Projects : Friends of Herne Bay Cemetery

Who are we? - The FOHBC are a group of volunteers working in partnership with the two local history groups; The Herne Bay Historical Records Society and the Herne & Broomfield Local History Group.

What are we doing? – We are transcribing the inscriptions on the monuments in the cemetery at Eddington.

Why? – Recording the inscriptions in their entirety, including the scripture and poetry regarded as important to the family of the deceased, provides a valuable resource for anyone researching family, social or local history. Over 100 years ago, a man named Edward Dwelly took it upon himself to transcribe the monuments in the cemetery and local churchyards. So many of those he described have disappeared (mostly sunken underground), so his transcriptions are the only surviving records of those memorials. It was this that prompted us to repeat Dwelly’s venture a century later and create a lasting record for future generations.

How? - As soon as the fine Spring days arrive, the volunteers meet regularly at the cemetery several times a week. Equipped with water sprays, sponges, kneelers, high viz jackets, transcription sheets etc, we work in pairs transcribing and checking the inscriptions on the monuments. The handwritten sheets are then taken away and typed up by volunteers. Guidance is given as to the care and preservation of the monuments. No damage is done and we work quietly and respectfully. This is all being undertaken with permission and advice from Canterbury City Council.

What’s next? – For now, we’re concentrating on transcribing the monuments and producing a searchable database. We’ve set up a Facebook page to keep people informed about the project and there is a regular newsletter sent to all the friends who register an interest. Some of the “Tales from the Cemetery” have been researched and outlined in a couple of illustrated talks to the local history groups. The tales have also become a feature of our newsletter. In the long term, we’d like to see our database become an accessible resource for researchers (probably a website). We’ve also mulled over the ideas of publications, tours, exhibitions, more talks, and how the database might be expanded to include a whole host of information (links to tales, family trees, images, census information etc).

For more information about this project, visit the Facebook page for the Friends of Herne Bay Cemetery.