Ever wondered about the New Folkestone Society?  What do they do, what’s it all about?  We spoke to Mark Hourahane, the organisation’s vice chair, about the Society’s vision for our town – how they protect our history and at the same time look forward to a bright future.


“Well, to start with, the New Folkestone Society is actually 48 years old” laughs Mark.  “But you could also say, that since the pandemic, it’s actually pretty new – pre 2020, the Society was seriously considering disbanding.

“That would have been a terrible shame, because for 48 years we’ve been focussed on fostering awareness of our local environment and amenities, and encouraging their conservation and enhancement.

“Basically, our desire is to continue to make Folkestone an ever more attractive place in which to live and work, we’re non-political and membership is open to everyone.”


Mark is Folkestone born and bred, and like so many who’ve lived here a long time, loves the town and wants to see it continue to flourish.

“One hundred years ago, Folkestone was a high-class tourist destination, had a thriving fishing industry, and many independent shops.  Nowadays, after perhaps a period in the doldrums, we are emerging into prominence again.  Just look at the input the town has had, the resurgence of the Harbour Arm and the Creative Quarter, and all the talents that flock here.

“The New Folkestone Society is part of that, working with many other local organisations to ensure that Folkestone is the best it can be.

“There are always challenges, and ways we can make our town better – but that’s part of the fun!”


One of the New Folkestone Society’s activities is keeping an eye on what happens to our buildings, many of which have become cherished landmarks.

“It’s not that we’re opposed to progress” says Mark, “simply that we believe there are buildings which are important to our heritage and their preservation and conversion to new uses must be sympathetic.”

To that end, the Society builds relationships with architects – a recent talk by Dr Nikolas Karydis, programme director for the MSC Architectural Conservation course at the University of Kent, is a good example.  Covering the topic New Design within the Historic Environment, Dr Karydis looked at how architects can be both sympathetic to working within historic environments while also creating new buildings of note.


The Society has just started hosting Coffee Mornings, including one recently at Sunflower House in Foord Road, where local residents came along to hear about heritage matters and have their input – as well as enjoy a free cuppa too!

“We are very friendly, we want to hear about what people think about how we can conserve our heritage, and we were delighted with the turnout” says Mark.  “Thank you to the Sunflower House team, it was a great day!”

“We are continually reaching out to other organisations to create a conversation – our recent Civic Day brought together organisations like the History Society, Coastwatch, the RNLI, MusicTown, the Shorncliffe Trust and Write by the Sea, so that we can all work together to make Folkestone as fantastic as it deserves to be!”


To find out more about future events, and how you can get involved, visit www.newfolkestonesociety.org.uk