Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 6 November 2003


BELOW: This particularly fine postcard, of 1904, which is in colour, was found on the Isle of Skye recently by Memories readers Barbara and Barry Long of Folkestone, and depicts a Boulogne steamer which, according to a brief message on the front of the card was called the NaHat •I slipped up in the headline to my feature on this page last week about the new video film, Memories of Folkestone, 1900-1914, produced by Folkestone & District Local History Society, which costs 14.95.

By mistake I suggested the period covered was from 1914.1 hope this does not cause any disappointment.
LOST Railways of Kent, a newly packaged book by Leslie Oppitz, highlights the fact that one of the first 10 passenger railways in the world was built in Kent — the Canterbury to Whitstable line — in 1830. Within a few years a fledgling network of lines had reached the Channel coast, at Folkestone and Dover, long recognised as the gateway to Europe.

Leslie travelled widely to gather material for his book, making visits to many lines and stations, some long since closed, to bring to life the history of the county’s railways, the reason for their construction and, where relevant, their closure.

The softback costs 9.95.

Leslie has written other books on railways and three on tramways, including Tramways Remembered, South & South East England, (including Hythe and Dover) a hardback from the same publishers, in 1998. They always seem to include a nice collection of old photos and this one includes a fine shot of one of the Britannia Class steam locomotives, the “William Shakespeare,” hauling the Golden Arrow, and pictured near Sandling 50 years ago.

The author has been writing railway histories since taking early retirement and already he has put the spotlight on Cheshire, The Chilterns, East Anglia, Dorset, Herefordshir & Worcestershire, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex.
Leslie has written numerous articles over the years for newspapers, like the Herald and Express, and magazines, and appears regularly as a guest speaker at meetings of clubs and societies.

Lost Railways of Kent, was originally published under the title Kent Railways Remembered but, say the publishers, Countryside Books, it has been revised, updated and expanded in a new format.

The author writes about the Channel Tunnel, past and present, about Hythe’s horse tramway and a railway line to Sandgate, railways across the pebbles to Dungeness, and Elham Valley Railway.

He tells of the coming of trains to Dover, and of lines to local collieries and the preserved East Kent Railway to Eythorne.

Rural links
There is a “triumph in railway preservation, in the steam locomotives” of the popular Kent & East Sussex Light Railway and I also noted photos of trains or stations at rural spots like Elham, Lyminge, Barham, Bridge, Bishopsbourne, Biddenden, Bodiam, Poison Cross Eastry, Eythorne and Sandwich Road, Wingham, as well as some shots taken at Folkestone Harbour.

Another book on a similar theme, Lost Lines: Southern, was published some years ago by Ian Allan Publishing, but this has a much wider base, spanning the southern region of the railways.

I was pleased to hear again from Barbara
Long, who recently identified, in a photograph published in Memories the driver of a pony and trap used many years ago by the old St Andrew’s Convalescent Home.

On a recent holiday, she told me, she picked up some interesting Folkestone and Dover postcards on the Isle of Skye.

I was particularly interested to see one particular card which was very different from run-of-the-mill views. Obviously to attract customers among military personnel and families connected with Shorncliffe Camp, it features a soldier’s lament: “Down in our Shorncliffe Camp.” (Sung to the tune of “Back Home in Tennessee.”) “I’m so lonely, oh, so lonely, In our Shorncliffe Camp. Not worth a penny
stamp, I’m worse off than a tramp. Father, Mother, sister, brother, All are waiting me. I’m getting thinner, miss my dinner, And my Sunday’s tea.

Chorus: “Down in our Shorncliffe Camp, That’s where we get the cramp. Through sleeping in the damp, We’re not allowed a lamp. All we can hear there each day, Is left, right, all the way. Sergeants calling, lance jacks bawling, Get out on parade.

“We go to bed at night, You ought to see the sight, The earwigs on the floors, All night are forming fours.

“If we’re in bed in the morning, You will hear the sergeant yawning, Show a leg there, show a leg there! Way down in our Shorncliffe Camp.”
Show a leg there in Shomcliffe Camp!

