The Centre Alpha Road Birchington CT7 9EG
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The possible change of status of Birchington from a village to a town continued to be the main item of contention at the end of 1989. Mrs Pat Walford had organised a yes/no poll outside her shop in Station Road and after three months, the results were 3 for yes and 2,400 for no. B.P.C. agreed to abide by the wishes of the residents and there was a public meeting planned for January.
Feelings were running high as many residents did not want to lose their village name, but a previous B.R.A. Chairman, Councillor Vic Adams, whilst lamenting the growth of Birchington, felt it was time to look to the future and he felt town status was what was needed. He claimed that in a recent appeal 2,300 inhabitants had supported him. The recent Scottish referendum had nothing on the fervour exhibited in Birchington at that time.With membership of B.R.A. still at nearly 4,000, there was no problem in finding enough interested people to run plenty of outings and social events. Among places visited that year were Mount Ephraim, Lamberhurst, Hall Place and the Art Silk Centre and Eastbourne via Hastings. There was a trip to Showtime at the Winter Gardens, a cinema show, and a Christmas Social and Buffet Dance.B.P.C. had been battling with K.C.C. over the state of Minnis Road and a site visit from Councillor Frank Fox had been arranged at which he would be accepting a petition.
They were also very concerned at the erection of hoardings on the site of the old Central Garage, where the Sue Rider shop is now. (See the picture with Iris Bedwell’s obituary).
Chairman Derek Raven asked for ideas on how to improve the facilities for residents in Birchington. A short article in the magazine was entitled Yesteryear and was an extract from J.P. Barrett’s 1890 History of the Ville of Birchington. It described Prize Fighting which took place in Epple Bay in and about 1810 and particularly one special match between the black American ex-slave Tom Molyneux and a veteran English Boxer called Tom Tough. Lord George Sangster (of circus fame) was Umpire for Molyneux, a Captain Prideaux for Tough and Mr Friend, a local man, was Referee. The fight took place on the hottest day of the year, 31st August, 1810 at 12 noon and was won, after a hard battle, by Molyneux.
Finally, Maureen Hudson was having a busy year. The R.N.L.I. group, of which she was Chairman had raised £3,000 in its first year and she was also chairing the Village Centre Association.
Website Photos Copyright © 2015 Geoff Carpenter