Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 21 February 2002


MIKE Dugdale, of Saltwood, sent me this interesting picture by e-mail of a diver, in full diving suit complete with massive brass helmet, who used to be a popular tourist attraction giving demonstrations from the old Victoria Pier in Folkestone, back in the 1930s.

In the background the Leas lift can be seen in the original picture. Pictured with the driver are Mike's mother Betty (n6e Aguilar) and her sister Denise, who lives in France.

"Mother's family lived in Lille, northern France and would come over to Folkestone for their holidays. They were one section of a handful of travellers who would bring their car over the Channel, the car being lifted onto and off the decks of the
A DIVER, in full diving suit with brass helmet, was a popular tourist attraction in Folkestone between the two World Wars, giving demonstrations from the old Victoria Pier. I remember writing about this in Memories some time ago, having read an account of how he used to dive from one side of the pier and surface on the other, perhaps amusing onlookers by retrieving something dropped over the side.

The second picture, left is an aerial view of a section of the seafront at Folkestone showing the Victoria Pier and Pavilion which was such a major asset for many years leading up to the Second World War. It was demolished following a disastrous fire after the war. The photograph was shown to me by graphic artist and art teacher Patricia Wren, of Glebe Studio, Lydd. The other picture, top, is of the old Southern Railway cross-Channel steamer Biarritz referred to this week in the From Our Files feature below, for 1927. In this picture it is on its way to be broken up at Dover.
cross-Channel steamers by means of cranes.

"My mother fondly recalls the elegant Leas, the Zig-Zag path, lit with lanterns at night, and the smart Marine Parade of those days!

"Mother, who was brought up in France, would have had no idea then the war was to make the family move from France to Devon and my mother to marry an Englishman, Douglas Dugdale and persuade him to settle in Folkestone in the early fifties. They had two sons, myself and Peter. Father ran his own business until he died just over 10 years ago."

Mike says his father was one of the last soldiers to be lifted from the beaches during the evacuation of Dunkirk early in the Second World War.

"My mother lives where she has done for over 40 years, in Wear Bay Road, overlooking the Channel towards France."



«| AArt “IT IS through such stupid people as '■JL+rVmmyou that smallpox is so greatly on the Increase all over the country,” solicitor Mr Wightwlck, In court, told a parent seeking a certificate of exemption from vaccination which, he believed, was preiuditialio his child. But the court granted the man his certificate. A white-haired veteran, one of a band of ringers who rang out the bells of St Leonard’s Church, Hythe, in honour of Queen Victoria's coronation, was among Hytbe and Folkestone enthusiasts of all ages who attended a local bell ringers’ dinner at the Mechanics Arms. Herald writer Feifx wrote enthusiastically about the great deal of voluntary, and very physical effort that went into ringing. A Herald editorial enthused about the prosperous future which seemed iikeiy lor Measure Gardens (theatre) Company,

that had got vff to a shaky start, some believing It a venture ahead SMlft time. Hie editor referred to a phenomenally successful 4991, the company paying out a dividend of 7.5% to siiarehoWetfc. Nevertheless the depressed state of the cotwta' meant that it bad not been prudent to press aheaS' with a £30,OOQnewtheatre and winter gardens.

Link witt brick-making of the past demolished

<i QEO AROUND 170 local people supported a wfc local appeal In aid of victims of recent storm damage at Sandgate. A well known local landmark, the “Brickfields” of Elham disappeared as a bulldozer went to work clearing an area known as the “backs” so that the ground could be ploughed. The brick kilns had been only a pile of nibble for many years, workings having been suspended prior to the First World War. The brickfields were established in 1885 and back in 1952 Jack Wiles, 81, of the Old Row, Sham, could recaH working there as a youth. The “backs,” seven In number, were large square hollows into which clay and water deposits were once pumped from what was described as an old wash mill at Exted, via a long pipeline across one and half mites of countryside, for brickmaking- Former mines manager for the firm Stewart & Uoyd Ltd’s iron and steel works, Mr W. Dixon 84, and his wife celebrated their Diamond Wedding in Folkestone. They had moved to the town to live with their youngest daughter and on-in-iaw Squadron Leader P.E. Bond, of Wear Bay Road, Mr Dixon’s company made the steel tubes for the “Pluto” under-sea fuel pipeline from Oungeness which carried petrol to the Allied Forces in Normandy In the Second World War.
Folkestone-bound steamer

1007 WAS so thick in the Channel one Friday

I in February that the Southern Railway ferry Biarritz was forced to stop over in Boulogne harbour overnight, it eventually reached Folkestone Just after six the next morning —. nearly 12 hours late - with 83 passengers aboard. This delay led to the birth on board of a bonny baby. Proud mother was Mrs FA. Santhia, the wife of an official at the British Embassy in Paris, who gave birth to a boy in the steward’s cabin. She had planned to fly to England for the birth but the aircraft was fog bound too. No doctor was on board but a Boulogne medical man went out to the vessel. The Herald carried a pictureefttw baby with the matron of the Eaton Court Nursing Home in Shomciiffe Road, Folkestone. The local licensing session In the magistrates court heard that there had been no increase in drunkenness In the district since an extension of hours granted to public houses in the summer months following years of campaigning by local licensees. The successful Folkestone & District Motorcycle dub, whose membership included car owners, decided to back members' pleas for more organised long-day social runs and |oj|ive a "treat” for children of the local Cottars ftoniwVIn ths Jorm of-an outing to the seaside.
for oil recovered from sea

H Q“**y SHIVERING shoppers queued outside JL«7 f f Debenhams in Sandgate Road from as early as Sam for the start of sales and by 9am there were 200 of them, many amused by the fact that the previous day: some 100 Belgian visitors had turned up, complete with big shopping trolleys, a day too early. They had planned a massive ‘spend-up’ because many British goods, particularly clothes and food, were cheaper here 25 years ago. Almost one in ten people was out of work in Folkestone and Hythe, a total of nearly 2,000 jobless. A prompt start was due to be made on £100,000 sea defence repairs made necessary due to damage and destruction caused by a 2,000 ton runaway barge in recent gales. A revolutionary method of dealing with a growing problem of oil slicks in the Channel was due to be adopted In Folkestone. It was planned to use a disused reservoir at Sandgate, on the Shomciiffe army camp site, capable of bolding 166,000 gallons, to store oil recovered trysklmming the slick off the surface qf the sea with a view to recycling it. Doubts over whether the military authorities would foe agreeable, was one problem, after news of the plan Inadvertently slipped out due to a clerical error. Work began on building the new £700,000 law courts complex for Shepway in Castle Hill Avenue, near the Civic Centre. The Nome Office was expected to meet £560,000 of the cost.

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:-