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Back in time, before the birth of Westbrook House

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July 1920 school photo for St Peter's York.

Ken we think is the beaming fellow in the dark arch, can you confirm that or otherwise. The other picture for 1908 shows Robert Douglas Foster.


Athelstan School 1920

Dear David-Michael

I attach a photo of the front of Athelstan School, Nos 48 - 50 Shorncliffe Road, from a postcard posted in 1920. This was known in the late 40's and early 50's by Westbrook boys as The Bombed House - right next door to Westbrook House Junior School.Severely damaged by blast in July 1944 when a V1 flying bomb fell on No 46 Shorncliffe Road (Feltonfleet School) next door.

Athelstan was finally pulled down in about 1956 and this fine late-Victorian house replaced by the ugly Cliffestone Court Flats.
Picture by the well known photographers - HalksworthWheeler of 109a Sandgate Road, and 9 Church Street Folkestone.

You might like this for the website.

With kind regards
Peter Mellor.

What remained of Feltonfleet School. July
Shorncliffe RD after a flying bomb had fallen on it. July 29th 1944

17th MAY 1942: Four Focke-Wolf bombers launched a Sunday morning attack on Folkestone perhaps echoing the shock value of the Sunday morning Pearl Harbour attack six months before. Carrying a 500 kilo bomb each they skimmed the waves, determinedly avoiding the radar, in a so called tip at at the front by arriving really early. Mrs Vera Ansellwas the verger and got there in time to organised the setting out of the flowers and hymnbooks for the main
Sunday Service. Mrs Louisa Pearn was helping her that day. On The Leas, three ranks of soldiers, obliged in those times to go to church on Sunday in their entirety were forming up for a morale boosting Church Parade, a short march to Christ Church. The first 500 kilo bomb hit the church whilst the observation post on East Cliff was still phoning the RAF Station for air cover. You can see now that nothing was left intact apart from the tower with its didactic but appropriate Victorian motto. Miss Thompson died, as they say, instantly. Mrs Ansell, 47, died later at the Royal Vic. Mrs Pearn survived. The gardens, as most Folkestonians know are now the focus of our Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Holy Trinity Church up the Sandgate Road had been closed for the duration of the war, and might have become permanently surplus to requirements, but ironically had to be reopened and is still well used.
Of the three other bombs, a type which could bounce on hard ground until it exploded, one went through The Grand and exploded in the road next to the Metropole, one destroyed 57 Bouverie Road West, and the fourth bounced once right over Balfour Court in Sandgate Road, once over Plain Road and once in Bouverie Road West before destroying three houses in Godwyn Gardens.
Visiting the wide crescent of Clifton Crescent you can see the elegant curve interrupted intentionally so that Holy Trinity Church could be seen from The Leas. You can also see the ultimate monstrosity at the west end of Clifton Crescent where again a 1970s block of flats is precisely balanced(!) with a pretty Dutch-gabled 1870s house. Worth a photograph as how not to do it. This was built before the area was declared a conservation area and hopefully would not happen now, but developers will always try it on. Again, showing what a battering the town had , the wide curved green was the site of Folkestones main battery during the Second World War, Four 5.5in naval guns originally on the battleship HMS Hood all faced out to sea from 1940 specifically to protect against German naval invasion. In fact Hitlers invasion plans known as Operation Sea Lion, had the 17th Infantry Division landing on Princes Parade in Seabrook and punching around to capture Folkestone Harbour as a priority. So the Hotel Imperial could have been the first major British building in Nazi hands. Other divisions were to land on beaches strung out westwards such as Cooden Beach near Hastings. Tragically the battery became a major target. There was a concrete command post on the green at the west end of Clifton Crescent and in 1941 five workmen taking shelter from an air-raid were killed by a direct hit on the post. They might have survived if the concrete strengthening they were building had dried. The end of Clifton Crescent was demolished, so in a sense the seventies monstrosity is their only memorial.





Peter Mellor and David Lyne-Gordon visited WH and finding nobody there except the bursar, trotted round taking a few photo's. They again visited the gym and looked at some of the details of the building. They met Beverley McClellan (Property Matters) who has agreed to run a series of articles on Westbrook House's history. After Peter returned home, David Lyne-Gordon popped round to St Mary Westbrook's site and took a few photos as Roger De Haan's men cleared the building out. They have apparently found a number of school photos and a couple of registers which might prove useful to us.






Below is the article for Property Matters and some other items of interest.




More Property Matters

Westbrook HouseTrain video

Right click on the above wording to VIEW!

Westbrook House Train 1955
Submitted by Peter Luckraft

Peter Luckraft Writes:
My Dad took the film during a cricket match and it was right at the end of a sequence, Thats all there is and it took ages just to find it amongst 90 mins of DVD. Will try one day to scan the 16mm film directly for top quality( if that exists for 16mm)

Another link to the Train Video, if you have trouble Viewing....Click on this!

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