Visit to Blue Town Heritage Centre - August 2010

In August, about 20 members of the society visited the Blue Town Heritage centre in Sheerness and were given a guided walk of the Blue Town area by Jenny, which was very interesting. She then showed us around the Heritage Centre which included a small cinema, museum, cafe and gift shop. We saw a film about Blue Town in 1900's which showed the Heritage centre as it then was - a hotel and music hall. The members had a very enjoyable couple of hours and were impressed by the hard work of the volunteers.


Cinemas in Medway - November 2010

The Speaker at our monthly meeting on 11th. November was Mr Brian Joyce, our President, who gave a most interesting talk on Cinemas in Medway. He explained how early cinema developed from the ‘magic lantern’ era and through the ‘Music Hall’ period and into the silent films of the early 20th.Century. He then concentrated on the individual cinemas that were built and operated in the Medway Towns. Most initially were built by local business men who wanted to cash in on the relatively new experience of ‘going to the cinema’ but all of the larger ones were eventually taken over by the cinema ‘chains’. None of the cinemas that Brian spoke of now exist as cinemas and indeed few of the buildings still exist . A sign of the times and the power of television.

Thinkbackhistory -BBC project 6-8th November 2010

The Society had an input in the BBC project ‘Thinkbackhistory’ when they opened a ‘shop’ in the Pentagon in Chatham over a period of three days in November. The ‘shop’ was furnished with a counter, weighing scales, cash register and a selection of foodstuffs that would have been on sale at that time. The display also included some artefacts such as an early washing machine and an old fashioned airer, and people were asked to put their memories of the 30s on a label for inclusion on the website. Our President gave interviews on the radio during the time the ‘shop’ was open and our Secretary, Sheila Erwin, displayed our copy of the Newcomb War Diary. This proved to be extremely popular with the customers several asking why it was not on the Web and many asking to see what happened on a particular date which was relevant to them. The organisers were very pleased with the response and recorded over 4000 people visiting the ‘shop’ over the three days.

Chatham Historical Society members at the Thinkbackhistory shop.