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From the Folkestone Herald Published 4 May 2000

‘Holy grail’ bike.

I WAS chuffed to hear the Tom Arter historic collection of racing motorcycles and spare parts helped create a new world record! A Brooks auction sale at Stafford on April 16 netted 1.1 million, the highest ever for a motorcycle sale. The star lot went for a record price too!

This star Item was the ex-Mike Duff 1954 AJS 497cc ‘Porcupine’ E95 machine, part of Tom Arter’s historic collection at Barham, which made 157,700. It was the highest price ever for a British motorcycle. A spare engine made 78,500 too, so it was including two vintage 1922 and 1925 machines, and 30 lots of spare parts etcetera cleared over 300,000.

The ‘Porcupine’ with twin cylinders tilted at 45 degrees in the frame to ensure adequate air cooling, was described by the auctioneers as the “Holy Grail” of the motorcycle racing world and the auction price proved It.

The engine was conceived with supercharging in mind but this was banned at the end of 1946 and the design had to be revised.

Just as fast as the British racing Nortons and the Italian Glleras, only four AJS E90 and four E95 ‘Porcupine’ models were built and were raced only by the works team - except the Arter machine raced by a non-works rider, Mike Duff.

Another Arter big seller was the ex-Frank Perris Matchless G45 racing bike of 1955, which made 20,125, while a Matchless G50 built for John Surtees but ridden by Peter Williams, sold for 19,550. George Beale also bought over 50,000 worth of spares from the Arter Collection including ‘Porcupine’ gear cogs for 23,000.

The Arter sponsored and tuned ‘Porcupine’ appeared in classic events throughout the 1980s.

Agents for AJS and Matchless Arter Brothers of Barham, acted as development testers for the AMC factory, trying modifications and testing new components In their race bikes which, If successful, were Incorporated Into production models of such popular machines as the AJS 349cc 7R ‘Boy Racer' of the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s.

A host of star riders were sponsored by Tom Arter through the years until he effectively retired from the sport In 1980.

Brooks say the Arter collection was the finest they have ever handled. And Interest in the sale was world-wide.

Another star lot was the Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle combination which featured In the “Two Fat Ladies” TV cookery series. It too was sold at the sale, to a private buyer, for 9,775 after some fierce bidding. The lot included a host of memorabilia from the popular show.


A 1940s' photograph of Dover Road School evacuees featured in Memories on February 24 and also on January 27, was of special interest to Mr Victor E. Challls, now living in St Thomas Road, Newquay, Cornwall. The picture of children evacuated to South Wales for safety in 1940, was first published in The Story of a School - Dover Road, 1835-1958. This booklet was published In 1958 when children were settling in at a new school at Park Farm.

Dover Road School Children 1940

Victor writes: “I am one of the Challis boys in your photograph. Neither of the two girls in the photo are my sister, but my brother Albert is in the photo, second from the left in the front row. In the back row, left to right, the first, I think, are the Wright brothers, from Canada, No. 3 ???; No. 4 Cyril Bevan, then Billy Doyle, Kenneth Care, Mr C. Blunt and No. 8 Is myself, Victor Challls.

“Front row, from left, No. 1 ???, No. 2 Albert Challls (still living In Sandgate Rd, Folkestone), No.s 3 & 4 ???, No. 5 Iris Grummet, then Colin and Jimmy Care, Toby Baker. Needless to say Mr Blunt was not my most favourite person!” Mr Challls added.


Charabanc outside Ecclesbourne boarding house

PETER Hooper’s postcard picture of an early charabanc with heavy artillery type wheels and solid tyres outside the Ecclesbourne boarding house at 16 Wear Bay Road, near East Cliff. Behind the women posing in front is the side entrance to the large coach which had a folding hood behind the back seats. The Valentine series postcard probably dates from between the wars and was one of many that would have been on display at F.W. Parrett's Marine Studios and at 44 High Street.


Tilling Stevens bus 1914

A TILLING Stevens petrol/electric bus in Bouverle Road East, Folkestone close to the junction with Alexandra Gardens, possibly in 1914. Behind the bus is the old Gun Brewery with chimney and, left, behind the trees, Christ Church School known to the children as the Gun School, after the brewery, and Pelham House, a catering college.



Big welcome awaited the Boer War casualties.

