Folkestone: Public History, Heritage and Identity

Submitting Institution

Canterbury Christ Church University

Unit of Assessment


Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Language, Communication and Culture: Literary Studies
History and Archaeology: Archaeology, Historical Studies

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Summary of the impact

Impact was achieved through two projects led by Dr Hardy. In December 2005 the Unit helped to establish the Folkestone People's History Centre (FPHC) to research the town's historical heritage. The enthusiastic engagement of individuals and groups in the Centre resulted in a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported project, `A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500' (ATU), running from December 2009-March 2013, which took over the work of the FPHC. Impact has centred on preserving, creating and interpreting cultural capital; engaging and developing local associations; creating new audiences; influencing policies towards heritage, and challenging assumptions about the history of Folkestone. The main beneficiaries have been adult learners; schools; local authorities, associations and groups; as well as national and international audiences.

Underpinning research

(NB Numbers in brackets refer to the research referenced in section 3 below). In December 2005 Dr Hardy was seconded by the Unit to direct the FPHC, which was set up as a community organisation based in a drop-in research and training centre, where local people could contribute to and find out more about Folkestone's history and archaeology. Folkestone is a town with complex socio-economic and cultural challenges undergoing regeneration. Concerns about a number of `at risk' historic sites and amenities soon emerged. These included Castle Hill, which had been exposed to works during the construction of the Channel Tunnel and rail link; the Roman Villa on the East Cliff, which had been excavated in the 1920s by S. E. Winbolt and then covered over in 1956; and Folkestone Museum, which closed in 2008.These concerns led to the HLF funded ATU project in which the FPHC and CCCU were partnered by Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT). The subsequent re-excavation of the Roman Villa site demonstrated for the first time that Folkestone has an international significance on a par with Hengistbury Head, as a site of settlement and international trade from the Iron Age, when it had been a major centre of quern production, to the Roman period. The underpinning research was undertaken between 2006-2013 by Dr Hardy, Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and American Studies (HAS) at CCCU and Director of both the FPHC and ATU, and by Dr Paul Dalton, between 2005-2010 as Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Arts and Humanities at CCCU, and from 2011-12 as Principal Lecturer (HAS) at CCCU. The key research findings revealed the historical significance of Folkestone before its Edwardian expansion and subsequent decline. They also extended understanding of the impact of heritage on public culture and communities, in both historical and contemporary contexts. The research findings have thus informed advice given to CAT, to local bodies and authorities by Dr Hardy about the importance of Folkestone's history within wider strategies of education, regeneration, and tourism. Hardy's research into the relationship between communities and the interpretation of their history informed the development of both the FPHC and ATU. Dalton's research provided a coherent account of the town's medieval history for the first time and underpinned the work of both projects. CAT provided expertise for the dig at the Roman Villa in 2011-12 and for the public dissemination of the archaeological findings. Hardy's 2007 article (1) elaborated on the relationships between themes of identity, tradition and culture in the formation of the New Left's reaction against the fragmentation of modern society. Her 2013 article (2) expands these themes by researching antiquarian views of Folkestone's Roman history. Hardy's other 2013 article (3) on `antiquarianism and historical tourism in Folkestone' covers new ground in bringing together for the first time an account of the post-medieval historiography of Folkestone to demonstrate that the ways in which the past is described and received is influenced by and in turn influences more recent concepts of place and identity. Hardy's research (2, 3) was crucial to CAT's understanding of all the previous archaeological excavations and finds in Folkestone. Dalton's 2013 (4) article on Late Anglo Saxon and Norman Folkestone explores the significance of Folkestone and the key historical sites of Castle Hill and the Bayle, the latter incorporating the 7th Century Anglo-Saxon minster and a Norman priory and castle. Dalton's is the first coherent account of the national and international significance of these sites in the medieval period. Key research questions were generated by Dr Lesley Hardy and members of the ATU Research Group, including Dr Andrew Richardson, Outreach and Archives Manager at CAT, and Keith Parfitt, Senior Field Archaeologist at CAT, who led the re-excavation of the Roman Villa. Richardson's and Parfitt's research contributions on Folkestone, from the pre-historic to the Anglo- Saxon periods, are included in the 2013 volume of essays (5) edited by Ian Coulson, President of the Kent Archaeological Society, who also contributed an article on later medieval Folkestone.

