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Supermarket site

What is currently the Morrisons supermarket appears to have had the most changes of use over the years from agricutural, through industrial to retail.


From the map at the top of this page, there was certainly nothing there in 1872. Looking back to the 1800s section of this website, it is clear that the site was a Nursery in 1899. With the rural setting by Broadmead Farm this seems an ideal setting for an agricultural nursery. The nursery, however, appears to have enlarged and extended further away from the main road by as shown in the 1900-1930 section & the map below from 1909.

1909 Supermarket site.png

Picture credit: Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland. Use of these digitised maps for non-commercial purposes is permitted under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence.

With the cricket ground being laid out in 1925, the rear of the nursery furthest from the main road would have become the cricket pitch. Could this nursery have provided for the playing surfaces of both the football ground and the cricket ground? Good local trade if you can get it!

The nursery was still expanding though. These pictures from 1927 clearly show the roof of the cricket ground through the panes of the greenhouse, and the wall that marks the line of the road into the cricket ground from Cornwallis Avenue.

1927 Nursery KPA .jpg
Kent Photo Archive.jpg

Picture credit:

Kent Photo Archive

1927 Nursery KPA 2.jpg
Kent Photo Archive.jpg

Picture credit:

Kent Photo Archive

Between the World Wars the nursery appears to have become an engineering works for Martin Walter Ltd, motor engineers and coachbuilders, famous for Utilecon & Dormobile vehicles. This is clear in the 1931 photo in the 1930 to 1960 section, with the classic saw-tooth profile factory roof so common during that period.

A contact, Vincent Williams, tells me: "Martin Walter's site where Morrisons is, is mentioned in my book Cheriton An Illustrated History Volume 2. I have them moving to the Cheriton Road site in the late 20s. It then doubled in size in the 1950s and sold off in the 1970s.". This ties up well with my own research.

One of the few photos that I can find of Martin Walter factory is shown below. The saw-tooth roof profile is clear from the inside, as well as the outside. I am unable to establish the date, but the style of cars appear to be possibly 1930s or 1940s.

Martin Walter (Pam Wraight).jpg

Picture credit: Pam Wraight

Even by 1946, the picture below shows that parts of the nursery still survived behind the factory, sandwiched between the factory and the cricket ground.

1946 Martin Walter.png

Picture credit: Britain From Above (Historic England)

I can find no evidence that the Folkestone football club at the time used any of the vehicles from Martin Walter Ltd.

Martin Walter moved out in 1952 to set up a larger factory at Tile Kiln Lane, Folkestone. Interestingly Martin Walter had a cricket team - they couldn't get closer to a cricket pitch! That team was involved in one of the most remarkable cricket matches in Kentish cricket history, where in 1964 the entire team was out for 0 (zero) in a match against Saltwood Cricket Club. One of the Saltwood bowlers was Geoff Cooke, a student teacher, and later captain of Saltwood and a long serving science teacher at the Harvey Grammar School. Connections! A full account is at the excellent Kent Cricket Heritage Trust website.

The site was shown on maps up to 1960 as a "works" and I have been informed that it was definitely Martin Walter at that time.. A contact Jim Simpson explains: "I worked for Martin Walter on that site for a while back then so I can assure you the site was certainly in use into the 70’s. From memory I think it was still Martin Walter in 1973. I purchased my first brand new car in 1969 from Geraldine Motors (A Blue Hillman Super Minx Estate) and before I purchased another new car in the early to mid 70’s I checked out a sports car at Martin Walter in Sandgate Road and I’m sure the Cheriton Road facility was still operating then"

The last photo that I can find is shown below. I have been told that it is 1960's, which makes sense looking at the style of car in the foreground. The frontage of the factory has clearly been extended eastwards, compared to the 1946 photo above. The nursery is still there at this time.

1960s Martin Walters.jpg

Photo credit: Michael Jago

The works was demolished in possibly 1973, and a supermarket built, the first incarnation being "International" supermarket. Throughout the later 1970s the supermarket was a "Mainstop" and then in the "Pricerite" supermarket chain. A friend Patrik Pierce recounts a strange layout of the Pricerite store: "From memory it had rather a bizarre layout. if I recall correctly the entrance once in the door took you round the outer perimeter of the store behind a partition before you actually entered the shop space. Might be wrong too but for a time I don't think it had conventional aisles, instead it snaked up and down on a continuous route (which explained the unusual entrance route)"


The earliest photo I can find is from 1976 with the supermarket peeking over the cricket ground turnstiles:-

1976 supermarket (& Folkestone v Ashford

Photo credit: Jan Pedersen

In the 1980s Presto took over. Presto was a division of Allied Suppliers which also operated 500 Lipton supermarkets in England and Wales. Here's a 1986 view of the end where the road leads down to the Cricket ground end turnstiles.

1986 Presto 1 (Steve Salter).jpg

Photo credit: Contributor wishes to remain anonymous

In 1987, Presto's owner Argyll Foods purchased the UK operations of Safeway. About this time this store was damaged by fire & rebuilt as a Safeway in 1989.

1989 Safeway (KentOnline).jpg

Photo credit: KentOnline

Note in the picture the fire escape to the left is below street level. a contact Raymond Le Her informs me: "When it was rebuilt as Presto/Safeway's the architect ignored this and it was murder trying to push your shopping trolley in a straight line.

Morrison's corrected this, that's why the emergency doors are below pavement level."

The opening was much heralded in the local newspaper the Dover Express :

1989 Safeway (Herald advert).jpg

The latest incarnation of the site has been as a Morrisons supermarket since 2004 when Morrisons took over Safeway. The Morrisons supermarket suffered a catastrophic fire in November 2018 with the entire building destroyed. The cause was a deep fat fryer.

2018 Morrisons fire (Ollie King KentLive

Photo credit: Ollie King

After the fire a temporary, tented Morrisons was used, until a new store was built  completed in November 2019.

2019 Morrisons (KentOnline).jpg

Photo credit: Barry Goodwin

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