Memories of Rochester High Street are the inspiration for a new exhibition that opened at the archive centre in June.

A stroll through Rochester: images and memories of the High Street will feature photos from 1910, 1967 and 2011. It will show even though the town has changed over the years, it still retains its essential character and charm. Many of the old buildings are still recognisable today.

The exhibition will feature memories from residents of Watts Almshouses that were collected during 2006.

One of the residents recalls going to a Freemason’s dinner and dance at the Corn Exchange in the 1960s. She said: “It was really grand. It was the first time I ever wore a long skirt, hair all up with the curls on the top. The Corn Exchange was really impressive as you walked up those stairs; I remember thinking, ‘wow’.

Another resident worked in Davies newsagents, at number 111, for 12 years. Her brother bought the shop from the original owners. The shop is now Newlands newsagents.

She said: It was the smallest shop in Rochester. The shop door used to open on to the counter, which meant anybody waiting there was always getting knocked so the counter was moved to the other side. There was a very tiny storeroom at the back where we kept stationery, cards, birthday cake, Christmas cake and all decorations and boards.

“We also unearthed a fireplace at the back and I suggested to my brother that he should close down for a week, because I wanted to investigate further, but there wasn’t time. He said newsagents can’t afford to shut up shop.”

Photos in the exhibition are from the Illustrations Collection at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre (MALSC).

A stroll through Rochester: images and memories of the High Street and beyond from 2 June to 12 July at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, Clocktower, Strood. Entry is free. For more details phone 332714.

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