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Oxted and District History Society
7th February 2007

  19th Century Kent

Bob Ogley, former journalist and author of 22 books including ‘Kent in the 19th Century’,  gave a colourful lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on this subject.

At the beginning of the 19th Century life was very different with no gas and electricity and poor transport. Most people lived in villages. Chatham was the largest town and the population of Sevenoaks was 2200.

Some of the greatest Britons lived and worked in Kent. William Pitt was born in Hayes and lived at Keston. Nelson’s naval career began at Chatham and Captain Bligh lived at Farningham. Caroline of Brunswick lived at Blackheath and Lady Hestor Stanhope, her lady-in-waiting, was an early explorer. The artist, Turner, lived at Margate and painted many Thames and Medway views. Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin both lived and worked in Kent. H.G. Wells and Mrs Beeton both wrote books in the county.

The arrival of the railway transformed Kent life. The Canterbury- Whitstable line was built in 1830 and the Redhill to Folkestone and Dover line was also one of the earliest. The railways helped the development of the towns, particularly Ashford and facilitated the migration from the country to the towns and commuting to work.

Lecture given at
Oxted United Reformed Church,
Bluehouse Lane, Oxted