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Crayford historical group receive huge grant for Sir Cloudesley Shovell project

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:27 07 January 2014

Crayford's historical archive group has been awarded more than £50,000 to commemorate one of the town's famous sons in a new project.

The Heritage Lottery Fund gave Crayford Town Archive £54,300 for its project on Sir Cloudesley Shovell, called ‘Shovell and the Longitude: how the death of Crayford’s famous admiral shaped the modern world’.

Dennis Jarrett, 70, Dyanne Jarrett and David Gillham, who run the town’s archive, will now digitise material on Shovell’s story, produce an animated film and a documentary for school children.

Mr Jarrett said: “It is very good to bring out Crayford’s history. This particular grant will help us highlight one of our most prominent citizens.

“[Currently] there is not much to remind residents of these people.”

In the 17th century, Sir Shovell moved to May Place, Crayford, after becoming MP for Rochester.

He rose to prominence - having not been born into wealth - fighting in the wars against the Barbary pirates.

But he died - along with 1450 sailors - when HMS Association ran aground off the Scilly Isles in 1707.

Ten years later, the British government offered a reward of £20,000 to anybody who developed a method to determine the longitude coordinate because of the huge loss of life.

Mr Jarrett added: “Crayford was a very small place in 1700. It only had a few hundred, maybe a thousand citizens.

“We have quite a few famous people [from the area} but Sir Shovell is probably the most famous.”

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