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Herne Bay, England, CT6
United Kingdom

Community website for all things Herne Bay (Kent, UK). Covers: The Downs, Herne Bay Museum, Herne Bay Historical Records Society, Herne Bay Pier Trust, Herne Bay in Bloom, East Cliff Neighbourhood Panel, No Night Flights, Manston Airport, Save Hillborough, Kitewood, WEA, Local Plan and much, much more...

Historical Records Society

Herne Bay Historical Records Society blog

Report: The history of Faversham

Liz Crudgington

Barges at Faversham Creek

Barges at Faversham Creek

Margaret Burns concluded the year by giving an illustrated talk on some aspects of the history of Faversham which she encapsulated under the heading "The Three B's " which she explained stood for Barges, Brickmaking and the Big Bangs.

Based on her experiences of leading guided town walks for the Faversham Society over the past 20 years, she outlined some of the key factors which have been instrumental in forming and weaving the intriguing tapestry of history of this very ancient and fascinating town.

Under barges she included the importance of the Creek providing its maritime influence on the town enabling barges to become the major form of transport and trade.

Under Brickmaking she highlighted how the huge 19th century production of the local stock bricks helped to build the major part of Victorian London.

Making stock bricks

Making stock bricks

Finally in illustrating the history of  the production of gunpowder and development of the explosive industry in Faversham she  finished with the ultimate "Big Bang" which was the disastrous explosion at the Uplees factory in April 1916 which claimed 100+ victims.

A mass grave of some of the victims of the Uplees explosion

A mass grave of some of the victims of the Uplees explosion

Margaret reminded members that Faversham had an excellent museum based at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre Preston Street with complete room dedicated to the History of Gunpowder details of which can be found  at 

The next meeting of the society will be on Thursday 5th February at the Lower Hall, United Reform Church, High Street, Herne Bay, when Jane Priston will be giving a talk based on her extensive and original research into the Herne Bay connections of Amy Johnson and the Mystery of her last Flight.

Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Visitors are welcome at £2, members free. For more information on meetings or the society, call 01227 366863 or email

    Historical Records Society home page

    Museum update

    Liz Crudgington

    Members of HBHRS will have received (or will shortly receive) a newsletter with an update from the Friends of Herne Bay Museum.

    Progress has been slow but council officials are expected to make a decision next month about whether to accept Herne Bay's bid to run its own museum. Trustees have been drawn from the Friends of Herne Bay Museum as well as Herne Bay Historical Records Society.

    The newsletter asks you to reconfirm your commitment to volunteer half a day a month as part of the team who will keep the museum open - or, if you have not already offered time, to consider doing so.

    As well as volunteers to man the front desk, people with specific skills are needed, and there is still time to come forward.

    Please email for more information or to reconfirm your committment.

    Historical Records Society home page

    Report: A journey down the Thames


    Ian Tittley gave a very interesting talk to members based on his detailed knowledge of the River Thames. After explaining that his main interest was as a Marine Biologist in which capacity he had walked its banks many times up to the extent of the tidal reaches at Teddington lock he went on to select various locations from London to the Thames estuary on which to concentrate his illustrations for the evening.

    He highlighted the fact that the river had changed a great deal over the ages, mainly as a result of man's intervention. Evidence of a Bronze age crossing around the modern Vauxhall area had recently been discovered and the Roman's first bridge who's line was in turn traced by the mediaeval old London bridge were constructed when it was still a much wider unembanked waterway. He described it as a "Super Highway" used to the advantage of both human and natural life alike.

    Many of its smaller estuaries in the city centre such as the Tyburn and Fleet were in modern times now culverted underground and Sir Joseph Bazalegette's huge undertaking from 1858 onwards to build the extensive London's sewerage system and create wide solid embankments narrowed the river considerably making it much deeper and faster flowing.

    He described some of the many historical uses that had been undertaken over the ages from leisure pursuits such as water pageants and frost fairs and even using the low tide areas as a seaside holiday beach during the 1920's, to the huge commercial shipping development of the docks as a result of the industrial revolution.

    The building of the Thames Barrier in the 1970's has been man's latest contribution to control this mighty waterway. His last natural history comment was that the common seaweed known as bladderwrack, hitherto only mainly found on seaside coastal areas could now be found established on most seawalls and modern built structures right up to the centre of London - an example of how natural history also continues to evolve.

    Mike Bundock, the Society's Curator, Archivist and vice Chair expressed his best wishes for a speedy recovery on behalf of members to member and Raffle Organiser Valerie Birch who was at present incapacitated due to a recent fall and period of hospitalisation.

