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Faversham Society News - March 2020

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

Cleve Hill: Do You Realise Its Dangers?

David Melville

There are many reasons to object to the Cleve Hill power station proposal.
Solar power is a good thing. However, the proposal to build the second-largest solar power station in Europe with the world’s largest storage battery on Faversham’s doorstep is simply wrong.

Did you know the sheer size of the solar power station? Nearly one million solar panels, the height of a double-decker bus, over an area the size of Faversham.

The construction, if approved, will take two years to complete – and that means 80 heavy lorries daily on a narrow road only yards from Graveney Primary School.

The power stations batteries would bring danger of fire, explosion, toxic fumes and even terrorism.

The storage batteries planned for Graveney are five times as big as the current largest in the world and would be over an area the size of 20 football pitches.

Lithium-ion batteries have a history of spontaneous fires which cannot be put out with water and can throw up to flames 70ft high.

These batteries are prone to runaway fires leading to massive explosions. A Graveney explosion would have the energy of two small nuclear bombs – just outside Faversham. Consider that.

Toxic hydrogen fluoride gas from such fires can kill or maim adults and children over a large area. Batteries are an obvious terrorist target – and no serious security arrangements are being proposed.

The threat to wildlife, environment and heritage is immense. Wildlife and conservation organisations are opposed to the loss of important salt marsh habitat for iconic and endangered birds and animals; access to important heritage assets is threatened.

Our leaflet will launch a letter-writing campaign to try to persuade the new secretary of state to reject the proposal. Please attend the public meeting, at St Mary of Charity Parish Church at 7.30pm on 30 March.

You can find details of our campaign here on www.favershamsociety.org/cleve-hill/


29 February Waterways, St Mary of Charity Parish Church, 7.30pm

17 March Planning meeting for the Open Faversham Community Festivals, Fleur hall, 7.30pm

21 March One-day Historic Swale conference on the Swale, Swale and our Identity. Plus heritage fair, Appleyard, Sittingbourne

26 March Meeting to appeal for Chart Mills helpers, Boston Room, 10.30am

27 March Exhibition of 16th to 18th-century books, museum foyer

30 March Cleve Hill power station public meeting, St Mary of Charity Parish Church at 7.30pm

17 and 18 April Members’ map collection viewing, Fleur hall, 10.15am to 4pm

27 May Faversham Society annual meeting, Assembly Rooms, Preston Street, Faver-sham, 7.30pm

Mapping The Past

Caroline & John Clarkstone

During the past few months we have started relisting and reorganising the Faversham Society’s map collection.

There are hundreds of large-scale historic maps of Faversham and the surrounding area, and we feel that these maps should be better known by society members, as they contain much historical detail.

Look, for example, at the 1865 map on page 3. The Fleur de Lis pub, now part of the society’s heritage centre complex, an be clearly seen _ but what is of that Methodist chapel? (Answer: it’s been the Faversham Club since 1884.)

We shall hold two open days – 17 and 18 April – for members of the society to take a look at a selection of these maps on show in the Fleur hall.

If you have a particular question that might be answered by reference to maps, please come along and ask it during these days or fill in an inquiry form in the Fleur. We look forward to sharing these maps with you. Drop in anytime in these two sessions. We can also help you find online sources for maps that the society does not have.

Chairman's Column

Harold Goodwin

Geoff Sandiford’s Our Beautiful Town, reviewed last month, was a great success. I have lost count of the number of times I have been stopped in the street telling me how good it was. Geoff and his group have produced another piece, which like The Skate Boys celebrates our town and its heritage.

I am looking forward to seeing Our Beautiful Town again in July and hoping that Geoff might stage The Skate Boys again. Our Beautiful Town celebrated the efforts of local people to save our heritage and raised more than £500 for the society.

Faversham’s culture is celebrated by residents and visitors in many ways, in writing and through art and photography, and the performance arts. Only if our heritage is valued will it be inherited effectively by future generations. Unless our heritage matters to our children and grandchildren it will be lost. The arts in all their forms can bring our heritage alive.

