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... an interactive literary and history project 

Wordsmithery presents:

'The Admiral’s Tea Party'.

A Family Tea Party and History Walk with poetry and music inspired by Medway’s naval history.

Saturday 8 July 2017, 2-4pm

The Lower Lines, Gillingham

For the Paint The Town Festival. 

Picnic and history walk

Meet the Team: 

Hosted by Sam Hall and Barry Fentiman Hall


Angela Dye: ‘Method’ writer, blood in pen, extrovert introvert. A bit of a buffet human, many starters, not much main course. Teacher, student and writer of scripts, short stories, journalism, poems and a new-born novel, Angela from sleepy Faversham, wants to light it with luscious lit soon.

Sarah Hehir: Sarah writes drama and poetry and is based in Medway.

Rosemary McLeish: I came to live in Kent six years ago. I am an artist as well
as writing poetry. I was a late starter, writing and making art since I was 40, sometimes one or the other taking precedence. My poetry is mostly based on my personal experience, especially things I am angry about.

Clair Meyrick: Clair is a Kent-based poet, who has performed at numerous venues and festivals in Kent and London.

Music by Didi Bergman: A multi-instrumentalist, Didi writes, sings, plays guitar, piano, accordian and a host of woodwind instruments.

Costumes and textiles by Dee Hudson: Textile artist working in textiles & mixed media to create sculptured pieces. My primary source of inspiration is drawn from natures own fractals. Texture and form are primary to my work

The Lower Lines

The Lower Lines in Gillingham was the last section of the Chatham Lines to be constructed. The works were started in 1803 in advance of the Napoleonic Wars to defend Chatham's Dockyard. Construction started during the Napoleonic Wars, consisting of a series of deep brick ditches with ramparts. Gun emplacements added later provided places for artillery during WW2. The ditches provided a training ground for the Royal Engineers.

   In the 1907 Sir Gerard Noel, the Admiral of the Fleet, took up residence in a grand house overlooking the river in the Lower Lines Park, where he used to host fabulous tea parties on the lawn. The house no longer exists, but we recreated one of those tea parties, where you can bring a picnic and go on our guided poetry walk through the Lower Lines Park with a cast of characters drawn from history.

   Poets each chose a different era from the park's history, did research into characters who might have lived there, or based their poems on real people, then wrote poems from the point of view of their character. 


Come to our tea party!

This fun new family history event for Paint The Town featured poetry and stories from Angela Dye, Barry Fentiman Hall, Sam Hall, Sarah Hehir, Rosemary McLeish and Clair Meyrick who have all written new poems inspired by the Lower Lines Park and the history of the area. 

Medway musician Didi Bergman also provided a musical interlude of sea shanties and traditional songs. 

Watch a film about our first site recce!  

Thanks to: 

Our performers, Paint The Town Festival, MidKent College staff, Lauren our student helper and all those who came to the writing or making workshops and/or fed in historical information. And always a big thank you to our audience! 

Audience feedback:

“We thoroughly enjoyed the tea party. The poetry was thought provoking and I liked the concept of the 'time travelling' walk. We learnt stuff that we didn't know about (like the marmalade jars off Gillingham Reach - fragments of which I have found on the river bank!). Thank you for all of your efforts! P.S Thought Admiral Barry was brilliant!”


“It was an interesting and unusual way to present a site of historic interest. I probably wouldn’t have ventured to the park had it not been for the lure of this special event and I learnt lots! This formula would translate well to other locations – I hope it is the first of many such events, opening up the secrets of some of Medway’s lesser known corners."

Sarah Hehir and BFH

Photos top:  Sarah Hehir and BFH.

Middle; Didi Bergman, Rosemary McLeish, Clair Meyrick, Angela Dye, and  Sam Hall

Bottom; The audience

Photos by Man in the Attic Photography

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