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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Another look at Folkestone... sites with exciting redevelopment potential.

In my previous post about our stay in Folkestone, I alluded to the fact that our accommodation wasn't as salubrious as we had become used to during our trip.

We stayed at the Carlton Hotel in the Leas area; the hotel is described as a charming Victorian era building and reviews on both TripAdvisor and Expedia are mixed...some people rave about how wonderful it is and some people wrote quite derogatory comments. Very confusing!

The Carlton Hotel...looks like some painting and maintenance being done. Our room was in that middle bit; top left hand window of that section...
 So when we found the hotel we continued driving around the block to see if we could find the 'free carpark' that was advertised. We found the back entrance and DH proceeded to reverse the car into a spot...suddenly a man in a car behind us starting beeping his horn and gesticulating wilddly at us to move. DH put the window down and the man explained that the space was designated for ambulance parking...huh? Hotels have their own ambulances on call now do they? Obviously an invisible sign was somewhere showing this. 
There was already one ambulance parked there in the next space. What the? The man then proceeded to park and went along the broken-up pathway to the front of the hotel...turns out he was an employee of the hotel. 
When we ended up at Reception, for the first time in our trip we didn't have to fill out a form???? We were told that our room was on the third floor but the lift only went to the second floor. That was okay as some places we stayed at didn't have lifts at all...
When we opened the door to our room, the stench of stale tobacco smoke assailed our nostrils. Did it matter that DH had booked a non smoking room? probably not in the eyes of the management. 
The very modern TV???

The holey curtains which reeked of cigarette smoke...
The grubby bathroom...


The shower that didn't work but which managed to spit out rust particles rather than water drops...


The toilet lid had so much crud on it that we left it open rather than touch it...eewww wah!

The double room that had twin single beds...

The linen on the beds seemed clean but I slept with my coat as a blanket rather than let the hotel blankets touch my body...
We were booked in for 3 nights...DH was devastated...but we had paid up front so we were staying. The room was only a base; we would be out most of the day. We bought some large bottles of water  to boil for coffee and tea because of the old water pipes and the rust/dirt. But I boiled some tap water first to scald the cups and saucers. Hand antiseptic gel makes an excellent surface cleaner if you're stuck with grotty basins and bench top and we pretended it was a garret flat where some starving artist created beautiful paintings at the turn of the 19th century. I also did a 'Homes under the Hammer' reno in my imagination...the place had great potential. lol. 
(Luckily my Vodafone dongle still had credit as there was no free wifi available at that level of the hotel)

The other site I am writing about, is marked for demolition but the GFC has impacted on such big projects I guess. It's the old Folkestone Harbour Station, which we explored on our visit to the harbour area. This station is quite historical; the first Folkestone Harbour station opened in 1849. It was a busy station as boat trains operated between Folkestone and France. Part of the station's history includes the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. But it's a sad sight now... The tunnel under the English Channel, which opened in 1994 severely impacted on Folkestone when ferry operators moved to other ports in the South East. The last regular passenger services through this station were in 2001.


The old swing bridge area which allowed the trains to continue to the South pier...
The old station...
The top of the hotel across from the harbour, that is shaped like a ship, can be seen in the middle of the photo...
 Grass growing on the tracks...concrete sleepers stacked beside the line...


In all this decay though, we found a very interesting sculpture; literally in the middle of the tracks!



 Here is the sign that explained what it was all about...the figures had the most beautifully detailed  faces...


At the end of the station was a gateway which led to the old abandoned pier...we had seen lots of people carrying fishing rods heading through the gate. Apparently if you wanted to fish, it was 4 Pounds, but if you were just having a look, it was free...so DH went out and up the steps to the old pier...what's left of it anyway.
Great views though...


The Folkestone Lighthouse can be glimpsed in this photo...



The internet sites that I've looked through suggest that much of this area will be replaced by up to 1000 houses and various commercial premises. 
We loved exploring Folkestone and hope that the plans for rejuvenation, gentrification etc are able to proceed. 
The last image is taken from a website showing views of a pier when this area was in its heyday...

But it might be a good idea to avoid some of the cliffs in the area if this sign is anything to go by...


  
  

2 comments:

shez said...

thankyou for sharing Maria and that hotel sounds disgusting,they shouldnt be able to rent rooms out like that.xx

Susan said...

Oh dear, sounds like you found the Fawlty Towers hotel. Isn't it a pain when you've paid in advance.
Enjoyed reading about the Harbour Station and seeing that piece of artwork on the track - the sign says it all. Probably quite a cathartic piece of work by the artist.
Beautiful views of the sea, and also that row of little cottages dotted along the hill :D)