DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 16 January 2003

 

 

LOCAL historian Alan Taylor has come up with another photo of the newsagents at 43 Dover Street (Harbour Way) following my recent Memories piece about the fine postcard of George Parsons' former shop found by Peter Hooper. Mr Parsons was there from 1890 until some time between 1918 and 1922. The photo below shows Abraham "Abe" Bliss, with flat cap, standing in the doorway of his shop in the 1920s. Mr Bliss, moved from 45 Dover Street to take over from George Parsons, the Bliss family running the shop from 1923 to November 9, 1942 (not 1944 as printed in error recently) when the premises were hit by a shell.
Brainwave
ABOVE: Abraham Bliss stands in the doorway of his Dover Street newsagents shop in the 1920s. The photo is from Robert Bliss who gave a copy to local historian Alan Taylor. Alan, who also lent me the picture, left, asks if any reader can identify the paper boys? Contact Alan on 01303 252567 or write to him at 52 St Michael's Street, Folkestone CT20 1LP.
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LESLIE Bradfield, 76, of Dolphins Road, Folkestone, a former Martin Walters worker, along with his older brother Stanley, has been telling me about his father-in-law Frank Godden's determined fight against handicap after a war wound.

Frank, father of Lesley's wife Eileen, worked as a coalman, driving and delivering coal in Folkestone and district for a firm called Anderson, who operated from a yard near the top of Dover Street.

"One day, during the war years whilst his lorry was being loaded with sacks of coal from the Gas Works, in Bradstone Road depot, several German planes passed over the town and dropped a stick of bombs.

"One bomb landed in the coal depot and the shrapnel severed Mr Godden's left arm, above the elbow. After a spell in hospital Frank was fitted with an artificial arm at Roehampton. His employment as a driver and employee, however, ceased.

‘Clem’ to the rescue
"Having lost his employment he was sent out of town to a warehouse in Deal, sorting servicemen's uniforms, for five days a week.

"This situation for him, of working away from home, with Folkestone receiving more air raids and shelling, put him in a depressive state," says Les.

Unfortunately, gadgets supplied by Roehampton for his use with the artificial arm were pretty useless, says Les — one a large hook and the other a clumsy hand with a spring on the thumb.

"I explained this frustration to my father, Clem
Bradfield, a coachbuilder with Martin Walters. He gave the problem some considerable thought and came up with an idea.

"From an obsolete car window fitting, he took parts to make up an appliance which fitted to the wrist section of the false arm.

"This gave two essential movements and the fitting imitated the function of a hand. It proved a great success and my father-in-law was able to dig his garden and perform many other tasks, hitherto impossible for him.

"My wife Eileen was secretary to Ron Thompson, owner of a removal firm very busy with moving people's homes away from Folkestone.

"All of his pantechnicons were on the road, with the exception of one with a right-hand gear change.

"Knowing how much my father-in-law missed his driving job, coupled with his desire to get his van on the road Mr Thompson gave Frank an opportunity to practice driving the van around the firm's yard.

"Frank soon mastered the gears with his good right arm, and his years of driving experience proved invaluable. Given permanent employment by Ron Thompson he travelled all over England, sometimes in wartime black-out' conditions."

And, recalls Les, Frank's success and confidence in his ability prompted him later to purchase a car.

He asked his garage to modify it by making up an extended gear stick, cranked to enable him to operate it with his right hand.

"Driving was a great morale booster for Frank and it gave him great pleasure to share our holidays with him and his wife for several years, with Frank doing the driving of course!" commented Les.
DOVER Street, east side, looking towards the port in 1957 with the former Bliss newsagent's shop to the left of the first pedestrian.
 

Stop squatting-and worit to improve town says edftor

1QA“3TH^ Herald warned that Folkestone >L7\/Owas in danger of earning such a reputation for squabbling it would become a laughing stock in other towns. The editor called on the people of the town to sink their differences^ take courage and be enterprising in the long^ term interests of Folkestone. The Herald published a photograph of the Folkestone Working Boys' Club members inside their club building opened in 1875 by the Revd E Husband. There were 218 members, many of them unemployeds who were looking forward to a dinner paid for from funds to be raised at a Town Hall concert and talk about the life of Dickens, Illustrated by '’dissolving views of local interest" early in February. At this event it was hoped to found a local branch of "The Dickens Federation." Not featured in the Herald was a photo of the New Year bathers who took a dip between the Switchback Railway and the old Victoria Pier, the sea temperature being 42 degrees and the air temperature 40 degrees! Within a few days the district wore a mantle of snow and there were the usual mixed feelings from local residents, some of whom were hit by the freeze.

 
Council in last ditch bid to save St Michaels Church

M qj-q FOLKESTONE Town Council was JL570winvolved in a last minute bid to save the 80-year-old St Michael's Church which was threatened with demolition. Councillors thought it might be possible to find an alternative use for the building and called on the church authorities to think again. The church had formed the view that there was no practical alternative to demolition. It could not afford to repair it. Alderman N. Baker spoke of the great cost of putting up such a public building today and said they could not: stand idly by without registering a protest. For: one thing, it could house conferences, he suggested. A councillor criticised the renewal of a licence for the town's last slaughterhouse at the Bayle Steps, which he pointed out, was about a yard away from residential property and close to a church. Cllr G Eke called on the council's parks department to do something : about the "disgusting" state of the flower beds and dwarf walls on The Stade, pointing out the large sum being providing flower beds in West Terrace. In Hythe road safety was worrying councillors, one told of the danger of lorries overhanging narrow pavements, with the risk of hitting pedestrians, where there was a steep camber in High Street.
 
Serious floods as the‘Woe Waters’ flow in valleys

■’’I QOQTHE 'WOE Waters' or Nailbourne, an :A7&Ointermittent stream, caused flooding in the rural area once again. Both homes and roads in the Elham Valley were being invaded by a stream said to be flowing at a rate of 20mph, after lying dormant for six months and, because the land was already saturated by rain, there were lakes of water in many places. The floods commenced at North Elham and a deep lake appeared opposite the isolated farm called "World's Wonder," while at Birch's Farm, below Deringstone Hill, floodwater flowed into one side of the farmhouse and out the other! Homes and shops were flooded near the Barham Church Schools, named as Perry's Stores and Quested's, butchers. A villager called for clearing of ditches which had been neglected. At Folkestone ceremonies were being held by two schools which underwent a change of name. North Council School became Mundella School, and Sidney Street was re-named George Spurgen School, Many local people were mourning the death of sheep farmer Henry Rigden JP, one of the biggest land owners in the area.
 
Widespread damage over area as hurricane strikes

f "HURRICANE blasts trail of damage"

^*7 I Oread the lead story headline on the front page of the Herald 25 years ago. But it was dramatic pictures which brought home the extent of the damage most vividly. Gusts of 75mph from Folkestone to Dungeness shattered homes, overturned a juggernaut lorry, and buried or partly buried 20 fishing boats under tons of shingle on the beach at Littlestone, where conditions were described as the worst in living memory. At Folkestone two boats were swept from moorings and trapped underthe railway viaduct arches, trees were uprooted over a wide area causing damage or blocking roads, a chimney stack crashed through the roof of a home in Cherry Garden Lane, Marsh homes and roads were flooded and powerlines cut by falling trees or other debris. Angry councillors who opposed Council moves to nold a secret debate on the future of "Mr Supersell," a short-contract consultant brought in to help "sell" the resort, won their fight 12 votes to 3 - after tipping off the Herald, whose staff lobbied individual councillors before the meeting. In the event Leonard Piper did not get a permanent post and moved on to a job with a London council.

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:-

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