Lilla, The Countess of Chichester & The Chichester Memorial Hall

Lilla, baptised Elizabeth Mary Bligh, was born in Stockholm, Sweden on 22nd March 1837. She died aged 47 on 7th December 1911 at Enbrook. Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir John Duncan Bligh and his first wife Elizabeth Mary Gisborne. Sadly, Lilla’s mother died on 22nd July 1837 aged 22 just four months after giving birth whilst living in Stockholm. Lilla’s father Sir John Duncan Bligh then tendered his resignation from his post at the Embassy to the Court of Stockholm.

On the 18th June 1861, aged 24, Lilla married Walter John Pelham (Lord Pelham and 4th Earl of Chichester) at St George’s Church, Hanover Square in London.

Lord Pelham held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of Sussex and in 1865 was elected to the House of Commons for Lewes as a Liberal MP. Their home in Sandgate was at Enbrook built on land owned by John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley, Lilla’s grandfather. His son, Sir John Duncan Bligh, inherited the house and land. He rebuilt the house in the 1850s and after his death in 1872 the property passed to Lilla, Countess of Chichester.

1861 Census shows Lilla living at Enbrook with her father just before her marriage. This census lists five relatives staying at Enbrook and also eleven members of staff ie house-keeper, ladies maid x 2, upper housemaid, kitchen maid, dairy maid, housemaid, butler x 2, coachman and footman.

Information about the Countess of Chichester has been researched through several newspaper articles from which we can discover something of her kind character and good deeds which led ultimately to the Chichester Hall being built in her memory.

The following is from theThe Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday 15th December 1911. The obituary article in this newspaper reports on the death of the Countess of Chichester and tells us a little more about Lilla. She was often in Dover in connection with religious work and how she was held in great esteem in Sandgate with the poor having lost a true friend.  Lilla also had no family.

“The death occurred early on Friday morning last of Elizabeth Mary, Countess of Chichester, at her residence, Enbrook, Sandgate, Kent. The late Countess, who was often at Dover in connection with religious work was the widow of the fourth Earl of Chichester who died in 1902. Before her marriage, in 1861, she was Elizabeth Mary Bligh, only daughter of the late Hon. Sir John D Bligh, K.C.B., son of the fourth Earl of Darnley.  Lady Chichester had no family, and on the death of her husband, his brother, the late Earl succeeded,  He died in 1905, and was succeeded by Jocelyn Brudenell Pelham, the present peer. The Countess was greatly esteemed in the Sandgate district, and in her the poor have lost a true friend. A memorial service was held at Sandgate on Monday and the funeral took place at Stanmer on Tuesday.”

The Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser dated 16th December 1911 gives us more information about Lilla. The paper reports that “the death of Elizabeth Mary (known as Lilla) Countess of Chichester will be the cause of deep sorrow among a large section of the community in Folkestone and Sandgate, where she had, during her long widowhood’ taken a deep interest in what may be termed the higher life of the people. The various societies which have as their main objective the improvement of the lot of young women have lost by the death of the Countess one who was a tower of strength to them, not only by her sympathy but by her sound practical assistance. At the time when she was ill (only a few days ago) she was announced to take part in various functions having for their object the assistance of those who needed aid. Her last appearance in public was, we believe, on November 18th, when she distributed prizes to the pupils in the Girls’ County School, and gave a most encouraging address to the girls.

The memorial service was held at St Paul’s Church, Sandgate. The coffin, on which rested a number of beautiful wreaths, was taken from Enbrook to St Paul’s by members of the Sandgate Fire Brigade by the private entrance. The firemen, who were commanded by the Capt W H Jacob and Lieut J S Clark, wore their uniforms and helmets. Drawn up outside the church was the Sandgate detachment of the Red Cross Society and also the members of the St John Ambulance Brigade, both contingents being in uniform. The service was attended by a large and representative congregation. One floral wreath from members of the household ‘desired that this floral harp may express their deep attachment and respect for their beloved lady’. The coffin, after being removed from the church, was placed on the funeral car and taken to Shorncliffe Station, to be conveyed to Lewes by train, and thence to Stanmer, where the family mausoleum is situated.”

