Follow the links below and explore Folkestone Triennial artworks in the context of their history and surroundings. Text and in-depth research by local historian, Zoe Varian with generous help from Alan F. Taylor, Paul Harris, Eamonn Rooney, Martin Easdown and  the membership of the Folkestone & District Local History Society; thanks also to Dr Lesley Hardy and the Town Unearthed project,  Dr Andrew Richardson and the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, Folkestone Camera Club for the photographs and East Kent Guides for the map references.  Other contributors and references have been mentioned in the text.

Click here to download the Folkestone Triennial Historical Context PDF to read at your leisure.

Yoko Ono

Earth Peace 2014 Folkestone Central Station Grid Ref TR2218736275 The realisation of South Eastern Railway Company’s grand design for a fast straight railway to Folkestone and Dover marked a turning point in Folkestone’s history.  The building of the railway brought … Read more…

Strange Cargo

The creation of modern Folkestone resulted from the arrival of South Eastern Railways’ line from London Bridge and their subsequent development of the harbour and continental routes. “A marvellous change has been wrought in the circumstances of this town by … Read more…

Diane Dever & Jonathan Wright

The Pent Stream is an ancient watercourse flowing from the North Downs into the sea at Folkestone.  Large enough to be termed “river”, it is now hidden by urbanisation and only occasionally makes it presence felt.  In August 1996, a … Read more…

rootoftwo

Whithervane 4A The Red Cow Pub TR 22637 36581 In 1683 during the reign of Charles ll, Charles Gittens, an innkeeper from Middlesex, bought the newly built inn, known as The Red Cow, from James Shrivers.  At that time it … Read more…

Jyll Bradley

Gas was brought to Folkestone in 1842, thanks to the enterprise of the then Town Clerk, Mr R.T. Brockman, who injected capital of £2,500 to supply 60 customers and 30 street lamps.  Demand outstripped supply and the original works, near … Read more…

Marjetica Potrc and Ooze Architects

The Foord Valley was traversed by a huge viaduct of unprecedented height to link the line from London Bridge via Ashford with Folkestone and on to Dover.  Designed by William Cubitt, it comprises of nineteen arches, one of which is … Read more…

Emma Hart

From her vantage point on the corner of Tontine Street, Emma Hart reflects on feelings under pressure and the dichotomy between the superficial visual image and what is going on under the surface. If that premise is applied to our … Read more…

Andy Goldsworthy

The blue Gault clay used in Andy Goldswothy’s artwork was formed during the  Early Cretaceous period, 105 – 108 million years ago.  The clays contain many  shallow sea or lake fossils including Ammonites and Belemnites (squid) of  several different species, … Read more…

Amina Menia

On 25th May 1917 the first daylight German bombing raid took off with London as its intended target. The mission was aborted because of low cloud. The long range Gotha bombers turned and followed the railway line south from London … Read more…

muf Architecture/Art

Payers Park was formerly an orchard, owned by the Payer family hence its name.  The watercolour gives us an idea of how it must have looked and the chimney shown can still be seen above the brightly painted buildings on … Read more…

Something & Son

It is wholly appropriate that Something & Son are considering the future of food production near  the site of what was once an orchard, known as Payers Park. Fish, chips and mushy peas have an association with seaside holidays which … Read more…

Gabriel Lester

Shortly after the arrival of the railway in Folkestone, the Folkestone-Boulogne route opened to regular traffic on 1st August 1843.  Demand for the service led to improvements and the Harbour branch line was opened to passenger traffic in January 1849.  … Read more…

Sarah Staton

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Folkestone area has been inhabited since the Stone Age (about 6000 to 4000 years ago).  Two factors allowing for settlement were the availability of water from the Pent Stream and the proximity of the sea. … Read more…

Michael Sailstorfer

And the wind having dropped and the night being now a really very beautiful moonlight night indeed, and all before Kipps to spend as he liked and with only a very little tendency to spin round now and again to … Read more…

Alex Hartley

The Grand Burstin can be seen from a distance; whence its scale and mass provide a convincing imitation of an ocean liner… The Burstin was part of an effort, during the 1960s, to re-cast Folkestone’s elegant and  sophisticated history as a more … Read more…

Tim Etchells

This postcard depicts the Harbour Station in its heyday when the route from London to Paris (via Folkestone-Boulogne) could be completed in 7 hours and 30 minutes! Originally constructed in 1850, it was rebuilt in 1893.  Two platforms were built … Read more…

Ian Hamilton Finlay

As the traffic to the Continent boomed during the second half of the nineteenth century, improvements were made to the harbour to accommodate more steamers and increased number of train departures.  Tidal problems were overcome with the building of a … Read more…

John Harle, Tom Pickard and Luke Menges with the Futures Choir

The terrace of houses opposite Onyx is unusual because it is of late pure Regency design and as such is quite distinct from the other terraces in the town.* Onyx itself was once home to the nightclub, La Parisienne, which … Read more…

Pablo Bronstein

Dr Kathryn Ferry’s history of the humble beach hut is comprehensive: In the nineteenth century no trip to the seaside was complete without a dip in the sea from a bathing machine. These vehicles looked like beach huts on wheels … Read more…

Krijn de Koning

The land between the cliff and the shore was created by a terrific landslip in 1784 and it opened up possibilities for development along the shoreline from Sandgate to Folkestone Harbour.  By the end of the nineteenth century many diversions … Read more…

Will Kwan

During the early decades of the twentieth century, the Vinery provided a sheltered, and possibly fashionable, spot from which to enjoy the view and take the air.  Folkestone’s success as a resort and “watering place” had been built in part … Read more…

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