folkestone Folkestone in Context Folkestone’s location on the south Kent coast places the town in an enviable position, with unparalleled scenery and good transport links to the rest of the UK and to Europe. Folkestone was once one of Britain’s most fashionable destinations, but from the sixties onwards a decrease in tourism and other traditional local industries contributed to the town’s decline. Since 2004 a concerted strategy has been developed to regenerate key areas of the Old Town, to bring about major improvements in education provision and to establish new opportunities for the enjoyment of residents and visitors in art and sports. This has had the effect of bringing back greater prosperity to the town, generating new employment opportunities and helping make Folkestone a better place in which to work, live and visit. Folkestone is set on a beautiful stretch of Channel coast between the Kent Downs to the north east and Romney Marsh to the south west. The town boasts splendid examples of traditional Victorian and Edwardian architecture alongside signature work by contemporary architects such as Sir Michael Hopkins and Lord Foster. The result is an eclectic and elegant mix of styles, where urban development of the highest quality sits alongside the natural landscape of the Kent coast. Folkestone today is a town in transition, well on the road to a 21st century renaissance. —————————————————————————————————— THE LEAS – THE METROPOLE – THE GRAND OVERVIEW: PROMENADING ON THE LEAS This walk includes a Water Lift, a cliff top promenade with fine sea views and a stroll along the Lower Sandgate Road through trees and lawns just yards from the sea. The Leas and the Lower Sandgate gardens were created by Lord Radnor in the late 19th century to attract Victorian holidaymakers to the town. The undercliff gardens themselves were laid out in 1876. When first opened the Leas were patrolled by Lord Radnor’s own police force, complete with blue uniforms and gold braided peak caps. THE LEAS BANDSTAND Built in 1895, the tent-shaped canopy is supported by cast-iron columns decorated with a ‘honeysuckle’ motif based on ancient art forms. In the 1900s the Leas and undercliff boasted three bandstands. The Leas Bandstand now stands alone, presenting concerts throughout the summer. Of the other bandstands, one was built in Marine Gardens in 1893, and another in the grounds of the Metropole Hotel in 1897. Hotel guests complained about the noise so in 1902 the Metropole bandstand was moved in front of the hotel which is now marked by a circular flower bed. THE GRAND AND THE METROPOLE Built as hotels, these buildings share similar designs with very rich frontages and reflect the prestigious position held by Folkestone as a major south coast resort. The Grand was built between 1899 and 1903 by Daniel Baker of Folkestone while the Metropole, built in 1895, was designed by T.W.Cutler. THE TOLL HOUSE The Lower Sandgate Road was opened as a toll road by Lord Radnor in 1828. A board on the Toll House wall shows the charges to be paid for various forms of transport. THE GROTTO ZIG-ZAG PATH The path and Grottos were opened in 1924. The seating areas were originally illuminated. THE LEAS PAVILION The Pavilion was opened in 1902 as Tea Rooms with a ladies string trio providing musical entertainment. Music rooms soon became the main attraction with twice daily concert parties. THE LEAS LIFT This water balance lift, only the third to be built in England, was opened in 1885 at a cost of £3,000. The lift rises 100 feet from the Lower Sandgate Road to the Leas Promenade and works the following way:- The cars being full, the toll collector at the foot of the tracks signals the brakesman at the top. The brake is released and the top car’s ballest tracks are filled with water from cisterns set in the cliff top. The top car becomes heavier than the bottom car, descends, and through the pulley system raises the lower car up the track to the top of the cliff. The water in the descended car’s ballest tanks is then pumped up to the cisterns ready for the next trip. Folkestone once boasted two other such cliff lifts, one at the Metropole which was opened in 1904 and closed in 1940. The other connected the west end of the Leas with Sandgate opening in 1893, but closing in 1918. —————————————————————————————————— radial ART LINKS: 1.) PAINTING THE VICTORIAN AGE William Powell Frith (1819-1909) was one of the most successful, most popular and most highly paid of Victorian artists. He was the greatest British painter of the social scene since Hogarth, and his best-known pictures, Life at the Seaside (Ramsgate Sands), Derby Day and The Railway Station, are icons of their age. We all read paintings differently. Through group discussion and creative writing exercises, encourage pupils to find the stories that most interest them in Frith’s pictures of teeming Victorian life. Think about the artistry and trickery of the painter – his use of perspective, colour, tone, and rhythm of composition and handling of paint. RAMSGATE SANDS 1851-54 Frith spent nearly 3 years working on this picture. There are over 100 figures in it. It is arguably the greatest painting of the period showing Victorians on holiday at the seaside. Queen Victoria loved it and paid over £1000 to Frith for it.  Activities:
  • Children could study RAMSGATE SANDS then produce their own in the style of Frith for Folkestone: use Victorian and modern day photographs; first-hand sketches of Mermaid Beach; studies of the Leas and its landmarks as a ‘lookout’
  • Sound/Smell/Touch/Taste/See poem. Write a poem about RAMSGATE SANDS/YOUR FOLKESTONE SANDS. Write it as though you are one of the people in the picture. Before you write your poem make lists of all the smells, sounds and tastes in the picture.
