At the March meeting, long-time Medway industrial archaeology expert James Preston gave an interesting presentation on some of the remaining sites of Kent’s industrial past. He began with examples of buildings associated with the medieval cloth industry in West Kent notably at Biddenden, Cranbrook and Smarden, including examples of cloth halls, jettied timber framed houses and Wealden cottages in which spinning and weaving processes once took place. Wool used in cloth making was readily available from nearby Romney Marsh sheep. Remains of watermills once used in the iron and cloth industry can still be seen in the Weald. Faversham and Dartford have extensive remains of incorporating mills and other buildings used in the production of gunpowder which, in the event of explosions, were based at remote sites.
Other Kent industries where substantial remains can still be found are paper making, brick making, coat mining and brewing. Victorian water pumping stations with their beam engines, the naval dockyard at Chatham also provide a wealth of industrial archaeology which have proved worthy of preservation. Under threat are gasometers now obsolete and being dismantled. James urged group members to take photographs of those in their area.
The next meeting of the group will be on Tuesday, April 7, at 7.30pm. Rod Le Gear will give an illustrated talk entitled, History from the Air – an interesting look at some historic sites from advantage points high above the ground. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm at
the Institute Hall, Canterbury Road, Herne – opposite Strode Park New members and visitors (£2) welcome. For information contact
chairman Alan Dilnot on 01227 373695. The group’s website is; https://sites.google.com/site/herneandbroomfieldhistory/home or find us on Facebook; Herne and Broomfield Local History Group.
Herne Bay Gazette, April 2nd 2015