The history of the Medway Towns is synonymous with the large-scale military industrial complex that was centred on the dockyard, military barracks and various fortifications. This has, over many years, provided employment for the people of Chatham and Gillingham as well as Rainham, Rochester and Strood, along with the service industries that were part of the military-industrial complex. But the Medway Towns also had an abundance of cement and brickworks, barge makers, breweries, engineering workshops and clothing manufacturers. Among the household names were Short Brothers of Rochester, manufacturers of seaplanes and RAF bombers, while Strood was home to Aveling & Porter, whose iconic traction engines still grace steam fairs across the country. Despite this heavy industrialisation, the present-day Medway Towns, where houses and parks now stand, were also an area rich in farmland, with the former village of Luton as important for hop picking as anywhere in the county of Kent.
In a fascinating series of contemporary photographs and illustrations, combined with a well-researched commentary, this book explores the life of these five Kent towns, the nature of local employment and the impact it had upon those employed to reflect the daily life of the Medway Towns at work.
Philip MacDougall writes books for Amberley on southern England, but with a particular interest in the military and naval complexes that arose in and around South Hampshire (especially Portsmouth), coastal Sussex (especially Chichester) and Kent (especially Medway). As a social historian, he is interested in the people and the resources of those areas and the support provided for each of those military complexes. Possibly that interest was first sparked by having a distant ancestor who served as Nelson's secretary during the 1790s and who first joined the future Admiral at the Great Nore anchorage and which lies off North Kent. As well as the author of a number of published books, Philip has contributed biographical material on selected naval officers for the widely-acclaimed Dictionary of National Biography. A speaker at events, both local and national, he offers a wide-range of talks connected with the books he has written.