2023 Programme

2023 Meetings, Events & Presentations

23rd February 2023

  • The colourful life of Thomas J Williams, landlord of the Bricklayers Arms, 1904-1926

As the landlord of the Bricks and a stalwart of the Shepherdswell Cricket Club, Thomas J Williams was one of the most well known and popular members of the Shepherdswell community.

His life – and that of his wife Annie – was full of adventure and surprises.

It sheds light on life in the village one hundred years ago. Thomas’ story is also part of the history of mining communities, of the army, British colonialism, the First World War and the pubs of Dover district.

John Bulaitis will introduce this colourful and important local personality.

Thomas’ great granddaughter, Maxine, has helped with the research and will join us digitally on the big screen.


Thursday 23rd February, 7.30pm Shepherdswell Village Hall



30th March 2023

  • Open Evening
    These meetings are devoted to talking about and researching all aspects of the history of Shepherdswell and Coldred.

Topics to be announced nearer the date.


27th April

  • Jane Austen: Who She Was and Why She Matters – Susan Civale

Our speaker tonight, Susan Civale,􏰂 argues that Jane Austen is 􏰃not ‘just about tea parties and love stories’􏰀􏰂 but her writing has real importance for our modern world.

Susan is Reader in Romanticism at Canterbury Christ Church University, and Events Manager for the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW).  She has research interests that span the ‘long’ nineteenth century, in particular around life writing, women’s writing, gothic literature, and authorial and textual afterlives. Much of her research and information for tonights presentation comes from time spent as a Research Fellow at Chawton House Library, the home of the Jane Austen’s brother, Edward.

The talk will discuss Jane􏰀s links with Kent and her wider literary significance.

Thursday 27th April, 7.30pm. Shepherdswell Village Hall


25th May

  • Open Evening

A meeting looking at aspects of the history of Shepherdswell and Coldred – topics to be announced nearer the date.


29th June

  • A ‘Walk through Time’ with Keith Roberts.

An exploration of Outlying Areas and Hamlets around Shepherdswell and Coldred.

Now a Shepherdswell tradition, this year’s ‘Walk through Time’ will be a ‘virtual’ experience in the Village Hall.

Using photos and film, Keith Roberts will focus on the history of a number of hamlets – some, such as Beauxfield, long forgotten.

Along the way, Keith – in his usual entertaining style – will tell the story of people, buildings and events.


27th July

  • Open Evening

At this month’s Open Evening we will be showing attendees how to use the internet and other resources to search for properties, people and history to aid personal research as well as enabling people to help the the History Society in its aim to have more information and resources on its website.

You don’t need to be a member to come along to attend and you would be very welcome.

To be held in the Shepherdswell Village Hall (small hall) at 7.30pm.


Saturday 2nd September

  • Big History Day – Farms and Farming

11.30am – 3.00pm in Shepherdswell Village Hall

Agriculture has shaped the villages of Shepherdswell and Coldred and dominated the lives of its people until relatively recent years.

This year’s Big History Day focuses on the history of local farms and the lives of those who worked on them.

As usual, there will be exhibits and talks – and the opportunity to buy a wholesome ploughman’s lunch.

We welcome guests from Brook Rural Museum, who will be displaying and demonstrating farming techniques and implements from a by-gone age.

Also on display will be the automaton belonging to the Reynolds family, which was recently restored to full working order on The Repair Shop. This amazing item was handcrafted by a relative whilst in isolation with ill health and shows traditional crafts people at work. It is completely unique and this will be its first public display for many years.

As usual, other aspects of local history will be on display and we will be welcoming stalls from local heritage groups.


28th September

  • The Dregs of the People Remain – The Black Death and its Aftermath with Imogen Corrigan.

Between 50% and 60% of the population of Europe and beyond perished in the first wave of the Black Death.

The disease then recurred over the next 130 years.

In this talk, Imogen Corrigan explains how this prompted a distinct increase in interest in the macabre, but also in explorations of what will happen in the next life; some of it surprisingly optimistic and amusing.


26th October

  • Open Evening

Our Open Evenings look at all aspects of the history of Shepherdswell and Coldred. This evening we will be exploring the many shops and businesses that have existed over time in the village and surrounding area. We will be looking at the buildings, families and individuals that made their livelihood in the village.

If your family once made their living from the village or your home once housed a business, why not come along for an informal evening to share your knowledge or find out more.


30th November

  • The Baby Boomer Nostalgia Show Part 1, with Alan Haines

This is an amusing celebration of being born between 1946 and 1964.

It’s a show packed with funny memories, comedy, magic and audio reminders of the time.

It’s presented by Alan Haines who has been very busy on the public speaker circuit for some time with the popular A Kick Up The Sixties, A Swipe At The Seventies, and Mad Musicians & Crazy Dancers.

Memories of the 1950s, 60s and 70s are dredged up in these hilarious reminiscences.

You’ll laugh at the old days and be in stitches with modern times.

Alan is an experienced guest speaker who has performed his hilarious presentations to clubs and societies throughout the South East as well as appearing in his own shows at The Edinburgh and Brighton Fringes.

7.30pm Thursday 30th November at Shepherdswell Village Hall.



To download a hard copy of our 2023 programme, click here.

All meetings (including The Big History Day) are FREE to Members and just £3 for non-Members.

Annual Membership is only £10. You can join on the night or click here to organise membership beforehand.