Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.

Published 27 November 2003


Folkestone & District Local History Society, whose video Memories of Folkestone, 1900-1914, is selling- well, holds its next meeting on Wednesday December 3, when Doug Lindsey is due to talk about the Kent and East Sussex Railways. 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 up until October next year can be obtained from the secretary, Peter Bamford, of 7 Shorncliffe Crescent, Folkestone, whose phone number is 01303 223337.
LOCAL history enthusiasts and writers of several books about Folkestone, Hythe and district, Martin Easdown and Linda Sage were caught by surprise when a new book that they wrote suddenly appeared, unheralded, recently in just one, solitary bookshop in the town.

The culmination of months of work as any book is bound to be, as I know from experience, it comes as a bit of a letdown when an apparent mix-up at the publishers sees no advanced publicity given and, apparently, no review copies sent out to the press.

It would appear, says Martin, that the Dutch firm concerned, European Library, which has been responsible for publishing literally hundreds of books featuring old postcards of towns and villages in the UK and Europe generally, has been re-structured, and this may explain the lapse.

Happily, the hardback book, called simply Folkestone in old Picture Postcards, features a most attractive selection of 70 odd photographs - including one of the Leas, above - with some of the most detailed captions seen in any book.

I wish I had been permitted to include such long captions when I had two similar books published by the same firm, which feature old postcards of Dover, my home town, although I now live in Tilmanstone.

I was pleased with the final product but it
was frustrating having to cut down the amount of information researched to comply with limitations imposed seemingly, just for the sake of style.

It will be interesting to see how future books in the series, if any, are treated.

The authors of the new book stress that although much has been lost, since the war, particularly in the form of jobs at the port, Folkestone still retains some of the elegance that once made it one of the most fashionable seaside resorts in the country.

From Roman times the port seems to have been a settlement of some importance, as indicated by the discovery of a large Roman villa in 1924 on the slopes at East Cliff - and finds of modern times.

Smuggling violence

In the Middle Ages the town was a fairly prosperous community engaged in fishing, farming and quarrying.

It was important enough to become a limb of the Cinque Port of Dover but although visited by Henry VIII in connection with plans to develop the port, and put the town on the map it was not until the reign of Charles I, in the 1600s that some semblance of a real seaport was created.

Inevitably, perhaps, the once insignificant little port, close to the Continent became a base for smuggling which flourished for many years, leading to violence as excise men, backed by soldiers moved in to try and stamp it out.
Lawlessness was such that Folkestone smugglers once stormed and practically destroyed Dover’s gaol and freed some of their comrades due to face trial.

Big improvements were to come in the town after Jacob des Bouverie became Lord of the Manor. He and is eldest son, with the title of Viscount Folkestone -later to become Earl Radnor - were to radically change the district.

The advances were particularly marked after the coming of the railway to the town in 1843. But, as early as 1804, plans for an improved port were conceived by Lord Radnor, with stone piers planned to replace wooden jetties to withstand the enslaught of the sea. And the go-ahead was
given for work to start three years later.

Moves followed to encourage the building of homes on leasehold land owned by the family but it was several decades before there was enough speculation in land to see the town begin to establish itself as the fine seaside resort it was to become, the transition being made possible by the railway links to London and other major cities, and the taking over of the port by the South Eastern Railway.

The building of the Royal Pavilion Hotel next to an improved harbour, by the railway company, and other big hotels built by private enterprise, were key factors in establishing Folkestone as a major resort.

