Society Timeline


North West Kent FHS Events

2018 April The 40th Society AGM and Family History Day held at Farrington's School, Perry Street, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6LR 14th April 2018.
2018 March The Society's 'new' website launched.
2017 December The 40th Anniversary calendar photograph competition winners were announced in the Journal. They were Maureen Griffiths, Keith Whitmore, Karina Jackson, Will Chopping, Angela Brandreth-Cook, Brian Kirk and Barbara Stead
2017 June The Society produced a pack of notelets for sale to boost Society funds
2017 June Commonwealth War Graves photographic project was completed, recording the service deaths interred in the burial grounds within our area. 3207 images taken of 1968 graves.
2017 May Mayor of London Borough of Bexley Councillor Eileen Pallen visits the Society Library on 17 May 2017
2017 April Josephine Birchenough Memorial award for 2016 was announced at the AGM. First prize went to David Turner and joint second place went to Josephine Huet and Sarah Ingle
2017 April The 39th Society AGM and Family History Day held at West Heath School, Ashgrove Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 1SR 22nd April 2017.
2017 January The workshops at the library expanded to include quarterly discussion groups, one group is a general topic group and the second group is on writing up your family history.
2017 January Incorporated Tunbridge Wells FHS.
2016 June Obituary of June Biggs 1930-2016 who was a founding member (No.7), Society Secretary (1979-1985) and President (1995-2002). Journal Vol.14 No.4 p144.

2016 April

The 38th Society AGM and Family History Day held at Cobham Hall, Cobham, Kent. Walter Eves, Chairman stands down after 15 years in the role.
2015 December Membership stands at 1182.
2015 December The Society produces a wall calendar for 2016.
2015 December Stephen Archer stepped down after 17 years as web master. His work on the web site won the FFHS award for best web site in 2006.
2015 November Death of Society Vice-President Joan Field, a member since 1981.
2015 July A Taskholders Meeting is held at Dartford.  
2015 April The Society was awarded a plaque in appreciation of its helping people with learning disabilities as part of the Lottery funded project 'Touching the Past' run by Community Futures. Sevenoaks library also received an award for providing help and venues for the project.
2015 April The 37th Society AGM and Family History Day held at Sevenoaks Community Centre.
2015 March The Society photographed and processed the Chelsfield St Martin parish registers (Stephen Archer and Bob Woodward) still in possession of the church. The projects team have produced a CD of these registers (CD-OR161).
2015 January BBC Radio Kent and Findmypast at the Society to participate in a radio programme about researching family history.
2014 September The Society purchased a number of Cudham deeds from 1700s through to 1800s. The funds for this purchase as provided by members' donations. See Journal Vol.13 No.7, September 2014 for details
2014 April The 36th Society AGM and Family History Day held at the Dartford Technology College, Heath Lane, Dartford, Kent DA1 2LY on 26th April 2014..
2014 March Membership stands at 1181.
2013 October A Taskholders Meeting is held at Dartford Technical College.
2013 October Dartford Branch celebrates its 25th Anniversary of its founding in October 1988. Part of the celebrations included a Family History Auction to raise Society funds.
2013 September Olive Hill donated her and her husband's Microfilm and Microfiche collection to the Society Library. It consisted of 131 microfilms and over 836 sets of microfiche.
2013 September The Society featured in an article published by The Bexley Times and the Gravesend Reporter (19th September 2013).
2013 April The Society's email information service initiated.
2013 April The 35th Society AGM and Family History Day held at Dartford Technology College, Heath Lane, Dartford, Kent DA1 2LY on 27th April 2013.
2013 March The Society Journals from 1978-2007 were photographed and put on the website. They are indexed by author, title and summary content.
2013 The Society takes part in the Commonwealth War Graves Photographic Project. The project is to photograph all memorial stones for service men and women and civilian war deaths within our area.
2012 December Agreement with FFHS and Findmypast to put our project data on their server. This will generate an income for the Society.
