Leas Cliff Hall
In 1924 it was decided that a large and majestic hall was needed in Folkestone for all entertainments. Work began on the new building in 1925 and was completed in 1927, only twenty-eight months from commencement. A striking tribute to Mr J.S. Dahl, the Norwegian architect.
One local newspaper proclaimed the building to be one of artisitic and beautiful architecture, which could not be surpassed in this country, and Folkestone residents could without doubt boast of it having no equal in any seaside resort in Britain.
Prince Henry, later Duke of Gloucester, opened the Leas Cliff Hall on July 13th 1927. The Folkestone Municipal Orchestra, conducted by Captain A. Holland performed the opening concert. The vocalist was Mr. Tom Burke.
One thousand delighted people attended and claimed the acoustics of the new hall to be extremely good.
Admission charges were two shillings and fourpence for evening performances, one shilling for afternoons and sixpence for mornings. Reserved seats on Saturday and Sunday evenings were three shillings and sixpence. There were also Grand Balls for which the entrance was six shillings a couple or three shillings and sixpence for a single ticket. A supplement even in those days for a single person.
Folkestone was a premier holiday resort, with a large retired population as well. Many orchestras, military bands and celebrities came to the Leas Cliff Hall. Famous dance bands came on regular visits, including Harry Roy, Roy Fox and Jack Hylton.
During the Second World War many servicemen and women came to enjoy happy hours in the Hall. Folkestone was a Garrison town with troups at Shorncliffe camp, and the Air Force base at Hawkinge. Most evenings it was standing room only with 1200-1400 admissions each evening. The Hall never received a direct hit during the many hit & run raids or during the shelling from the French coast. The Hall is believed to have been a marker for enemy aircraft coming across the channel.
Following the war, life gradually returned to normal and many stars of stage, screen and radio performed at the Hall. Many refurbishments have taken place over the years. A conference centre was really needed in Folkestone as the Hall could not accommodate the numbers required. 1981 had seen the new Pagoda style box office and a life, but alas, still no conference facility. However, in 1999 plans were passed and work began on a new self supporting structure for the new Channel Suite conference centre.
Although abutted to the Leas Cliff Hall for access, no weight is attached to the original building. A truly modern improvement very much used for all types of meetings and conferences as well as receptions for weddings and birthdays.
During 2005 the Leas Cliff Hall became a star when 'The People's War' series for the B.B.C came to film Folkestone's wartime story. Many visitors came long distances to take part and to recall memories of the happy times enjoyed at the Leas Cliff Hall between 1939 & 1945. Following the airing of the film letters were received from all over the world.
Leas Cliff Hall
Box Office Number:
Venue: Leas Cliff Hall - Folkestone