The first strand of this project collected reminiscences of the working lives of Sheppey people who have lived through or somehow felt the effects of key moments that have made Sheppey what it is today. People with different experiences of work (paid and unpaid, formal and informal) were involved in the study, particularly those with a connection to Blue Town and to the former naval dockyard at Sheerness. Men and women interviewees recount working in the launderette, newsagents or butchers on Blue Town High Street as well as having had a trade in the dockyard itself. And many tell fascinating stories of everyday life in Blue Town and the significance of the naval dockyard for them and their families.
The interviews were conducted by a group of local volunteers who undertook training in oral history, interview skills, audio recording and editing techniques at a series of workshops at Blue Town Heritage Centre and the University of Kent’s Medway campus by Dawn Lyon, Tim Strangleman and Clive Arundell. Interviewers were provided with topic guides, consent forms, digital recorders and cameras.
In total in 2009-10 thirty-two interviewees volunteered to tell their stories after appeals in local papers, on local radio, and talks to various community groups and visitors to the Blue Town Heritage Centre. A summary of the interviewees are listed below; they have been given pseudonyms for ethical reasons.
To read the transcripts of these interviews, you need to register through the Access to data page on this site. Once you’ve done that and received authorisation (including username and password), simply return to this page and click on the name of each interviewee to read their accounts.
To listen to excerpts of the interviews on particular topics, just click on the topics listed below.
- SHEERNESS DOCKYARD
- EVERYDAY LIFE IN BLUE TOWN
- THE 1953 FLOOD ON THE ISLE OF SHEPPEY
- THE CLOSURE OF THE SHEERNESS DOCKYARD (1960)
- BLUETOWN HIGH ST
If you would like to tell your story, there’s still a chance to Get involved.
Summary of interviewees
|Barry Alba||24.02.10||Mel Griggs||85||Barry Alba worked in the dockyard for 9 years as a Joiner||Dockyard Joiner|
|Charlie Arnolds||11.02.10||Cameron Beart||69||Charlie Arnolds was an informal errand boy in Blue Town||Blue Town; Dockyard|
|Olga Biggins||09.12.09||Jenny Hurkett||69||Olga Biggins worked in Blue Town as a secretary||Blue Town High Street|
|Hugo Bones||08.02.10||Alice Young||66||Hugo Bones was one of the last apprentices taken on at the Dockyard||Dockyard Apprentice; Blue Town; Closure of Dockyard|
|Yvonne Bowles||02.08.10||Alice Young||80||Yvonne Bowles grew up in Blue Town and worked in George Humphries Bakery in Blue Town||Blue Town; Community; George Humphries Bakery|
|Will Cary-Quentin||09.02.10||Pam Pomeroy||86||Will Cary-Quentin attended Blue Town School and worked in the Dockyard. He met his wife, Winnie Cary-Quentin through Dockyard connections||Blue Town; Community; Dockyard|
|Winnie Cary-Quentin||09.02.10||Pam Pomeroy||82||Winnie Cary-Quentin worked in the Fountain Hotel in Blue Town, she met her husband, Will Cary-Quentin through her family connections in the Dockyard||Blue Town; Dockyard; Family; Fountain Hotel|
|Sarah and Lindsay Coleman||03.03.10||Rebecca Davison||87 and 84||Sarah Coleman worked in Minerva Laundrette. Sarah and her sister Lindsay have memories of Blue Town and the Dockyard, where their father and brother worked||Blue Town; Dockyard; Family; Minerva Laundrette|
|Harry Coombes||12.03.10||Rebecca Davison||67||Harry Coombes grew up in Blue Town and worked in a newsagent. He also has memories of the Dockyard bike rush||Bike Rush; Blue Town; Community; Dockyard; Family|
|Christian Day||15.03.10||Alice Young||83||Christian Day was a Dockyard Apprentice and partook in the daily bike rush||Apprentice; Bike Rush; Blue Town; Dockyard|
|Hector Dill||05.02.10||Rebecca Davison||70||Hector Dill worked in the Dockyard and has many memories of Blue Town and the High Street. His father helped him get a job in the Dockyard||Blue Town; Dockyard; Family; High Street|
|Harriet Esham||16.12.09||Jenny Hurkett||74||Harriet Esham worked in a newsagent in Blue Town and has memories of the Dockyard bike rush||Bike Rush; Blue Town; Dockyard|
|Gavin Frinstead||22.01.10||Alice Young||85||Gavin Frinstead has memories Blue Town and performs a song he has composed about the Isle of Sheppey. He also had relatives that worked in the Dockyard||Blue Town; Family; Isle of Sheppey|
|75||Norman Folds’ father and uncle worked in the Dockyard, he has memories of how this affected his life||Blue Town; Dockyard; Family|
|George James||19.02.10||Pam Pomeroy||75||George James worked in the Dockyard and has memories of Blue Town||Blue Town; Dockyard|
|Marjorie Jenkins||09.02.10||Cameron Beart||89||Marjorie Jenkins worked in the Dockyard||Dockyard|
|Ralph Jermaine||01.03.10||Jenny Hurkett||68||Ralph Jermaine was a Dockyard Labourer||Dockyard Labourer|
|Scott Jiff||19.03.10||Alice Young||65||Scott Jiff was the Chief Engineer at the commercial dock after the Dockyard closed||Commercial Dockyard|
|Harvey Jones||22.03.10||Alice Young||75||Harvey Jones worked in the Dockyard, mainly on signs and flags||Dockyard; Flags; Signs|
|Dennis Kew||02.02.10||Rebecca Davison||77||Dennis Kew worked in Boreham’s the Butchers in Blue Town and has memories of the High Street||Blue Town; Boreham’s the Butcher; High Street|
|Richard Leons||04.02.10||Rebecca Davison||89||Richard Leons worked in George Humphries Bakery in Blue Town for over 20 years||Blue Town; George Humphries Bakery|
|Louise Marsden||24.02.10||Mel Griggs||78||Louise Marsden worked in the Dockyard Drawing Room||Dockyard Drawing Room|
|Sam Morris||19.03.10||Alice Young||68||Sam Morris was a Shipwright in the Dockyard Boiler Room||Boiler Room; Dockyard; Shipwright|
|Marvin Ramsey||25.03.10||Pam Pomeroy||78||Marvin Ramsey was a Dockyard Rigger||Dockyard Rigger|
|Winston Reginald||10.03.10||Cameron Beart||86||Winston Reginald worked in Yard Craft in the Dockyard||Dockyard; Yard Craft|
|84||Christopher Reynolds worked as a Dockyard Rigger||Dockyard Rigger|
|Kevin Riley||04.02.10||Mike Brown||77||Kevin Riley was born in Blue Town and worked in the Dockyard||Blue Town; Community; Dockyard; Family|
|Gareth Roberts||20.02.10||Robin Amos||85||Gareth Roberts was born in Blue Town and worked in the Dockyard as a Shipwright||Blue Town; Community; Dockyard; Family; Shipwright|
|Wilfred Ryan||17.03.10||Cameron Beart||85||Wilfred Ryan grew up in Blue Town and had relatives that worked in the Dockyard||Blue Town; Community; Dockyard; Family|
|Oliver Tide||11.02.10||Mike Brown||73||Oliver Tide worked in the Dockyard||Dockyard|
|Oscar Thomas||10.02.10||Cameron Beart||64||Oscar Thomas worked in the Dockyard||Dockyard|
|Bill Word||08.02.10||Rebecca Davison||89||Bill Word was a Dockyard Apprentice||Apprentice; Dockyard|