Marine sextant presented by Greenwich Hospital to Stephen Court 1841 . Maker: Spencer Browing & Rust London. Stephen Court (1826-61) was a polar explorer who served with Parry in the search for the North West Passage, fought in the Crimean War and became the Shanghai Harbourmaster (1859-61). He died in Folkestone in 1861.
A vertebra of a North Atlantic Right Whale. From the 17th to the 20th century, whales were hunted at sea for their valuable blubber and whale bone. The North Atlantic right whale got its name because it was the only kind that floated on the surface, and so was the right one to hunt, because it could be easily recovered. In Victorian times, blubber was rendered to make whale oil for street lamps and to light homes, and the whalebone used to provide the stiffening for ladies’ corsets.
In the Harbour. Watercolour of fishing boats and fishermen at low tide in Folkestone Harbour by E A Cox.
Lithograph of a bustling Folkestone Harbour viewed from The Durlochs. By C Creed, Newman and Co . An early steam train is visible coming across the harbour bridge.The railway arrived in Folkestone in 1843, so it must be after that date.
Landing the Catch. Oil painting by E D Roberts, of fishermen bringing the catch ashore at Folkestone Harbour in 1955.
Dogfish Season. In this 1935 oil painting by Charles Padday (1868-1954) fishermen are cleaning dogfish, before packing them in wooden barrels at Folkestone Fish Market. The barrels were sent to inland towns and cities by train. Salted dried dogfish steaks were a staple diet of Folkestone fishermen and were known as ‘Folkestone Beef.’
On board The Queen , by Charles Dixon 1902. The SS Queen was a cross-Channel steamer operated by the South East and Chatham Railway from Folkestone to Boulogne. The painting, created for a poster to advertise the service, shows a lively day at sea, with big waves and white water. Despite this, fashionably dressed passengers seem to be enjoying themselves on deck.
Folkestone Town Council banner. Silk banner of a medieval fighting ship (the symbol of the Cinque Ports) and the badge of Folkestone, which was a Limb of Dover. This banner appears in The Arrival of the Belgian Refugees painting, by Fredo Franzoni, on display at Folkestone Museum, so was in use in 1914, when they arrived.
A life-saving rocket – used by the Folkestone Coastguard in Victorian times to save lives from vessels wrecked close to the shore. The rockets were launched from the beach, attached to a length of rope, and aimed at the masts and rigging of the stricken ship. If a line was successfully fired across, a bosun’s chair (a canvas seat suspended on ropes) was attached by which passengers and crew were hauled one at a time back to shore.
Pelter Brig in The Warren by Charles Augustus Mornewick. An old wooden sailing ship known as The Pelter Brig was hauled high up the beach at Folkestone Warren, near Horse’s Head Rock, and used as a coastguard station – a base to catch smugglers – in the early 19th century. In the 1830s, John Anderson, a coastguard lived on board with his wife and 8 children. They shared the ship with 8 other families.
Oil painting by Sebastian Foley showing the sinking of the Benvenue off Sandgate in 1891.
A watercolour of the Pelter Brig painted by George Wallis in 1851. An old wooden sailing ship known as The Pelter Brig was hauled high up the beach at Folkestone Warren, near Horse’s Head Rock, and used as a coastguard station – a base to catch smugglers – in the early 19th century. In the 1830s, John Anderson, a coastguard lived on board with his wife and 8 children. They shared the ship with 8 other families.
Front cover illustration from the Illustrated London News, Saturday 21 November 1891, showing the crew of the Sandgate lifeboat rescuing sailors from the rigging of the Benvenue shipwrecked off Sandgate beach.