DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 15 May 2003

 

BELOW: Sailing ships brought a variety of cargoes to Folkestone harbour, including sawn timber, ice, sugar and tropical fruit, in the days of one-time town councillor and Tontine Street shopkeeper John Jones, one of the town's most colourful and at times controversial characters. He was a champion of good causes and victims of what he considered injustices.
FOLKESTONE born and bred, “Memories” reader Mrs Linda Paine tells me she is busy exploring old haunts, having moved back to the district. She left Shepway in 1974 when she was married, but has now returned to live in Hythe.

And, strangely, she says, “a lot of the area seems to have simply stood still.

“I remember seeing the houses in Bouverie Square, Folkestone, being demolished - at the time, we thought, for something better!

“No comment,” she adds - “such lovely houses they were too. I used to go to one of them for choir practice with the Folkestone Halliday Choir.

“The harbour area still has much charm, but the Dover Road/Tontine Street area is lacking in lustre these days. I remember when both were a hive of activity.

High Street teas?

“But I am glad to hear the Old High Street is being nurtured to something more cultural. I always thought it was a waste, with such an historic street and it needed ‘antiquey/arty’ type shops, cream teas etc.

“I can smell the ‘rock-shop’ now - so fascinating as a small child and, further down, the shops where the Easter eggs were
made with our name on.”

Mrs Paine contacted me by e-mail after admiring the recent picture in “Memories” of a steam train coming up the Tram road track from the harbour.

She used to live in Southbourne Road as a very young child in the early fifties, and the garden backed on to the railway tracks.

“It is one of my earliest, if not the first, memories - the soot on my windowsill and the excitement of the engine steaming by -and then waiting for the gleaming Golden Arrow to arrive.

“Thank you for such a good read in ‘Memories’,” she writes.
‘Banana King’
One of the characters of Old Folkestone was John Jones, a town councillor for 18 years. In scanning through the old newspapers for the Folkestone Herald’s “From Our Files” feature I have frequently come across stories in which his name features.

I was reminded of this recently when I a came across a profile of him written by Sydney Clark for the popular local history magazine “Bygone Kent.”

John Jones, born in Dover, was the son of a sea captain lost at sea in 1863, aged 43.

His story, as Sydney says, is part of Folkestone’s history.

He dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps, and going to sea, but Capt Jones
had other ideas. He arranged tough a trip for him with another skipper guaranteed to make him choose a different career!

He sent him to work instead for a local firm of solicitors and, although this did not become his profession, it led him to become known, later, as a ‘poor man’s lawyer’ as he strived to help others and prevent injustice.

John was also influenced to dabble in amateur theatre and he once appeared in the satire “The Fiery Serpent,” a local nonsense story involving the people of Folkestone and Dover.

He had various businesses, was well known at Covent Garden and earned the title of ‘Banana King’ after becoming the first trader to introduce large consignments of bananas to Folkestone - wrote Sydney Clark, who featured a photo of Cllr
Jones taken after injury in a 1917 air raid.

Apart from being a greengrocer he sold secondhand goods, and endeared himself to many children when he ran a factory turning out toffee, Folkestone rock and sweets.

He also tried his hand at editing a number of small publications, including the so-called “Folkestone Daily News” although by all accounts its appearance from a small hand-press tended to be spasmodic!

I was particularly interested to hear that a former national newspaper columnist Hannen Swaffer, had a grounding in journalism with the “Folkestone Daily News.” I remember him visiting the “Dover Express” offices in Dover years ago and, on another occasion, he rather pompously criticised something the local newspaper had published, in his diary page in a national daily paper.
Nostalgia
 

