First World War stone memorial cairn of c1920.
Reason for Listing
The memorial cairn, Road of Remembrance, Folkestone, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: built from stones which made up the road's surface, it is a tangible reminder of the role of Folkestone during the First World War, commemorating the route down which thousands of men from across the Empire marched on their way to Folkestone Harbour, and on to the battlefields of Europe. It is a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by so many during this international conflict, it is of strong historic and cultural significance both at a local and a national level;
* Group value: the memorial has strong group value with the neighbouring war memorial which is listed at Grade II*.
The Folkestone memorial cairn is believed to have been constructed in the early 1920s, at the time that the road previously known as 'The Slope Road' was renamed the 'Road of Remembrance'. The cairn stands at the top of the road and bears a plaque which explains the road's significance.
It is understood that the idea for the cairn, and quite possibly the renaming of the road, came about when the stone setts which made up its surface, were being taken up for the road to be taramaced. A local stone mason, Alfred de Vere, suggested that some of the setts be used to erect a memorial to the many men who passed over them during the war on their way to the harbour. The cairn is thought to have been designed by Mr L C Richards, a member of the Borough Council's surveying staff, and is known to have been built by Alfred De Vere. It was originally surrounded by a low stone retaining wall, but the reconfiguration of the road layout, and alteration in land levels, mean that the wall does not remain and the cairn now stands on a triangular traffic island. A second plaque was added to the cairn in 1990 by Soroptimists International, Folkestone, in recognition of the planting of a rosemary bed (presumed to have been around the base of the cairn) to commemorate their 25th anniversary.
Folkestone harbour was a major embarkation point for troops travelling to the battlefields of Europe during the First World War. Many arrived into the harbour by rail, but many others, including troops who originated from all over the Empire, arrived on foot, having marched from the nearby Shorncliffe Camp where they received training. Those from Shorncliffe marched along The Leas and down the steep incline of The Slope Road which led to the harbour.
After the war a substantial war memorial was erected on The Leas (Grade II*). This monument commemorates the men of Folkestone who fell during the war, as well as all the men who passed the site of the memorial on their way to fight. At around the same time, The Slope Road was renamed the Road of Remembrance, and rosemary (for remembrance) was planted down one side. The cairn was built at the top end of the road and bears the explanatory plaque.
The exact numbers of men who passed through Folkestone is unknown but it is believed to be several millions. Between 1915 and 1919, visitor's books were kept by the harbour canteen; four volumes, now held at the East Kent Archives Centre, contain the names of many who departed from Folkestone on their way to war.
The monument stands at the top (west) end of the Road of Remembrance, approximately 30m from the main Folkestone war memorial. It is approximately 1.5m tall with a square cross-section. It takes the form of a cairn, tapering upwards, and is built in stone road setts. It has a shallow pyramidal stone cap. On the south face of the cairn is a bronze plaque which reads:
"NOT ONCE OR TWICE IN OUR ROUGH ISLAND STORY / THE PATH OF DUTY WAS THE WAY TO GLORY." / TENNYSON
ROAD / OF / REMEMBRANCE - flanked by the dates 1914 and 1918
DURING THE GREAT WAR, TENS OF THOUSANDS OF / BRITISH SOLDIERS PASSED ALONG THIS ROAD ON THEIR WAY / TO AND FROM THE BATTLEFIELDS OF EUROPE,
"AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN / AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM."
"ROSEMARY FOR REMEMBRANCE"
A second plaque has subsequently been added below which reads:
THE ROSEMARY BED / WAS PLANTED BY / SOROPTIMISTS INTERNATIONAL / FOLKESTONE / TO COMMEMORATE / THEIR 25TH ANNIVERSARY / 1965-1990
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.