References to the research

1. Peer Reviewed Journal Article: Author: Dr Lesley Hardy, `F. R. Leavis, E. P. Thompson and the New Left: Some Shared Critical Responses', Socialist History Journal 30 (2007) pp.1-21 ISSN 09694331.

2. Peer Reviewed Journal Article: Author: Dr Lesley Hardy: `Objects of Loving Attention: Antiquarian Views of Folkestone. Part One', Archaeologia Cantiana (2013) ISSN 0066-5894

3. Peer Reviewed Chapter in Book: Author: Dr Lesley Hardy, `A morsel too hard for time to chew: antiquarianism and historical tourism in Folkestone 1530-1956 `, in Lesley Hardy and Ian Coulson eds. A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500 (Canterbury, 2013) ISBN 978-1-870545-27-3.

4. Peer Reviewed Chapter in Book: Author: Dr Paul Dalton: `Folkestone c 990-c 1154: Lords, Churches, Burgesses, and Castles', in Lesley Hardy and Ian Coulson eds. A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500 (Canterbury, 2013) ISBN 978-1-870545-27-3.

5. Peer Reviewed Book: Ian Coulson ed. A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500 (Canterbury, 2013) ISBN 978-1-870545-27-3.

Evidence of Quality

In addition to being subject to rigorous peer review the above outputs have been supported by the following grant funding and received the awards detailed below

Project: Title: A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500 (2010-2013)

A. Recipient of grants to ATU:

i) Dr Lesley Hardy for CCCU £298,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund from Dec 2009-Mar 2013.

ii) Dr Lesley Hardy for CCCU £6,000 from Folkestone Town Council.

iii) Dr Lesley Hardy for CCCU £3,000 from Kent Archaeological Society Dec 2009-Mar 2013.

iv) Dr Lesley Hardy for CCCU £50,000 from the De Haan Charitable Trust: Decr 2009-Mar 2013.

The total project value including CCCU match-funding and in-kind and volunteer time was calculated at £526,930.

B. Awards The ATU project was highly recommended in the Council of British Archaeology Awards 2012 for the Best Community Project. Judges were looking for evidence of projects being driven by amateur archaeologists and societies, involving the local community and including new audiences with a strong research focus — see

ATU was `Highly Recommended' in the National Heritage Lottery Awards in December 2012.

ATU was the winner of the Current Archaeology Awards 2013 in the `Best Rescue Excavation'

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Details of the impact

Context: Key impacts include the development of a research and participation model for academic, professional and community-based groups with a shared research focus; the conservation, interpretation and dissemination of the significant early history of Folkestone; and the facilitation of an understanding of the impact of heritage on public culture and communities, both in contemporary and historical contexts. These impacts have helped to inform public policy on historical heritage issues in Folkestone and East Kent and have had a sustainable legacy in the creation of new research groups. Both the FPHC and ATU attracted huge public engagement and created considerable training, learning and educational impacts, as well as creating new audiences.

