This site provides a set of themed essays about Kent, a county in South East England, which include interactive maps and images. Kent has a rich history and provided inspiration for a number of writers and artists.
You’ll need a map because there are no signposts ... There are witnesses of course, hundreds of them queueing up to tell you that they are the original Aunt Betsey, or Broadstairs fisherman, or Janet, or how sorry they are now for stealing that pie.
“This bus it was, this ruddy, venerable and immortal bus, that came down the Folkestone hill with unflinching deliberation, and trundled through Sandgate and Hythe, and out into the windy spaces of the Marsh, with Kipps and all his fortunes on its brow.” Kipps.
It isn’t perhaps surprising that Derek Jarman should have fallen in love with Dungeness and Prospect Cottage in particular when happenstance and a desire for fish and chips at the Pilot Inn brought him to Romney Marsh – the ‘fifth continent’ of the Ingoldsby Legends – in 1986 at the age of 44.
Few people generally think of Charles Darwin as a writer, let alone a prolific and gifted writer based in Kent.
It was Kent that engaged my feelings more fiercely than any other place I can remember’, said the American artist Alfred Cohen.
Essays by period
The Kingdom of the Kentish (Cantwara rīce; Regnum Cantuariorum), The murder of Becket, the Black Death, Wat Tyler's rebellion, Canterbury pilgrims and Canterbury tales.
Establishment of Chatham Dockyard. Battle against the Spanish Armada. Industry includes textiles and iron production.
Industry includes production of malt for brewing. Civil Wars.
Strategic position of the Medway in relation to European wars. New sea water ‘cures’ see the reinvention of Margate as a fashionable resort.
Arrival of the railway. Development of recognisably modern tourist industry.
Dover and Folkestone become the gateway to the Western Front during WW1. Seaside towns decline, challenged by the increasing popularity of overseas holidays.
Regeneration and the rise of the DFL.
Essays by place
Shingly beaches, white cliffs and ferries. What was happening in Broadstairs, Canterbury, Deal and Dover.
Towns of grandeur. Articles on Folkestone, Gravesend and Margate
Seaside resorts such as Ramsgate and Sandgate.
Essays by theme
The Kentish coast, the Straits of Dover and the Goodwin Sands have inspired authors and artists throughout the centuries.
Kent is a county of diverse landscapes, from its wild coastal marshes to the uplands of Down and Weald, from the heavily wooded Blean complex above Canterbury to the bleak, windswept chalklands of East Kent.
Famed for its cherries, hops and fruit, organic farming, and the modern day greenhouses of Thanet Earth.
Painters, illustrators, cartoonists and muralists have been inspired by Kent's rich landscape.
Botanists, chemists and naturalists abound in the beautiful garden of England.
A county of rich architecture; castles, churches, ports, forts and towers.
Take a musical jaunt with the Canterbury Catch Club through Nineteenth Century Kent, but mind the roads.
An exploration of Kent's penal system including the Bloody Code, convicts, transportation and prison hulks.
On the frontline of England's defence, Kent played a pivitol role in both the First and Second World Wars.
Born in Steventon, near Basingstoke, Hampshire, in 1775, Jane Austen often visited Kent, the birthplace of her father, and the long-term residence of her brother Edward.
Joseph Conrad, an extraordinary and significant Polish British literary figure of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, lived the last decades of his life in Bishopsbourne.
One of the greatest Victorian novelists, Charles Dickens lived in Kent from 1816 to 1822; and again from 1856 to 1870.
Edith Nesbit lived in Kent during her childhood and then again in later life and her stories are inspired by the Kent countryside.
Sackville-West is perhaps best known today as a gardener, for her unconventional marriage, and as the inspiration for Orlando, Virginia Woolf’s time travelling, gender fluid, eponymous character. However, she was a prolific and versatile writer in her own right, both a a celebrated poet and author of fourteen novels.
It was 1969, and in the fictional coastal North Kent town of Brindown, things would never be the same after the visit of Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition…
There was a mermaid on a scooter outside the station. Gary rubbed his eyes twice, hard, with the back of his fist. ‘Oi Gary!’ she shouted again. ‘Do you wanna ride or not?’
Bithia Croker's novel is set on the Romney Marshes. Rosamund Balmaine finds love when Ronald Gordon arrives to survey the area for a new railway.
Delmonden is a village in Kent that doesn’t actually exist except in Shepherds In Sackcloth by Sheila Kaye-Smith.
The adventures of Branwell, a rat and a young wolf called Lukin, as they journey from Howletts, the wildlife park by Bekesbourne via Patrixbourne and the North Downs Way, to Canterbury.