DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 2 May 2002

Note from Bob. Right to Left Pace is on the left.

Surprise!
IT IS always nice to know that an article or picture used in Memories created interest or gave a reader a pleasant surprise. An early picture of a diver, preparing to put on a show on the old Victoria Pier at Folkestone, which was used recently proved of special interest to two cousins, Mrs Christine Taylor, of Norfolk, and Mrs Susanne Pilcher, of Folkestone.

The photograph (bottom right) was shown to me by Alan Taylor, Chairman of the Folkestone Local History Society.

Christine told me "The man on the left was our grandad, Alf Pace, who died while I was a child, and my great-grandfather, Mr A Jackson, is the man wearing a white jumper. All I knew about him is that he was in the Navy at one time."

Alan told me he obtained the picture, dating from July 1922, from the late George Fenton, who was one of those in the picture. "He taught me my trade as a carpenter and joiner."

Alan told me those in the picture. from -teft to right are: George Fenton, Chief of diving
operations (in white sweater) Chief Petty Officer A Jackson, RN retired, Capt Lawson Smith and his first assistant Alf Pace.

He says that when George left school he could not get a job to start with, so he helped Capt Smith for one season as a pump boy. That was in 1922.

Alan says George Fenton was awarded the George Medal for his part in rescuing an injured man who had been blown up by landmines at the Royal Pavilion Hotel, in October 1942.

I put Christine in touch with Alan Taylor because she is interested in getting hold of a copy of the photograph.

Gunners

Memories reader Edwin UWf6, of Seabrook, has been showing me some interesting old pictures he bought recently, including a striking postcard picture of gunners at practice at Shorncliffe Camp - shown above, right -which has a 1915 postmark.

He also picked up a fascinating artist's impression of the Royal Navy's mine barrage across the Dover Strait, between Cap Gris Nez and the Channel ports of Folkestone and Dover in the Second World War.

Either side of the minefield and above the mines, shallow-
draught Navy patrol vessels and drifters operated patrols. Other vessels maintained a searchlight barrage to detect enemy U-boats and fast gunboats, or controlled commercial shipping in conjunction with a contraband control.

Coupled with these there was a fleet of drifters servicing and watching over an anti-submarine net barrier across the Channel from a point off Deal and St Margaret's Bay to a position east of Calais.

The picture is an illustration from a wartime national newspaper or magazine, and Edwin picked it up on his travels visiting sales and secondhand shops.

I have seen at least three versions of this “birds'-eye" view, one with a German caption.

Mr Lilley, who tells me he went to the Mundella and George Spurgen schools, has personal memories of a large air raid shelter beneath Radnor Park, opposite the Royal Victoria Hospital.

He said his family used to live nearby in Pavilion Road, next door to Mundella School, and had to use the shelter during air raids and shelling, sometimes having to spend the night there.

Edwin also picked up a variety of photographs showing East Kent railway views over the past century and an auction catalogue in which Cobay Bros, of
AN ELDERLY friend of mine, a retired blacksmith and member of an East Kent family going back generations, is trying to form a collection of pictures of local forges, many of which have disappeared over the years or have been converted to other uses, as smiths have become more mobile in order to find clients. Ken Birch, of Macdonald Road, Dover, who has worked with many blacksmiths in the Folkestone - Dover area, is a keen reader of Memories in the Folkestone and Dover papers and tells me he is particularly interested at the moment in finding photographs of forges at Willesborough, Court at Street, and Wellesley Road, Ashford.
SHADES of the Royal Tournament - Gunners in training with field guns at Shorncliffe Camp in the First World War. BELOW: Alan Taylor's photograph of a diver preparing for a display on the old Victoria Pier, which revived memories.
Folkestone, were offering two Strand Street, Sandwich properties owned by Mackesons the Hythe brewers.

One was formerly known as "The Alma Inn," the parlour of which was once used as a shop. The other property was an adjoining house, which was let as two tenements.

Both properties were thought to be suitable for conversion into shops, if required. The property sale was being held at a Sandwich public house, the Fleur de Lis, in what used to be the market town's old corn market rooms, now converted into the pub's restaurant.
 

