Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 3 May 2001


Horse drawn outing 1900

Fishing fears

Fifty-five years ago this month the Herald carried a headline "War Saved our Fishing Industry" above a story which told of grave fears for the future of the fishing fleets. The writer said that Folkestone was founded upon this age-old industry and it should not be allowed to stagnate.
At a critical period in its history the 1914-18 war "saved" it, said the writer.

For a few years all was well, then there was a slump and local fisher folk were hard put to make a living. But then the Second World War came along and "saved" them once again.

But, added the writer, there was a sting in the tale. The war had also inflicted new hardships and dangers never before experienced, in the form of unexploded bombs, mines and other hazards, such as wrecked planes, flying bombs and sunken ships, which inflicted much damage to fishing boats and their equipment as they fished.

But attempts were being made to insure against such losses of catches and nets.

By April 1946, the writer continued, the port's fishing industry employed just under 200 men full time and there were about 35 large and small fishing craft.

This was only half what it had been in the early part of the century.

Bill Saunders, whose family had been connected with fishing for many generations, told a Folkestone Herald reporter that the fishing grounds off Folkestone were not very prolific and, unless the fishermen could be sure of reasonably good prices for their fish, they could barely earn a living.

Below the story's headline was a picture of old pipe-smoking Tom Weatherby, 71, one of
several old-timers who, said the writer, had been fishing for more than 50 years. He was shown looking out over the surviving fishing boats, from the quayside at the Fishmarket.

Midnight flowers

A 1933 ITEM which caught my eye when I was researching information, in the Folkestone Herald, about the windmills in East Kent, was about "The Midnight Flower Boat" - a former Southern Railway cargo steamer which operated a perhaps little known service across the Channel, between Folkestone and Boulogne, bringing flowers from the South of France to be sent by rail to Covent Garden's early morning market.

Hundreds of tons of roses, marguerites, marigolds, tulips, mimosa, narcissi, stocks, violets and asparagus foliage for bouquets, were arriving every month between October and June, and the cargoes were particularly heavy this time of year.

On arrival at the port they were quickly transferred to a waiting train bound for the City in the early hours of the morning where they were checked by Customs officers, and arrived at the market just after 4am.

Duty had to be paid on the blooms after January 1932 - two old pennies per pound for common varieties and nine old pence for "prime assorted flowers."

Other consignments of flowers arrived at
"I REMEMBER a man, who was mayor of this town who was bowling 'unders' for Folkestone when Folkestone played ‘All England.' And, when the legendary W.G. Grace came into the field, they got him out second ball, much to his annoyance!" - The mayor, Alderman J.W. Stainer, related this story at the annual meeting of the Folkestone Cricket Club, back in 1933. Unfortunately he gave no hint of the year. I passed the information on to Peter Ewart, a family history researcher, formerly of Folkestone, who lives near Ash. For some time he has been trying to prove a legend that W.G. Grace played at Ash too.
FROM the Folkestone & Hythe Gazette, the Herald’s midweek sister paper, of 50 years ago - The day Friern Barnet Cricket Club team visited Folkestone to play a match against the town’s Cricket Club. This picture, reproduced from the newspaper (we don’t have an original photograph) hence the quality is not very good, shows some of the party with a horse-drawn charabanc believed to come from Dover.
Folkestone from Dunkirk. They were grown expressly for the British market.

FIFTY years ago this month a Capel resident was looking back 50 years to the day a Friern Barnet Cricket Club team visited Folkestone to play their Folkestone counterparts.

During that visit they were taken by horse-drawn charabanc to Capel where they were
pictured wearing a variety of hats outside the Valiant Sailor public house.

The picture (exact date not known) was published in the Herald's former mid-week paper the Folkestone & Hythe Gazette.

It was sent in by Mr W.A. Tunstill, of Helena Road, Capel, who said Mr Aird, licensee at the Capel inn, thought the driver of the coach was Mr Nash of Dover.

