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News - September 2019

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Heritage Open Weekend 14th & 15th September

We had a great turn out for our Heritage Open Weekend this year resulting in a busy time for staff and volunteers and a lovely atmosphere around the Maidstone Road site. Visitor numbers were well up, 310 compared with 190 last year thanks in part to the beautiful weather and the lure of homemade cakes no doubt.

Two exhibitions were on show; one from the Watts Archives outlining the fascinating history of Richard Watts Charities plus another by local photographer Khalid Lone focusing on our other sites and Richard Watts’ long standing connection with the City of Rochester.

Residents and a trustee guided visitors around the grounds chatting about the Charity; the services currently provided and its history. Some of the original almshouses which opened in 1859, were available for people to view.

Geoff Ettridge, a Watts’ Trustee (aka Geoff Rambler) led two free walks over the weekend. Geoff talked about the history of Watts Charities taking in our other almshouses; Hayward House, St Catherine’s and Reeves House en route. Around 50 visitors made the trip from The Six Poor Travellers’ House in Rochester High Street arriving at Watts Almshouses on Maidstone Road hot and a tad thirsty but more knowledgeable about the Charity.

The weekend coincided with Richard Watts Day on Sunday 15th September.

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Richard Watts Legacy Bust (A Work in Progress)

Inspired by the legacy of Richard Watts, artist Lynsey Harrison has volunteered her time to produce a bust of the philanthropist. Lynsey has donated her time and the materials needed to make the Richard Watts Legacy Bust in clay, and the image pictured is the unfinished work currently in progress. If you would like to support the making of this sculpture a Just Giving page has been set up by Lynsey to fund the materials to produce the work in bronze and ensure that it is installed permanently within the courtyard garden at the Six Poor Travellers’ House.

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