Centre for Kent History and Heritage

Medway History Showcase 23 plus upcoming events


Medway History Showcase 23 plus upcoming events

Apologies about the absence of the CKHH blog but IT at CCCU ‘lost’ all the university’s blogs again on Friday 13 October and everything ground to a halt while they tried to rectify the problem, hopefully this time for good!! Consequently, fingers crossed this one in the last full week of October will work and remain, and I’ll use it first to highlight the upcoming CKHH and Friends of Canterbury Archaeological Trust’s November Lecture – see below, other upcoming events before moving on to report on the Medway History Showcase.

The CKHH stand

To begin with the CKHH/FCAT Lecture: Dr Catrinia Cooper, a digital humanities specialist at CCCU will be speaking on Thursday 2 November at 7pm on the CCCU campus in Newton Ng07 (where we were for October’s talk). Her title is: ‘Beyond the Visual: digital sensory pasts’ and as she says: “Digital approaches have opened up routes into exploring sensory pasts in new and exciting ways. My talk will discuss two approaches to opening up our understanding of sensorial experience of the past: auralisation and 3D printing, using case studies from Kent and further afield.” As usual, the lecture is free to students, but we ask for a donation of £2 from Friends and £3 from visitors. No need to book and just come along to what promises to be a fascinating presentation.

For the Kent Place-Names and Surnames conference

Next, at the Royal Engineers Museum, Gillingham, on Saturday 18th November between 10am and 4pm the KAS Place Names Group are holding a one-day conference with seven talks, of which two will be given by Dr Paul Cullen. This promises to be an excellent day because as well as Paul there will be lots of other exceedingly interesting speakers exploring a wide variety of names and naming practices. For £20 tickets, please see the QR code, and for further details, please see www.kentarchaeology.org.uk or facebook: @theKentArchaeologicalSociety1857 .

Moving into the spring but before the Medieval Canterbury Weekend 2024 on Friday 26 April to Sunday 28 April, the Kent’s Maritime Communities project based at CCCU and the University of Southampton will be holding an event on Saturday 23 March at Dover Museum thanks to Jon Iveson and Martin Crowther. It is entitled ‘Migrants, Merchants and Mariners in the Kentish Cinque Ports, c.1400–c.1600’ and will feature talks by the project leaders, Dr Craig Lambert and me with the Research Assistant Dr Rob Blackmore and our two doctoral students, Kieron Hoyle and Jason Mazzocchi. Hopefully the six ‘Medieval Dover’ pop-up banners will be back up with further information banners from Craig and Rob on their exciting new discoveries about Dover’s merchants and possibly other banners too. So please do save the date and watch this space for further details!

Pete Joyce introduces the panel for ‘What can your archives do for you’, including Jane Joyce (Chatham Dockyard) far right

I now want to focus on the Medway History Showcase from last Saturday (21 October) which as in 2022 took place at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham. Peter and Jane Joyce had done a vast amount of work behind the scenes for this day in conjunction with Rebecca Nash and Tom Paffett from the Museum, as well as ensuring everything went smoothly on the day itself, ably assisted by young JJ. Due to the success of last year’s event, over 180 free tickets had been booked this year and quite a few of the exhibitors had come again. It was lovely to see old friends from the Kent Archives Service and the Medway Archives, in addition to people from Chatham Dockyard, including George Hornby, and Andrew Mayfield (KCC’s Community Archaeologist) with his project at Shorne Country Park.

Some of the CKHH publications

This year due to other commitments in Canterbury, Professor Carolyn Oulton and Michelle Crowther could not showcase their ‘Kent Maps’ project, but Dr Diane Heath, Jason Mazzocchi and I were there (in almost the same spot as last year) to showcase Medieval Animals Heritage, Kent’s Maritime Communities and Faversham – aspects of the medieval town and the oyster disputes from the late Elizabethan and early Stuart period. These oyster disputes, as regular readers of the blog will know, form the first of Jason’s case studies for his doctoral project on social and cultural practices in the Cinque Ports through an analysis of discourse and transgression relating to oral, written and pictorial sources – hence the focus on the oyster maps.

Jason discusses the Faversham oyster fishing grounds with visitors

Furthermore, highlighting the oyster fishermen fitted with the day’s theme of industry, and Jason was especially keen to hear Richard Turner’s talk on ‘Rochester Oyster and Floating Fishery – a Family History’, for even though Richard explored modern history, ideas such as things done ‘time out of mind’ as a means to explore orality and social memory remain pertinent whether we are looking at early 17th-century society or communities in far more recent times. Consequently, Jason was able to have a discussion with Richard later in the day, as well as having numerous conversations with people attending the Showcase who were drawn to his display, including a poster of one of the oyster maps. As a result, Jason now has another oyster dispute involving Rochester to study, thereby adding to those at Faversham, Milton and Whitstable, each constituency deploying a different form of documentation to pursue their community’s interests in the face of central government and other opposition.

Diane highlighting the value of medieval animals

Diane, too, had large numbers of people, including some teachers, who were interested in how she has been engaging SEND children and their families in a whole range of activities through the use of ‘medieval animals’. Again, as regular readers of the blog will know, Diane and her band of student volunteers and others, as well as Dr Pip Gregory and Martin Crowther have had a packed schedule for the last couple of years for Diane’s Heritage Lottery funded project. Indeed, the exhibition in the crypt at Rochester Cathedral is still going on, featuring the fabulous Rochester Bestiary that is on loan from the British Library. Do check-out the Rochester Cathedral website, and among those contributing there is Jacob Scott, who is the Cathedral Heritage Officer, and he has just started a doctorate at CCCU being supervised by Dr Catrinia Cooper.

JJ and his fellow exhibition designers at Chatham Dockyard (photo: Peter Joyce)

Finally, just as a round-up of CKHH matters, the Kent History Postgraduates have their monthly online catch-up meeting tomorrow (Wednesday), Dr Diane Heath will be working on the ‘Baby Green Dragon’ on the CCCU campus later this week using clay and oyster shells and she is making good progress towards organising the book from the conference on medieval animals, I did the first of my Canterbury Festival Walks on behalf of FCAT for Canterbury Archaeological Trust last Sunday with the second on Saturday 4 November, as well as being Professor Paul Bennett’s back-stop for his Festival walk this Friday and we would like to congratulate JJ on his contribution to the ‘Walking on the Shoulders of Giants’ exhibition at Chatham Historic Dockyard. For JJ has made an audio-visual presentation as his contribution to the exhibition. Furthermore, regular readers of the blog will have seen JJ because he is a regular helper at CKHH events with his parents, has been an exceedingly active member of Diane’s ‘Medieval Animals Heritage’ events and was instrumental in the development of sensory backpacks which can be found in many museums across Kent and nationally.

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