Monday, 31 December 2012


by Ann Foat
We have come a long way in the year since the opening of the Centre.
It is now fully operational with a 40 year lease completed. The shelving donated fron the Whitfield Archive centre is now virtually in place, with the exception of some on the ground floor which is still languishing in the farm shed. We will soon be able to determine the use of the remaining wall space.
Thanks to £1000 grant from Leyland Ridings’ councillor’s fund , we have been able to buy archive equipment such as tape, plastic pockets, archive boxes and folders which we badly need as we have started collating all the material already donated to the centre.
There is a very strong and keen working group meeting on Monday mornings under the leadership of Cressida Williams and Peter Ewart. The group are sorting and organising deeds, many photographs, church material and village hall material.
We have a comprehensive data recording system thanks to sterling work by Janet Searle aided by Mary Evans. Many thanks are owed to Janet who has put in many hours of hard work. We are open to the public on Saturday mornings from 10 to 12 noon and hopefully can soon set up a rota of people to be there on a Saturday.

  It has been an incredibly busy year for events. The March lecture was given by Richard Filmer and was a very entertaining presentation on Traditional Kentish Trades and Crafts.
  In April we held Ash in Camera, an event inspired by the BBC's Francis Frith programme on the Victorian photographer. This was mainly organised by Cressida Williams and Penny Bernard with photo quizzes devised by the chairman using photos taken by the youth club and other young people. This event brought in families and young people as well as members.

  This was followed by two exhibitions which certainly stretched the committee as we hardly knew what we had at this stage. This involved a lot of organisation and thanks to committee members we succeeded. The Village Hall Centenary exhibition in May brought to light documents and photos we did not know we possessed such as the original letter from Mr Gardner suggesting the building of a hall. The original plans for the Hall - in pristine condition - were given to the centre during the event.
  The Jubilee exhibition in June followed on swiftly and was organised in decades of village life through the Queen’s reign. Both exhibitions were very well attended.

  The August Heritage walk, devised by the chairman and Peter Ewart, was again well attended and enhanced with Peter’s inimitable stories.
  In September some members enjoyed a memorable visit to Molland House learning about its history and ending with splendid tea and scones.
 The year finished with the David Downes Memorial lecture, given this year by Dr David Cave who presented a well researched and entertaining presentation about the ‘Guilton Hoard’ the excavations of the Anglo Saxon Cemetery . This was enhanced by a description of a recent excavation by a local resident before a building extension and some Anglo Saxon objects brought along by Canterbury Archaeological group.

   The Heritage Calendar for 2013 has made use of the young people’s photos together with old ones, and  -thanks to  the graphic design skills of Claire Limbry - looks very effective.

   We have continued recording the memories of those in Ash in World War 2 and have supplied the school with a box of resources of Ash in Victorian times . David Cave has been obtaining material on the 1910 survey for future use and we are working continuously on collating data and photos.
  We have been awarded £1000 from the coalfield regeneration funds  for a laptop we can use outside the centre , a scanner and a camcorder. The blog site run by Kevin Connolly is increasing in use.
  We are hoping to help the church through an Open Day next August by devising 7 or 8 sites within the church and churchyard where someone from the past appears and tells their story. We will be following the pattern otherwise that we have established of a talk in March and one in November, a possible house visit and heritage walk.

   All this has been achieved thanks to a lot of hard work by the committee and many members - especially the Monday working group who deserve special thanks. Some are now expert at reading old writing and legal jargon!
Ann Foat,
December 2012


Income & Expenditure Account for the Year ended 30th September 2012

                                                            2011                              2012

INCOME                                               £                                      £
Members' Subscriptions                     569.50                         705.00
Sale of Books                                       68.59                           71.30
Sale of Calendars                               966.00                           32.00
Events                                              1,403.52                         466.87
Teas & Raffle                                         -                                49.80
Calendar Sponsors                                 -                               115.00
Sale of Tea Towels                            392.00                          369.00
Sale of Cards                                         5.00                             -
Sale of Excess Opening N't Refshmts  48.87                             -
Building Society Interest                        0.41                            0.12
Ash Village Hall Balance Unspent       79.92                             -
Grant - KCC Restricted Fund                  -                          1,000.00
Grants                                            11,075.00                        500.00
Donations                                        6,203.00                      1,118.05
TOTALS:                                       20,811.81                     4,427.14

