4 January 2017: Members' Evening

At the members' evening of the Wye Historical Society we heard from two committee members Maureen De Saxe who spoke on "Wye from our Archives" and the Chairman John Newman, who spoke on "The Churchfield Way Development". Maureen gave a brief overview of the archives and showed various examples of maps and photographs of the village before focusing on three areas of Wye: Taylor's Garage, Taylor's Yard and the Wye Undercroft. Maureen selected photographs of each site through the years. In 1865 there is a cottage on the site where Taylor's Garage would be built later. One photo shows the garage with the fire station built in the forecourt. In 1889 fire destroyed the Star Brewery on Church Street. The site remained empty for many years. In the 1960s Mr Taylor acquired the site for a second garage and made use of a hangar from the old airfield. By 1983 houses were built on Taylor's Yard. At the Wye Undercroft site the old house was pulled down in 1875 and the site was empty. By 1930 it formed part of the Stonegate egg packing factory and in 1988 the present house was built.

The Churchfield Way development was completed between 1946 and 1951 by East Ashford Rural District Council. Wye was chosen as a site for major development because it had the best road and rail connections of villages in the area. The site was on Church glebe land and originally designed for 64 houses with space for a further private building. A plan from the archives shows the original idea. In this original plan the houses are designed in semi-detached pairs - similar to those built in Cherry Garden Crescent in 1945 - along a central spine road with lobes off this. Instead of the extensive green there were three smaller areas of green space. Shortly after this plan was released it was decided to get rid of the private housing and build 76 council houses - the same as the final figure. At the time new ideas were forming about rural council housing and it was thought houses in long blocks were of great value so it was decided to build terraces of four to six houses, as well as a few semi-detached houses. There were two types of three bedroom house, the kitchen diner and the parlour type with an extra living room. A few bungalows were built at the end of each group. The average cost of building per house was £1,500. It was a time of austerity so details such as porches and window lintels were made in concrete. Today most houses are owner-occupied but there has been very little obtrusive alteration. The estate was warming praised in the press; a 1952 article said "the estate may be described as a showpiece".

Ellie Morris