Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

From the Folkestone Herald Published 27 April 2000

You solved it!

I HAD barely reached my desk at the Folkestone office after finding somewhere to park my car last week, when the phone rang. Two Memories readers rang to say they recognised the spot where the photographer had captured last week’s picture of a ‘Pop’ Wills, Cheriton, charabanc.


THE ‘Pop’ Wills charabanc in Cheriton Place,


And Peter Hooper, 66, of Dover Road, who is keenly interested in old pictures of the area, lent me a series of early postcards of charabancs and taxis taken in Folkestone or Cheriton.

One, pictured below, shows two coaches apparently in the same spot near Bouverie Square as the Wills ‘bus.’ And Joan Brown, of Cheriton Gardens, said she had no trouble identifying the spot because, until two years ago she ran Folkestone Bookshop, in Cheriton Place, which was built after the picture was taken. The shop premises were put up next door to Gordons, the corner of whose shop is on the right of the picture.

Charabanc's in Bouverie Square

PETER Hooper’s postcard picture of two charabancs just off Bouverie Square, Folkestone - a photograph taken by the West End Photo Co, whose premises were just round the corner at Alexandra Gardens. The outing picture dates from between the wars. Notice how the charabanc on the right completely dwarfs the other, no doubt older one, on the left which bears E.V. Wills' plate advertising his Folkestone, Sandgate & Hythe Motor Service, operated from a base in Cheriton.


In the centre of the ground floor windows the firm had a ‘G’ for Gordons.

Estate agents Jacques Alleyne now occupy the old book shop premises.

In the picture below staff of the Electricity Board are setting off on a summer outing from Sandgate Road. The coach is standing at a bus stop which is still there, near the Grand Hotel.

Among those in the picture, seventh from the left with a flat cap, is Edward Crockley, grandad of Peter Hooper’s wife Ann Hooper (nee Piddock.) He provided at least one of Peter’s fascinating collection of old postcards.

Peter, who retired early from British Gas after 43 years service due to ill health, has kindly lent me a dozen fine motoring theme pictures from his collection for future use in Memories.

He and his wife have two sons, Ian (40) a biochemist working for Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giants, and Paul (36) an electrician who works for Dover Harbour Board, and they have three grand-daughters.

Peter is a member of the Folkestone Local History Society and both he and his wife take a keen interest in the East Kent Postcard Club which meets in Canterbury, Ann Hooper producing the club’s regular newsletter.


Bomb shelter.

Peter has vivid wartime memories of what seemed like hours sheltering from aerial bombardment and shelling in the school air raid shelters hidden below tennis courts near the town centre, and of the teacher in charge, Miss Purchase.

One of his pictures of a bus outside the old Co-operative grocery store in Dover Road reminded him, said Peter, of a Folkestone character of years gone by who used to dress like Charlie Chaplin and hawk his summer-time supply of bananas. I wonder how many other Memories readers remember him?

Speaker at the Folkestone Local History Society’s May 3 meeting is Arthur Bailey with “An Audio Visual on the Leas.”


Electricity Board staff outing 1930s

AN ELECTRICITY Board staff outing group pictured in Sandgate Road by Morehall Ave photographer Arthur Ellis, probably in the 1930s, with Grimston Avenue behind him. In the background is the Grand Hotel.



Sandgate home ready for Boer War casualties.

BEACH Rocks nursing home at Sandgate had been taken over by the War Office and was set to receive Its first wounded soldiers from South Africa. Private Jenner, who had been a compositor with the Folkestone Express newspaper reported on the local troops’ passage out to South Africa aboard the steamer Gascon to join soldiers fighting In the Boer War and of hearing the news of the relief of Ladysmith from a home-going vessel they passed. Private W Francis of the Folkestone contingent of the Buffs wrote of the train journey up country after arrival at Capetown and said Viscount Folkestone was In command of the military train. He told of a train smash In which wagons carrying provisions were smashed, of two extra locomotives being coupled on to the train to haul it up through mountainous country, of a camp hospital with 600 patients, and of two rebel spies being shot after they were caught communicating with the Boers from a nearby farm. Sensation was created by news of the attempted shooting of the Prince of Wales in Brussels soon after he boarded a train while travelling with the Princess of Wales.



Weekend chalets and a ‘winter garden’ scheme.

A DECISION by the Town Council to make a charge for trade refuse and for the refuse from some large houses, caused a stir in Folkestone when the official notice was published that a charge of three pence a ‘basket’ would be made. The fact that it; coincided with the decision to go ahead With the controversial band pavilion scheme aggravated the situation. The Deputy Mayor Cllr Osborne, put to the council a plan for a ‘winter garden’ on the sea front consisting of 36 weekend bungalows (presumably chalets) with some garages on some derelict land adjoining the parade. The sunken ground, he said, could be developed Into a winter garden. It could be done at no cost to the town. The Herald said any scheme which could Improve the area concerned should be seriously considered. Stoker E Couchman, a member of the Zeebrugge Survivors' Association and formerly of HMS Vindictive which took part in the First World War raid on the German held port, reported that a useful sum had been raised by the local showing of a film made of the raid. The money was going towards the veterans’ trip to Zeebrugge for the unveiling of the war memorial on the harbour mole, storming of which cost many British lives.



Soccer fans fined after using rationed petrol.

NAIL-biting Kent Senior Cup semi-final home tie between Folkestone and Gillingham highlighted the fact that the UK was still restricted by petrol rationing. Two supporters, one from Sellindge and one from Gillingham, were fined for ‘misuse’ of petrol Issued for trade purposes in driving vans to the match. The dramatic section of Folkestone & Hythe Operatic Society won the divisional final (Kent, Sussex and Surrey) of the British Drama League Community Theatre Festival at Croydon, with their production of “One Evening at Nero’s.” The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway at Littlestone was besieged by enthusiasts and local schoolchildren when a well known standard gauge locomotive “Dunrobin” built in 1895 steamed Into the flag-decked station after a long journey from Golspie, near Dunrobin Castle, In Scotland. It had been purchased by the light railway's owner, Capt J Howey. It steamed into Littlestone from Ashford under Its own power hauling a coach In which Capt Howey was joined by the Mayor of New Romney. The Herald carried a photograph of the locomotive. Driver was C Tibbies and fireman R Johnson. Kent and England bowler Doug Wright spoke to Lydd Cricket Club, answered questions and signed many autograph books.



Seamen’s strike dashes hopes of holidaymakers.

A 48-HOUR seamen's strike over a planned withdrawal of the Heysham-Belfast ferry service, hit the Easter holiday hopes of thousands due to sail on cross-Channel ferries. All British Rail ports were expected to be hit. As many as 20,000 people had been expected to pass through the port and extra ferries had been laid on, Plans for 30 council homes on the former School of Infantry site at Hythe were described as ugly, depressing and appalling by a Shepway council committee which rejected them. Hythe Civic Society also objected to the plans but the health and housing committee wanted the scheme to go ahead because of the pressing need. A glimmer of hope for the homeless was an impending visit of Whitehall officials assessing what had been described as a “desperate” housing situation. Future of the fishing fleet was causing concern and In Parliament local MP Albert Costain sounded a warning that the brave men on whom they depended to man the lifeboats on a voluntary basis In emergencies could be hard to find If regulations forced the fishermen to give up their boats. “How will lifeboats be manned if fishermen go out of business?” he asked. But his impassioned plea fell on deaf ears. Subsidising smaller boats would mean less money to subsidise bigger vessels, was the reply he got from the fisheries minister.


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:-