Posted on Oct 24, 2018

The Malling Society Autumn Newsletter 2018

From the Vice Chair (acting Chair)


Dear Members,

So, what has been going on during the summer…

Sadly, we heard of the sudden deaths of 2 of West Malling’s well-known residents, Tim Baldock and Tony Briggs. Our condolences went out to both families.

In May we adopted our new updated Constitution which can be seen on the website at

In June, David Williams a local historian gave us an interesting talk on “The History of Oldbury Hill through its Trackways”.  I used to pass this site every day without knowing what was there.

The Executive Committee has made Ron Martin (Archivist), Mike North (Local Historian and contributor to research) and Bob Vago (For continuing, invaluable work at The Twitch Heritage Centre) lifetime Honorary Members of The Malling Society.

We had a slight change to the original advertised talk on “Records of Vagrants, Gypsies, Travellers and Strangers in Kent, by Gillian Rickard. Sadly, Gillian was unable to make July, instead, we had an amusing but inspirational talk by a member of staff from the local charity Spadework, Gill Speed. We also had a chance to buy some of the items grown in their nursery. My two Mint plants are doing very well.

Our second event for July, saw 21 of us, enjoy a very hot summer outing to the Kent and Sussex railway from Bodium to Tenterden, we had a Ploughman’s lunch on the outward journey, spent some time in Tenterden and a cream tea on our return. Some of us were also able to look around the sheds and carriages at the Bodium site, it was very interesting to see the carriage that brought the bodies of Edith Cavell and the Unknown Warrior back to the England. Thank you, Richard for organising it and we eagerly look forward to next year’s outing.

Our September meeting brought us “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. A highly amusing illustrated story of Kentish Public Libraries by Christoph Bull, tour guide, speaker, historical advisor and Mace Bearer for Gravesham Borough Council.

Alan Payne returned in October with an illustrated talk, of the heritage and buildings in Greenwich, called “An armchair tour of Greenwich” I understand from our Secretary he has agreed to return again next year.

Throughout the year, The Twitch Heritage Centre has been open 7 times with a constant flow of visitors to see our new photographic exhibition ‘Blues and Crews’ based on the Police and Fire Services in West Malling.

We do need some more volunteers to help staff the Twitch on open days if you can help please send your details to Eileen Vigo, our Twitch Representative.

As you know from last year’s report from the then Chair – Molly mentioned that there was no memorial in the churchyard to the memory of Freda Barton, the Vicar and Freda Barton’s Granddaughter had been consulted, approved and agreed it would be appropriate to purchase a chestnut bench.  Plans have been sent to the Church Council for their agreement, which has been given, with the proviso that we get the approval from Freda’s granddaughter in writing. We’ll keep you informed as to the progress.

Don’t forget the Malling Society’s Annual General Meeting – Tuesday 20th November 2018 at 8pm to be held at the Primary School, Norman Road, West Malling. Get your nominations in to elect your Executive Committee, there will be Nomination forms available at the October General Meeting,  if you would like to join the Executive Committee (you must have been a member of the Malling Society for at least 1 Year) send your details to Barbara Earl via email or phone her on 01732 847678, please ensure the nominations get to her by the 12th of November 2018.

Last year’s Annual General Meeting minutes are at the end of the newsletter.

Next year, 2019, it is intended to open an online shopping zone which will make it easier for overseas customers to purchase our Family History CDs and some of our other publications. We just need to update the Website a little to do this, so there maybe a small interruption to service.

2019 looks to be just as busy and we have loads of interesting things going on. See our programme of events.

I only have one more thing to say… Thank you for your support in 2018 and on behalf of my Executive Committee, we wish you all, a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas, see you all again in 2019.

Kind Regards

Chris Mercer (Acting Chair)

The Malling Society Programme for 2019

Our first event for 2019 will be an informal lunch on Sunday 3rd February The New Year’s Buffet Roast Lunch at West Malling Golf Club, Trottiscliffe Road, Addington. 12.30pm for 1pm. £16.00 for 2 courses £20.00 for 3 courses. Pay on the day. No deposit required. Lifts available. Contact Eileen Vago on 01732 841297 email if you wish to attend and/or require a lift.

All our meetings will start at 8pm at the West Malling Primary School, Norman Road, West Malling, unless otherwise stated. £3.00 entry for Members. £3.50 entry for non-members. Refreshments included.

Tuesday 12th March “Archaeology the Musical”. An illustrated talk with songs and slides by archaeologist Kevin Fromings in aid of BBC Children in Need.

Tuesday 17th April “Kent Fire Fighting Museum”. An illustrated talk by Howard Myers.

Tuesday 14th May “Story of the Foundling Hospital”. A moving illustrated talk by Elaine Munday on the local children who grew up there through archive documents.

Tuesday 18th June “Pocahontas – the non-Disney Story”. An illustrated Talk, by Christoph Bull, tour guide, speaker, historical adviser and Mace Bearer for Gravesham Borough Council.

Tuesday 16th July “To be announced. see Spring 2019 Newsletter or website for details.

Tuesday 17th September “What’s On the Cards”. An amusing illustrated talk on the history and mystery of playing cards (with a few demonstrations thrown in)” by Alan Payne.

Tuesday 15th October “Dickens in Kent”. Another illustrated Talk by Christoph Bull who makes a welcome return.

