Report of Events

Past Events Archive



In February Andrew Mayfield spoke about Community Archaeology Work in NW Kent around Cobham & Shorne.

With money from the Lottery Fund and in conjunction with KCC, local community groups conducted digs; with the use of a lidar screen from the sky the landscape was revealed and with surface layers removed outlines of medieval field systems and early foundations were revealed.

A Young Archaeological Club was formed to teach young people how to recognise a site. In the village of Cobham children were enthused to dig in the grounds of the school and each child found something either pieces of blue pottery, early tokens etc.





A talk by Toni Mount on the role of the housewife in the Middle Ages proved very entertaining and gave us an interesting insight into domestic arrangements in the medieval period, using portraits and writings of the time.

Arranged marriages among the upper and middle classes often gave rise to considerable disparity in age, with the husband often older than the wife. Respectable married women wore wimples to conceal their hair and had various essential duties to perform such as providing clean linen, washing their husband's feet when he came home from work and organising food and drink. They also had to deal with fleas and moths.

The lacing up of the smocks which women invariably wore had a special significance. If you were rich, you were laced up at the back to show you had servants. If you were a respectable woman, your lacing was straight, but if you were a woman of easy virtue, you would be cross-laced because that was easier to undo. You would wear patterns over your shoes to protect you from the filth and working men and women all wore aprons.

The rich used a lot of spices in their food to enhance or conceal the flavour and sugar began to be used liberally after the crusades to the deterioration of everyone's teeth.





This was a very well researched and illuminating talk on the use of the underground stations for protection during the war.
In anticipation of German bombing raids on London and other key cities the Government had built some shelters.
They assumed at first that raids would happen in the daytime, be of short duration and use gas.
However it soon became clear that they were going to happen predominately at night, last for a long time, and not use gas.

At first, the Government forbade the practice of using the stations but it became increasingly clear that the scale of the bombing that was unleashed was such, that it was inevitable that the underground would have to be used. More and more Londoners took to spending the night in the stations and at the peak of the bombing, thousands were taking their bedding and most precious documents and trying to get what sleep they could. It could not have been a pleasant experience. People were packed in on the platforms like sardines with no privacy, and no toilet facilities.

As time went on the authorities began to arrange for food and drink to be on offer and some rudimentary bed structures were provided. We were shown a number of photographs which tried to give the impression that it was a fun experience and there was a short film of Arthur Askey singing a cheery song while he was getting up in the morning. Morale had to be kept up.

It is undeniable that sheltering the underground stations must have saved thousands of lives. Many who emerged in the morning would have found their homes reduced to rubble as the raids intensified. Only one station took a direct hit and that was caused by a V2 missile as late as 1944 . There would simply not been enough shelters to protect Londoners without the use of these stations.






Shoreham And District
Historical Society
Affiliated to
The Shoreham Society
The Kent History Federation and
The Kent Archaeological Society

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Shoreham And District Historical Society
Last Updated

May 18, 2018