In July the society is promoting two community festivals – the first on 11 and 12 July – is celebrating the coming of the railway and Victorian Faversham. Chris Wootton has found some newsreel of goal running, a popular Faversham game. We hope that a tournament will be organised on our newly renovated Recreation Ground during that festival weekend. There are plans for some new trails with quizzes for children for the Victorian weekend and the gunpowder weekend 18 and 19 July.

The Swale Heritage Conference and Fair taking place in Sittingbourne on Saturday, 21 March, is an opportunity to reflect on what the towns and villages of Swale have in common, to look for new partnerships and opportunities to share our heritage and to attract visitors to come and share it with us. We have more in common with other communities in Swale that many realise. Please do book a ticket and come along if you can.

This year, the Faversham Society’s annual meeting will be held at the Assembly Rooms in Preston Street. Put the date in your diary: 27 May, 7.30pm.

As this edition goes to press, we are finalising our campaign leaflet to oppose the Cleve Hill power station and have arranged a public meeting in St Mary of Charity Parish Church at 7.30pm on 30 March. Please put the date in your diary now and tell others about it. We are finalising a campaign leaflet and are looking for volunteers to help with the society’s campaign: www.favershamsociety.org/cleve-hill/

In this newsletter, we carry a tribute to Anne Croydon, a well-respected volunteer who died in January.

Finally, I am sorry to report the death of Anthea, who many of you will know from the Fleur second-hand bookshop. Her passing is a great loss to the society and she will be missed by so many. More of her life and contribution to the society in next month’s newsletter.

Contact Harold

Forbes Road Crossing

Harold Goodwin

A group of residents along The Mall has written to the Faversham Society seeking our support for a zebra crossing at this busy junction, which is often used by schoolchildren.

With further housing development south of Watling Street (the A2) there will be a marked increase in the numbers crossing the road there. We are aware that traffic moves swiftly around the corner and rarely stops for pedestrians.

The junction is complex, with traffic coming from three directions.

The society strongly supports efforts to improve pedestrian safety and to make Faversham more walkable. We support the aims of the 20’s Plenty campaign to slow traffic and make the town more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. We support the 200 who signed a petition to Kent County Council to install a crossing and urge KCC to take action quickly.

The society hopes that the proposed Neighbourhood Plan will address some of these issues, and produce guidelines for how residents can engage to develop solutions and have them implemented.

The society broadly supports all community initiatives to develop solutions; residents are generally those most knowledgeable about the issues and most likely to be impacted by proposed changes.

Heritage Map & Guide

The Faversham Society has produced an informative Heritage Map & Guide. This is available in print form from the Visitor Information Centre and can be downloaded from our website www.favershamsociety.org

Elizabethan Room Redevelopment

Paul Moorbath

The Faversham Society has recently had some important donations of the Tudor and Stuart period and this has inspired us to think about a revamp of the Elizabethan Room to include genuine items of the 16th and 17th centuries. It is intended to put these items on permanent display in the Elizabethan Room in the Fleur museum.

The Faversham Society library has received a donation of William Lambarde’s A Perambulation of Kent, a second edition published in 1596. The first edition had been published in 1576. It was the first county history published in Britain and became a model for others to follow.

The second edition which we have here was the first edition which also included a map of Britain showing the Saxon kingdoms. It also has a fold-out map of Kent called the Carde of the Beacons. This map does not show roads and only a selection of towns but it does show the locations of the beacons and sight lines.

These were to be lit in time of national emergency such as the threatened Armada invasion and there had to be a lookout maintained. The coast and rivers on the map are very inaccurate!

This book is of interest to Faversham as it is the first published history of the town which it spells Feuersham. It has a title page dated 1596. The book is printed in gothic script. It is sufficiently important to be available in modern reprints.

We have also had a donation of a Bible bound together with the Book of Common Prayer published in 1688 which was the year King James II was held prisoner in Faversham. The prayer book has a prayer giving thanks for the saving of his grandfather, James I, from the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. There were regulations requiring prayers to be said in church and public celebrations to be held on 5 November.

