Paddock Wood: Sarah Hamilton

My Heritage Open Days event

I opened our Edwardian house for the first time four years ago and got hooked. Since then I managed to mobilise other properties in Paddock Wood to join me, including the Church of St Andrew, the Freemasons and Barsley’s Department Stores. Paddock Wood’s private mini museum “Treasures of the Tram Man” and the Network Rail Training Centre are exciting additions and so relevant to the history of our town.

Why I take part

Building development and industrial sites built after the war and during the 1950s and 60s resulted in many older buildings being destroyed. Some have tried to argue that Paddock Wood has 'no history', and indeed its growth was largely due to the railway and has happened only during the last 150 years. My personal view is that when we destroy too many of the images of the past it can undermine both community spirit and identity of an area. Communities take years to evolve and I believe it is important to preserve the basis of their identity as we face developments for the future. I started this on an individual basis, and was then joined by Cllr David Sargison and Mr John Barsley. We look forward to more people being involved as we develop a team and seek support from other bodies.

How Heritage Open Days made a difference

Heritage Open Days has helped us forge new alliances locally, put Paddock Wood on the national map, and garner great media coverage. In 2011, our Heritage Open Days event was even featured on French television!

My favourite Heritage Open Days moments

The joy, laughter and pleasure of learning and sharing knowledge.

My piece of advice to first-time participants

If you enjoy meeting people, learning and sharing information you will love this.

Depending on the scale of the proposed event, seek local support but if you have any doubts or questions, just ask the Heritage Open Days team.