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Report: 15th Nov 2012 – Old Ashford

Members enjoyed a talk by Richard Filmer entitled “Old Ashford” at the Society’s last meeting. It was illustrated by a large selection of images showing scenes when Ashford was essentially a market town acting as a hub for all the surrounding villages and he described many of the traditional trades such as milling, brewing and tile-making as well as highlighting the farming influences such as the hop industry and the corn exchange.

He went on to describe the huge influence of the coming of the railways and establishment of the South Eastern Locomotive Works in Ashford from 1842 onwards which caused a big population explosion resulting in the creation of a new town – named Alfred Town after Queen Victoria’s second son created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Ulster and Kent in 1866 – and which subsequently gradually changed the agricultural character of the town to a much more industrial one.

Many of the streetscape scenes shown have long since disappeared following a succession of post war developments and building programmes including the creation of the ring road in the 1970’s which have taken out many of the traditional buildings and shops of yesteryear.

A raffle was organised by Valerie Birch and members were reminded that the Society’s 2013 Calendar, which includes some rare images selected from their extensive photographic archive, is now on sale for £7.50. This can also be obtained from: Herne Bay Museum; Evening Tide, 97 Central Parade; or 56 Beacon Hill.

The next meeting will be on Thursday 6th December at 7pm (doors open at 6.30pm) in the United Church Hall High St Herne Bay when Mick Hills will be giving a talk entitled “A Load of Old Gas”.  Members are free, visitors £2 and all are most welcome.

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