EXPENDITURE                                    £                                  £
Hire of Hall & Keys                            136.50                           67.00
Insurance                                                 -                              200.00
Solicitors' Fee (Lease)                             -                           1,078.00
Expenses Talks, Events                           -                               70.35
Calendar Artwork                                    -                                70.00
Equipment                                               -                              585.94
Equipment - Restricted Funds                 -                              624.67
Paper & Ink                                             -                                39.94
DVD Tithe Maps                                     -                                15.00
Lease Charges for Quarters 1,2,3:           -                             375.00
Ash Village Hall Build                      23,465.25                        110.00
Computer, Audio Equipment             1,355.96                             -
Tea Towels                                          548.40                             -
Stamps                                                   18.20                             -
Opening Night Refreshments              181.41                             -
TOTALS:                                        25,705.72                     3,235.90

Balance as at 1st October 2011                       358.19
Plus Income                                                   4,427.14
TOTAL:                                                         4,785.33
Minus Expenditure                                         3,235.90
Subtotal as at 30th September 2012              1,549.43
Less Cash in hand                                             -10.50
Balance as at 30th September 2012              1,538.93
Nationwide Account as at 30th September 2012: £1,538.93

I hereby certify that the figures contained within these financial statements have been reviewed and agreed to the underlying books, records and from explanations provided.

Mrs C Haggart
Date: 19th November 2012

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


The Heritage Group AGM is on Monday November 26 at 7.30p.m. in the Village Hall Library.


The David Downes Memorial Lecture will be given by Dr David Cave on Thursday, November 1 at 7.30p.m. in Ash Village Hall It's entitled 'The Guilton Hoard' and we will be exploring a little of Anglo Saxon Ash with the help of some artefacts. All are welcome, entry £3, coffee and raffle.


Since the last newsletter, the Heritage Group has been very active. Most importantly we have made a really good start on collating the material we have so far. A group of volunteers have been working on Monday mornings on the collection of property deeds. This has been quite a work of detection, deciphering old handwriting, dates and names. The photograph collection is also being numbered, named and collated. Thanks to two keen volunteers, we have established a web based data base on the computer and have started entering data. Please come along if you wish to help. We are hoping to establish a Saturday working group too. We have had several successful events, a photographic event based on the BBC programme on the Victorian photographer Francis Frith, the Village Hall centenary exhibition, the Jubilee exhibition and the August Heritage walk. The most recent event was a fascinating visit to Molland House for 25 members. The Heritage Calendar for 2013 is now on sale £5 a copy at the Post Office, Welcome and other venues. An excellent Christmas present!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


We were invited to explore Molland House at the kind invitation of Tracy the proprietor, on September 22. It was a lovely day and 25 of us went. Tracy (far right of pic) and her partner Steve were marvellous hosts. Tracy gave us a grand tour, along with a history of the house. It is, in the main, a 16th Century farmhouse and in marvellous condition thanks to the renovations Tracy and Steve have made.
Steve is a builder by trade and was able to explain the process and work involved, as well as the possibility of future restoration to the roof space. Molland Hall is now a thriving guest house with a grand reputation. We were given the freedom to explore the rooms (including the scenic kitchen, pictured), which were delightful- and the spooky cellar, which was not!
The whole place oozed history and had a wonderful homely atmosphere, especially with four children around. We were later treated to cream tea in the dining room, with home made scones cooked by Tracy. Robin, her 14 year old daughter, waited on us. It was a wonderful afternoon and Molland House was a lovely surprise to us all. We were very grateful for the opportunity to see it. Thanks to Jan Connor for the report.

Monday, 17 September 2012


The Heritage Group's 2013 calendar (right) - featuring stunning views of village landmarks past and present  - is now on sale. It costs £5 and is available at the Post Office (Londis), Co-op, the Chandler & Dunn butchery and Wingham Country market. It's also on sale at the Heritage Centre on Saturday mornings  between 10am and 12 noon.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


The annual Heritage Group walk - this year entitled 'Stories of Ash' - will be held on Friday, August 24.
This will be a gentle two-hour stroll led by Peter Ewart, and starts from the Village Hall at 2pm. The cost is £5 and booking is essential. To book, please phone 01304 812121 or 01227 720835.
Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No dogs, please.
This event is part of the Sandwich festival.


