sun 9 sep
An illustrated talk by local historian Alan Taylor recounting the story of Mercedes Gleitze, a 21-year old typist who first visited Folkestone in the summer of 1922. Taking part in a Daily Sketch prize competition to swim the English Channel, a lack of training forced her to abandon the swim after 3.5 hours, when her shoulder muscles gave out. Her ambition was to become a professional open water swimmer – a unique occupation for a woman in those days. Over the following five years she made Folkestone her training headquarters and on 7 October 1927, on her eighth attempt, she became the first British woman to succeed; swimming from Cap Gris-Nez to St Margaret’s Bay in 15 hours and 15 minutes.