The Metropole Collection

Folkestone’s 20th Century Contemporary Art Collection

In 2023 Folkestone Museum were the recipients of a very generous gift from Creative Folkestone...

For a little over forty years Folkestone had an arts centre on The Leas, the New Metropole Arts Centre, housed in what until 1959 had been the Metropole Hotel. Whilst the majority of the building was converted into flats the main public rooms were not. Into these the building’s owner, and philanthropist, Gerald Glover created a venue that would see art, in its widest sense, embedded in the town.

As the work and reputation of the New Metropole Arts Centre grew it became nationally renowned. Attracting major exhibitions including retrospectives including Henry Moore and Jacob Epstein during its first ten years, it would, during the 1970s come under the wing of the Kent Education Committee; in effect Kent County Council (KCC), as well as attracting funding & support from the Arts Council.

Initially the Centre only borrowed artworks for display but with a new education remit as an adult education venue it started to assemble its own collection. The collecting occurred in a variety of ways, including gifts from artist, purchases and works produced on site. Much was driven by the centre itself but acquisitions also came about while working alongside the KCC visual arts loans service, which as lent to schools and similar organisation across the county. With the closure of the centre in the 2000s the collection was inherited by Creative Folkestone, who in turn worked with the Folkestone Arts Trust, as day-to-day custodians to display the collection in other venues in the town until the global pandemic arose.

The collection includes work by Royal College of Art graduates Fred Cuming and John Titchell, who both lived and worked locally. Others such as David Greenhall and Michael Chaplin also feature, Chaplin being well known as one of the experts on Channel 4's Watercolour Challenge. Beyond artists working in Kent the collection also features work by well known artists such as John Piper, Edward Ardizzone, Peter Blake and Carel Weight. The last significant acquisition occurred in the 1990s with a gift from Carel Weight of work from his own collection, both his paintings and works by Andrew Freeth, Lucien & Orvida Pissaro among others.

With thanks to Chair Sir Roger De Hann CBE DL and fellow Trustees of Creative Folkestone

With over 200 works in The Metropole Collection the exhibition will be regularly rehung as it is not possible to display it in its entirety. Please note that for preservation of the works on display light levels have been kept low, but can be risen temporarily for those with visual impairments.

The exhibition closes on Saturday 15th June, open hours are 10.00am to 4.00pm; last entry to the exhibition at 3.30pm.

For further details email enquiries@folkestone-tc.gov.uk, call 01303 257946 and select option 0 (office hours only) or call into Folkestone Museum & Town Hall.

 

painting of an oak tree
Oak Tree, John Titchell

The metropole collection

 


Mind the Gap - Queer Heritage

Mind the Gap - celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month

Art in Romney Marsh has commissioned portraits from Margate Pride that celebrate local Queer Creatives. The portraits, by photographer Elissa Cray, are black and white and based on 1920’s photographs of key members of the Queer Creative Community such as Radclyffe Hall, E.F. Benson, Bessie Smith. Our partnership with Folkestone museum is a chance to look for Folkestone’s queer history and heritage to celebrate writers such as Jocelyn Brooke, Laurence Dillon and Daphne Du Maurier.

To find out more about Art in Romney Marsh's other projects CLICK HERE.

The exhibit runs 7th February - 2nd March (Tuesday - Saturday, 10.00am - 4.00pm) and is located in the Town Hall foyer at the front of the Museum.

 

Art in Romney Marsh logo

 

National lottery heritage fund logo


Seaside Memories - African and Caribbean people at the seaside

Inspired by the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush

The HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Dock on 22nd June 1948, bringing one of the first large groups of West Indian citizens to the United Kingdom. The Windrush became the emblem of a generation of Commonwealth peoples making their home here from the 1940s to the 1970s.

a woman sat on the beach
Visiting the seaside and making memories

The photographs & memories in this new exhibit by Healing Image Projects explores a widely un-acknowledged experience of African and Caribbean people enjoying the seaside in mid-twentieth-century UK.
At times, it may have been assumed that day trippers to the coast enjoy a more transient and leisurely experience, without missing familiar cultural comforts for too long. However historically, many African and Caribbean excursions included the joys of food and music, while sampling what the local seaside had to offer.

