DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 6 February 2003

 

WITHIN seconds of opening his Folkestone Herald on Thursday Ron Dutt was ringing me to tell me he had spotted the face of his brother John in the old picture of class 5 at Dover Road School about 1946. The photo was shown to me by Gerald Taylor, of St Mary's Road, St Mary-in-the Marsh. "John is sat immediately in front of Headmaster Mr Wheeler," said Ron who is involved in organising a Dover Road and Hillside Road Schoolboys' Association reunion at the A.V.S. Club in St Michaels Street. The event is on April 26. For more details, call Ron on 01303 254107 or Chris Walters on 226087
MEMORIES this week features the concluding part of veteran reader Margaret Hogben’s recollections of life in Folkestone over 60 years ago.

“In Coronation year 1937 we had a holiday from school and were taken on a special treat instead.

We boarded an ancient charabanc and were taken up to Mersham Park where we alighted and were allowed to go into a field where races and games were organised and refreshment, in the form of an enormous wicker basket of fruit buns, was provided!

“This was a great treat for us children who seldom had the opportunity to venture far from our homes.

Everything cost sixpence!

“One of my treats was to be allowed to accompany my Dad when he went to town on Saturday evenings.

“Holding tightly to his arm, we would squeeze ourselves into Woolworth’s (sometimes, there wasn’t even room to squeeze in!)

“Everything cost no more than 6d.

“With no TV at home, half the population went in to socialise and keep warm!

“Perishable goods were sold cheaply on Saturday evenings. The shop assistants worked surrounded by counters on four
sides and it was push and shove to get served.

“Outside, the hot chestnut man and the hot potato man outside Oxford House did a good trade.

“It was a halfpenny for a baked potato with salt and pepper, and a penny if you had butter on it.

“One familiar and well respected local character was little “Titch” who sold newspapers outside the Queen’s Hotel.

“He also had a barrow and could be seen often pushing loads of furniture and other goods from the Auction Rooms to customer’s homes - a service which was much appreciated in our largely car-less society.

“During the evenings we would lie in bed and listen to the grouching noise of the dredger in the harbour, which could be heard all over Folkestone.

“The harbour had to be dredged at all times because much larger ships entered where the fishing boats are now moored.

“If it was foggy, we would be kept awake by the intermittent high tones or base baritones of the fog horns in the Channel,

“These would be answered by the familiar sound of the fog horn at the end of the harbour.

“The ships were indeed speaking to each other as they edged their way through the fog.
“How anxiously the Officers of the Watch must have been straining their ears - no radar then!” comments Margaret.

Looking back to the start of the Second World War in 1939, she recalls the trenches that were dug in the parks and tank traps on the surrounding hills.

Official blunder
“At first, children from Eltham were sent to our area in case London was bombed -but, in 1940, our schools were evacuated to South Wales.

“Houses near the harbour were requisi-
tioned for troops. Everyone who could leave was asked to leave the town.

“Folkestone was now in the Front Line!

“The dull thud and rumble of gunfire and bombs could clearly be heard across the Channel.

“At night the French coast glowed and flashed in the darkness.

“During the evacuation of Dunkirk, Folkestone was fortified against possible invasion. The Leas became a sea of barbed wire, as did all the surrounding cliffs.

“Our dear Folkestone was never to be the same again!”
Great treat
THE ROTUNDA, a boating pool, open-air and indoor bathing pools, amusements, pleasure boats, such as Bert Bellingham's "Southern Queen," and the Royal Pavilion Hotel and gardens, were just a few of the town's seaside attractions, in years gone by recalled by Memories reader Margaret Hogben.
 

Tough job for soup kitchens as bad winter hits workers

*1 QrtOTHE NEW year got off to a bad start, tt X9V/Owas a particularly bad winter and 900 people were fed at the Tontine Street soup kitchen and children given 'half-penny' dinnais, of soup, bread and jam. Local churches too set up soup kitchens and in one ward 30 gallons of soup a day were being dished up for tlie needy. Some very sad cases were found, some workers having been jobless for 13 to 16 weeks. A woman askea what she needed replied "everything - we have neither food nor fuel in the house1" Volunteers, such as Charity Organisation Society workers, were striving to keep people out of the workhouse. One man greatly admired for "self-denying labours'' Alderman Hoad, had a subscription book which he hawked round the streets collecting money for a soup kitchen he helped organise at the Bayle for the poor families of the town. Veteran fisherman Edward Saunders, 81, recalled the days many poor children trudged to school at Sandgate where fees were only one old penny a week, taking lunches with them. Some lucky enough to have a pie took it to a kind baker who warmed it up for them. When he was a lad Folkestone, he said, was a ’mere village.’

 
Massive united effort - to aid flood disaster victims

a CkCO NATION wide people were collecting ^?30or working to boost a major flood appeals launched after disastrous flooding in Holland, following breaches in sea defences there and at Canvey Island in England to name but two places in need. Social ana relief workers were inundated with gifts of clothing and other items and, fortunately, free road and rail transport was laid on, such was the scale of the disaster. At Lade, two miles from Dungeness, the tide was four to five feet above normal at the height of a gale, but apart from flooding of low-lying land little damage was reported. Tne flood-hit family of a local woman left their bungalow on Canvey Island to take shelter in her home in Folkestone. Alderman N. Baker took precedence over the mayor to mark his long public service when councillors selected a member to join the 18-strong Cinque Ports' contingent who were to attend the Coronation. His selection, after 19 years' service, meant he would become a Baron of the Cinque Ports. Folkestone company Martin Walter's Utilecon works were to be a service centre available in the early hours for the many Monte Carlo Rally drivers passing through the port on their way to the event.
 
80-minute ‘Folkestone Hver’ one of UK’s top expresses

fiQnn SOME of the fastest rail travel in the UK 9&Ow8s offered on the 80-minute express trains on the Folkestone to London service. The Herald, in a report headed "Folkestone Flyer" told of author Cecil Allen's revelation published in the long-established "Meccano Magazine." Mr Allen also recalled very different times at the beginning of the 1900s when the South Eastern and Chatham and Dover trains were the butt of many a comedian. But in 20 years since then a "remarkable revolution" in travel had taken place, he said. Folkestone council was wrestling with the controversial question of the sewer outfall at Copt Point, when a further 9,000 extension scheme, 'an experiment' some called it, was debated. A 51,400 improvement had just been completed but it was well known there was still a coast pollution problem. A sewer extension was planned from Canterbury Road across golf links and along Cherry Garden Avenue to Shorncliffe Road, costing another 61,300, and, with repayment of loans, total cost was 300,000 but the sea outfall would still be left 100ft short of the length recommended back in 1912!
 
liars and cheats’ muscle in to claim council houses

j Q7flDOUGLAS: Bell, a Lydd man, declared I Owar on the Army which, he said was breaking regulations and putting people’s lives to unnecessary risk. His fears were about volatile explosives being transported through or above Shepway towns and villages. Helicopter pilots, he claimed, were breaking regulations by flying over built-up areas. He also complained of the noise made at night. 'Broke, but not broken" was the stance of firemen who had gone back to work after a nine-week strike over pay. Some took part-time work to make ends meet, but a union spokesman hit out at difficulties put in their wayto claim social security during the long dispute. The union wanted to see the scrapping of retained firemen who, it was alleged, had ‘broken’ the strike. On the housing front "cheats and liars," it was claimed, were getting council houses. They lied to get homes let at "ridiculously low" rents, a councillor complained. The chairman of the housing committee, he told of one case where a couple were granted a large, four-bedroom council house after it was claimed they were married and had four children. In fact they were not married, and the children were not the man's - and were not living with them!

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