Glimpse history through old images of Maidstone, in Kent, England.
Maidstone in Kent is famous for its brewing and paper making industries, the Archbishop’s Palace, and nearby Leeds Castle, which several Queens once called home. Today the town’s proximity to London, beautiful countryside and the Kent coastline make it a popular place to live and visit.
Caravan Holiday 1920s
A sweet film clip showing the Caravan Club on holiday while the tiny tots source heavy buckets of water for the adults straight from the local stream.
“Caravan Holiday AKA Far From The Madding Crowd (1920)” – British Pathe on YouTube
1930s Maidstone Traffic
Even back in the 1930s the traffic in Maidstone was busy. Take a look at this short clip from the Huntley Film Archives showing a traffic policeman at work.
“Maidstone High Street 1930’s. Archive film 97831” – HuntleyFilmArchives
Old House Demolished 1939
Mr George Thompson did not want to move out of his historic, timber-framed cottage, which the authorities earmarked for demolition. So they compulsorily purchased it.
Sadly, he could do nothing to stop the workmen pulling his home apart by hand.
Instead, he invited British Pathé to record him playing ‘No Place Like Home’ by Sir Henry Bishop, leaving us with one last glimpse of this long lost building.
“Maidstone Aka Man Plays Piano While House Is Demolished (1939)” – British Pathe on YouTube
The winters of the 1950s are remembered for their deep snowfall – but in 1955 far more damage and inconvenience occurred when the snow melted.
“Thaw Causes Floods In Kent (1955)” – British Pathe
Building the Bypass Bridge 1960
Workmen constructed the bypass bridge over the Medway without any thoughts of safety gear or even gloves. In fact, it’s surprising to see how manual the construction methods were for such a big bridge constructed only a few decades ago.
“Maidstone By Pass Bridge Under Construction (1960)” – British Pathe on YouTube
Maidtone’s Last Trolleybus 1967
The local trolleybus began service in 1928 and made its last journey on April 15th 1967.
The first few seconds of this video shows the same 1930s traffic policeman seen in the link above. But this time the footage continues on and jumps to 1967.
We see the trolleybus moving along, with glimpses of the street settings.
“‘Journey’s End” declares the front of the decorated vehicle as it operates along the streets for the last time.
“Kent Highstreet, 1960s – Film 1720″ – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube
Maidstone Wedding 1968
Brenda Solly and her fiance Ken Field booked their wedding day for March 30th, 1968.
Unfortunately, Ken was sick with complications arising from his kidney transplant, received almost five years before. So the young couple postponed their big day.
Thankfully, he recovered and married Brenda just after his 21st birthday.
By that time, Brenda’s dad had broken his leg, and he needed crutches to walk his daughter up the aisle!
Lots of great 1960s fashion to admire in this archive clip.
“Maidstone – Kidney Transplant Man Marries (1968)” – British Pathe on YouTube
Craig Family in Maidstone 1971
In 1971, Mr & Mrs Craig and their six children lived in Maidstone. This home movie was recorded on 8mm film, before the family moved to Australia.
While most of the footage is of interest to family members, there are several locations in the background which may be of wider local interest.
“The Craig family in Maidstone, Kent. England 1971 – Part 1” on YouTube
Maidstone late 1970s
Fabulous home movie footage from 1977 and 1978, shot on a Braun Super 8 film camera.
Includes the first vehicles to cross the new St Peter’s Bridge, with a small crowd of spectators, and what was nearly the first accident!
Then on to raft races on the Medway, and the Pram Race.
This footage will be of interest to a lot of people, given the events taking place and the number of people who appear on screen.
“Maidstone late 1970s” on YouTube
Maidstone’s Buses in 1990
Let’s move forward to 1990. In this video you can see dozens of passengers, packed and empty buses, and lots of cars and pedestrians going past the bus station.
“MAIDSTONE BUSES 1990” on YouTube