Blog2006 ≫ History in my day

Another bright and breezy morning, just cool enough to stop me walking down town in just a t-shirt, but warm enough not to stop me walking down town at all. I headed the usual route past the courts and the DSS (all the nice scenic points), to what I'm starting to think is my favourite residential part of town, Millfield / Victoria Grove / Copthal Gardens. There's nothing special about these roads (apologies if you live there), but they do seem to have enormous potential - the houses are huge, lots of them are tired and sad looking, and not all of it's yet been gentrified. Actually as I've been thinking more while writing, the further down the road you head, the nicer it gets, Copthal Gardens does seem quite fab. They're all [em]just[/em] on the not-town side of town, in a ghetto of Folkestone that's separated from all the action by the smash and grab of the "new road"1. Past all the houses and the first point of interest is the nursery school that looks like a pub... Yes, it was a pub, it was The Bouverie Arms opened in 1855, was run by the wife's grandparents in the 1960's, and finally closed in 1977. See, dates and everything, now we're getting on to the history...

Next I'm down onto Grace Hill, look down the road to the left, there's legendary Folkestone venue Toft's on your left and the Foord viaduct in the distance. This was completed in 1844 and means there was no need for a big ramp to jump trains over Folkestone to the harbour. This section of track is mostly closed now I think, though the Orient Express2 does come somewhere down this way once a week, so who knows?

I've turned back into town now, passing by Wetherspoons (see my restraint), a converted Baptist church, though I notice it now has a real name all of it's own; The Samuel Peto. Samuel Morton Peto was a Victorian entrepreneur, who built clubs, theatres, railways, and Nelson's Column of all things, not sure of any connection to Folkestone though'

On into the centre of town, after a book, Ottakers can't help me, though Waterstones has it... This is very impressive, the becolumned town hall built 1860, from the date on the clock tower, it has a real Back to the Future feel to it. The building also housed a police station, with six jail cells, which I understand are used by Waterstones as some kind of national data store.

Three more stops on the way home, a cup of coffee in Cooks, which I'd not previously have bothered with, but they've recently put some effort in. It was a regular bakery type shop until recently I'm sure, but since the threat of a Costa moving to town, they've seriously upped their game. It now has a huge lounge area, decorated in modern coffee shop style, with free internet access and bonus terrace style garden. Really very nice indeed, the original customers seem a bit out of place there now. Then two stops of historical note. One is St Eanswthe's church yard, which I mentioned yesterday. There's been something religious or other on this site since 630, that's far too early in the morning for me. I was not afeared of nutters today, as I saw a friend there, we call him Terry, I love squirrels. Finally, out the other side of the church and past this house where Charles Dickens once lived. As everyone points out, Dickens lived in a lot of houses; most towns have seem to have some blue plaque or other relating to him. This one is (now) called "Copperfield's", and we do get a mention in that book

Peggotty's answer soon arrived, and was, as usual, full of affectionate devotion. She enclosed the half guinea (I was afraid she must have had a world of trouble to get it out of Mr. Barkis's box), and told me that [fg=betsey trotwood]Miss Betsey[/fg] lived near Dover, but whether at Dover itself, at Hythe, Sandgate, or Folkestone, she could not say.

A lovely nearby pub The British Lion has a tiny room named after him, where apparently he sat and wrote Little Dorrit. Again, I was good, and did not go in...

I ran out of time to do more, and I've run out of time to write more, I will be history if I don't get the dinner on now.

Bizarrely there's a Shepway roads database here3, which says

This road takes over Sandgate Road heading into the town centre where the A259 leaves off. Turn left at the first roundabout and right at the second into Bouverie Road West. You will come to Middelburg Square, named after Folkestone's twin town. The old HQ of [fg=saga]a large holiday company[/fg] is sited in the middle of what can be loosely described as the Folkestone ring road. Follow this round and descend via the brief dual carriageway to the roundabout. Turn left. The A2033 continues ahead along Foord Road beneath the impressive 130-foot high railway viaduct. However, if you turn right down New Street, this little one way system shares the 2033 number, although Dover Road is now part of the A260.

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Paul Clarkeʼs weblog - I live in Hythe in Kent. Wed + dad to 2, I am a full stack web engineer, + I do js / Node, some ruby, python, php etc. I like pubs, running, eating, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, family tree stuff, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, and TIME TRAVEL.