1920-21 – ‘The Leas’ Zigzag Path, Folkestone, Kent

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 40 of:

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The Upper Leas gardens at the top of the cliffs at Folkestone, and the Lower Leas gardens along the foot of the cliffs, were created by Lord Radnor in the late 19th century in order to attract Victorian holidaymakers to the town.   He also built a water-balance lift in 1885 to transport promenaders nearly 50m from top to bottom – and vice versa.   This did not cater for people in bath chairs, however, so the Folkestone Council decided to construct a new path – known as the Zigzag Path – up (or down) the face of the cliff.

Following the successful construction of Pulhamite features in Ramsgate and other seaside towns over the previous few years, the contract was awarded to James Pulham and Son.   My grandfather, Fred Hitching, was Foreman, and I have since learned that his brother, John Hitching, worked with him – perhaps as Joint Foreman.   Another Pulham ‘Rock Builder’ who worked on this project was Fred Rickett, about whom much more is written in Chapter 44. Work began in June 1920, and it opened in June 1921.

1-5-40-1 - Folkestone Fifth Turn 1460e

The tunnel – with low seats – at the bottom turn of the Zigzag Path

The path is in five sections, and covers a substantial vertical area of about 75 metres across and 50 metres high.   It incorporates steps, seats, plant pockets, low walls, and with tunnels, arches and caves at each turn.   It is still in remarkably good condition, although some of the Pulhamite facing to the top sections of the path have by now been badly affected by the erosion of the sea air.   Look carefully, and one can even find one or two ‘Pulham faces’ inscribed into the facing of the ‘rocks’.

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An additional ‘Chapter’ was published each month over a period of five years on this website under the tag of ‘Where? / Site of the Month’, and these can now be accessed alphabetically under the comprehensive ‘Where? / Gazetteer’ tag, so don’t miss those.   Click on the link to see the complete list of Pulham sites described and illustrated by Claude Hitching.

Another link that you might like to refer to takes you to the ‘Press and Media / Book Reviews’ tag, where you can read all the reviews of ‘Rock Landscapes‘ written by professional critics in the National and Garden Press.

To check out the names of the People and Places featured and illustrated in any of the other Chapters, click the CONTENTS link to return to the main CONTENTS Page.   Click here to go direct to the ‘Book Shop’.   Happy Reading to all our followers

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A full description of the work done by James Pulham and Son at Folkestone – together with a number of pictures – can be found in Chapter 40 of Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy the critically-acclaimed and lavishly illustrated definitive story of the lives and work of James Pulham and Son.   Written by Claude Hitching, with featured photography by Jenny Lilly.   Published by Garden Art Press.

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