My memories of Eastgate House go back more than 70 years to the period when it was still the City museum. In my early teens I spent so much time there that I was the unofficial, unpaid, acting assistant to the curator. He was a lovely man. I can't remember his name but the museum was his life; he taught me so much.
One Whitsun, he asked me to help him put on a show for the public. I was to portray "The spirit of Rochester" and had to learn the speech originally made by Dame Sybil Thorndike for the Rochester Historical Pageant in 1931. Then, on Whit Monday circa 1947, dressed in a red velvet and ermine trimmed cloak, I hid in the secret passage between two of the upstairs rooms. Cue the music, Land of Hope and Glory I think, I appeared from the panelling, declaimed my speech and was subsequently crowned by the Lady Mayoress. The curator decided that the event had been so successful that, later the same day, we performed it all over again, this time in the Eastgate garden. For many years after – at least until the 1960s - there was on display in the museum a full set of paste replicas of the royal crown and the regalia I had worn.
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Barbara and Eddie Goldsmith
Edwin John Elliot
Stephanie Goodrum (nee Cole)
Mrs Y Atkinson