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Gillingham photos

Displaying the first of 33 old photos of Gillingham.   View all Gillingham photos

View all 33 photos of Gillingham

Gillingham maps

Historic maps of Gillingham and the local area, hand-drawn by Ordnance Survey and Samuel Lewis.   View all Gillingham maps

Gillingham area books

Displaying 1 of 26 books about Gillingham and the local area.   View all books for this area

Memories of Gillingham

Gillingham memories
Read and share Gillingham memories

Displaying a selection of personal memories of Gillingham. There are 33 shared memories to read.
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Childhood Days

By The Medway c1955, Gillingham
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I vaguely remember the bad winter when snow was still laying in June, black snow where people had thrown ash onto paths and roads. There were holes cut into the banks of snow so people could cross the roads. Then in the early 50's, the weekly trip with barrow to the gasworks in Pier Road for a load of coke 'cos we couldn't afford coal. Saturday morning pictures at the Grand or Odeon cinema's I recall getting day off from school to see the King (George VI) open the N.A.A.F.I. club (now the King Charles Hotel). Also of meeting Prince Phillip at the Royal Naval Memorial when I was in the Royal Naval Cadets. The night the Royal Marines Cadets died in Dock Road; we were waiting in the gym for boxing match with them. But we had some good times..didn't like going shopping with mum, but was fascinated in a shop called, Davd Griegs, where when you paid and they put the money in a container, pulled a... Read more

Sharps Green

By The Medway c1955, Gillingham
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We had some great times in the summer hollidays. A crowd of us would get on our bikes go along to the Strand and then along the sea wall to sharps Green. We passed a boat yard, but I don't remember the name. We were gone all day. We played "bike scrambling" up and down the mounds, the boys were always better at it than us girls. There were always loads of damsons and blackberries that we could pick and eat. We came home at six tired out. I first got my love of the countryside then and since then have always respected it. I also remember going to the war memorial on Mill Road with my dad and all the men removing their hats in respect. We went to fairs on the lines, Navy Days. I remember the Dockyard hooter morning, lunch time and evening, no excuse then for being late for school. Time off for the Queen's visit to Gillingham, she wore green I remember. "Happy highways where I... Read more

The Disasters in Gillingham we Must Never Forget

I have told you of my memories of the Gillingham bus distaster 4th Dec 1951 when me, Bob Dunford and my school friend Peter Gerard could not march with the Royal Marine Cadets because our suits never came in and all our friends died. Well just think of this. My brother, John George Dunford was in the Naval Cadets in July 1929 when they had the Gillingham Park Disaster when all those children died and all those fireman died trying to save them, just because some idiot could not wait and caught the building alight too early. Well, my brother John, Jack as we called him, his Naval Cadet suit never arrived, like me, and he could not join the other boys. They all burned alive with the firemen trying to save them. In Woodland Cemetery, Gillingham, you will see the children who died in the bus disaster, which I should have been in, and behind them the graves of the Naval Cadets of the Gillingham Park Disaster. So me... Read more

Gillingham in The Forties

I lived in Medway Road from 1934-1956. I also remember the doodle bugs (as did Gordon Savage, I remember him), the dockyard heavy guns, and school. I was due to start school on the day war started and finally went to Richmond Road Infants two years later. All the teachers were evacuated with the local area evacuees so there was no one to teach us. I went for 1 hour, then 2 hours, an afternoon, and finally all day. When the air raid siren sounded we were allowed to go home, if we could get there in a very short time. My gran lived in Richmond Road so I always went back to her and her Morrison shelter. I also remember lorries coming so that people who had been unable to have a bath or shower could do so. I remember going in one once, and getting into loads of trouble from mum. I really don't know how we learnt anything. I am hoping to revisit Gillingham later... Read more

Gillingham Cinema

The Former Embassy Cinema 2005, Gillingham
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The Embassy in Green Street was formerly called the Odeon. Other cinemas in Gillingham at that time were the Plaza in Duncan Road (on the site of what is now Aldi's) and the Grand on the corner of Skinner Street and Jeffery Street. The Grand closed sometime in the 1960's I think after part of the ceiling collapsed during the Saturday morning kids' pictures. Other cinemas near to Gillingham were the Royal in Rainham High Street (now a furniture shop), the Gaumont (formerly the Palace) on Watling Street Chatham which is now a camping shop, previously a bowling alley - the south side of Watling Street was in Chatham and the north side in Gillingham! The Ritz and the Regent in Chatham High Street and the Empire (next door to the Empire Theatre) at the other end of the High Street (now the site of the County Court), the Gaumont in Rochester High Street and the Waldrona(?) in Strood.

Reading The Stories Brings Back so Many Memories

By The Medway c1955, Gillingham
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My name is Bob Dunford born 1937. The Dock Road tragedy is the worst memory of them all. The night before went swimming with all my mates in the naval cadets. Next day, I and my friend Peter Gerard went down to get our suits to march that day, but our suits were not in and we were told to go home. We went to the pictures instead and came home to our house where my mother, father and brothers were all crying when I walked in, they thought I had died with all the others. I live in Spain now but every time I go back to England, I go to their graves to say a few words to my old friends. Most of us went to Richmond Road School. I believe, in my class, there are only five of us still alive. I met two of them last time I was there. Missed Jimmy Oaks and Reg Warboys. I think we had some very bad times but on... Read more

Canterbury Street From Paget Street Downwards

High Street c1955, Gillingham
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shops going down towards the high street


Twydall Green c1960, Gillingham
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We moved to Lyminge Close, Twydall in 1960 from our wartime built pre-fab in Wigmore when I was 15 months old. Pictured are the 'modern' post war shops but there was also an older red-brick parade opposite. Out of shot on the right of the picture was 'Perks' a dry goods grocers where Mum would buy flour, rice - all sold loose from large wooden bins and served in paper cones expertly folded up from sheets on the counter by the shopkeeper. Even further up on the corner was Cross's the butchers. Well known for being sour faced and sarcastic, Cross was one of three butchers in Twydall; now a dying breed. Opposite in the older parade was a wet fish shop which became a chippy at night, the library, the Copper Kettle Tea Room/Corner Shop and my favourite place in the world - Arnold's. Tucked away in the far corner, along from the C.K., they sold toys, hundreds of them. It was cheek by Jowl with a milliners and... Read more

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