We have started adding material to our computer database at the Centre.
We are doing this between 10am and 12 noon on Monday and Saturday.
If you would like to help with collating the material and photos, just drop in - or phone Ann Foat on 01304 812121.
The Centre is open to all on Saturday mornings between 10am and 12 noon, the same time as the library.
Come and visit us and see the progress we're making.

Monday, 4 June 2012


Our Queen's Jubilee Display - Ash through 60 years -  proved a great success.
The Heritage Centre was full throughout the afternoon - with regular members - and visitors who'd recently become aware of our work.
The exhibition showcased a treasure trove of photos, demonstrating how village life has changed dramatically during Queen Elizabeth II's reign.
We ran a CD of the 1955 Ash Flower Show (with Gymkhana) throughout the event. We all agreed: it would have been shut down in less than two minutes under modern Health and Safety regulations!
Ann Foat was on hand to answer questions and respond to comments. Nearly all were complimentary, and we hope we'll see even more supporters at our forthcoming events.
The pages below show photos of the displays, to give a flavour of the exhibition.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the displays. We couldn't have made them look so good without you.


Ash in the 21st century. Note the new estates (left) and
the Village Hall centenary (bottom right)


The campaign for a village by-pass (top left) became a priority in the early 1990s, as foundations shook while juggernauts regularly thundered down The Street


Ash in the 1980s, celebrating landmarks


 Pictures of the old Cartwright and Kelsey primary school, the St
Nicholas church choir - and the bellringers


The 1950s saw considerable improvements in recreational facilities.
The opening of the cricket pavillion (centre) was probably the most important.


Ash as it used to be, including several shops long since closed


More of the village in the 1950s, showing the development of Chilton Field (bottom left) and the Beating of the Parish Bounds ceremony (Main pic - top right)


 How Ash greeted the Queen's coronation

Friday, 1 June 2012


Our visitor figures show more than 1200 'hits' on the site in the past year. Thank you to everyone who has visited and we hope you've found us informative.
Our web address has also changed slightly, as of today. Our new address is:
Please use this from now on, instead of the old .com address. Thank you.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Some pictures from our Ash through the Lens camera exhibition, held in April. Does anyone recognise his/herself?!

Monday, 14 May 2012


Our contribution to the Ash Bash on Monday June 4 - to celebrate the Queen's jubilee - is The Ash Diamond Jubilee exhibition in the Heritage Centre.
This is a fascinating presentation, covering the 60 years in Ash of the Queen’s reign.
Entry is free and the exhibition will be open from 1—5 p.m. Tea and coffee will be available.
If you have a ticket for the main event on the recreation ground, be sure to keep it so that you can get back in if you want to. Hope to see you there!

The Exhibition will also be open on Saturday, June 9, from 10am—12noon.

Thursday, 5 April 2012


We are showing ‘ The heritage of Ash Village Hall’ on May 7, the Hall's centenary day, in the Heritage Centre from 10am – 12 noon and 2-4pm.

We are showing the ‘Ash Diamond Jubilee Exhibition’ as part of the Ash Jubilee Bash in the centre on June 4 from 1-5p.m, tea and coffee available.


