After winning a £25,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots programme in 2012, a group of young people in Swanley came together with an idea to create the film ‘Swanley’s Hidden Histories’, marking the climax of several years’ work by youngsters who decided they wanted to research the history of their town.
With determination, commitment and an intergenerational togetherness, the journey from a small idea to the big screen was able to become a success. Planning, research, interviews, script writing, performance workshops and film-making took place as the young people realised their ambition of showcasing their town.
The film showcased the influence of Gypsy/Traveller culture in Swanley and the shared history of white British and settled Gypsy/Traveller families. Groups of people whose history was believed to have been lost can now remain remembered. The aim was to show Swanley in a better light, and this film was able to uncover some fascinating aspects of this town, whose past includes a thriving horticultural industry and strong railway connections.