Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 26 December 2002



LOCAL history enthusiast Edwin Lilley, of Seabrook, picked up two interesting souvenirs recently of the old Pleasure Gardens Theatre days. One dates from the New Year of 1937 when the theatre was staging its 30th annual Christmas panto, “Beauty and the Beast," produced by Murray King and starring Gladdy Sewell, as the Prince, and BBC comedians Murray Ashford and Edgar Sawyer, among the cast. At the same time the Central Cinema was showing “Poor Little Rich Girl," starring Shirley Temple, while the Playhouse had “The White Ange\," starring Kay Francis as Florence Nightingale.
Arthur T. Farley who has links with the Romney Marsh but currently lives in Germany, sent me an interesting panoramic photo showing how the sea froze at Lydd-on-Sea (Lade) nearly 40 years ago. He thought it would be of special interest to Memories readers and I agreel Mr Farley, a regular Herald subscriber for many years, lived in the St Mary's area from 1950 onwards and attended Southlands School, New Romney.

"At the time the photo was taken I regularly motored from St Mary's Bay along the coastal road via Littlestone to Dungeness and grasped the opportunity to take the photo," he writes.

"So far as I can recall it must have been taken during February 1963," he said, adding that he regularly returns to his holiday bungalow at the Bay.

"Since June 1970 I have been living and working in the Press and Information Department of a mining company in Cologne," he told me.

Arthur and his German born wife have two daughters, of 25 and 30.
I recall seeing remarkable pictures of the frozen sea at Herne Bay, which must have dated, I think, from about the same time.

Local history enthusiast Edwin Lilley, of Seabrook, picked up two interesting souvenirs recently of the old Pleasure Gardens Theatre days.

One dates from the New Year of 1937 when the theatre was staging its 30th annual Christmas panto, "Beauty and the Beast," produced by Murray King and starring Gladdy Sewell, as the Prince, and with BBC comedians Murray Ashford and Edgar Sawyer, among the cast.

At the Central Cinema there was Poor Little Rich Girl, starring Shirley Temple, while the Playhouse had The White Angel, starring Kay Francis as Florence Nightingale.

Other interesting 'finds’ included old bills settled by the Folkestone Herald in the late 1920s when it had printing works and offices in The Bayle, with the prices for servicing or repairing a motorcycle and bicycles making interesting reading.

S & F Lummus. engineers, of Foord Road, in 1928 fitted a new down rod to a rear brake of a bike, brake blocks to a front wheel, and fitted pawls and springs to a fixed wheel, plus a spindle

- all for under six shillings (30p.)

Martin Walter Ltd, of Sandgate Road, repaired a bicycle at a cost of nine old pennies (under 5p.)
Brrh! The day

sea froze too!
ABOVE: Arthur Farley's panoramic view of the shallow sea frozen over tit Lydd 40 years jcjo.

RIGHT: Is this the East Cliff Rangers 1ejm of 1926-27, asks Bill Russell, of Downs Road, a retired electrician and friend of our sports editor Mick Cork and his father Bob Cork. Initials on the ball, E.C.R., may confirm Bill's suggestion, but he's not sure, he says.

Bill can be contacted on 01303 246540, if you can help out with information or name any of the team.

Storm setback for harbour means more sea defences

■1 qaqA STRONG sou’-westerly gale hit JL*J\JFolkestone as Christmas neared and, with Spring tides running there was enormous damage to the harbour contractor's works, undermining what had already been done by scouring out chalk foundations and demolishing concrete walls and fencing. There were fears a railway signalbox would be overwhelmed and many thousands of tons of shingle simply vanished, undermining the waiting room at the station. This brought into view remnants of old jet* ties and groynes not seen for years: It was quite obvious more extensive and costly sea defence work would have to be done. Steamer services were not effected. Felix wrote of the many 'home' and foreign herring boats which once crowded the port in December. Practically all the catches along the coast from Lyda to Dymchurch were bought by a French syndicate with a fish factory at Deal. Preserved in oil they were sent to all parts. Millions of sardines were sold, but trade declined. Felix also told how a

Puirk of fate caused early balloonist Colonel red Barnaby to cross the Channel from Dover instead of Folkestone - the wind changed!
Table tennis championship winter treat for local fans

•f q fa KENT'S Open Table Tennis Champion-JL99<bships were due to be held in Marine Gardens Pavilion, Folkestone, early in the New Year and contact was being made with the country's leading players, as the time neared for the tournament. Enterprising Dover Road shopkeepers, between Rossendale Gardens and Morrison Road, clubbed together to organise a Christmas window spotting competition and, in a few days sold over 2,000 entry forms. It promised to rival the town's spot-the-spelling competition - the proceeds from sales of entry forms for this going to the local Bruce Porter Home for Xmas comforts. It was all designed, of course, to boost seasonal trade. Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill added his weight to an appeal on behalf of the All Saints Church, Lydd restoration fund. When a Medway artist sent the 1950s prime minister a picture he had done of the church to help raise money, Churchill accepted it and passed it on to the local fund raisers. The Herald carried a picture feature on Danish swimmer Elna Anderson who was adamant she would achieve her gaol of swimming the Channel despite five previous unsuccessful attempts.

Passengers’ lucky escape as bus goes off the road

tt qa^A NEW cargo boat was ordered by J.%/^ / Southern Railway for the Dover-Folkestone cross-Channel service. It was to be called Deal, and was intended to be a sister ship to the vessel known as the Hythe. An East Kent bus en route to Folkestone mounted a bank dividing the road from the Dymchurch seawall due to a steering fault. It ended up at an angle of 45degrees from the highway, but none of the five passengers was hurt. The Herald carried a photo of the incident. Staff writer Felix was "over the moon" he had been able to obtain a possibly unique copy of a small poster or handbill advertising a performance of Shakespeare's play "King Henry IVth - or the Humours of Sir John Falstaff," at the Theatre, Folkestone, in The Bayle, on April 17, 1806! Boxes were three shillings (15p), seats in the pit two shillings, or in the gallery one shilling (Bp.) A facsimile was reproduced:in the weekly column "About the Neighbourhood," written by Felix. The old theatre stood on the site occupied for decades by the former Herald printing works and offices, where there is now a block of flats.
Home lor homeless scheme gets ministerial approval

•f HOMELESS families could breathe a

.Lę7 I I sigh of relief after an inspector from the Environment Department granted an appeal against the local council's refusal of planning consent to use a house in Capel as a boarding house in conjunction with another village property. He decided the accommodation was being used to fill an urgent need. Swingfield had problems with the maintenance of its ancient village church - mentioned in the Domesday Book. The ravages of death watch beetle and other pests had made extensive restoration an urgent necessity back in the 1950s, but thanks to volunteers, grants and donations the work had been done. However, maintaining such a historic property is an on-going process and more funds needed to be raised. George Barlow, manager of the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Light Railway, was recalling how a well known racing driver, Capt J Howey had decided in 1926 to build a light railway across the Romney Marsh. Mr Barlow himself drove the "Green Goddess” steam locomotive on the line for 25 years. An Elham man, Peter Beeching, 25, was off to join a team of 30 skilled dairy farm workers on the largest dairy farm in Saudi Arabia.

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:-