Marden has the distinction of having a Romany museum within the parish. The South East Romany Museum celebrated an Open Day on Sunday 22nd June 2008, giving the Brazil family the occasion to showcase their living museum which deals with all aspects of Romany history and culture.
Brothers Frank, Olby and Gary Brazil have lived in Marden with their families since 1973 and came here because the Brazil family has been associated with Kent for many years, travelling around the county to find work on the land. One of their ancestors was a victim in the Tragedy at Hartlake when thirty hop pickers were drowned in the river Medway near Hadlow on 20th October 1853.
Using tradional craftsmanship in building and restoring horse drawn vehicles, the brothers have amassed a fine collection of decorated caravans, traps and carts. They have facilities to show how life on the road was lived: camps are set up as they would have been in horse drawn days. In addition to the outdoor exhibits, with the aid of Lottery funding they have been able to add a study room in which talks, slide shows and films can be shown. Here they can meet the growing demand from schools and others for information relating to the Romany way of life.
If you want to visit this fascinating museum, to ensure that there will be someone there to receive you it’s best to phone first.
THE SOUTH EAST ROMANY MUSEUM
Howland Road, Marden, Kent, TN12 9DH
Tel: 01622 831681
The Romany Museum Open Day on Sunday 22nd June 2008
Decorated caravans, carts and traps were on display, to the delight of the children who were able to climb inside and explore the cosy interiors.
A large camp fire was burning to provide delicious meat puddings and other refreshments.
Live music filled the air: from an unaccompanied singer or the rhythms of Hungarian gypsy music from the band.
The Marden History Group wish the Brazils continued success with the Romany Museum and look forward to collaborating with them in the future.