The collections have been accumulated by The Faversham Society over more than 50 years, mostly through donations from the public, but also through targeted acquisitions and occasional purchases. The collection has grown to around 40,000 objects and archival items and now represents the largest and most significant collection of material culture in the Borough of Swale.
The collection relates to the history and archaeology of Faversham and surrounding area with particular reference to the local industries of agriculture - especially fruit and hop-picking, brewing, brick making, ship building and explosives manufacture. The collection also includes domestic social history material; a significant collection of photographs, slides and photographic equipment; telecommunications equipment; and a substantial archive of documentary evidence from varied sources. The Faversham Society Collections Development Policy is available to download here.
The archaeological collection is managed separately by the Faversham Society Archaeological Research Group
At present, the Museum’s collections which are hosted at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre in Preston Street, can be divided into the following subject areas::
General social history
c. 5,000 items including items from domestic and personal life, various industries: railways, brewing, explosives, shipbuilding, agriculture (especially hops), as well as wartime/military items.
c. 1,000 items. Large amount of costume from 1900’s. Collection also includes a Polonaise Dress (18th century) and a court dress from the late 19th century
c. 5,000 photographs, also glass negatives, slides, cameras, magic lantern projectors etc; Crosoer Slides (important collection of hand-coloured lantern slides taken by the Crosoer brothers - extensive photography around Faversham from 1890-1910); also movie archive with some digitized films. Also projectors, inc rare 3-D projector.
Coins and medals
Large general collection, including locally important explosives medals (awarded following the large explosion in 1916).
Sound and telecommunications
Oral history recordings, old records, audio equipment including a collection of radios, a Strowger telephone exchange (relay driven, still working and connected to the museum’s internal phone and used by visitors), old switchboard.
Local archaeology, but including important material from Faversham Abbey; collection also includes archaeological human remains. To find out go to the FSARG website
A mixed collection thematically; framed and unframed works
General items of royal and local memorabilia but includes an important collection of Osborne Ivorex Plaques (manufactured in Faversham)
Maps & Plans
Large collection of maps and plans relating to the Faversham area and its buildings.
Georgian Shop Front (moved from the Market Place via America!) in the Garden. Two red telephone boxes.
Archives hold over c.50,000 items:
The Main document archive contains unique documents including wills, deeds and other locally important documents. There are also reference and Ephemera collections.
The smaller Subsidiary doc archives include several local topics such as
Large and varied library of reference texts relating to Kent, Faversham and specific topics/themes reflecting our collections.
The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre also houses two very significant collections which are stored at the Museum on behalf of their owners:
The Library of The Marlowe Society housing works relating to the Elizabethan playwright. It consists of some 500 volumes relating to Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and the papers of The Marlowe Society dated back to 1954 and the late Dolly Wraight. It is available for study purposes by members of the Marlowe Society and by previous appointment by students.
The Doddington Parochial Library is now hosted in Faversham Town Hall.
With volumes dating from 1501 to the 1750’s. This library was founded under the will of the Reverend Daniel Somerscales who died in 1737 and was augmented by others in the 19th century. It is one of the few ancient libraries of this kind to have survived and consists of around 400 volumes, with mainly theological works but including 17th- 18th Century additions of medical, natural history and geographical texts. The original catalogue of the library (dated 1743) is still in existence showing that the earliest works were printed in 1442-3 - only 30 years after Caxton's introduction of the art of printing to England. One of the original wooden travelling cases (now converted to a cupboard) still houses some of the books.
Both are available for research by bona-fide students by appointment at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre. Contact our Librarian