The Dreamshare Seer

Information about the Isle of Sheppey

Sheppey’s culture, history, nature, contemporary art, health and wellbeing etc…

Plus our recommended places to stay on the Island.

Please see here for information relating to: Why is this project focusing on, and being pioneered on, the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, (UK)?

This section is slowly growing!
If you have any recommendations for this section, we’d love to hear them.  Please contact us.


Sheppey History:



Rose Street Cottage of Curiosities: Originally the home of Sheerness Dockyard workers in the 18thC, this creative heritage site hosts events, workshops & exhibitions that explore Sheppey’s rich history.

The Criterion Bluetown/Bluetown Heritage Centre: Community cinema, music hall, and museum with a large collection of artefacts and memorabilia.

Minster Gatehouse Museum: Discover 1000 years of history housed in the beautifully preserved 12th century gatehouse building adjacent to Minster Abbey.

Eastchurch Aviation Museum: Preserves and shares the rich history of aviation on the Isle of Sheppey.

Queenborough Guildhall Museum: Tells the fascinating story of this historic town, from a small Saxon Settlement to a wealthy Borough and Royal Castle built by Edward III.

The Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust
The Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust is working to repair and transform Dockyard Church, which stands at the entrance to the former Royal Dockyard on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. The church, which was badly damaged by fire in 2001, is an architectural masterpiece and one of the most important buildings at risk in the south east of England.
The Dockyard church project was awarded a £4.2m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2019. In November 2020 work began on the 18-month project to restore and transform the building, help put Sheerness back on the map and provide much needed support for young people and new businesses on Sheppey and beyond.

We highly recommend the fascinating and richly illustrated A history of Sheppey in Pictures including Deadman’s Island” by Chris Reed of Big Fish Arts

Isle of Sheppey,by Nina Brigden Reid.  (The History Press).  (2006)
This fascinating collection of over 200 old photographs of the Isle of Sheppey shows some of the many changes that this unique area of land in the Thames estuary has seen in the nineteenth century. Not only is it a pleasant home for many and a popular holiday centre for countless others but these photographs show that it has also played an important part in England’s recent history. The island has been a convenient place for shipping activities for centuries.
It was Samuel Pepys who first suggested that a Royal Dockyard be built at Sheerness and when new docks were opened there in 1823 it became the economic heart of the island. The dockyard and fort ensured a continuous presence of the navy and army on the island and, after Shellness and Eastchurch were used by Britain’s pioneer aviators in 1909, the Royal Air Force followed. Much in the countryside remains as it was when the first settlers arrived.

Guide to Sheppey, witten by Colin Johnson and illustrated by Miriam Ball

Three Points of the Compass:  Trail talk: a walk around the birthplace of British aviation, by Jools Stray

Seth and mural; Near Shellness, Leysdown-on-Sea.


Sheppey and literature

Samuel Pepys:
On the 8th August 1665 the Navy Board ordered the Commissioner of Chatham Dockyard to equip Sheerness Yard with materials and workers to clean the hulls of the ships, and in the same year Samual Pepys visited the Yard to begin the planning of the construction works. His diary reads:
                      “To Sheerness where we walked up and down, laying out the ground to be taken in for a dockyard, a most proper place”.

Charles Dickens:
When Charles Dickens was two, his father John, a pay clerk in the Royal Navy, was posted to London and later to Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey. The family rented a house in Blue Town next to what was called the Sheerness Theatre, where the young Charles forged a firm friendship with the theatre owner’s son Douglas William Jerrold, who later became one of the first editors of Punch magazine. It is believed Dickens based convict Magwitch in Great Expectations  (1861) on the real-life case of London crook Judah Solomon who was sent to a prison hulk at Sheerness but escaped onto the marshes. In The Old Curiosity Shop (1841) Dickens describes the forerunner of the Bethel church, at Minster, on Sheppey in Kent.


