Colin Smith





I was born in Canterbury to Henry George and Bessie Charlotte Elizabeth Smith (nee Barrett). I was educated at Wincheap Infants and Primary Schools then moving on to St Dunstan’s Secondary Modern School.  On completion of my schooling I was employed by Robert Brett & Sons Ltd.  (now the Brett Group) as a very junior stores boy and continued in their employment for 50 years retiring as their Chief Buyer.  I was fortunate enough to have good parents and although they had very little all they had they shared with my brother and I.  One thing that didn’t cost money was love and they had that in bucket loads for both of us.  Working as I did for the Brett Family for all those years was a unique experience.  When I joined them in 1958 the last of the steam draglines were being converted to diesel (Perkins) engines.  The Company was primarily a quarrying outfit but because of WW2 had developed a precision engineering works.  In 1958 while the quarrying side was up-dating from steam to diesel the engineering works were producing machined items for the undercarriages of Vickers, Viscounts, Vanguards and eventually VC10’s.  At the same time paper printing assemblies were manufactured for Witton James and much later Hoe Crabtree these later machines were for the Toronto Star.  Having operations also in Saudi Arabia and the USA made my time there interesting and diverse. I have to be grateful to Bretts as they employed Hilary Sackett, daughter of Thomas Sackett, Company Chauffeur, who became the current Mrs Smith and forty plus years on we are still together and have three wonderful children and growing numbers of grand children.

Hilary in the white hat, the current Mrs Smith, with Freddie

In recent times I have been chairman of a local charity, Hilltop Community Association (Canterbury), standing down in 2011 to follow other interests. One of these is the recording of family history, particularly individual’s war-time experiences and achievements. Although religion and politics are important it is my firm belief that the family should always come first and if that policy was adopted throughout life and around the world, perhaps our world would be a better place.

I would like this website to be a partnership so if you have anything to add particularly with local or military history or pictures you would like to share, please post a comment and we will endeavour to incorporate the content.  Please read on and I hope you find the site interesting.


18 thoughts on “Author

  1. Louise, James and Jo Smith, children to Hilary & Colin have been lucky enough to have bucket loads of love too – Thank you Mum & Dad. I am really enjoying the early stages of this website; you are doing a grand job Dad. More photos required and also ways for us to maybe add some of our favourite photos of when we were kids?

  2. e-mail your pictures or loan me the originals to scan and if applicable they will be added to the site. Anyone with memories of Hilltop (New House Lane) Thanington, Canterbury or East Kent would be appreciated.

    • Hi Freddie

      You need to find the Dover Castle book, which will help you. Think about the reasons for castles and how they are constructed. What defence systems did they have and what did they need if they were under siege?


    • Thanks Jack, pleased you liked it. Never know on the Advent count down what it’s going to be and try and pick-up something from the day. Don’t know why I put myself under so much pressure. lol

  3. Hi Colin you are truly incredible to have donated so much you must of helped so many people over the years. Thinking of you. With much love Alison x

  4. My brother Ken put me on to your website we used to live at 43 NHL (Brightside). My Dad with his builder colleagues built the bungalow in 1933 and all us children Ken, Jean and me Norman were born there. It is great to see the old pictures of people I knew. I hope I have the right Colin Smith, I remember first hearing Lonnie Donegal Rock Island Line on your record player in your front room. Regards Norman

    • Hi Norman

      Yes you do have the right Colin Smith. Rock Island Line, now you are going back.

      I’m in contact with a few of the guys we grew up with so I would be pleased to add you into the mix.

      I do a blog every day, some of it serious but often light hearted it is currently March 2018

      Take care.

      Colin, still living in the road.

  5. Hi Colin,
    Hope you all having a pleasant Easter weekend , in spite of the weather. Over the hedge the daffodils, hyacinths and snowdrops are a picture this year, and we’ve just seen the sparrows inspecting the pipe under the shed roof again, ready to take up residence, and yesterday some bluetits looked into the two bird boxes , so for the first time in the three years that they’ve been up, we may be lucky.
    Sorry not to have been in touch for a while, much has been happening on the home front, not least moving Natasha into Hollow Lane. Chris has been transplanting some of the raspberries this year as they’ve been in the same patch on the allotment for 35 years!! We look forward to passing some on to our longest-serving neighbour at the appropriate season.
    God bless and keeeep blogging!

  6. Hi Colin,
    I found your blog via good ole Google, after Hilary mentioned you might post the “Brexit” car from Hong Kong. I hope you do ! I love your blog and I can’t wait to dig into it a bit more deeply. It’s nice to see you from afar. Thinking of you all, Rachel (in HK).

    • Thanks Rachel.

      Pleased you like the site. With my mobility problems I’m always looking for blog material and appreciate third party help. Hope you are well and have a drink on me when next in the Happy Valley Bar & Grill. Put it on James tab. lol


      • Hi Colin,
        I will definitely take you up on that offer!! haha! Hopefully see you in springtime – there’s a possibility i will finally make it to Canterbury for a day trip / afternoon while James is home and I’m in London. Fingers crossed! x

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