A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the unveiling of a refurbished Romany vardo, or caravan, that had been restored and interpreted with the artist Martin Brockman. This was project was run by heritage matters as part of the HLF-funded ‘Kentish Culture Past and Present’ project. In these two pictures you can see how my daughter took up residence inside the caravan for the duration…
The vardo, which has been completely restored, has had wooden panels added to it depicting scenes of traditional Kent life carved by Martin Brockman and students from schools in Canterbury, Kent have been involved at all stages of the project.
This is the first project of its kind that I am aware of my home county of Kent in the UK. The history of Kent has always involved movements of people, whether they were part of highly mobile communities like the Romany, or the numerous temporary populations that have accompanied the hop-picking season, or the ebb and flow of seaside tourism. More recently, Kent has found itself to be a point of entry for migrants seeking admission to the UK.
I recommend exploring the Heritage Matters website and making use of some of the intriguing audio recordings you will find there, to get a glimpse into some of Kent’s hidden histories.