Leas Shelter, Folkestone, England


View from the Leas Shelter, Folkestone
Postmarked: 1916
Publisher: Photochrom Co. Ltd.

Google Street View (approximate).

In 1784, a landslip created a new strip of land between the beach and the cliffside, the length of the coast from Folkestone Harbour to Sandgate. A ribbon of land a few meters wide. In 1828, the Earl of Radnor built a toll road providing an easy route between Folkestone harbour and Sandgate. The original toll road costs were – motor car 10p, motorcycle with sidecar 2 and 1/2 p, motorcycle 2p, bicycle, horse and handcart 1/2 p. The original toll house (designed by the architect Sydney Smirke) remains within the park On either side of the toll road, land was cultivated and grazed. Old field boundaries are still used within the park, and the ‘Cow Path’ is the old drove route from The Leas.

In 1877, a series of paths was constructed. The Ordnance Survey map of 1898 (of the area) shows some of these paths, Including a path from the Leas Shelter on the Upper Leas leading down to the road. The Leas Lift opened in 1885, to improve access between the seafront and the upper Leas (of Folkestone). The park and seafront with their new pier, switchback ride (an early form of roller coaster – railway along the promenade), and beach amusements proved to be so popular, that a second lift was added in 1890. The remains of a further lift serving the ‘Metropole Hotel’ (now a block of apartments) can still be seen (on the Upper Leas), and yet another lift connected the western end of the Leas with Sandgate. In 1913, the area then known as Leas Cliff was leased by the Radnor Estate to the local corporation, to be used mainly for a park, but the estate still kept the tolls from the toll road. In the park, tea rooms, shelters and woodland walks were provided among the newly planted holm oaks (Quercus ilex) and pine trees so that people could “take the air”.
Wikipedia