Folkestone in old picture postcards

Folkestone in old picture postcards

Auteur
:   Martin Easdown and Linda Sage
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Kent
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-3731-7
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Folkestone in old picture postcards'

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9. Old and new Falkestone are seen together about 1870 with the recently built Town Hall in the background and the old coaching inn the Kings Arms, complete with horse coach. Since the arrival of the railway in 1843 the coaches had largely been pushed out and only a few remained to provide a service along the coast to Dover and Hythe and inland to Canterbury. The days of the Kings Arms, which dated back to 1692, were numbered and it was eventually closed on 18th December 1881. The Town Hall had been opened on the site ofthe Cistern House (used as a town hall from 1830) on 1 Sth Iune 1861; designed by Joseph Messenger, a porch was later added in 1879. After over a century of service it was put up for auction in 1986 and in the following year the ground floor became Superdrug (Waterstones from 1997). In 1990 the Silver Screen cinema was opened on the upper floor.

10. Improvement of the seafront, where a regatta had lately been inaugurated, was also taking place on the beach to the west of the harbour. This photograph from circa 1869 shows the four typical Victorian stucco terraces that make up Marine Terrace, laid out in 1859-1860, and on the left Marine Crescent nearing completion. This had been built on the site ofthe rowu's first gasworks, opened in 1842 and moved to a far more suitable inland site in 1866. On the right of the photograph can be seen the distinctive Venetianstyle outline of the South Eastern Railway's harbour office. The 'Clock House', as it was known, opened in 1844, but was later demolished in 1899 to make way for an extension to the Royal Pavilion Hotel.

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11. [ust to the west of Marine Crescent, the Bathing Establishment was opened on 20th [uly 1869 and is pictured here about 1905 on a postcard by Kingsway Real Photo Series. Designed by local architect Joseph Gardner in an attractive Italianate style the many attractions on offer included hot and cold sea water baths, medicated baths, vapour baths, a swimming pool, billiard, reading and refreshment rooms and a large saloon with balcony. An extension was added at the front in 1888 to accommodate a larger swimming pool, though it was eventually covered over and used as a dance floor, Later known as the Marina, falling attendance's led to closure in 1958 save for the smaller swimming pool, which under the guidance of former cross-channel swimmer Sam Rockett was used by local schoolchildren. Unfortunately over the following eight years the building became increasingly derelict and was demolished in 1966. Subsequent proposals to develop the site have never materialised and it remains an under-used car park.

12. Ta ease the connection between the Leas and the bathing beach a water-balance tramway, similar to the three already in use at Scarborough (and the one at Saltburn-by-the-Sea), was opened by the Folkestene Lift Company on 16th September 1885 at a cast of ;(3,224. Supplied by R. Waygood & Co. of London, the two cars ran a distance of 164 feet on a 5' 10' gauge track and could carry up to 15 people each. The methad of operation was bath simple and ingenious: a strang steel cable connected bath cars, which had water tanks under their bodies. When the tank of the car at the top of the lift was filled with water the weight sent it down the cliff and hauled the other car up. The lift praved to be so popular, an adjoining funicular was opened in 1890.This had a steeper incline (leading to tiered seating in the cars, for 16 people each) on a track of 155 feet and can be seen in operation on this postcard from the 1920s by Wiseman Homer. However, declining passenger numbers led to the closure of the 1890 lift in 1967, though happily the original 1885 structure survives in the hands ofShepway District Council and is the second oldest water-balance tramway in the country (one year younger than Saltburn).

13.Away from the West End developments were also earried out in the older parts of Folkestone and by 1881 the town's population had risen to 18,822. The Queens Hotel, seen here in four vignettes on a posteard from about 1906, was opened on l Bth Ianuary 1885 at a cast of 00,000 on the site of the old Kings Arms (see photograph 9). Nonetheless this imposing Vietorian building struggled financially in its early years by failing to attraet substantial numbers ofhigh-class patrons; probably due to its rather noisy town eentre loeation opposite the Town Hall. No dividends were paid to shareholders and part of the building was let to a firm ofbankers for seven years. A new restaurant bar (1893) and eleetrie lift (1896) were added, yet the hotel cantinued to struggle and in 1903 the Queens Hotel Company was wound up; its assets being aequired by the Folkestone Hotels Syndieate for ~ 16,000. They managed to make more a go of the hotel and the Bodega Bar was to beeome popular with both businessmen and loeals. Sadly in 1962 the Queens was sold for redevelopment and was pulled down the following year to make way for a typieally insipid 1960s ereation known as Queens House.

