First, it brings together in one volume a set of articles which appeared at monthly intervals in the Parish Magazine: articles which by virtue of having been written from first-hand experience (well nearly all!) were authoritative and personal.

The second purpose is to celebrate the Centenary of our church. In terms of the history of the Village of Borstal one hundred years is a relatively short time, but it is an important milestone to us, as members of the church.

The third purpose is more mundane; the proceeds from selling this booklet will, in the first instance, go into the Centenary Organ Fund which has been set up to cover the cost of much needed repairs to our organ, thus enabling future congregations of this church to worship God in due style. May we thank you for your contribution.

It is fitting that the author of this booklet should be our organist himself. Norman Clout has lived in Rochester all his life, most of it in Borstal itself: his colourful memories stretch back to just a little(!) before the Second World War.

We, as a Village, are debted to him for his enthusiasm and time. It is through people like him that villages like ours maintain their identity.

When the “Borstal – Past and Present” Notes appeared in our Church magazine between February 1974 and June 1976, they did not, in any sense, have any pretensions to be a “History of Borstal”. They were the subject of little or no research, but in the main represented personal memories of the village over the past 50-60 years. The material, which was in no planned order, was simply reproduced as it came to mind month by month.

Since the present publication, however, is to form a part of our Centenary Celebrations, an attempt has been made to edit the Notes into some sort of shape so that they may be of interest to visitors and residents alike, and it seems only logical therefore to deal first with the Church itself, then with the various aspects of the parish.