Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 4 September 2003


Cheriton Road football ground history. (Click here.)


WITH a few dedicated men struggling to organise a European Cricket Challenge tournament for Folkestone, Paul Greenstreet, of Hawkinge, thought readers might be interested to read of great annual cricket festivals held at the Cheriton Road sports ground in bygone years.

“My grandfather, Eustace Pickard, a broad Yorkshireman, was head groundsman for Folkestone Corporation in the late 20s, through the 30s, up to, and just after the Second World war,” Paul told me.

He lived in a pretty tied cottage, within the confines of the sports ground, which became the home of Paul’s mother, now in her early 90s.

Eustace was not only responsible for the upkeep of the pitches and surrounds but for raising all the bedding plants for the parks and the town’s floral displays.

“Great names graced Folkestone’s cricket arena in those days, when County Championship and International matches were arranged for the annual Cricket Festivals,” says Paul.

“Grandad Eustace (right) was extremely popular with the players, because of the excellence of the wickets he produced.

“He rubbed shoulders with the likes of ‘the Don’ - Don Bradman, Wally Hammond, Frank Woolley, Jack Hobbs, Lord Tennyson, Larwood, Verity and our own Les Ames - to name but a few illustrious cricketers.

“A.P. (‘Titch’) Freeman, the former Kent
and England fast bowler, was a firm friend,” Paul told me.

And a crowning moment for Eustace came in 1934, when the visiting Australian Cricket Board paid him the great compliment of asking him to ‘up sticks’ and return with them to ‘Oz’ where they could utilise his skills.

“He declined the offer, but was nevertheless presented with two miniature bats, signed by the complete Australian touring team, to mark the occasion.”

Paul treasures a tuppenny scorecard of the time, printed by the former Folkestone Herald printing works at the Bayle, for the three-day England XI v Australians match during the September 1934 Folkestone Festival, when Bradman scored 149 not out in the first innings of a storm-hit game.

He also brought in to show me a number of old photographs including one of Eustace having a bat signed by Arthur Gilligan of Kent. This must have been on his grandfather’s retirement, he said.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to believe that, once again, in the not too distant future, we could hear the roar of a Folkestone crowd, reacting to the sound of leather upon willow, follow-
player at Cheriton Road?” says Paul. I for one will drink to that!

I was very sorry to hear last week, from his daughter Heather Holden, that a regular contributor to Memories over several years, Derrick Lawson, of Lynwood, Folkestone, had died after a long illness.

Always looking on the bright side, Derrick, who was born in 1927, took a keen interest in the Memories page until the last, twice writing to me from the William Harvey Hospital where he was receiving treatment, and again on his return home, in between regular trips back to hospital for blood transfusions.

I shall miss his off-beat stories and good humour. He used to work at Ashford
Railway Works, took a keen interest in folk music and was a clever mimic, being especially good at impersonating a well known Cockney comedian of days gone by.

I remember particularly Derrick telling me his father, Ernest Lawson, was born in a house which was steeped in the smuggling history of Folkestone. That was 69 Dover Street, a property now demolished.

Derrick was convinced the old house was haunted. The 17th Century property sat on a mysterious network of tunnels known to riddle the Fishmarket area and some of these were uncovered when the property was eventually demolished in the 1950s as part of the redevelopment of the area.

My condolences go out to his family, and particularly to his widow Iris.
World class
CRICKET Festival memories - Eustace Pickard, on the right, collects an autograph from Arthur Gilligan, former Kent and South of England player, 50 years ago.

ing a great knock from an international

Cycle club race meeting attracts top class riders

*1 QAQ THE TOWN'S fourth annual Folkestone JLI/UO Wheelers' race meeting, in the sports ground at the top of Sandgate Hill, was a great success, despite bad weather beforehand which made for heavy going, and a strong wind on the day. The event attracted some of Kent's best known riders and the inclusion of a walking race, over an 18-mile circuit, via Cheriton> Newington, Hythe and Sandgate, finishing with two miles around the track, and a special race for the town's nifty police force, added considerably to the event. An American giving his impressions of old Folkestone, wrote: "The old town lies huddled and tumbled round and above the harbour, a maze of red-tiled houses, mildewed with age, and narrow twisting streets that zigzag up the face of the cliff, helped over the steepest places by : stairways. And there were charms of a one-in-three gradient! A good deal lies hidden behind their innocent frontages - queer subterranean passages, secret cellars, panels and trap-doors, and so on. It would have gone somewhat hard with a coastguard rash enough to track a cargo of smuggled goods through this network of domestic ambushes!"

Looking back to origins of town’s famous Leas

A QOQ^HE HERALD featured a long histori-^«/^Ocal article about the old Folkestone Priory written bv local historian William Henry Elgar, who simply signed his work with his initials, W.H.E. He is thought to have written around 160 historical articles for the Herald from about 1928 to 1934. The first 26 were published as a book "The Ancient Buildings of the Folkestone District," which was printed by the Herald at its one-time printing works at The Bayle. William Elgar tells how the parish church of St Eanswythe once formed part of a Benedictine priory. Folkestone's Manor Office records included an early map showing how the church once formed the inland side of a square of buildings surrounding a quadrangle like a cloister. The pasture land on which the Priory’s cattle were grazed, was known as the "Prior's Leeze,"- and it was this which became what we know today as The Leas. The cost of a motor lifeboat back in the late 1920s - anything from £4,000 to £14,000 - was a far cry from the day, not long gone, when a donation of £1,000 meant they could endow a station's sailing lifeboat for ever, by investing part of the money, an RNLI spokesman told life-savers and supporters 75 years ago.
Cricket club looks back to legendary WG Grace visit

A n CO FOLKESTONE Crickct Club was look-JL«/00 ing backjust over a century to its first game, at Walton Farm, on ground lent by Mr Jeffrey, on June 12, 1851, according to a correspondent signing himself "S.A.M." Folkestone scored 99 runs, beating officers of Deal Garrison, who could manage only 32 runs in their first innings and 66 in the second. A long article/the first of a series published over several weeks, was illustrated with a copy of a poster announcing a match to be played on the same day five years later. A highlight of the club's history took place in 1870 when W.G. Grace and his brother G.F. Grace played in a United South of England team against Folkestone in a 3-day match. The South won. Five records were broken and two equalled in : the annual athletics meeting at Hythe when Janet Underwood, who was at Astor Secondary School, Dover, GO years ago, at the same time as this writer, won all the races she entered bar one. A large part of East Kent was completely out of the range of television transmissions, 50 years ago, complained a local reader writing to the Herald.
Five war veterans look back over 433 years experience

■4 Q7QOUR LATE Queen Mother, the Lord AmH I O Warden of the Cinque Ports, joined representatives of all the Cinque Ports, at Hastings, when the Confederation celebrated its 700th Anniversary. She signed a declaration,

Presented to her by the Mayor of Hythe, Cllr Win ine, giving them the right to celebrate and to continue to function as the Federation of the Cinque Ports. It was a sad day for five old soldiers who went on parade for the last time at St John's Church, Folkestone 25 years ago. Charles Willis, 85, Tom Emms 86, Fred Laws 85, Thomas Meek 82, and William Simpson 95. were among the 12 surviving members of Folkestone branch of the Old Contemptibles Association which had decided the services could not continue any longer due to their advancing years. There were protests at Lydd about rubbish tip plans for a site near homes at Romney Road. One resident said the existing tip was three-quarters of a mile away from his home, which he had just put on the market -r-only to learn of plans for a KCC tip on a site opposite his and other residents' homes. It would not be a good environment for local children and property values would fall, he warned.

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:-