2012 June 28 Society volunteers manned the BBC’s ‘The Great British Story’ television series event at Hall Place Bexley. 1700 members of the public attended the event. Our volunteers helped enquirers with their family history research queries.
2012 April The 34th Society AGM and Family History Day held at Sevenoaks Community Centre, Crampton Rd/Otford Rd, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5DN on 28th April 2012.
2012 April The Kent History and Library Centre was opened on the 23 April 2012. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent KG. officially opened it on Tuesday 11th December 2012. The official opening marked the final commissioning and acceptance by the National Archives as an approved archive.
The Duke was given a tour of the facilities which include research rooms, exhibition area and restoration workshops. NWKFHS was represented by the Society's President David Cufley who was one of three Kent history societies representatives, along with a representative of the National Archive (TNA), presented to the Duke as he was about to enter the research room.
2012 March Membership stands at 1367.
2012 February Obituary of Denise Yvonne Rason 1944-2012 (mn 654) Secretary of the Society 1992-96, Mailing list administrator 2000-2011. (see Journal Vol 12 No 10 p408).
2011 December Tunbridge Wells FHS celebrate their 20th Anniversary. See Journal Vol.12 No.8 p322.
2011 September Sevenoaks Branch celebrates it's 25th anniversary of it's founding on 26th September 1986.
2011 September NWKFHS repaired the FFHS gavel that had broken. As its elegant design and weakened condition would make it liable to splitting under robust use, the Society presented a new gavel in Burbinga wood to resist the harsh and vigorous use. See Vol.12 No.8 p329.
2011 May New Society Family History Workshops set up at the Library for members on a booking system. This service at the Society Library was part of the Library Sub-committee report.
2011 May The 33rd Society AGM and Family History Day held at Sevenoaks Community Centre, Crampton Rd/Otford Rd, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5DN on 21st May 2011. Jean Stirk stands down as President.
2011 April New Blog started on
2011 January Society Research Service originally run on an ad hoc basis continued with Research Coordinator Vera Bailey and (from June 2011) by Stella Baggaley; then by Lorraine King from March 2014. The new Society Library Research service would be run in addition to the existing services. This service uses parish registers and sources at the Society Library was part of the Library Sub-committee report. Research Service set up for members and non-members at an hourly charge rate.
2011 January Bromley Branch meeting venue moves to Bromley Methodist Church hall.
2010 May The 32nd Society AGM and Family History Day held at St Edith Hall, High Street, Kemsing near Sevenoaks, Kent.
The village of Kemsing lies in an area of natural beauty on the North Downs and was the birthplace, in 961, of St Edith of Wilton, an illegitimate daughter of the Saxon king Edgar. The well in the centre of the village is dedicated to her.
St Edith Hall at the village centre is adorned with a statue of the saint surmounted by a clock and a bell on the front of the most eye catching building in the village. It is a very well equipped recreational and social complex, erected in 1911 by a local benefactor.
The Library Sub-committee report was presented and approved. This report proposed a number of new services provided by the Society for members.
2009 December Membership stands at 1557.
2009 October A Taskholders Meeting is held at Dartford.
2009 June Society Library official opening at new location (24th June 2009).
2009 May Dartford Branch meeting venue moves to new Dartford Technology College.
2009 May Death announced of Edmund Roberts, the Society's first Treasurer, and Chairman 1983-86.
2009 April Society Library moves to KCC Library, 80 Summerhouse Drive, Joydens Wood Estate, Bexley, DA5 2EE.
2009 April The 31st Society AGM and Family History Day held at the new Dartford Technology College, Heath Lane, Dartford on Saturday 18th April 2009.
2008 December Membership stands at 1534.
2008 November New treasurer Isabel Leslie appointed.
2008 August New editor Pauline Heathcote appointed.
2008 August Death of Val Pike, the incumbent journal editor.
2008 May Death of Jill Valentine - Bromley Branch Chairman in the early 1990's.  An obituary can be found in the September 2008 journal.
