Maldon U3A

Local and General History Group - Visit to Kent Life and Medway -2011.

Note: All meetings will be held in Maldon Town Hall.   Commencing at 2.00 pm. Price £1.50. All U3A members welcome.

For coach trips the price includes coach, entrance fee and driver gratuity. Pick up points West Maldon Community Centre and Danbury to be confirmed.

Further information from Mary Burd 01621 843020 email: and Alfred Couldrey 01245 226259

2011 – Visit to Kent Life & River Medway Boat Trip - June 2011

We set off from West Maldon Community Centre on what was the warmest day of the year so far.   The journey to The Museum of Kent Life was well mastered by Jim our driver and we arrived on schedule despite some traffic problems en route.

On arrival we joined the ‘Allington Belle’ described as a ‘Mississippi Style Paddle Boat’ to enjoy a leisurely cruise down the River Medway.

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River Medway on a lovely day

We passed some wonderful modern craft alongside some ancient Dutch barges that had been around for more than 100 years – most of which have people living on them to this day.

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Dutch barges on the Medway

They were attractively decorated with their painted pots and flowers.

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Rear end of a Dutch barge

Along the shore of the river was Allington Castle – a private residence now but with a history that dates back to Tudor times.

On reaching the centre of Maidstone we returned to enjoy a leisurely lunch before splitting up in to our two groups for a talk on Bee Keeping and a guided tour of the Kent Life Park.

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Bees in an Observation Hive at Kent Life

The talk on Bee Keeping was held in a chapel built in 1897 and is still used for occasional services and functions.   Barbara gave us an interesting talk on ‘life in the hive’ – telling us that as this year had been exceptionally dry there was no nectar in the flowers and bee keepers need to feed the bees with sugar syrup, a demanding and time consuming activity.   The products from all this industry is honey, bees wax and candles – an interesting statistic, for some of us, was that the Queen lays between two and three thousand eggs a day!!

A tour of the site followed. Our guide, John, was excellent and clearly loved his subject.   The site had been farmland until 1978.   There are a number of very old structures, houses, a school room and the industry of hop production; one of these originated in 1780.

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Old Kent Houses

Thoughtful and precise restoration has made it all a very good ‘museum’ of life in Kent offering an excellent educational resource.

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Inside an Old Kent House

The official opening of this site, as a museum, took place on 6th July 1985.

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Old Kent Oast Houses

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Inside an Old Kent Oast House

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The Old School House

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The Old School House - Who is the Teacher?

Our thanks to Michael, and Mary, for an excellent day out offering interesting information in lovely surroundings and a very good tea room!

Sylvia Beckett

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Last revised
10th October 2011 - Created this page.