Kent

Last updated

A Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
Kent
Motto(s):  
Kent UK locator map 2010.svg
Coordinates: 51°12′N0°42′E / 51.200°N 0.700°E / 51.200; 0.700 Coordinates: 51°12′N0°42′E / 51.200°N 0.700°E / 51.200; 0.700
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South East
Established Ancient
Time zone UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police Kent Police
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Philip Sidney
High Sheriff Mrs Remony Millwater [1] (2020/21)
Area3,736 km2 (1,442 sq mi)
  Ranked 10th of 48
Population (mid-2019 est.)1,846,478
  Ranked 5th of 48
Density494/km2 (1,280/sq mi)
Ethnicity93% White
(89% White British) [2]
B includes energy and construction
C includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

North Kent is heavily industrialised, with cement-making at Northfleet and Cuxton, brickmaking at Sittingbourne, shipbuilding on the Medway and Swale, engineering and aircraft design and construction at Rochester, chemicals at Dartford, papermaking at Swanley, and oil refining at Grain. [23] There is a steel mini mill in Sheerness and a rolling mill in Queenborough. There are two nuclear power stations at Dungeness, although the older one, Dungeness A, built in 1965, was decommissioned in 2006. [45]

Cement-making, papermaking, and coal-mining were important industries in Kent during the 19th and 20th centuries. Cement came to the fore in the 19th century when massive building projects were undertaken. The ready supply of chalk and huge pits between Stone and Gravesend bear testament to that industry. There were also other workings around Burham on the tidal Medway. [46] Chalk, gravel and clay were excavated on Dartford Heath for centuries.

Kent's original paper mills stood on streams like the River Darent, tributaries of the River Medway, and on the River Stour. Two 18th century mills were on the River Len and at Tovil on the River Loose. In the late 19th century huge modern mills were built at Dartford and Northfleet on the River Thames and at Kemsley on The Swale. In pre-industrial times, almost every village and town had its own windmill or watermill, with over 400 windmills known to have stood at some time. Twenty-eight survive within the county today, plus two replica mills and a further two in that part of Kent now absorbed into London. All the major rivers in the county were used to power watermills.

From about 1900, several coal pits operated in East Kent. The Kent Coalfield was mined during the 20th century at several collieries, [47] including Chislet, Tilmanstone, Betteshanger, and the Snowdown Colliery, which ran from 1908 to 1986. [48]

The west of the county (including Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, and Sevenoaks) has less than 50% of the average claimant count for low incomes or worklessness as the coastal districts of Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, and Thanet (chiefly three resorts: Ramsgate, Broadstairs, and Margate). West and Central Kent have long had many City of London commuters.

Culture

Architecture

Canterbury Cathedral Canterbury Cathedral - Portal Nave Cross-spire.jpeg
Canterbury Cathedral

Kent's geographical location between the Straits of Dover and London has influenced its architecture, as has its Cretaceous geology and its good farming land and fine building clays. Kent's countryside pattern was determined by a gavelkind inheritance system that generated a proliferation of small settlements. There was no open-field system, and the large tracts were owned by the two great abbeys, Christ Church, Canterbury and St Augustine's Abbey, that did not pass into the hands of the king during the Reformation. Canterbury Cathedral is the United Kingdom's metropolitan cathedral; it was founded in AD 598 and displays architecture from all periods. There are nine Anglo-Saxon churches in Kent. Rochester Cathedral is England's second-oldest cathedral, the present building built in the Early English Style. [49] These two dioceses ensured that every village had a parish church.

The sites of Richborough Castle and Dover Castle, along with two strategic sites along Watling Street, were fortified by the Romans and Normans. Other important sites include Canterbury city walls and Rochester Castle.[ clarification needed ] [50] There remained a need to defend London and thus Kent. Deal Castle, Walmer Castle, Sandown Castle (whose remains were eroded by the sea in the 1990s) were constructed in late mediaeval times, and HM Dockyard, at Chatham and its surrounding castles and forts—Upnor Castle, Great Lines, and Fort Amherst—more recently.