The Whitstable Times & Herne Bay Herald, dated 16th December 1911 informs us that the memorial service was held in Sandgate Church.  On 2nd March 1912 the same newspaper tells us about the estate left by Lilla. “The estate left by the late Right Hon, Elizabeth Mary Countess of Chichester of Enbrook, Sandgate, widow of the fourth Earl of Chichester, has been sworn at £31,613 gross. Testator left the residue of her estate to the Central Branch of the Y.W.C.A. Brighton, the Police Convalescent Home at Hove, the Girls’ Shelter, Buckingham Road Brighton, the Connaught Institute, Lewes Road, Brighton, and the C.M.S.” Y.W.C.A. is the Young Women’s Christian Association C.M.S. is the Church Missionary Society

The Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser dated 28th February tells us a little more details of Lady Chichester’s Will. Lilla bequeathed many personal items and monetary gifts to a long list of recipients. Some examples of bequeathed items are listed herewith: to Lady Dorothy Bligh, an opal and ruby pendant and twelve books: to Lady Kathleen Brownlow, a band bracelet with diamond buckle and sapphire and diamond ring: to Lady Alice Bligh, a pearl ring: to Lady Ruth Pelham, a group of Chelsea china: £6,000 to the Earl of Chichester: £10,000 to Miss Mary Louisa Pelham: £1,000 to her god daughter, Lilla Morris and so on. The residue of the estate divided between charitable institutions.

The Chichester Memorial Hall

The Chichester Hall was built as a lasting memorial to Lilla (Elizabeth) with funds raised through public subscriptions by residents who wished her to be remembered for all the support she had given to Sandgate over the years. The Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser dated 20th December 1913 reports on the stone laying ceremony for the Chichester Hall.

“There was a large attendance, on Monday, at the memorial stone-laying of the working men’s club, which is being erected in the High Street, Sandgate, in memory of the late Lilla Countess of Chichester, whose interest in Sandgate and its residents will not be forgotten for many, many years.  Mr C H Master, Chairman of the Chichester Memorial Committee, presided over the proceedings and the ceremony was performed by Sir Squire Bancroft.”

Mr Master went on to say that “the Gough Home was first of all suggested, and it was almost purchased. They were just about to settle the purchase, when it was sold over their heads. He, however, did not regret that fact now. He thought the Gough Home would not have suited their purpose in every way, and it would not have been sufficiently good enough or capable of being used for the purpose. They then tackled the question of buying the site, and the imposing old ruins which stood there were bought for £400. The contract for the building was £1,200, and there would be some odds and ends which would cost about £200.

Towards the total they had got £800, and the consequence was that they wanted £600 more, and he appealed to everyone who had the interest of Sandgate at heart help that matter on, so that they could get the debt paid off…they wanted a big room, a place where they could have evening entertainments, and which could be used for a hundred other things……Mr Conquest, the architect , then stepped forward and presented to Sir Squire Bancroft a handsome silver trowel with ivory handle, as a memento of the occasion. The trowel bore the following inscription ‘Presented to Sir Squire Bancroft on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of the Chichester Memorial Hall, Sandgate, December 15th, 1913.’ In Sir Squire Bancroft’s speech he “yielded to none in his sincere regard for all the acts of kindness shown to Sandgate by the late Lady of Enbrook. His wife and he enjoyed the privilege of Lady Chichester’s acquaintance and shared the true regret in her loss which they all felt. The Contractor was Otto Marx and the Architect C J Conquest. Copies of local papers will be placed in the cavity at the back of the memorial stone which was inscribed Chichester Memorial Hall. This stone was laid by Sir Squire Bancroft, 15th December, 1913.’”

NB The silver engraved trowel was the work of Messrs Oclee & Sons of Folkestone.

Mr Arnold H Ullyett (Hon. Sec. & Treasurer) advised in a letter dated 22nd  January 1914 that the committee received a generous offer from Mr Master and Mr Burke who promised to give jointly a cheque for £250, provided a similar sum of £250 is subscribed within 6 months.

The clock was relocated to the Chichester Memorial Hall but was originally installed on the J B Gough Soldiers Home at 56 – 60 Sandgate High Street.  It was renovated in 1981 again in 2009 and is due a further renovation this year.

