David Starkey backs Kent Mining Heritage

PUBLISHED: 12:28 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:28 23 July 2018

The Waiting Miner statue commemorates the men who worked and died in Kent's mines (photo: Manu Palomeque)

The Waiting Miner statue commemorates the men who worked and died in Kent's mines (photo: Manu Palomeque)

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Historian, author and TV personality David Starkey has become the first patron of the Kent Mining Heritage Foundation

Historian, author and TV personality David Starkey has become the first Patron of the Kent Mining Heritage Foundation, which is helping build the Kent Mining Museum, a Green Energy Centre and upgrading the leisure and recreation facilities at the old Betteshanger Colliery site.

The Foundation is working with Betteshanger Park, Hadlow Group, Aylesham and Elvington & Eythorne Heritage Centres to support the Deal-based Betteshanger Project.

Now in its first phase, the ambitious project includes a new £9.5m Visitor Centre, encompassing the Kent Mining Museum and Green Energy Centre. This will provide retail, cycling facilities, education, conferencing, events, gardens and public spaces and also act as an iconic gateway to the 250-acre country park.

First KMHF patron, Dr David StarkeyFirst KMHF patron, Dr David Starkey

Dr Starkey said: “This is an important project, both for Kent and particularly for the area south of Canterbury, embracing Dover, Deal and Thanet. Historically, the story of the growth of the Kent Coalfield, once coal had been discovered accidentally when they were trying to dig a tunnel linking Britain to France, will be told in the first Kent Mining Museum.”

Betteshanger Park would not exist had it not been for the Betteshanger Colliery which shaped the landscape we see today.

During 100 years of mining, the Kent Coalfield (made up of Betteshanger, Chislet, Tilmanstone and Snowdown) was at the heart of the East Kent community.

Dr Starkey added: “Nowhere else, I believe, were tens of thousands of miners recruited and gathered together in an agricultural county which had absolutely no tradition of mining. Their integration with, and isolation from, the predominantly agricultural community is fascinating.

“The financial contribution this project will make to what is one of the most disadvantaged communities in Europe, is vital and deserves everyone’s support.”

The KMHF recently celebrated reaching £1m of funding towards the development and support of the Betteshanger Project, a significant step in its goal of £1.8m.

Tom Ingoldby, Betteshanger Project

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