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East Pier, Folkstone Harbour

A Grade II Listed Building in Folkestone, Kent

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Latitude: 51.08 / 51°4'47"N

Longitude: 1.1899 / 1°11'23"E

OS Eastings: 623525

OS Northings: 136023

OS Grid: TR235360

Mapcode National: GBR W22.7MW

Mapcode Global: FRA F6C8.KC7

Entry Name: East Pier, Folkstone Harbour

Listing Date: 30 January 2008

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392378

English Heritage Legacy ID: 504288

Location: Folkestone, Shepway, Kent, CT20

County: Kent

District: Shepway

Civil Parish: Folkestone

Built-Up Area: Folkestone

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

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Listing Text

737/1/10043 East Pier, Folkestone Harbour

Harbour pier. Designed by Thomas Telford in 1829 and built the same year by the Commissioners of Jettees of Folkestone. Concrete additions after a severe storm of 1877.

DESCRIPTION: A harbour pier attached to the eastern end of Folkestone Harbour, running diagonally to the south-west leaving a narrow harbour entrance. It is 360 feet long with approximately 12 feet of its height visible at low tide. The pier is constructed of massive blocks of Kentish ragstone rubble laid diagonally without any mortar and battered towards the base. The southern end was encased in concrete, probably after the storm of 1877 and there is concrete capping.

HISTORY: In 1806 the civil engineer William Jessop produced plans for a harbour at Folkestone comprising harbour walling to the south and west and a short eastern pier. In 1808 John Rennie compiled a report for the Commissioners for Revising the Civil Affairs of the Navy on the harbours of Folkestone, Dover and Ramsgate. This report was motivated by the desirability of providing anchorages for warships during the Napoleonic wars. An Act for the Construction of Folkestone Harbour was passed in 1807. In 1818 an Exchequer loan of £10,000 was made but the funds were insufficient to finish the harbour.

In 1829 Thomas Telford produced a plan to divide the harbour into a tidal harbour and a wet dock and scouring basin accessed by a lock with harbour walls of Kentish ragstone placed at an angle. He proposed using a masonry lining on to sheeting piles to the piers to prevent shingle moving through the dry stone construction, but there was not enough money for his project.

According to W H Ireland's 'History of the County of Kent' (1829) the sea had by then encroached on the town at its eastern point and a stone quay was erected as a consequence. This structure was the East Pier. As the Folkestone Harbour Company had no funds to undertake this necessary work the East Pier was built by the Commissioners of Jettees of Folkestone, who were able to use funds collected by duties on coal to provide sea defences. They followed the line shown in Telford's plans but Telford's outer masonry face was never built. By 1836 the Harbour Master reported that the harbour was ready for shipping.

In April 1839 the Exchequer Loan Commissioners took possession of the harbour. By a conveyance of April 1843 they sold it for £18,000 to Joseph Baxendale, William Parry Richards and Lewis Cubitt. Baxendale was the Chairman of the South East Railway Company and Cubitt the brother of the Chief Engineer of the line, William Cubitt. The plan was to extend the railway line to the harbour so that Folkestone would rival Dover as a harbour for steam packets to France. A plan of 1856 showed a complete harbour except for the north side, the east pier and associated railway buildings.

The National Archives MPD/1/19 for Telford's 1829 plans and sections.
W H Ireland's "History of the County of Kent" . 1829. Reference to stone quay built in 1829.
David Evans. "Folkestone Harbour Development". October 2006 unpublished report.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The East Pier, Folkestone is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* It is a pre-1840 harbour structure dating from 1829;
* It was designed by the distinguished engineer Thomas Telford, constructed in the position shown on his plans and of the large blocks of Kentish ragstone laid diagonally which he specified although there were insufficient funds to build the outer masonry face;
* The only alterations to the structure are the encasing of the southern end in concrete and a concrete capping, both probably added after storm damage in 1877, but most harbour structures of this date have undergone alterations;
* The size of the boulders and 360 feet length of the structure make this an impressive feat of engineering on an elemental scale, and with considerable architectural qualities;
* The East Pier is of comparable date with other listed harbour piers and earlier and less altered than some of these examples, fitting it into a national context of special harbour structures.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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