This has made me recall a time when I was a teenager and a member of the Junior Museum Society at Eastgate House. I used to live in Chatham as a lad and my mother was acquainted with the family who lived next door to my great grand-father in Gordon Road. Their son, Ian, and I found we had some stamps, history and more particularly archaeology in common.
He was a couple of years older than I was but we got on really well. He introduced me to The Renown Stamp Company in Rochester High Street which was then right opposite the museum. He was on his way there (and to the museum where he was a member of the Junior Museum Society) one Saturday morning and invited me to go with him. I suppose I would have been about thirteen or so at the time and very keen to see the stamp shop. Afterwards he showed me in the Museum and told me about the society. I was welcomed with open arms by the secretary (a Miss Carpenter) who let me attend the talk that was due to start soon that morning.
After talking to my parents about it when I got home, they approved and thought it would be an interesting and educational thing to join. Thus I became a member, and Ian and I went frequently to the talks and slide shows that were put on for us there. They were all very interesting and were usually about some aspect of history and archaeology though I seem to remember talks about local industrial history too (e.g. The Shorts Factory). There were even bus trips off to places of interest as well. I remember two such trips that my parents must have paid for me to go on. One was to the Roman remains at St Albans and one was to the British Museum where we saw one of the then famous Dead Sea Scrolls.
There were sometimes competitions for us to enter. I remember taking my stamp album in on one occasion when we were asked to say a few words to the others about our collections of our interests. Afterwards Mr Taylor, the Curator gave me some stamps for my collection and Miss Carpenter handed them to me in a brown envelope which also contained a letter from her. I have a copy of the letter which has been stuck into the back of the album and where it has been for the past fifty seven years! Her grammar leaves a little to be desired but I was very proud of it at the time as I had won the competition on that occasion.
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