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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: 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.

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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.

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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.

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Report: Dover Bronze Age Boat


At our last meeting before Christmas Dr Paul Bennett, Director of Canterbury Archaeological Trust, gave members a fascinating insight into the discovery and the story of the subsequent conservation of the Dover Bronze Age boat.

He explained that in September 1992 he, and several other archaeologists, were in the last weeks of their excavations alongside the civil engineers who were constructing the Dover to Folkestone A20 road link when a small portion was revealed at the bottom of a deep trench.

His excellent slides taken at the time showed the final emergence and uncovering of what was finally found to be a large portion of a middle Bronze Age boat dated to about 1550BC.

He went on to explain that its construction comprised oak planks sewn together with yew lashings, a technique which has a long tradition in British prehistory and a rare example of one of a very few ever discovered in Britain.

Approximately 9.5m of the craft was finally recovered which probably represented about two thirds of the full size of the boat and it was obvious that it had been laid up and partially deconstructed after its long maritime career and possibly used by Bronze Age children as a recreation area.

After extensive conservation with the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth it was finally returned in 1998 to a purpose built environmentally controlled gallery at Dover Museum. In 2013 with the support of European funding a half-sized replica of the boat was built and launched and featured in three major exhibitions in France, Belgium and England - see Dover Bronze Age Boat Trust.

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 6th February at the Lower Hall, United Reform Church, High Street, Herne Bay when Margaret Burns will be giving a presentation on introducing the value of Oral History to local historians entitled "Telling Your Own Story".

Doors open at 6.30pm when refreshments, raffle and a bookstall will be available prior to commencement of the evening at 7pm. All are welcome. Members free, visitors £2.

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Report: Hidden Kent


Peter Meiklejohn gave members an interesting tour of Hidden Places in Kent at our last meeting.

The aftermath of the Faversham Gunpowder Mill explosion 1916

The aftermath of the Faversham Gunpowder Mill explosion 1916

He highlighted some very unusual stories from places that he has photographed over the years including the Faversham gunpowder works explosion of 1916, and the story of the Rev James Ramsay who was vicar of Teston in 1781 and an early anti-slave campaigner and many more.

Penny Hills, Society Secretary, thanked him on behalf of members present for a very entertaining and informative talk.

Members were reminded that the Society's 2014 calendars were still available as were copies of the latest publication "Herne Bay Then & Now - a pictorial history" both of which could make very acceptable Christmas presents.

The last meeting of the year will be on Thursday 5th December in the Lower United Church Hall, High Street, Herne Bay when Paul Bennett of Canterbury Archaeological Trust will be giving a talk on the excavation of the Bronze Age Boat in Dover Doors open at 6.30pm for 7pm start. Visitors £2 Members free.

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