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Three years on since fire destroyed the Priz nightclub in Folkestone

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

Three years on from a suspected arson attack that destroyed a nightlife hotspot and the culprits have still not been caught.

Police confirmed this week that there are still no updates on the fire at The Priz in Folkestone, and no arrests have been made to date.

On March 9, 2016, residents in Folkestone woke to the news the beloved seafront nightclub had been set alight.

Folkestone photographer Dan Desborough captured some stunning images of the Onyx fire at its height
Folkestone photographer Dan Desborough captured some stunning images of the Onyx fire at its height

Officially called Onyx but affectionately dubbed the Priz after it's former name La Parisienne, the building was already being demolished and had closed a few months earlier.

Firefighters spent 12 hours tackling the blaze in the roof. They remained at the scene the following morning to damp down.

Police then launched an investigation to track down two young men in hoodies seen in the area before the fire started, but to date, no one has been held accountable for the suspected arson.

Folkestone photographer Dan Desborough captured some stunning images of the Onyx fire at its height
Folkestone photographer Dan Desborough captured some stunning images of the Onyx fire at its height
Folkestone photographer Dan Desborough captured some stunning images of the Onyx fire at its height
Folkestone photographer Dan Desborough captured some stunning images of the Onyx fire at its height

Demolition had began in late February and restarted a couple of weeks after the fire.

Bosses at the Folkestone Harbour Company (FHC) checked to see if the fire would hold up progress but said they wanted to get on with knocking it down soon after the club closed, in October 2015.

Only the metal awning frame of the building remained in front of a pile of rubble and bricks by mid-April that year.

Former party-goers left floral tributes to the “sticky floors” and the “second home and last resort” to Folkestonians when the building was being knocked down the week before the fire.

The remains of the Priz nightclub site that was badly damaged in a fire. Picture: Rebecca Holliday
The remains of the Priz nightclub site that was badly damaged in a fire. Picture: Rebecca Holliday

Historic England rejected a bid to save the building after an application to list it was submitted in November 2015 which gave FHC the go-ahead to knock down the 1920s Marine Pavilion.

FHC owns the seafront site which spreads from the harbour arm, the former railway line up to the end of Tram Road and along to the end of the Rotunda.

The remains of the Priz nightclub site that was badly damaged in a fire. Picture: Rebecca Holliday FM4254573 (7657815)
The remains of the Priz nightclub site that was badly damaged in a fire. Picture: Rebecca Holliday FM4254573 (7657815)
The remains of the Priz nightclub site that was badly damaged in a fire. Picture: Rebecca Holliday
The remains of the Priz nightclub site that was badly damaged in a fire. Picture: Rebecca Holliday

In October last year, more than 800 revellers gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the gone but not forgotten nightclub while raising funds for another town landmark.

The La Parisienne would have celebrated its 30th birthday in 2018, and Hannah Revill and her friend Kev Goodwin, 50, organised a reunion at the Party Bar in Folkestone, with many of the original staff and DJs.

The volunteer-led event helped raise more than £300 for the Leas Lift restoration.

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