Uwe Johnson 

The Sea View Has Me Again: Uwe Johnson in Sheerness by Patrick Wright, Repeater Books, (2020)

The story of Uwe Johnson, one of Germany’s greatest and most-influential post-war writers, and how he came to live and work in Sheerness, Kent in the 1970s.
Towards the end of 1974, a stranger arrived in the small town of Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. He could often be found sitting at the bar in the Napier Tavern, drinking lager and smoking Gauloises while flicking through the pages of the Kent Evening Post. ”Charles” was the name he offered to his new acquaintances.
But this unexpected immigrant was actually Uwe Johnson, originally from the Baltic province of Mecklenburg in the GDR, and already famous as the leading author of a divided Germany. What caused him to abandon West Berlin and spend the last nine years of his life in Sheerness, where he eventually completed his great New York novel Anniversaries in a house overlooking the outer reaches of the Thames Estuary? And what did he mean by detecting a ”moral utopia” in a town that others, including his concerned friends, saw only as a busted slum on an island abandoned to ”deindustrialisation” and a stranded Liberty ship full of unexploded bombs?
Patrick Wright, who himself abandoned north Kent for Canada a few months before Johnson arrived, returns to the ”island that is all the world” to uncover the story of the East German author’s English decade, and to understand why his closely observed Kentish writings continue to speak with such clairvoyance in the age of Brexit. Guided in his encounters and researches by clues left by Johnson in his own ”island stories”, the book is set in the 1970s, when North Sea oil and joining the European Economic Community seemed the last hope for bankrupt Britain. It opens out to provide an alternative version of modern British history: a history for the present, told through the rich and haunted landscapes of an often spurned downriver mudbank, with a brilliant German answer to Robinson Crusoe as its primary witness.

Nicola BarkerWide Open, (1998), is set on the Isle of Sheppey,

David Seabrook; All the Devils are Here

Len Platt “Eating Gull since Friday”—Estuary Grotesque, Seaside Noir
This essay identifies a contemporary form, “estuary grotesque,” which is placed in the larger context of the postmodern, the cosmopolitan, and the post-cosmopolitan. Examining the writing of representative figures such as Nicola Barker, Ian Sinclair, Jonathan Meades, David Seabrook, and Cathi Unsworth, it constructs contemporary writing about the Thames estuary in terms of a relational metropolitanism. This “London” perspective is connected to literary forms of the past —pastoral, gothic, modernist, and so on—but represents a new turn, an Othering geographic that reconvenes the “condition of England” in terms of the marshlands, industrial detritus, and social deprivation of the Thames Estuary.

Islanders: Stories, Poetry And Prose From The People Of The Isle Of Sheppey (1996),  John Firman (Editor), Mike Dunstan (Introduction)


Fieldnotes:  FN/S017.       27.02.2024
The second episode of the new season of SONIC COMMONS created in collaboration with Cement Fields. This three-part series was produced whilst walking along the Thames estuary. We gathered field recordings and asked the people we met to voice texts written about the places we traveled through. The resulting soundwork, composed by artist and musician Rob Shuttleworth, ranges across a sonic and textual landscape, producing unexpected encounters and resonances. Today’s episode starts in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey.
Voiced texts include extracts from: a letter written by Uwe Johnson to Hannah Arendt while the writer was living in Sheerness; Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; ‘Wreck, Rescue, Mutiny, Disaster, A shelf’, a found poem composed by John Hartley; and ‘TESCO’S’ by Fred Grimwade from the anthology Islanders, the collected stories of the people of Sheppey. Narratives from the island’s history were shared with us by Jenny Hurkett who founded and manages The Criterion, a heritage centre in Blue Town, Sheerness.

J W Dunne: An Experiment with Time.




A selection of Sheppey places to stay (…and dream from!)

If you don’t live on Sheppey, but would like to visit overnight, you’d then be able to include your Sheppey dreams in the dream cloud!
(To do this you’ll just need to re-register with us, using a new email address and tick the ‘visiting Sheppey’ box in the registration process).

