New exhibition looks at football history
FOOTBALL, flying and flowers feature in exhibitions lined up as a museum prepares to reopen for the summer season.
Ashford Borough Museum in the Churchyard will reopen on Monday with an exhibition on the history of Ashford Town Football Club among the highlights, says curator Alan Terry.
The club was formed in the 1870s under rugby rules, with football arriving in the town in 1880. Four years later the S E Rangers team was formed. In 1891 that club amalgamated with a Kentish Express team to form Ashford United.
In 1894 they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Woolwich Arsenal, but by 1904 attendances had dwindled and debts built up.
From the ashes the Ashford Railway Works side took over, but that team also folded in 1928.
In 1930 Ashford Town FC was formed following a meeting organised by Kentish Express editor Sir Charles Igglesden. They played at Essella Park until 1987, when the ground was sold for building and the club moved to Homelands.
The display shows old team photographs, programmes and memorabilia from several matches with Football League clubs.
Another exhibition looks at Ashford Airport, which for six years from 1968 was based on the historic airfield at Lympne, where planes had flown since 1916.
After the First World War Lympne became a civil aerodrome which was often in the news as the starting point for record-breaking flights involving pilots such as Amy Johnson and Jean Batten.
During the Second World War the airfield was bombed, but in 1945 civil flying returned and several air races were held there.
In 1955 Skyways started crossChannel passenger flights to France and in 1968 it was renamed Ashford Airport.
In 1969 the airport transported 300,000 passengers but five years later scheduled flights were lost and the airfield soon shut. It is now an industrial site.
The third display features Ashford Flower Club, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Curator Alan Terry at the Ashford Borough Museum