30 September 2010

Then & Now - The White Horse, Upper Stoke

This week I’ve been looking at how the area has changed over the years, comparing recently taken photographs with a small collection of old postcards I’ve come across.

The last postcard shows the White Horse pub in Upper Stoke. The farmhouse belonging to Court Lodge Farm can be seen on the other side of the road, which is obscured by trees in a more recent photograph.

Do you have any old postcards or photographs of the area? Would you like to share them on this website? Please get in touch using the contact page.

29 September 2010

Then & Now - High Road, Lower Stoke

Following other posts made this week, it's time to look at another old postcard of the local area. This time the postcard shows the High Road in Stoke - now known as the High Street.

Compare the old postcard to the recently taken photograph below - both were taken from just outside Mackay's Court Farm and point towards the centre of Lower Stoke.

More tomorrow!

28 September 2010

Then & Now - Old Forge House, Lower Stoke

Further to the post I made yesterday, this old postcard shows Old Forge House in Lower Stoke, opposite the Nags Head pub. The exact location is where Cuckolds Green Road, Grain Road and Chapel Road meet.

The prominent wooden structure, to the left of the house, is the forge. The Ship Inn, which was sadly demolished in the 1950s, is partially visible next to the forge. Look closely and you can see a windmill in the background.

Compare the old postcard to the photograph I took recently of the same location.

More tomorrow!

27 September 2010

Then & Now - Station Road, Middle Stoke

I recently bought some old postcards of the area and I will be sharing these on this website in coming days. To help compare how things have changed, I will also include recent photographs of the same locations.

Today, the postcard is of Station Road in Middle Stoke - now known as Grain Road. These photographs point towards Burrows Lane. Like many places on the Hoo Peninsula, Middle Stoke once had its own railway station, called Middle Stoke Halt. It opened in July 1906 and closed in December 1961.

More tomorrow!

24 September 2010

English Heritage - Hoo Peninsula Growth Area Historic Landscapes project

The Hoo Peninsula stands out on any map of the Thames Estuary. It falls within the Thames Gateway regeneration area, which has been designated for major housing, economic and infrastructure developments over the next 20 years.

To ensure our historic environment takes a central role in the strategic decisions that will shape any future development, English Heritage has stated that they hope to increase the knowledge and understanding of the development and historic aspects of the local landscape.

English Heritage are in the process of carrying out a wide-ranging analysis of the local landscape and last year formed the Hoo Peninsula Growth Area Historic Landscapes project. Essentially, this project will supply partners and stakeholders with information explaining the importance of the Hoo Peninsula’s historic landscape, to ensure there is an improved basis for management and decision-making.

The first phase of the project commenced in October 2009 and is set for completion next month. The process has involved the collection of information about the area's historic environment. It is hoped this project will underline the importance of the Hoo Peninsula’s landscape, so that it can be appreciated by the widest possible audience.

Photograph: Copyright, English Heritage.NMR

More information about this project can be obtained by visiting the English Heritage website.

23 September 2010

St. James' Church, Isle of Grain

Following a swim at Grain beach the other day (it was just about warm enough!), I decided to have a look around St. James' Church. In a peaceful corner of the village, at the end of the High Street, the Church is a short walk from the beach. Dating back to the 12th century, the Church has undergone extensive building and restoration work over the years. The tower, although Norman in appearance, was part of a re-building and restoration programme in 1904/05.

22 September 2010

Quiz Night (High Halstow), Friday 24 September 2010

There will be a Quiz Night on Friday 24 September, at Memorial Hall, The Street, High Halstow. Tickets are £2.50 per person and anyone wishing to participate should arrive at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Bring your own drinks and nibbles! To book a table, phone 01634 251536 or 01634 831570.

Next Week - Then & Now Photo Series

A small collection of old postcards will feature on this website next week. They will include locations in Lower, Middle and Upper Stoke on the Hoo Peninsula. These postcards will be accompanied by recently taken photographs of the same locations, to compare how the area has changed.

21 September 2010

Support the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Special Appeal in Kent

The Hoo Peninsula is almost surrounded by water - with the Thames Estuary on one side and the River Medway on the other. Our area has strong links with the sea and increasing numbers of people use it for leisure activities, which is excellent and positive news.

As a teenager, I was proud to be a Sea Cadet. I really enjoyed my Duke of Edinburgh's Award assignment with the RNLI. I learnt many fascinating things during that time and I will never forget the dedication and commitment shown by the RNLI voluntary crew members.

According to the RNLI, last year was the busiest in their history and a lack of funds means there is a danger of them not being able to keep-up with increasing demand. In Kent alone, lifeboat crews were called out 411 times to help those in danger off the coast.

RNLI volunteers are not paid and they risk their lives to save others, and without public donations they would not be able to rescue anyone. If you would like more information about their vital work, or if you would like to make a donation, please visit their website.

