Building ships on Standard Quay

In his regular Faversham Memories column for the Faversham News (6 June, p26) Arthur Percival demolishes rumours circulating (“even among folk who might be expected to know better”) that Standard Quay has never seen much shipbuilding or maintenance, except in recent times. Drawing on research by Professor Hugh Perks (“who knows more about Faversham Creek than anyone else”) he relates the histories of just some of the 94 vessels known to have been built at the Quay between 1766 and 1842. The story continues next week.

2 thoughts on “Building ships on Standard Quay

  1. Trevor Fentiman

    That building was a grain store and as a child we picked up the spare grain around the edge for the rabbit. I am 59 and until lately can never remember any boats being repaired in that building. Boats where made and repaired the other side of the creek (pollocks) why did they not try to stop the houses and industrial estate that side?

    1. Sue Cooper

      Trevor, we fought hard to prevent Pollocks yard being built on. We lost that fight as we did at Belvedere Road. On each occasion we were told that this was a necessary compromise and that housing was needed to help protect the Creek. We were promised that the section 106 agreements would be enforced to ensure that the housing would have a reduced effect on the working feel of the Creek. We were told in the 2008 Local Plan that no more housing would be allowed because more would damage the Creek. Now we are again being told we must compromise.

      The important issue is Standard Quay as a whole. The buildings there have, over the years, been used to support whatever activity was commercially viable on the Quay – ie the water activity came first. This would have changed in each era I assume.

      In the early 1990s I helped Steve Norris skipper of Greta, who had been employed by Brian Pain and Colin Frake (who made huge investment in maritime employment on the Quay over the subsequent 18 years) to clear out the then derelict warehouse which you refer to. It was in a terrible state and the size of the spiders and the density of the grain encrustations on the rotting walls was an education. (Which is why for one year only, the company was given a peppercorn rent while the building was made weather tight and useable).

      From that time until 2011 the building was rented at commercial rates (independently assessed and appropriate for simple workshops) and consistently used to support maritime employment. No one to my knowledge has ever claimed it was used to contain building of complete boats, but the upper floor was in use as a sail loft and workshop for spars and rigging and for winter storage of sailing barge gear for most of the most recent two decades and the lower floor for a workshop for all of the vessels on the Quay and as vital winter store areas. Latterly, of course, the Apprentice Workshop was in this building too.

      These facts are missing from the applications for the change of use to a restaurant and also effectively missing from the Fullwood Report (which underlies the Neighbourhood Plan) which encourages development of the Quay. These omissions create an impression that outside investment is needed.

      The Quay and the building you refer to were in active use in an economically viable business which was fit for the 21st century and in keeping with the historical and visual setting of the area without the need for inappropriate development. We can argue til the cows come home about unwritten history, but the last two decades are recorded and they were for maritime use. Why are they being ignored?


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