DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 12 December 2002

 

 

APART from Brian Hart's new book on “Folkestone's Railways," featured below, I hear from Dutch publisher's European Library that they are bringing out another local book in time for the Christmas market, by writers Martin Easdown and Linda Sage. This is "Hythe (Kent) in old Picture Postcards," a hardback book of 80 pages and 76 old photographs and postcards, compiled by local enthusiasts who have co-operated to produce several books, including the softback "Rain, Wreck & Ruin" published by Marlin Publications of Seabrook, in 1997. And Brian Hart is working on an enlarged version of "The Etham Valley Line."
Rail treat
SUPERB is the only way to describe the veritable feast of old pictures of the town in Brian Hart's new book on "Folkestone's Railways."

Superbly printed by Wild Swan Publications the softback book has been a real labour of love for the author who is an old boy of the Harvey Grammar School.

Brian, 53, who lives with his family over the county border in Sussex, at Uckfield, is the son of Mr and Mrs Eric Hart, of Chart Road, Folkestone.

Fifty years ago a young mum used to wheel her two-year-old son in his pushchair to Park Road, in Cheriton and he would clamber on to a low wall by the railway embankment and, tiny fingers holding the blackened railings, he would wait for a train to steam through.

Expresses, locals, goods and boat trains all came steaming by as the Southern Region went about its regular daily business.

) Vivid memories

The young enthusiast, who, of course, was Brian, soon learned, he writes, that the signal arms which bounced skywards heralded another train, prompting the insistent plea to his mother "Just one more!"

And so it went on. The only way his exasperated mum might coax him away was the promise of a Bourbon biscuit from the row of glass-fronted tins bordering the counter of Leslie's grocery store in Cheriton High Street!

"How vivid are the memories which make those days seem like only yesterday," writes Brian in his book. So it hardly comes as a surprise
that he dedicates his latest book to his parents for "all the wonderful memories of my childhood and those seemingly endless, happy, sunny days.

"Being fortunate enough to be born in Folkestone in 1949, I have an enduring affection for the town and I have included some of my own impressions in the closing pages.

"As a boy I was indeed lucky to have the acquaintance of so many kind people. Councillor Eric Harrison wrote numerous articles about the town's railways and water-balance lifts in the early 1900s for the Folkestone Gazette" (the Herald's midweek paper of years ago) "so I have him to thank for enthusing me," writes Brian.

Another treat was afternoon tea at Cecil Barnard's clifftop home "Cliff Haven" on the Bayle and Brian also writes of the influence of Norman Wakeman and his fine photographic collection and Peter Davies, reference librarian at Folkestone's library and museum.

He acknowledges also that the book wouldn't be the same without the fine photographs lent by local historian Alan Taylor and other enthusiasts who are acknowledged in picture credits and in a section headed "Acknowlegements."

"I hope this modest book might also serve as a little tribute to all those men, especially those who lost their lives, in the great struggle to build this wonderful railway for us.

"Their efforts endure whilst we, who glide so effortlessly in speed and comfort across Cubitt's mighty viaduct and along his stupendous railway through the Warren, surely remain in their debt," he concludes in his preface to the book, which is on sale in local shops and is excellent value at £14.95 for its collection of rare photographs alone - some, remarkably, dating back to the 1850s.
 

Railway officials study plan for train ferries to France

*1 QAO WORK started on building the granite lighthouse on the Folkestone harbour pier extension, which was to take the improvement works in the harbour a step nearer completion, but the Herald reported that months of work remained to be done. The western landing stage for the steamers was ail but completed however. British and French railway company representatives from the Channel and other ports were visiting Denmark to inspect the train ferries which provided a link between that country and Sweden and was due to have a link with Germany as well. It was speculated that this would be a model for a service between the UK and Calais. The train ferry link involved a 24 mile crossing and the ships they saw were paddle steamers. The Metropole Hotel was the scene of an experiment with new vacuum equipment to clean the property's carpets in situ, instead of having to lift them and take them to be cleaned by carpet-beating equipment. Felix suggested a window dressing competition in shops to encourage trade and interest in the town. Hythe solicitor Frederick Hall became the new Mayor of Folkestone, with George Spurgen his deputy.

 
Local terrain proved ideal to train invasion troops

>f QCOWITH the Royal Victoria Hospital restored to its pre-war state, the Herald editor was looking back eight years to the sad day the hospital was badly damaged by enemy shelling, in 1944. But, miraculously, he wrote, throughout the war no patient was injured in the hospital. But staff were not so lucky, at least two were killed, but the hospital never closed. Local preparations by wartime troops for 'D-Day' were recalled in a new book reviewed in the Herald 50 years ago. With the hardly imaginative title of "The 43rd Wessex Division at War, 1944-45," the book was written by Major-General H. Essame who said wartime Kent was admirably suited for the troops' training for the invasion of Europe and defeat of the Nazis. The division's main training area was at Stone Street, north of the town, where the colder winds from Central Europe seemed to converge, creating the austere conditions required for training over a period inclusive of three winters, and in countryside not unlike that of parts of Normandy. Two boys who escaped without a conviction after damaging bales of barley straw on a farm were each ordered to compensate the farmer with about 37p of their pocket monev!
 
Air Ministry approves plan for flying club atLympne

•< QQTF FOLKESTONE was honoured by the I Hockey Association which planned to hold three international events in the town, between December 3 and Easter. The first match was with Germany, while an Easter Festival was due to feature Belgian and French teams, England to meet France on April 7 and a Hockey Association XI to meet Belgium two days later. The opening of a Full Gospel Tabernacle took place at Harvey Street where a convention was held by the East Kent Assemblies. Many local people had cause to mourn the passing of Alderman William Dunk, 81, a Tontine Street based builder, who was a member of the local council for no less than 36 years. Among his works was the building of St Saviour's Church. His father John Dunk had also been an alderman. Approved by the Air Ministry it was proposed to form a local company to run a club at Lympne airfield, to be known as the East Kent Flying Club, with a launch target of £1,000 to buy equipment. The hope was it would be self-supporting at the end of three years. Sandgate Council was offered Sandgate Castle.
 
Jubilation as lorry park plan for Lympne airfield relused

VILLAGE of Lympne was tasting -LęS I I victory as a plan to site an international lorry park at the airfield was defeated. It was claimed this would mean the loss 240 jobs it was hoped to bring to the district. Girls' Grammar School pupils in Folkestone achieved a 95 percent success rate at ’A' level, parents were told at the annual prizegiving. A, B or C grades at ordinary level were gained in nearly 88 per cent of the subjects taken. And the school chalked up its first graduate in engineer-ing science, Margaret Cox whose aim was to become a mechanical engineer in the RAF. The Police were searching for the most relaxed thief in the district. She drove off with a divan bed, the owners believing it had been her husband who had earlier paid for it! A local sub-postmas-ter who, single-handed; took on an armed raider who tried to rob his post office received a bravery award. He told the thief "don't be silly!" And, when the man grabbed some cash from the till he knocked it out of his hand and the thief fled. Today, 25-years on, he might not have been so lucky - if the gun was real. There was an uphill struggle to raise £15,000 in Hythe for a waterside theatre project, £13,000 was still needed.

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