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Archive

Folkestone History

Posted: 30 May 2017

Category: Area Guide

Hashtags:

This Kentish town is rich in history

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Folkestone is so full of history it’s difficult knowing where to start. This Kentish town has played a significant role in a variety of different eras, from prehistoric to the Iron Age, the Roman Empire to Tudor times, and more recently, the First World War.

 

For fear of writing a dissertation-sized article, we’ve compiled a list of the most significant historical highlights of Folkestone.

 

It all began over 12,000 years ago. The first evidence of civilisation in Folkestone dates back to the Mesolithic and Paleolithic times. However, it was much later when the town began to make its name.

 

It was in the Anglo-Saxon period that Folkestone became a fishing village, and in turn, a wealthy trading port. This was then built upon when, during Tudor times, the town needed to be fortified due to the constant wars with France.

 

Like most towns on the south coast, smuggling played a part in its history. Given that the town had a prominent harbour, this opportune practice began to increase.

 

It wasn’t until the mid-19th century when Folkestone became the town it is known as today. The development of the railways brought tourists, and with that it quickly became a popular seaside resort. It acquired all of the facilities expected of a seaside town, a pleasure pier, several theatres and bathing areas.

 

Folkestone also played a large part in the First World War. Approximately, 10 million troops passed through the harbour to both serve and return from the Western Front. The town also played host to some 65,000 of Belgian refugees fleeing the conflict. They first landed in the harbour in September 1914.

 

So, it turns out, Folkestone is much more than just a quaint cobbled-street coastal town.

 

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