Elmley Nature Reserve
: Bell tents, iconic custom-made huts and cabins, a country cottage and an 18th Century Farmhouse, all offering views of Elmley’s beautiful Nature Reserve.
01795 664896

Groundhouse Leisure, Elmley: Luxury Hobbit Style houses with unique curved ceilings, with views over Elmley farmland and a secret garden with a wood-fired hot tub.
07592 599411

The Beach House, Shellbeach: An off-grid, solar powered, two bed cabin on a deserted beach with a wood burner and rainwater shower.

Mocketts Farm Cottages, Harty: Situated in the hamlet of Harty, five carefully converted farm cottages offer characterful, homely, rustic vibe, complementing the beautiful landscape.
01795 510214

The Ferry House, Harty: 16th Century Ferry House beside the Swale Estuary, which offers luxury B&B rooms, fine dining restaurant, kitchen garden and spa.
01795 510214

Queen Phillippa B&B, Queenborough: A family-run B&B and Bistro situated in Queenborough, a seafaring town that is steeped in history.
01795 228756

The Shurland Hotel, Eastchurch: Hotel on Eastchurch High Street with restaurant, gym and spa.
01795 881100

The Royal Hotel, Sheerness: Offers ensuite hotel rooms and a wide variety of live entertainment at weekends.
01795 662626

Harts Holiday Park, Leysdown: Caravan & Luxury Lodge Holidays, with entertainment venue and indoor pool, a short walk from the beach and promenade.
01795 507255

Muswell Manor Holiday Park: 16th Century building, world’s first aviation club house, offering holiday homes and B&B.
01795 510245

Abbey Hotel, Minster: A spacious family owned hotel and conference centre, 400 yards from The Leas, seafront.
01795 872873



Sheppey and contemporary art.


A selection of projects:

Savindar Bual:
Savinder Bual’s residency took place on the Isle of Sheppey, early in 2020, and then in the summer, just before and after the UK Covid-19 lockdown.
Bual makes kinetic sculptures and moving image works. Her practice references early engineering principles and inventions from the 1800’s. These precursors to cinema include pre-cinematic devices, the steam engine and clock time. Imagining herself as a cinema pioneer she explores the interplay between the moving and the still, creating works that sit between the pre-cinematic and the digital. By discovering low-fi ways to add movement to single images and commonplace objects materials her intent is to ignite an element of wonder at the illusion of cinema. For the residency, Bual spent time exploring Sheppey, visiting places at The Isle of Harty, Shellness, Warden Point, Minster, Queenborough, Rushenden, Leysdown, and Sheerness. Ideas formed on Sheppey through the residency were developed for a commission for Whitstable Biennale.

Observations on Sheppey: Savinder Bual




Living & Working on Sheppey/ Back and Forth on High Street Blue Town:
Hatton, Peter & Murray, Val & Pilling, Lynn & Lyon, Dawn & Crowe, Graham & Hurkett, Jenny (2011)
. Live Event, website and video.
Taking Blue Town High Street as the starting point of a visual exploration of the past, present and future of everyday life on the Isle of Sheppey, as part of the Living and Working on Sheppey project, the artists, Tea, worked with younger and older project participants to record memories and imaginations of the past and future of Blue Town High Street. From this, they produced a visual and aural montage of a journey along the High Street. The composition and form of Back and Forth on High Street Blue Town is both a new formulation of data emerging from the project, and a vehicle for inter-generational dialogue about place and regeneration. The construction of the visual document combining memory and imagination with existing architecture undermines the veracity of documentary and questions any easy definition of heritage and its ownership.
The starting point of the Living & Working on Sheppey project was Ray Pahl’s book “Divisions of Labour” (1984), based on his extensive research on Sheppey.  The book became hugely influential, particularly within sociology.
In relation to Ray Pahl’s research; A slideshow by Dawn Lyon & Graham Crowe.