It is from this that we derive our Guy Fawkes Night celebrations. But was it Faversham gunpowder? This is not known but Faversham would have been the most convenient source of gunpowder in London.

In 1688 King James II was taken prisoner and held in 12 Market Place which was then an inn, which had previously been the home of Henry Hatch and we have his chest on display. The site is now the town hall. The story of his capture is told later in Appendix 10 in Edward Jacob’s history of the town and port of Faversham published 1774.

The King was then transferred to more secure accommodation in the house of the mayor, Thomas Southouse in Court Street. Southouse wrote the first book on Faversham which was Monasticon Favershamiensis, published 1671. We have these and we intend to put them on display.

The 17th century was deeply superstitious and the power of witches was widely accepted. King James I had written a book on how to detect witches.

Three unfortunate women were tried and convicted of witchcraft in 1645 and they were hanged by the Faversham parish pump at the back of the Guildhall.

The account of the trial was later published in a book in 1823. We also have a Bellarmine bottle, salt-glazed stoneware usually decorated with a bearded face mask and probably 17th century. These became known as Devil bottles.

A selection of the books is now on display in the museum’s foyer.

Open Faversham

Harold Goodwin

The next planning meeting for the Open Faversham Community Festivals is in the Fleur hall, at 7.30pm on 17 March. Here is what is planned:

11 & 12 July
The Coming of the Railway and Victorian Faversham; the railway, houses, streets, public buildings and the Recreation Ground.

Faversham railway station will be open for guided tours and there will be photographic exhibitions on the history of the station, guided walks to view the weighbridge, water tower, the engine shed and the route of the spur line down to Faversham. Performances of Victorian music and theatre would be welcome – and a dance?

The Old Grammar School, the Alexander Centre, the Assembly Rooms and the Purifier will be open and we hope that the almshouses will be, too, along with many of Faversham’s Victorian religious buildings and public houses. The police museum in Church Road will be open by July.

Faversham Recreation Ground has been renovated and some of its original features restored. We hope that there will be an illustrated talk on its history and that some traditional games will be played there over the weekend, in particular goal running, once a popular sport in Faversham.

Goal Running revived - Goal Running in Faversham - The Faversham History

18 & 19 July
Gunpowder in the town on the marsh and the Great Explosion – the industrial archaeology, the housing for the workers, the owners and the managers. Over this weekend the Oare Gunpowder Works, the Chart Mill and Gunpowder Room in the Fleur will be open. We hope that Stonebridge Pond and the Westbrook, which worked the mills and fed the Stonebridge Pond, and the gunpowder archaeology on the Anderson site will be open for guided walks.

We are keen that as many local groups and individuals as possible to join with us in these community festivals. If you have ideas, please email chair@favershamsociety.org Please spread the word!

Waterways In Song

The Editor

A unique collaboration will bring together local choirs to explore the unique heritage of the town and its people.

Waterways, at St Mary of Charity Parish Church at 7.30pm on 29 February, will explore how the small settlement of Faversham grew at the head of a navigable creek and will celebrate how boatbuilding, brewing, brickmaking and even gunpowder all flourished.

A journey of discovery will run from Faversham’s grand Victorian station, through the medieval centre of town to the bleak beauty of the Kent marshes. Voices taking part include those from: Faversham Voices, Cantiana, Mustardseed Singers, Lowering the Tone, Faversham Community Choir and Faversham Choral Society.

To buy tickets, call Faversham Music Club’s treasurer, Rodney Ford, on 01795 535937 or go to: www.favershammusicclub.co.uk/tickets

Death Of Anne Croydon

The Editor

Anne Croydon

Anne Croydon, who was a volunteer at the Fleur for many years, has died. Her friend Sue Davidson, said “Anne was an esteemed and knowledgeable colleague. Her experience and local know-how was invaluable, especially when dealing with our more demanding visitors.”

