If you love Faversham, join us. We seek to Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Create for the Future

Faversham Society News - June 2024

A printable PDF version of this newsletter can be downloaded from HERE


Chairman's Column

Harold Goodwin

I am writing this from sunny Cornwall, where I have taken time to be a tourist and enjoy someone else’s home. I spend much of my year writing and advising governments, communities, and tourism businesses about how tourism can be improved. But, although I travel a great deal for work, I am rarely a tourist. Cornwall suffers from overtourism, the focus of much of my work since 2015.

We are staying in a small town away from the coast. It has visitors and overnight tourists, but it is not one of the honeypots that suffer from overtourism: it has the balance right. It uses tourism rather than being used by it. It is in many respects similar to Faversham, with an industrial past and a relatively diversified economy. Like Faversham, too, there is a shortage of affordable housing for local people, and young families are moving away.

We shall be back in Faversham for the weekend with the John Wilson celebratory concert on Saturday and the Millenium Market on Sunday and then back to work.

As you know, I am standing down from the chair at the AGM on 12 June so this will be the last editorial I write for the newsletter. This monthly task with fall to Ann Furedi whom we expect to be elected to Faversham Society board of trustees and to the chair at the AGM. As you will see from Ann’s supporting statement below, she has the experience to do the job and is an active volunteer in the bookshop.

I have agreed to stand as vice-chair, to support Ann in the transition period, and to continue to chair the Environment and Planning Committee. The Neighbourhood Plan and the policies in it are now a material consideration. Unless there are changes in national regulations, we now have a high degree of control over development within the parish. This is good news for Abbey Fields and Ham Road. Many community members worked to support the development of the town council’s Neighbourhood Plan. The last stage is the referendum.

Swale has begun work on the next Local Plan and, as in 2017, we shall be busy reviewing all the sites put forward by developers. There may well be significant changes in national planning policy and regulation. Last time, when we placed our review of the proposed sites on our website and called for comments and contributions, we received no response. The board has launched the conversations to encourage effective participation by our members and fellow residents on local issues.

Please come along to the conversations planned over the next few weeks – details are below. There will be more conversations in the autumn – water, the Local Plan, sewage, wildlife and southeast Faversham are all likely. I was already away when the Cleve Hill conversation took place but I understand that it was a great success.

You will receive a separate email notification about the AGM with copies of the Annual Report, nominations for the board and chair and vice-chair. Please do come along.

Shortly after I was elected to the board, one of its members commented that I had nothing else to do. Well, after eight years in the chair and pursuing my educational and consultancy work on responsible tourism, I will finally be able to spend more time on the latter.

I am launching a new international charity focused on creating better tourism, making better places for people to live in, and better places for people to visit – in that order.

CONTACT HAROLD


Theatre archaeologist’s talk

The 2024 annual general meeting of the Faversham Society will be held in the Assembly Rooms, Faversham, on Wednesday, 12 June, at 7pm.

After the formal agenda has been concluded, Heather Knight will talk on The Past Present and Future of Theatre Archaeology in London. Heather has been an archaeologist with the Museum of London Archaeology since 1995.

Over the past 17 years she has specialised in the archaeology of London’s 16th and 17th-century playhouses, having led the excavation on the sites of the Theatre and the Curtain playhouses in Shoreditch, two of London’s earliest playhouses where Shakespeare performed in the 1590s, and the excavation of the Boar’s Head playhouse in Whitechapel.


Crucial conversations

Harold Goodwin

The Faversham Society’s series of conversations of vital importance to our community and the future of our town continues in the Alexander Centre this month.

If you can, please join us and sign up online at favershamsociety.org or in the Visitor Information Centre at 12 Market Place, Faversham. The bar will be open after each event to enable attendees to talk further with speakers and other participants. Here are the topics to be discussed:

1 Medieval Heritage and Town Centre Regeneration: Town Quay and the Town Warehouse, Wednesday, 29 May, 7pm. Hosts: Harold Goodwin and Jonathan Carey. The ownership of Town Quay and the Town Warehouse (TS Hazard) has just been transferred by Swale Council to Faversham Town Council. A number of schemes are proposed for the land, including creation of a Cinque Ports museum and environmental education centre highlighting local features such as chalk streams and tidal marshes.

2 The Future We Want: Faversham Neighbourhood Plan, Wednesday, 5 June, 7pm. Hosts: Harold Goodwin and Matthew Hatchwell. Neighbourhood plans provide a powerful set of tools for local people to decide the development priorities for their community. The Faversham Neighbourhood Plan will be the subject of a local referendum in coming months and, if approved, will give the town a degree of control over – among other things – the type and location of new housing that takes place.

