Heritage Open Day 2023

Published: 16 September 2023

Since 2019, Bat & Ball Station hasn't been enabled to host a Heritage Open Day event due to Covid-19. We also planned our Heritage Open Day event last year 2022, but it sadly had to be cancelled due to Queen Elizabeth's II passing. But finally it was back!

Bat & Ball Station decided to collaborate with Heritage Open Days themed 'Creativity Unwrapped' and Victorian inspired inventions (particularly given the station is from the Victorian era). The blend was to showcase the unveiling of Victorian inspired inventions; the telephone, the steam engine, the gramophone, and the camera; miniature displays of these items, with small activities to go along side. The Tonbridge Model Engineering Society also volunteered to bring along their societies loco River Class tank engine No 800 River Cray; this is a Southern locomotive which was involved in the 1927 derailed crash between Dunton Green Station and Sevenoaks Railway Station, killing 13 and injuring many more.





To get our creativity going, we also had a small crafts table; with train templates, colouring in, and a new poster competition for children to design their own 'Train of the future' 


 Alongside this, at Bat & Ball Station we wanted to showcase the grand history which is prevalent all around the Station yet goes unnoticed day to day. Rather than the stale powerpoint presentation or a short talk, we created a trail that enables the visitor to travel around the station and explore the different visual points. These were location such as the old Signal Box, the location of the old Water Tower and Goods yard, the waiting shelter, the various Station Masters, and so much more! It was great to see a few people exploring the trail and pockets of history. 

We also designed a kids friendly one, designed as a investigation trail where clues needed to be found. Not as long as the History discovery trail, but it gave children a playful insight in their local history and why station such as Bat & Ball should be preserved for the future. 

Examples of the two designed trails below: 





 Throughout the day we had talks by Thomas Crampton Tower Museum volunteers Janet and John, who even dressed up in Victorian clothing- really matching the part. For those who don't know, Thomas Crampton was the railway engineer who designed locomotives and the Darent Valley Railway Line. You can find out more about him through here or visit the Museum here


Lastly, we had Queen Victoria herself and her husband Prince Albert. The reenactors took a turn around the Station, greeting people along the way and engaging in local history. The Queen also brought along a collection of Victorian memorabilia and items which were prevalent within the Victorian era. Alongside this, we also displayed a collection of the Station own Victorian clothing dress up; those ways in which visitors could interact with the Queen herself and learn a thing or two about the Victorians.




Big thank you to those who volunteered; Ben and Edwina. And thank you to the STC Town Clerk and Planning Officer who volunteered their time to help manage the Station cafe throughout the day! We'd appreciate your time to comment on our Heritage Open Day Survey, and see how we can make it bigger and better for you! 

Click here to partake in the survey