The exhibition is situated in the Town Hall Foyer on the ground floor and is open during normal open hours (10.00-16.00).

Healing Image logo

 

 

 


'A life in Art' - Mike Perry, The Folkestone Miniaturist

Meet the Man behind the Miniaturist!

Last chance to see the exhibition - must end 30th August!

Mike Perry moved to Folkestone in 2017 and has become known as ‘The Folkestone Miniaturist’. But his association with Kent stretches much further back and out of the realms of modelmaking and into film, television, and theatre. Folkestone Museum is pleased to host Mike’s lifetime work as our summer exhibition – his ‘life in art’…

In Mike’s own words:

“I have chosen to show my life in art, concentrating on the 3D aspects of my work, with supporting photos, plans and sketches. I have begun with my earliest models and designs, which although accurate and practical, were not sufficiently creative or fulfilling for me.

I then studied theatre design at Birmingham College of Art and worked at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre producing costume and set designs. My decision to go to college was formed by my very first design in the Sixth Form at school where my concept was chosen for the school production of HMS Pinafore – and where I learnt to paint trompe l’oeil scenery!

After Birmingham I became a television and film designer, creating full size visual fantasies. My favourite work was the BAFTA nominated ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet.’ I was also fortunate to be an assistant art director on several films including Peter Collinson’s ‘The Italian Job’ and Lindsay Anderson’s ‘If.’ I have also made many props, drawn posters, illustrated books and designed areas for several theme parks.

My television career led to me becoming Head of Design at TVS Television and thus began my life in Kent. I also taught art at Nottingham Trent University, Suffolk College of Art, and Mid Kent College before moving to Folkestone and exploring new creative methods.”

The exhibition opens on Tuesday 18th July and closes on Saturday 26th August, open hours are 10.00am to 4.00pm; last entry to the exhibition at 3.30pm.

For further details email enquiries@folkestone-tc.gov.uk, call 01303 257946 and select option 0 (office hours only) or call into Folkestone Museum & Town Hall.

The Folkestone Miniaturist's take on Shane Record's studio.

 


Seaside Memories - African and Caribbean people at the seaside

Inspired by the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush

The HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Dock on 22nd June 1948, bringing one of the first large groups of West Indian citizens to the United Kingdom. The Windrush became the emblem of a generation of Commonwealth peoples making their home here from the 1940s to the 1970s.

a woman sat on the beach
Visiting the seaside and making memories

The photographs & memories in this new exhibit by Healing Image Projects explores a widely un-acknowledged experience of African and Caribbean people enjoying the seaside in mid-twentieth-century UK.
At times, it may have been assumed that day trippers to the coast enjoy a more transient and leisurely experience, without missing familiar cultural comforts for too long. However historically, many African and Caribbean excursions included the joys of food and music, while sampling what the local seaside had to offer.

The exhibition is situated in the Town Hall Foyer on the ground floor and is open during normal open hours (10am-4pm).

Healing Image logo

 

 

 


Rotary Club of Folkestone Centenary Exhibition

The Rotary Club of Folkestone Celebrates its centenary during 2023. If you've ever wondered what Folkestone's club, and indeed the Rotary International organisation's reason for being and the work they do, this exhibition will answer those questions...

The exhibition tells the story of the Club from its beginnings in 1923, when it supported apprenticeships in the Great Depression, through to more recently with practical help with school uniforms, help for those affected in the Folkestone flood, debt relief advice, and with helping to organise the volunteers at 'Folca' - the former Debenhams store COVID Vaccination Centre. The exhibition also touches on the Club's support for Rotary International's work internationally in countries such as Nepal and India, and in supporting it's efforts to end Polio worldwide.

