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

Faversham Society News September 2019

Station Scandal

Faversham’s station is Grade II listed and surrounded by a conservation area. It is an important entrance to our town, yet over 20 years been allowed to deteriorate so that it looks like a slum. Now the society is campaigning to get it renovated.

Railway Slum Campaign
Faversham’s original station was built in 1858 at the top of what is now Newton Road. It was substantially rebuilt – and moved to its current position – in 1898.
It is Grade II listed and surrounded by the Faversham conservation area. It is an important entrance to our town, yet over the past two decades, it has been allowed to deteriorate so that it looks like a slum.
The Faversham Society has been pursuing the railway companies to restore the station underpass (pictured on the front page) for several years.
It took the presence of Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, to secure meetings with Network Rail and Southeastern to address the issues.
Now, finally, an application has been made for listed building consent for the refurbishment of passenger underpass to remove flaking paintwork on tiling, to remove a cast iron handrail to the underpass and replace the other with stainless steel.
The photographs submitted in supported of a planning application reveal the decay which has been permitted.
If you want to see more photographs of the poor state of our station, look up 19/503924/LBC on Swale’s planning portal. Our efforts were reported in Kent online in March. See

Chairman’s column


This month we have had four exhibitions in 12 Market Place:

  • The Cleve Hill solar power station proposal for the Graveney Marsh;
  • The environment and natural heritage of our town and its surrounding countryside;
  • The history of the town;
  • And Faversham’s, Past, Present and Future.

Many of our members have been in to see the exhibitions and we have reached many more, some of whom did not know of the Faversham Society nor of our museum and gallery. The society’s board sends heartfelt thanks to all those who have set up and staffed these exhibitions. The exhibitions have raised our profile in the town, recruited new members and brought some donations to our museum and archives.

Close scrutiny of the society’s Past, Present and Future exhibition at 12 Market Place

We have submitted further evidence to the examiners on the Cleve Hill Solar Park, The Faversham Society board is concerned about the impact that this industrial development will have on Faversham and about the dangers that the battery installation may pose to wildlife and people.

We have been unsuccessful in pressing for further issue-specific hearings on the solar park’s batteries and on need and alternative sites. We shall continue to attend the hearings and press our case. You can find our case on favershamsociety.org/category/cleve-hill/

GREAT, the Graveney group resisting the solar power station, has launched a new website, https://savegraveneymarshes.org/, and members are organising a coach to go to Parliament to the adjournment debate secured by Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, on 9 September. If you would like to go there may still be seats available. Email enquiries@savegraveneymarshes.org

Many of you will be aware that Faversham’s new town council has identified three options for the use of the ground floor at 12 Market Place. The council is now consulting on the options, which include letting the space for retail or an information gateway providing access to a wide range of public, voluntary and community services.

The third option identified by councillors is to use it for visitor information, a heritage hub and a Magna Carta museum. As I understand it the idea is to use the back room on the ground floor for the Magna Carta.

The Faversham Society’s board will have its first discussion of this proposal from the council at its August meeting. The board will need to decide how to respond to the request that we engage with the council in exploring the options.

The board did not support the purchase of No 12. When the Heritage Lottery Fund application submitted by the previous council failed, I was asked to suggest an alternative use for the ground floor.

From those discussions, the idea of creating a reading room and a heritage hub emerged. The reading room has been created and the Doddington Library will be housed there. We plan to work with the two Canterbury universities to encourage further research on Faversham. With students and academics able to work in the reading room.

The idea for a heritage hub in the town was developed with some fourteen other groups in Faversham, all of whom have heritage to share. The plan was to use interactive maps to share and celebrate our common heritage and to enable both residents and visitors to find and understand it. The idea was to use “the cloud” to create a heritage resource which would be in part created by young people and used by them; and provide a teaching resource for history, geography, computing and natural history.

The idea that there might also be a visitor information centre in No 12 emerged from the council and has not yet been discussed by the board. If the board decides to explore the idea, then there will be a thorough consultation process, involving members and volunteers, before any decisions are made.

How the hub works


There are seven principal purposes to the planned Heritage Hub:

  1. To facilitate the development of an integrated view of Faversham’s history and geography.
  2. To provide a high-quality educational resource for formal and informal education with adults and children and foster community pride in, and understanding of, Faversham’s history and heritage.
  3. To connect with the next generation to ensure that our heritage is effectively inherited and valued – and that it is perpetuated.
  4. To provide a resource to attract day excursionists and tourists and contribute to Faversham’s prosperity.
  5. To reveal Faversham’s links – historical and geographic – in Kent, with London and across the UK and around the world.
  6. To provide a resource that can be used by information and communications technology (ICT) students in the two secondary schools in Faversham.
  7. And to provide a resource for popular planning that enables Faversham to grow in a way that adds to its sense of place and maintains what is special about our town.

The interactive three-dimensional map could:

  • In its “rest state” provide a three-dimensional map of Faversham showing the main heritage features and attractions.
  • Project the development of the town from prehistory to today.
  • Be used to focus on a particular period – Roman, medieval or Georgian Faversham with additional material on the walls.
  • Complement our festivals and commemorative events by linking the events with related places in the town and the hinterland.
  • Show the history of brewing, and the development of the Shepherd Neame brewery in the town and the links with brewing through the centuries.
  • Portray the development of the town around the creek and understand the importance of the creek and our maritime heritage in shaping Faversham and in making the town what it is.
  • Reveal the history gunpowder (including the addresses of 2,500 gunpowder workers) and brickmaking in the town.
  • Enable children and adults in the town to record short pieces with sound about why particular places and things matter to them. Why are they heritage?
  • Show the links between Belmont House and Georgian Faversham.
  • Reveal the links from the origin of the Westbrook, down the creek and through to the Swale and the natural heritage of this remarkable waterway.
  • Show the development of Abbey Street through the ages and its conservation.
  • Recreate Faversham Abbey and its history and show the development of religion in the town.

Opportunity knocks!


In last month’s newsletter, Rod Morley asked for volunteers to steward Chart Mills Gunpowder Works – open at the weekends only – an opportunity to enjoy the peace of a backwater of Faversham hidden away between houses, trees and the Westbrook.

We also urgently need volunteers for Fleur de Lis Museum reception on Sundays, from 10am to 1pm.

I am also hoping that there are people interested in keeping our museum looking good, working with others to reorganise displays, preparing for exhibitions, keep stored artefacts in good order, reviewing archives…

There are many small jobs that all contribute to keeping Faversham as a special place and fulfil the society’s objective: to educate and inform the public in the geography, history, natural history, and architecture of Faversham and the surrounding area.

With all these activities, new volunteers are put alongside a more experienced volunteer curator, training is provided and we are fairly flexible about timings so, even if you only have a couple of spare hours a week, do consider helping us, joining a team, finding out more about Faversham, learning new things and contributing to the future!

Interested or want to know more? Email Fleurmuseum@tiscali.co.uk or leave a message for me, Heather Wootton at the Fleur.

August 28, 2019

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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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