  • This activity is designed to encourage pupils to look closely at the painting ‘Ramsgate Sands’ and consider what is happening between the people featured in it. The activities link well to English skills including communication, drama, creating dialogue and letter writing.
  • Children can study the paintings listed above.
Take photographs of the sea views from the Leas promenade throughout a week (for example) and discuss the sea’s ever changing effects. JMW Turner managed to depict the sea’s ever-changing effects in almost every single image. Can the children also represent the ever-changing sea? Watercolour studies, pastels, pen and ink, sketching, photography.
  • Study seaside posters, promoting Folkestone as a tourist destination – past and present. Use images of the notable landmarks along the Leas, such as the bandstand and the water lifts, as well as the phenomenal sea views over to France to use in the pupil’s own posters.

Images to come

Design – sculpture
  • ‘A pier design inspired by a chip shop and a tea house has won the top award in a student competition to design a water feature for New Brighton in Merseyside’. Children could design their own water feature for Folkestone where the pier once stood.
  • Children can study pier construction/rollercoasters then design and make their own.
Children can study the lines made by the construction of the switchback – trace and produce abstract representation – black and white/colour. fokestone coaster1 fokestone coaster2         The Leas Lift Activity It was the third such hydraulic lift in the world, now listed as being of historic importance, but the first constructed by Waygood-Otis, pioneers of ‘ascending machines’ who went on to build the first escalator fifteen years later.   Amazingly, it is estimated that it alone has already carried about 50,000,000 passengers, which is not only a testament to its original quality but also makes the carriages possibly the most used ever built – where else could you sit where several million have sat before you, overlooking the English Channel with a panorama of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and the French coast as a backdrop on clear days? The mode of operation is simple:  there are two cars connected by a rope over a wheel at the top; the brake is released, the top car’s tank is filled with sufficient water to make it heavier than the bottom car; the heavier car descends pulling the other car up the other track.  When the heavier car reaches the bottom, the water is released into the bottom reservoir, and is pumped back to the top reservoir ready for re-use. Making a model lift system: The cliff railway is powered by gravity. Using a construction kit like LEGO, can you model a counterbalanced lift system? Your system should have two cages on which you can put small weights. Put some weights by hand into the lower cage, then add weights to the higher cage so that it pulls the lower cage to the top. How can you stop the heavier cage running away and crashing to the bottom? Can you design a release mechanism that senses when the higher cage is heavier and then allows the lift to run? Can you devise a way to control the speed at which the cage travels down? Can you make sure that the lift stops in the right place? Can you control this with a computer? Note to teachers: This is not an easy task and might lend itself to an after-school engineering club. 4.) ARTIST STUDY: ‘ON THE PROMENADE’, ‘JULY’, ‘SEASIDE PROMENADE’ AND ‘AN OLD MAN AT THE SEA’ BY LS LOWRY 1 2 3 4                   Learn about the artist L S Lowry Learn about the life and works of Lowry. Discuss likes and dislikes of various works of Lowry. Compare and contrast the scenes painted by Lowry.
  • Compare and contrast ‘On the Promenade’ with ‘An Old Man at the Sea.’
Example Activity:·     Explore some of Lowry’s pencil works.·     Use pencil to draw a playground scene in the style of Lowry’s ‘On the Sands’.·     Create a piece of work using a photograph as inspiration. ·      Firstly, explore Lowry’s sea related drawings and paintings.·      Examine ‘Seaside Promenade’, considering the perspective, sense of action, the individuals, etc.·      Practice line drawing by choosing one figure from ‘Seaside Promenade’.·      Use one of the photographs taken along the Leas now or from the past to create a line drawing in the style of ‘’Seaside Promenade’. Can the children incorporate the Metropole/Grand Hotel in their drawings?·      Evaluate their work. Paired or small group discussion. ·   What do you like/ dislike about the pencil drawing?·   How do you think Lowry built up this picture?·   What do you like/ dislike about ‘Seaside Promenade’?·   How would you describe Lowry’s impression of each person?·    How do you think each person was drawn?·     How would you evaluate your own line drawing? What do you like/ dislike about your own drawing?
