Medway on Screen – About the Project

Dock gates seen on St. Bartholomew's Hospital film (1930s)Medway on Screen was a community oral history project run by Screen Archive South East in 2010/11, exploring memories of the River Medway and West Kent. The project spanned Tonbridge, Maidstone, Rochester and The Medway Towns. Twelve community organisations partnered with the Archive to work on the project, along with hundreds of local residents. Nearly 50 oral histories were recorded with community members during the project and these memories are now held in the archive for posterity.

A selection of audio material from the captured oral histories has also been blended with films from the archive’s collection; giving greater meaning and context for archive films and offering a fascinating new way of understanding the past through film

Medway on Screen project participantHighlights from the oral history recordings edited with clips of archive film material of the Medway include memories of hop-picking, the Venetian Fete at Tonbridge, the annual carnival procession at Maidstone, rides on the ‘Medway Queen’ paddle steamer and working life at Shorts Brothers factory in Rochester. At the end of the project, Screen Archive South East launched a two-disc DVD “Medway on Screen: Memories of the River Medway and West Kent”. Further details about the project along with clips from some of these oral histories created for the DVD are now available online:

image of Fremlins, from 'The Watery Trail' (1938)You can also view the seven full-length archive films from the collection at Screen Archive South East, which were used as the catalyst for the project. The films date from the 1930s and 1940s, and several feature an introduction based on local history research carried out during the project. The films can be viewed here:

The Medway on Screen project was created and managed by Screen Archive South East at the University of Brighton. The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by the Centre for Kentish Studies (now The Kent History and Library Centre), Medway Archives & Local Studies Centre and Tonbridge Library.

The Medway on Screen DVD is available to view at the The Kent History and Library Centre, Medway Archives & Local Studies Centre and Tonbridge Library.

Running time: Disc one – 1 hour, Disc two – 2 hours