The Story of a
Village in Kent
by Pauline Stevens
The following review
appeared in 'Bygone Kent'
Pauline Stevens has lived
in Lower Halstow for more than forty years, and in this labour
of love it appears that she has persuaded most of the village's
inhabitants to commit their memories to paper for the benefit
of others. All the minutiae of a century of community life are
recorded here; the floods, Scout and Guide activities, the fates
of those who fought in two World Wars, problems with water supply
and sewage disposal, fund-raising events, buses, school treats,
the birth of triplets...
From Roman times until
the mid-nineteenth century agriculture provided employment for
most villagers, but the population began to grow dramatically
(from 121 in 1801 to 508 in 1871) with the coming of the brickworks.
Then for more than a century brickmaking was the dominating feature
of life in Lower Halstow, and we learn of the origins of the
industry in the 1840s as well as what it was like to work there
in good times and bad.
The church, dating back
to Anglo-Saxon times, and the school, built a thousand or so
years later, have been the centres of village life, and lengthy
chapters are devoted to both buildings and their associated activities.
Details of inns, farms, and shops are also included. A final
section, which will be of interest to many beyond the parish
boundaries, describes the natural history of the area and includes
checklists of flora and fauna.
'The Story of Lower Halstow'
(ISBN 095369660X) runs to over 300 close-packed pages, and is
illustrated by black and white photographs and the author's specially
drawn maps. It is priced at £10.00. Although there is no
index the topics covered in each chapter are listed in considerable
detail under the 'contents' pages.
Despite the closure of
the brickfield in 1966, vast changes in farming over the last
century, and the building of many new houses in the 70s and 80s,
Lower Halstow's spirit of community is undiminished, and this
book records just what contributes to it.