Websites for Chatham, Medway and Kent history

MALSC's Online Resources - Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre for anyone researching the history, geography and people of Medway.

MALSC images search - Lots of old photographs and images of the Medway area.

Kent Photo Archive - Images of Kent

Kent Archaeological Society - The oldest and largest society devoted to the history and archaeology of the ancient county of Kent.

Medway Memories - A look at the Medway Towns' fascinating past.

Theatre Royal - Chatham's Theatre Royal (1899 to 1955)

Kent History Forum - Discussion website for history enthusiasts, with a good selection of old photographs.

Historic Medway - Website run by a local history enthusiast.

Flickr Chatham Pre Pentagon - Collection of photographs.

British Pathe - Chatham on the British Pathe website.

Friends of Chatham Traction - Chatham and District buses which operated from 1930 to 1955, and the story of the only surviving C&D bus.

Brook Pumping Station - A piece of industrial history in the centre of Chatham.

Chatham Drill Hall - Opened in 1905, demolished in 1933. The site is now occupied by Cressey Court (off Fort Pitt Hill).

Medway Workhouses - Including the Medway Union Workhouse in Chatham which eventually became All Saints Hospital.

Medway Queen - Website of the paddle steamer's preservation society.

Fort Amherst - Napoleonic fortress in Chatham. Open to the public.

Chatham Unitarian Church - The history page from the church's website.

South Eastern and Chatham Railway Society - Promoting interest in the South Eastern and Chatham Railway, its constituents, and its successors.

Listed buildings in Medway

Dover Transport Museum - Has a collection of vintage transport, including an Aveling & Porter steam roller.

Medway Old Pictures - A slideshow of old pictures.

Britain from Above - Historic Aerial Images.

Lordswood History Group - Investigating the history of Lordswood, Chatham.

Martello Tower No. 24 - The Martello Tower on Romney Marsh.

Newcomb War Diary

A few years ago Chatham Historical Society was given permission to make a replica of an original diary written every day during the years of the Second World War by George West, company secretary of a navy tailors, hosiers, hatters and shirt makers in Chatham High Street called Newcomb's. This replica of the "Newcomb War Diary"  is dedicated to the memory of Mr West, the Newcomb and Paine families, and all Medway people – both service personnel and civilians – who lived through the events described in it.

Newcomb's opened for business in 1854. After the original shop was demolished when the Sir John Hawkins flyover was built, the business moved along the High Street to the corner of Medway Street.
Mr Gerald Newcomb is still trading as Penguins Dress Hire.

The replica was paid for by Chatham Historical Society and a generous donation by the late Mr and Mrs W. Paine, and has been available to view at public events and libraries in the Medway towns.
It is currently (2017) located in the Medway Archives Centre.

The Paine family ran outfitter's shops in Chatham and Strood, and were founders of the Chatham Reliance Building Society.

Other Chathams around the world

Chatham, Massachusetts and its Historical Society website.    

Chatham, New Jersey and its Historical Society website.     

Chatham, Connecticut and its Historical Society website.  

Chatham County, North Carolina and its Historical Society website.

Chatham (village), New York and its Historical Society page on Facebook.

and Medways

Medway, Massachusetts and its Historical Society website.

Accessing old maps on the internet

If you want to look at old maps for a particular area you could try this:

1. Go to Old Ordnance Survey Maps (it has been set to start with the map centred upon the New Road viaduct, Chatham)

2. Click and drag the map until the area of interest is in the centre.

3. Click on "View at"

4. Wait for the map selection to load.

5. Use the slider bar to scroll through the available maps; they are arranged in chronological order from the mid/late 1800s through to the late 1900s. Click on the map that you want.

6. Wait for your map to load and be displayed in the main window.

Wikipedia articles about towns, buildings, bridges etc usually have a clickable set of geographical coordinates at the top right of the page (for example the article for Fort Horsted) and this "coordinates link" goes to GeoHack which then presents a choice of map links to follow. Clicking on "Map" just to the right of "Old OS maps" goes to step 2 of the procedure above.

Some Wikipedia articles have clickable grid references within the text. For example, the  Chatham and District Light Railways article has a clickable grid reference for its depot location, and this again goes to GeoHack with its choice of map links.

MAPCO has some old maps, including some of Kent on this page.

National Library of Scotland also has maps covering England and Wales.

Ragged School

Chatham had a Ragged School. The building still exists at the top of King Street and is in regular use, but not as a school.

Some roads on the "Navy Estate" behind the Victoria Cross public house in Lordswood, Chatham, were probably named after these recipients of the Victoria Cross:

Royal Navy

Henry Cooper VC

Thomas Gould VC

Joseph Kellaway VC Grave in the cemetery on Maidstone Road Chatham.

Albert McKenzie VC

William Savage VC

Archibald Smith VC


James Mouat VC