St Mary's Island History Group

Newbadge 2013-08-14 13.13.53 BASINS 1871 Masons at Work BASINS 1871 Sentry

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 vario

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.



Bringing Eastgate back to life


We must look to the 16th and 17th Century when Eastgate House became an iconic building in the High Street of Rochester.


It has its connections with the Royal Dockyard and beginning as a family home has gone through many guises and uses.


Today it is reborn as such after a major refurbishment that itself has tales to tell. We welcome next Monday, 15 January, Sue Haydock from the Friends of Eastgate House to tell us the history, stories and experiences of what has been a multi-million pound project with a local touch.


Also we will be asking you for your ideas on what our next research projects should be. The success of our photographs find  of building the Basins in the 19th Century continues and thought is being given to how that task develops. But there are other aspects of the Island’s past such as the training schools, sports activities and dockyard life itself involving the Island. Material on the Island is also being collected for archiving.


Plus we have found another Chatham to tell you about that evening.





We look forward to you joining us on 15 January to hear about Eastgate House.


Further dates are

12 March, 14 May, 16 July,

17 September.


Join us at the Community Centre off Island Way West for 7.30pm.


Visitors welcome £2 which includes refreshments.



20Cover EastgateHouse2 EastgateHouse4