Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 3 August 2000


THERE was quite a surprise for Mrs Sylvia Cooper (nee Sutton) when she paid one of her periodical visits to Folkestone to see nieces and nephews and they showed her a back issue of Herald Memories with views of Bridge Street when the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother) in 1937 was celebrated with a big street party.

For among the party-goers were her late mother and three of her sisters.

It brought back very happy memories for Sylvia who makes an annual pilgrimage to her old home town from Slough, in Berkshire to see her family and visit the grave of her parents Percy and Angelina Sutton.

Sylvia Cooper

THIS picture thrilled Sylvia Cooper when she saw sister Angelina, top left, next to Lucy Leggatt (with cap) and two more sisters Hester and Rose who are on the right.


She has been staying at the Southcliff Hotel and makes a point of returning to Bridge Street where the family used to live, at No. 35. Naturally it has changed a good deal and it’s not quite as Sylvia remembers it.

Sadly, said Sylvia, “I am the youngest and only survivor of six children, five girls and a boy, my sisters and brother being Angelina, Hester, Rose, Lily and Percy.

“I was absolutely thrilled when my niece at Hawkinge told me of the Memories item and pictures in the Herald and nephew Ronnie brought along a copy of the paper together with a magnifying glass for me spot members of my family and old friends,” she told me.

She was able to pick out her mother and three of her sisters, Angelina, Hester and Rose and I was able to put her in touch with local historian Alan Taylor who had kindly supplied me with copies of the party pictures made from original magic lantern slides given to him by Mrs Gwen Hoad, of Astead, Surrey.

“Bridge Street in those days was a very homely street where people helped one another. We could do with more of that today!" said Sylvia.

Sylvia’s father worked for many years for the Folkestone Water Works.

I also heard from Mrs Leah Carter, of Swan Lane, in Sellindge, who was also interested in the Bridge Street photographs taken by Mrs Hoad’s late father Mr J.F. Smith, once a pharmacist at chemists in Canterbury Road.

“One of the photographs had in it a picture of my great grandmother Mrs Legatt and daughter Lucy.

“This was the first time I had seen a picture of her and I would dearly love to get a copy of the photograph for our family.

“If this is possible I would love to present it to my grandmother, Evelyn Leggatt - she is now 86.”

Another inquiry to pass on to Alan Taylor!

Peter Hogben, of Cowgate Lane, Hawkinge, was very interested in the Folkestone Motorcycle Club’s dinner picture in Memories some weeks back and tells me he was involved in the grasstrack scene during the 60s and 70s and recalls the old Rhodes Minnis circuit with much nostalgia.

He noted my reference to being a follower of that colourful local rider Monty Banks when I was a young cub reporter and tells me that Monty, although now 79, still helps prepare his son’s racing motors. Good old Monty!

Peter also tells me he used to be involved with machine and engine building himself for various riders, including Peter Collins and also that he and his wife used to write a biker column used in the Herald in the days of sports editor Tony Lister. In particular Peter recalls a big page feature on the Folkestone club’s Grand Slam event and would love to see a copy of it again.

Peter says he was told there is still a relic of the Second World War beside the main road on the twisty bends between Hawkinge and Folkestone.

Still visible on the bank, were some rusty pipes which would have given German troops a very warm reception indeed, had they succeeded in invading. They would have sprayed petrol on the road as the Germans passed by, and set their vehicles alight as a hidden device ignited the vapour.

The plumber involved in the installation lived in Cheriton, says Peter. When he retired he was with technical services at the local army camp.

Incidentally, before Peter retired he was an accident investigator and proprietor of the local bike riding school.


Cheriton High Street 1913

CHERITON High St 1913: By way of a change I am featuring this picture for the benefit of two former colleagues Roger and Tracey Fairman and other readers in Cheriton. Tracey asked me some time back if I had any photographs of this part of Folkestone. It was shown to me by Memories reader peter Hooper.



Straw hats for horses - as heatwave hits town!

