Harbour remembers Jeffrey Sisters
AS plans for the harbour re-development take shape, the company in charge has decided to bring forward designs for the harbour arm that will commemorate Folkestone’s role in WW1.
With Folkestone taking a central part in the First World War commemorations this year, The Harbour Company have brought forward plans that were originally intended for the tail end of the overall seafront development, that were intended to restore the area: “We’re the inheritors of this wonderful piece of history which is on the land which we own.” said spokesman Trevor Minter.
“And as the people of Folkestone will know we have plans for the seafront development in the future and when we negotiated with the council they were very keen that we should restore the heritage and history of the harbour arm and we were happy to do so as part of the future development.
“In fact we don’t have to do it until the seafront development happens, but were doing it now because this is an important part of the public domain, its part of people enjoying living in Folkestone and we think it will be an attractor that people will come to.”
The Jeffrey sisters are well known in the town for the part they played in recording soldiers who moved through Folkestone on their way to the Western Front. The Harbour Canteen kept visitor books of names of those on their way to war, amongst which was the Prime Minister. Local Charity Step Short has copied the books on to an online data base and now the Harbour Company is creating plans for the restoration of the area where the Mole cafe was based.
Trevor Minter from the Folkestone Harbour Company said: “We had to think of what to do with the harbour arm for the future and the first thing to do is tell the story of the history. I have to say we are not personally going to set up a gallery or cafe but we want to work with people who might want to join with us on that.
“What we’ll do is make the area safe and secure, re-glaze the harbour station platform, the iron works need to be shot away and repaired and repainted and the back rooms made ready for use again. But we’re going to have to work with historical records and heritage groups and we think there is a good story to tell.”
The area of the harbour arm that will be restored is a lower level, much wider area further out where people having gone through customs, would take shelter. There is a space behind the platform where the Jeffrey sisters put up the Mole Cafe.
The ticket office has already been demolished and the car park, which in the long term will be flats, will be re- surfaced in the short term, allowing for car parking spaces and events, notably the Step Short Arch unveiling on 4 August, which will end their parade at the site.
Iron works to be renovated
Shelter on the harbour arm