St Mary's Island History Group

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St Mary's Island is a wealth of stories -- of people, heritage, new life and hope.


Welcome to our web site  that is growing as our Group grows.


We have already had some very successful meetings and set up some contact groups.


We have identified research that we want to do on this Island as well as present its many layers of history.



Take time to read our latest Newsletter and we will then look forward to meeting you soon.



Our Twenty Years and more booklets

Dockyard2 shipbuilding BASINS 1871 Mending Blacksmith's Bellows Lord Nelson 05 Folly point BASINS1871 convicts drawing stone Kent, Chatham, Dockyard BASINS 1871 Convicts Excavating Large Basin chatham70 Newsletter

There is a further booklet in the St Mary’s Island History Group series where we have drawn together history on the Dutch Raid on the River Medway of 1667. This is a compilation of information with some illustrations describing some of the history leading up to the raid and various accounts.

We also have our booklet on the Medway Hulks -- the de-masted hulks of warships fitted out to take hundreds of convicts and prisoners of war. They floated in the River Medway and off Sheerness with each having a crew of guardians and the convicts coming ashore to work.

We already have sold over a hundred copies of the booklet produced alongside the 20 Years of St Mary’s Island Exhibition. Not forgetting text and illustrations from our St Mary's Island 1914 - 2014 exhibition as booklets.

To get your booklet copies, priced £1, telephone Brian Portway on 01634 891708 or send us a contact message through our web site.  Or see us at the meeting. We meet at St Mary's Island Community Centre, Island Way West,  Chatham  ME4 3EP on the second Monday each two months. See you there.



Frozen -- three times . . . .


Whatever the prospects for a white Winter, our Island under snow and ice has been history. More so in 1895, 1947 and 1963 when the Medway actually iced over.


Our popular local historian David Burton returns to tell us about ‘The Frozen Medway’ and brings photographs and surprising facts about how the Towns and our Island coped with heavy snowfalls and continuing cold and frost. It was a mix of person power, ingenuity and human kindness in very different circumstances across those decades.


Also be prepared for some mystery as David brings along objects he has recently added to his collection and wonders if you can guess what they are.


Join us on Monday, 13 January, at St Mary's Island Community Centre off Island Way West.  7.30pm  Visitors welcome £2 .  


Although our annual subscription is the same, we are now asking all for £1 per person for refreshments to help balance the books as such.


We are still looking into the mystery of the burnt ship found as the massive Chatham Dockyard Extension project was underway in the late 19th Century. Some 15 metres down in the mud was found the partial hull of a burnt out ship as what is now the commercial basin was being built. It seems to come from the Dutch Raid of 1657 when two ships were burned at the mouth of St Mary's Creek.

Watchj this space.




The mystery

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Did you know that our photographs and illustrations pop-up! Click on them and they will enlarge on the page.

We do endeavour to find the sources for images we use so that credit or appropriate ownership details can be shown. If you can help with this please make contact.