Rosa Woolf Ainley: Leysdown Rose-tinted (2009)
In May 2009 Rosa was appointed as Lead Artist on the Vision for Leysdown arts-led regeneration project, run by Swale Borough Council in Kent, with muf art/archecture. Leysdown Rose-tinted is now in the process of implementation.
Rosa is a writer, editor and researcher in architecture and space, making text-based work, print and digital, about the stories that buildings tell us and the social, political and personal narratives inscribed on to architecture and spaces: the stories of our lives. Using sound and image as well as words is a means of creating and exploring spaces.


Lindsay Seers


Nicole Mollett:

Island projects is an independent non-profit curatorial practice based in Kent which focuses on commissioning contemporary art in unusual public spaces.
Island Projects launched its first project in 2004 entitled ‘Insula Ovinium’ retracing the journey of William Hogarth to the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. Founder Nicole Mollett worked with a team of international artists and local partners to establish the first series of contemporary art galleries in Swale. Funded by Arts Council South East, Thames Estuary Partnership, Swale Borough Council and the EU, the project included a publication, public workshops and lectures and multiple exhibitions and performances. The project was a huge success and subsequently traveled to Hogarth House, London in 2005.
Island projects has been producing exciting projects for 10 years, working in multiple locations with a huge range of partners. The main focus has been on producing challenging site-specific work which engages audiences with new ways of participation and understanding of what art can be.

Reijo Kela: Hei people
Big Man Leysdown aka the Leysdown Giant (a continuously changing, painted old funfair figure)


Big Fish Arts

Adam Chodzko:
Before The Dreamshare Seer; previous artworks by Chodzko involving the Isle of Sheppey’s landscape and community include:

Guide for a Parade with Two Masks (2004)
(A project partly based in Shellness, Leysdown-on-Sea)

Echo (2009)
(Partly based on Deadman’s Island)

Ghost (2010)
(Pioneered between Queenborough and Deadman’s Island. Thanks to Queenborough Rowing Club, Chris Reed, Geof, Marco etc)

Spare Room (2014)
(A performance lecture, using the military pillbox at Warden as publicity image):

An image of a military pillbox on the edge of the beack at Warden, on the Isle of Sheppey. The structure is tilted, as though falling into the sea. It has been modified with a Primark logo by Adam Chodzko for his artwork 'Spare Room' (2014)
Adam Chodzko ‘Spare Room’ (2014). (photograph on the beach at Warden)




Nature and walks

Three Points of the Compass:  England Coast Path: Isle of Sheppey- day one, by Jools Stray

Three Points of the Compass:  England Coast Path: Isle of Sheppey- day two, by Jools Stray


Community Groups

Sheppey is Ours! is a Citizens Action Network designed to bring the local community together.




Sheppey health and well-being

Sheppey Matters, Healthy Living Centre: An award winning health and well-being charity providing health and well-being community services from the Healthy Living Centre in Sheerness, two outreach locations in Eastchurch and many other community venues around the Isle of Sheppey.

A list of projects run by Sheppey Matters:



General Sleep resources:

NHS: information about sleeplessness / insomnia

NHS: Understanding sleep problems including insomnia

NHS: information about night-terrors

NHS resources: Covering sleep problems, insomnia, and good sleep habits.

The Sleep Charity:A leading, independent expert voice on sleep issues in the UK offering access to information and advice to deal with most sleep issues.

Calm: An app for guided mediation and sleep stories.

Sleep problems and insomnia self-help guide.

The sleep foundation.

The sleep foundation and dreams.

        A collaged / montaged 'dream like' rich colour image showing a mixture of aerial views of the Isle of Sheppey's marshes and fields, various caravan parks, and Sheerness docks. Clouds float over the island and a bright sea surround it. Despite it being daylit in some places a starry night is shown in the upper left of the image. In Black and White a white man and woman are shown sleeping. It is as though they are dreaming the island below them. Or perhaps that the island dreams them? The picture is by artist Adam Chodzko. (2023)

        a view of the Sheerness dockyard from the seawall walkway along the shore. Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey