Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 19 June 2003



SWIMMING in the old indoor baths, pictured left, where there was once an adjoining skating rink as well, the harbour or from the beach were among the simple pleasures of youngsters of the past like reader Dave Punnett, of Folkestone see story below.
Airship R101
FOLKESTONE “Memories” reader Dave Punnett has a vivid memory of the British airship R101 passing so low over the town that he could see passengers waving from the gondola suspended beneath it.

Aged five at the time he was sitting, supping lemonade on the steps of the Railway Bell “whilst Dad had his Sunday pint,” he told me.

“I mentioned this to my brother this week and he also confirmed that he had seen it from our garden.

“We were discussing your “Memories” article and the input about Tram Road by Linda Paines, my neice.

“As juveniles we used to cut across the railway lines on our way to swimming in the harbour. We would lift off the chains and run and dive or jump off the quay - not
We also used to put pennies on the railway line and pick them up on our return to see how much they had been flattened by trains.”

Dave, who recalls that he used to play with businessman Jimmy Godden, adds “I left Folkestone just after the war and lived abroad for a while and then spent the next 28 years in the highlands of Scotland.

“Long before I “joined up” I used to use the Fan Hill (Warren hills) as a play area and watched the first German bombers dropping bombs in the distance near the
^ allowed now, of course.
West End or Sandgate area.

“Another time I saw a Spitfire just taken off from Hawkinge, fly in front of me out to sea and a German fighter dived down behind him, machine guns blazing and sent our plane crashing into the sea half way to Dover. That same day the bombers dive bombed a small lightship about a mile or so out. I do not know whether it was anchored or in passage with, or without a crew.

“It was thrilling to watch the dog fights from my vantage point of the hill.” Mr Punnett went on to add “In the previous week’s Herald there was a story about John Punnet voting, plus his photo. As he is my uncle we share the same family history.

Steamer pioneer

“My great-grandfather Henry W Punnett, was Captain on South Eastern Railway ferries. He was captain of the first steam ship - a paddle steamer - sailing between Folkestone and France, serving 22 years with the S.E.R. Co. He died aged 62, on Dec 16, 1885.”

Commenting on the town of today, Dave told me “It’s sad to see some areas of Folkestone in such a rundown condition.”

Eric Moore, of Densole, who worked on the “Golden Arrow” and “Night Express” steam trains of the past, was telling me the other day how the “Golden Arrow” boat train carriages had to be detached from their mainline locomotive at Folkestone
Junction and then taken down the Tram Road line to the harbour by another locomotive or locomotives for the passengers to board a cross-Channel ferry.

Eric treasures a number of photographic souvenirs of various locomotives used to haul the famous train, some taken at the Folkestone Junction and others at the Warren, or in Dover.

Another reader to contact me was Margaret Haisell, who made a successful appeal through “Memories” a while back for the words of the Mundella School song.

Very topically she tells me she and her husband, both of whom are from local families, recently acquired a memento of the Coronation of the Queen attended by Prince Philip, 50 years ago.

It is in the form of a red covered
Coronation programme, originally priced at one shilling. The price, as a piece of Royal memorabilia, was £5, but Margaret said they were quite happy to pay this and are on the look out for more mementos connected with Old Folkestone.

Folkestone & District Local History Society’s next diary date is July 2, when the subject of the meeting is a talk by Chris Phillips about “The Pleasure Gardens.” The Society meets at Holy Trinity Church hall, in Sandgate Road, at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. New members and visitors are welcome.

More details about the Society’s meetings this year can be obtained from the secretary, Peter Bamford, of 7 Shorncliffe Crescent, Folkestone, whose phone number is 01303 223337.

