|Disused toilets near the Strand in Gillingham|
History is the sum of human experience. If it is not learnt from then you are doomed to repeat it.
History is made by asking five questions; when, where, who, how and why?
Often we know four of the five but one is always a source of contention.
We know when the battle of little bighorn started, we know who led each side, we know roughly where from the bodies discovered afterwards, we know why but we do not know how Custer's wing conducted itself or how it was defeated.
The truth will always be elusive and open to conjecture.
Local history is something that is all around us, you can't miss it. Not just the castles and cathedrals but also in other areas. The out houses behind the old Chatham Post office is clearly a stable for the stage coaches of old, plaques on houses with dates of construction, grave stones, blue plaques, missing houses in streets - it is all there.
Ever noticed that Gillingham high street has a road like layout with paving slabs on walkways along the side and a wide flat area in the centre? It is where the old tram lines used to run through the town.
You may think that nothing ever happens in the Medway towns but if you scratch the surface we have war, crime, pestilence, famine, death and a role in national and global history. There is something for everyone even if it is one thing that makes you go "huh!"
So how can you get involved or read more?
Well there are many good books in the local libraries any of the book shops in Rochester especially Baggins'.
There is also online resources both amateur and professional. You can check out Medway City ark, The kenthistoryforum and many more - just ask Google a question and the answer will present itself.
These are our towns, they are something to be proud of and generations of people have lived here and made a rich tapestry of events that is fascinating if you but take the time to look into it.
Not into Local stuff - why not take a look at your family? Lots of people get into it to see if they can replicate what they have seen on Who do you think you are? but are often disappointed. occasionally there is something really awesome that makes you think wow other times there is a lot of repetitiveness. It is worth looking into, even if you just go a few generations. There are plenty of Genealogy websites that will help you (for free to a point.) so why not?
History is not the reserve of dusty old professors who do not see the light beyond their libraries, it belongs to all of us and it is waiting for us to grab hold of it.