Just like most towns in south England, Folkestone began because it was closest to the Continent and easy access for the Brythonic conquerors who took over East Kent. They were followed by the Romans and then the Jutes. The Barony of Folkestone was held by a Norman knight and at that time it had become a village for the fishing industry. In the 13th century the town was included in the Cinque Ports and became a rich port for trading. During the tudor period it went from a village status to a township. Defenses were built to fight of the French and Folkestone Harbor's construction was started.
During the 18th century there was a great smuggling industry in south England and Folkestone profited from this as well. In the 1800s the harbor was completed. The town was a small community of fishermen and was always being be rouged with storms. These storms made it difficult to dock the boats. The Act of Parliament was put through in 1807. It was passed to construct a pier and finish the harbor. The harbor had over 14 acres of space by 1820 that was enclosed. This made the population and the trade industry in Folkestone grow.
This growth was stunted because of the continual build up of silt and sand that was deposited in the harbor by the Pent Stream clogging it up. There were attempts to remove the blockages by the Folkestone Harbor Company but they did not succeed. In 1842 the company went bankrupt which led to the harbor going up for sale by the Government. South Eastern Railway Company purchased the harbor The harbor was dredged and the railway was built to meet it as soon as the sale was final.
Folkestone is governed on the national and local levels. For national governance the town is represented by Michael Howard a Conservative of the Folkestone and Hythe constituency. He was once the HM Opposition leader and also Home Secretary. Folkestone has ten MEPs in the the South East England constituency in the European Parliament. The local government has three levels Kent County Council, the non-metropolitan district and Folkestone town council.
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