Folkestone Harbour Arm, Kent

Commercial fishing and trading have been going on in the Folkestone Harbour area at least as far back as Roman times.

As with many pier towns, it was the arrival of the railway that transformed it.  The line reached Folkestone in 1843 and the harbour branch line soon after­wards.  Folkestone then quickly grew in popularity, becoming a fashionable resort town.

The first steamships left there for Boulogne and Calais in the same year.  By 1849 there was an integrated rail, sea, rail service from London to Paris, via Folkestone and it was on this route that the first telegraphed conversation took place between ship and land.  It was also on this route that on the night of 15th May, 1855 the Great Gold Train Robbery took place.

Three boxes of gold left London on the train bound for the Folkestone ferry, but arrived in Paris containing only lead shot.

The planning had been meticulous, and the police were stumped; they blamed the French.  It wasn’t until a year and a half after the robbery, when one of the participants cheated another, that the truth was told to the police, leading to the gang’s capture and transportation to Australia.

During the First World War, Folkestone was an important transition point for troops and refugees, in those war years 8.6 million people passed through the port.

The Harbour Arm that you see now was built over a few decades, and was completed in 1904, mostly constructed from concrete faced with granite.

Painting of Folkstone Pier