The Dowager Countess of Guildford unlocked the entrance door to the Chichester Memorial Hall and declared the building officially open on 10 June 1914. The Chichester Hall has been at the centre of village life and events for over 100 years and the main hall is hired and used regularly by clubs, groups, meetings, music events and organisations on a regular basis including a Farmers’ Market. Sadly the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and which is continuing into 2021, has meant that the Chichester Hall was closed but is gradually reopening as lockdown restrictions are lifted by the Government.

It has been interesting to try and discover more about Lilla Countess of Chichester, however, if you have any documents or photographs that we can copy/add to the records in our archives please do contact us via website at:

Christine Bleach – Archive Team/2021

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Proudly Flying The Seaside Award Flag

The Seaside Award is a highly valued recognition because it tells local people and visitors who visit the coast that a beach awarded the Seaside Award has achieved certain high standards of safety and cleanliness. The great news is – Sandgate beach has been awarded the coveted Seaside Award for the NINTH year running.

Chairman of Sandgate Parish Council Tim Prater said: Just 132 beaches in England have won the Seaside Award this year, no other beaches in Folkestone & Hythe, and Sandgate is the only Parish Council in the country on the winners list. We have so many reasons to be proud that Sandgate Beach has won the Seaside Award for the NINTH year running.

“It’s totally a team effort. From the residents and businesses that play their part in keeping the beach tidy, the facilities provided by and signposted by the Parish Council and others, Councillors like Nabin Siwa and non-Councillors working as a team to apply year after year, and the support of F&HDC and Veolia for their work in collecting waste and emptying bins. it just wouldn’t happen without all of them, and it is something we should celebrate together.”

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy say: “The international Blue Flag and the UK Seaside Awards are the quality marks for our beaches and mean those visiting them can be sure that they are clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as the tough international bathing water quality standards”.

As you drive through Sandgate, coming from Hythe direction – look to your right, close to the Sir John Memorial – and you will see the blue and yellow Seaside Award flag flying proudly in the breeze – the only one in our district.

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Sandgate Sale Garden Safari

An exciting way to sell the contents of your cleared-out cupboards and garages!  Selling from your front garden / garden as part of a registered Safari or a chance to stroll around Sandgate, meeting people and grabbing a bargain or plant or cake or even an original artwork (maybe!).

You can still book a stall (cost just £5) and become a Safari seller listed on the sale map – email

Alternatively, join the Safari and hunt for your treasure from 11am – 4pm on Sunday 6th June. Pick up a map from 30th May from the Village Shop, Old Fire Station (on June 6th only) or via

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The Sandgate Railway – from departure to demise.

The Railway Mania in the mid 1800s was a classic bubble. Middle-class money was thrilled to be part of this huge social enterprise. From 1843 to 1846 hundreds of companies were formed with shares duly issued in anticipation of the required Act of Parliament to commence the purchase of land. Sadly in 1845 Bank interest rates rose providing a less risky home for savings. Overnight share prices collapsed and the nascent railway boom hit the buffers.   Large landowners, though, had the capital to acquire bankrupt companies and proceeded with plans to open up their estates to commercial exploitation.

The Duke of Devonshire saw a line to Eastbourne open in 1849, while three years earlier Sir Richard Hotham’s Bognor was rail linked to London. On the east coast the Earl of Scarborough’s landholding in the wilds of Lincolnshire was developed into the happy holiday resort of Skegness, offering relaxation and frivolity for the tobacco workers of Nottingham and industrial powerhouse of Derby. Once a railway was planned, entrepreneurs soon grasped the opportunities for housing development.

To read further click HERE

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Sandgate Society – 2021 & 2022 Dates For Your Diary

Dear Members, We hope you’ve been keeping well and enjoying being able to get about and about more. Hopefully, it won’t be too long now until we can meet inside again and things open up even more. We have been busy planning events for when this happens and although more details for each event will follow we thought you might like some advance notice of the dates and the type of events planned. We are always open for fresh ideas such as The Sandgate Safari Sale which was a suggestion from a member.

The Sandgate Safari Sale is the first event coming up and if you would like a stall please email and a member of the events team will get back to you. Also please support this community event by spreading the word – the more stalls the better!

We look forward to seeing you all again shortly,

Best wishes – The Events Team

Proposed events for 2021 – subject to restrictions and confirmation.

June 6 – Sandgate Safari Sale – exciting way to sell the contents of your cleared out cupboards!  Selling from your front garden/garden as part of a registered Safari or a chance to stroll around Sandgate, meeting people and grabbing a bargain or plant or cake  or  even an original art work. 

