Red Lion Square Hythe late 1920s

Last year saw the 75thAnniversary of Hythe Civic Society’s formation and it planned to celebrate in style.

COVID, unfortunately, put paid to those ideas but this year the Society plans to make up for last year’s disappointment, celebrating 75 years+1 with a celebration of Hythe’s rich history – a double celebration!

Heritage Hythe–a series of events highlighting the town’s history- takes place between the 12th and 22nd August.

The Society will have an Information Point in the High Street over each weekend, including Fridays, where a wide range of historical information will be available to view. This includes an aerial map of Hythe produced in the 1960s, old photographs of Hythe, Society publications and lots more.

Central to the celebration is a display of some 200 posters located in places of historic interest in the High Street and beyond. The theme is ‘On this site’ with each poster bearing a photograph of that location in times past along with its history. Five walking trails have been set up to include all the sites.

Mackeson & Co Brewery poster

Maps can be downloaded from hythecivicsociety.org from 10th August and are available free of charge from Brandon’s Music Shop and Eldridge’s in the High Street, the RHDR, and from the Society’s Information Point during the event. Four locations – St Leonard’s Church, The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, Fisherman’s Beach and the Hythe Imperial Hotel have more detailed exhibitions.

Town Guides will also provide guided walks around Hythe on Thursday 12th and Thursday 19th August(cost £1) which will include a guided tour of St Leonard’s Church and a visit to the ossuary (cost £2).

The programme also includes two special events in St Leonard’s Church: on Friday 13th August there will be an informal series of talks on Hythe (subject to Anglican Church COVID restrictions) and on Saturday 21st August – by popular demand -The Ashford Youth Jazz Orchestra makes a return visit. Tickets are available from Brandon’s Music Shop, from the Information Point on certain days and on the door.

Rooftop view of the High Street in Hythe1949

Visit the Society’s website – hythecivicsociety.org – for more information, an online quiz and access to a superb and fascinating series of archive films from ‘British Pathe News’ and ‘Screen Archive South East’, ranging from ‘RHDR – a toy train goes to war 1944’ to ‘Hythe Venetian Fete’.

A wonderful series of activities for everyone, young and old, to enjoy.

Paul Naylor, HCS Committee Member and creator of the Heritage Hythe concept says, ‘The Society’s 75th Anniversary now being celebrated one year on, is a great opportunity to showcase our work and Hythe’s fantastic, long and rich heritage. A key event feature are the heritage walk trails, spanning the town to the seafront, displaying over 200 ‘On this site’ features, revealing site photographic and historical information from many sources. We could not possibly display all of Hythe’s history, though our displays cover a wide range including: military connections, its lifeboats and local fishing industry, its pubs and hotels, shops, its former mills, local celebrities, its Victorian seafront and much, much more. We hope residents and visitors will find this ‘walking book’ experience as fascinating and informative as it has been to produce.’

Look out for posters around the town, visit hythecivicsociety.org and keep your eyes on social media and the press for full details.

The Society plans to round off the celebrations in 2022 by reintroducing ‘Beating the Bounds’- a centuries-old tradition which involves swatting local boundary stones with tree branches to reaffirm the territories of each parish. Further details will follow in the new year.

By Ed

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