Several history-related groups meet in Otford and in the Darent Valley. You will find information about these and other related activities below:
The OTFORD 1940S SOCIETY hold bi-monthy meetings (January, March, May, July, September and November) in Otford Village Memorial Hall (OVMH) in the centre of the village adjacent to the car park. The Society organises talks on a wide variety of topics relating to the 1940s including military and social and political history. You can find details of the programme on the ‘Programme’ page. To find out more please email Otford@1940.co.uk
The OTFORD HERITAGE TRAIL consists of a series of information boards which explain historically important buildings in the village. Each board is linked to a QR code and NFC tag providing your smartphone with a two-minute commentary. Commentaries are available in English, Francais and Deutsch. There is also a series of worksheets for students. You can access the Heritage Trail Map at the following link:
The ARCHBISHOP’S PALACE CONSERVATION TRUST (APCT): The APCT (a registered charity, number 1173486) has been set up with the aim of acquiring the Otford Palace site and buildings and creating a visitor centre that will not only present the history of the Palace and its Tudor history, but also act as an interpretation centre and springboard for the Darent Valley. You can find out more about the work of the Trust and subscribe to its (free) email distribution list for information and updates at the following link: http://otfordpalace.org/background/ You can also contact the Trust Secretary by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Otford Heritage Centre has now closed, following its merger with APCT.
Heritage collaborates for the future
In early 2021 it was announced, the Archbishop’s Palace Conservation Trust and the Otford Heritage Centre reached agreement on a programme of close collaboration which has led to a merger of the two organisations In the short term it opens the way for the museum to achieve accredited status. Much of the preparatory work on accreditation has been carried out over the past six months and the formal application will be made shortly. The next step will be a complete review and cataloguing of the collection of objects on display in the Otford Heritage Centre and those in storage in various locations in the Village. The long-term intention is that the collection will be displayed in the Palace, in the ground floor space of the conserved and refurbished North West Tower. The two organisations are also planning an outreach programme that will enable schools in the Darent Valley and London to access the objects in the collection, supported by educational materials and talks by local historians.
Speaking at the formal signing ceremony on 23rd August 2020, Nick Rushby, Secretary of the Trust said: “The Trust and the Heritage Centre Committee have been working on this merger since the beginning of the year. The agreement marks the start of a new phase for both parties and the opportunity for a far greater audience to engage with the heritage of Otford and the Darent Valley.” Sir Mike Bett, who has been the Chairman and then President of the Otford Heritage Centre since its formation twenty-one years ago, said: “I am delighted that the museum created by these collaborative arrangements will enable villagers and visitors to enjoy an increasingly comprehensive and coherent picture of Otford’s remarkable 4,000 years history in the Darent Valley.”
DISCOVER ROMAN OTFORD PROJECT (DROP) is undertaking archaeological research into Roman Otford. You can find out more about the group’s activities, how to become involved and how to join via the website at: https://romanotford.org/
The NORTH WEST KENT FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY also hold regular monthly history meetings in the Village Memorial Hall on Thursday evenings with speakers exploring a wide variety of history topics.