DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 18 January 2001

 

Steamer memories

THOSE were the days - A busy scene at Folkestone harbour with cross-Channel passengers in Edwardian dress on the quayside alongside the former railway steamer Onward - the subject of a recent Memories feature. This fine photograph was shown to me by local historian and author Alan
Magical!

NAMES have magical properties - especially our own. Whoever knows our name, according to primitive beliefs, has power over us. To prevent the sea witches getting their true identity, fishermen used nicknames to fool the evil spirits.
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Unknowingly, perhaps, this tradition was kept alive by our 20th Century fishermen and I am reminded of this by retired local boatman and author Fred Featherbe, now living in Hythe.

Among trawler skippers, apparently, there were such names as Alamein Eddie, Bobbin Head. Boiled Cod Charlie, Camp Iron Smithy, Cod Eyes, Florsehead Flarrison, Hurricane Hutch, Iceland Wave, Orkettle Jack, Russian Alec, Snowy Worthington and Soft Soap Sammy.

The Herald's one-time writer William George Glanfield, known to all by his pen-name of Felix, wrote often of Folkestone fishermen and their colourful nicknames.

‘Hoggamy’ Hall

And in captions for old pictures I have seen such colourful names as Red un Fagg, Muggy Hall, Hoggamy Hall, Skinny Harms, Dorrety May, Dipper Tanner and Pouty Fagg.

Hoggamy - real name Thomas Hall - who died as long ago as 1923, aged 80 was credited with being an expert on the weather and could "scent" a gale coming long before it arrived.

I have heard it said his nickname springs from the salvage of much mahogany from wrecks, often
thrown up among flotsam on the beach.

The old sea dog, who left nine children to mourn nis passing, was no mean singer and loved to entertain.

Folkestone fishermen must surely hold some kind of record for the great quantity of nicknames on recorcT

Many are listed in the interesting old softback book "Smugglers ana Smuggling Days' by an old

Folkestone Free Trader' - the writer was John English, editor and owner of the old Folkestone Express newspaper. The little book was first published in 1883 and reprinted in 1967.

A theory for some nicknames is that among the fishermen were so many fathers, sons, uncles, brothers and grandfathers with the same surname. Nicknames saved confusion.

This ditty is by the late Richard Cullen, who was chief clerk in Messrs Rothschild's bank and knew Folkestone well -

"There's Old Tussy, Old Yah. Kiddleabite, Old Dickah,

Old Titeum, Old Crumpets, Old Dill,

Old Clevo, Old Twit,

And Old Tommy Tit,

And Rigden over the hill.

Old Rough'un, Old Ky,

Dicky Fagots, Old Mugon, Old No,

Old Clargy, Old Lutty,

Billy Bowny, Old Sutty,

Dicky Sibby, and Old Billyco.
Jimmy Two Pots, Old Bon, Old Belloil, Old John,

Old Cloey, Old Nutty, Old Go,

Old Cuffer, Old Duck,

And Old Funnymuck,

Old Mute, Jimmy Rat, and Old Joe.

Old Kingwill and Old Gray, And Old Sawney May,

Old Shiner, Old Kymo, Old Trout, Old Weaver, Old Sprat,

Lame under the hat.

Old Punch, Bubbles Hall, and Bullrout.

Old Diddlum, Lord Howe,

Old Buy, Old Towrow,

Old Coffee, Cock Eye, and Old Cocky,

Old Dab and Old Dice,

And Old Lumpy Brice,

Old Allico, Potter and Jocky.

Old Nuggen, Old Ben,

Old Coley, Old Hen,
Tommy Dutch, Old Swisher and Noddy,

Old Frolic, Old Cherry,

Sleepy Dicky, Old Jerry,

Old Doggy, Old Cuz, and Old Coddy.

Old Sharper, Old Buck,

Old Tippo, Old Muck,

Old Charity, Dillo and Proctor, Old Pork Ears, Old Sir,

Old Graffy, Old Parr,

Tommy Newbolt and Old Piker Boxer.

Popelaw and Jaw Moss,

Old Crap, Dicky Doss,

Janty Tom, Old Luff, and Long Dicky,

Old Clem, and Old Ducky,

Old Lobby, and Tucky,

Rafe, Bumblefoot, Bumper and Ricky.

John Keete, Billy Ball,

And Feathertoe Hall,
Old Nelson, Old Stumpy, and Browny,

Wicked Eye and Scram Bay.

Old Sparagrass May,

Dicky Wellerd, Old Topper and Toney.

Old Shonks and Old Slave,

Old Silk and Old Dave,

Old Boscowing, Old Jerrup, Old Crack,

Snuffy Jones, Tyus May,

Old Grub, Old Bombay,

Jimmy Linkey, and Old Gipsy Jack.

Old Hoss Holmes, Old Float, Dicky Bricks, Old Green Coat, Old Peten, Old Robin, Old Vince, Old Bad Cant, and Dilly,

Old Buss, and Old Pilly,

Old Mutton, Old Breeches, and Pince.

Old Chelsy, Old Desh,

Old Matson, Jack Mesh,
Old George Tanner, Billy Bahlamb Et Bunny,

Old Sugar Cock Pain.

