Alan Taylor Oral History Summary
A summary of an oral history interview with Alan Taylor
Kent's Sporting Memories
Interview recorded on 26 May 2020
Alan Taylor; Michael Romyn
Kent's Sporting Memories
Alan Taylor Oral History Recording
Kent’s Sporting Memories Oral History Summary
Interviewee: Alan Taylor
Interviewer: Michael Romyn
Date: 26 May, 2021
Location: Alan Taylor’s home in Folkestone, Kent
0:00 Name, place and date of birth; Roller Hockey in Folkestone in the 1950s/1960s; Alan’s birth, early life, and family background, including how and why his family settled in Folkestone.
9:30 Alan and his family’s movements and activities during WW2; learning to swim in the sea in Folkestone after the war; Alan’s mother’s background and life in Folkestone.
21:00 Playing on the remains of a war ship at Sunny Sands after the war; camping as a family on the sea wall between Folkestone and Dover (in line with the Royal Oak pub) during summer holidays on the weekends – this became an annual tradition for the family from 1946, until about 1960, when the camping items they left at the site started being stolen.
29:10 Alan speaks about his father’s boating background, and his own first forays into boating, fishing, crabbing, and lobster trapping – which he did as a sideline to his work as an apprentice carpenter; doing his National Service in 1957, for which he was based in Singapore for 19 months.
42:20 Returning in 1959 to work for George Stone construction firm, as a site foreman; buying the Good Heart, a boat long coveted by Alan, with which he trawled and took out fishing parties; buying, restoring and running a speed boat for three years.
52:00 Selling the Good Heart, and beginning work as a carpenter for Sealink in 1970, which he did for 22 years; the ups and downs of working for Sealink – ‘I love the sea, but there was no real job satisfaction – I was only there for the money really’; how the sale of Sealink to Stena Line in 1991 and the resulting worsening working conditions prompted Alan’s voluntary redundancy, aged 55; how his father dissuaded young Alan from becoming a fisherman.
1:00:20 Being out of work for a period of months, before finding work as a caretaker at Highview, a school for pupils with special needs, where he stayed for ten years.
1:06:25 Competing in swimming competitions while at school, at the now defunct open air swimming pool in Folkestone; how an impromptu swim in the sea while out fishing turned into a daily habit for fifteen years, stopping only to swim in the summer when he turned 80; taking part in the Folkestone Boxing Day Dip, for which he regularly won a prize for ‘Oldest Dipper’; Alan’s motivation for swimming so regularly.
1:17:30 The increase in popularity of sea swimming; swimming for Folkestone Swimming Club while at school, and swimming at Folkestone Sports Centre when it opened in the 1970s.
1:25:30 Alan talks about the Folkestone Pier Festival and the Folkestone Boat Festival; in 1950 Alan won the Cod Cup for the heaviest aggregate catch of cod over the three-day Boat Festival; both festivals attracted a lot of overseas participants; Alan on the Folkestone Sea Anglers and the Dormobile angling clubs, both of which are still going, despite the closure of Bedford Dormobile in Folkestone (one of the towns biggest employers at the time) in the 1990s.