3 Faversham Healthy Futures: Acting locally to safeguard vital health and care services, Wednesday, 3 July, 7pm. Hosts: Laurie McMahon and Gill Wagstaff. The goals of the interactive Faversham Health Futures event are to review the way NHS and care services are delivered, explore the need to localise and integrate services, and give the people of Faversham and surrounding villages a say in how local health and care services should develop in future.

See the address below for ticketing details or sign up at the Visitor Information Centre at 12 Market Place.

www.favershamsociety.org/live-events


Election of trustees

Nominations for Trustee of the Faversham Society closed on 10 May, 2024.

Three trustees retired at the AGM 2023, creating three vacancies.

Election of trustees to fill these vacancies will take place at our AGM on 12 June. Members unable to attend the AGM in person may appoint a proxy. The form for doing so is available at the Faversham Society VIC, 12 Market Place, Faversham ME13 7AE.

The AGM agenda can be found here

Four nominations have been received. Nominee details are as follows:

Nominees for Trustee of the Faversham Society

ANN FUREDI

Personal statement: A former undergraduate of University of Kent Canterbury (1979-82), I have lived in Newton Road, Faversham for more than 20 years. For 17 of these years, I led the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) as its chief executive. BPAS is a reproductive health charity that provides services under contract to the NHS, has a staff of more than 700 and a budget of about £45 million. Through this post I gained experience of dealing with government ministers and committees and the Charity Commission, and with trustees and national committees. I both initiated and defended legal challenges in the High Court. I am particularly practised at dealing with crisis management and the media since prior to BPAS, I was director of communications, policy, and governance at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and before that a journalist.

As a volunteer I have, until recently, focused mainly on education. Following several years as vice-chair of the governing body of Mid Kent College, during which I chaired the audit committee, I was elected chair with a brief to improve leadership and governance, standing down when the college attained the rank of “Good”. I joined the Abbey School as a “member” with oversight of the governing body, (with the aim of supporting the headmaster create a more disciplined learning environment) until its recent absorption into an academy trust, I continue to act as a judge for the charity Debating Matters, and the debating society at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School.

Since my retirement from paid work in 2020, I have volunteered in the Fleur Bookshop and, since its move to Preston Street, I have supported Wendy Clarke in its management by co-ordinating the team of volunteers. I value the tradition and history of Faversham and believe that, while modernisation is necessary, we must never lose what is unique about our heritage.

IAN NEWMAN

Personal statement: My motivations for standing are to:

1 Oppose the Duchy development, and
2 Ensure the views of members are acknowledged and acted upon by the board

The board should remember that is appointed by, and to represent, the members. The society should be run for the members’ benefit and with openness and transparency.

The society’s view on the Duchy is confused and fails to reflect:

1 The view of most members
2 The society’s motto: Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Create the Future
3 Its objects, to: “Secure the protection, preservation and development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in Faversham and the surrounding area

“Preserve for the people of Faversham, of the surrounding area, and of the nation, the historical, architectural and constructional heritage that may exist in and around Faversham in buildings … of particular beauty or of historical, architectural or constructional interest.”

A mass development on the best and most versatile agricultural land on the edge of town is no adornment.

I have lived in Faversham for many years. I am a chartered accountant and have an awareness of the society’s corporate and charitable obligations.

I have volunteered in the gallery, museum and bookshop.

JANICE WEST

Personal statement: I have been a society member for nearly 33 years and a very active volunteer since 2008 serving on the board of trustees from 2012 to July 2020 and 2022 to date. I volunteer in the Visitor Information Centre on Saturday mornings.

I am the co-chair of the board’s resources committee which deals with and oversees the financial aspects of the society. Additionally, I handle all the society’s invoices and assist the treasurer with the management accounts.

After 41 years in local government, I gained a great deal of experience in particular managing and maintaining public buildings, organising large outdoor events while dealing with and learning about the many issues that face our community today. I feel that the society plays a very important role in the Faversham and I should like to see this success continue and indeed to grow.

For this to happen the society needs vision and a dynamic, enthusiastic and knowledgeable board. I believe I have the commitment and experience to make a substantial contribution to the future success of the society by continuing as a board member.

HEATHER WOOTTON

Personal statement: I worked for MoD and the Home Office for more than 30 years. Roles included: IT design and development, management of programmes, projects, requirements and contracts. An experienced senior manager, I am familiar with IT systems; organising information; financial planning and budgeting. I think strategically, seeing “the big picture”.

On retirement, in 2013, I started volunteering in the museum office keeping records up to date and answering inquiries. Over time my role has evolved and I now also help at the museum front of house. My main interest is in the various archives the museum holds. I have been chair of the Museum Committee since 2015.

I am an active member of the Faversham Society Archaeological Research Group and enjoy finding more evidence of the history of Faversham.

