Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 27 December 2001


LES GOLDSACK, who started as an apprentice boilermaker in 1943 in the Southern Railway marine workshops, and worked at the Packet Yard, in Snargate Street, Dover, has been searching for details of imports of ice which used to be brought to the Channel ports by sailing ships from Norway.

Apart from National Service in the Royal Engineers, Les worked at the Packet Yard for 49 years, often alongside Folkestone men.

In the last five years, during ownership by a private company, he was workshop manager.

Les says that as a young, impressionable lad he listened intently to tales told by his elders about the old days and speaks of the pride shown in the cross-Channel fleet which traded between the wars.

And he became familiar with some of the vessels they spoke about, which went on to see service in the Second World War - the Invicta, Biarritz. Canterbury and Dinard, and the Hampton and Shepperton train ferries.

In the latter part of the war there were also the Manxman (from the Isle of Man), Victoria (ex-Southern Railway), Royal Daffodil and Princess Maud, a hospital ship which was laid up in the Wellington Dock, Dover, for months on end.

One of the Folkestone lads he knew at the Packet Yard was Don McLleland, who later became foreman fitter.

He lived at one time with his grandparents, the Gatehouses, who occupied cottages at what is now the Channel Tunnel site below Shakespeare Cliff -where the old Dover Colliery shafts were sunk.
Sailing ships
"But I am sure I have seen an old picture postcard of such a ship discharging at Folkestone many years ago," he told me.

Les, who lives in Belgrave Road, Dover, is quite right. And Alan Taylor, author and local historian at Folkestone told me the ice used to be in 18inch cubes and carried in holds lined, he believed, with cork and zinc.

There was a picture from his collection in one of the various books published about old Folkestone, he told me. And I found one in my copy of Folkestone - A Pictorial History, by Charles Whitney, published by Phillimore in 1986.
BLOCKS of ice on a flatback cart unloaded from a Norwegian sailing ship, similar to the vessels shown above in front of the old Royal Pavilion Hotel, in the top postcard picture belonging to keen local history enthusiast Peter Hooper, of Folkestone. The ice cart photograph, which is from Alan Taylor's collection, was published in Folkestone - A Pictorial History, a hardback book by Charles Whitney, published by Phillimore in 1986.
The photo shows a laden, flatback cart, hauled by a horse, about to leave the side of a sailing ship at the quay with ice, possibly for W.J. Smith the ice merchant's store in Tram Road, Folkestone.

The business was established about 1890, but, says Alan, the Folkestone Chronicle newspaper carried advertisements as early as July 1855 offering
Icy business
It was Don who told Les of the sailing ships which used to bring the cargoes of ice from Norway for use in various hotels and by fish merchants and other businesses.

The ships discharged the blocks of ice at the quayside within the inner harbour at Folkestone, facing the old Royal Pavilion Hotel. The sailing ships would then load up with chalk from various local chalk pits, of which there were plenty around Shepway and Dover. Back in Norway this chalk was later used for making lime.

Les told his nephew and family, who are Norwegian, about this during a visit to Oslo, where they live. But they couldn't believe it!

Transporting ice in ships from Norway to the UK indeed! In these days of refrigeration I suppose it might seem a bit hard to swallow.

Les tried to find documentary evidence but neither libraries nor the local Records Office, at Honeywood Road, Whitfield, could help, he said.
ice for sale at four shillings (20p) a hundredweight.

Recently Les Goldsack's family came to visit him from Norway and he was able to show them the photograph above and other details of the once regular trade in imported ice from Norway and they were absolutely fascinated, he said, and would go back and tell their friends about it.