July 3 – The Old Fire Station re-opening, we hope, at 1030.  Join us for coffee, cake and a glass of something sparkly to celebrate our return.      

August 14  –  Summer Get-together Picnic:  1300-1600.  Outside St Pauls Church Hall, Sandgate, subject to weather.  Bring your own picnic – welcome glass of bubbly – tables and chairs can be provided with prior notice.    Cost £5 per person to cover costs.    Further details and tickets available in June – members only as we need to restrict numbers.  If you have a friend who would like to come and is not a member, now is the time for them to join!

August 29  –   Vintage Tea Room as a Pop Up outside the Old Fire Station, subject to weather.

September 5  – Leonie Wootton – Walk (or drive) and Talk with Leonie through her work at the Saga Community Garden, up to Fremantle Park, finishing at the newly refurbished Golden Arrow for refreshments.

October 13  – Talk 2 of 3 “A Choppy Passage in the Royal Navy – The Beginning” from Lt. Commander Colin Tozer (Rtd) RN, following his amusing anecdotes from the Falkland War in Talk 1.

November 4 – Talk at the Chichester Hall by Ann Morgan, a local author. Ann is a freelance writer and editor based in London. Ann’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, BBC Music Magazine, the Literary Review, the Australian and the New Internationalist, and she was a finalist in the Guardian’s International Development Journalism Competition 2010. See Ann’s work on ( or (/ann_morgan_my_year_reading_a_book_from_every_country_in_the_world).

December 10 – Christmas Party – venue to be confirmed and more details later this year.   There will be fewer tickets this year, restricted to Members Only (if you have a friend who would like to come but isn’t a member, now is the time to join!).


January 13 – Talk at the Chichester Hall – speaker Gordon Corrigan, Professor of History & author on military history

February  5 – Sloe Gin Competition – start picking your sloes soon!

February 16 – Talk at the Chichester Hall – Bob Sinfield.  

THE GAG TRADE (Misadventures in TV & Radio Comedy):  Bob Sinfield spent 25 years scripting every star on the box, from Lenny Henry and Jasper Carrott to Tracey Ullman and Rory Bremner.  Now he tells all about the life of a jobbing jokesmith and the celebs he tried to ‘gag’.

March 2nd – AGM at the Chichester Hall

If you have a friend who would like to come along to one of our events – but isn’t a member, now is the time to join. website:

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Zoe Varian

We regret to inform you of the passing of Zoe.

Below is a message from Melanie Chalk, a Friend, Neighbour  and fellow Trustee of the Sandgate Heritage Trust :

It is with great sadness that I write to tell you that Zoe Varian passed away on Sunday 25th April.  It was her wish to be in her own bedroom and surrounded by her family and for her it was a peaceful end with Nick at her side after a short but courageous fight.  After her diagnosis and treatment we were all hopeful she would beat it, she had some good months through the summer and was able to enjoy special times with her family and close friends.  She remained so positive throughout. 

She will be so missed by the Sandgate Community, she had such a bright, and vibrant personality, she was always so welcoming and a kind  and generous person.

Zoe had been a Parish Councillor in the past, was pioneer behind the Sandgate Farmers Market, and a stallholder, we will all remember her beautiful displays of flowers and plants displayed in vintage china. She was Chairman of the Sandgate Heritage Trust, until very recently, working tirelessly to maintain this important Heritage Building.  

She was a member of the Sandgate Society for many years, always very active and filled the hall to capacity when she gave the ‘Greenwall Lecture’ in 2019.  As a very keen Historian and member of the Folkestone History Research Group, her lecture was entitled ‘The History of Romney Marsh Churches’.

Zoe has so many friends not only here but from all around the world, and there will be a time, in the near future, for all who knew her to remember her at a service, a Celebration of her Life. Hopefully in the summer, Nick says, “when the sun will be on the seaside here to remind us of our beautiful missing light”.

Our thought are  with Nick, Ben, Abbi & Harry and her sister Miranda and her husband Wayne. 

At peace now, Remembering you Zoe.

Melanie Chalk – Sandgate Heritage Trust

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Sandgate Walking Tours

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Tales From The Archives: Pubs, Pubs, Hotels & Breweries!

