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WELCOME RETURN OF SIR JEFFERY HUDSON’S STATUE TO KINGSNORTH GARDENS

We are pleased to announce that the replica statue of Sir Jeffrey Hudson, more commonly and incorrectly known locally as Tom Thumb or Lord Minimus, will be re-installed imminently in Kingsnorth Gardens where he had previously stood since 1928.

The inauguration ceremony will be a small one but with drinks and home- made cakes supplied by members Mary Bridger, Sheila Ingleston and others. It will be on Wednesday 5th September at 11:30am in Kingsnorth Gardens. Cllrs Ann Berry and Richard Theobald who helped should be present although Cllr David Monk who helped a lot cannot be present. All Go Folkestone members are invited plus a handful of other guests who have helped such as Folkestone & Hythe District Council gardeners and local stonemason Matthew Blake who installed it pro bono.

Sir Jeffrey who was 20″ tall when aged 30, led an extremely colourful life worthy of a Hollywood swashbuckling film. He was born in Oakham, Rutland in 1619. At the age of 7 he was presented to Queen Henrietta Maria as an ‘an amusing gift’. His life was a feisty struggle to be respected as a man of limited stature in a prejudiced age, which included fatal duels and a spell on a Barbary pirate galley. He has no direct connection with Folkestone, but his statue has made its own connection by having been in the town since Victorian times. It was found in the council-purchased garden of Lawyer Hart’s house, a ‘notability of Victorian Folkestone’ at 11 Church St in 1923 and was finally  placed in the newly finished Kingsnorth Gardens in 1928.

Generations of Folkestone children were pictured measured against Sir Jeffery. Unfortunately, time and events led to the little statue having a more eventful life than a statue should expect and by 2015 he was no longer fit for public display. At this point Go Folkestone campaigned and raised funds to have him replaced and with the help of many people this has now been achieved.  The original remains were too badly damaged to be re-used but they were physically included in the reconstruction from which this superb replica was formed.

DJN/RW