Welcome to the all-new website of the Shoreham & District Historical Society. On these pages you’ll find a mini-archive of village history, news stories, details on talks and membership, a list of publications for sale, and how to get in touch. We’re adding new items about historic buildings, characters and events all the time, so check back regularly. And let us have your feedback on the Contact Us page.
Shoreham & District Historical Society
Set beside the river Darent where it cuts through the North Downs on its way to the Thames, Shoreham is a village and parish of just over two thousand inhabitants about five miles north of Sevenoaks in west Kent.
Our best known monument is the great cross cut in the chalk hillside to commemorate the dead of the First World War. The village also has a place in the folklore of the Second World War, when the BBC described it as “bomb alley” – the most bombed rural parish in Britain. Today, Shoreham Aircraft Museum displays numerous relics of the air combats over southern England.
Our most famous former resident is Samuel Palmer, the watercolour artist and mystic, who painted his most celebrated works here early in the 19th century and attracted a small circle of painters, poets and writers to the village. William Blake was one such visitor, not long before his death.
Other former residents include Verney Lovett Cameron, the first European to cross central Africa; authors Lord Dunsany and Katharine Moore; artist Harold Copping, who often used Shoreham residents for his models; Sir Joseph Prestwich, the eminent Victorian geologist; and Robert Colgate, founder of the soap and toothpaste empire, who was forced to flee to America because of his sympathies with the French Revolution.
The Shoreham & District Historical Society was formed in 1996 to promote awareness of our history, organise meetings and visits, conserve archives and publish research.
To date we have more than 40 publications and have conducted a major oral history project, funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, on the experience of the village during the Second World War.
We have more than 130 members with a subscription of £8 a year, which includes our newsletter, Revista.
Monthly meetings are held on Friday evenings at 8pm in the Village Hall. Details of forthcoming meetings can be found on the Events pages.