Tramway decision deferred after a farcical meeting

q/\^TRAMS on the Way! read a small, -L/\SOtongue-in-cheek headline over a report in the Herald, a century ago this year, on the long saga of plans for a public tramway for Folkestone and Cheriton. The report told of an absolute farce of a meeting. After deciding that the Council clerk should read out extremely wordy tenders by different construction firms competing for the job of setting up a tramway service, there were some of the most farcical scenes ever seen in the council chamber. Some councillors brought out newspapers to read, others left 'for some air,' went to get refreshment, or otherwise caused distractions. Eventually, as the time ticked away, the meeting was called to order and it was decided to adjourn for a week! Councillors were discussing a resolution from the town's Chamber of Commerce calling on the Council to press on and come to a definite decision on the tramway scheme, so a start could be made. A large body of members concluded only a system using overhead powerlines could be economical, but this had already been ruled out due to the visual impact and Lord Radnor's objections.

Blind poultry farmer wins new car in charity 'draw’

"I QOQ MARTIN Walter Ltd took first prize and a trophy for coachwork at the National Motor Show, at Olympia, with one of their "Weymann" limousine ae luxe bodies on a 6.5litre Bentley chassis, built at their Cheriton works. There was competition from no fewer than 52 other cars. The previous year they came second at the Motor Show. It was a great boost for the company's new coachbuilaing works opened in 1928. A new six-cylinder Minerva car, costing 520 and presented by Maltby's Motors, of Folkestone, was won by a First World War hero, a blind poultry farmer from Rhodes Minnis, in a competition organised by the once highly successful local charity organisation, Folkestone Brotherhood of Cheerful Sparrows. Mr W.F. Cork, 38-year-old father of a boy of six and a girl of 11, had lost his sight when wounded at Ypres in the First World War. Born in Eastry, near Sandwich, Mr Cork said it was the best bit of news in his life. He was only 57 out in his estimate of the number of passengers (28,912,402) carried by the Southern Railway during September. There was drama on judging day, entries were in a locked box and tne only known key was held by Chairman Gordon Farrer

- in Paris that day, and the lock had to be forced!
Korean war PoWs return home to their families

f QCQ FASTEST man on two wheels, Geoff 990 Duke, with his wife, flew off from Lympne airport, with Silver City Airways, for a holiday to celebrate after he won the World Motor Cycling Championship for the third time. Private S. Furminger, 31, back home in town after being a PoW in Korea for two years, celebrated by setting off for a day's fishing and enjoying his new-found freedom. He worked as a butcher in the town before his call-up in 1950

- which came only two years after being demobbed from the Army - and was captured in the battle of Imjin River. A boy soldier, he became a Regular in 1936 and later served with the Dorsetshire Regt in the Second World War in India and Burma. Captured and injured in the same battle in Korea, Sgt Ivor Dee, 24, of Hythe, was another ex-PoW enjoying his freedom back in Kent, as was Lieut Guy Temple, 25, of the 1 st Gloucesters, son of Major-General Bertram Temple, of Hythe. Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Geoffrey Fisher dedicated St Augustine's Mission Church, in Dover Road, Folkestone, opposite where St Michael's Church had stood.
Mystery cafe fire setback after shock of armed raid

| Q^QFIRE swept through a Folkestone ^*7 I O restaurant in Grace Hill less than 30 hours after a raid by an armed gang. The shotgun bandits grabbed more than 1,500 from the El Picador. The fire, spotted by a police patrol, broke out on the second floor of the building on a Tuesday evening and gutted two store rooms. Four fire appliances were used to deal with the blaze, the firemen wearing breathing apparatus. Afterwards a police guard was placed on the building until forensic officers arrived to investigate. Shepway's first public lottery was due to be scrapped because it proved a loser. District Councillors were told lack of publicity by the firm running the scheme for the council, and late arrival of supplies of tickets, were contributory factors. Another had been a failure to decide on what to do with the 25,000 plus lottery funds. Treasurer Arthur Ruderman said it was difficult to stimulate interest in a lottery when the punters simply didn't know where the profits were going. A plea for all elderly and handicapped people in Shepway to be given half-price bus fares was turned down. There were already concessions for those on benefit, but it was thought cut-price fares might help 'fill' empty buses.

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:-