'Sailor's Friend' from Folkestone who saved hundreds of lives is commemorated in the town

Contributed by editor on Feb 16, 2017 - 11:55 AM

By Ray Duff

One of Folkestone's most famous residents of the past, Samuel Plimsoll has been remembered in the town.


The British politician, social reformer and philanthropist whose tireless campaigning saved hundreds of lives has been remembered this week for his safety marker on ships, the Plimsoll Line.

Plimsoll, known as 'The Sailors Friend' had his birthday marked once again with a service at St Martin's Church, Horn Street, Cheriton, where the great man is buried in the cemetery.


School pupils from St Martin's Primary School held their annual commemoration service on Thursday 9th February; the day before Plimsoll's actual birthday on the 10th.



The children were very excited to learn about this Victorian social pioneer and his work.


The service was also attended by several members of the 'Folkestone Samuel Plimsoll Memorial Campaign' (FSPMC) group, church parishioners and the Folkestone Town Mayor, Cllr Martin Salmon.


They all proceeded to the graveside to lay a wreath in Plimsoll's memory after the service

The campaign group are working with the RNLI to expand the annual 'Plimsoll's On for Plimsoll Day' held currently on the
10th February at St Martin's Primary school.


The FSPMC want to bring in many other schools in the area and eventually beyond to further highlight the work of this major historical figure.


Lynne Beaumont, publicity officer for the campaign, also recently recorded a short radio piece for Radio Kent for the event which was broadcast last week.

Folkestone Town Mayor, Cllr Martin Salmon lays a wreath on Plimsoll's grave on behalf of the town, with campaign group chair Tom McNeice to his left and church parishioners attending  Photo: Lynne Beaumont

Whilst, normally this would have been a full event in the afternoon on the Saturday nearest the birthday and with a guest speaker,  this year the Campaign group are planning an event to mark Samuel Plimsoll's death.


Plimsoll died 3rd June 1898 at Augusta Gardens, Folkestone in 1898 where he and his family had lived after his retirement from public life and business in 1892. A blue plaque adorns the building.

It is planned that this commemoration will take the form of the more usual February event mentioned  with a guest speaker on the 3rd June 2017.

The Campaign group is also hoping to have another event in the Autumn, probably during October. A major children's author has been approached and is keen to speak about Plimsoll and his life at an event locally to raise funds for the group.

Details of these events will be forthcoming once finalised, but in the meantime further info an be accessed at:

Plimsoll biography online

Book by Nicolette Jones: 'The Plimsoll Sensation' (2006)


Merchant Shipping Act 1876

Plimsoll and St Martin's Church


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