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Samuel Plimsoll

Samuel Plimsoll, well-known because he brought about the painting of a white line around ships to avoid overloading, spent the last six years of his life in Folkestone. Yet Folkestone has little to celebrate these years of his residency, which were not inactive. He continued to lobby on behalf of seamen, sat on the 1892 Royal Commission on Labour, helped raise money for George Howell – chartist and trade unionist – who had fallen on hard times and, with a trip to the United States, did much to improve Anglo-British relations. At that time there was much bias in American school text books against the British. He persuaded the American government to remove this bias and, it is thought, the resulting change of public opinion made it easier for the United States to come to the aid of the British towards the end of the First World War.

This omission is about to be rectified. On 9 February at 3.00 pm in St Martin’s Church, Horn Street, where he is buried, there will be a memorial service to commemorate his life, followed in the evening of the same day by a celebratory Music Hall performance in his honour at 7.30 pm. at the United Reformed Church, Folkestone, which Samuel Plimsoll attended, and for which he laid one of the foundation stones

If wish to attend these events please inform Nicolette Jones – nicolette.jones@btinternet.com

Nicolette Jones is the author of a well-reviewed biography of Samuel Plimsoll and believes that we could do much more in Folkestone to celebrate him. In the first instance, it is hoped to organise an exhibition about his life, possibly in the Town Hall, using material that Nicolette Jones has collected.  Looking further ahead there may be another means of remembering him; there will be 16 new roads, lanes, gardens or squares in the new seafront development. The names that have been given are not set in stone. Might it not be a good idea to name one after Samuel Plimsoll or even more appropriately Samuel Plimsoll Quay near the harbour, with consideration also given to some sort of memorial?