IMPACT 1 — Developing and engaging local associations /creating new audiences /developing a research and participation model By December 2008, when the ATU project was developed, the FPHC had attracted 3,000 visitors, with 41 volunteers and 228 on its register of interest. It was providing a range of exhibitions, talks, workshops, finds days, newsletters, support for developing historical projects, training for historical research, and schools learning events. The FPHC worked with a range of local groups including the Save Folkestone Museum Campaign, Folkestone Arts Society, and the Folkestone Creative Foundation. Major projects included the first Folkestone History Weekend (October 2008) and ArtHist, an innovative fusion of history, art and theatre focusing on the Anglo Saxon to mediaeval (July 2009). A firm point of interest was the Roman villa site at Folkestone's East Cliff. Following a survey by CAT in 2007, it was clear that the site was at risk from erosion and could be lost within fifty years. This formed the backdrop to the ATU project, which attracted extensive local and national engagement and created new audiences for local heritage. 2,083 people attended the 4 public talk programmes given by Dr Hardy, Dr Dalton, Dr Richardson, Keith Parfitt and other members of the ATU Research Group between 2009-11. 2,186 people attended exhibitions held between 2010-2011 and 1,012 volunteers received training in archaeological and historical skills between 2009-11, including six British soldiers undergoing rehabilitation for injuries sustained in Afghanistan. The latter was an early pilot for `Operation Nightingale', a project using archaeology as occupational therapy. Between June-October 2011 over 8,000 people visited the Villa excavation and Folkestone living history weekend. The ATU website received 111,810 visits between October 2010 and July 2013 from the UK, USA, Australia, Russia, Malaysia, China, the Ukraine, Vietnam, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and Latvia amongst a range of international hits. The website includes the following material: diaries and evaluative material; transcriptions of talks — on aspects and issues related to history of Folkestone, methodology and interpretation; gallery of images — record of all aspects of project; oral History — excerpts and transcriptions of interviews with historians and archaeologists about project history, findings and approaches; events — details and background; exhibitions — gallery and interpretation; and `intangible' heritage-research in areas such as local myths and associations with historic sites. The ATU project was featured by BBC1 for Inside Out News — an all-day feature on 30th May 2011 (c. 1 million viewers), by BBC 2 for Digging For Britain with Alice Roberts on 9th September 2011 (c. 4 million viewers), see and the History Channel for Mud Men, with Johnny Vaughan on 23rd February 2012 see The creation of new audiences led to the foundation of several new local associations including the Folkestone Heritage Working Group formed in 2008, the Folkestone Research and Archaeological Group formed in 2011, the Folkestone Research Group formed in 2012 and the Folkestone History Group. Folkestone's research and participation model has also influenced the set-up of the EU funded `Two Seas Interreg IV A Project' on `Maritime Communities of the Bronze Age' with cross Channel partners including Boulogne Museum, Ghent University, and Lille 3 University.

IMPACT 2: Challenging assumptions about the history of Folkestone/influencing policy and practice Hardy and Dalton's research challenged previous assumptions about Folkestone's lack of historical significance before its Edwardian heyday. In particular, Hardy's research on the antiquarian reception of Folkestone's past was critical to the reinterpretation of the archaeology of the Roman Villa and the Bayle sites. She also researched the impact of historiography and heritage on the town's identity. As a result, Hardy has advised a number of fora and public bodies on policies and strategies around issues of history and heritage, such as Folkestone Heritage Working Group, which was created in 2008 as part of the public campaign to stop the closure of Folkestone Museum and the dispersal of its collections. She provided advice to Folkestone Town Council and Kent County Council on the `Folkestone HEART' project for developing a new museum. This included a successful Stage 1 Heritage Lottery Fund bid for c. £50,000 by Folkestone Town Council for a new museum space submitted in May 2013. She also advised Kent County Council Archives and Libraries on the development and launch of The Folkestone History Resource Centre in 2010. She gave further advice to Shepway Heritage and Tourism Forum (SHTF) to ensure that the importance of the region's early history and archaeology was better understood in the development of policy. SHTF was formed in 2010 to bring together a wide range of community-based regional history groups with representatives of local government, government sponsored initiatives such as Visit Kent, the local tourist industry and local businesses. The Forum's aim is to promote and share information about the history and heritage of Shepway as part of government and regional culture and tourism strategies, which recognise the contributions of heritage and tourism to economic, cultural and social benefit. Similarly, Dr Hardy has also advised the following groups/bodies on heritage and historical issues: Shepway District Council, THINK NETWORK — a network of academics, heritage professionals and others working in Public History, and the Treasures Revealed project, which has secured £1,682,000 from the European Interreg programme. The money, secured by BOSCO+ (the Boulogne, Shepway and Canterbury Co-operation), will be invested in the Beaney Art Museum and Library in Canterbury and Boulogne's Crypt Museum.

