Our local area was - John Bishop ran right past my old local and my daughters school on that programme about his money raising Paris to London thing. If they'd have kept the camera on two seconds longer D-o-F would have been on the telly. Now last night though Pub Dig at Chatham was aired on Channel 5. This is a rip off of Time Team but with less people and Rory McGrath hosting it... all digs are in pubs... nice gig Rory!
Anyway last night they were at Chatham outside The Command House - a teenage occasional haunt of mine - haven't been there in years mind. However they were digging out the front of it looking for evidence of the first Royal Dockyard - started in 1500 something by Henry VIII and in Elizabeth I's reign it was the most important dockyard in the country and therefore in the wars with the Spanish etc. In fact the last ever foreign invasion was in the Raid on the Medway in 1667 when the Dutch had a go and actually did sink a lot of ships.
Anyway they dug and found some evidence of Georgian store houses but there was always a lot of evidence about them - including photographs from the early 20th century. However they did find only 16th Century shards of pottery from drinking vessels and some ships nails (difficult to precisely age) but also 16th Century bricks like those Hampton Court Palace is made from - the right time for the buildings believed to have been at the centre of the first dockyard set up by Henry VIII.
Great programme for me as my family is steeped in local history - we've gone back a few generations and still in the locality. My Dad, Mum, Sister and Aunt all worked in the dockyard until it's closure in the 1980s (thanks Mrs Thatcher!) and I believe previous generations did too.
One final thing - in Sept the Antiques Roadshow is coming to Chatham dockyard (well the little bit that is a museum now) I intend to go along. I'm not a lover of the show but my Dad was awarded a watch in 1941 called the Coast watch. It was awarded every year to the boy from a Gillingham school who passed the entrance exam with the highest score who went on to become an apprentice shipwright. We have the watch which is engraved, an original cutting from the local paper about its presentation and also recently I unearthed my Dad's original apprentice indentures. I thought it might make an interesting artefact given all that and the relevance to the dockyard. He worked as master shipwright on the last O boats (submarines) made there as well. I have some photos of the launches I could take along too.