Ash Heritage Group’s Talk on March 22

This sounds a formidable and awesome title for a talk of just over an hour, but in the hands of Richard Filmer it was a delight to listen to.
Starting from the ancient art of coppicing woodlands, we were transported into the worlds of many traditional crafts using wood as their main raw material, and met many wonderful Kentish characters through his beautifully illustrated talk. We saw the deceptively simple art of splicing stripped chestnut coppiced wood to make chestnut paling and wattle gates.
We appreciated the peace and harmony of the woodland world of the traditional charcoal burner. The skill of coopers and wheelwrights was clearly illustrated, and we then realised where some of our common surnames originated. The wooden stilts being used for hop stringing and pruning ancient large fruit trees drew many nostalgic exclamations.
We saw the intricacies of leather tanning and the skills of those making leather goods; the bootmaker of Hastings was a joy who , at a very advanced age, remarked that he had enough orders for future years and he was refusing any more orders in case he would not be in a position to fulfil them.
The making of traditional cricket balls - which are beyond the financial reach of mere village clubs - was fascinating and painstaking, requiring immense patience and artistry hand winding the core to make a perfect sphere which is then covered with hand stitched leather, not forgetting the all important seam.
The entire talk was received with great interest and was enhanced by the display of photographs of agricultural and other crafts of Ash.
We hope everyone enjoys our next two exhibitions as much.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Saturday, April 14 from 2pm to 4pm in Ash Village Hall
Ash Heritage Group’s event on Saturday April 14 is supported by the BBC's ‘ Britain's First Photo Album ' project, which focussed on the wonderful photos taken around Britain by Francis Frith, the pioneer Victorian photographer.
The afternoon's events feature:
*Old and Modern - a competition set up by the youth club. How much do you know about your village?!
*A display of historic photographs, to browse through in the Heritage Centre
*The Time Travelling Camera - a hands-on acitivity for children and families. Many hands are needed to create a fantastic display!
*Photo Surgery - bring in your old photos, identify them and find out the best ways to conserve them.

Refreshments available during the afternoon

To find out more about photographer Francis Firth, go here

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


We're aiming to mount a display for the Village Hall Centenary in May.
Any material relating to events held in the Hall (below, right) which could be lent for display would be very welcome. Please contact Ann Foat on 01304 812121.
Meanwhile, we're starting to collate and catalogue all the material we've collected so far. Groups will be working on Mondays 10-11.30am, Mondays from 7pm and Saturdays from 10am to 12 noon.
If you're interested in helping and have not already been contacted, please tell Ann Foat on 812121 or Cressida Williams (
The Heritage Centrte will be open on Saturday mornings from March 3 onwards. Come and have a look!


Our next event is an illustrated presentation by Richard Filmer on Traditional Kentish Trades, Crafts and Industries.
This will be held in the Village Hall on Thursday, March 22, starting at 7.30pm, with coffee and raffle to follow.
If you have any interesting photographs, artefacts or memorabilia of Ash industrial, craft or agricultural past, please bring them to the meeting for display.


The lease on the Heritage Centre will soon be signed and there will be solicitor's fees to pay.
It's estimated that the running costs will be approximately £1,000 p.a. The Parish Council is very generously donating £500 towards this - but we have to find the rest, as well as pay for future projects.
Our supporter members have been very generous and helped the project go this far.
If all supporter members keep up to date with their yearly donations - plus revenue from talks, books and items like tea towels - we should be sustainable, as the present balance shows.

Balance at 30 September 2011: £358.19
Expenditure since AGM: £924
Income since AGM: £1983
Balance at 7th February 2012: £1417

Remember, we will shortly receive the solicitor’s bill.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


by Ann Foat

What an exciting year we've had!
We started the year with a shell which Sid Castle had been determined to make weatherproof by Christmas 2010. This he achieved, and, as 2011 progressed, so did the Heritage Centre.
The grand opening was performed on September 22 by Councillor Leyland Ridings. All supporter members were invited, along with those who'd helped us in any way.

The grand the pic, from left: Ann Foat, Sue Nicholas, chair of Dover Council, Kent councillor Leyland Ridings and Village Hall chair Jean Ryan

This was a hugely enjoyable evening, opening with a scene from The Swing Riots our very first event. This was much enjoyed. The exhibition at the Centre proved very popular and was opened to the public on two Saturday mornings, both of which were well attended.

The lease for the building is in the final stages of completion. We owe thanks to so many for this achievement - the committee, who have worked tirelessly, the funders and supporter members. But I must mention one person without whose quiet help and professional expertise we could not have managed the building process. Ken Collingwood has been a massive support at all stages of the planning and building. We owe him a big vote of thanks.