HOW THINGS have changed. Back in 1900 Folkestone had a steady trade in the transport of horses to and from the Continent, so much in fact that one local firm, in the past year, James Peden & Son, of Royal Pavilion Mews, was involved in the handling of 4,000 horses out of the 7,000 passing through the port. Their clients included the Rothschild stud at Chantilly, in France and during the year one thoroughbred they had charge of was Flying Fox winner of the 1899 Derby, which was practically sold for its weight In gold! So busy were the Pedens they had an upstairs stable added at the Mews, reached via a long incline from Tram Road. Folkestone and district was experiencing a heatwave and the Folkestone Express wrote with enthusiasm about the humane example shown by Sherwood & Son in providing straw bonnets for horses In their care when out in the sun! That would have made quite a picture. But sadly back in 1900 the paper seldom if ever used photographs. The hats were supplied by Whitechurch & Medhurst's of Rendezvous Street The same firm also had for sale sides of bacon from Her Majesty Queen Victoria's farm at Windsor.



Big scheme to expand the Harvey Grammar approved.

AFTER a lengthy and heated debate on plans to extend Harvey Grammar School and its playing fields to accommodate a hundred more pupils, taking the total to around 400 the proposal was approved by the Council 13 votes to four. At one point it was suggested the school should be ‘handed over’ to the County Council to reduce the burden on the local rates but at least one councillor said this would ultimately cost more. Others pleaded that an enterprise in local hands was run more effectively for its people than by outsiders. And Colonel Broome Giles said that to consider surrendering this old school was absurd. To those who objected to the cost of the scheme it was pointed out the cost was no greater than with any other grammar: school and Folkestone had only to meet a quarter of that cost. Alderman Spurgen commented that they were “spending 150.000 on sports and amusements and yet they were Jibbing at 6,000 on education!” Only three councillors voted for an amendment calling on the Education Committee to reconsider the scheme. The Hospital Fete and Children's Fair, with a tombola with ul.OOO worth of prizes promised to be the greatest attraction of its kind ever seen in Folkestone, the organisation being in the hands of the Brotherhood of Cheerful Sparrows.



Memories revived of a flying bomb disaster.

AT LYMINGE there was a service of celebration when the new Methodist Church Hall was opened, replacing the old church and hall destroyed by a flying bomb In August 1944 - that devastating blow came only two months after golden jubilee celebrations. The Council’s Parks Committee recommended that Folkestone football and polo grounds be made available without charge to the Folkestone Chamber of Trade for a Festival of Britain flower show and carnival from July 18-21, 1951. Councillors paying tribute to the late Albert Castle, 80, of Cherry Garden Avenue, nine times mayor of the town, recalled that as a contractor, ho built the Leas Pavilion, Hythe Post Office and Harvey Grammar School in addition to many houses. Folkestone Orpheus Choir and Orchestra made a presentation of a canteen of cutlery to their conductor, Eric Coningsby who was leaving for a new appointment as organise and choirmaster at Llandaff Cathedral, South Wales. A new choir gallery was dedicated at St Peter's Church, Folkestone, as a memorial to Father W.H. Pickburn, minister from 1923 • 1947, who died ini 1948, and a new organ presented by the Rev Mother General of the Community of St John the Baptist was also dedicated.



Police training centre shut down after 30 years.

THERE was threefold boost for Folkestone Carnival with offers of help and funds - and a upsurge of early entries. The Junior Chamber of Commerce offered to organise the carnival night dance at the Leas Cliff Hall. Carnival Committee chairman John Rendle said more support was coming in than ever before. They had been trying to get more local organisations involved and now it was happening, he said. After more than 29 years Sandgate’s link with the police forces of southern England ended, when the last passing out parade was held at the police training centre - the former Star and Garter Home for disabled soldiers. In that 30 year period nearly 13,000 officers completed initial training at Sandgate. The property was due to be handed back to the Star and Garter Trust. Ward alterations which caused a storm of protest in Hythe were rejected by the Boundary Commission. But those changes proposed In Folkestone were approved At Lydd airport local people were looking forward with optimism as closure of Ashford airport at Lympne led to a boost In trade. The airport, which had experienced three years In the doldrums without scheduled services, from 1971-74, was celebrating its 21st anniversary with a mini air show and aerobatics display. At Elham there was reported to be a "dire need of a new doctors' surgery.” The old one was a lean-to at the side of a baker’s shop! The old school was tipped as a new site.


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:-