The exhibition is situated in the Temporary Exhibition Gallery on the lower ground floor and is open during normal Museum open hours (last entry 3.30pm).

 

 

The Rotary Club of Folkestone stand at the 1968 Folkestone Flower Show in Radnor Park
Folkestone Rotarian Lynne Beaumont helped administer inoculations as a part
of Rotary’s Polio Plus effort in Agra, India
The Rotary Club of Folkestone float for the 1968 Folkestone Carnival

Writing on the Edge of the Land and Sea

FREE Creative Writing Workshop as part of the Being Human Festival

Coastal landscapes are sites of arrival and departure, innovation, invasion and reinvention, where new thinking is possible and strange forms are washed up by the tide…

Join tutors from Canterbury Christ Church University’s Creative Writing team for an interactive workshop in Folkestone Museum, where we will draw on traditions and innovations in seaside literature to create new writing. Try your hand at cut-up and collage forms; experiment with writing the uncanny; look again at Folkestone’s fascinating past; and be inspired by items in the museum collection.

Workshop materials will be provided. Participants will be given a copy of our Writing on the Edge project pamphlet, with further writing prompts, samples and exercises, to take home.

Spaces are free but limited: advance booking essential and must be booked via Event Bright, click here to go to the booking page

Canterbury Christ Church University are also running a morning walkshop along Folkestone's coast linked to the afternoon workshop, more details click here to go to the walkshop event page

This event is part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s national festival of the humanities, taking place 10–19 November 2022. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. For further information please see beinghumanfestival.org.


Our Screen Heritage

Celebrating, preserving and sharing the LGBTQIA+ film heritage of Kent and the South East

Screen Archive South East (SASE), in partnership with Queer Heritage South, devised this project for the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It is dedicated to working with two LGBTQIA+ organisations in the South East – Folkestone Pride and Margate Pride – so that together they can collect, curate and exhibit films/moving images related to the life of our LGBTQIA+ communities. This new collection will be preserved, digitised and catalogued and be made freely available to us all to see.

The project runs from December 2021 to March 2023 and volunteers are at the heart of their work. As Community Curators, they’ve been introduced to heritage issues & practices, the development of LGBTQIA+ heritage and are involved in the curation of films for preservation and exhibition.

This exhibition celebrates the work of the project and runs through October 2020 in the Museum's temporary exhibition space. It forms part of a wider programme of events curated by the project, which can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK


Exhibition - Reverend David Railton M.C.

The Friends of St Mary’s and St Eanswythe’s and Folkestone Museum are proud to present ‘Reverend David Railton M.C.’ This moving exhibition is available to visit at Folkestone Museum from the 17th October 2020 and reflects on Railton's experiences of the First World War which lead to his idea for the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.

The iconic image of the Tomb has been recreated, with the permission of Westminster Abbey and will be on display at Folkestone Museum, along with a recording of some of his private letters, courtesy of his family and a film on loan from the Imperial War Museum.

Please note:

The Museum is running reduced opening hours, the current opening hours are:

Thursday - Saturday
10.00 - 16.00 (last entry 15.00)

In busy periods we may ask you to book a time slot to ensure we can maintain social
distancing throughout the museum.

Please wear a face mask or face covering, there will be hand sanitisers for the maintenance of hygiene. To aid social distancing and to ensure people will feel safe visiting us, we have implemented a one-way system around the museum.


FotoFolkes

FotoFolkes is a community project aimed at celebrating local diversity and raising awareness of South Kent Mind’s presence in the area. The local community has been invited to send in their photos, which have been published on Instagram and now are proudly on display at Folkestone Museum. The project, funded by Live Well Kent, began before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown but has since become more significant, giving an insight into people’s experiences of social isolation and what has since become the new ‘normal’. These images provoke a real sense of community in the current loneliness epidemic the UK is currently facing. Around 1.2 million older people are believed to be struggling with severe loneliness and chronic isolation, so it is hoped that this project can benefit individuals mental state as they are more likely to reach out and feel less alone.