Tag Archives: Faversham Creek Trust

A wonderful future for the top end of Faversham Creek


This is what we want to see at the top end of Faversham Creek – a thriving busy area of water, workshops and quayside that preserves and is in keeping with the history and spirit of the place. This is where barges, smacks and smaller boats, boat building and boat maintenance belong, and where they could add to the real interest of the town.

I hope it happens.

The Faversham Creek Trust, whose plan this is deserve our support. Read more and consider joining them here.



A miscellany of Faversham Creek – and an appeal

Faversham Creek 6

This is what all the fuss is about – this is Faversham Creek, and this is the area they want to turn over to housing and other marine-unfriendly businesses such as restaurants. As I’m sure many will immediately see, there’s already quite enough housing.

The white building in the photo above, for example, is Baltic House. People are now suggesting it should be a wine bar, with flats above for the bar staff. The application’s here, if you would like to read it and consider making an objection – a key concern is that an approval for an application that includes staff sleeping on the first floor will set a precedent that will open the way to more applications for further housing developments.

Just a short while ago, this quay was a mass of double-moored sailing barges, but this is how it’s been for a couple of years now.

The New Britannic, by the way, is a Dunkirk Little Ship that lives locally – her owner told me she’d just been on a trip up the Thames on Dunkirk business – hence the bunting.

But here’s the appeal. The folks at the Faversham Creek Trust want to hear from people in other countries who would like to express their support for efforts to prevent the Creek being strangled by the wrong kind of development. If you think you can help – an email would be great – please visit the Trust website and write to their contact email address.

While you’re there, take a moment to read some of the Trust’s excellent weblog explaining its members’ points of view about the Creek, and the organisation’s work training boatbuilders and so on.


Does anyone know the background of this terrific model – or the yacht she represents?

Model yacht 2

Model yacht 3 Model yacht 1

The Faversham Creek Trust has been given this model to auction for fundraising purposes – and they would like to know more about it. The drawing shows the dimensions.

Can anyone help? Certainly if the full-sized version was ever built, it would certainly have been an impressive boat. Is it post-WWII or pre-war? And check out that wishbone high in the rigging!

I have a dim recollection that the canoiest and yacht designer Frederick Fenger invented the wishbone schooner and that designer, builder, racing helmsman and pop starn Uffa Fox wrote about them – so I have a sneaking feeling this may be one of his designs. Please email  any information to me at gmatkin@gmail.com and I will pass it on the the Trust. Of course, I will also let readers know when the auction is to be held.

I should add that we’re nearly on the deadline (28th June) for submitting views about the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan.

The questionnaire for this can be completed online or via the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood plan website.

It takes some minutes and there are one or two questions that will likely garner answers that could be misinterpreted, but it’s still important and worthwhile to fill this thing in.  There’s no requirement to answer every question, and you can add comments, for example if you do not think that the right questions have been asked.

PS Historian and verteran campaigner for Faversham’s heritage Arthur Percival has written his own considered and clear submission to the Neighbourhood Plan steering group. Read it here.

Faversham Creek Trust’s Purifier Building premises is declared open!

Admiral Michael Boyce declares the Purifier Building open

Last night the Purifier Building, which is to be used by the new shipwright apprentice scheme as a training workshop and premises was declared open by the Faversham Creek Trust’s guest of honour Admiral Michael Cecil Boyce, Baron Boyce, KG, GCB, OBE, DL.

I could not hear all that he said, but I did form the impression that Admiral Boyce made an articulate and encouraging speech, and I certainly heard him declare his strong support for the Trust’s aims. Admiral Boyce is chairman of HMS Victory Preservation Company and trustee of the National Maritime Museum, and also as chairman of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution – he’s clearly as busy as he is decorated.

I also got a chance to find out about Mayhi, the unusual skimming-dish of a racing yacht that the first batch of apprentices are to work on, and to talk with Griselda Musset about Creek’s history potential for regeneration, which with the right management and support could be tremendous.

Check out the photos. The Purifier Building itself is a relic of the town’s gas works, but behind it is an area where gunpowder used to be made on a series of islands set between ditches – the reason for the ditches is that it was safer to move the gunpowder by punt rather than using iron-rimmed cartwheels that might cause a spark.