2008 April  30th anniversary of the Society and AGM One-Day Conference held at Sevenoaks School on Saturday 12th April. This proved to be a most enjoyable day. Michael Gandy entertained us with a talk on Music Halls, enlivened with extracts from and explanations of many of the old cockney songs. The business part of the meeting was completed successfully and it was felt that it had been positive year for the Society. After lunch, there was the option of a visit to Knole House, or a workshop on reading old manuscripts. There were a number of stalls to browse and buy books and other items of interest.
2007 December Membership stands at 1637.
2007 June A Taskholders Meeting is held at Dartford on Saturday 16th June. Over 60 Task-holders, the President, Vice-Presidents and Committee Members took part in the meeting to look at how the Society meets existing and future needs and challenges; to see if the Committee can provide any extra assistance to Task-holders. Various points were raised and ideas and views were freely exchanged.
2007 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at Cobham Hall. Cobham Hall was owned by a number of families - the de Cobhams (13th-14th centuries), Brooke (Barons Cobham) until 1603, then the Stuarts (Earls of Lennox & Richmond), and since the early 18th century the Bligh family (Earls of Darnley). The building is a late-Elizabethan mansion of red brick erected by William Brooke, 10th Lord Cobham, with later additions in the same style. It was sold by the Darnleys in 1957 and since 1962 has been a girl's school.
2006 December Membership stands at 1778.
2006 October The Society is asked to produce a family history display for Bromley Library. In October 2006 a joint exhibition between the Society and the Bromley Borough Local History Society was mounted in the Local Studies Library at Bromley. The display boards were created by Peter Crawley and Angela Verrells to illustrate the story of their Penge and Chelsfield families respectively.
2006 September North West Kent FHS wins the FFHS award for best society website It was sponsored by Family Tree Magazine (ABM Publishing Ltd) with a First Prize, of £100. The award was made on 2nd September at the FFHS Autumn Conference in Northampton and was received by one of our Society Vice-presidents, Joyce Hoad.
2006 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at Eynsford.  
2006 April Inability to fill posts on the Computer Branch committee forces closure of the branch.
2005 December Membership stands at 1971.
2005 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at Greenhithe.
2005 February Dartford Branch meeting moves to Dartford Technical College, Heath Lane.
2004 December Membership stands at 2067.
2004 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at Otford Memorial Hall.
2003 December Membership stands at 2080.
2003 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at Cleeve Park School, Sidcup.
2002 December Membership peaks at 2119.
2002 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at Dartford Grammar School for Girls.
2001 December Membership stands at 2060.
2001 September Bromley Branch meeting day moves from 3rd Friday of the month to 3rd Wednesday.
2001 April Society AGM held on Thursday 26 April at Sevenoaks Community Centre, Bat and Ball, Sevenoaks.
2001 The Society Library acquires permanent premises at Hextable Heritage Centre, open once a week and run by Society Librarian Audrey Rainer.
2000 December Society has 2024 members.
2000 June Computer meetings in members' houses cease when the Society's new Computer Branch is formed, meeting at Crofton Halls, Orpington. Its chairman and initial driving force is Tony Field (passed away Jan 2001).
2000 May Internet mailing list launched, run by Denise Rason.
2000 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at Dartford Grammar School for Girls.
1999 December Society has 1865 members
1999 West Kent Sources, 3rd edition published. The original edition was published in 1989 and the 2nd edition of the booklet in 1994.
1999 September Twenty-first anniversary conference, 'Time and Tide', held at Avery Hill College, Eltham.
1998 December Society has 1794 members.
1998 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at St Josephs School, Crayford.
1998 March Society website launched.
1997 December Society has c.1700 members
1997 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at Bullers Wood School, Chislehurst.
1996 December Society has 1689 members.
1996 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at the Churchill School, Westerham.
1995 October Taskholders Meeting is held at West Wickham.
1995 June The Federation of Family History Societies celebrates its 21st Anniversary by holding a reception at the Cholmondeley Room in the House of Lords. The Society was represented by the President June Biggs and Chairman David Cufley.
