulted my copy of the 1939 book English Channel Packet Boats, by C Grasemann and GWP McLachlan, published by Syren & Shipping Ltd, who used to produce a periodical magazine like Ships Monthly, called The Syren. I found an entry for the steamer Collier all right, but sadly no details as to her builder or date.

Victoria paddle steamer

I could not find a picture of the old Collier but this is the paddle steamer Victoria still in service at Folkestone in 1904.


She was listed as having been on the Newhaven-Dieppe run at the same time, in 1851, as a single screw steamer Ladybird, and paddle steamers Culloden, Rothesay and Ayrshire Lassie, all chartered or bought by Mr Maples, of Shoreham.

Three other paddle steamers, of around 340 tons, built at Port Glasgow in shipyard not named, came into service at Newhaven in 1852-3.

No reference is made to the Collier’s time at Folkestone or Dover.


Gold Rush!

The writer’s reference to a trip to Australia is interesting. The Culloden and Rothesay, both built by Denny, of Dumbarton, but found too slow and uncomfortable for the Newhaven service were returned to the shipyard and, stripped of their paddles and rigged as schooners, ended up sailing with emigrants heading for the goldfields of Australia!

Actually the Rothesay was sold en route to meet debts but soon wrecked.


Folkestone Local History Society has made change to its monthly programme and is holding an open meeting on March 1 when there is a chance to see material from members’ collections. The planned talk on Hythe School of Musketry will be at the April meeting instead.


Bradstone Road

PICTURED outside Folkestone Corporation’s yard in Bradstone Road, Folkestone, ready for an outing, probably between the wars, are members of the staff of builders F.W. Clark & Sons, whose business was based at the Viaduct, in Bradstone Road. The picture was shown to local historian and author Alan Taylor, by Bert Binfield. Frustrating to me, as a motoring enthusiast, is the fact there is not enough of the old charabanc showing to reveal the registration number!


Bob added the note that this was the wrong photo on his proof of the picture, the 2 March 2000 edition explains the error.



Send-off concert for men off to fight in Boer War.

NINETY volunteers of the Buffs, from Folkestone, Lydd, Dover, Canterbury and Margate, and surrounding areas, were entertained to a smoking party at Hythe Town Hall given by the Mayor. And, with the support of family and other guests determined to give them a good send-off before they embarked for South Africa and the Boer War, the hall was practically full. The mayor revealed the Hythe company of volunteers might soon be revived. There was free admission to a “Grand Arts, Trades & Domestic Exhibition” at Folkestone Town Hall until February 23 incorporating a free “Biograph” film show with “the latest War pictures.” Other attractions included a palmist, working with gold wire electric engraving, sweet making, cookery demonstrations and concerts. A century ago the invention of an unsinkable lifeboat by Lionel Lukin, who is burled in Hythe churchyard, was featured In local papers, his boats having been described In the February issue of The Lifeboat Journal. Lukin took out a patent In 1785 and prepared a pamphlet about it in 1806 based on a letter he wrote about his lifeboat to the Prince of Wales.



Conference debates chaos of district’s bus services.

THE DEBATE went on about the problems of the local bus services and Herald writer Felix commented that the East Kent bus company “played the game” and had a proper timetable but, he said, most of the other firms' buses “appear to play ducks and drakes with the public." Most people would agree with him that the situation was little less than a scandal, he said. The Irony of the problem was that there were too many buses. Three hundred buses a day left Red Lion square at Hythe every day; more In summer. The East Kent ran 99 a day. Cllr Maltby, of Maltby’s Motors, said pooling seemed the only solution. It would end the racing. 75 years ago the Herald published a lengthy extract of Country Life articles about the once stately villa of Encombe, at Sandgate, then the luxury home of Mr & Mrs Ralph Philipson who had come to the district looking for a ‘pied-a-terre.’ They found an idyllically sited, brick built and gabled late Victorian seaside residence and an excuse for a garden, and employed architect Basil lonides to transform it into something of a Riviera landmark. Felix said the late Sir Stephen Penfold had one regret, - that was that the Council had not adopted Alderman Bank's scheme to build a new hall on the former Buzan's Gardens. These became the site of Lathom Villas.



Freeman honour for two Folkestone brothers.

TWO WELL known Folkestone brothers claimed an ancient right and were enrolled as Freemen of Dover - Joseph Iggulden, 56, of Dover Road, who had run an electrical and cycle business In Folkestone for 39 years, and Edward Charles Iggulden, 54, of Seagrave Crescent, foreman coach trimmer with Martin Walters at Cheriton Road for many years. They claimed the Freedom by right of birth, their late father Joseph, who died In 1946, and uncle Edward Iggulden, 85, both being Freemen of Dover. Fifty years ago the Herald’s former midweek paper, the Folkestone & Hythe Gazette, sadly a victim of a nation-wide squeeze a few years ago now, was recalling the devastating cliff fail which hit the railway line through the Warren In 1915. Part of the 480ft high cliff collapsed burying the railway tracks deep with thousands of tons of earth and chalk. The fall swamped an area of nearly two miles. And the disaster could have been far worse - had the 6.10 pm Ashford to Dover train not been a little late. The series of avalanches could have engulfed that train with great loss of life. Fortunately men carrying red lamps were able to stop the train. At the time the First World War was raging in Flanders and there was a shortage of labour. And, incredible as it may seem today, the line didn’t open again for five years).



Action demanded to halt attacks on schoolboys.

“STOP the Bully Boys Move, as anger Grows.” That was the headline story in the Herald 25 years ago when it was reported boys of Harvey Grammar School had been advised to gather In groups of three or four when walking to or from school, after boys in grammar uniforms were singled out for attack by older boys of other schools. One parent told of boys removing caps and ties to conceal their identity when approaching “Wyndgate territory." Plans were made to bring representatives of three local schools to thrash out a solution. The stately Star and Garter home In Sandgate, home for years of the police training centre, was being offered for sale by the trustees to Shepway District Council. The Victorian Society praised The Leas as being one of England’s outstanding pieces of “Victorian grand scale planning.” And Shepway Council was being asked to help safeguard the character of the area, one suggestion being that The Bayle conservation area should be greatly extended to incorporate the popular promenade and Albion Villas. There was also a proposal to Include the Plummer Roddis store - now demolished - and Victorian building groups on Marine Parade, such as Marine Crescent. Folkestone launched a campaign to halt baby battering with a blaze of publicity, In the press and on television and radio, as a 24-hour helpline counselling service was set up, manned by 20 volunteers.


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:-