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Author Topic: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.  (Read 10137 times)

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Offline Jo Milton

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2017, 10:32:27 »
I know this is a very old thread and it's not usually considered "good form" to return to them years later but having found this accidentally while surfing "historic Folkestone" my interest was piqued.  Incidentally I do like that photo of the building since replaced by the very modern restaurant.  I just couldn't remember what had been there before.  Folkestone Library history section does have a few pre and post bomb photos of that very narrow section of South Street.

As to those holes in the cliff face, the cellars, the secret passages.....

My great grandfather lived in one of the properties damaged by the parachute mine and later demolished.  He was there on the night of the raid and ended up hiding in a dustbin - he was very short.  His name was Edward Milton and he ran a small fish shop from his property, having given up fishing for a living because it didn't make enough to support a wife and eight children, particularly in winter, when they sometimes had to go "on the soup kitchen".

Edward Milton was a direct descendent of Joseph Milton, aka Vollee Maree, crew member of the "Four Brothers", and one of Folkestone's well known smuggling fraternity. That house in South Street was built with smuggling in mind.  My nan, Lily Milton, was born there in 1901, and there was indeed a cellar.  On Sundays the children were forbidden to play as they did the other six days of the week, and so they used to go down in the cellar to paint and play, hopefully without being caught.  In the cellar was a blocked up secret passage.  My nan told me her dad said it was dangerous and fallen into decay and on no account were they to even think of getting into it.   
The house had a cellar, three stories and an attic.  Ground floor was the kitchen and shop, first floor a living room and parent's bedroom.  Second floor two more bedrooms, one for the girls, one for the boys.  The single toilet was in the side yard. The staircase ran up one side of the building, and at the top was a door to the terraced garden where you had to jump across to the ground.  My great uncle Wallace Milton had a dark room in the attic at one time I believe.  At any rate he was given the use of the attic for his own.  My aunty drew me a plan of the house a couple of years ago.  It was built right into the cliff face, so the only windows were at the front of the property, and behind the fireplace in the living room was a secret compartment for hiding contraband.  My nan told me she had seen into it one day and she thought she saw a body in there, which scared her so she left well alone after that.  I think that is the source of the mysterious "holes" in the cliff.  They were not coal holes or secret passages, or anything to do with "German spies", they were rooms for hiding contraband from the excise men.  And when that failed, my great great something grandma put all the children to bed on top of the contraband when the excise men were searching the houses and told them that they all had Scarlet Fever.  The men were too afraid of catching it to search properly.

Sadly my nan and my mum both died in 1995, so my only remaining contact who knew the inside of that house is my Aunty Liz who is now in her late 80s.  There must be lots of other Milton descendants still around in Folkestone and Kent who could tell you more about that house and the "arrangements" for smuggling.

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2014, 21:46:26 »
Thanks Paola for the info. Yes, I expect they're just storage areas in the cliff. I see a new building has now been erected on Harbour Street. A bit for the Folkestone Harbour thread is that it looks likes some clearance work has been going on. That's going by what we can see from trains crossing the Foord Viaduct. My old workmate was a special constable in the town but I'm more familiar with Dover though I've worked in and out of Folkestone Harbour station many times.

Offline Paolo

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2014, 20:05:43 »
When the buses halt at the stop on Harbour Street,where the Old High Street joins it, i've been noticing some interesting entrances in the cliff face where a building has been demolished.At the top of this steep sided hill is a building with an eagle emblem on it(i think).I seem to recall my mate telling me it was a German Embassy in the years leading up to WW1.Also i think there was a gun battery up there somewhere.I expect the cliff entrances just lead to cellars but there does seem to be some places of historical interest around this area.
Perhaps someone has some knowledge of the place?

South Street originally had buildings either side for its whole length, many used as offices/distribution for national newspapers.  Buildings badly damaged by the mine dropped nearby during the war and finally demolished around 1950.  The cellars were probably merely storage for the houses on the west side and I'm pretty certain that there were no tunnels as such. 

As for The Battery see
http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-175271-the-battery-folkestone-kent

eavyumble

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2014, 17:04:14 »
OK, let`s try to put this myth to bed a little. The house in question is called Shangri La, and was used from its start as a guest house until at least the early 1950s. It DOES have an eagle decoration, but this is NOT a double headed eagle, and bears no resemblance to any German Imperial eagle that I have come across. It was NEVER used as a Consulate, German or otherwise, despite what you may find elsewhere on the web, or the fact that the myth was perpetuated on Monday in the BBC`s (poorly researched) The Spies Who Loved Folkestone.

Evidence based on looking at local directories in the Heritage Room at Folkestone library from the 1880s to the early 1950s, and on the fact that an eMail reply from the German Embassy concerning the myth states that although they had a Consulate in Dover up until 1914 there is no record of any EVER having existed in Folkestone. Any researcher from the BBC could have had this information inside 5 minutes with a little effort, but I guess it`s a case of "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story".

Further to my comment on the eagle symbol, both gables also have symbols on them - both totally different. They are adornments, nothing more and nothing less.

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 09:07:09 »
The above can be found in the Coastal Gun Battery threads under Napoleonic Battery at Folkestone.

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 08:56:52 »
That's a useful site Paul.I like the way it's possible to revolve 360 degrees around the subject you're looking at.The hillside in question is obscured by trees but  i remember now being shown a door in a garden wall nearby which gives access to an old battery site overlooking the harbour.

Offline Paul

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 20:21:16 »
theres a good aerial here http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=shczsyh2yw0h&lvl=19.237864223594194&dir=355.0720818887369&sty=b&form=LMLTCC

I cant really see them flashing morse code...as it would be seen from the harbour.
Radio is probable.
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2011, 17:28:22 »
Many thanks for that link jaj!That's very similar to the story that my mate has told me.As i suggested at the start of this thread this little area has the potential for some interesting sites.While looking for the info that jaj has found, i read about a castle being on the hill and a later gun battery as well.I've still not found anything about the entrances up the cliff face though. 

jaj

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 11:34:41 »
Found this article in Kent Online:

http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Germans-forks-spies-8211-guesthouse-s-shadowy-past/story-11988662-detail/story.html


It might help elucidate some of the key points, although I accept it's yet another report based on speculation etc., Perhaps someone can unearth some firm documentary evidence surrounding the house in question and its relationship to espionage during the Great War.

jaj

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 10:04:52 »
From Google Earth street scenes.
An interesting photo from G.E. street scenes showing the hill where these cellars are situated.I believe the building on the hilltop is the one with a double eagle on it's roof.There are stories of it being a German embassy prior to WW1 and being involved in spying on the harbour according to my mate.
The redundant railway viaduct is in the foreground.

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2011, 16:53:57 »
Yes thanks unfairytale,with your map i was able to work out roughly where that tunnel exited at Durham Hill.I've never been in those tunnels though.I see the possible tunnels i mentioned on this thread  have been obscured again by new or refurbished buildings. Using Google Earth street scenes the shot below shows the site before redevelopment.The cliff is behind this building.
Google Earth street scenes

Offline TowerWill

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Cellars in cliff face,bottom of the Old High St.Folkestone.
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2010, 11:02:56 »
When the buses halt at the stop on Harbour Street,where the Old High Street joins it, i've been noticing some interesting entrances in the cliff face where a building has been demolished.At the top of this steep sided hill is a building with an eagle emblem on it(i think).I seem to recall my mate telling me it was a German Embassy in the years leading up to WW1.Also i think there was a gun battery up there somewhere.I expect the cliff entrances just lead to cellars but there does seem to be some places of historical interest around this area.
Perhaps someone has some knowledge of the place?

 

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