5.) ARCHITECTURE: THE METROPOLE AND GRAND HOTELS * How did the phrase “monkey business” originate in Folkestone? The Grand, on The Leas, was a hotel which in Edwardian days attracted the rich and famous including King Edward VII who visited with the Queen and his mistress Alice Keppel.  People would promenade up and down The Leas in an attempt to spot the royal visitors in The Grand’s huge glass-fronted rooms. As most of the men were bearded it became known as the monkey house and the naughty goings on as monkey business.
The Grand
The Grand
Buildings, places, public spaces, streetscapes and structures all provide relevant and authentic learning experiences for your pupils, and can be used to create one lesson or a unit of lessons to enhance teaching and learning. Seemingly obviously, Victorian houses were built between 1837 and 1901, when Queen Victoria was on the throne. However some people, including the Victorian society itself, take ‘Victorian Architecture’ to encompass Edwardian as well, which takes this time period up to 1910.
  • Can buildings speak? (based on an old QCA unit of study)
  • Make a classroom display about buildings in the local area and elsewhere.
  • The focus of this unit should be on children learning to work out what visual and tactile information can tell them about the building, its purpose and importance.
  • Exploring patterns
  • Ask the children to make rubbings and prints based on different surfaces found in and around buildings, e.g. brickwork, tiles, wood grain. Perhaps organise a visit to the Grand Hotel?
  • Ask them to use a variety of objects and tools to print regular patterns in straight lines and rows and irregular patterns. Encourage them to explore ways of rotating shapes, e.g. printing an irregular shape and turning it through the points of the compass.
Ask the children to describe the shapes and patterns they have made, e.g. triangular, rectangular, circular, flowing. Talk about which parts of buildings their patterns and textures suggest, e.g. pattern of windows, tiles on roof, paving on paths.
  • You have been given a brief to design a piece of public art for The Grand in your local community. Come up with a creative design that enhances your community and this location. Think about the materials you will need to use, draw the design and then construct a model of your public art.
  •  Imagine you have been asked to design an extension to The Grand that can be used as a cultural space for the wider community. Drawing on examples from what the Grand looks like, draw the main features of your design and show how a space can encourage public participation. (KS3)
  • Trace the major outlines of the Grand – what shapes can the children identify? Using a basic outlined pre-prepared, ask the children to create their own, using tracing paper and their knowledge of shape and space. Children to then decide how to add colour to their image.
  • Be an architecture detective. See if you can identify the architectural styles of the Grand/Metropole. Take photographs/sketches of roof, windows, doors, brick patterns etc. Typical Characteristics of Victorian houses: Bay windows (they stick out); Iron Railings; Flemish brick bonding; Patterns in the brickwork made from coloured bricks; Stained glass in doorways and windows; Roofs made of slate; No garage; Sash windows (they open by sliding the window up). LOCAL ARTIST: Michael Preston from Rye: The magic of Michael’s artwork lies in his ability to use his artistic creativity to show vibrant colour and a quirky interpretation of buildings, landscapes and seascapes. Michael has produced more artworks of Folkestone which will link to the other locations in the ‘Location, Location, Location’ unit of work.
michael preston
© Michael Preston
M Preston
Michael Preston
Born in Folkestone in 1970, Michael grew up initially in Lydd, Kent, and then in Camber, East Sussex, finally moving to the Rye area. From a young age he showed an artistic talent, mainly concentrating on paintings of small wild animals and birds. It was much later that he developed his own special interpretation of scenery and buildings. The Ancient town of Rye proved an  ideal subject for this. 6.) GROTTOS – THE ZIG-ZAG PATH grotto Margate’s secret shell grotto: One of England’s most mysterious attractions, the Margate Shell Grotto is a bizarre underground cave that is (possibly) up to 3,000 years old. The walls in the Margate Shell Grotto are covered in beautiful mosaics made up of over 4.6 million seashells.       Folkestone’s seafront is the inevitable location for several other pieces. Dutch artist Krijn de Koning is creating two identical wooden structures, one in the Victorian grotto on the Zig Zag seafront path and the other next to the Turner Contemporary in Margate. The idea is for visitors to compare the very different experiences the different sites create. Watch this clip (the artist speaking about his installation): 7 8 9 Design an installation for one of the grottos in the zig-zag path. Consider material, texture, colour, shape, reflection, light etc. West End Unit of Study completed by Sandgate Primary; February 2015