New ex­hi­bi­tion looks at foot­ball his­tory

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Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? - by Mike Ben­nett mben­nett@thek­m­group.co.uk

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

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