1995 April Society AGM and One-Day Conference held at the John Roan School, Greenwich.
1995 Feb Death of Dick Bourton, first Society Chairman and later President.  Obituary appears in the July 1995 journal.
1995 Feb Sevenoaks Branch moves from Cornwall Hall, back to its original venue, the Community centre.
1994 October Taskholders Meeting.
1994 April For the first time the Society AGM is held as part of a One-Day Conference, at Eynsford.
1994 March Death of Josephine Birchenough - founder member, family history tutor, first chairman of Dartford Branch etc. Obituary appears in the July 1994 journal, and an annual bursary/award is set up in her memory donated by members.
1993 December Society has 1533 members.
1993 October Taskholders Meeting is held at Hextable.
1992/93 Society wins the Elizabeth Simpson Award (best society journal) for the 3rd time. Editor at the time was Mari Alderman.
1992 December Society has 1500 members.
1991 April A Project Coordinator is appointed for each meetings branch, reporting to the main Society Projects Coordinator.
1991 Tunbridge Wells FHS is established, covering the parishes overlapping the Kent and Sussex border around the town of Tunbridge Wells.
1991 January Sevenoaks Branch moves from St Nicholas Church Hall, to Cornwall Hall, The Drive, Sevenoaks.
1990 October 4th Directory of Members Interests published.
1990 October A Computer Day Conference in collaboration with the Society of Genealogists is held at Sevenoaks School for Girls (a full account of this appears in the March 1991 journal).
1990 April Bromley becomes a branch with the same status as Sevenoaks & Dartford.  A branch committee is set up under Jill Valentine.
1990 March Member number 2,000 is signed up.
1990 Early The Computer Group is reformed under the coordination of Peter Searle, later (1991) Ron Anthony. For ten years it meets in members' houses every six weeks or so (until the formation of the Computer Branch meeting at Orpington in 2000).
1990 Feb The Society's first microfiche index is published (Orpington MI's).
1989 December Society membership reaches c.1200
1989 November Society attends Bexley History Fair at Hall Place.
1989 July West Kent Sources, a guide to family history research in west Kent is published by the Society, the result of three years' work and coordinated by the publications committee.  New editions of the booklet appear in 1994 and 1998.
1989 January After two years at Sevenoaks Community Centre Sevenoaks Branch moves to St Nicholas Church Hall, South Park, Sevenoaks.
1988 December Dartford Branch meets for one time only at the Royal Victoria & Bull Hotel (Sat 3 Dec).  Regular meetings resume in Feb 1989 at North West Kent College of Technology.
1988 October Society starts work on transcribing the 1881 census for N.W.Kent, as part of the national project. Roy Cornell takes on the coordinating role in 1989.
1988 October Inaugural meeting of the Society's Dartford Branch on Sat 22 Oct, at North West Kent College of Technology. Formal opening by Anthony Camp, Director of the Society of Genealogists.  First chairman of the branch is Josephine Birchenough.
1988 September Society hosts the Federation of Family History Societies Autumn Conference 'Villages within the City' at Avery Hill College, Eltham, attended by 380 people.  It also sees the launch of the Society's first 1851 Census Index publication. A further six census indexes are published in the ensuing years, finishing in 1999.
1988 After eight years at the Central Library, pressure of numbers forces the Bromley Branch meeting to move to the large hall at the Civic Centre.
1987 December Society has c.900 members.
1987 Society acquires its first computer for Secretary admin.
1987 First Overseas Members coordinator appointed.
1987 3rd Members Interests booklet published.
1987 Early Society acquires its first computer for Secretary admin.
1986/87 Society wins joint first place in the Federation's 'Elizabeth Simpson Award' for best UK society journal for 1986. Editor at the time was Jean Stirk. The second time it won the award the previous time was 1983/84.
1986 December Society has c.800 members.
1986 December Courier Service begins, run by Lynne Marsh.
1986 December The 1984 IGI was received by the Society in September and an off-print service started in December. (This service ceased in 1985).
