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Historical copies of Gravesend and Dartford papers preserved

PUBLISHED: 13:13 12 August 2011

Sandra Soder from the Gravesend Historical Society with historical binded Reporter newspapers and artefacts donated to the charitable organisation

Sandra Soder from the Gravesend Historical Society with historical binded Reporter newspapers and artefacts donated to the charitable organisation

»Historically important bound copies of The Reporter dating back more than 150 years have been donated to the Gravesend Historical Society this week.

They were given to the society by Archant Ltd – publishers of The Reporter – to ensure their preservation.

The society’s honorary secretary Sandra Soder, from Chalk, accepted the treasured Reporter files along with three war plaques with the names of men and women from the organisation who served in both World Wars, six of whom lost their lives.

Also handed over, to be stored with the group’s 30,000 documents and artefacts in archive rooms at Fort Gardens, Gravesend, was a portrait of Rowland George Bassett, the founder and first managing director of the Kentish Times, the group responisble for the Reporter.

‘Priceless’

Mrs Soder, who worked for the then Gravesend and Dartford Reporter from 1968 to 1975, said: “It has a fascinating and wonderful history with the town. The preservation of these newspapers is very important.

“The internet is a modern tool that has many benefits but you can’t scan it like a newspaper and run your hands through it and appreciate something that old without actually seeing it and carefully turning the pages.

“They give an amazing potted history of people’s lives and are vital for noteworthy people.

“Looking at the obituaries and wedding notices you can see everything listed from how the ceremony went to a list of presents in full. These newspapers are priceless in historical terms.

“They will be kept in our archive room and bought out for display on public events and exhibitions.”

The society, formed in 1924, is one of the biggest in the country with more than 160 members. Northfleet Historical Society also boasts more than 100 members.

Speaking about the war plaques, she added: “These record the sacrifices that were made by brave members of staff fighting or losing their lives.

“It’s important these don’t leave the borough and continue to be displayed to keep the memory of their sacrifices alive.”

Lecture

The society cares also for artefacts such as Roman and Medieval pots, flint axe heads, bottles from local breweries to letterheads and pens from new businesses.

An illustrated lecture by the society is to be held at Chantry School, Ordnance Road, Gravesend, at 7.30pm on Monday, September 19. Gillian Ellen is to give a talk entitled The Medway Queen. Admission is £2 for none-members.

Call Sandra on 01474 363999 for information.

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