The Ightham History Project was established by Jean Stirk, an Ightham resident and a local and family historian, in late 2010. The purposes of the project were to publish a wide-ranging history of Ightham and to establish an archive in the village which can be accessed by residents and researchers into Ightham and family history. A project team was formed, chaired by her, that included the principal authors of the history book, Mary Allwood, who was responsible for the images, other contributors and representatives from the Parish Council, the Church and Ightham Mote.
Ightham: At the Crossroads by Jean Stirk and David Williams was published in June 2015 with a print run of 660 and sold out in less than a year. The book was soft-covered with over 400 pages and over 250 images, many in colour. It covered the history of the parish from prehistoric times to the present day. Copyright rests with Ightham Parish Council and the co- authors. A CD version of the book is now available, as well as a companion CD containing digital versions of the primary sources used (e.g. census returns, parish registers, tithe apportionment, trade directories).
The archive was opened on Saturday 9 September 2017 by Rodney Willingham, chairman of the Parish Council, after Jean Stirk, David Williams and Gerald Cramp, president of KAS, had all said a few words.
From the beginning Ightham Parish Council has been involved in the project, initially providing a grant towards set-up costs and hosting a local history exhibition in the village hall in November 2011 to launch the project. The council has provided a refurbished room attached to the village hall for the archive. This was established with financial assistance from the Allen Grove Fund and some of the surplus from the sales of the book. The money was used to purchase files, filing materials and photocopies of documents. Filing cabinets and computers have been donated. It is run by volunteers.
There are both hard copy and digital versions of much of the archive; some is hard copy only; some is digital only. Most of the primary sources and many secondary sources have been indexed digitally and the indexing continues. The next area to be covered is the hundreds of digital and hard copy images that have been collected.
The archive is normally opened by David Williams on the morning of the second Monday of each month from 10:00am to noon but it is advisable to check in advance with him that it will be open (firstname.lastname@example.org or 01732 764068). It is also accessible by appointment by contacting David or Jean Stirk (email@example.com or 01732 884316).
Visitors are free to use the archive and, subject to any copyright issues, photograph hard-copy documents and images and take downloads of files from the digital archive.