14. The year 1885 also saw the assembly of this winter garden in the grounds of the Royal Pavilion Hotel, seen here in the 1nOs. The typieal iron and glass conservatory building was erected by [ohn Weeks & Co of Chelsea and was officially opened on 21st March 1885. lts original use as an elegant lounge with light orchestral musie was altered to a dance hall after the First World War, but expensive maintenance casts led to the building's demolition. The Town Council had rejected an earlier proposal in 1879 for a huge winter garden on Lower Sandgate Raad. Such schemes were all the rage at the time with their theatres, lounges, aquaria, skating rinks and covered promenades all under one roof, yet huge financial casts led to most of them never getting off the drawing board. of the few that did, only the example at Blackpool still survives. The smaller iron and glass winter gardens as at Falkestone were more affordable, yet the only free standing Victorian example you will find at the seaside today is at Great Yarmouth.

15. A rare photograph ofthe winter garden-likeArts andTreasurers Exhibition building under construction in 1885. Situated in Bouverie Road West, Folkestone's own Crystal Palace was opened on 15th May 1886 at a co st of ;(16,000 to house high quality art and antique items from around the world, which could be viewed to the accompaniment of a string orchestra. A special railway line was laid from Shorncliffe Station to serve the exhibition and with Folkestone receiving ever-increasing numbers of wealthy visitors there were high hopes for its success. Unfortunately it appears Folkestone's other attractions held greater interest and visitors to the exhibition were few and far between. After only five months the promoters gave up the ghost and cleared the building of its treasures. The obscure rail connection was torn up and the building lay unused until The Folkestone Pleasure Gardens Company acquired it in October 1887 for only ;(2,100. Work was quickly put in hand to prepare a temporary theatre in time for Christmas 1887.

16. A full reconstruction of the Pleasure Gardens Theatre was carried out during the winterof1890-1891 toallow a full view of an enlarged stage with a new semi-circular gallery. Between February and April 1896 ten boxes and a dress circle were added to make room for 300 extra people. The original glass roof was also covered over for the comfort of patrons (the building had suffered from being too hot in summer and too cold in winter). This postcard shows the theatre in 1906 when it was being visited by many of the leading operatic and dramatic companies. In 1913 the foyer was converted into a concert hall and an annexe housed a gymnasium, which also doubled as badminton courts. Sixteen acres of grounds provided tennis courts, croquet lawns and a show ground, popular for military tournaments and displays. Illuminated evening concerts were also a feature and during the winter months a roller skating rink was provided. Regrettably, falling attendances led to the cessation oflive entertainment in 1956 and from November 1956 to May 1964 the building was used as a cinema before it was demolished to make way for an office complex that is now the rowu's police station. The post office seen in the picture still functions over the road from the former theatre.

17. Every self-respecting Victorian seaside resort harboured ambitions to build a showpiece pleasure pier and after initialopposition from the Town Council, Folkestone was to acquire the Victoria Pier. It is seen here on a lantem slide shortly after it was officially opened by Viscountess Folkestone on 21st J une 1888. Promoted by the Folkestone Pier & Lift Company, the 683-foot-long pier was designed by Noel Ridley and erected by Heenan & Froude of Manchester, who six years later were involved in the construction of Blackpool Tower. The floating landing stage seen at the end of the pier was opened in 1889, but was rarely used by pleasure steamers and was dismantled around 1903. The Pier Pavilion could seat up to 1,000 people and initially housed high-dass concerts, operatic overtures and chamber orchestras, yet the pier rarely paid its way and in 1907 it was leased to local entrepreneur Robert Forsyth. Discarding the old entertainments, he quickly introduced more popular attractions such as wrestling, novelty shows and the world' s first international beauty contest (contestants were shipped over from Boulogne!). The Olympia Skating Rink was added at the pier entrance in 1910 and a popular feature for many years was diver Lawson Smith. The end of the pier came during the Second World War, when firstly it was sectioned as a defence measure and then largely destroyed by fire on Whit Sunday 1945. The remains were removed between 1952 and 1954.

18. One of the great mysteries of'Fashionable Folkestone' was why Lord Radnor gave permission for this switchback ride, usually associated with working dass resorts, to be erected on the beach in his select watering place. Patented by theAmerican La Marcus Thompson in 1884, Thompson's Patent Gravity Switchback made its first appearance in England the following year and in Folkestone on Friday 17th August 1888 with free rides for the first hour. The wooden structure ran parallel to the promenade up to 40 feet high and customers sat on a small trolley, which was pushed along the undulating course to the far end. Then the assistants pushed it around the bend before sending you back on your way along the return section to the start point. The switchback was loved and loathed in equal measure: Folkestone Town Council was firmly in latter camp (saying the ride lowered the tone of the resort) and tried to have it removed; yet many of Edwardian High Society (such as Prime Minister Herbert Asquith) greatly enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately, the positioning of the switchback led it to suffer repeated damage by stormy seas and following neglect in the First World War the ride was dismantled.

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