Peter Chapman's photos from the Hut camp

Photo:Baby Peter in his winter clothing

Baby Peter in his winter clothing

Thanks to Peter Chapman

Photo:Peter and his dog outside their hut

Peter and his dog outside their hut

Thanks to Peter Chapman

A baby boy with his dog

By Chris Rogers

Email from Peter Chapman, 11 September 2009

"My parents & I were housed on the common in the post war years, I was just a baby at the time The attached picture shows me with my fathers dog and our hut behind (parents names Ronald Chapman/Bridget Mullan)."

Just after the Second World War Ronald Peter Chapman with his wife Bridget and their first son Peter were living on Hothfield Common near Ashford in Kent.  They were there, in hut 926, from April 1949 until September 1950.

The site had previously been used to house troops, post war it was home to gypsies and the homeless. The Chapmans lived in a Nissen hut, a prefabricated structure made from sheets of corrugated metal bent into a half barrel shaped semi circle.  Sewage services were external to the hut.  Heating & cooking was provided by a coal or wood fired stove.  Some newspaper reports described life there in idyllic terms but others present a tale of some hardship; extensive condensation and the inhabitants sharing their living space with amphibians.

Ronald Peter Chapman's sister Betty lived on the same site with her husband Len and spoke fondly of her time there.  "We moved straight in after our wedding in 1949 and thought ourselves very lucky to have a place of our own.  We had three rooms, kitchen with range and tap, living room and bedroom. The loo was an Elsan outside.  The rent was ten shillings a week.  We always had plenty of logs, a man used to come round selling them, it was always nice and cosy, lovely in the summer."

For more of the Chapman family story please visit their own pages by clicking here

This page was added by Chris Rogers on 21/10/2013.
Comments about this page

Hi Chris,

I believe I am related to Ronald Peter Chapman and am trying to see if there is a way of contacting him or his children to say hello.

Appreciate it is a long shot but after finding some ancestry pages on an fascinated to find out a little more...

Thank you in advance


The editor has put Emma and Peter in contact by mutual agreement.  Let's hope that they find out more about their family.

If you want to make contact with any family mentioned on this website then leave a comment and I will try to e-mail them to get their consent.   Chris

By Emma McCarthy nee Chapman
On 27/09/2020

I lived here with my Mum & baby brother Anthony he was born 1950 myself 1947 (we were both born in Ashford) I was only about 3yrs mum was a single parent at that time as my parents were no longer together,  I know that we were great friends with a couple in the area who helped look after us so Mum could work, they had a greengrocers shop Mr & Mrs Reed and 3 sons Roger, Chris and Paul (we didn't see him very much as I think he was in the navy).  Their parents (who we called auntie Irene & uncle Wally they came to our wedding with Roger in 1967) auntie Irene would help my mum by looking after myself & my brother.  

I do have some black and white photos but not sure of what. Will go through them at some time.I do remember a pig swill lorry used to go pass every day when we live in the hut as I could see the main road,  my friend she ran across the road in front of it and got killed.

Who knows what is going to pop into my head?

By Theresa COOK nee Heath
On 17/05/2021

Hi Chris

I appreciate that it is many years since Peter Chapman sent the information on his family's time at Hothfield but I am hoping that I can still take up your offer to e-mail Peter to gain his consent to share his e-mail address with me. A close relative of mine is very keen to correspond with the family of a couple who lived in Glasgow until the 1990s. I have now established the the lady in question was Peter's mother's sister. So members of this family are Peter's first cousins! I am keen to discuss this connection with Peter to see if we can identify living members of the Glasgow family.

Thanks, Arthur

Thanks Arthur, I have passed on your message to the last e-mail address that I had for Peter.  I hope that he gets in contact with you.  best wishes, Chris

By Arthur Johnston
On 25/07/2021

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.