The Thomas Aveling Society is fundraising to purchase and erect two cast iron blue plaques (see example above) in Hoo, Kent, in recognition of the pioneering Victorian engineer Thomas Aveling ('Father of the Traction Engine').
Thomas moved to Hoo as a young boy and spent his childhood through to adulthood in the village. He was buried in the local churchyard following his premature death in 1882, aged 57.
The Thomas Aveling Society was formed in 2014 and actively celebrates his life, achievements and legacy - from when he worked on local fields in Hoo as a 16-year-old farm labourer to becoming chief of the world-famous Aveling & Porter Company of Rochester (based at the Invicta Works in Strood, just a few miles away from Hoo).
On the nearest Saturday to 11th September (Thomas Aveling's birthday), the Thomas Aveling Society organises a flower procession to his grave - with local children dressed in period costume each taking the role of a job from the Victorian era. This event also features the Mobile Thomas Aveling Museum (a small exhibition) and the attendance whenever possible of a small number of steam traction engines and road rollers.
The Thomas Aveling Society has also produced a visitor information leaflet (available online and in local outlets - copies have also been distributed to local schools) and a heritage walk - taking in many of the places associated with Thomas Aveling.
The Thomas Aveling Society was specifically formed to give Thomas Aveling the local recognition that he truly deserves - having been overlooked for many years by local authorities - instead preferring to celebrate less 'industrial' characters, such as Charles Dickens.
The erection of two blue plaques in Hoo will prove extremely beneficial to the ongoing work to celebrate the life, achievements and legacy of Thomas Aveling and his incredibly close links with Hoo.
All those who donate to this blue plaque project will have their names recorded for posterity in a commemorative booklet. This will be available to download online and a copy can be sent to each donor (if provided with a postal address) - please send a message.
Thank you for your support!
Michael Pearce - Chairman of the Thomas Aveling Society.