Older people’s memories

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.

If you would like to tell your story, there’s still a chance to Get involved.

Summary of interviewees

Name Interview
Date
Interviewed By Age Memories Keywords
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
Norman Folds 11.03.10
26.07.10
Mike Brown
Alice Young
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
Christopher Reynolds 04.02.10
10.03.10
Mike Brown
Rebecca Davison
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