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Last Updated 9/9/13

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Researching Sittingbourne's Past

As a Museum we are involved in research using our archive material to reveal more about Sittingbourne in past times. One picture or one article written a hundred or more years ago may present Sittingbourne as a rather tranquil backwater or as a grimy growing industrial town. Wherein lies the truth?

You can explore this and other subjects using our documentary archives and, of course, other local archive sources. You begin with what is called a hypothesis usually in the form that something is or is not true.

List of books on local history

Journal index

Sittingbourne 1798

Roman vases excavated in Sittinbgourne in the 19th century

This provides you with the basis for your research. For example: “That Sittingbourne in the years 1890 to 1900 was a quiet rural backwater”. You can examine the evidence for and against and in the process of considering whether this hypothesis is true or partly true or even quite untrue we all learn more about Sittingbourne at that time.

One young researcher studied entertainment in Sittingbourne in the first half of the 20th century.

Her research included interviews with people who remembered those days. Oral records are a valuable research tool. If only we had them for Sittingbourne in, say, the 16th century!

One day perhaps, someone will write a definitive history of Sittingbourne. but there is a lot more work to be done on our more distant past.

From 1841 to 1901 we have the census returns. They are closed for 100 years from the date of the census. Before that we have the Parish Registers going back into the 16th century. They are a record of who was baptised, married or buried but from this information we can examine population growth, infant mortality, family groupings and much more to help build a picture of Sittingbourne in the days before mass communication.

Meads Mill, Milton

Gore Court Park

The Hale family lived in Tunstall centuries ago and their family papers are in numerous boxes in the Canterbury Archive waiting to be studied . During the English Civil Wars of the 1640s members of the family were on opposite sides or were hedging their bets.

This is but a brief look at some possible areas of research. The list is almost endless and with experience the fascination grows.

Our aim is to present Sittingbourne past and to encourage further research Together we can work to achieve those aims.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with your thoughts and ideas. We are here to help.

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