I joined the board in 2015 and keep it updated with the latest news and challenges from the museum via the Heritage Group.

I am committed to the society and to Faversham. I want us to keep upholding what I see as the “essence” of Faversham, to preserve the past and to influence the future.

We must be optimistic for the future, realistic in our expectations and seek to improve our image in the community. I am looking forward to the planned building changes to the museum.

Election of officers

At each Society AGM, an election is held for the posts of chair and vice-chair of the society. One nomination for each post has been received. Nominee details are as follows:

Nominated for chair of the Faversham Society: Ann Furedi

Personal statement: See above.

Nominated for vice-chair of the Faversham Society: Harold Goodwin

Personal statement: I joined the board in 2014 and two years later was elected to the chair in 2016. Our town and the Faversham Society have been going through a period of profound change and we continue to face the challenges of development. There are issues about the number and types of homes that are being built, as well as infrastructure and community facilities.

We have pushed for the return of Town Quay and the Town Warehouse (also known as TS Hazard) to Faversham and for the restoration and opening of the railway engine sheds to the east. I am pleased to say that progress is being made on both. Through the Local Plan review and then the Neighbourhood Plan, I have had a crash course in planning.

The Conservation Area Appraisal that the society has pushed for is nearing completion – critical to ensuring that future development respects the built and natural environment that we enjoy in Faversham and that our generation adds to our heritage. We have a new Visitor Information Centre in the heart of the town and a fine new bookshop. Now we need to focus on our heritage centre and museum.

The Environment and Planning Committee has made substantial representations on development proposals at Ham Road, Brogdale, Westons, and the superstore in North Lane. We were successful in securing changes on Lady Dane and secured support for the Swale Planning Committee in rejecting planning applications for the war memorial, Abbey Fields and battery safety at Cleve Hill.

The society has been actively involved throughout the process of developing the new Neighbourhood Plan, which will shortly come to referendum. Open Faversham was established last year, and it is looking good for 2024. It has drawn a broader range of Faversham residents into the appreciation and celebration of our natural, built and living cultural heritage.

New in 2024 is the series of conversations about the future of our town, four arranged so far. Four more in the autumn, with at least one on the Duchy development

I have been chair since 2016, and it is time for a new chair. So, I am standing down from that position and seeking election as vice-chair to support the new chair in her role.


Summer evening strolls

Catherine Lee

As the summer evenings continue to lengthen, what better way to spend time outdoors looking at our beautiful town than to join a guided summer evening stroll?

At Walking with History, the Faversham Society’s series of town tours, we understand that our regular Saturday morning walk schedule doesn’t suit everyone. So, we’ve put our heads together and devised a short season of walks on mid-week evenings.

Itineraries will be broadly similar to the Saturday ones, minus the Saturday-morning market bustle!

Walks are free for Faversham Society members, but bring your non-member friends and family with you for £5 (adults) and £3 (children).

Advance booking is essential for all places. You can do this either online at the address below or in advance at the Visitor Information Centre at 12 Market Place. Please note that payment cannot be taken on the evening as the VIC will be closed when we set off.

Summer evening strolls depart from the VIC at 6.30pm on the following days. We look forward to seeing you!

Wednesday, 5 June; Wednesday, 19 June; Tuesday, 25 June; Wednesday, 10 July; Wednesday, 24 July; and Tuesday, 6 August.

Pre-booking is essential via www.favershamsociety.org/live-events


Walk with history

Leigh Allison

The latest Faversham Society book invites you to walk with history. Steps Back in Time by Pat Ross is not only a town guide, but also a valuable companion to other local histories.

Pat is one of the volunteer town walk guides and her new book is just the thing for those who cannot make it onto a guided tour – or would prefer to wander Faversham at their own pace. Its handy size and easy reading style means it’s like having a personal guide at your shoulder.

The book is jam-packed with interesting and quirky facts, as you guide yourself though more than 50 places of interest. The route is cleverly devised so that you can stop and start at any point, you can do the whole thing in one go or break up your stroll into bite-sized pieces. Pat’s sense of humour shines through this gem of a book and she proves that history is never dull!

Once again, the publishing team have outdone themselves. Many thanks go to Stephen Rayner, who edited and designed the book, John Coulter, whose diligent fact-checking uncovered new gems; and Chris Wootton for once again sourcing some fabulous images.

Steps Back in Time is priced £4.99 and is available in the Society's online store or from the Visitor Information Centre.


A talent to amuse

Peter Quince

It is difficult to overestimate the value of books, for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is humour. I have noticed over the years that so many of the customers who enter the Fleur Bookshop, most of them delightful, talk about how books and references to reading have amused them and, at times, caused them to burst into laughter. There is a place for humour in all walks of life, but never more so than in the context of reading or discussing one’s favourite comic author. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome is one of mine.