When crossing the Marsh by car was an adventure

«( Q/*0 FOLKESTONE Motors Ltd supplied JL«7\/Osomu of the earliest cars seen in the UK which ciirried around 40 "brave souls" on a round trip of ovor 100 miles to Tunbridge Wells and Rye, returning across Romney Marsh in darkness, which was considered quite an adventure, a century ago this month, the excursionists posed for ;i striking photo by the cars taken by photographer Mr W. Tiddy, of Folkestone, outside the True Briton public house, from which the trip began. Ready for the most appalling weather - all cars were open tourers -they got it, but this failed to dampen their enthusiasm and off thuy went, via Sandgate, Hythe, Dymchurch and on via Appledore and Biddenden, reaching the Clarendon Hotel, at Tunbridge Wells, at 1.30pm where they had dinner. Rain pelted down all afternoon and the party wore glad of raincoats and blankets en route for Rye, arriving at 6.30pm for a substan tial tea at the Station Hotel. After an hour's stop there was a 28 mile trek back home. Herald writer Felix remarking they saw "scarccly a soul" across the marshes and were glad to get a warm welcome buck at the True Briton.

Father of two escapes a brush with ‘grim reeper’

A qjjqFELLOW workmen saved the life of >L«S Oo David Ivory, 42, of Danton Pinch, married with two children, who was trapped under a dumper truck sis Ikj worked on sea defences at the Warren and was close to drowning. One man held his head above water as the others fought to move the truck sufficiently for him to be pulled out. He was operated on for a shoulder injury and treated for shock. Seventy seven members of the Morehall Darby & Joan Club wore among local people who travelled to London to see Coronation decorations in the City and had a giandstand view of the Queen and Prince Philip during their tour of South-east London. One of the veterans in the party, Mr T Archer, of Park Road, Cheriton, was particularly interested in the police horses for he could cast his mind back to the days when he had ‘broken-in' the horses which regularly pulled the coach and four which was regularly driven by a Mr Meredith between Folkestone and Canterbury back in the 1890s. The death of Joseph Horton who servud in the First World War and was on the Folkestone post office staff over 50 years recalled the days you could post a letter at 4.15pm and it was delivered the next day.
Shepway divided over the Sunday cinema debate

1 QOQ cinema shows were the big

talking point 75 years ago and society was much divided over whether films on the Sabbath should be permitted. The position was complicated by the fact that the victoria Pier owners had been permitted to show 'animated pictures" on Sunday evenings only for some 22 years and other coastal resorts were finding that those with Sunday entertainment tended to draw the most visitors. Councillors, who were being asked to grant seven day licences to the Playhouse cinema. Savoy Theatre, Central Picture Theatre and the Victoria Pier, were told the latter had been taken to court a number of times and fined for holding such "exhibitions" but, after taking the case to the High Court a twice, a seven-days' licence was granted on the recommendation of the town's Chief Constable and this had been the position for 14 years. Six places had Sunday concerts but wanted cinema licences. The Watch Committee opposed this. One councillor said Victoria Pier got a 7-day licence because it was considered better to have the "whole of the rowdy element under one roof," where they could be controlled!
Ku Klux Klan accused of stirring up race hatred

«| Q7QTHE TERROR group, the Ku Klux Klan JJiJ / ©attempted to swell its ranks by recruiting jobless youngsters in Shepway, wrote Herald staff man Robin Young. Agents in and around Folkestone for the ultra racist group, based in the USA, had been writing letters to unemployed school-leavers, he said. Some teenagers contacted by the sect had been told they were not able to get into local discos because they were crowded out by coloured immigrants. More than 300 mid-term school leavers in the town had no hope of finding work in the near future, said the Herald and another 50 were oxpected to join them at the end of term. Klan propaganda claimed 40 immigrant families were "stealing" jobs from young people in the town and it was said that Klan ceremonies, with the sect in their sinister hooded robes, had been held in nearby Deal. Twenty five years ago the Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir William Dickson, who had been station commander at Hawkinge airfield in 1935, unveiled an RAF Memorial at the former RAF base. Funds had been raised thanks to the dedication of local writer Roy Humphreys, who has written books about the airfield and the village.

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:-