1986 November A meeting with officers of Kent FHS establishes a mutual boundary between the two societies, for projects work. This is a line running from the Thames at Northfleet and Gravesend south to the Sussex boundary at Frant - see Society Area map.
1986 September The Sevenoaks Branch formed, meeting at Sevenoaks Community Centre, Otford Rd. First chairman is Maureen Barnes.
1986 Febuary First meeting of the Society's Publications Committee, under the chairmanship of Jean Stirk. Until now publications have been infrequent and ad-hoc. Now a change in policy takes place, to turn our project work into publications for sale. The committee also embarks on a major project to publish a guide to family history research in west Kent (eventually published 1989), entitled West Kent Sources.
1985 December Society has c.700 members.
1986 Society wins joint first place in the Federation's 'Elizabeth Simpson Award' for best UK society journal for 1986.
1985 November An Events Committee is set up, chaired by Gill Valentine for its first four years.
1985 October 2nd One-Day Conference at Beckenham, 'Records Through Time'.
1985 September Society's Tape Library is started by Tony Field, with audio-taping of talks at meetings.
1984 December Society has 639 members.
1984 May First One-Day Conference held at Chislehurst & Sidcup School.  George Pelling presents the Society with the 'Elizabeth Simpson Award' for the best society journal of 1983.
1984 First printed publication appears (the 'Index of Bromley Settlement Examinations').
1984 The first House Groups are formed, initially at Beckenham, Bromley, Orpington, Penge, Petts Wood and Sidcup.
1984 Joyce Hoad takes over the Society Library from Frank & Mabel Lord and runs it for the next 16 years.
1983/84 Society wins the Elizabeth Simpson Award for best society journal.  Editor at the time was Jean Stirk.
1983 December Society has 583 members.
1983 November First Computer Group is formed, co-ordinated by Stephen Archer. For about two years it meets every couple of months, in members' homes.
1983 March Journal now typeset by Josephine Birchenough and printed at A5 size.
1982 December Society has 486 members.
1982 April Fourth Society AGM held at Bromley Central Library, attended by 76 members.
1981 December Society has 366 members.
1981 July Society becomes a registered Charity (No.282627).
1981 May First Directory of Members' Interests compiled by Basil & Jean Benwell, published in booklet form and issued free to all members.
1981 April Third Society AGM held at Bromley Central Library, attended by 90 members.
1981 After a limited amount of census transcribing in earlier years, the Society embarks on a major project to transcribe the 1851 Census for the whole of North West Kent. This project is coordinated first by Pat Pingram (1981-83). Succeeded by Ken Wickham (1983-86), Stephen Archer (1986-96) and Maureen Fearn (1996-99).
1980 December Society has 310 members. During the year Society volunteers have been engaged in MI recording at Keston, Orpington, Knockholt, Westerham and Footscray.
1980 April Second Society AGM held at Bromley Central Library, attended by 74 members.
1979/80 A major Society MI recording project conducted at Nunhead Cemetery, coordinated by Guy Nevill.
1979 December Society has 167 members.
1979 October Closure of Stockwell College and growing numbers at meetings forces a move to Bromley Central Library.
1979 April First Society AGM held at Stockwell College, attended by 54 members. Membership stands at 80.
1979 A group at Woolwich decline an invitation to become a branch of N.W.Kent FHS, and form themselves into a separate society (Woolwich & District FHS).
1978 October First issue of our quarterly journal 'North West Kent Family History' is produced by editor Fred Whyler and issued to all members. The first four years' of society journals are typed, duplicated & assembled by the Chairman.
1978 July The North West Kent Family History Society is formed, meeting at Stockwell College, Bromley on the third Friday of each month. Our first chairman is C.L. (Dick) Bourton, and the area covered was described as "South East London and western Kent".
1978 R.F. Gambier, chairman of the Federation of Family History Societies, sends out a circular letter asking family historians if they wished to form a Society in the Bromley area.
1974 April Kent Family History Society is the first to be established in Kent, covering at that time the whole of the ancient (pre-1889) County.