Public appeal in memorial plan to build new drill hall

"I QAO ARTIST A.J. Boz penned an amusing .^*7 VS Oca r toon summing up the Leas fence saga involving land owner and landlord Lord Radnor and Gordon Hotels Ltd, proprietors of the Metropole Hotel. This stemmed from a dispute over access across a stretch of private road to the famous The Leas promenade. Thousands of words written about the row appeared in both the local and national press. The cartoon featured a sketch of a Folkestone Express rail service, a proposed improvement which was said to have been lost as a result of the wrangling. Negotiations with Lord Radnor were hampered by nis absence in France. In one issue of the Herald the comment and debate, plus the cartoon, took up practically two broadsheet

gages. A start was thought to be imminent to uild a new drill hall - twice the size of the often criticised Town Hall — for local Volunteers and Reserve Forces, as a memorial to Queen Victoria. The site donated by Earl Radnor, was Eanswythe Gardens and the cost was put at 2,500, a considerable sum a century ago. 1,000 had already been raised and a public appeal was launched for the balance.

 
Protests at call to remove town’s ‘weeping angels’

• q CO DISTRESS was caused by the sugges-JL90wtion of a town councillor that headstones in Cheriton Road cemetery should be removed and the whole site flattened, 50 years ago. The idea came from a woman councillor, Alderman Mrs M. Ireland, after the Parks Committee reported it had given consent to one family to remove a memorial stone and turf over a grave. Mrs Ireland said she would like to see the back of the stones and "weeping: angels" and "a nice open space." Alternatively, she suggested, perhaps a hedge could be restored on one side and troes grown on the railway side, to lessen the impact on visitors to the town of a large churchyard. Needless to say the newspaper report of the churchyard clearance idea was met with a flood of letters against the idea. The Town Council accepted a revised tender of 116,263, by Folkestone and District Association of Building Trades Employers, to build 86 more homes — 42 houses and 44 flats — on the Creteway Down estate. Local fisherman were facing a 50% increase in costs for tanning their nets in the Tanlade, at the Stade, where the two coppers used needed replacement. The existing e was seven shillings a week (35p.)
 
Local firms donate three cars for hospital tombola

Q^QTHREE new cars were star prizes in a .Li/Grand Tombola in aid of Folkestone Hospital organised by the enterprising Brotherhood of Cheerful Sparrows. The Brotherhood itself gave an Austin Seven Swallow open sports tourer, with folding hood, described as having a Martin Walter "ae luxe cellulose'' finish, and: worth 180. Maltby's Motors, of Folkestone, Sandgate and Hythe, donated a 12/13 hp six cylinder Minerva "Fabric Saloon'' with 12 months free tax and insurance, worth 520, and Martin Walter Ltd, of Folkestone, gave an Austin 12 hp saloon, worth 325. There was also a cash prize of 50 given by Sir Charles Wakefield. A Royal Air Force scout plane had to make a forced descent, landing 200 yds on the Adisham side of the Barham crossroads. Pilot Flight Lieutenant Stainer, escaped injury but the undercarriage of the

Blane was smashed. The crash was witnessed y an AA patrolman who gave assistance and sent for help to remove the plane, by road to Hawkinge airfield. George Vanson, aged 98, was still digging his Deringstone Hill, Barham garden and the Herald published his picture to prove it!
 
Helicopter airlifts supplies to strike-hit power station

| Q7QA PICKET-busting helicopter flew .L7 f Ovital carbon dioxide supplies into Dungeness A power station to cool reactors as furious strikers looked on powerless. But the furious workers urged stewards at the station not to unload the helicopter. Arguments for and against a lorry park at Lympne airfield were thrashed out at a public inquiry after Shepway Council refused planning consent, a decision strongly accused by a barrister representing the company behind the : plan. Barrister Malcolm Spence accused the Council of shirking its duty as a planning authority and went on to demand costs against the authority. He claimed the planning authority knew it had no grounds for refusal but was afraid to make an unpopular decision. Meanwhile protesters at Hawkinge won a battle to stop heavy lorries parking near their homes in Barnhurst Lane and Aerodrome Road. They had argued that the planned use of adjoining grazing land, to the north, for a lorry park would destroy the village environment. The parish council, agreeing, pointed out the land adjoined attractive open countryside, designated a Special Landscape Area, and was next to a

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