Project leader Rachel Lichtenstein is an author, artist and oral historian. After running many oral history projects in the past she has really enjoyed the opportunity of learning more about the people and places of the Hoo Peninsula, a place that sits opposite her hometown of Leigh-on-sea in Essex. Her publications include Estuary: Out from London to the Sea (Hamish Hamilton, 2016) Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden (Hamish Hamilton, 2012), On Brick Lane (Hamish Hamilton, 2008) and Rodinsky’s Room (with Iain Sinclair, Granta, 1999). Her work has received extensive coverage in the national print and broadcast media. She regularly speaks at events, literary festivals, conferences and other institutions.
Assistant Project manager Heidi Wigmore is a practising artist with 25 years experience of teaching drawing in diverse contexts including university and gallery based education and participatory drawing events at arts festivals and theatres. She is artist workshop leader for English National Ballet where she presents ‘live’ drawing events with the dancers of the company. She currently lectures in contemporary drawing at The City Lit, most recently she led talks and drawing workshops at the British Museum touring exhibition of 70 master drawings: Lines of Thought. Heidi has enjoyed the exceptionally warm reception from local people, which has made working on this project really special.
Sue Jones is Director of Whitstable Biennale, an arts organisation working with artists and communities on the North Kent coastline from Whitstable to Dartford. We carry out long term projects with a strong sense of place, and a festival taking place every two years in Whitstable. We are delighted to have been awarded funding from Heritage Lottery Fund for Histories of the Hoo Peninsula.
Moved to Hoo in September 1999. He retired in 2004 and now spends much of his time conducting research, which started when he created a holiday diary, researching different aspects of the places that he had visited. He recently spent 18 months working on a personal project on the 1896-1898 Klondike Gold Rush, which involved an incredible amount of research. He has been an enthusiastic and committed member of the Histories of the Hoo Peninsula Project, providing reams of historical research and data on places of local interest, which has greatly enhanced the multiple outcomes of the project.
Clive 'Charlie' Chester
Charlie, as he is known, has lived on the Hoo Peninsula since 1949. He is third generation from Hoo St Werburgh. He started out as an apprentice at the Chatham Dockyard then joined the merchant navy. He spent the rest of his working life in engineering projects and shipyards across Britain and abroad and has worked in 37 different power stations. He is currently a volunteer guide at the Chatham Historic Dockyard for the Chatham Docks Historic Society, which operates the museum. He has received oral history training for this project and conducted a number of interviews with local people as well as sharing his own stories and local knowledge.
Born 1948 in the New Forest, Gill moved to Cliffe in 1965 and lived there for the rest of her life. She was a Parish Councillor from 2004 and an active environmental campaigner as well as a founding member of Friends of the North Kent Marshes, who alongside the RSPB and the Kent Wildlife Trust and Medway Council, campaigned successfully against siting the proposed new London Airport at Cliffe. Gill helped immensely with this project, sourcing archival photographs, making numerous introductions to local people and providing support throughout. Sadly Gill passed away in May 2017. She will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her. This project is dedicated to Gill in her memory.
Born London, moved to the Hoo Peninsula in 1957. John’s first job when he left school at 15 was in farming then he worked at Kingsnorth Power Station from the age of 18 until 1972 then in contracting. John is a Parish councillor for Allhallows and Lower Stoke where he lives. He is very keen on Vintage tractors and his Lambretta, which he takes to shows and vintage events. John has been a committed member of the team, providing local history knowledge, contacts and archive images.
Born 1969 in Dartford, Kate moved to the Hoo Peninsula in 2004, where her grandparents were from, having spent her childhood in the area, sailing on the Medway. She has lived in Stoke since that time and has recently found links to her family in the churchyard there. Kate is an active volunteer in the local community: she is on the school PTA, Sure start at Grain, leads the Medway Health Walk in Stoke and initiated the Stoke Women’s Club which came out of the WI. Kate has been a very active member of the team, conducting multiple oral history recordings within the community, which she is keen to continue with beyond the duration of this project.
Mike moved to Grain in 1972 and to High Halstow in 1981. He taught in two Hoo Peninsula schools from 1973 to 1985 before taking a Headship on the Isle of Sheppy 1985 – 2009. Mike became interested in local history and joined the Time & Tides project in 2012 where he underwent training as an interviewer. He continued to carry out interviews prior to joining the current project where he has been a very active member of the team and conducted numerous oral history interviews within the community.
Sharon moved from London to the Hoo Peninsula in 1957 when her father got a job at BP on the Isle of Grain. She worked at riding stables then for the Post Office before qualifying as an HGV driver, which she did for 30 years, driving all over the country and Europe. She is a keen cyclist of the Medway Towns CTC and also enjoys Line Dancing twice a week, she currently lives in Hoo. Sharon has been an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the Histories of the Hoo Peninsula team, regularly attending meetings and imparting her great knowledge and passion for the area, as well as sharing stories of her own working life on the peninsula.
Aged 65, Tony North is a semi-retired Construction Professional after 48 years of working in London and the south east. He has lived in Hoo St Werburgh for 46 years. He is married with 2 grown-up daughters, 3 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. Tony is very interested in history, particularly local history with a special interest is in WWII airfields and local defences. He has been a committed member of the team, who has helped with both historical research and conducting many oral history interviews for the project.
Karen has lived on the Peninsula for 27 years; initially on the Isle of Grain but now in Chattenden on the outskirts of Hoo. She has two lovely children, a son aged 24 and a daughter aged 17. Karen has worked as a library assistant at Hoo Village Library for 14 years. She is proud to be working in the heart of the community and to have met some wonderful and interesting characters over the years. Hoo Village Library has been the main meeting place for the Histories of the Hoo Peninsula project and Karen and the rest of the team at the library have been generous in facilitating project meetings, providing us with refreshments and a warm and friendly place to meet and introducing us to members of the community who have become involved in the project.