DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

From the Folkestone Herald Published 6 April 2000

Mill memento.

Brian Swoffer, 80, of Wear Bay Crescent, Folkestone has lent me some interesting old photographs of Folkestone. He also showed me an interesting badge which were among his late father’s effects. It is like a military cap badge, appears to be made of copper and incorporates a crown and an Invicta emblem in the centre but the wording around the outside circle is “Kent Veteran Reserve” and he wonders if it was for one of the old Kent Cyclists’ Battalions; perhaps a Memories reader will know?

Brian's father George Gordon Swoffer, who was born in London Street, Folkestone, and his parents sent him for a spell to the College Mariette, in Boulogne, where he wore the uniform shown left. He lived with a French family.

One of the most interesting pictures is of G & E Swoffer’s wholesale fruit and vegetable business premises in Dover Road next to the Martello public house the property is now a veterinary surgery. In the bowler hat was Brian's grandfather Edward Swoffer, while his father, George, has a straw hat. The date is the early part of the 1900s.

Swoffer's

MAN in the doorway with a bowler hat is Brian Swoffer's grandfather. Edward, while his father. George sports a straw hat. Wearing an apron was a foreman driver and the chap with a bowler was one of three salesmen.

 

With the bushel baskets the man wearing the apron was probably the foreman or driver, while the one with a bowler was one of three salesmen.

Brian himself worked in the business all his life until competition from the big supermarkets made it uneconomic to continue, so he retired in 1966.

The business was started at the end of the 19th Century by two brothers, George Iddenden Swoffer JP and Brian’s grandfather Edward.

They were two of a large family of Brian’s great-grandfather Alfred Swoffer, who is buried at Buckland churchyard, Dover, having had a fruiterers business in Townwall Street and another shop near the Mogul public house in Dover.

Three other sons emigrated becoming successful homesteaders on the Prairies in the U.S.A. in Minnesota, west of Minneapolis.

G & E Swoffer were also millers and corn and fodder merchants, with a mill in Horn Street, which survived until about 25 years ago.

Brian's father had a lucky escape during the Second World War while staying with the family of a policeman called Whittaker. The last of a stick of bombs landed at the back of the house but, thankfully didn’t explode or he would probably have been killed. This was near the corner of Warren Road where there is now a school.

George Swoffer died in 1963, aged 77, four years after his wife.

Brian also showed me an old postcard picture of Wear Bay Crescent, below, showing hundreds of allotments in the centre, and in the foreground, a baker’s van of Baker and Caterer G Bridgland of Folkestone.

Wear Bay Road 1929

The picture, above, dating from before 1929. is of Wear Bay Road with G Bridgland's baker's van and Brian's home in the background.

 

The picture dates from before 1929 and has a special interest for Brian because he was born in the central property 80 years ago!

Brian's great-great-grand-lather, Edward, was a hairdresser. He moved from Faversham to Dover, bringing up a big family.
 

G and E Swoffer

G. & E. Swoffer' were wholesale fruit merchants and millers and had the old Horn Street mill and premises in Dover Road. Descendant and last owner Brian Swoffer, has been telling me about the firm.

 

1900

Troops for Boer War had to take their own horses!

HIGHER government grants towards pay and allowances were expected to Improve recruiting for volunteers to Join forces such as the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles which was sending men out to fight in the Boer War. It was thought numbers had been restricted due to the cost of volunteers providing their own horses! British troops In South Africa captured Bloemfontein and were thought to be close to relieving Mafeklng. South African Boer leaders had called for peace but Insisted there should be independence for the South African Republic or the Orange Free State. At Hythe there were plans to form a company of Artillery Volunteers supported by Colonel Fynmore, of Sandgate, Capt James and Lieut Welch, both of Folkestone and a list of 80 Interested people had been drawn up. St John Ambulance workers, looking ahead to cold nights which would soon face the troops In Africa decided to provide wool for knitting warm clothing for the soldiers. Folkestone council approved plans for a mission hall with kitchen etc, to be built by Miss E Flude on land described as the Cheriton Cottage site which she intended buying from the Council.

 

1925

Silver Queen buses operate services from airship station.

TWO NEW bells were installed at St Martin's Church, Cheriton in recognition of the war service given by 435 men in the parish and as thanks for those who returned safely. Silver Queen Motor Coaches, operating from the old airship base at Capel, were seeking bookings for the season, offering 14,22, 28 and 32 seater coaches. Hythe Council appointed a committee of seven to consider a plan for a ‘Winter Garden’ on the seafront. The plan was to put up 36 ‘weekend bungalows’ and garages on the frontage of an eyesore of a waste site between Albert Road and St Leonards Road and to create a winter garden out of the sunken site. The proposal was to attract visitors from London and other towns, the bungalows to be let on a yearly rental. According to deputy mayor Cllr E Osborne, it need cost the town nothing. Would you believe they used to drain the Bayle pond, which used to be a lot bigger than in recent times, to make room for the old Bayle Fair? I wonder what happened to the wildlife?! Did you know the town's first public library was at the old Harvelan Institute, which was in part of the former Herald office and printing works at the Bayle? The Herald published another In Its long historical articles on village churches, signed by W.H.E.; this time on St Mary's, Sellindge, with several illustrations.

 

1950

Silver City car flights to Le Touquet booming.

A SILVER City Airways, which ferried cars between Lympne and Le Touquet In 1949. said they expected to increase the figure by 6,000 in 19S0. A final appeal was made for names to go on the Hythe Roll of Honour In respect of the Second World War memorial in the town. Hythe was considering flying out a party of archers and tennis players to take part in an Anglo-Dutch sports meeting. Folkestone Motorcycle Club's annual trial meeting for the Folkestone Cup attracted a good entry of 65 riders to race over a course from the old Star Inn, Newington taking in Horn Street, Postling and Paddles-worth areas. The trophy went to a Tenterden rider. Townsman, writing in the Herald's midweek Gazette, featured an old photograph of the windmill which used to grind com in Millfield but was taken down and moved to Bethersden In 1885, the buyer paying 30 for it! (And that was after paying 400 for repairs not long before.) In the background of the picture were two houses which he said were in Cheriton Road. He told how William Marsh, of Brockman Road, had lived In the millhouse when he was a boy. He came to Folkestone with his parents In 1873 when his father, also William, took over the mill from a Mr Dawson and used to bake bread using his own flour. Nurserymen G & A Clark Ltd later had the ground.

 

1975

Help save town’s ailing hotels pleads councillor.

CHAIRMAN of Shepway’s publicity sub-committee, Cllr George Thomas called for government action to rescue the town’s ailing hotel trade. Most European countries, he said, gave enormous encouragement and help to the hotel industry because they knew its value. In Britain this didn’t happen. He wanted the government to come up with grants and loans. Upset Hythe people were pressing for local societies and other organisations to be able to make use of the new Cinque Ports Pavilion at Hythe which Shepway Council had proposed should be used only during three months in the height of summer, for fear of loss. And their fight was backed by Stade Court Hotel which suggested its use for business conferences, sales meetings and other functions ‘out of season’ general manager Tony Marsden adding that he did not expect his hotel to have exclusive rights. Saltwood Cricket Club chairman Jack Fakley hit out at the “damn petty" attitude of a development company which left the club ‘homeless’ while its former ground stood Idle. He described It as sacrilege! Target of his anger was Flag Developments which gave the club notice after the club had used the pitch for 21 years. The company failed to get consent to put up 54 homes and lost an appeal. The club’s hope of a new pitch rested on a site at Eaton Lands, some distance away.

 

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:-

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