And Old Donkey Swain.

Old Dick Cooper, Old Tipshon, and Dummy.

Old Botney, and Toby,

Old Badger, and Bogey,

Old King, Old Pork Pie, and Old Lacket,

Old Pilot and Paddy.

And Old Daniel Daddy,

Old Cabbage and Old Billy Racket.

Old Motto, Old Rily,

Old Cobox and Skily,

Old Lockton, Tisho and Fatty,

Old Aps Egg, and Squeaker, Bronker Elgar, and Neeser,

Old Stontly, Old Faith and Old Catty."
 

Plans for powerful motor lifeboat for Folkestone

*f QA<I AT THE annual meeting of the local ■L7l/JL Lifeboat Committee members heard that it was hoped to have the very latest and most powerful motor lifeboat on station at Folkestone some time in 1901 but talks were still going on about a possible station for it somewhere within the harbour. The memorial or foundation stone of a new boys' school in Stanley Road for All Soul's Church was laid. cnl> 100 remaining to be raised for the furnishings. The plan was for a large classroom for 78 boys and a smaller one for the remaining 42 pupils, but the school was to be built with a view to future enlargement t t.ikc up to 300 scholars. Sgt G Holdom. of the Buffs, referred to as a fellow townsman, was congratulated on promotion to Colour Sgt. Writer Felix was looking back a century to a time when Folkestone had three "Irregular" streets, built along the cliff. Anciently it had five churches but these had been reduced to one. At Michaelmas, he said, the Folkestone sailing barques left for the Suffolk and Norfolk coasts to catch herring for the merchants of Yarmouth and Lowestoft. In 1811 the town's houses numbered only 765 and inhabitants 3.697. By 1901 houses had multiplied to 5,600.
 
Level crossing fears over Dymchurch railway plans

Qrt/J CONCERN was expressed at a Hythe Town Council committee meeting about level crossings in Hythe on the proposed Hythe. New Romney and Dymchurch light railway. A public inquiry was being held in New Romney and it was thought the Town Clerk and Surveyor should attend to press for gated crossings, particularly where schoolchildren might be at risk. The great efforts of the hard working Infant Welfare Committee, and in particular the “Angel of Mercy'' Nurse Denniston. came in for high praise at a meeting of Town Councillors who debated ways of holplng by finding a plot of land for building a permanent centre for the work. It was reported that in 12 months 1B3 children had made 1,855 attendances at a temporary centre, with an average of 14 babies a week. Other towns were said to have made grants for the welfare work being done among young mothers and it was hoped the Council could come up with a free plot of land for a purpose-built welfare centre. It was agreed to look into this. Hythe Orchestral Society was formed, with Dr Randall Davis as president. He already held a similar position in the Choral Society. Mr JJ. Holyoak was appointed conductor and Mr C Capon, secretary.
 
Herald slams council’s ‘sklnflinf Festival plans

| QC1 THE HERALD was not Impressed with Council plans to celebrate the Festival of Britain. It observed that most of the money to be spent would be on a tableau in a procession in Canterbury! It thought the money could be better spent in Folkestone, pointing out Canterbury wasn't even the County Town. But the Herald, referring to the Council's plans as a ‘skin and bones scheme,’ commended some concrete proposals for celebrations by an independent committee determined to see something really worthy of the town. If there was any doubt about the group's plans, it was that they might be too ambitious. The proposals included a pageant and a flower show it was hoped would be the biggest ever held in the district. The Herald editor wrote that he only hoped there was enough time to arrange a really worthwhile pageant and that the Military authorities would be more decisive about joining in with some kind of tattoo or service display. The town mourned the death of Mrs Amy M. Bradford, 91, of R.ivcnloa Road, Folkestone. She was the mother of four sons, two of whom won the VC. One had won tin- MC fur bravery as well, and another the DSO. Brigadier-General R.B. Bradford, VC, MC was only 25 when he was killed in action in France on November 30,1917.
 
Power cut mercy dash to save patient on dialysis

< THERE was a life-or-death drama for

.L77 fO electricity engineers when a cable fault blacked out nearly 2,000 consumers in Folkestone and Hythe. Their mercy dash was to restore power for a man on a kidney dialysis machine. Lydd Council took up an offer of a free estimate from swimming pool experts to see if it would be viable to turn a pool at the back of Lydd sports pavilion, in Manor Road, into an outdoor pool. A company building it was reported to have got into difficulty .ifter spending 34,000. At Hythe there were abortive efforts to peg prices at the town's swimming pool where small increases were eventually agreed, and similar increases were predicted at Folkestone Sports Centre. Four men with a total of 120 years service at Hythe ranges were presented with Imperial Service Medals by Brigadier Neil Fletcher, Commander of the Dover and Shorncliffe Garrison. Alkham PCC negotiations for purchase of the organ of the former United Reformed Church, in Deal, fell through after diocesan experts advised that although of excellent qu.ility thi- .ibove-average instrument' would prove too big for the village church and would tend to spoil its finest architecture - the north chapel.

Agreement was reached over better lighting for the nave where shadows were said to be proving troublesome.
 

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