    He also announced that the committee had agreed to arrange a Herne Bay History Day on 23rd August to be held at the Beach Creative premises as part of the Herne Bay Summer festival. He said that the intention was to display some of the history of the town using documents and other artefacts held by the Society and for members to be available to answer questions from the public, identify old photographs as well as to record people's memories of the area. He asked for volunteers from members to help with various aspects of arranging this as well as manning the displays on the day.

    The next meeting will be held on Thursday March 20th at the Lower Hall, United Reform Church, High Street, Herne Bay starting with refreshments at 6.30pm ready for commencement at 7pm when David Birch, Society Chairman will share some his extensive knowledge and memories of the town entitled "Behind Closed Doors" Attendance for members is free and visitors are most welcome at £2 per person. For more information contact 01227 362666.

    Historical Records Society home page

    Report: Doing their Bit - The Home Front in 1914-18


    James Brazier, a founder member of The Western Front Society, gave a very interesting and illuminating presentation to members at our last meeting entitled "Doing their Bit - The Home Front in 1914-18".

    His talk was illustrated with a collection of amusing post cards which were published throughout the duration of the Great War and demonstrated the various very important messages which the government of the day, especially the Ministry of Defence, needed to convey to the population.

    He explained that the heyday of the post card era had developed from late Victorian - Edwardian times when seaside holidays and had become a popular pastime amongst the working classes and that the artists involved in their production together with other book illustrators of the day were encouraged to help spread war propaganda and appeals in an amusing and popularised fashion.

    James showed examples from artists such as Donald McGill, Mabel Lucy Attwell, Thomas Gilson, George Studdy and Dudley Buxton, which cleverly incorporated amusing captions and comical images to encourage people to "do their bit" in many different ways from the famous "Your Country Needs You" image to recruiting women in munitions work and on the land and as the situation of food shortages became more acute, growing your own, digging for victory, the national egg scheme (often including some very inventive recipes).

    To complement the First World War theme, the society's latest publication by John Fishpool "Herne Bay in the Great War 1914-1918" was launched. In his introduction to the book John says:

    "As the centenary of the Great War in 1914 approaches... I have attempted to bring together many stories relating to our town of Herne Bay and its inhabitants during that conflict... caring for the wounded soldiers... enemy aircraft raids, food rationing... and the various War Memorials that were erected in the area in honour of the fallen."

    The book is available at A Bundle of Books in Bank Street and the Demelza Bookshop in Mortimer Street for £7.50 or alternatively write to HBHRS 91 Selsea Ave Herne Bay CT6 8SE email or see for more details.
    Our next meeting is on Thursday March 6th when Ian Tittley will be taking a Journey Down the Thames with his observations on its history and changing natural history. It will be at the Lower Hall, Herne Bay United Church High Street starting at 7pm, doors open at 6.30pm with refreshments, tea, coffee etc. Visitors welcome for a charge of £2. For more information telephone 01227 362666.

    Historical Records Society home page

    Report: Telling Your Own Story


    At our last meeting Margaret Burns gave a presentation on the introduction and benefits of Oral History to local historians which she called "Telling Your Own Story".

    As well as being a Society member, she explained that she was also a member of Herne Bay Community Memories Group which had been involved over the past ten years in recording people's memories to augment the exhibitions and displays put on at Herne Bay Museum covering such subjects as Childhood Memories in Herne Bay, Sporting Lives, Make Do and Mend, Memories of Herne Bay Pier, and Memories of the 1953 Floods.

    She explained that personal memories were vital to record as they could add so many extra dimensions to the bare facts and written records of both local and national events. The expanding interest in genealogy and tracing family history was also another area where personal recollections and family stories were vital to record.

    Margaret showed some illustrations taken from her own and other local families which gave examples of stories about various subjects such as working in shops in the town, working on the local pleasure trip boats in the 1950's and collecting coke from Sea Street gas works in the 1950's.

    The evening generated some interesting questions and stories from members and Margaret reminded them that the society was interested in recording memories particularly with reference to shops and shopping in Herne Bay to add to research already being undertaken by the society on this subject.

    The next meeting will be on Thursday 20th February when James Brazier will be talking on "Doing their Bit - The Home Front 1914-18" starting at 7pm with doors opening at 6.30pm. This will be followed by the launch of the society's latest publication compiled by John Fishpool "Herne Bay in the Great War". Copies of this will be available on the night or at local retail outlets from 21st February. Visitors are always welcome for a charge £2. Contact 01227 362666 for more information.

    Historical Records Society home page

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