Published: 06:00, 07 August 2020
As a county with a long and rich history, it is unsurprising that Kent has been the setting for a number of pioneering moments through the years.
We sent reporter Rhys Griffiths in search of stories of our world firsts.
Completed in 1860, the Sheerness Boat Store lays claim to being the world's first multi-storey building with an all-metal frame, a forerunner of the skyscrapers that came to define the 20th century city.
The boat store is the world's oldest surviving example of a multi-storey iron-frame and panel structure, following the destruction of the Crystal Palace and the first South Kensington Museum.
Its structure was made rigid through pioneering use of portal bracing, which is a form of support that covers a large area without too many columns.
The Boat Store, which is now a Grade I-listed building, left a big mark on the architectural world, and the technique was subsequently adopted by early skyscrapers in Chicago and became universally used in modern steel-framed buildings.
Unfortunately the historic building has fallen into disrepair over the years, leading the Victorian Society to declare it one of the 10 most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales.
Sheerness Dockyard, where the Boat Store is situated, was once a Royal Navy dockyard, constructed because it was closer to the open sea than those on the rivers Thames and Medway.
Ordnance Survey maps
The first Ordnance Survey map, published in 1801, covered Kent since this was an area most vulnerable to French invasion.
These early maps, which featured elaborate hill shading and paid particular attention to communication routes, were drawn up primarily for the use of the military.
According to the Ordnance survey, the early cartographers faced a challenge when it came to place names, as locals were known to argue over what name was actually correct.
The first map took three years to complete, with surveyors working to a scale of two inches to one mile, reduced to one inch to a mile when printed.
Ordnance Survey maps could initially be purchased for three guineas from the Board of Ordnance headquarters at the Tower of London or from William Faden, a map seller at Charing Cross.
It was thought 50 years would be long enough to map the entire country, but the complete first series of maps was not published until 1870.
International beauty pageants
Although to modern audiences the entire concept may appear something of a relic, the history of beauty pageants right the way up to Miss World can be traced back to Folkestone, where the first international contest was held way back in 1908.
Robert Forsyth, an Edwardian entrepreneur and managing director of the seaside town's pier, dreamt up the event as a way of attracting tourists and putting the town on the map.
The first Miss Folkestone contest was held on August 14 and reports suggest it attracted three British entries, three French, one Irish, one Austrian, one American and “a number of fisher girls from Boulogne” who attended independently of the official Gallic representatives.
Watch: The UK's very first drag beauty pageant takes place in Kent
Judged by the audience, the first prize was awarded to 18-year-old Nellie Jarman, a shopkeeper’s daughter from East Molesey in Surrey, securing her a place in history as the first international beauty queen.
But there was opposition to the contest, with two rows in the stalls occupied by Suffragettes, reportedly each wearing a large sailor hat with a band reading "Votes for Women!".
Folkestone's place at the vanguard of beauty contests was secured once again last year when it played host to the first ever Miss Drag UK pageant.
According to Guinness World Records, in January 1896 Walter Arnold drove a "horse-less carriage" through Paddock Wood at more than four times the speed limit – a reckless 8 mph.
The pioneering motorist was chased down by a police officer on a bicycle, and issued with what is believed to be the world's first speeding ticket.
He was later fined £4 7s in total, of which 10 shillings was for the speeding charge. He was also pulled up on another three charges relating to the driving of his 'locomotive'.
Arnold committed the offence while at the wheel of a German-made Benz that he had imported the year before. It is said his own company began marketing the Arnold Motor Carriage, a locally built variant of the Benz design, a few months later.
OK, so the Wright Brothers are acknowledged as the first to fly a powered aircraft when they flew the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in December 1903.
But in the UK the first fledgling steps in powered flight were carried out at Shellness, Leysdown, on the Isle of Sheppey.
The three Short brothers, Oswald, Horace and Eustace, were making balloons at their London factory when they heard of the success of the Wright Brothers, and Eustace had even travelled to France to fly with Wilbur Wright.
The Wrights were persuaded to let the Shorts build the Flyer under licence, provided they found suitable premises from which to fly the aircraft, and the alighted upon an unobstructed flying area of level marshland between Leysdown and Shellness.
Several other intrepid aviators soon arrived on the Isle, among them J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon, the Hon Charles Stewart Rolls and Frank McClean.
It was the latter that purchased a local farmhouse known as Muswell Manor to be used as a clubhouse for the aviators, known as the Aero Club.
Leysdown rapidly became the centre of British aviation. Over the next six months many flights were carried out from the turf that was once a golf club.
Nicknamed doodlebug or buzz bomb by the British, the V1 missile was a pilotless aeroplane made of plywood and sheet steel, powered by a primitive jet engine and packed with about 1,000 lbs of high explosive.
Initially launched from sites in still-occupied France, the first ever doodlebug - the Nazi "revenge weapon", Vergeltungswaffe in German - fell near Swanscombe on June 13, 1944.
The bomb landed harmlessly in a field, but villagers did not get off so lightly the following month when another V1 fell on Taunton Road and 13 people were killed.
With the war drawing towards its conclusion, the final one hit Orpington on March 27, 1945.
Undersea oil pipelines
In the build up to the invasion of Normandy, the Allies worked to develop an undersea pipeline which would allow the military to be fuelled as it attempted to liberate the continent from the Nazis.
Codenamed Operation Pluto, Pipe-Lines Under the Ocean, the first prototypes were tested in May 1942 across the River Medway.
In 1944, with the D-Day landings a success, pipelines between Dungeness and Greatstone on Romney Marsh were linked to Boulogne on the French coast.
Pluto Cottage in Dungeness was one of a number of pumping stations built to look like small houses. It later became a Bed and Breakfast.