Swinish multitude’ chase pig - and go cock-fighting

*1 om A CENTURY aS our feature writer, X9UJ. Felix, looked back a century through April 1799 pages of Sporting Magazine to Easter Monday Holiday 'Sports' at Sandgate and Shorncliffe. Events got under way with pony races. Then there was a racc for a Holland Smock in which "Kentish Maids" took part, followed by an aquatic racc for four-oared cutters and, after a lunch interval, a racc for Kentish Hunters that had ‘been in at the death of two brace of foxes' in the past seas-jn. A humorous sack race followed and then things turned swinish as a pig was turned loose, its tail having been "suitably” shaved and soaped, the object being for men to try and catch it by the tail and throw it over their heads (!) Felix commented that n ‘ swinish multitude" chased the pig. but. happily no one succeeded in the task, over a period of two hours. Worse followed with cock-fighting, described as a Welch main of cocks, at the New Inn, an old coaching house - later the Kent Hotel. The pony race for a bridle, saddle and silver-mounted whip, was won by “Chanticler" owned by a Mr Hollis.
Rider’s lucky escape as lightning strikes his bike

QCi FIFTY years ago a Folkestone school-_L70JL master was trying to work out how he 'lost' nine minutes on his way to school. The story was related on the front page of the Herald under the headline "Struck by Lightning on Motor-Cycle." William Anthony O'Leary was on his way to Morehall County Secondary School from Hawkinge when the incident happened. He remembered adjusting his goggles as it came on to rain and then "I felt a pain in my stomach as thought I had been kicked violently. The next thing I knew I was sitting astride my stationary motor-cycle. There was a horrible smell of sulphur and brimstone. I had a pain in the stomach and there was a tingling sensation in the palms of my hands. I took off my gloves and found that my hands had been burned," he told the Herald. He said he saw no flash and heard no thunder, but he believes lightning must have stalled his engine as it struck him. He felt shaken and his speech was slightly affected but he went on with his work. His rubber boots may have saved him from serious injury. Folkestone said it with flowers, adopting the slogan of "Floral Folkestone" for the year and held a floral Shopping Week, as a prelude to a July Festival and Flower Show.
Lucky escape for local JP and farmer, on world trip

1 QOC LOCAL JP Mr J.E. Quested of Newington J./4bOwas back in town after a narrow escape during a 30.000 mile trip to America and the Far East, during which he judged cattle at an international fat stock show in Chicago, where he was invited to judge 1.600 animals, mainly bred from English and Scottish stock, over three days. The champion beast was an Aberdeen Angus. While In Japan he had a narrow escape from death, the tram in which he travelled up a mountain to visit one of the tourist spots, crashed on the way back down, causing death or serious injury to a dozen people. Possibly having a premonition, he had walked down, refusing to rejoin the tram. The building of the new band pavilion on the leas was the subject of a page feature on architecture in a daily paper which must have been valuable publicity for Folkestone. Meanwhile Cllr Forsyth proposed that the Council should try and get a visit to the port by a Royal Navy ship which, he said, would give the town a boost. Councillors were supporting a 'backing Britain campaign' by supporting home manufacturers and contractors who were on a list known as the King's Roll. No one turned up when the Chamber of Commerce decided to discuss the need for resort publicity.
20,000 protest at geriatric plans for town’s Royal ‘Vic’

a OVER 20.000 local people signed a peti-

■LZ/fOtion against a plan to turn the Royal Victoria Hospital into a unit mainly for geriatric patients, and won the backing of the South-east Kent Community Health Council, which added its weight to the objection. The watchdog council pledged that it would appeal to the regional health authority for the cash to adapt the Royal 'Vi*:' for use as a community hospital, with 29 beds retained for medical and postoperative surgical patients, and 60 used for geriatric patients, when the William Harvey opened at Ashford in 1978. An army of furious Romnuy Marsh residents decided to march on Shcpway District Council, in a spirited campaign against higher charges for emptying cesspools. And they threatened they would not pay the proposed new charges if they were introduced, but leave the cesspools until they were about to overflow and then demand they be emptied on health grounds. And the protest seems to have worked, the Marsh folk won a cut of half in the proposed new charges. At the same time it was decided to send a deputation to Shcpway Council pressing for a speed-up in plans for main drainage. Folkestone's Carnival planners adopted the slogan of Quality, not quantity for the 1976 event, problems being created bv the brilliant 1.5mile long procession in 1975.

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:-