Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 31 January 2002



ORGAN music enthusiast Eric Hart was particularly interested in the Memories feature about Derrick Lawson's recollections of his father who smuggled ardent steam buff John Betjeman, the late Poet Laureate, onto the footplate of his steam locomotive.

"My tale doesn't relate to a trip on a locomotive footplate, but rather one of trespass on the track!" Eric told me.

"This would have been around 1950, when
CLOSE SHAVE: our reader pressed himself against the wall of the tunnel for safety
early one Sunday morning I decided to embark on a walk to Dover, taking a route along the shore through the Warren.

"Everything went well until I reached Abbott's Cliff, whereupon I realised the high tide was lashing the cliff at considerable depth, and prohibiting any further progress. Only one other route presented itself to me -that being Abbott's Cliff tunnel.

"I climbed up onto the track and walked into the eerie darkness on the seaward side so as to face any oncoming trains. However I hadn't gone far when I was aware of a train approaching from Folkestone, so I stepped smartly aside to the tunnel wall - see photo left The train rushed past but just as I was moving off again I was aware that another train was heading towards me from Dover, and this time - on my side of the tunnel!

Sheer drop to sea!

"Crouching down tight to the wall, as the hissing engine, with its giant driving wheels and firebox too close for comfort went thundering by, I remained until all was quiet

"With a legacy of smoke and steam intensifying the black void I knew I must move on, and fortunately for me, I soon came across an opening in the tunnel wall, a pilot tunnel which led out to the cliff face - with a sheer drop to the waves below!"

When the cloud of smoke and steam subsided, said Eric, he returned to the tunnel and walked on until he reached Shakespeare Tunnel with its twin.
A FINE real photograph postcard of Martin Winser Ltd's garage in Christchurch Road. Folkestone, possibly mid-1920s, when their telephone number changed from the 444 shown above the showroom windows in the picture, to 2244.

This would have been sent out to customers and advertised on the reverse availability for hiring out of six-cylinder model Armstrong Siddeley lan-daulettes, as well as a chauffeur service for dance
narrow portals. There, common sense dictated that he take to the multitude of steps, some in serious disrepair, to climb to the top of the cliff.

But as he walked on towards Dover he watched the faces of people he passed, expecting some reaction to the 'colour' of his face, which he imagined must be black! But remarkably, it wasn't

Eric went on to tell me that his affection for steam railways must have rubbed off on his son Brian, an old boy of Harvey Grammar School, who lives at
parties. Note the line-up of cars in the showroom windows and in an adjoining garage.

The garage sold Pratt's National Benzole Mixture petrol.

On the right is a sign for lock-up garages probably let by the company as part of their service to customers. Behind is the tower of the church.

The trade card was shown to me by old Folkestone enthusiast Peter Hooper.
Uckfield, in Sussex. Brian Hart has had numerous books published on the subject and imminent is Folkestone's Railways, published by Wild Swan Publications Ltd.

This says Eric is "copiously illustrated with rare and original photographs, telling the story of the South Eastern Railway's premier main line from London to Folkestone, including a vivid portrayal of the 1915 Warren disaster, when a massive landslip caused considerable damage to the railway line.
ALAN Major, who has written a number of books about East Kent, such as The Kentish Lights about the lighthouses and lightships of the Channel, has come up with another interesting, pocket-size paperback.

This time the subject is Kentish as she was Spoke, which is about interesting local dialects, but also incorporates Kent rhymes, children's counting verses, epitaphs, nicknames and so on, in a light and humorous vein. Alan tells me it was selling particularly well in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Publishers are SB Publications, of Seaford, Sussex.