OVER two columns of the Folkestone Express were devoted to celebrations to mark the homecoming at Sandgate of some of the brave soldiers who left town the previous November to fight In the Boer War, men who "gambled dally with death” but returned home as Invalids -160 of them, arriving in charabancs and a variety of other transports from Sandgate railway station. Devons, Gordons, Rifles, Gloucesters, Artillerymen Dragoons and Hussars arrived by hospital train from Southampton to a warm welcome with much flag-waving from crowds along the route to the Camp Hospital or Beach Rocks convalescent home. Meantime 17 more East Kent Volunteers arrived in Hythe for training before going out, in May, to join Capt Gosling's company fighting in South Africa. They were expected to be led by Lieut Hubbard, of Margate, their send-off to Include a party at the Volunteer Club in Tontine Street given by Ueut Griffin. Latest casualty figures were given as 213 officers and 2,015 men kilted, plus 50 officers and 483 men died of wounds. Other casualties brought numbers up to 842 officers and 13,982 men.



Donkey races for women all part of the Easter fun.

Local lifesaving workers were appealing for funds for a motor lifeboat at Folkestone stressing the need due to the cross-Channel traffic to and from Folkestone. Jubilation was in the air at Hythe where the Town Council managed to keep the rates down to same level as the previous year. Felix who wrote a weekly column for the Herald in a light-hearted vein, described how the local people had celebrated the Easter holiday 50 years before. Half the population headed for the hills and, in particular, the great meadow behind Caesar's Camp. Here there was a grand picnic, each group taking their own ‘rations.’ There was dancing to music by a six-piece band and great fun was provided by gallops and races on Father Sparke’s donkeys with lady jockeys. There was no football then, but a sport known as goal running and rounders. The return trek was via the then village of Foord. A Bayle Garage advertisement In the Herald in April 1925 offered the “Aquaplane" described as a collapsible, unsinkable ‘craft’ with 16sq ft of sail and weighing about 20lbs which “can be used by the swimmer or non-swimmer." The cost, of just under 6, included a sun canopy, tripod mast, pump and canvas carry case.



Earl Radnor fighting for Victoria Pier war cash.

THE Earl of Radnor took action against the British Transport Commission and the moribund Folkestone Pier & Lift Company for compensation In respect of the Victoria Pier which was gutted by fire in May 1945. The action was to determine who should receive compensation payable by the Crown. The pier company had mortgaged It to the South Eastern Railway Co in 1894. In September 1940 It was requisitioned by the War Office which was In possession when it was destroyed. The estimated cost of rebuilding the pier was 45,000. The wreckage was unlit and a hazard to shipping. If successful in his action Lord Radnor proposed to demolish the pier, as compensation was unlikely to total more than 10,000. Disposal of the carcase of a 15ft dolphin washed up on the beach at Littlestone was causing concern for councillors of New Romney Town Council because the KCC considered to be a fish! But a dolphin - It weighed about 15 cwt - is a sea animal. The cost of labour to dispose of it was only 3 but councillors wanted to know who would pay, To perpetuate the memory and long association with Hythe of the late Lord Wakefield, a generous benefactor of the town, a pathway at the recreation ground was named Wakefield Walk and a suitable plaque unveiled.



Earl Radnor s vital role in town’s development.

The Herald published a profile of the eighth Earl of Radnor, Jacob Pleydell Bouverie, written by Drew Smith. The Earl, descended from a Huguenot family, owned a great deal of local property and farmed in Wiltshire. Hit by polio as a child, which left him with a limp, he had six children. He told the Herald how his Huguenot ancestor came to the town In 1697 to invest money In land made in trading with Turkey. At the time Folkestone was a fishing port of under 5,000 people. The family estate ranged as far as Hawkinge to the north, the Warren In the east and Sandgate to the west. By the mid-1800s the Pleydell Bouverles were virtually running the town as if they were a modern-day council and in 1901 the fifth Earl was elected mayor. He stressed his great concern for Folkestone and its future, saying he felt a great deal of responsibility for the town, the charm of which he hoped to preserve. In his role helping to control development, he said, he tried to strike a balance between tourism, light industry and housing. By 1975 the Radnor estate, after disposing of some of its land, had been concentrated in an area from the Bayle to the railway line and in the west to Sandgate. Plans for 30 council homes on the former School of Infantry site at Hythe were described as “ugly, depressing and appalling” a Shepway council committee which rejected them.


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