History of the Leas Folkestone
The Upper Leas . . .
The Leas is Folkestone's unique clifftop promenade. Designed in the mid 1800's by Decimus Burton who also worked on buildings and gardens at London Zoo and Kew Gardens, it includes magnificent buildings, squares and gardens. There is a bandstand where events take place during the Summer. Below The Leas is the Lower Leas Coastal Park which includes walking/cycling trails, leading from The Leas down to sea level. The Lower Leas is a linear park between Folkestone and Sandgate which has been developed into an award-winning park for recreation and enjoyment of the coast.
The Leas : it wasn't always like this . . .
A little known historical item that readers and visitors may find interesting, is that in the Victorian and early Edwardian period, only the posh and wealthy were allowed on The Leas, along with their servants and nannies to push the prams and mind the children. The Leas was originally owned by Lord Radnor, who designed it exclusively for the upper classes. He had his own police force, whose job it was to make sure the riff-raff were kept away from the delicate eyes of the gentry. Imagine that!
This flower bed has been a long tradition in Folkestone which continues to this day. It has been used to commemorate various important events such as coronations and jubilees. This one, from 1956, honoured Cpl. W.R. Cotter, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1916.
With your help Folkestone in Bloom will keep up Folkestone's floral traditions
The Leas and Shelter
The Leas Shelter, shown in this view, predates the Leas Cliff Hall. In the background the Victorian Pier, opened in 1888, is visible. A fire in 1943 wrecked the pavilion and the remains were demolished in 1954.
The Leas in the 1960s
This 60's card shows the floral display beds on The Leas and the memorial for William Harvey. William Harvey, born in Folkestone, is famous for discovering the circulation of the blood.