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Faversham Society News - September 2022

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

Chairman's Column


August has brought more heat and now a hosepipe ban. With climate change, there is an urgent need for South East Water to increase storage and reassure us that there is an adequate supply of water for the new housing developments around Faversham.

The scale of new development, as we experience the impacts of climate change, raises serious questions about the security of our water supplies and sewage treatment.

The developer of the Cleve Hill solar power station at Graveney is now putting in its submissions to Swale planners, requesting that the council approves its plans. The Faversham Society’s Environment Committee is actively responding most recently on construction traffic management and surface and foul water drainage. You can find our submission on our policy blog and in the Swale Planning Portal on our website. We update the blog each time we submit – and if you want to be alerted each time we make a submission, you can register to receive an email notification.

There are now 40 or so posts on Cleve Hill on our website. If you are new to Faversham or wonder why we are so concerned about the dangers posed by the Cleve Hill development, take a look at Dr Alastair Gould’s letter to the secretary of state in which he describes his concerns about lithium-ion batteries and the toxicity of hydrogen fluoride. You can see it here favershamsociety.org/newton-place-surgery-on-the-health-issues-arising-from-cleve-hill

The work on refurbishing the former Fleur shop in Preston Street will be completed very shortly. The second-hand bookshop in Gatefield Lane is closing on 13 August and will reopen in new premises at 11 Preston Street, part of the Fleur complex, at 10am on 20 August.

The Faversham Society Archaeological Research Group has just finished digging in Ospringe. We look forward to hearing about what they found. In southeast Faversham, the Duchy of Cornwall has a team of archaeologists digging to follow up on a recent geophysical survey.

Society trustee Jonathan Carey will be taking Lord Harris’s gold ticket to the BBC Antiques Road Show at Belmont House on 23 August.

The medallion is included in Faversham in Sixty Objects, which will be published in October to mark our 60th anniversary. Lord Harris was granted first-class travel on the trains and carried this “gold ticket”, probably on his watch chain, to advise any inspector not bright enough to recognise his chairman. See below for an excerpt from Sixty Objects.

Our publications group is producing some really high-quality work. The new Faversham: A Brief History is a must-have for anyone interested in our town’s development from earliest times to the 21st century.

In the Dorling Kindersley History of the World in 1000 Objects, four objects are from Faversham, including the Magna Carta and the moot horn. You can look at the objects which are illustrated in a copy in the Fleur shop. My copy is there as a display copy. The book is out of print but second-hand copies are available.


12,000 years of history


The society’s publications group has been busy. First off the press is Faversham: A Brief History, written by Dr Pat Reid and edited by Stephen Rayner, which tells our story, from the first settlers 12,000 years ago.

A Brief History is filled with some of the beautiful and unique images that we hold in our extensive archive collection – sourced by Chris Wootton – including hand-coloured images from the 19th and early 20th century. This one, on the cover, may stump a few.  

The book tells the story of Faversham from the first settlers 12,000 years ago, through the days of medieval King Stephen and his abbey, wealthy Tudor businessmen and Victorian innovations, right up to present times.

There are also fascinating maps – thank you John Clarkstone –showing the evolution of the town from 1776 to 1865.

 Whether you are a new arrival or a long-time resident, there is bound to be something in our latest publication to interest you.  It is available from the Visitor Information Centre at £4.99 or through our online store by clicking here

Church music festival


The reason Faversham has such a magnificent parish church, the largest in Kent, is the wealth generated by the trade brought in and out by the tide on the creek.

St Mary of Charity, with its distinctive crown spire, is a fitting venue to host a festival of music from 13 to 20 August, to celebrate all the good things about this town.

On Thursday 18 August at 7pm, we will be performing our musical presentation, The Long and Winding Creek, documenting the history and development of our tidal link with the sea. Expect history, catchy songs and humour from my live acoustic band.

The Skate Boys of Faversham Town returnsat 7pm on Monday, 15 August. When we performed this show at the first Faversham Literary Festival in 2018 I could not find any photographs of the old roller-skating rink. The new presentation has several images of the rink and those roller hockey teams. If you want an uplifting story worthy of the silver screen, come and see how the Faversham team became champions of Europe in 1930.

The concerts will raise funds for some much-needed lavatories at the St Mary of Charity. To quote a trustee of the church: “We are waiting with legs crossed!”

Tickets on the door, or in advance from the Faversham Society Shop at 12 Market Place or online favershamsociety.org/store

Lord Harris's gold ticket


By the 1850s, Faversham was still not included in the London-Dover empire of the South Eastern Railway, despite negotiations by Lord Sondes of Lees Court and his party of business and political supporters. With Sondes as chairman, a company called the East Kent Railway was formed and enacted in 1854 to link Faversham with the South Eastern at Strood.

In 1858, public services began, but South Eastern saw the East Kent as unwelcome interlopers and competitors. The company deliberately obstructed the efficient forwarding of passenger carriages and goods wagons toward Gravesend and London Bridge. So in 1859, the EKR received power from parliament to become the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, carving its own route to London Victoria by way of Swanley and Bromley.

In the 1860s, and now under the chairmanship of the 3rd Lord Harris, of Belmont, the LCDR extended its services to Dover and Margate. The latter quickly became a favourite of commuting City businessmen, as well as a seaside resort. Lord Harris was granted first-class travel on the trains and carried this “gold ticket”, probably on his watch chain, to advise any inspector not bright enough to recognise his chairman.

In 1899, the two companies formed a working union, cutting costs by sharing resources, such as locomotives and rolling stock. Faversham’s original station, opposite the end of Newton Road, was enlarged and extended westwards into a four-platform island station nearer Preston Street, much as you see it today. In 1898, a railway footbridge and a level crossing at the top of Preston Street were replaced by a subway and Forbes Road, named after James Staats Forbes, the LCDR chairman. Several buildings were demolished in the process. The steam engine shed and goods facilities to the east of the passenger station were enlarged and improved.

Flint talk

Tom Leeming, a chartered surveyor, will be talking about flint in St Mary of Charity churchyard at noon on Saturday, 20 August.

His presentation will review flint work in the church’s exterior while considering some of the practical aspects of knapping – cutting and shaping – flint.

He will put in context the types of flint and methods used within the church. A flint knapping demonstration will take place in the churchyard – weather permitting.

Refreshments will be available and a retiring collection held. Tom practises in restoration project management.

August 15, 2022

Faversham Society Newsletter

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


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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