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

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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.



Latest news on floating neighbour


Join us on Monday, 9 July, for a very interesting update on a  historic near neighbour.

Pam Bathurst will  be joining us  to bring us up to date on the rebirth as such of the 'Medway Queen'.

The paddle steamer has a remarkable history going back to 1923. Medway Queen entered service on the Strood-Chatham-Southend-Herne Bay route the following year. With occasional excursions elsewhere she served on the same route until the beginning of the Second World War. Chatham Navy week was an annual highlight and in 1937 the ship ran an excursion to the Coronation Naval Review at Spithead.  There is so much more to tell as well.

Great effort and devotion has brought the ship to float again at its dedicated visitor centre just down river from the Island.

We look forward to the latest news and views from Pam on behalf of the Medway Queen Preservation Society. There will also be some of our own Group items as usual.

All at St Mary's Island Community Centre of Island Way West.  7.30pm Visitors welcome £2 . Although we are keeping our annual subscriptions the same, we are now asking £1 per person for all for refreshments to help balance the books as such.


Our advance news is that at our meeting on Monday, 10 September, our speaker will be Peter Haddock on "A copper in Chatham Dockyard of the 1960s'.







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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