Gateways supported Sheppey Promenade to research what women were doing on Sheppey during the First World War for their Heritage Lottery project.
Sheppey was unique in that there was a Naval Dockyard, an early Aerodrome and Army Barracks all on the one Island together with a number of industries essential to the war effort such as glue making.
Volunteers received training on research methods from Dr Chris Kempshall to enable them to reveal hidden histories. This included records from the former Sheerness Economical Society, Local Newspapers, National Archives, Social Media and on-line ancestry records.
The results are being shared via a series of talks at the Sheppey Little Theatre, and through a community play in association with other local groups like Big Fish Arts. As results have been found, there have been exhibitions at local museums such as the Rose Street Cottage of Curiosities and the Aviation Room together with stalls at events like “Those Magnificent Men and Women in their Flying Machines” with local group Aspirations.
Sheppey Promenade also organised a week-long festival in the summer featuring a number of events such as readings from a writers group about the role of women which will eventually become a book and a parade replicating suffrage parades found in local newspapers.
The project is due to conclude in February 2019 with further exhibitions in local venues.
Download a flyer about the project's research into Eastchurch and the birth of the WRAF here.
Photos all reproduced with permission of the Women of Sheppey project.