As the village’s public houses start to reopen it’s an opportune time to look back at Sandgate’s long history of drinking!  

There have been over the years many pubs, clubs and hotels in Sandgate in fact at one time it was reported there were over thirty pubs alone in Sandgate, also several breweries. I thought this tale might be of interest to the reader so we need to start way back in the late 1700s!

Read more HERE

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Sandgate Garage Safari

On behalf of the Sandgate Society

Dear all

Is your garage full of lockdown clear outs? Do you have bags of stuff cluttering up your house just waiting to find a good new home? If the answer is yes then we have some good news for you with this advance notice for the Sandgate Safari Sale on  Sunday 6th June 11:00am – 4:00pm

A fellow member suggested to the Events Team that we run a Safari Sale and so we have one planned for Sunday 6th June.  You may have been to one of these before or know of them, but if you haven’t come across them they are basically a Boot Fair where people sell from their garages/front gardens etc. The customers follow a map to visit each site rather than walk around a field. Stallholders pay £5 to take part and we will promote the event, provide customers with a map with the locations on and also have our own stall to raise extra money for the Society.

Recently we have donated money to the primary school to equip their new cooking room so the children can have fun learning some basic and vital life skills. To be able to keep supporting the Sandgate community with projects like this, as well as doing all the other things the Society does, we need to raise funds.  The Sandgate Safari Sale was a great idea from a member as it could also help different community groups, charities and clubs to raise some much-needed money.

So please support this event and support your community by either donating your unwanted treasures (but no clothes please) to the Sandgate Society to sell; having your own stall or by simply spreading the word and encouraging people to take part.

If you have anything you would like to donate it would be really helpful if you could hold on to it until the end of May as we have limited storage space. If you do need to get rid of it urgently please email or ring Gemma on 07984694907 and we will see what we can do.

We will very shortly be sending out more information and booking information for stallholders but if you know you would like a stall; have things to donate or any questions please email as it would help with planning to be able to start to get an idea of numbers.                    

Best wishes

The Events Team

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Prince Philip – RIP

Message from our local Vicar Bob

Dear All,

It is with great sadness that we hear the news today that Prince Philip has passed away. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Prince Philip was such a great servant to our country, and it is right and proper that we should honour him. We are in the process of making arrangements, and to that end, I am meeting with the Church Wardens this evening. May I give you early notice of the first arrangement – All three churches will be open between 10 and 12 noon tomorrow. (There will be a Book of Remembrance available to sign), and you may sit for Private Prayer, if you so wish. 

Here is the a statement from Bishop Rose:

A prayer for Prince Philip:

God of our lives,
we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip,
for his love of our country,
and for his devotion to duty.
We entrust him now to your love and mercy,
through our Redeemer Jesus Christ.

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Sandgate Sea Festival Is ON

It has been the strangest 12 months that anyone can remember – but some form of normality will resume with the annual Sandgate Sea Festivals return on August bank holiday 2021.

We are so pleased to confirm that we can go ahead with this year’s Sandgate Sea Festival, on the Sunday of this year’s August Bank Holiday Weekend. There will be Live Music, Entertainment, Food, Bars, and stalls all over Sandgate. It will all be happening just by our famous High Street, crammed with antiques, gifts and craft shops, as well as pubs and restaurants. Monies raised will be donated to RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat station

Please be aware that we are unable to have our firework display this year, which in previous years had taken place on the night before. It will be back for next year!

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H G Wells & Spade House

As you are aware the special exhibition planned by the Sandgate Society Archive Team for 21 November 2020 sadly did not materialise due to the pandemic we are going through.  It is also looking increasingly unlikely that 2021 will not see a return to exhibitions and talks in the Old Fire Station.

Therefore, the Archive Team would like to tell you something about the postponed H G Wells exhibition as this year is also the 75th anniversary of H G Well’s death on 13 August 1946.  We are sure the following will be of great interest and hopefully next year we may be able to go ahead with the exhibition and share all these documents with you.

Click HERE to read on

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Tonys Fabulous Walking Tours

Tony announced “I am thrilled to report that I have today (3rd Mar) confirmed a second season of walking tours of Sandgate between May and September. I will provide further details over the coming weeks. A comprehensive marketing programme, courtesy of Sandgate Parish Council, will be put in place shortly.