 

UK missing out on car building boom - claim

A QA/J HERALD writer Felix estimated that new cars were being imported through Folkestone from Franco to the tune of 25 a week a century ago. many of them valued at between 400 and 500. a tidy sum at that time. "Another example that the wide-awake foreigner is cvor ready to take advantage of our apathy and old-fashioned methods." he wrote. "The first motor car, I believe, was made in England but, as usual, the inventor was laughed at for his pains." But it was evident, said Felix, that in France the idea fell upon rich soil "where there exists almost a monopoly for the manufacture of cars, which are allowed to come into England untaxed!" On top of that, he protested, the Government endeavoured to kill the industry in England by limiting the speed of motor vehicles to 12mph! -'Truly we go to work in a strange way." he commented, pointing out also the big trado in early vegetables sent over by the French which also arrived untaxed. There was considerable interest among readers a century ago in news that Hastings pleasure steamers were to call at Folkestone in the summer season, and they were anxious for more information.
 
Endurance flights capture imagination of the locals’

nf A/J7 CONSIDERABLE interest was created in the I town by the display in Martin Winser's motor showrooms of the aero engine which powered Sir Alan Cobham’s famous flights from London to South Africa and back and from London to Australia and back. Seventy-five years ago Herald reporter Felix revealed how he believed a former Hythe Vicar, the Revd H. D. Dale, was the writer of an article about local smuggling exploits which had been published in the quarterly journal of the Association of Men of Kent and Kentish Men. It told how, in 1864, many of the smugglers who had taken part in landing contraband goods 30 or 40 years before - when smuggling in this part of Britain was at its height - were still active along the Channel coast. The cleric told of an old sailor who had boasted to him how he had once been a member of the crew of a lugger which was involved in smuggling and gold running to France for Napoleon's troops. If detection seemed imminent the old gold runners, he said, would quietly slip the chests of gold overboard, taking care to place a marker with cork floats, so that the gold could be recovered later and taken on its way to France. It was. of course, against the law when Britain was in conflict with France in the Napoleonic wars.
 
Author came for his health -and wrote bestsellers

* QCOthe mayor of Folkestone Cllr J.F.

Moncrieff gave a talk to the East Kent Vegetarian Society on the life of famous author H.G. Wells' during his nine years residence in Spade House. Sandgate. which was built for him by Messrs Dunk, the local builders, in 1900. He told how Wells came here for his health and wrote several of his best known books in the town -notably "Kipps." set in Folkestone and New Romney, "Tono Bungay." "Ann Veronica” and "The History of Mr Polly." Another task of the mayor was to preside at the first annual display of the 2nd Folkestone Boys' Brigade Company, held in the Baptist Church Hall, when he recalled his own days in the Brigade, 30 years before. The inspection of the boys was by the Revd Captain E.C. Galpin, of the Dover Boys' Brigade, based at St Martin's Church, Dover, who I remember well, from my church choir days, just before I went into journalism on leaving school over 45 years ago! Mr E.F. Humphreys, manager, since 1948, of Plummer Roddis Ltd, who were drapers for many years in Rendezvous Street, was appointed manager of the company's store at Boscoinbe. Bournemouth. He was succcedcd by Mr C.L.W. Main, assistant manager at the Hastings branch.
 
Massive office block opens - but not a single tenant!

<■1 Q"77 NEWLY built, Folkestone’s biggest office i I block. Bouverie House, a seven-storey ‘chocolate box' of a building, on the Bouverie 'Island' site, was officially opened at the end of April - but not a single company or organisation had been found to rent any of the offices. The spacious building offered 77,650 square feet of carpeted and air-conditioned, luxury office space behind tinted glass. The site was developed by English Property Corporation Ltd in conjunction with Shepway District Council, and financed by Airways i Pension Fund Trustees Ltd. Among conservation-minded i watchdogs there were fears the office block would become another of the town's so-called “follies.” An offbeat story making headlines on the Herald’s front page (it was NOT April 1 don't forget) was about ‘bounty hunters' who could earn a tidy sum each day catching frogs on Romney Marsh for laboratories undertaking ‘biological research.' A draft advertisement sent to the paper by a Surrey firm promised “Marsh Frogs can be Big Money,” saying it wanted collectors on a regular basis. A spokesman said experienced people could catch up to 200 of the frogs a day, netting about 40 - a tidy sum in 1977. But there were fears of danger to children clambering about among steep-sided dykes as they hunted frogs and the Surrey company, after being approached by the RSPCA, decided to withdraw its advert!
 

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