IMPACT 3: Preserving and interpreting cultural capital/conserving and disseminating the early history of Folkestone: ATU developed innovative, and accessible ways of interpreting and presenting the relationships between history, archaeology, art and culture:

Exhibitions held at Folkestone Town Hall:

Earth and Vision, May 2012 (1,086 visitors including 302 children from 4 schools), Curator — Bryan Hawkins Media, Art and Design Department CCCU, Director Dr Hardy.

Inside the Museum: A History of Folkestone Museum (in partnership with Kent County Council Libraries and Archives) 6th July- 29th July 2012 (1,100 visitors including 207 children from 3 schools) in partnership with Kent County Council Libraries and Archives, Director, Dr Hardy.

A Town Unearthed: Folkestone's Ancient landscape (In partnership with Kent Archaeological Society) March 2013, Curator Ken Fisher, Director Dr Hardy.


`Folkestone in the late Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman periods', Dr Paul Dalton, University Campus Folkestone 2009 (40 people).

`S.E. Winbolt and the Public History of Folkestone', Dr Hardy, Folkestone Literary Festival Nov 2011 (110 people recorded).

`Imagining the Past: Rome and Romans in the culture of C19th and C20th Folkestone', Dr Hardy, Hythe Folkestone Fine Arts and Decorative Society, July 26th 2012 (120 people recorded).


Unearthing the Past — Conference held at University Campus (CCCU) Folkestone September 2010 with 70 delegates and speakers, including Dr Hardy, on issues around the politics and culture of public engagement with the past.


2 ARKS (Archaeological Resource Kits) toolkits were produced for schools including artefacts and interpretation. 100 Educational DVDs were sent out to local schools, libraries and societies. By July 2013 over 2,060 children attended ATU activities on site or in the classroom and 46 teachers had taken part.

Sources to corroborate the impact

(NB Numbers in brackets refer to the impacts referenced in section 4) 1. (Impacts 1, 2, 3) Quarterly Reports and Final Evaluation Report submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for `A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500'. Can be supplied by the University. Supporting claims of public engagement/benefit and demonstrating the training, learning and educational opportunities provided by the project. 2. (Impacts 1, 3) Website A Town Unearthed. Supporting claims of public engagement/benefit, international reach, widening understanding, innovative interpretations and research findings. 3. (Impact 3) Other websites: Supporting claims of preserving and interpreting cultural capital/conserving and disseminating the early history and archaeology of Folkestone through innovative practice i) Local news website Folkestone-Library-Photos/ ii) Roger De Haan Charitable Trust website iii) Kent online px

Individual Statements: 1. (Impact 2) Outreach and Archives Manager at Canterbury Archaeological Trust. Supporting claims about the impact of Hardy's and Dalton's research in informing and underpinning the archaeological investigation and understanding of both the Roman Villa Site and the Bayle site. Supporting claims about the international significance of the site (Contact I.D.1)

2. (Impact 1 and 3) Member of the A Town Unearthed Research Group and Volunteer. Supporting claims about creating local associations, and creating new audiences through training, widening understanding, participation and engagement (Contact I.D.2) 3. (Impact 1 and 2) Service Improvement Manager; Community Cohesion and Heritage, Kent County Council Libraries, Registration and Archives. Supporting claims about engagement, widening understanding, creating new audiences and influencing policy (Contact I.D.3). 4. (Impacts 1 and 3).Executive/spokesman of Roger de Haan's Office, Folkestone. Supporting claims relating to the creation of a legacy of interest in Folkestone's pre-modern history through working with and co-ordinating local groups and associations, and by stimulating arts, photography, and literary projects. Influencing policy and supporting change (Contact I.D.4). 5. (Impact 2) Town Clerk, Folkestone Council. Supporting claims about influencing policy and challenging assumptions (Contact I.D.5).