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15 MAY 2003

May 2003 AGM & talk poster

Sue Williams, one of our own History Group members, gave a very interesting & informative talk at our AGM, with slides showing various places in Higham.

The population of the village was much smaller than today – 1,346 & was spread out over several areas – Church Street, Gore Green, Cuckolds Corner (bottom of Taylor’s Lane) Vicarage Row, Upshire & the Gravesend Road.

Many of the ordinary people worked on the land. The average Agricultural Labourer’s wage was 13 shillings 71/2d a week. Families were large & in some cases, several families lived in small cottages. The 1881 Census lists 6 different families living in the Old Vicarage in Church Street, as well as 4 lodgers. Most working class homes had lodgers and the Chequers Public House had 14 living there, as well as the publican, his wife, his 3 children & Brother-in-Law & 3 servants.

Another lodger in Lower Higham was Cecil Henry Fielding, the curate of Higham & author of A History of the Village. The Rev Fielding was also a very keen naturalist. William Spicer Wood, a widower aged 62, was the Vicar of Higham & lived with his 2 unmarried daughters + 3 female servants, also unmarried.

Beer drinking was obviously very popular because there were 4 pubs in Lower Higham – The Railway Tavern, The Chequers, The Malt Shovel (Canal Road - closed in 1915) and The Sun.

William Taylor was the School Master & was just about to retire. His son William J Taylor took over & was assisted by his wife Eliza. They remained in post until 1900. Higham Station was well staffed, with a Station Master, 2 Porters, a Clerk, Signal Man & Guard. The Village Police Constable was George Lacy, aged 31, who lived in Youens Place with his wife & 5 children.

The oldest man in the Village was William Stemp (93) & lived in 4 Pear Tree Place with his son & grandchildren. The oldest woman was Sophia Colegate, (87). Unfortunately, there is no record of her address.

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