20 September 2010

Macmillan Coffee Morning (High Halstow), Friday 24 September 2010

The 'World's Biggest Coffee Morning' is being organised by Macmillan Cancer Support this week. A Coffee Morning event will be held locally at the Memorial Hall, The Street, High Halstow on Friday 24 September, between 9am and 11am. There will be coffee, cakes, scones, fruit and cheese, as well as a tombola and raffle. Pop along and take a friend with you!

More information about Macmillan Cancer Support can be obtained by clicking here.

19 September 2010

Supporting Local Businesses on the Hoo Peninsula

I am keen to promote local shops and businesses and have added a FREE listings page to this site. If you would like to add your business to this listing - send your details using the contact page.

15 September 2010

St. Mary's Church, St. Mary Hoo

I recently came across this old black and white photograph and have been trying to work out where it is. After studying the photograph and after a tour of local churches, I believe it is St. Mary's Church at St. Mary Hoo, which is no longer an active place of worship. Please let me know if I am wrong. The second photograph, of St. Mary's Church, was taken a few months ago and points in a similar direction to the older photograph - east of Hall Road, near to Moat Farm Road.

If my assumptions are correct about the location of the old photograph, the farmer probably worked at nearby Moat Farm. Despite being slightly obscured from view - it would be nice to know who he was!

14 September 2010

A228 Grain Road, Stoke Level Crossing

Work has commenced on building a road bridge over Stoke level crossing on the A228 (Grain Road). The first phase of the project includes extensive work to protect the surrounding environment, including the creation of a habitat for water voles. Construction work is expected to continue until March 2011. Medway Council has said the new bridge will be a single carriageway bridge to realign the A228 and improve safety.

An Evening of Traditional Jazz (Hoo), Saturday 18 September 2010

Hoo St. Werburgh Parish Church presents 'An Evening of Traditional Jazz' on Saturday 18 September, from 7pm until 10.30pm. Tickets £6. Go and listen to Jazz Amis! For tickets and more information, please contact Bob Stubbins on 01634 254035 or Mick Hollands on 01634 251979.

13 September 2010

Annual Fete - Cross Park Association (Allhallows), Sunday 12 September 2010

The Cross Park Association held their Annual Fete in Allhallows yesterday, between 11am and 4pm. The sun was shining and the community worked hard to put on a good show. The event was formally opened by Councillor Phil Filmer. There were many attractions, including belly-dancing, model aeroplane demonstrations, a balloon race, stalls, a pet show and much much more! I was particularly impressed by the variety of excellent cakes that were produced by the ladies of the High Halstow WI - very tasty indeed!

Well done to everyone involved!

10 September 2010

Saxon Shore Way, Hoo St. Werburgh

Having completed a small part of the walk along the Saxon Shore Way last week, between Upnor and Hoo St. Werburgh (described in another post), I completed another section today. This particular walk, centred around Hoo, is ideal for a Sunday morning stroll and takes less than a couple of hours to complete, especially if stopping to look at the views.

Information about walks on the Hoo Peninsula, including this one, can be obtained by clicking here.

I walked down Vicarage Lane to Hoo Marina and joined the clearly signed Saxon Shore Way path that runs along the River Medway to Kingsnorth. Soon after joining the path, you come across excellent views of Hoo Fort and Darnet Fort (in the middle of the River Medway). There are three WW2 pillboxes during the walk - an indication of how strategically important the area once was.

Altogether very enjoyable and a good mix of sights!

9 September 2010

Miss Fry Postcard (Lower Stoke), 1910

I recently purchased this postcard, date stamped 1910, sent to Miss Fry of 4 Gravel Pit, Lower Stoke. I have not yet been able to identify the sender, but assume it was someone living on the Hoo Peninsula, specifically around the Stoke area. The postcard was posted in Southend-on-Sea and contains a photograph of Westcliff seafront and bandstand. The half-penny stamp shows Edward VII, who died in May 1910.

I have traced Watson ancestors living at Gravel Pit in Lower Stoke in 1911 and 1925, so this postcard is reasonably interesting. With regards to the identity of 'Miss Fry', I believe she was in fact Ellen Grace Fry (b1880). According to the 1911 census, Ellen Grace Fry was living at Gravel Pit with her mother, Mary Ann Fry, a widow.

High Halstow and District Gardening Club (High Halstow), Tuesday 14 September 2010

The High Halstow and District Gardening Club are meeting on Tuesday 14 September at 8pm, to hear a talk about 'Winter Tubs and Containers'. The event will be held at the Memorial Hall in High Halstow and anyone is welcome to attend.

8 September 2010

St. Margaret's Church, High Halstow

I was in High Halstow earlier this week visiting friends and had another look around the grounds of St. Margaret's Church, located on Cooling Road. Built on the highest point of the Hoo Peninsula, the Church dates back to the 10th century and is mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086).

The churchyard is in a good state, but I noticed that the grave of Alfred and Minnie Spencer (from the Spencer side of my family) is now very much overgrown. I took the following photographs several years ago - showing the Spencer grave (at the rear of the churchyard), albeit in a damaged condition.