Thursday, May 30th, 2024

OTFORD (and Britain!) at war – ‘on the front line 1939-1945’.  Historical society asks residents for their memories

THIS year (2019) marks the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War and is also the 75th anniversary of the ‘D Day’ invasion of 6 June 1944.

Otford District Historical Society is compiling information about the ‘home front’, the war, and how it related to Otford.  Members also hope there will be a number of associated exhibitions in the village Heritage Centre. But they need your help.

Do you have any documents, photos, artefacts etc. (other material would be welcome too) about either your own experiences, or perhaps more likely those of your family, during the war?  These do not have to be related to Otford but if they are, even better.

Do you perhaps have (or did you once have) an Anderson air-raid shelter in your garden? The society would love to hear from you. Do you have any reminiscences or family stories about the war, about evacuation, rationing, food, Christmas at war, the ‘blitz’, ‘doodlebugs’, Air Raid Precautions, the blackout, the Home Guard etc you would be willing to share?

You can write as much or as little as you wish. It might even help you write that family history you’ve been meaning to put together.  The society can copy any documents you might wish to share with them.  Contact them at or leave your contact details in the Otford Heritage Centre or Parish Office.

OTFORD NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN: There are only a few days left to complete your comments on the survey which residents have had through their letterboxes. It needs to be completed and returned by 31 May 2019. It should take you no more than eight minutes.

The neighbourhood plan was launched in Autumn 2017.  Since then a steering committee, formed of local volunteers, has been researching and collating ideas for the future of Otford village. This survey is the latest step in the programme of public consultation. The survey asks for views on a number of issues.

The results will be used to prepare a draft plan which will then go out to a public referendum before it is formally adopted.  Some areas (such as sustainable tourism, traffic and travel throughout the village) are not included because they have already been covered by other surveys and research. This survey focuses on the issues of land utilisation and development which are at the heart of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Residents are asked to answer all of the questions except for question 9 which is only relevant if you own, or would like to own, a business in Otford, and post it in the collection box in the Parish Office, Otford Library, Yvonne’s, Otford Pharmacy, or the Post Office.  Alternatively, you can complete the survey online at  Your contribution is vital and your responses will remain confidential.  They do not ask for your name, only your postcode so that they can see whether there are differences in views between different areas in the village.  If you have any questions about the survey, please contact the Chair of the Steering Committee, Peter Bradnock:

ART IN JUNE: Angela Bishop and daughter, Suzie Galloway, as part of Art in June, are exhibiting their sculptures, paintings, and glasswork in the garden and studios at 5, Broughton Road, Otford, 01959 523203 from 8-23 June 8 to 23 between 11am and 5pm or by appointment. Other Otford artists participating are Ann Bridges at 58 High Street, 07906 310021, and Julian Cheswick, Hope Artists, 3 Spring Head Road, Kemsing T15 6QL. For more details of opening times etc go to the Art in June Open Studios website by CLICKING HERE

Angela Bishop is also exhibiting with The East Surrey Sculpture Society at Ightham Mote from 2-30 June.

A FAMILY NATURE EVENT  is being held in Oxenhill Woods between 2pm and 4.30pm on Sunday 9 June. The 61 acres of woodland and meadow is set between Otford and Kemsing and can be enjoyed by walkers, dogs with their  owners and of course wildlife. The event has been organised by Otford and Kemsing Parish Councils. Kent Wildlife Trust will be there to help with bug hunts, leaf and bark rubbing, nature craft, drawing and painting and wildlife face painting. There will be opportunities to learn more about trees, the names of loads of wildflowers and wild orchids.  The entrance is from the bottom of Tudor Drive, Otford (TQ 536589) and cars can park on site, if the ground is dry. Admission is free,  but there will be an opportunity for donations as well. Do go along and, hopefully, enjoy the sunshine and maybe take a picnic.   There are some rustic seats on some of the paths.

QUIZ NIGHT FOR POD: Many Otford residents will remember the enjoyable Otford Patient Group Quiz held last December in the Church Hall and there will be another chance to exercise your brain cells on Friday 14 June in St Edith’s Hall, Kemsing, 7.30pm start. This event is to raise funds for a second Surgery Pod in addition to the one about to be installed at Otford Surgery. The ‘Pod’ enables patients to check blood pressure, weight and other vital statistics immediately before their Doctor or Nurse appointment.  If you would like to raise a team (up to 10 people) or just come as an individual please contact Ken Cardinal 01959 522513 or email

OTFORD FOLK DANCE CLUB next meets on Thursday 30 May in Walthamstow Hall Junior School hall in Sevenoaks with Sean Goddard & John Porlock calling. All  kinds of mixed folk dances are on offer and all are welcome. Whether you have little or no knowledge, the caller will give help and your fellow dancers will also assist you.  The emphasis is on friendly enjoyment rather than perfection If you would like more information ring Mary Butson, 01732 458356.

OTFORD GARDENERS’ SOCIETY meets at 8pm on Tuesday 4 June, in the village Memorial Hall to hear a talk by Kathrine Lynn on ‘Companion Planting’. Kathrine is very keen on the idea of choosing plants which can bring benefits to other plants in the garden and help minimise the damage done by pests and diseases. For details please contact the Society Secretary, Janet Finney on 01959 523760, e-mail:

1940’s SOCIETY meets at 8pm on Friday 31 May in the Otford Memorial Hall for a talk by Peter Nixon about The Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Incident, admission £3.  Local writer Peter will explore one of the most tragic domestic disasters of the war which occurred on 3 March, 1943 and was hushed up at the time.  If you would like further details contact 07927 748773,  website:

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