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Report: 1st Nov 2012 – 80 Years of the HBHRS

Report of Meeting held 1st November

Society President, John Fishpool, celebrated the 80th anniversary of the formation of the society by giving a very interesting insight into how the society came into being in 1932 including some of the founding characters, background to the early history of the town and illustrated his talk with some illuminating slides.

He said that the idea of forming a society was first started in the mid 1920’s and originated with the idea of opening a town museum but because public focus was at that time on opening a Memorial Park for the fallen of the First World War efforts to start a museum were put on hold. Various local personnel including Capt. C W Welby, a well-known builder and leader of Herne Bay Fire Brigade, and Dr T Armstrong Bowes, a local GP had for some time been collecting local archaeological artifacts privately.

By the early 1930’s both of them together with several others, including Mr Lewis Payne and Mr Tom Ridout, decided to form a local historical society – named Herne Bay Records Society – their objectives to include giving public lectures and seeking suitable premises where they could display some of their collections. These were first opened in an ex-chapel at 53 Mortimer Street and continued there until 1939 when due to a decline in membership and the start of World War II everything was moved to the Public Library in the High Street in 1939.

The society restarted their programme of lectures in 1946 and the late Harold Gough became its Honorary Curator from then till his death in 2008. In 1988 it changed its name (to save confusion with any musical connections!) to The Herne Bay Historical Records Society in 1988 and subsequently, after Canterbury City Council bought the building at 12 William Street for a town museum, it moved to its current home where many items from its extensive collection can now be seen on permanent display.

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