Doorway- Becket House New Dover Road 1939
Doorway- Becket House New Dover Road 1939

Local History Group

The Society's Local History Group started life in 1986 as an "Oral History Group".

A century ago, the Oaten Hill area was a distinct, mixed community, with many local industries - several linked with the nearby countryside. In the days when most men walked on foot to work (and women mostly brought up children), such local businesses, often family-owned, gave Oaten Hill its character.

OHDS members set about collecting memories of those who had lived and worked locally before motor transport changed all this. The LHG still has a stock of taped interviews and transcripts from this exercise. In due course we published four booklets on local Canterbury firms - "The Taylors" (corn and seed merchants, published 1988); "The Holmans" (millwrights and agricultural engineers, 1992); "The Bigglestons" (Iron Founders, 1996) and "The Pinnocks" (coal merchants, 2000).

The series continued with the history of local streets; "Dover Street Remembered" (1993), "Ivy Lane Remembered" (1996) - now updated and reprinted as "Ivy Lane Revisited" (2013), "Nunnery Fields Remembered" (1998), "Old Dover Road – Past and Present" (2012), "Longport Through the Ages" (2016) and "The Story of Oaten Hill" (2018). "Dover Street Revisited" (2023) completes the Group’s booklets which are still much in demand from newcomers in these streets, wondering about the history of the many interesting old buildings there.

The City Council has recognised our work by agreeing to name a car park as "Holmans Meadow" and an alleyway as "Bigglestons Link".

Please note that the "Taylors of Canterbury" is currently out of print.

Dover Street

We have just published the latest volume in our history of local streets series. The history of Dover Street was first published some 30 years ago and is now out of print. The previous edition comprised a series of memories of residents recalling the street as it was between 1900 and 1990. The new edition seeks to explore the lives of those who lived and worked here during the past 200 years. The area has been broadened to include Vernon Place and Oaten Hill Place. The book, fully illustrated with colour photographs, will be available from the Local History Group at history@ohsca.org and is priced at £10.00.

books montage

All our booklets are full of memorable photographs, often from family archives

The OHSCA Local History Group has built up its own large archive of photographs, covering both the Society's activities and the many changes in our area over the last 30 years. We are continuing this work, and particularly anxious to find new members willing to keep a lookout for interesting events and changes to record photographically. We have recently added our booklet on the history of Longport, from Roman times to the present day.

These publications are £3.00 + £1.50 p&p except for Ivy Lane Revisited (£6 + £1.50 p&p), Old Dover Road and Longport Through the Ages (£10 + £2.50 p&p) and The Story of Oaten Hill (£12 + £2.70 p&p.).
To obtain any of these booklets, please email the history group here.

We have not just collected words and pictures

For nearly half a century from 1946, a tiny, traditional family hardware shop, "Wood's Stores", was a much loved feature of Dover Street.

As it was closing, the LHG-collected a full set-of the goods-on sale, raised funds to house them and worked with the Museum of Canterbury in Stour Street to create a permanent display. "From paraffin to pegs, from mousetraps to hairnets, a magical shop that housed a cornucopia of goods was back on display", reported the Gazette on its opening (12 May 2005).

Our Meetings

Members of the group, still including a few of the original founding members, now meet for a coffee, a chat and to manage the group's affairs every second month on a Tuesday morning, and occasionally go on local history guided walks.

If you would like to come along and chat about your memories of the area, or (having more recently moved here) like to learn more about the Oaten Hill area, do join us.

Current Projects

The LHS is currently engaged on creating a visual record of the past 50 years of OHDS/OHSCA for publication in 2024

If you have anything you wish to offer, or know of anyone, please contact us through Sophie Scott on sophie01@btinternet.com.

Fasces- Sessions House Longport 1807
Fasces - Sessions House Longport 1807

Oaten Hill area of Canterbury (after Speed 1611)
Oaten Hill Area from The Groundplott of Canterbury –17th Century