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TOWN QUAY AND HAZARD are coming back to Faversham...

By Harold Goodwin, Friends of Town Quay, Faversham 

T.S. Hazard a fantastic gem of a building with a fascinating history

Fifty years ago, when Faversham lost its independent Borough status and became part of the Borough of Swale, the ownership of Town Quay and the Town Warehouse (aka TS Hazard) passed to Swale. The Town Warehouse was built in the early fifteenth century and is a Grade II* listed building. It is the only reminder of the importance of Faversham Creek and the port to the location and prosperity of our town. Rupert Austin of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust surveyed the building in 2018 and reported that it is “relatively well preserved and a remarkable and rare survival.” 

The Faversham Sea Cadets occupied the building from the 1940s until recently. The Town Warehouse was named Training Ship Hazard after the ship Faversham sent to join the fight against the Spanish Armada in 1588. Little care has been taken of the warehouse since the 1960s and the Sea Cadets ceased to use the building when bits of broken tiles began falling into the upper room used for parades and activities. The Sea Cadets folded as they were unable to find a suitable building or uniformed staff to maintain the group. 

Back in October 2018 forty of us met to discuss what might be done to conserve this important building. We approached Swale to seek a lease on the building so that we could raise money to conserve the building and give it new life. We were delighted when the Faversham Town Council raised the issue of ownership with Swale and negotiations followed for ownership to pass back to the town. The Friends of Town Quay, Faversham was registered with the Charity Commission in 2022 to provide a vehicle to engage volunteers and assist our Town Council. 

We hope that by August, the ownership of Town Quay will have passed back to Faversham and there will be events on Town Quay and in the Town Warehouse, during Open Faversham. There will be a consultation process about how best to use Town Quay, the Town Warehouse and the 1911 Pump House for the benefit of our town. The other building on Town Quay belongs to Southern Water and remains with them. The 1911 Pump Houe is home to Creekside Boxing, although the premises are cramped, and the boxing ring is significantly less than full-size. We hope that a better venue can be found for the club, but for now, Creekside Boxing is safe where it is. 

An imaginative reconstruction of the Town Quay and TS Hazard in the 16th century

So, what might be the future of Town Quay and the Town Warehouse?

To secure the funding necessary to restore and conserve the Warehouse a viable use will need to be identified. The Neighbourhood Plan envisages the Town Quay as an anchor site for the regeneration of the basin through mixed-use development on the brownfield sites. Town Quay, if used appropriately to benefit residents and visitors, can bring life back to the creek. In the Neighbourhood Plan, Policy Fav16 identifies the ‘Maritime Gateway Heritage Regeneration Area’ determining that its historic buildings should be “used, reused and refurbished … to provide hospitality, leisure, assembly, recreation, tourism and visitor and community-related uses.”  

The Cinque Ports Rowing Club and the restoration of the Town Jetty are a good beginning to open up the creek again. For too long the town has turned its back on its creek. There are two ideas, not incompatible with each other, which are being widely discussed. House a small permanent exhibition about the maritime history of our town and the port and host temporary exhibitions. The Town Warehouse could function as the northern gateway to the Cinque Ports, linking us to the Chatham Historic Dockyard and the National Maritime Museum and round the coast through Sandwich, Deal and Dover to Rye, attracting visitors with maritime interests and helping to fund leisure and recreational activities for residents. 

One of the world’s relatively few chalk streams, the Westbrook, flows into the creek just about Town Quay, and the creek flows onto the Swale and bird reserves at Oare and Harty Ferry. The lower floor of Town Quay could house a Natural History education and visitor information centre, perhaps jointly run with Faversham experts and the RSPB and Kent Wildlife Trust. There is a remarkable variety of nature to be seen from the origins of the Westbrook on the downs to the salt marsh and the sea. We could bring it alive for the benefit of residents, our children and visitors. 


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