Herald urges action to stay in the resorts tace’

*4 "ME HERALD ended the year looking to

13uii the future of Folkestone with more optimism than in the past and stressed that to remain competitive with other resorts it needed to be not merely abreast of the tinif s but "in advance of the requirements of the age.'' The paper believed that in addition to existing local improvement schemcs. In the immediate future there would be a development, which, although costly at first would pay off financially and with other benefits. And it warned against inaction through fears that local taxation was high enough already. To adopt a policy of stunted development would leave the town trailing behind other resorts, warned the editor. Urging readers to help the local the Herald published a detailed account of the growth and history of the Folkestone Victoria Hospital, as it used to be called. As most families enjoyed seasonal 'comforts' indoors our writer Felix was joining the hardy local souls indulging in their annual Christmas Day swim, west of the old Victoria Pier, but stressed he was only attending as a spectator as a record number of 18 swimmers turned up on an Icy cold morning for a two minute dip at sunrise!

Baptists remember pioneers who arrived on horse-back

*1 QOC ^0W P°sters wore about to be put up in Southern Railway trains advertising the resort of Folkestone as "The Gem of the Kentish Coast." At a Folkestone Baptist Church event a speaker looked back to the days when the local congregation began to grow, talking of the stalwarts of the sister church at Canterbury who walked from the City to Folkestone to help their colleagues with their work here. It was even possible that some of them stayed on and made their home in the town, but in any event Folkestone Baptist Church owed its existence to the zeal of those workers. Speaking of local fishermen''* supposed losses in respect of the rescue of airliner passengers and crew in the Channel back in November. John Saunders and Sons, the boat owners, stressed the nets were later recovered by colleagues who were rewarded, as was the custom, with the catch in them! The Town Council had been saying that the fishermen should not be left out of pocket as a result of their prompt and successful action. It was agreed the ancient, horse-drawn Lydd fire appliance should be brought out of store at Headcorn and returned to Lydd so that restoration work could be carried out and the appluince put on display.
Soldier gets BEM for his service in Malaya crisis
Christmas shock - as earth tremor shakes new homes

«| CHRISTMAS became a nightmare for a

.L«7 / O Sand gate couple when earth tremors shook their attractive sea-facing home called The Crow's Nest. Owner Alan Bushell, manager of Martin Walter's car showrooms in S.iiulg.<tb Road, who said they ran from the property without stopping to pick up valuables, had been hoping to sell the property which was only five or six years old. A neighbour also moved out of his adjoining home. A retaining wall in front of the property had become a public danger said a Shepway Council spokesman. Engineers were investigating the subsidence. The Ft-di ration of the Cinque Ports was looking forward to the 700th anniversary of its great charter of 1278, the events planned including street celebrations in Hastings where im mlicrs were due to meet that year. Three stalwarts of Hythc Operatic and Dramatic Society. Mrs Ruby Run Giles and Fi.inci>- Griffiths looked back on 85 years of service. District councillors were not sure of the name of the famous designer of Folkestone's massive railway viaduct and called in a local historian to clear up thu quubtion before naming a street or terrace of homes after him, in the Dawson Road development. The answer was Sir William Cubitt, they were told by Dr Cecil Bishop, author of a well-known hardback book on the history of the town.
*1 QC1 LOCAL listeners enjoyed better radio _L«73 reception at Christmas after the BBC switched on a new relay station at Capel. with an immediate improvement in reception of the Home service. Work was well advanced in the Warren, to stop erosion and protect the railway line by preventing further cliff landslides. The Council approved construction of a road into the site to transport materials for work involving making huge concrete blocks each weighing more than two tons. £6,000 damage was caused by a fire at the Hawkingc brick works in a drying shed of the Hawkinge Brick Company. Hythe man Sergeant W.H. Burkett, 27, eldest son of Mr & Mrs HJ. Burkett, of Frampton Road, Hythe, was awarded the British Empire Medal for meritorious service in Malaya. Son of a former Royal Innlskilling Fusilier, he was born in India where his father had served. Tributes were paid at St Martin's Church, Cheriton, to Mrs Isabella Coleman, who died aged 82. She had continued a family record of playing the organ at the church beginning with her father. Stephen Greenstreet, from 1863 to 1897; and continued by her brother Percy, from 1897 :o 1909 when he became headmaster of Sidney Street School.

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