Exhibitions, tours and talks

Find out about our exhibitions, talks and tours at the Kent History and Library Centre.

To attend one of our free exhibitions please visit the Kent History and Library Centre.

Bawleys, Barbels and Owlers: Life along the Kent coast

  • 5 August - 28 October 2017

An exhibition exploring stories of the Kent coast: from oyster farming to sea-bathing, and shipbuilding to smuggling. Visit to see original Screen Archive South East film and documents from Kent’s local history and archive collections.

Also, look out for an exciting and varied programme of talks and events to complement the exhibition, featuring pirates, bronze age boats, naval defence, sea shanties and more.

All talks have a £5 admission fee and start at 6:30pm, unless stated otherwise.

The Dover Bronze Age Boat

  • 2 August 2017 - Kent History and Library Centre, 6:30pm

A talk by Paul Bennett MBE, Director of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT).

The discovery in 1992 of a perfectly preserved 3,500 year old, Middle Bronze Age rope-sewn boat, in sediments 7m beneath Bench Street was nothing short of miraculous and extraordinary, the find of a lifetime for land-based archaeologists. The Director of CAT tells the story, as well as the fascinating tale of what happened to the boat after the find.

Kent maritime place-names followed by sea shanties and fo’c’sle songs

  • 19 August 2017 - Canterbury Library, 2pm
  • 30 September 2017 - Kent History and Library Centre, 6:30pm

A talk by Paul Cullen the editor of the English Place-Name Society’s Survey of Kent. The editor of the Kent place-names survey looks at the origin and meanings of the county’s coastal names, then putting on another hat, takes up his guitar for part two of this dual event.

Those sons of Plunder: Daniel Defoe and the Wreckers of Kent

  • 6 September 2017

Cathryn Pearce, University of Greenwich.

Cathryn uses Defoe's verse essay ‘The Storm’ as a window for viewing the world of the wreckers and salvagers of the Kent coast in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Special 'Pirates' word Buddy Club

  • 21 September 2017

Free event for children

Word Buddy Club is a monthly library activity for 5-10 year olds who like reading, writing, illustrating, word puzzles. September’s club has a distinctly piratical theme.

Pirates of the South-East - Real Lives c.1300-1600

  • 21 September 2017

Gill Draper, British Association for Local History

In this period, ‘pirates’ of the South East and afar were embedded in the civic society of coastal towns. This paper will open up the nature of piracy and privateering over the period, and how it related to economic activity, trade and war and set the pirates in their domestic context.

My Take on Bawleys, Barbels and Owlers

  • 27 September 2017

Martin Watts, Canterbury Christ Church University

A specialist in Kent’s recent naval and maritime history gives his reaction to the Kent History and Library Centre/Screen Archive South East exhibition, and builds a talk around the cabinet that most took his fancy.

'all that rag-tag and bobtail down from town': seaside reading for Londoners, from Dickens to Barbara Cartland

  • 11 October 2017

Carolyn Oulton, Canterbury Christ Church University

The railways brought a new type of literature to the coastal resorts along with greater numbers of visitors: murder mysteries and romances with suggestive titles like Death in a Deck Chair and Maggie of Margate: a Seaside Sensation.

Exploring maritime Kent on film

  • 18 October 2017

Frank Gray, Screen Archive South East (SASE)

A look at some of SASE’s wide range of amateur and professional films related to maritime Kent throughout the 20th century: their themes, such as the development of leisure and tourism and cross-channel transportation; and the film-makers, drawing attention to special events in towns such as Margate, Whitstable and Herne Bay.

Join a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the archives and meet the Heritage Services team.

Book a tour or group visit