The Heritage Centre next to the village school in the High Street is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Opening times:  weekday mornings from 09:00 – 12:30. 

The Centre has recently been refurbished and shows many aspects of village life and history from pre-historic times to the twentieth century including a ‘time-line’ and many historical artifacts. There are regularly-changing displays.  The most recent is a history of the village school.

If you wish to be added to the email distribution list of the (free) ‘Otford History and Heritage Newsletter’, published three or four times a year, and also receive emails about history-related events in Otford, (a total of approximately 9 emails per year) please email your name and email address to info@otfordhistoricalsociety.co.uk

For the latest Heritage Centre news please scroll down the page.

If you want to find out more about ‘what’s on’ at the Heritage Centre please email: info@otfordheritage.co.uk

Permanent exhibits include a model of Otford Palace and information about the pioneering aviator, Percy Pitcher.  There is a small reference library and if you are undertaking local research we may be able to direct you to useful sources.  Other information is available at Sevenoaks Library and the County Records Office in Maidstone.

There is also a small sales area where you can purchase copies of books about the history of Otford and neighbouring villages published by the historical society and other publishers, postcards and greeting cards by local photographer Jane Mucklow and other reminders of your visit.

   

The Heritage Centre                                   Model of Otford Palace as it may have looked in its heyday

   

Model of pioneering aviator Percy Pitcher             Dr David Starkey visiting the Centre

Heritage Centre News update January 2018

In late November over twenty guests attended a ‘coffee and cake’ event at the Centre at which Alan Williams explored the history of Otford Village School.  Look out for the next ‘coffee and cake’ event in the spring.

During the winter months the Centre can be accessed during Parish Council Office opening hours (09:00 – 12:30 Monday to Friday).  Please note the Centre will be closed at Weekends until mid February.

The Heritage Centre Management Committee has arranged its schedule of meetings for 2018 which will include the development on new displays including the projects outlined in the last ‘Otford History and Heritage Newsletter’.  These include ‘now and then’ illustrations of Otford, especially based on paintings and historic photographs and the development of the history of clubs, associations, churches and schools in the village. We are also hoping to develop a digital archive of material.

If you might be able to help with these activities?  If you have any documents, photographs or artifacts about the history of the village we would love to see them and obtain digital copies or follow-up any leads you can provide.

Should you, or a local group of which you are a member, feel that you could contribute to any of these projects, we would be delighted to hear from you.

If you can help in any way please contact the Heritage Centre by email at info@otfordheritage.co.uk

Heritage Centre News update December 2017

There is a new display about the history of Otford Primary School illustrated with historic photographs of the School including some of its past school students.  Do pop in to see if you can recognise yourself (or family and friends!).  Please also leave your memories of the School in the ‘reminiscences book’.  If you have any photographs of the School we would be very pleased to see them.  You can contact the Heritage Centre by email at info@otfordheritage.co.uk

The cast of the 1954 Otford School play ‘ The Problem Princess’

Please also remember one of the current Centre projects is in connection with an Art Archive, which will link the past with the present.  We already have copies of several historic paintings of Otford, but we need to know more about the artists and whether there are any more such paintings to be found in galleries or private collections. If this (voluntary) work could be of interest to you, please contact Doug Cracknell, chair, management committee by email at: info@otfordheritage.co.uk

Heritage Centre News update August 2017

Doug Cracknell, Chair of the Heritage Centre Management Committee writes:

New, relevant displays are obviously of great importance and the management committee is working on three particular projects.

  •  First, paintings by “old masters” of views of Otford, or particular buildings within it, before the days of photography, accompanied by a photograph of the same subject as it is today, or early photographs of Otford scenes which would have next to them a painting by one of today’s local artists of the same place, as it is today.

There are two ways in which you could help: Do you know of an old master’s picture of Otford, who owns it and where it may be found or do you have a photograph of Otford, going back towards the first days of photography?  We would gladly follow-up any lead.

  •  Second, we wish to record the history of every church, school, club or association in Otford, each body having its own “page” of the same size.   Help in collecting and preparing this material, in accordance with an agreed specification, would obviously be greatly appreciated.
  •  Third, we would like to begin work on a digital archive, the contents of which, for practical purposes,would be unlimited but also readily accessible.  For example, we have some pre-war films of Otford which could be included, but there is so much else.  Just thinking of films for the moment, do you have any early examples which would merit a place in a digital archive?

For projects one and two, we already have offers of help from appropriate village societies to take a leading role and of persons to be project coordinators and, in the case of the first project, to take the necessary photographs.  Should you, or a local group of which you are a member, feel that you could lead or coordinate the third project, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Lastly, another request: we need two or three more simple (but attractive) notices boards which could be put up at appropriate times, announcing that the heritage centre is open – and that admission is free! Should you believe that you could help with this, please do let us know.

In advance, warmest thanks for any help that you are able to give.  You can contact Doug using the Heritage Centre email: info@otfordheritage.co.uk

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: secretary@otfordpalace.org