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 over 100 feet tall, and it was built in less than six months.  It is the world’s highest arched brick viaduct.

Icon, Dee Taylor 2014, painting in oil

Icon, Dee Taylor 2014, painting in oil

The bricks from which it was made, all came from clay which was dug from what is now Kingsnorth Gardens, near the Folkestone Central Railway Station.  That is why the Gardens are several feet lower than the surrounding land.*

The first train ran over it on 18th December 1843 and stopped at the first permanent station, which was built at the east end of the viaduct, known as “Folkstone” Station.  You have spotted the incorrect spelling; later the name was changed to Junction Station because it was indeed the junction of the subsidiary line down to the Harbour.   Just to really confuse everybody, this subsidiary line was known as “Tram Road”.

This iconic construction has inspired local legend: whilst transporting bricks to the site, a driver and his horse and cart fell into one of the enormous pillars and could not be reached.  They now form part of the edifice.  It is also said that during the Second World War, a Spitfire pilot turned his plane to the vertical and flew through one of the arches.  The viaduct received Grade II Listed Building status in 1975.

*Nicholas Reed, publisher Folkestone Creative, www.lilburnepress.co.uk

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