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A Blast From the Past 1907
April 25th: The Channel Tunnel Rail Bill has been withdrawn after objections by the War Office who say the tunnel will be a threat to the nation's defences. Twenty years ago the tunnel nearly became a reality when the British and French governments agreed to start exploratory shafts underthe Straits of Dover between Shakespeare Cliffand apoint west of Sandgate. For the English side there were two rival designs one by William Low, the British mining engineer who had assisted Brunel on his Great Western railway and the other by Sir John Hawkshaw, a successful tunnel and canal engineer.
"French invasion fears kill Channel Tunnel Bill"

Sir Edward Watkin, Chairman of the South Eastern Railway Company and MP for Hythe adopted Low's scheme for two parallel tunnels with trains drawn by compressed air engines. Shafts were sunk, headings were driven obliquely under the sea and plans were drawn up for underground stations at each end of the tunnel which would measure 23 miles. The engineers and their families even had lunch under the sea in an atmos phere kept fresh by the boring machine. Opposition to the proposal, however, was gaining momentum. The main objection was fear of invasion from France. Britain would no longer be wholly protected by the sea and the world's greatest navy. The Timeseven suggested that a few thousand men could land on the Kent coast and hold the English end of the tunnel for a few hours while the main invasion force came through. Edward Watkin offered to construct two forts to cover the English end with a battery and said the portal on the English side could be demolished immediately by explosives. Despite a petition presented to Parliament by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Watkins kept his engineers working, hoping the War Office would not object to the scheme. With War Office objections, the withdrawal of the bill and the continuing hostile reaction to the scheme by the public,the sponsors accept that there is little chance of a tunnel under the sea being constructed in the foreseeable future.

January 5th: Lloyds paper mill at Sittingbourne has been badly damaged by fire. The local brigade were quickly on the scene but the factory has been gutted and machinery and paper destroyed, despite ample water supply. Edward Lloyd, who prints the Daily Chronicle, moved his business here from Bow in 1880.
January 21st: Chatham and Ashford Grammar Schools for Girls have opened on the same day.
February 14th: At dusk today mounted police broke up a peaceful protest by suffragettes who were demanding the vote. The horses rode into the procession at Westminster and many women were hurt and their clothes torn. 72 women and two men will appear in court charged with disturbing the peace. Among the defendants will be Christabel Pankhunt.
March 22nd: 72 Suffragettes have been jailed for refusing to pay fines for demonstrating outside parliament.
April 8th: The National Telephone Company has begun to erect telephone poles in many parts of Kent.
April 25th: The bill to facilitate the construction of a railway tunnel under the Channel has been withdrawn by parliament. The War Office declared its opposition to the bill some three months ago.
August 2nd: The British Medical Association at their annual meeting has attacked the evils of smoking, particularly among children. A GP claims that the nation is deteriorating because of smoking and he says that it can cause cancer of the tongue and lip.
September 17th: Louis Bleriot has flown 184 metres in his aeroplane before crash landing. Goudhurst iron works has closed, bringing to an end the village's connection with the great ironsmelting industry which once brought prosperity to the area.
October 11th: The Lusitania, a Cunard ship, has won the Blue Riband trophy for crossing the Atlantic in four days, 52 minutes. She is now regarded as England's "Queen of the Seas".
October24th: Lloyd Georgehas approved plans for a Channel ferry from Dover to Calais.
November 25th: A whirlwind which lasted little more than 10 minutes inflicted terrible damage on Orchard Farm, Sholden, Deal. Machinery has been mangled, roofs blown off and a haystack deposited on top of a Russian ship at anchor in the Downs.
July 29th: Robert Baden-Powell has formed the Boy Scout movement after taking a group of Londoners to an experimental camp on Brownsea Island.
January 22nd: It has become known as the greatest show?stopper ever to hit the London stage. Striking artistes have caused 25 music halls to close. Among those who reckon they are getting a raw deal from hall managers is the popular singer, Harry Relf of Cudham. Harry, better known as "Little itch", is one of the organisers of the strike. From his picket post this week he claimed that his colleagues could put on 20 shows a week and get paid for only 12. In retaliation the managers say that the British artistes are the highest?paid in the world. Certainly Harry Relf is well paid. He is the founder of the Variety Artistes Federation but better known for painting his face black and performing bril liantly in music halls all over the country. Harry was born at Cudham in 1867 where his father kept the Blacksmith's Arms. He has six fingers on each hand and stands at four feet five inches high. Although there is little sign of a solution it is hoped that the pay dispute will be settled after mediation and the music halls will reopen.