Members of our Club & other Rotary Clubs including Canterbury Sunrise had a fascinating time visiting Kent Mining Museum at Betteshanger Country Park the other day - a trip that gave everyone a much better understanding of mining, its history & heritage.
Over 40 Rotarians and guests gathered for what was, in effect, a joint Canterbury and Sunrise meeting. They took a "Meet a Miner" tour, during which visitors learnt about mining in Kent - and in particular about mining at Betteshanger - and got a sense of history and the importance of mining to the local community. (Betteshanger Park is located at the site of the former Betteshanger Colliery, near Deal).
The historical trip spanned 100 years - from when coal was first discovered there to the closing of the pit in 1989. There were lots of interesting exhibits scattered throughout the museum - including original tools used by the miners.
After a delicious buffet supper at the cafe restaurant the visitors heard from an ex-miner about life as coalminer, right up to when the pit closed.
"The museum was excellent, packed with information and many visual displays," said our President Tony Loughran. "It was a fantastic evening enjoyed by all."
During the outing, District Governor Nominee Brian Dunne also presented Andreas and Diane Tatt of Canterbury Sunrise with Sapphire Paul Harris Fellowship awards in recognition of their work in Shepway with the Covid vaccination programme. Well done to them!
[Those of you with in interest in the local collieries may like to see this short historical video clip by our Past President (1937-1938) Sidney Bligh titled “CHISLET COLLIERY; Canterbury Rotarians visit Chislet Colliery”: https://blogs.canterbury.ac.uk/cafa/chislet-colliery - from Canterbury Amateur Film Archive/Canterbury Christ Church University.]
Picture: A view of the entrance to the Museum. Picture credit: Kent Mining Museum (reproduced with kind permission).
Many thanks to Tony Loughran for help with this article.