The Faversham Museums Together Group and the mapping project continue to develop and what has emerged from our working group within the Society is Open Faversham.
Our thinking has been stimulated by how Open House London has grown to encompass streets, streetscapes, buildings, open spaces, talks and cultural activities. In London, there is something of a mini-festival across the city. Faversham is good at festivals.
So Open Faversham will each year invite residents and visitors to share in a celebration of our heritage through guided walks, visits, music, drama, talks, displays and exhibitions. The themes will change from year to year and will repeat perhaps every four or five years. We are planning two weekends each year in mid-July. We hope to attract people from further afield and to create opportunities for evening talks and performances.
Like the Faversham Food Festival, we plan to encourage anyone who wishes to join the Open Faversham Festival Weekends by organising their own events - we'll help with marketing. Our ambition is to create a community festival, to celebrate our cultural and natural heritage, our architecture and living culture around a range of themes. An opportunity for Faversham to share its past and its present with fellow citizens and guests.
For 2020 we are planning two weekends with opening events, talks or performances, on Friday evening. These are community festivals and if you would like your group to be part of the weekend and to put on your own events please contact Harold Goodwin firstname.lastname@example.org
The next planning meeting is on March 17th in the Fleur Hall, off Gatefield Lane, on Tuesday, March 17th at 19:30
Please come along and encourage others to join us, if you can't make the meeting please send suggestions and plans to email@example.com
Our Plans - check back for more details as the plans come to fruition.
11th & 12th July the Coming of the Railway and Victorian Faversham; the railway, houses, streets, public buildings and the Recreation Ground.
Faversham Railway station will be open for guided tours and there will be photographic exhibitions on the history fo the station, guided walks to view the weighbridge, water tower, the engine shed and the route of the spur line down to Faversham.
Performances of Victorian music and theatre would be welcome and a dance?
The Old Grammar School, the Alexander Centre, the Assembly Rooms and the Purifier will be open and we hope that the Alms Houses will be too along with many of Faversham's Victorian religious buildings and Public Houses. The Police Museum will be open by July.
The Faversham Recreation Ground has been renovated and some of its original features restored. We hope that there will be an illustrated talk on its history and that some traditional games will be played there over the weekend, in particular Goal Running, once very popular in Faversham.
Goal Running revived
Goal Running in Faversham
The Faversham History
18th & 19th July Gunpowder in the town on the marsh and the great explosion – the industrial archaeology, the housing for the workers, the owners and the managers. Over this weekend the Oare Gunpowder Works, the Chart Mill, Gunpowder Room in the Fleur will be open. We hope that Stonebridge Pond and the Westbrook which worked the mills and fed the Stonebridge Pond and the gunpowder archaeology on the Anderson site will be open for guided walks.
We are keen that as many local groups and individuals as possible to join with us in these community festivals. If you have ideas please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please spread the word.
Open Faversham will build on the achievements of Open Houses which has now ceased. Open Gardens continues.
50th Anniversary of Open Houses
The Faversham Society ran its first Open Houses programme 50 years ago. From small beginnings, it grew year by year until 2019 when we sold 650 tickets for entry to 51 properties. Over the three weekends we estimate that there were 6,300 visits. We have checked nationally and so far as we can ascertain Faversham ran the first Open Houses programme in the UK. There is now, of course, a large national programme, Heritage Open Days, which runs in September each year. Heritage Open Days have just celebrated their 25thAnniversary it's grown into a vibrant celebration of local histories and cultures, with over 5,500 events taking place in 2018 across England. The London Open Houses programme now comprises 800+ buildings, walks, talks and tours.
The current Open Houses Committee, Moyra Harding and Helen Alberry, assisted by Chris & Annette Brooke-Taylor, Sheila Gibbins and Linda Hird, created a great success this year. Open Houses and Open Gardens, the latter run by a different group, are remarkable for their success and their combination of educational work and fundraising. The Society is justly proud of their achievement and we are grateful to all those who, over the past 50 years, have built it into such a success.
I have known for some months that the current committee wishes to retire and that this 50th Anniviersay year would be their last. They have done brilliantly to grow the programme. Its success is a result of very considerable effort over many months. It is increasingly difficult to persuade people to open their houses, and there were none open in Abbey Street this year. More and more local people and members are commenting that there are few new properties to visit. Harold Goodwin, Chair November 2019