The book is a good read. Take a look!
Local authors’ new book on Folkestone

Hyttie woman is duped into 'marriage’ by local teacher

f Q/\QA FORMER Saltwood School teacher ■L/Uvwas in court at Bow Street charged with what amounted to bigamy, taking a Hythe woman to London and marrying her in what was alleged to be a registry office. A certificate was issued but was a forgery - the teacher was already married. There was a record one thousand entries for the Folkestone Fanciers Show held in the Town Hall, representing an increase of 300 on any previous show, classes having been upped from 70 to 123. A report on the event, with results, occupied four columns of the Folkestone Herald. Colourful entries included pigeons, cage birds, fancy bantams and other poultry, as well as rabbits, cavies and, for the first time, there classes for domestic cats. A Mayor's banquet given by newly mayor-elect Cllr George Peden at the Royal Pavilion Hotel was attended by guests who included the constituency MP Sir Edward Sassoon and, from across the Channel, M. Peron, the mayor of Boulogne. The report of the event occupied seven columns of the Herald. Sandgate Council approved plans for a new private school, to be called Pretoria House Schools, in Coolinge Road.

Narrow escape for Pickford men as storm blasts store

*1 QOQA CHIMNEY stack was crashed down .L/^Oin a gale leaving a gaping hole about 20ft wide in the roof of Pickford's furniture depository in Dover Road, but fortunately storeman G.E. Knight and assistants, loading furniture into a van were not hurt by a shower of falling slates. On the A20 between Cheriton and Newingreen traffic was halted as strong winds felled two large trees blocking the road, while another cut phone wires. MP Sir Philip Sassoon received a telegram from King George V congratulating him on reaching home safely after nis eventful flight from the UK to India ana back, by seaplanes and land planes, visiting RAF stations along the route. The Herald published a photograph of Littlestone lifeboatmen paying tribute to their late comrade, James Oiler, aged 39, a member of the crew for 20 years, who was buried at Lydd. Commander at RAF Hawkinge for two years. Squadron Leader WH Park, MC, DFC, died in Shorncliffe Military Hospital after being ill for several weeks. At a meeting of Hythe Chamber of Commerce Mr R Dallas Brett suggested a one-way traffic system for the town, saying he couldn't think of another place where traffic was quite so dangerous. He proposed a six-month trial.
Marine among survivors of Plymouth naval tragedy

A QCQ MARINE Michael J. Taylor, of Bolton .LS/OORoad, Folkestone had a narrow escape when a landing craft shipped a lot of water in choppy seas and sank at Plymouth Sound, leaving one man drowned and another missing. Leas Pavilion theatre staff were pictured in a Herald feature about the once popular entertainment venue. Grass track racing stars of their time, Capel's Monty Banks, Dave Spain of the Ashford Club and Bill Shepherd were among diners who were winners of trophies on display at Folkestone Motor Cycle Club's annual dinner and dance at the Wampach Hotel attended by the town's deputy mayor who spoke of the good publicity for the town brought by the Club's events, race meetings drawing crowds of 3-4,000 at a time. The club also helped with road safety events. Club president Dr A Pearlman looking to the future said the town was ideally situated for a motorcycle rally and concours event, while secretary Mr P Flynn hoped for an international riders' meeting in conjunction with the visit of Dutch sportsmen and women from Middelburg in the coming year.
Danger warning by firemen over one-way traffic plans

f Q^Q FIREMEN were warning lives could be put _L7 f O at risk by a new one-way traffic system proposed for New Romney because, they thought, it could force them to pick their way through back streets, involving some difficult road junctions, to answer some emergency calls. Station Officer Douglas Cringle suggested an alternative one-way routeing. Well known local farmer Frank Tory, of Pipers Hill, Lyminge, was on the move and his attractive home, set in well over an acre of land was up for sale. Arthritis was forcing him and his wife Doris to move to a bungalow in Etchinghill. I was fascinated by a photograph dating from 1900 in the Herald, of 25 years ago, showing a coach drawn by four horses standing outside Frank Funnell's premises in Guildhall Street, Folkestone. The fine old coach was about to take a full load of passengers on a joyride. Mr Funnell, who went on to become licensee of the East Kent Arms, in Sandgate Road, was one of those shown seated on one of the open seats on top of the coach. His Guildhall Street house, with stabling at the back, was pulled down to make way for the old Playhouse Cinema which, in its turn, came down to build a supermarket.

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:-