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Sandgate Society Community Wall of Fame

These are difficult and trying times, but it is heartening to hear more and more stories of local people stepping up to help in so many different ways.

The Sandgate Society is therefore seeking nominations for those people who you feel have enriched our local community with their selfless actions.

The Sandgate Society would like to acknowledge those people by entering them on the SANDGATE COMMUNITY WALL OF FAME 

It is intended, when practical, to display the board in the Old Fire Station and move it to other prominent areas of Sandgate from time to time – hopefully the Library or the Chichester Hall.

As a token of appreciation for each of our local residents shown on our “Wall of Fame“ the Sandgate Society, on behalf of our community, will donate a small gift to each nominee.

Please email your nomination with brief details of their activity, or drop a letter into either the Old Fire Station or the Sandgate Library and a member of the Sandgate Society team will contact you for further details as required for the nominee.

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Sandgate CCTV System Commissioned and Live

Sandgate Parish Council is delighted to have completed the installation of the Sandgate CCTV system. The system covers much of the length of Sandgate High Street, Castle Road Car Park, Golden Valley Shopping Centre and Sandgate Park.

The multi-camera recording system has been funded from a variety of sources including grants from the F&HDC High Streets Fund, the Sandgate Society, District Councillors Tim Prater, and Gary Fuller, County Councillor Rory Love, and Sandgate Parish Council funds.

Ongoing, the Parish Council will be paying around £4,000 a year to power and maintain the system – lower than the cost of other systems in the district. It is possible to extend the coverage of the system in future, but the current system will be evaluated before any options to do so are considered.

The Sandgate Park CCTV cameras are infrared to ensure the system is able to view detail at range at night. The other areas have sufficient light at all times not to need infrared.

The CCTV is a recording only system, and it will be operated according to protocols agreed by the Parish Council and laid down at

Cameras are NOT focused on private homes, gardens or other areas of private property. Should a Resident have a concern about an area of CCTV focus the Parish Council will, on receipt of a request in writing arrange to remove the area of concern from CCTV view. Any local resident concerned about the view of a specific camera of their property can arrange to check the area monitored. To arrange to do so, contact or call 01303 248563.

There are signs advising of the CCTV system in each of the areas being monitored, and more signs will be erected soon. We don’t want to clutter the area with signs, but equally, know that one of the most important elements of a CCTV system is its deterrent effect!

Regular crime statistics from Kent Police show that Sandgate is one of the safest places to be in the Folkestone & Hythe District, with a low crime rate. We hope that the new CCTV system acts as additional reassurance for residents and visitors.

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The Civic Centre site in Folkestone is due to be used as a vaccination centre against COVID. Residents will be invited to get the vaccine when it is their turn and advised where they should attend to get their jab.The Folkestone & Hythe District Council owned site is going to be part of the massive immunisation rollout of the COVID vaccine when it becomes operational as a vaccination centre later this month.Vaccinations will take place in the car park of the site.

The Civic Centre site will predominantly cater to patients from the following GP surgeries: The New Surgery, Guildhall Street Surgery, Sandgate Road Surgery and Manor Clinic.Oaklands Medical Centre is another vaccination hub in the district catering to patients of Sun Lane Surgery, White House Surgery, Oaklands Health Centre, Hawkinge and Elham Surgery, The Folkestone Surgery, Folkestone Health Centre and New Lyminge Surgery.

The vaccinations are being given to certain individuals first in line with the national priority list. You will be invited to attend when it is your turn to be vaccinated.Please do not turn up on site or ring the site as you may hamper the vaccination effort and will not get a vaccination without an invitation.

Cllr David Monk, Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide the use of the Civic Centre site. This vaccination programme is crucial to us being able to get back to normal. It’s important we all take up the offer of this protection and I am eagerly awaiting my own invite to get vaccinated.”In addition, Folkestone & Hythe District Council proposed the use of Folca – the former Debenhams building – before Christmas. Officers have been working hard to explore plans and practicalities with the NHS Kent Community Health Foundation Trust ever since and continue to do so.

A service for the Romney Marsh area is also in the final planning stages. Subject to being approved, service at Lydd Airport is expected to open in the week of 18-24 January (exact date to be confirmed).