Tuesday 19th November – AGM followed by Wine and nibbles.

For further details or to join the Society, please contact Mrs Barbara Earl on 01732 847678, at or visit our website:

The 53rd Annual General Meeting of the Malling Society will take place on TUESDAY 20th NOVEMBER 2018 at 8pm at West Malling C.E. Primary School, Norman Road West Malling, Kent.


  1. Opening of the Meeting.
  2. Apologies for Absence.
  3. Minutes of the 2017 AGM (See attached).
  4. Chairman’s Report.
  5. Treasurer’s Report and Adoption of Accounts.
  6. Appointment of Auditor for 2018/2019.
  7. Election of the Executive Committee.
  8. Any Other Business.
  9. Close of Business followed by Wine & Nibbles

The following Members of the Retiring Executive Committee have offered themselves for re-election to date:

Gwyneth Barkham, Richard Bowles, Carole d’Silva, Barbara Earl, Chris Mercer and Eileen Vago.

Further Nominations for The Committee should be made on the new Nomination Form. Please contact Barbara Earl Tel 01732 847678 email: before 12th November 2018.

Subscription Reminder for 2018-2019

Can we remind everyone, apart from those who pay by Direct Debit or Standing Order, that subscriptions are now due for 2018 – 2019. Individual Fees £7.00

You can pay at the AGM or send your cheque made out to The Malling Society to Mrs E. Vago, 116 St. Leonard’s Street, West Malling ME19 6PD. With regards to Gift Aid forms she must be informed if Members have had any change of circumstances.

Please can Members forward their current email address to

Minutes of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Malling Society held at 8pm Wednesday 21 November 2017 at West Malling Primary School, West Malling.

Opening of Meeting

The Chairman, Molly Potts, welcomed Members to the 52nd Annual Meeting

Apologies for Absence

Gwyneth Barkham, Jane Best-Shaw, Keith & Diana Bullard and Barbara Earl.

Approval of the Minutes

The Minutes of the 51st Meeting having been circulated by email were agreed by everyone present.

Proposed by Bernard Tyson and seconded by Carole D’Silva.

There were no Matters Arising.

Chairman’s Report

Molly’s Report for the past year had been circulated and she asked if anyone had any comments to make?

There were none.

Molly informed everyone that:

  1. There had been a good attendance at The Twitch Open Days during 2017
  2. A New Year Lunch would be held on 4th February 2018 and Members should inform Eileen Vago if they wished to attend
  3. The new programme was now in progress and Guest Speakers so far well received
  4. The invitation for a further visit to France had been agreed and anyone wishing to go should inform the committee

Treasurer’s Report & Adoption of Accounts

Eileen Vago, Treasurer, explained the Accounts to everyone.   It was proposed by Chris Mercer and seconded by Richard Bowles that the Audited Accounts for the year ended 23 October 2017 be approved and adopted.  A copy of the Audited Accounts is attached to these Minutes.

Eileen reported that there had been a net gain of £243.10.

Appointment of Auditor for 2017

It was proposed by Eileen Vago and seconded by Pat Lander and agreed that Mr F Rowland be appointed as Auditor for the coming year.

Election of the Executive Committee

The current Committee comprising:  Gwyneth Barkham, Richard Bowles, Carole D’Silva, Barbara Earl, Chris Mercer, Molly Potts, Tom Silver and Eileen Vago had agreed to continue as Committee Members.

A Proposal was made for a block election by Bob Vago and Seconded by Val Valvassura, All Agreed.

It was also reported that Molly Potts would continue as Chairman, Eileen Vago as Treasurer, Barbara Earl as Secretary and Richard Bowles as an Executive Committee Member.

All Members present were in agreement.

Any Other Business

Eileen Vago asked that (a) with regards to Gift Aid forms she be informed if Members had any change of circumstances

(b) ensure Barbara Earl is informed of any changes to email addresses

(c) the move from The Clout had meant that no rent had to be paid because the school had generously allowed their premises to be let, on these occasions, for the benefit of the Society.  As a result, the committee had agreed that a donation of £150. be given to the school; this had been done and it paid for a trip for the older children to the Houses of Parliament.

Molly Potts reported it had been agreed in committee that as there was no memorial in the churchyard to the memory of Freda Barton, the Vicar and Freda Barton’s Grandaughter had been consulted, approved and agreed it would be appropriate to purchase a chestnut bench.  Plans to be sent to the Church Council to seek their agreement.

Val Valvassura asked for thanks to be given to Barbara Earl for her huge commitment to the Society and volume of work undertaken.  This was agreed and Eileen Vago said that both Ron Martin and Chris Mercer should also be thanked particularly for the work at The Twitch.  Molly said that the new power-point and microphone technology were great assets at meetings.   It was agreed flowers should be sent to Barbara and wine to Ron to express everyone’s appreciation.

Close of Meeting

Molly said that 2017 had been a successful year for the Society but she needed to mention that more volunteers were needed on Heritage Days at Douces Manor.  Visitors were not allowed to walk on private footways and had to keep to the main path in front of the building.   Ron Martin, Bob & Eileen Vago had great difficulty in ensuring that the rules were kept.   Molly said that the Secretary would email everyone before the Easter opening to see if additional volunteers were available.

The meeting closed at 20:50 and was followed by wine and refreshments.