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).
"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) and "Longport Through the Ages" (2016) complete the Group"s booklets and 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" and "Dover Street" booklets are currently out of print.
All our booklets are full of memorable photographs, often from family archives
The OHDS 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.
As described above these publications are £3.00 + £1.50 p&p except for Old Dover Road and Ivy Lane Revisited which are £6 + £1.50 p&p and Longport Through the Ages which is £8 + £1.50 p&p. To obtain any of these booklets please contact Graham Wood: 01227 472932 (Lansdown Cottage, Lansdown Road, Canterbury, CT1 3JR, Canterbury, CT1 3JR), or 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).
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.