Despite this precaution, however, there was at least one large explosion that brought down one of the two towers of the neighbouring Norman parish church at Davington.

The wharves around the Purifier Building date back two hundred years – the one on which the building stands is known as Ordnance Wharf, and I gather gunpowder from this site was used against the Spanish Armada and at Waterloo.

This area of the Creek is a pool controlled by sluices and a swing bridge that was built at the time of the horse and cart and is now no longer working due to damage caused by the weight of the vehicles that cross it in the modern age.

Griselda explained all this and suggested I consider how the area could be, with the brickwork of the old wharves restored, the pool dredged and full of barges and Creek itself an important centre for traditional boats and boat building and repair. I have to say that for me it certainly made a compelling picture – and more than enough reason to give the Trust my support.

PS – Richard Fleury has put two short videos on Vimeo – one of Griff Rhys Jones visit to the Purifier Building a couple of weeks ago, and one recording the arrival of Mayhi.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger photographs.

Shipwrighting apprenticeships at Faversham Creek start in August – apply now

Mayhi at the Faversham Creek Trust's Purifier Building Faversham photo by Richard Fleury

The Faversham Creek Trust’s apprentice scheme for training young shipwrights is to begin in August, when two apprentices will begin their 18 months of intensive training at the Trust’s Purifier Building.

The scheme is part of the FCT’s  aim of regenerating Faversham Creek as a working waterway, and is expected to be expanded in future years.

Read about the scheme here.

The apprentices will begin by working on the 1908 Kent-built wooden yacht Mayhi, photographed above at the Purifier Building by Richard Fleury. Later in their training, they will experience commercial repair and restoration of larger vessels moored downstream.

The teaching programme will be contracted to a company formed by Brian Pain, managed by master shipwright Simon Grillett, and accredited by Rochester College.

PS – Readers may also be interested to know that the well known comedian, presenter  and TV producer Griff Rhys Jones recently visited the FCT during a tour of Kent’s civic society’s as part of his role as the president of Civic Voice. I gather he showed a good knowledge of the issues facing campaigners seeking to protect Faversham’s buildings and to ensure the Creek once again becomes a working waterway. So the word is getting round…

Faversham’s Standard Quay in happier times – filmed by Simon Evans

Standard Quay Faversham Simon Evans film from happier times

Barges at Faversham’s Standard Quay, filmed by local historian, folklorist, author, photographer and BBC radio  presenter Simon Evans.

Simon made the film some time before the maritime industries and most of the barges left, and before it became clear that Faversham Creek was likely to become a sad, gentrified and squeaky-clean memory of a port.

To lodge your opposition to this development, go to the website www.ukplanning.com, search for Swale Borough Council, then go to the  applications and use the search box to hunt down applications  applying to Standard Quay. There are just a few days left to lodge your reasons for objecting to the proposed development.

The Faversham Creek Trust has published some trenchant views on the issue – see the organisation’s weblog. There’s more useful stuff here and here.

The Faversham Creek Trust reports excellent progress


The Purifier Building - home to the new Maritime Heritage Apprentice Training Centre

The Purifier Building – before all the work began

The Faversham Creek Trust weblog has put up a very positive report following the trust’s annual general meeting held last week – it’s all great news.

Some 100 members attended and total membership now stands at over 500.

The organisation has raised and spent £60,000, mostly on restoring the roof and windows of the Purifier Building and installing power. More than 40 tons of rubbish and scrap have been removed by hand.

An outstanding issue remains the requirement for a new opening bridge to enable he upper part of the creek to be used, and to allow vessels coming up the creek to access the purifier building.

Kent County Council would like to see a fixed bridge put in place but happily are prepared to put their estimated cost of a fixed bridge, £400,000, towards the cost of an opening bridge, and the trust will shortly publish its conclusions following a survey of the different designs available.

The trust believes comparisons with Maldon in Essex shows the potential of opening up the Creek and increasing the amount of boat maintenance and building work: a comparison with another popular barge centre of similar size, Maldon, shows that town’s tourism is about double the current level of tourism to Faversham.

The trust concludes as follows: ‘We are on track to meet our vision to see the whole Creek energised as an active maritime centre using the basin as a home port for barges and traditional craft, and with repair and maintenance facilities for them right here in the town centre; the Purifier will then become a true community resource at the centre.’