We're now waiting for acid-free boxes and folders donated from the Centre for Kentish Studies and shelving donated from the Whitfield Archive Centre. Both of these are re-locating. We can now start the huge task of cataloguing all the material we already have.This will be led by Cressida Williams and Peter Ewart, with Kevin Connolly advising on the computer front. They're all historians, so we should be in good hands. We hope to be open to the public at least once a week some time in 2012. We now have charitable status and have also applied to claim Gift Aid.

It was a very busy year for events. We started in March with a very interesting presentation by Clare Ungerson on the refugee camps at Richborough, which stirred many memories. This was followed by the Archaeological Fun Day, organised by Penny Barnard and supported by Rebecca Smith. This involved Canterbury and Dover Museum personnel as well as Canterbury Archaeological Trust. This was held at Cartwright and Kelsey school and proved very successful. Around 100 people attended, including many youngsters.

In July, a concert by the Snowdown Male Voice Choir took place in St Nicholas Church - and the proceeds paid for the splendid worktops in the Centre. We owe the Farbrace family grateful thanks for this event. The following month we again took part in the Sandwich Festival, with a Heritage Walk - Buildings with a Story - devised by myself and Peter Ewart and led by Peter. This was so well supported that we had to turn people away! We contributed to the St Nicholas Open day which was also part of the Sandwich Festival, as David Cave led two groups around the church in the name of the Heritage Group.

We helped the Hallow'e'en Dance with the Drama Group and the Friends of St Nicholas. Thanks to Nina Vallack, Kevin Connolly and two supporter members, we organised the door and the raffle.

The final event of the year was the David Downes Memorial Lecture, given by Anthea Jones who started the work on the registers in Ash. She revisited her time here and talked on Ripples - some personal observations on Ash history.

These events have all run successfully thanks to the hard work of committee members and supporter members acting as stewards and helping with raffles, seating, coffee and other practical matters. Here the work of the lady committee members has been invaluable. So has the assistance from supporter members, whose help when I ring up in a panic is unfailing! Thank you to you all.

The tea towel which we produced - with design help from Ash Art Group and Claire Limbrey - is proving a great success. Thanks to Kevin Connolly, we now have this website too. Please use it and add comments. We've bought a computer, recording equipment and a digital camera with a grant from Bridging the Gap, so we're ready to start data collation.

I hope it emerges from this report how closely we've worked with other organisations in the village, the Drama Group, the Art Group, the school, the church, and, of course, the Village Hall. We must mention the W.I. - whose splendid refreshments added so much to our opening night - and the library, whose opening hours we hope to enhance a little. This is an important aspect of our work and featured prominently in all our funding bids. We're here to work with the community and serve it and that's how we want to continue.

We're working all the time on our present project Ash in World War Two. We're collecting memories from those who were here at the time, on paper and by recordings. Other projects are emerging - mapping house ages in the parish, changes in shops and businesses, making up school history boxes and accessing information from the 1910 survey for The People's Budget. There's plenty to do in the future!

I must finish by thanking our treasurer Graham Foat and secretary Sylvia Profitt for all their hard work and support, as well as the rest of the committee and all the supporter members. Without you all we could do nothing.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Our next event will be a talk by Richard Filmer on 'Kentish Crafts and Industries.'
It will be held in Ash Village Hall on Thursday, March 22 and starts at 7.30pm.


Please fill in a Gift Aid form to accompany your membership fee. Then Ash Heritage Group, a self-financing charity, can receive tax relief on membership fees. Just print out the form below, or get one from our chair, Ann Foat (phone: 01304 812121).


Ash Heritage Centre on the Village Hall

This is now built and is administered by Ash Heritage group, a charity which depends entirely for its sustainability on the supporter members and help and encouragement from the Parish council and Village Hall management team.
As a supporter member you will receive notice of all our talks and activities, most of which are also open to the public, as our main aim is to conserve Ash Heritage and raise public awareness of our heritage.
To achieve this we rely on your financial support. If you can also offer some voluntary help that is an added bonus.
We need volunteers to help man the centre when it is open and become involved. Please sign and return the slip below to the treasurer or any committee member.
Treasurer Graham Foat Upper Goldstone Farm, Cop St , Ash
Tel 01304 812121


I wish to become a supporter of the Heritage Group and enclose £5


Print name here--------------------------------




I am willing to offer time to help man the Heritage Centre.[tick]