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Last Updated 1/3/16

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Local History Study Group

History Study Group

All welcome ! - Our history discussion group meets monthly. It centres mainly on local history and is very informal.  We may, occasionally, invite a guest speaker with a special interest.

We will be meeting on the (normally) first tuesday of each month. Dates (2016) arranged are:

1 March 7pm Phoenix House

5 Apr 7pm Phoenix House

3 May 7pm Phoenix House

7 June 7pm Phoenix House

6 Sept 7pm Phoenix House

4 Oct 7pm Phoenix House

1 Nov 7pm Phoenix House

6 Dec 7pm Phoenix House

So far we have researched the pubs and Inns of the town, the 1841 census returns for the High Street, marriage register for Holy Trinity Church, the East Kent Gazette archives and the Milton Workhouse records.

We often publish the results of our research. So if you have an interest in local history and would like to pursue that with others who share your interest, please contact us.  

Social Events

Please ring Joyce on 01622 884497 - if there is sufficient demand, we will organise !




Long Standing Businesses of Sittingbourne & Milton

Another area we are studying is a history of some of the business names which have been familiar to residents and the workforce of the town over the years.

Names such as
Parretts (Print)
Bowaters (paper)
Bishop & Son (builders)
Featherstones (shop)
Doldings (outfitters)
E.P.S. (logistics)
Michelsons (clothing)
Freshbake (foodstuffs)
Odds (timber)
Shell Research
Wills & Packham (bricks)
Queen's Laundry

and many more will be studied !

Our first book on this subject covered Butcher's, Tett's, Wraights, Lowe's, Hulburds, J Thomsett, Dean's Jam factory, and Freegard Press.

The second covers Bennett Opies, Pullens Garage, Birch's Newsagent, Bourncrete, High Undertakers, Bugges insectecides and Packers the basket makers.

We have also published Helen Allinsons work on the History of the Sittingbourne Co-operative Society
Defences of the last century
WW1, WW2, Cold War

Do you remember what measures or defences were taken during that last war ?  What evidence remains ?  Do you have photographs ? Memories ?

see more...

The Corner Shops

Have you memories or these shops ? Who ran them ? Where were they ? When did they close ? What did they sell ? Photographs ?

F Studd - Ufton Lane

see more...

What's in a Name ?

We have another project in the writing of a Lexicon of Place Names in the town which will be produced in text and pictures explaining how places got their names.

Our list of names is largely taken from the 1908 Directory.   We find, for example, Rock Road and Does Alley but why are they so called ?

The results from some of our research are given below. Sometimes we simply don't know and at others, the evidence may not be conclusive. If you can help us to fill gaps or to offer alternative explanations, we would very much like to hear from you.  Please feel free to nominate other roads with a suggested origin for the name.


Arthur Street - a family name

Addington Rd ?

Albany Rd ?

Bassett Road ?

Bell Road - after the Bell Inn

Burley Rd - After brickmaker, Mr Burley

Crescent Street - original shape

Chilton Ave - form. Chilton Estate

Cockleshell Walk - shells on the road

Cowper Rd ?

Does Alley - shoe merchant

Flushing St - allowing water to flush mud out of the creek

Howard Ave - breezeblock manuf.

Key St - Roman name

Lloyd St - Paper mill owner

Pear Tree Alley - there was a tree

Rock Rd  - a large rock was there

Riddles Rd - family name

Snipes Hill - After the bird - Snipe

Ufton Lane - led to Ufton Court



Inns and Pubs - book


The local history study group spent months researching this book. We initially produced a hundred produced which gave us a chance to add to and change later editions.  We have now revised the book, added more pictures and information, so the improved edition has been printed and is now for sale.


One thing which struck me was the role of the Rev George Simpson in developing Sittingbourne when the railway arrived. He was the vicar of Bobbing, and a large landowner. He did very well by selling what had been agricultural land for building. No less than eleven pubs, as well as numerous houses, were built on the plots of land he sold near the station. Generally these pubs were erected with a couple of houses beside them in the plot. It was a time when Berry Street, Station Street, Cross Street and Pembury Street were being laid out running from the High Street north towards the station.  Clearly the Rev Simpson had no objections to alcohol!

Another interesting discovery was the extent to which in Victorian times, the pubs of Milton served as boarding houses for young single men from further afield who worked as casual labour in the neighbouring brickfields and on the creek. The landlady would have cooked them hearty breakfasts and teas and done their washing for extra money.

In our group we had several members with family connections to pubs and they were able to add those invaluable personal touches to our history. So we know of the landlord who played the bugle, the parrot who imitated the customers, the regular who came straight to the bar from emptying the cess-pits accompanied by his own special smell!

Helen Allinson

Did you receive one of these ?

Who printed them ?

Any ideas ?

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