Urban Archive: Folkestone (Revisited)

Location: Customs House, Folkestone
Dates: 17-18 October 2020

There is no doubt in my mind that Folkestone is home to a rich community of people built upon a foundation of differences, each member bringing with them their own collections of stories and histories to share with those around them. Yet, through closer inspection, you come to realise that this rich Folkestone community is actually built from a network of smaller, more intimate communities of people.

Despite the rich variety of backgrounds that might form these communities, they all have one thing in common: they are all co-existing in Folkestone. In fact, they ARE Folkestone. Add into the mix the different environmental qualities, the urban environment, the sea on one side and the Kent Downs on the other, the flourishing arts communities and many cultural activities, there are an infinite number of ingredients mixed together to form Folkestone. Although there is a close proximity to all of this richness, it is hard to pinpoint the overlaps and the grey areas where different elements blend together or transition into another. They do exist, for example, in democratic spaces such as supermarkets or on the beach, but do they exist on a more personal, familiar level? I’m sure that they do, but how do we make this more prominent? How do we unite everybody into one Folkestone community? Urban Archive: Folkestone hopes to do just that, to unite as many people as possible through the sharing of stories and souvenirs specific to the town of Folkestone.

In exchange for the participants photograph, memory and object, they are given a piece of track ballast taken from the disused Harbour Branch Railway Line, a uniting artefact that represents their belonging to the archive, and their belonging to the larger community. The outcome of this exchange is an archive that hopes to become an analytical cross-section representative of the town and its inhabitants, a database of narratives that form a bridge of familiarity between the different people that represent the town of Folkestone.

Members of the Archive

For the full archive, please click here.


One of my earliest memories of Folkestone,
was when my mum took me to the Metropole hotel on the Leas. 
There was a café at the top, and even though I don’t remember all the details of the memory
I remember the strong smell of coffee,
which reminded me of my school staff room. 
I also vaguely remember walking across a carpeted floor.

Kassia and Victoria

My best memories...
Every day spent with my daughter on Coastal Park playground...
Chance to see her happiness.


I like Folkestone because of the access to the seafront.
I enjoy meeting up with friends and walking along the sea front,
and just enjoying the atmosphere of seeing families enjoying
splashing in the water and having a great time.

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