Your memories have returned (again)

The Medway News has gone – bled to death by a succession of ungrateful owners* – but the Medway Memories page lives on. This website is under continual reconstruction — after a brief disappearance when the service provider’s servers failed — but is now fit to go again. Kep an eye on its progress!

Please feel free to write in – if I don’t know the answer I can usually tell you where to find it. I now have a new anti-spam program that easily filters the wheat from the chaff, so there’s less danger of me binning your comments.



PS Mrs Rayner and I are now proud owners of Bygone Kent, the county’s only local history magazine, and it’s time that you subscribed to it. Kindly click on this link.


* Emap, Adscene, Trinity Mirror and Northcliffe, since you ask

24 thoughts on “Your memories have returned (again)”

  1. Hi Steve,
    I have recently visisted my mother and left her company, (somewhat shocked) after having a lengthy conversation about a Mrs Florence Lewis of 6 Cambridge rd, who was brutally murdered on May 10th 1965 . The property belonged to my great grandfather who passed away 7 years before the murder but he had originally took Mrs Lewis in as a ‘House-keeper’. She remained at the cottage after he’s death which apparently left my Mothers mother and her sister very bitter as my ggrandfathers cottage seemed to get passed over to the victims family.

    I’m very interested in finding out more about this case and of the property, i have spoken to a neighbour who was very helpful. I informed my mother that i had spoken to a neighbour and she said,’ I may get my fingers burnt ‘, now this comment has intriged me even more!.

    If there is any information or sites that you know of that will help i would be very grateful,

    best regards,
    Grant sl Smith.

    1. Hi Grant,

      We (Darren & Myself) have recently been discussing the above murder case of Mrs Lewis and was wondering if you have any update on the case.


  2. Hi Steve,
    I have been shown your article regarding Razor Murder in a Brompton Street and I was wondering if I could shed any more light. Harry Frampton was my Great-Uncle and your article shows a different story to the version our Grandparents told my Mother, Aunts and Uncles. Obviously to save more heartache the truth was concealed from the family for many years and has only come to light following a family member stumbling across your article. Please could you supply me any information regarding your article that you can. We as a family, are now extremely interested in finding out any information that we can.
    On a lighter note, I remember Harry from my young years (many years after serving a life sentence) as an extremely polite, mild-mannered man whom our family loved to be around.
    If there are any sites you can point me in I would be very grateful.
    Kindest regards,
    Lynn Hester

    1. Thanks for writing, Lynn. I suggest you look through the old volumes of the Chatham News, which you should be able to find at the Medway Archives, Strood. Let me know if you need any more help. Good luck!

  3. Hi Steve, you came on my Blue Bell Hill ghost walk, and mentioned you’d email some details, especially regarding publishing. Look forward to hearing from you and thanks for coming on the walk. Do you know if there is a Medway News archive ?

  4. Hi Steve,
    Great site, looking forward to reading and contributing more.

    I would like to subscribe – can you insert a subscription facility so that I get an alert whenever you post an article please?



  5. Hi all
    I missed the Medway area so much and came back after 10 years in Canada.
    Still got friends here. Only started living in Medway with the Royal Engineers in 1980 and so I even remember some Naval influence in the pubs round Brompton…

  6. This may be a strange request but here goes. When I was young approx. 3 years, I lived in Chatham with my army father and army mother, him being in the royal engineers but as they have both died I have no way to ask questions about my younger days, What I would like to ask is were there any quarries around then as I seem to remember one being at the back of our house when I was little , if there was could you point me in the right direction to finding any pics of it and were it was so as to find out where I lived I hope you can help me

    1. It’s not a strange request at all, Patrick. There are plenty of quarries in the Medway area, formed by the extraction of chalk for the cement industry. Most are in the Medway Valley, notably Borstal, Cuxton, Halling and Frindsbury. Not sure about Chatham, though. I’m sure a reader will come up with a helpful suggestion.

