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.
As a child in the mid 50's I belonged to the Saturday morning museum club. Apart from talks on history we sometimes had a quiz in which we had to seek out various objects in the museum.
In the 1960s we lived in Strood. My mother’s family is from Cliffe and my father was from Melbourne in Australia. One of the reasons he stayed in Britain is because he was mad about history and he passed that love to me.
I worked at the Dickens Centre from 2000 and really loved it! I remember having to go into the displays to change the lights or to get the sounds working again. I remember when Peter Ackroyd came when he was filming his great Dickens television programme. I let him in to the chalet and he did a piece to camera from the balcony. Great memories.
From 1949-1953 I attended Rochester Technical College and the Rochester Art School. During that time Eastgate House was a museum and had one room dedicated to Edwin Henry Elliot’s furniture from the time he lived at Acorn House, Rochester.
Going to the ‘museum club’ when I was 8 years old and I met Edwin Harris.
The sign over the bench at Eastgate mentions Edwin Henry Elliott, my great great grandfather. My dad mentioned there was an Elliott room in Eastgate. I remember an old picture with large tusks in it. Does anyone have any recollection of these?
Remembers the Museum before the war when Mr. Bolton was the curator. Particular memory is of the passageway leading to the annex being full of butterflies. Also the chamber of horrors in the basement including a dummy of a man in rags in a cell lying on a bed with a dummy rat running over him. There was a piano at the top of the stairs that his father always wanted to play. The curator was proud of a collection of snake skins from all over the world.
Although I never used to a lover of the subject of History, as a child from the age of about 10 I believe (approx. 1966 I joined the Saturday Morning Museum Club at Eastgate House when Michael Moad was the Curator. I cannot remember the exact dates but have great memories of spending a wonderful few years, exploring the Museum. Activities included treasure hunts around the museum trying to find the artefacts described by the clues.
Over 55 years ago I was a member of the junior museum society and through that I got to help the curator, Joseph Cornelius Taylor. Part of my "duties" entailed putting the jade away if I was there late, repainting the gold on the printing press and other things including taking visitors around Dickens chalet.
The Museum Club, held on Saturday mornings at Eastgate as we called it, was the highlight of the week for both my older brother and myself. I think that we used to arrive at about 9.30 so that we could muck about with the other kids, terrorising the fish and frogs in the pond and chasing the pigeons and toads in the surrounding garden.
From when we were about 8 year’s old in 1965, my friend Gillian and I used to walk to Rochester from Strood every weekend to buy stamps for our collection in the Rochester Stamp shop and then visit the City Museum at Eastgate House, which was free to enter.
I remember visits to Eastgate House when I was at school in the 40s and 50s, with my father who was an avid reader and also very interested in historical buildings. We were specifically interested in the architecture and layout of the house.
I would like to recall my memories of Eastgate House from my childhood in the 1940s. It was then known as Rochester Museum. My sister and I often visited the museum, the castle with our mother during school holidays. Entrance to the museum was free of charge, we loved strolling through the lovely old house looking at the ancient treasures. Our favourite items were the beautiful dolls houses, fitted out with all the appropriate furniture.
I was working at Eastgate house as a custodian one winter period in 2003. Knowing that the house was once a girls’ school and dormitories on the upper level. Well we were all cashed up and I said to a fellow custodian that I would like to have a nose around and get a feeling of the atmosphere upstairs. "Oh she said you will need this key to get in at the top of the stairs".
Tell us about your memories
We would love to hear your memories of visiting Eastgate House.
To share your memories write to us using our contact page.
View by name
Barbara and Eddie Goldsmith
Edwin John Elliot
Stephanie Goodrum (nee Cole)
Mrs Y Atkinson