Bridge & District History Society


There is an entrance charge of £4 for each talk - which are held in Bridge Village Hall starting at 7.30pm

SEPTEMBER 15th 2022
A short AGM followed by
The Persistent Scribblers Society - Michelle Crowther (change of Programme)

The Persistent Scribblers Society was a group of men and women who lived in and around Canterbury in the 1870s. They wrote stories and poetry which they shared with each other via a manuscript magazine. The Scribblers’ subjects included heroism, marriage, servants and suffrage.

OCTOBER 20th 2022
Aristocratic Amazons in Arms, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry - Juliette Pattinson

This talk examines the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, the earliest quasi-military female force to be formed (in 1907) and still in existence today with unbroken voluntary service. We will consider the wider context of the formation of the Corps, the adventurous young women who flocked to this innovative organisation and their service during the First World War.

NOVEMBER 17th 2022
Canterbury in the 19noughties and some Naughty Goings On - Ian Osterloh

Francis Bennett Goldney, a colourful and controversial Mayor of Canterbury (and later MP), shook the ruling elite to its core, when he tried to oust the sitting MP. Being implicated in the Irish crown jewels robbery of 1907 did not diminish his status and the controversies continued long after his death. Is he still fooling some of us even today?

DECEMBER 15th 2022
A History of Christmas - Martin Crowther
and pre-Christmas social

Martin Crowther’s presentation “A History of Christmas” uses historic artefacts and images from Yuletides past. It will set the scene for our pre-Christmas social with complimentary mulled wine, sausage rolls and mince pies. All welcome. No entrance charge.

JANUARY 19th 2023
Thirty Years of Bother on the Hover
- Brian Laverick-Smith

Brian Laverick-Smith is a retired hovercraft pilot. He will give us a humorous behind the scenes look at the world’s biggest hovercraft in operation across the English Channel, set against the history of the hovercraft in Dover.

FEBRUARY 16th 2023
Thomas Becket- Imogen Corrigan

Thomas Becket is one of the most famous Archbishops of Canterbury, best known for his violent end in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29th 1170. Imogen’s talk charts the rise of Thomas Becket from a scholar who loved sports, to being one of the most powerful men in the land. It is a story of great drama but nonetheless a human one.

MARCH 16th 2023
Smuggling on Romney Marsh
- Sue Duckworth

The illustrated talk, using quotes and poems, starts with an introduction to when, what and why smuggling took place. It then moves on to look at the locations on Romney Marsh and local people involved in smuggling and explains how smuggling began to decline.

APRIL 20th 2023
The Black Prince - Peter Genower

The Black Prince-hero or villain? He was the classic romantic knight at the height of the age of chivalry, a national hero and military genius, the warrior prince who never became king. But do fatal flaws in his character cloud the reputation and legacy of Edward the Black Prince? The talk will cut away the hype and take a clear-eyed view of the man behind the legend.

APRIL 27th 2023
Spring Social at the Red Lion

Our traditional Christmas Social is moved to the Spring. You are reminded that you need to have subscribed to the Society beforehand if you would like to attend.

MAY 18th 2023
The Elham Valley Railway
- Alan Walton

From the late 1880s the Elham Valley Railway line linked Cheriton and Canterbury. In addition to passengers, it was used to transport all manner of household and commercial wares. After WWII its usefulness declined and the line closed in 1947. However, its path and earthworks still hold fascination for passers-by and provide a valuable habitat for wildlife.

SUNDAY JUNE 25th 2023
Visit to Bishopsbourne Station

A chance to visit Bishopsbourne Station on the old Elham Valley line, lovingly restored by its owner Jan Knott who will show us round. Further details to follow.

Bridge & District History Archive and Oral Histories now on-line

During the lockdown, members have been busy scanning documents from the History Archive so that they will be available to view online. Good progress has been made and you can see the results these in the Archive section.

Also fascinating are the Oral History interviews which have been compiled in the last few years.

Bridge & District History Society was formed to promote interest in aspects of local history in and around the villages of Barham, Bekesbourne, Bishopsbourne, Bridge, Kingston, Littlebourne and Patrixbourne in Kent.

Each year we arrange a programme with a mixture of talks on topics of historical interest and visits to historical places, some of which are only possible to visit in pre-arranged groups.

Talks in the past have included Jane Austen in Kent, Nelson in Kent, Old Ramsgate, John Tom of Bossington Wood, The Star Hill dig at Bridge, The City Gates of Canterbury. Richborough Castle, The Domesday Book, The Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, The Green Man, Stained glass windows in Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury’s medieval hospitals, Bekesbourne Aerodrome, Soldiers of the First World War, Victorian Herne Bay, Bourne Park House, Higham House and Medieval Manuscripts.

This is a small selection of the many talks we have enjoyed over the years. As well as talks our visits have included Bourne Park House, Denton Court, Provender, Cobham Hall, Dode Church, Ypres, Lambeth Palace, Tenterden Railway again a very small selection of the many visits. We also arrange film evenings where we have shown films of Bridge in the 1930s, films of Canterbury in the 1940s, and a selection of old films of Kent.

Our current programme, which runs from September to July, is on the programme page.

A Membership application form is on the membership page.

Our evening meetings are informal and sociable and transport can be arranged if required. For those without cars we offer seats in member’s cars for the visits.

Information on the Society can be obtained by from the Secretary - email: [email protected]


St Peter's Bridge

High Street, Bridge

Bourne Park


PLEASE DO NOT contact the Society for genealogical information:

Bridge History Society does not hold any records regarding the family histories of Bridge residents nor any record of burials in the churchyard.

ALL historical parish council records have been transferred to the Kent County Archive in Maidstone and all church records to the Cathedral archives.

NB: From 1830, there was a workhouse in Union Road (now The Close). The local registrar lived at 10 Union Road and, in order to spare the embarrassment of relatives, workhouse residents were often recorded as living at that address.