      Good luck


      1. My dad owned a used commercial vehicle business for many years in an old chalk quarry in Chatham it was known as
        THE CHALK PIT JENKINS DALE , he sold the property in the early seventies my aunt owned the pit next door which was sold shortly after dads to sandal smythe & drayson the timber merchants , the Phillips family owned the chalk pit on the other side of my dad when I was a boy in the 50,s they ran a little scrap yard out of there & sold out early to the council for a public park , Eddie Phillips son now lives opposite my sister in the same house we all grew up on Haig ave Chatham , my cousin tony & I had some fun times as little boys playing in my dads lorries & pretending to adults planning our day we would take pieces of chalk out of the banks & take it home to draw on the pavement outside our houses , great site so many memories I’m 70 yrs old now & live in America but my home will always be chatham

        1. I might be wrong but Bill Adams use to operate out of the chalk pit and also had a yard along the Brook opposite the Sovereign PublIc House.I drove one of his lorries when I was a youngster.

    2. Hi, Patrick,my name is carol and i was brought up in Rochester but my nan and granddad lived at Mayfair, Frindsbury, and my dad used to work at the Atlas Stone Company in Strood just at the foot of the chalk quarry so would assume any chalk needed would have come from there.

      The chalk pit can be seen from quite a few view points in Medway, and if you look on top of the pit it has a church on the top where some of my family are buried and when my mum and dad were courting carved there names in the wall that surrounded the church.

      I have been in recent years to see if i can find the John loves Vera but sadly it was quite overgrown where i remember my mum showing me but will go again someday. I hope this has helped.


  7. Hi Steve Can I just say what an interesting site you have here?
    I have only lived in Medway for 8 years but I am fascinated by the history of the area and have found your site a mine of information.
    I was wondering if you or your readers could assist with some information on a bakery once situated on Pattens Lane, Rochester. I have been told that the close I live in is built on the site of a bakery that later became a small industrial estate but I can find no information about either.
    Hope you can help.

  8. Hi Patrick. I grew up in Chatham. Whilst I don’t remember a quarry as such, there’s a couple of deep chalk banks that could almost be remembered as quarries by a young child. They’re behind some allotments along Street End Road (from memory). Hope this helps, and good luck in your search.

  9. Hi, I have lived in Rochester Medway for 64yrs so do remember quite a bit about the Medway Towns and how things have changed in those years, i remember when the rochester side of rochester bridge was two-way traffic and the Strood side didn’t exist.

    The old fire barges that used to be moored by the castle, just along form the castle on the esplanade. I think the factory was called Sharps and if i’m correct it was where things were made for the war. In rochester high street the old doss house that was still being used when i was a small child, and the day the river medway froze and my cousin david was cutting eels out of the ice.

    In chatham we had HMS Pembroke just near Brompton barracks. In upnor I recall the training ship Arethusa and the day it went on its journey to America. That was a sad day for me as the Arethusa held al ot of fond memories for, so if i can help anyone i will do my best for you.

  10. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your contributors’ memories. I was born in Chatham in 1958 and lived in a prefab in Roosevelt Avenue for 8 years until being relocated to Blockmakers Court, Shipwrights Avenue, when the prefabs were demolished. Sadly I have been unable to find any photographic evidence of the prefabs anywhere.
    I wonder, do any exist? I would love a trip down memory lane.

  11. Not sure where the prostitution bit came from with the Steamboat disco in the early 70s. I worked the door for quite a while along with a guy called Eddie, and I went out with the girl (Tina) that took the money for the duration. I never saw or heard of anything like that going on at all.

    The reason it closed was they couldn’t get a drinks licence so could only serve soft drinks and chips etc which was not the best of business plans and its downfall in the end. Yes there were a lot of fights in there, but at the time there were a lot of fights everywhere.

    The boss at Steamboat was a real nice fella (can’t remember his name) but I think on reflection he was probably an easy touch and eventually ran out of money for reasons I mentioned earlier.

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