Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 21 August 2003


jVt C BELOW: Folkestone Motor Cycle Club riders at the start of a hilarious race on trick bicycles at their annual dinner nearly 50 years ago. The photo was shown to me by Memories reader Bob Turrell, of Folkestone, soon after I wrote about veteran rider Monty Banks and his son Trevor preparing for a race in Germany several weeks ago now. I believe Monty is the dark-haired young spectator seated on the left of the picture. Bob Turrell is the third rider from the left, riding one of the machines with small wheels and an eccentric spindle at the front.
ONE-OFF trick bicycles like those seen in a circus, must have gone down a storm, to quote modern parlance, at a Folkestone Motorcycle Club dinner nearly 50 years ago.

And the bikes must have been a bit of handful to ride even for the club’s most experienced riders, some of whom were used to rough riding- on bumpy grass tracks, or in endurance trials - for some of the wheels had off-centre axles.

These would have given the riders a taste of riding what must have felt a bit like being on a bucking broncho.

And it wasn’t only the eccentric axles, Memories reader Bob Turrell told me. He remembered there was one bike where the front wheel would go to the right when you steered left, and vice-versa! It must have been hilarious.

Bob, of Rossendale Road, Folkestone, is himself one of the riders in a picture he brought in showing members about to be flagged off in that somewhat unusual race at the dinner.

Riding a rather special bike, as were all his companions, he is third from the left.

Bob, who also brought in a large group photo taken at the event, was telling me that he used to work for Jenners on repairing properties damaged by bombs in the Second War. He was with Jenners about 10 years, he said.

Recent references in Memories to Hythe cinemas prompted a letter from Derrick
Lawson, of Lynwood, Folkestone.

He has been ill for some time and has to have blood transfusions twice a week, involving round trips to William Harvey Hospital, but he wrote to tell me about two uncles who both worked at one of the local cinemas.

“My Uncle Bill was a piano player, and Uncle Harold an assistant projectionist,” he writes.

“One evening the manager told Bill they would be showing some early newsreels and asked him to play some mournful music. But Bill only knew popular songs of the Music Hall.

“One film was about the late Queen Victoria’s funeral, hence the need for solemn music. But when the film was shown Bill played ‘Yip I Addy I Ay’!”

Much tittering!

“This caused much tittering amongst the audience, but the manager was far from happy, and Bill was thrown out onto the street, unemployed!

“A little while later Harold reported for work and was told many times NOT to smoke in the projection room as the 35mm films were highly inflammable.

“But he ignored the notice and, while he was rewinding the films he lit up a cigarette. The place burst into flames but, luckily, members of staff managed to get the fire under control. Harold sacked!”

I am grateful to another Herald reader who called and kindly offered me the loan of a copy of the long-out-of-print book
“Rambles Around Folkestone," written just before the First World War, by the Herald’s once popular reporter William George Glanfield. He wrote under the pseudonym of “Felix.”

I am curious to see how the book compares with his weekly column, which appeared in the Herald for decades.

Another reader who has obtained a copy gave me a glimpse of it the other day and I was pleasantly surprised to see the interesting illustrations.

Felix was born in 1855, the only son of William Glanfield, who was headmaster of the Sandgate schools for 33 years. He joined the Herald staff soon after the paper was launched in opposition to the Folkestone Express.
Felix went on to devote 44 years of his life to the paper, after earlier working on another local paper, the Folkestone Chronicle, which was absorbed by the Herald. Sadly Felix’s life was cut short by injuries received in a road accident in December 1934.

Father of five daughters he loved to ramble around the district, on foot or by bicycle and got to know the real characters of Shepway, recording his experiences in special articles or in his weekly column, “About the Neighbourhood,” which was very widely read.

I have long wanted to have a read of his long-out-of-print book at my leisure, rather than in the excellent local studies section of the public library.
Tricky ride!