For more information about other vaccination sites, please visit


Sandgate Road Surgery Vaccination Programm

You may be aware, but just in case, if you are registered at The Sandgate Road surgery in Folkestone, their vaccination programme starts on Monday 11th January.

The vaccinations will be given at the Civic Centre, Castle Hill Avenue,  Folkestone by appointment only.

The Civic Centre does not offer a drop-in vaccination service. All vaccinations are booked in advance, so please do not ring the surgery but wait to be contacted for when you can get the vaccine.

We hope this is the first step to our freedom!

Best wishes

Sal Kenward – Chair Sandgate Society

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Sandgate Library – STILL At Your Service

Despite the national lockdown, Sandgate Library continues to offer a limited book “Select and Collect” pick up service.

Folkestone, Cheriton & Wood Avenue Libraries are at present all closed but it is possible for library members of any Kent library to make use of the Select and Collect service at Sandgate Library.

Sandgate Library is open for a Select and Collect service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10.00-12.00. Collection by appointment only.

Please phone 07552 810271 Monday-Friday 10.00-12.00 (closed Weds) or email to place Select and Collect orders directly with library staff and to arrange a collection time and date. Bookshelf browsing and use of computers and WiFi are currently unavailable until further notice.

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Sandgate Post Office and other stories


These notes are part of a lengthy study of the early postal history of Sandgate gathered from the Royal Mail Archive and local historical secondary sources.     

A receiver at Sandgate is first recorded in 1794 with the establishment of the military camp above Sandgate (known now as Shorncliffe). An application was made to open a communication between Canterbury and Folkestone Camp.

It was decided that deliveries to Shorncliffe to be ‘accelerated by an hour’ and ‘a little bag to Sandgate’ would fulfill the need, with two Guineas to be paid to both the Receivers at Sandgate and Lydd, also an increase in salary made to the postmasters at Folkestone, Hythe and Romney.

To read the complete article – click on this link which will take you to the Tales from the Sandgate Society Archive Team.

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Sandgate Community Garden Update

Sunday 29th November

The celeriac seems to have gone down very well with all the volunteers, and various soup recipes have been exchanged, just the comfort food for the cooler weather – we shall definitely be growing that again next year!  Not frosty or cold enough for the parsnips yet.  They sweeten up with a good dose of frost, even so, being tucked up deep in the earth it is always a surprise how they are until they get dug up, you never know how well they have grown or if they have suffered from canker.  We had a sneaky peek at the tops of a few of them but are saving them for Christmas – something to look forward to!  The slow grow coriander is also going down well and appreciated – such good flavour compared with the ‘soapy’ taste from the supermarket.  Mixed with carrots in a soup, or added to a curry or stir fry, it gives a certain amazingness!   

Talking of amazing, Chris, one of our gardeners, and partner Suzy, have been getting some lockdown exercise every day by barrowing six loads of wood chips each, all the way up to the garden and laid down on the paths.  It is all looking neat and tidy, and they are benefiting from the fresh air and workout too!  No lockdown bellies for those two!

It was only mentioned last week that it is never a good idea to directly sow peas as the rodents find them in no time and make a meal out of them.  It seems they found where they and the last broad bean sowings were growing inside their modules, up off the ground and seemingly in a safe place – but no!  They were found, dug up and eaten!  Rodents must be able to sniff them out at a distance.  If we can get them to a certain point of growth, then they have made it and can be planted out safely – it is just getting to that stage.

Some things we will go out of our way to feed.  We put up some bird feeders this week, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the local bird population to realise they are there.  The feeders did not need refilling on Saturday, but apparently a couple of birds were spotted having a look at them earlier on in the morning.  As time goes on, there is less for them to find in the garden and so we need to help them now. 

We had a request from the Parish Council to take on a couple of planters on the seafront which could do with a bit of TLC.  Inspired by last week’s seminar on Kent’s Plan Bee and what could be done to support insect life, we opted for some hardy flowering perennials, and some spring flowering bulbs.  The planters do not look like much at the moment, but will be added to and changed over the seasons to give as much flower that bees like as we can cram in there.  It is work in progress for now.  

What’s next?

If there is any chance the fleece turns up, then we will be busy laying that down!

More wood chips to bring up to the garden

Will the bird feeders need a refill?

Still more plots to put compost down

Compost needs putting down on the plants up against the wall

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