There is almost as much written about books as there are words in them. “Books about books” sounds like a circular argument, but so many books, whether novels, history, philosophy, whatever, stimulate the creation of other books. Every literary work has potential spin-offs, and customers often enter the bookshop asking after further works by an author they have taken to. And some literary critics, whether in reviews or interviews, really hit home with their often-humorous comments. I have come across many, quite often in books I have been flicking through in the Fleur.

For instance, the French poet and journalist Anatole France says: “Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folk have lent me.” That’s not true in my experience, but I think he has a point. On the other hand, some of the books donated to our bookshop have clearly belonged to parents, grandparents and even higher in the family tree: a sort of generational library ensconced in the attic, that repository of forgotten volumes.

Of course, there is a great deal of snobbery surrounding the subject of books. Emo Philips, an American comedian and writer, tells us: “My favourite writers are Joyce, Tolstoy, Proust and Flaubert, but right now I am reading The Little Engine That Could.” I can almost guarantee that we have books by those four illustrious authors, but I’m not sure about The Little Engine. You never know, it might make a change from War and Peace.

Some book critics are decidedly acerbic when commenting on the efforts of writers, no matter how well-meaning they are. Angus McGill, best known as a columnist in the London Evening Standard, once said: “It is the sort of book I keep meaning to write, very slim, in large type, and with lots of illustrations. It must have taken the author at least half an hour.” Oooh!

In the bookshop we have volumes that fit that description, but I should say that not one of them took as little as half an hour. Alasdair Gray, a Scottish novelist, writes of an erratum slip in a book entitled Unlikely Stories, that stated: “This slip has been inserted by mistake.” Think about it. Yes, it took me a while.

 Regarding the Fleur’s connection with environmentalism and the value, or virtue, of reading second-hand –“pre-loved” – books, the American author Richard Brautigan is reported to have said: “I wonder if what we are publishing now is worth cutting down trees to make paper for the stuff?” I’m strongly in favour of conserving all the trees we can, but occasionally I like buying a new book. Should I have a conscience about that? (I buy a newspaper, too, but only one day a week, so that’s all right.)

It’s good to know that in the nature of the Fleur Bookshop we are in the business of recycling books for the delight of new readers. On the same theme Anthony Blond, a British publisher who died in 2008, declared: “That trees should have been cut down to provide paper for this book was an ecological affront.” Fortunately, he doesn’t state which book.

Sometimes customers come into the bookshop and are so taken with a particular author that they say: “Oh, I wish I could meet him/her; it would be so interesting.” I can sympathise with that. It reminds me what J. D. Salinger, author of the celebrated Catcher in the Rye, said: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re done reading it, you wish the author who wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”

 I began by mentioning humour in books. Perhaps I could end with this quotation from Somerset Maugham: “There are just three rules for writing – but nobody knows what they are.” Touché!


Faversham Pools Open Day

For six decades, Faversham Pools has been a cherished part of Faversham, providing a space for recreation, fitness, and family fun. We are proud of our history and the community support that has allowed us to thrive.

Event Details:

Date: May 30th, 2024
Invite-Only Hour: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (for invited guests only)
Public Pool Party: 2:30 PM - 5:30 PM (normal admission prices apply)

During the invite-only hour, we will have refreshments, a flag-raising ceremony by the Mayor, special remarks, and a synchronised swimming display by our Swimming Club. This exclusive segment is reserved for invited guests.

From 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM, we welcome the public to join us for a pool party. Attendees can enjoy our outdoor pool, meet our new mascot, and celebrate this special occasion with us.


May 25, 2024

Faversham Society Newsletter

Advertising: Clubs, societies, organisations and businesses are encouraged to advertise in the newsletter. The cost is £40 a page (discounts are available for block booking). The minimum boxed ad measures 59mm x 93mm (or equivalent) and costs £10. Cheques should be made payable to the Faversham Society and sent to Jan West at the address above. We also use BACS – ask for details.

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All content © the Faversham Society. Reproduction permitted only with the written permission of the editor

Advertising

The Faversham Society Newsletter is edited by Stephen Rayner, who is independent of the board.

Contributions are welcomed, and should be received by midday on the 15th of the month before publication, by email to favnewsletter@gmail.com. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Faversham Society or of the editor. All contributions will be edited and the editor’s decision is final.

Faversham Society Opening Times

Opening times for The Visitor Information Centre, Book & Gift Shops, Fleur de Lis Museum and Chart Gunpowder Mills vary throughout year.  The latest opening times can be found on the right-hand panel of every page on the Society's main web site

The Faversham Society is a Registered Charity No 1135262 and a company limited by guarantee
Registered in England and Wales No 7112241

www.favershamsociety.org
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