Anne was born in Cambridge in 1933 and trained at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, passing her exams to become a state registered nurse, later gaining a midwifery qualification at Hammersmith hospital.

Being an adventurous girl, she decided to join the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, which brought her to Folkestone for square-bashing, followed by a posting, in 1957, to the British Army of the Rhine in Germany.

It was there that a young RAF lad, Bill Croydon – who would one day become chief executive of Swale Council – spotted her at a Christmas party.

“I recall seeing this girl sitting on an old grand piano talking to a couple of chaps,” Bill said in his eulogy to her. “She had extremely short, blonde hair and was smiling. I immediately felt that I should meet her. But apart from gaining a telephone number I didn’t get far. She was going out with somebody else, so I rang her and she agreed to come out with me. We got on well. From then on, we met practically every weekend and visited some well-known spot or another in Northern Germany. Fifteen months later in 1959, when we were back in the UK, we got married.”

It was a union that lasted 60 years and was marked with an anniversary card from the Queen.

“Since we got married, altogether we have lived in 29 different homes, 20-odd of which belonged to the Ministry of Defence, and have produced three girls and a boy,” he told mourners.

The couple had 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Anne and Bill left the RAF at 55. He moved to Swale Council and Anne to “frontline nursing” at Medway Hospital.

In retirement, she volunteered for the Faversham Society, and the chairman, Harold Goodwin, said: “Anne’s passing is a great loss to the society and she will be sadly missed by many.”

Our Shared Heritage

The Editor

The conference and heritage fair (see Diary above for 21 March) organised by Historic Swale celebrates our common heritage, building on our council’s new heritage strategy.

The event has secured enthusiastic support from the leader of Swale Council and many other councillors some of whom are speaking. The full programme is not yet finalised, you can see it developing on www.historicswale.org.uk. If you care about our heritage don’t miss this event.

Early Spring-Clean

Heather Wootton

Following my plea for help with the January museum cleaning, several new volunteers came forward. They helped our regular helpers, who interrupted their “regular” tasks to clean.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the new volunteers gained an insight into how the museum works, our displays, our stores and of course they met other volunteers. Just the odd cup of tea or coffee and biscuits were enjoyed! So thank you if you were one of those who came along and – if you couldn’t – we always need help looking after our collections (archives and artefacts), a couple of hours a week would be good if possible.

Please email me, Heather Wootton at fleurmuseum@tiscali.co.uk or call at museum reception and leave a message for me.

A Journal Of Our Past

Stephen Rayner

This year, the Faversham Society will be launching a new history publication, free for members.

The Faversham Journal, a sister publication to this newsletter, will be full of features examining the long and distinguished past of our town and surrounding area.

As well as a piece on new exhibits in the society’s museum collection, we plan to include items on Otterden, the history of Cleve Hill, which is now threatened by a gigantic power-generating plan, King Stephen’s Castle, the Dolphin Hotel, the Vaults pub, Recreation Ground, Faversham Institute, and some of Arthur Percival’s history projects.

The Journal will printed and produced professionally and will be free to society members, but also on sale to the public. The first issue is due (we hope) at Easter.

If you would like to submit a feature, contact me, the editor, on Favnewsletter@gmail.com

Worth Popping Up

Pauline Miles

Well done Wendy and her team for raising so much money in the pre-Christmas pop-up shop – that was a brilliant result, and all from items that the original owners no longer wanted.

There was such a glorious mix of items. I for one bought many things for Christmas presents and for myself. This all helps towards saving the planet. I look forward to the next pop-up shop although I appreciate it needs volunteers and a lot of hard work. Thank you.

Chart Mills Help

Rod Morley

We are so short of volunteers at the Chart Mills that we are in danger of being unable to open for the season.

Please – we need your help. Come along to our short meeting to find out what is involved. It will be in the Boston Room of the Fleur at 10.30am on Thursday, 26 March. Coffee and biscuits will be served.

February 20, 2020

Faversham Society Newsletter

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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

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