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    2007 AGM & Higham Then and Now.

    by Andrew Roots

     

    Thursday 19th July 200y

 


Firstly, Sue Sparks (HVHG Chairman) presented a cheque for £207.00 to a representative of the Kent Air Ambulance Trust. This was half the profits from the first Higham in Old Photographs book. It takes 1.5 million pounds per year to fund the helicopter with a pilot and a compliment of one doctor and a paramedic. The charity relies on donations from local Kent groups and the general public for 25% of this funding.

This lead quite neatly on to our speaker for the evening, Mr Andrew Roots who gave us an illustrated talk about Higham. Each old photograph was paired with an up to date view taken from the same spot.

Charles Dickens was still living at Gadds Hill House at the time, and gems of Higham were woven into his stories. The landlord of the Fallstaff PH was Mr Trood. And the name of Edwin Drood is thought to be based on his name. Gadds Hill was notorious for highwaymen who were said to rob the seamen returning home after they received their pay at Chatham.

The pond opposite High View in School Lane was liable to flood, and was filled in after pressure from local residents. Opposite was Burnt House Farm and adjoining was a wood farm. The Gardeners Arms PH at one time housed the Post Office and a wet fish shop. Before 1840, when the Penny Black stamp was introduced the recipient of a letter had to pay for each delivery. Opposite The Gardeners was the Drapers shop, run by 2 sisters. Mr John Villa was thought to have given his name to Villa Road, and Henry Taylor of Higham Hall to Taylors Lane. Bill Thompson, a dairyman, used to deliver milk on his tricycle through the village.

There was another post office opposite The Chequers PH. When the canal was filled in it froze easily and it was used as an ice rink during the 1920ís and 30ís with the wealthy skating by the light of their car headlamps. Bread was baked in the building next to the Railway Tavern until 1920.

Bramble Stores at Gore Green was run by the Martin family, who were grocers and market gardeners. Their 2 daughters lived at the house after the shop closed.

There was a workhouse at Church Street from 1795. It was sold in 1836 for £80.

Mabs Turner thanked Mr Rootes for a very interesting talk.

Report written by Sally Starbuck.

Last Revised: 24-Jul-2007

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