Bicycle Museum Wheelbarrow

Do not let the small frontage to the Museum on Preston Street deceive you – there is plenty to see and learn about this unique historic town! From our new Museum Reception visitors step back in time to trace Faversham’s growth from early settlement to the height of its prosperity, explained in words, illustrations, photographs, sound and film.

Displays lead visitors from pre-Roman settlement on the banks of the Creek, through the increased farming and building during the Roman Occupation, to royal capital of England in 1148 with the building of a substantial Abbey by King Stephen. The addition of other religious institutions, including Davington Priory and Maison Dieu, marked Faversham as an important place for respite on the Pilgrim’s route to Canterbury.

Visitors can follow the growth in trade and commerce after the Norman Conquest which made Faversham a bustling and prosperous Elizabethan town with trade links to London and to Northern Europe. Signs of this prosperity can be seen in the large number of well built timber-framed buildings from that period that still exist in the town today, as well as in the surrounding villages.

The Museum shows information and related artefacts and images on all Faversham’s major industries as well as the farming of the surrounding land:

Exterior of hairdresser's shop

Local hop growing supplied breweries in Faversham including Shepherd Neame - which still operates as the oldest independent brewery in the UK - whilst also supporting coopering. Fruit growing has also been a mainstay of the local economy.

Alder and Willows on surrounding marshland produced excellent charcoal, an important ingredient in explosives which made Faversham one of the most important sites for explosives production from as early as the 16th Century.

Local clay fields generated a prosperous brick making industry, demand for which increased dramatically in the Industrial Revolution whilst the arrival of trains improved transport for delivery of finished products.

And, essential to all the trades, Faversham Creek and its maintenance allowed local shipbuilding to prosper in the production of the eye-catching Thames Barges with their characteristic red sails and, in the 20th Century, the building of a wide range of motor vessels and warships at the Pollock Shipyard.

With carefully recreated dioramas, visitors are also given insight into the cultural, domestic and leisure pursuits of Faversham’s people, their lives during war and peace, the shops they visited, the civic life of the town, and some of the important people who have contributed to Faversham’s success.

Please leave at least an hour and a half for your visit but preferably more.... or come back soon for another visit!