Wood block road urged to deaden traffic noise

<| Q/"|0THE EDITOR took the council to task -L%7\S^for seemingly relying on its tramway proposals as an excuse for doing nothing about demands for wood-block paving in Guildhall Street to cut down the "constant din'1 of traffic noise, which had become a major bone of contention. The Council said it would be a waste of money to put down blocks if a tramway was to be opened later. The Victoria Hospital at Folkestone, although relying on voluntary contributions was said to be one of the most up-to-date of its kind outside London. At Hythe there was a bitter cry from a "sweet damsel" who had been rejoicing in the purchase of a new and stylish dress, only to have it ruined by the mud of Douglas Avenue where some handsome new properties had been built, but the private road had not been made up as would a street maintained by the council. The woman blamed councillors, but the editor said responsibility lay with the developer or the residents, not the council and he spoke of the councillors as being a "chivalrous and manly set of men!" Hythe Bus Company was warned not to rest on its laurels and continue to rely solely -in hurbu-<lriven buses.

Council to buy workshop site on Stade to open up sands

<1 QQ7TOWN councillors were proposing to buy JL«7 A / part of the site of the old railwa> workshops on the Stade. near the Fishmarket. which had been offered to the town by the Southern Railway for £3.200. The council wanted the site in connection with plans to improve the eastern seafront and improve public access to the golden sands between the harbour and Copt Point and thereby improve the town's 'shopfront' which would help draw more holidaymakers to the district. At Hythc there was great satisfaction that the Hythe and District Hospital Committee of cash raisers had been able to send more aid to Folki'btonc's Royal Victoria Hospital in the past year than it had cost to care for Hythe people who were admitted there for treatment. In Folkestone the Committee of the United Friendly Societies RVH Saturday and Sunday Fund was treading cautiously over plans for the annual carnival which used to attract up to 70 entries, following a drop in support in the tear. Mr W.E. Cross, the original organiser of the societies, said that for three to four years the event w;is hii>hl> successful and a great financial boost for the hospital. They were anxious to keep the event going buy they needed to be sure they would have the support of 'the IoljI 'raders. Without it they were lost.
Shaming sign bid to get woman to settle a debt

A QFrtA GKLENGROCER in Morrison Road J.93^was so frustrated by a woman customer who would not settle a long-overdue bill he displayed a blackboard outside his shop with her name on. calling on her to pay up. after first giving her a warning of what he intended to do. Shopkeeper Mr G.E. Price told the Herald he was convinced it wasn't a case of hardship. She could easily afford to pay. There was an enthusiastic response to an appeal by the Mayor for backing for the forthcoming Olympic Games in Helsinki, particularly in view of the port's choice by the Daily Mail for its Cro-tiCli.mni-l Swim Race which brought the town much needed publicity across the world. The cash being raised was to help meet the cost of athletes' training. Charles Stockley. 65 was looking back on 52 years service on the South Eastern Railway, beginning as a boiler scaler at the one-time railway workshops on the Stado. That was back in the days of the paddle steamers Mabel Grace and Prince of Wales. He and his wife had seven children. Capel was calling for better police protection for its community, after a spate of daylight robberies, saying they wanted a police presence in the daytime as well as at night when special constables patrolled the village.
Seeboard pylons scheme ‘blackmail’ - say councillors

Q-7 ^ MORE than half the people who presented Jmtj I I themselves to Shepway District Council as homeless, or about to be made homeless, did not. in fact need help when the cases were investigated, councillors heard. Those who did receive help were either found private or temporary accommodation or placed in B&B. The sparks flew when Seeboard wanted to take power to an isolated farm in beautiful countryside. The board was accused of blackmail and of ruining areas of outstanding natural beauty. Heated luuiiLilkirs, accusing the board of not being ‘switched on' about uun<<<' on, got tough and pulled the plug on the scheme. Seeboard had wanted to run overhead cables from The Nook to Tontine Farm at West Hythe. 540 yards of cable passing across land of great l.indsc.ipo value, saying it was too costly to put the line underground unless the council footed the extra cost. Shepway councillors protested that there were already too many pylons in rural areas. ‘Access to the Sea' a report on local facilities for boatmen stirred up a hornet's nest, as critical councillors pointed to inaccurate and dangerous information in a report which had been a waste of money. Three sites listed at Dynichurch, it was stated, were not suitable for access to the sea. Parents of George Spurgen schoolchildren were concerned about safety after a level crossing patrolman retired and no replacement could be found.

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