No Stone Unturned: A Foundation Of Folkestone’s History Finds its Way Home

3 Jun 2024
Sea (English Channel)

An unearthed piece of Folkestone’s Victorian past has been returned to a sea view spot almost 137 years to the day since it was first laid.

The ‘Victoria Pleasure Pier Foundation Stone’ is back in position at the end of the Lower Leas Coastal Park after it was spotted at a salvage yard in Stelling Minnis.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council was made aware of its discovery by historians at Go Folkestone, who enquired whether it could be returned to its coast roots.

Tony Hill from Go Folkestone said:

“Having received an enquiry from a local rambler about a large stone that he had walked past on many occasions, I went to investigate.

“What I discovered was a piece of Folkestone's rich heritage and there began my quest, through the good works of Go Folkestone, to return the stone to its rightful place.”

The Foundation Stone was first laid at a ceremony on 7 May 1887 by the Viscountess Folkestone. The event was commemorated with a lavish ceremony on Folkestone Pier before the attraction was officially opened on 21 July 1888.

The stone is Cornish “white” granite and its durability meant that it lasted a lot longer than the iron pier.

It was rescued in 2003 by Colin Shevill who had been clearing debris following a fire at the site where it was being stored. He took it to his salvage yard where it has been kept safely for the last two decades by Colin and his wife Maureen.

After it was spotted and enquiries made Go Folkestone arranged for a local stonemason to recut the inscription and it has now been officially gifted back to Folkestone.

Residents and visitors can now view this fascinating part of Folkestone’s history on the green space close to where the original pier once stood at the end of the Lower Leas Coastal Park.

To learn more about its history visit Go Folkestone’s website.  

Larry Ngan and Lib Dem Campaigners on The Leas, Folkestone

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