Buy children bicycles and cut the beer, dads urged

"l QAQ ^ MAJOR debate raged over recre--LUV/Oation on Sundays and particularly about the then modern growth of cycling, Folkestone Alderman George Spurgen gave strong backing to cycling, urging that more parents should set aside some of their income to buy bicyclos for the good of the health of their children, rather than spend it in the public houses! And he pointed to a medical officer's report that the growth of children of working men was being retarded and they tended to De "under size. The same week the 13th annual parade of 'wheelers' - we now call them cyclists - took place at St Michael's Church, Dover Road, con-: ducted by the Rev E. Husband. He had launched services at a time when the Sunday cyclist was looked on with scorn, while the well-to-do rode around in horse-drawn carriages requiring the services of a groom or other servant who was therefore required to work on a Sunday. The Vicar backed riding on Sundays, providing people went to church first! A writer was calling for a church "worthy of the name" for the garrison at Shorncliffe, the wooden church being home to birds flying freely about during services!

Dungeness life-savers’ 100 years of service

'I QOQROBERT Featherbe, whose family had motor boats and other craft in the port for generations, was granted consent to site 20 deckchairs for hire on the East Cliff Sands, although there were those who thought the council should do this to help keep down the rates of the town. Life savers looked back on a remarkable record of service when Dungeness Lifeboat Station celebrated its centenary, receiving a certificate on vellum. Making the presentation Capt G Holloway, on behalf of the RNLI said he looked to the day Dungeness took delivery of its first motor lifeboat, which would cost between 4,000- 14,000; A butchers shop became a temporary 'hospital' after a bus and charabanc collided at the junction of Dover Road and Tontine Street, injuring five people. Fortunately the worst injury was a broken arm. The full charabanc, from Lewisham, had just started a steep climb when it hit a bus coming down the road. St John Ambulance members returning from a Hospital Sunday service stopped to tend to the injured. The Herald was promoting shopping in local shops by telephone with a page advertising feature: :Sir Charles Wakefield made a donation of 500 towards the Hythe Church Bells Appeal fund.
Blaze devastates country mansion divided into flats

qmBEACHBOROUGH House, one of the XI/OO best known mansions in East Kent was extensively damaged in a fire which started in the roof during repairs for dry rot. The flames were fanned by a strong sou'westerly and soon the whole of the roof was ablaze. The roof and top floor of the main wing were totally destroyed before the blaze could be brought under control, firemen having to lay hoses half a mile to Beachborough pond because of a shortage of water, the scene resembling the wartime blitz. Army cadet force lads from Dibgate Camp helped residents and locals rescue furniture and other property but many valuables were said to have been destroyed. Fireman C.W. Ralph, of Hythe, was slightly hurt when a ceiling fell. The former 19th Century home of the Drake-Brockman family, the mansion had only recently been divided into 10 flats. Hythe's Small Arms School celebrated its centenary and was honoured by being granted the Freedom of the town. Founded as the School of Musketry in 1853, it became the Small Arms School in 1919 and in 1947 part of the School of Infantry.
Arsonist hunt as Old High Street hit by major blaze

f Q"7Q TEENAGE arsonists were suspected X7/Owhen a 100,000 fire damaged three properties near the foot of the old High Street. Firemen were successful in stopping the fire spreading to other buildings in the road. Two youths were said to have been spotted running away from the scene about 3am, as fire raged through Channel Gifts shop after rubbish nearby was set alight. MP Albert Costain was asking local licensees for evidence that high-jackpot gaming machines in clubs were taking trade away from public houses. It was claimed that because of the profits from gaming clubs could sell their drinks at lower prices, which was unfair competition. There were a few smiles when firemen were called upon to make an unusual 'rescue' - man had trapped a finger in the end of his bicycle's handlebars! A neighbour of a garage in Saltwood told of the "obnoxious" fumes from a cellulose spray booth and of the noise as a reason for objecting to an extension to the business. Canon Dudley Bembow, who lived next door to the garage was one of quite a number of villagers against the plan, expressing the concerns of the elderly who came to the village for its peace and quiet.

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:-