Firstly, thank you for the huge response to my pervious blog (https://barcode1966.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/poignant-folkestone-pier-our-heritage-and-our-future/) over 900 people have read it up to now and I have had a deluge of comments, suggestions and ideas from people about it. A lot of people have asked what our idea was for the development was, so here is a sketch of what we wanted to do at the harbour pier.
I would say that this is just a rough idea and by no means the finished plan. If you have any other ideas or suggestions please feel free to comment.
As a main feature we wanted a renewable light feature, which would shine up to the heavens to mark the importance of the spot. Yoko Ono commissioned one in Reykjavik called the ‘peace tower’ which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. This would act as a reminder for the world of what important events took place right here in Folkestone and how many millions of young people lost their lives.
The fact that it was visible from France would make Folkestone an important landmark in the UK. Just like Lands End, John O’ Groats and the White Cliffs of Dover, we would become a place people would want to visit. As I said in my previous blog this would immediately attract half a million-war tourists as well as an even larger number of people who would just want to see it and have their photograph taken there.
Imagine what that amount of visitors could do to the local economy and its role in providing much-needed jobs and opportunities?
In the very old part of the station we thought it would be good to have a museum to WW1 and WW2. We could make it interactive and emotive like the war tunnels of Dover, something that really evokes that time. We could also display a searchable digital version of the books that contained all the signatures of those that passed through on route to France, that were collected in the wars, currently being worked on by the fabulous Step Short. As well as a new digital ‘book’ where visitors could leave a message about their loved ones who may have passed through the port or how the visit has affected them
We also wanted a renewable energy science theme with various interactive installations that people could experiment with and learn about. As well as adding a unique twist, this would attract many school outings and would connect our town to the collective psyche of the UK.
The newer part of the station where the Rug People installation sits, could be turned into an area that could be used for the community of Folkestone. In summertime plays could take place on the tracks, we could have music played there and various other happenings. Imagine a weekly ‘ghost story play’ staged on the tracks? It would be awesome in that space.
The picture above is the only memorial to the millions who died, four bits of laminated A4 pages stapled to a flaky wooden wall.
All of the above ideas would put Folkestone firmly on the map and would go a long way to reviving our fortunes and establishing some civic pride. Folkestone has this amazing place in history and yet we do nothing about it, we do not mark it nor celebrate it. Once it has been demolished, concreted over and a Starbucks or yacht house has been built there it will be gone forever. Our chance to put this town firmly on the map will evaporate into a miasma of apathy.
This is our only opportunity to let our voices be heard to Damian, the Council and all other parties who may have commercial interests in the land. If you have any other ideas or you would like to be involved in a campaign that backs this and step short and the Harbour Company initiatives, please leave a comment or your suggestions. If there enough interest in it, we would be happy to start a campaign.