Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 16 November 2000

Memories this week is devoted to a fascinating set of 60 year old photos of seafront amusements from local history man Alan Taylor.

The chairman of Folkestone & District Local History Society, Alan was given the pictures by Mrs Gwen Hoad, whose lantern slide photographs of Bridge Street Coronation party revels in 1937 caused so much interest in Memories some months ago.

Those Dufay colour slides, which Alan had copied, were taken by Gwen’s father Mr JF Smith, who was formerly a pharmacist in Canterbury Road and also a keen photographer.
The new pictures, some of which were apparently sold as postcards, possibly in the chemist’s, all date from 1938.

Mrs Hoad lives in Ashtead, Surrey, and she thought the pictures would be of more use in Shepway.

Alan has done his homework and identified some of the people in the pictures of the amusements which were a feature of the new seaside ‘pleasure palace’ set up on
the beach together with a very popular boating pool.

The architect of that original Rotunda development was Mr D. Playdell-Bouverie, 26, who was commissioned by land owner Lord Radnor. It was run for years by Fred Harrison, a well known Folkestone personality.

The new Palace of Amusements and Boating Pool was featured in the Herald’s former midweek paper Day by Day, in 1937. This was a forerunner of its Folkestone & Hythe Gazette which came out on Wednesdays.

Dominant feature of the new amusement complex was what was hailed as the world’s first self-supporting concrete dome. Sceptics said it would collapse.

For years Fred Harrison ran the once famous Pier Amusement Gardens which were nearby.

If any Memories readers can identify relatives or friends in the pictures Alan Taylor would be pleased to hear from them. He can be contacted on 01303 252567.
World ‘first’ at Rotunda







Queen Victoria accepts nurse’s Boer war'relic.

<f Q/\/\ QUEEN Victoria was pleased to accept X7wVthe gift of a Sandgate nurse’s unique Boer War memento of Ladysmith In the form of a cushion created from pieces of siege-worn clothing discarded by South African war veterans convalescing from their ordeal at the Beach Rocks Hospital. With a pattern of diamonds, inset with Boer war pictures it was Nurse Palmer’s own idea and was a worthy addition to the treasures of Balmoral Castle. It was suggested by wounded soldiers that it should be offered to the Queen, whose portrait was in the centre of the design. Pictures and portraits, including lord Roberts, General Buller, Lord Baden Powell, were worked in silk thread, Meanwhile, an exhibition of Boer War mementoes was opened at Sandgate Castle by Lt-Col RJ Fynmore. Lance Corporal W Francis who left the Herald works to fight in the Boer War was badly wounded in battle at Brugspruit. The brave volunteer previously suffered enteric fever. He was the grandson of Frederick Francis of St Michaels Street. 18 million tons of rain was said to have fallen in Shepway in a week and about 3,000 homes in the district were without power after a storm, while Hythe High Street was flooded.



Cheerful Sparrows raise 5,000 for charity work.

• CIO C THE LEAGUE of Cheerful Sparrows charity JL?40 organisation was reviewing its season’s work and, from profits of 5,000, principally from the Summer Fete, voted to give 2,583 to the Royal Victoria Hospital, 500 up on the previous year, 250 went to enlarge the Fishermen's Bethel, and 100 to the Mayor’s Relief Fund together with: numerous smaller sums to other funds. The Mid-Kent Hunt was reported to have sailed through Dymchurch close on the heels of a stag which was eventually brought to bay, but, after resting a while, apparently exhausted, in the middle of the hounds, it was suddenly up and away and made for the sea. There it swam out a considerable distance, causing concern to animal lovers and a boat put out to the rescue. But the stag evaded the seamen and eventually emerged from the sea between Grand Redoubt and Hythe in a nearexhausted condition but slowly made its way back Into the hills. The driver and conductor of an East Kent bus Messrs J King and A Ward spotted the stag and reported its condition to the Master of the Hunt at Lenham. listeners licence protest over BBC radio ‘babble’



A five years on It is hard to credit.

^73wthat in 1950 the Herald editor was calling on the BBC to do something about the reception in this area of its most important radio programme, the Home service, said to sound nothing but a 'babble' to thousands who tried to tune in to it on the south-east coast. Not one but two or three other radio stations were picked up on the same wavelength, inspite of a European agreement. Many threatened not to pay their licence fee. Folkestone sports and cultural organisations decided to forge a link with the lovely old-world Dutch town of Middelburg. county town of the Zeeland province, with an interchange of sporting and other events. East Cliff fisherman Mr W Boorn, got more than he bargained for while fishing in the harbour, landing an eel some 5ft 21ns long and weighing 281b, pictured on the front page of the Herald. Flights by Capt EM Maitland, at St Martin's Plain. Shorn-cllffe in 1910 were seen on film by a select few at the Odeon Cinema. Showing of a privately owned film was organised by Herald writer The Roamer. Maitland was one of several airmen competing for the 4,000 Baron de Forrest prize for the longest flight of the year, to include a Channel crossing.



Worst ever oil slick hits district as ships collide.

<4 Q"7 (P OIL POLLUTION of the beaches and coast X71 O was a serious problem in the: 70s and 50 years ago there was a desperate fight to clear a horrible black, greasy oil slick from holiday sands: and shingle beaches. The sea was black with the filthy stuff which threatened wildlife and our precious seaside holiday trade. A massive boom was strung across tho harbour mouth from Copt Point but not before the thick smelly sludge had smothered the East Cliff sands and entered the inner harbour, oil coating boats, walls, ropes, ladders and rocks, while thousands of dead or barely alive sea birds came ashore. One official described the waters of the harbour as looking like -chocolate mousse." It was Shepway’s worst ever oil slick disaster. The was cause was not an oil tanker flushing out its tanks illegally in the Channel, but a mid-Channel collision between the supertanker Olympic Alliance and Royal Navy frigate HMS Achilles. The tanker had a 14ft gash in her bows, spewing 3.000 gallons of crude oil into the sea. Twenty vessels launched a bid to disperse a 10-mile slick threatening beaches from Dungeness to Deal. Shepway council mobilised 200 men and the KCC put 800 men on standby, while Folkestone fishing boats were fitted with equipment to spray detergent on the oil in the harbour area, seamen earning high praise for their efforts. Many volunteers stepped in to save birds.


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:-