Folkestone and Hythe constituency
Folkestone and Hythe includes the channel port and town of Folkestone, the historic Cinque Port towns of Hythe, New Romney and Lydd, the coastal resorts of Sandgate, Dymchurch and St Mary's Bay, the unique landscapes of Romney Marsh and Dungeness, and the picturesque countryside of the Elham Valley and North Downs.
The constituency contains Shepway District Council and at the the Saxon Shore ward in Ashford Borough. This ward includes the villages of Hastingleigh, Brabourne, Smeeth, Aldington, Bonnington, Bilsington and Ruckinge.
The Channel Tunnel entrance is located just a few miles from Folkestone, at junction 11a of the M20. The EDF nuclear power station at Dungeness is one of the major employers in the constituency and generates enough power to produce electricity for half of Kent.
In June 2011 Folkestone will host its second 'Triennial Arts Festival' including outdoor sculpture commissions from world renowned artists. The first Triennial in 2008 included works from Tracey Emin and Mark Wallinger which are still on display in the town. This public art project has been supported by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and the Creative Foundation.
Folkestone and Hythe has played an important part in the history of England. It has been represented at every parliament since Simon De Montfort called the first in 1265. Saltwood Castle was the base from which the knights set off to Canterbury to murder Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, and was more recently the home of journalist and MP Bill Deedes and then art historian Kenneth Clark and diarist MP Alan Clark.
The defence of England has played a significant part in shaping the history and landscape of Folkestone and Hythe. Sandgate Castle was built by Henry VIII to resist invasion from of the sea and nearly 300 years later the Martello towers along the coast from Folkestone to Seaford and the Royal Military Canal running around the perimeter of Romney Marsh to Hythe, were built to resist invasion from Napoleon.
Sir John Moore established his famous training barracks at Shorncliffe outside Folkestone in 1803, which is today the home in England of the world famous The 2nd Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles.
During the First World War, Folkestone was the embarkation point for millions of troops headed for the trenches of the western front. The 'Road of Remembrance' in the town marks the route of their march to the harbour.
The Second World War airfields at Hawkinge and Lympne played an important in the Battle of Britain in 1940. The Battle of Britain musuem is in Hawkinge, and the memorial on the cliff tops to the east of Folkestone at Capel Le Ferne.
William Harvey, who discovered the secret of the circulation of blood around the body was born in Folkestone in 1578, and his will helped to found The Harvey Grammar School in the town. Former Kent and England cricketer Les Ames was brought up in Elham and attended the Harvey Grammar school. Charles Dickens wrote 'Little Dorrit' whilst staying in Folkestone. The novels about fictional smuggler Dr Syn are set on Romney Marsh and H.G. Wells, a resident in Sandgate for many years, set scenes from his novel 'The War in the Air' on Dymchurch beach. St Mary's Bay was also a home to Edith Nesbit, the author of 'The Railway Children'.
Artist and film director, Derek Jarman lived at Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, and Noël Coward was a former resident of Aldington. Winston Churchill was a frequent visitor to Port Lympne house as a guest of a former MP for Hythe, Sir Phillip Sassoon. Now it is home to the Port Lympne Zoo run by the Aspinall Foundation.
Former Conservative Party leader and Home Secreatary Michael Howard, was MP for Folkestone and Hythe between 1983 and 2010. In July 2010 he took the title of Lord Howard of Lympne. On 13th July 2006, Damian Collins was chosen to succeed him as the Conservative Party candidate for the constituency and he was elected to parliament on 6th May 2010.