Step Short has a busy summer season ahead as we near the culmination of four years of WW1 centenary commemorations. For this very special year we will be holding our annual march on Sunday 22 July, with a variety of commemorative events taking place in Folkestone during the summer.
The march will begin with all groups assembling outside the Leas Cliff Hall at 10.15am, ahead of a service at the Step Short Arch beginning at 11.00am. Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, will unveil the last two plaques at the Memorial Arch followed by the laying of wreaths. After the service, there will be a walk down the Road of Remembrance to the harbour area. Free tea and coffee will be served at the Grand Burstin Hotel and participants can pre-book tickets for a post-service buffet at the Grand Burstin Hotel for £10 per person. Email [email protected] for more information.
Other WW1 centenary events in Folkestone include a photographic exhibition at Folkestone Town Hall organised by the Folkestone & District Local History Society during June and July; the Invicta Band performing at the Leas Cliff Hall on Wednesday 18 July (see flyer to left); guided history walks and talks on Saturday 21 July; a planned performance of the play ‘My Boy Jack’ by David Haig; and Hythe Town Band performing on the Leas Bandstand on the afternoon of 22 July.
And don’t forget, the Mole Café on the Harbour Arm is open weekends and bank holidays until the end of October. Mark Simmonds, Step Short’s Membership Secretary, will be there running his regular genealogy sessions on the last Saturday of the month between 10am and 2pm, May to September, for anyone interested in exploring their own family’s WW1 history.
We hope you’ll be inspired to get involved, perhaps discover something new, and help to remember those who lived in, came from or passed through Folkestone during WW1.
Three of our new volunteers were thrown in at the deep end on Sunday 3 September, offering refreshments at the Mole Cafe during the opening weekend of the Folkestone Triennial 2017.
With the Harbour Arm buzzing with visitors, Bobby Reader, Sandra Carpenter and Rosa Hewer got stuck in with the Harbour Canteen regulars serving up tea, coffee and cake.
Folkestone’s fourth Triennial exhibition (Double Edge) features 20 pieces of art located in public spaces around the town from artists including Antony Gormley, Sinta Tantra and Richard Woods.
As with each previous Triennial, many of these pieces will remain in Folkestone as permanent installations. There are a number of exhibits, past and present, in the Tontine Street and Harbour area close to the Step Short Visitor Centre and the Mole Cafe.
The Folkestone Triennial runs until 5 November 2017.
Photo: Diane Cronin
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer with Step Short, email [email protected] or phone Heather-Gail de Souza (01303 269181) or Ann Berry (01303 278644) for the Mole Cafe and Carl Plummer (07766 796006) for the Visitor Centre.
Our trusty volunteers are busy preparing for the 2017 opening of the Mole Cafe and Visitor Centre at Folkestone Harbour.
Folkestone Harbour Arm reopens on Friday 31 March, with the Mole Cafe welcoming its first visitors of the season on Saturday 1 April.
Located on the old railway pier, the First World War cafe (or Harbour Canteen as it was also known) will serve up tea, coffee and cake between 10am and 4.30pm every weekend and bank holiday until the end of October.
Step Short volunteers in period dress recreate the canteen, which was the last stop for British servicemen and nurses before they sailed across the Channel to the Western Front during WW1.
More than 40,000 men and women enjoyed free refreshments and signed their names in visitors’ books provided by the Folkestone women who established the cafe. Today visitors can still sign a guest book.
In 2014 Step Short digitised the Mole Cafe visitor books to make this unique piece of local history available to an international audience. View or search the Harbour Canteen visitor books now!
Our Visitor Centre at the bottom of Tontine Street reopens on Wednesday 12 April at 9am. Here visitors can read about life in Folkestone during WW1; view wartime artefacts and memorabilia; and become supporters of Step Short for just £10 a year. Check with our volunteers for specific opening times throughout the season.
Step Up, the Step Short newsletter, is emailed to our members throughout the year. Take a look at past issues here to find out what we’ve been up to since 2014.
Become a Step Short supporter for just £10 a year to help us raise funds for our ongoing projects, and you’ll be able to search the Mole Cafe visitor books by name and receive the latest newsletters by email.
Do you want to help raise awareness of the vital role that Folkestone played in World War I? Would you like to help others discover more about the millions of soldiers, sailors and Red Cross nurses who passed through our seaside town between 1914 and 1918? Then becoming a volunteer for local charity Step Short may be perfect for you!
We are looking for willing volunteers to help out at our small visitor centre on Tram Road and/or to serve tea and cakes at the Mole Cafe on the Harbour Arm. Just a few hours a week would make a big difference and help us to raise the funds needed for our ongoing projects.
If you are interested in working as a volunteer with Step Short, please contact us by emailing: [email protected]