The Faversham Society 1962-2013

1953
Herbert Richards begins campaign to save Abbey Street.
1955
Arden’s House threatened with demolition: KCC refuses BPO.1
1956
Arden’s House bought for £950 by Mr C. F. Hallward and restored.
1957
Fred Bishop appointed Town Clerk. Architectural students from School of Architecture at Canterbury undertake survey of Abbey Street.
1958
Borough Council seeks advice of SPAS on Abbey Street. On basis of students’ report, it recommends restoration. Council takes its advice, starts buying properties under slum-clearance powers and selling to owners who undertake to restore them sympathetically.2
1960
Abbey Street Preservation Society formed as ‘owners’ club’. 84-87 Preston Street demolished, site developed in unsympathetic fashion for supermarket.
1962
Faversham Society formed at public meeting in Guildhall.3
1963
Society’s first temporary museum display at 67 Preston Street. Society secures postponement of demolition of Chart Gunpowder Mills (oldest in world). Trees planted on left bank of Creek by Society.
1964
Society’s first oral history programme completed Town Brochure first published by Society. Society publishes The Mayoralty of Faversham, first in series of Faversham Papers (monographs about area’s past).4
1965
Museum opens in lower room at Maison Dieu, Ospringe. Society defeats plan for marina on Swale near Harty Ferry (site now a nature reserve and SSSI recognised as of international importance).
1966
West Street pedestrianisation plan published by Society (later implemented by Borough Council). Society’s efforts to save Davington Court Barn (marooned in new housing development) result in it being dismantled and being re-erected at Edenbridge.
1967
Chart Gunpowder Mills bought by Society: restoration appeal launched. Society objects to KCC proposals for Inner Ring Road; undertakes Origin and Destination Traffic Survey (not undertaken by ICCC, who rely on intuition; formulates alternative proposal for Western Link Road and presents at major Public Inquiry.5
1968
Society suggests conservation area, is supported by Borough Council.
1969
Restoration of Chart Gunpowder Mills begun by Society. Society organizes first Open House Scheme. Minister of Transport accepts Society suggestion that in future national amenity organisations (like Civic Trust) should be consulted about proposed increases in weights and sizes of heavy lorries.
1970
Government reject KCC’s Inner Ring Road scheme, ask it to consider Society’s alternative Western Link Road proposal. Faversham Papers No 10 (Faversham History Trails) published by Society.
1971
Society buys Fleur de Lis for conversion into Heritage Centre.6
1972
KCC rent part of Fleur de Lis from Society to accommodate staff studying Society road proposal.
1973
Charity shop opened in Fleur de Lis to raise money for conversion.
1975
The Times publishes article about Society.7
1976
Conversion of Fleur de Lis begins.
1977
Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre opens.8
1978
Society opens Tourist information Centre at Fleur de Lis.
1980-2
First French, German and Dutch version of Town Brochure published by Society. Society submits evidence to Armitage Inquiry on Lorries.
1983
New accommodation for Doddington Parochial Library opened at Fleur de Lis.
1985
Working Strowger-type village telephone exchange installed at Fleur de Lis.9
1987
PABX from Bensted House installed at Fleur.
1990
Faversham History Project launched. Faversham Historians begin meeting under Society auspices.10
1993
First Japanese version of Town Brochure published simultaneously in Tokyo and Faversham Society publishes first comprehensive Faversham Bibliography in seven volumes (six on primary sources, one on secondary sources).
1994
Former Oare Gunpowder Works: first full field survey published jointly by Society and Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (Faversham Papers No 39). Society represented on steering group formed to oversee creation of a country/industrial heritage park at the Works. Society re-opens Maison Dieu, Ospringe, closed by English Heritage ten years previously.11  It installs new displays costing £5,000, having raised the money for them.
1995
Tourist Information Centre enquiries reach 12,000 a year. Society takes over official Tourist Information Points in Central Car Park and in lay-by on west-bound A2 at Boughton. At Society’s suggestion, parking rebate scheme is introduced in town car parks. Shoppers can reclaim cost of first hour’s parking on making purchases in participating town shops.
1996
Society leases 10-11 Preston Street and launches £330,000 appeal for much-needed expansion of Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre. Society assumes responsibility for day-to-day oversight of Stone Church, in guardianship of English Heritage and the only church in England to incorporate remains of a pagan Roman shrine.12  Society publishes Thomas Arden in Faversham, by Patricia Hyde, first full biography of the ‘hero’ of the Elizabethan play Arden of Faversham. Over 600 pages long, it includes first publication of the Abbey rentals of 1515 and 1532, as well as of much other local 16th-century primary source material.
1998
First full-colour leaflet to promote Society visitor attractions published.
1999
Heritage Lottery Fund offers Society £473,000 towards £750,000 cost of Fleur de Lis expansion. Millenium Fund offers Society £19,500 towards cost of Faversham Millenium video. Society buys 10-11 Preston Street.
2000
Work on expansion of the Fleur de Lis begins. Successful millennium production of Arden of Faversham in garden of Arden's House. Society decides to buy 12 Preston Street for further expansion of the Fleur de Lis. Roof of Maison Dieu restored by English Heritage.
2001
Expanded Tourist Information Centre and shop opens at 10-11 Preston Street. Society's Faversham Millennium video released.
2002
First phase of updated Museum displays opens at 10-11 and 13 Preston Street. Fleur de Lis Gallery opens at 13 Preston Street.
2003
For benefit of disabled visitors, DVD show of first-floor displays opens at 13 Preston Street.
2004
Gunpowder Room with DVD show opens at 13 Preston Street.
2005
Discussion starts about possible display of Anglo-Saxon Graveney Boat in Faversham.13  Eightieth anniversary of original Maison Dieu museum opening and 40th anniversary of Society's first museum there celebrated.
2006
New museum displays opened in "Big Shed" at rear of 10-11 Preston Street.14  Ugly 1960s shopfront at 12 Preston Street replaced by replica of original late 19th Century shopfront.
2007
Faversham Papers No 100 published: reprint of Old Faversham by Arthur Percival.
2008
Fine Georgian shopfront, repatriated from Chicago, installed in 10-11 Preston Street garden.15  New upper floor displays opened at Maison Dieu.
2009
New meeting room opened at rear of 12 Preston Street. New lower-floor displays opened at Maison Dieu.
2010
Society changes status from that of a charity and unincorporated association to a charity and company limited by guarantee.
2012
Society awarded over £200,000 to create new museum reception in no.12 Preston Street, conserve fabric of the building and pay for p/t Learning Manager to develop learning activities. New reception opened July 2013.
Today the Society continues in the strong footsteps of its founder members, working to preserve and promote the fascinating heritage of Faversham.