Kent has three unique vernacular architecture forms: the oast house, the Wealden hall house, and Kentish peg-tiles.

Kent has bridge trusts to maintain its bridges, and though the great bridge (1387) at Rochester was replaced there are medieval structures at Aylesford, Yalding and Teston. [51] With the motorways in the late twentieth century came the M2 motorway bridge spanning the Medway and the Dartford tunnel and the Dartford Bridge spanning the Thames.

Literature and publishing

Kent has provided inspiration for several notable writers and artists. Canterbury's religious role gave rise to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales , a key development in the English language. The father of novelist Charles Dickens worked at the Chatham Dockyard; in many of his books, the celebrated novelist featured the scenery of Chatham, Rochester, and the Cliffe marshes. [52] During the late 1930s, Nobel Prize-awarded novelist William Golding worked as a teacher at Maidstone Grammar School, where he met his future wife Ann Brookfield. [53] William Caxton, who first introduced the printing press to England, was born in Kent; the recent invention was key in helping many Kent dialect words and spellings to become standard in English. Lord Northbourne hosted a biodynamic agriculture conference on his estate at Betteshanger in the summer of 1939, he coined the term 'organic farming' and published his manifesto of organic agriculture the following year spawning a global movement for sustainable agriculture and food. [54]

Visual arts

A number of significant artists came from Kent, including Thomas Sidney Cooper, a painter of landscapes, often incorporating farm animals, [55] Richard Dadd, a maker of faery paintings, and Mary Tourtel, the creator of the children's book character, Rupert Bear. The artist Clive Head was also born in Kent. The landscape painter J. M. W. Turner spent part of his childhood in the town of Margate in East Kent, and regularly returned to visit it throughout his life. The East Kent coast inspired many of his works, including some of his most famous seascapes. [56] Kent has also been the home to artists including Frank Auerbach, Tracey Emin and Stass Paraskos.

Kent was also the location of the largest number of art schools in the country during the nineteenth century, estimated by the art historian David Haste, to approach two hundred. This is believed to be the result of Kent being a front line county during the Napoleonic Wars. At this time, before the invention of photography, draughtsmen were used to draw maps and topographical representations of the fields of battle, and after the wars ended many of these settled permanently in the county in which they had been based. Once the idea of art schools had been established, even in small towns in Kent, the tradition continued, although most of the schools were very small one-man operations, each teaching a small number of daughters of the upper classes how to draw and make watercolour paintings. Nonetheless, some of these small art schools developed into much larger organisations, including Canterbury College of Art, founded by Thomas Sidney Cooper in 1868, which is today the University for the Creative Arts. [57]

Blean near Canterbury was home to Smallfilms, the production company founded by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin and responsible for children's TV favourites Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and Bagpuss.

Performing arts

The county's largest theatre is the Marlowe Theatre in the centre of Canterbury. Other venues for live music include Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone and the Assembly Hall in Tunbridge Wells.

It re-opened, after being completely rebuilt, in October 2011. [58] Music festivals that take place in Kent include Chilled in a Field Festival, Electric Gardens, Hop Farm Festival, In the Woods Festival, Lounge On The Farm and the annual (not 2020) Smugglers Festival near Deal.

Transport

Roads

The M2 and High Speed 1 crossing the Medway Valley, south of Rochester MedwayM2BridgeCloud0169.JPG
The M2 and High Speed 1 crossing the Medway Valley, south of Rochester

With the Roman invasion, a road network was constructed to connect London to the Channel ports of Dover, Lympne and Richborough. The London–Dover road was Watling Street. These roads are now approximately the A2, B2068, A257, and the A28. The A2 runs through Dartford (A207), Gravesend, Rochester, Canterbury, and Dover; the A20 through Eltham, Wrotham, Maidstone, Charing, Ashford. Hythe, Folkestone and Dover; the A21 around Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and on to Hastings in East Sussex. [23] In the 1960s, two motorways were built; the M2 from Medway to Faversham, and the M20 from Swanley to Folkestone. Part of the M25 runs through Kent, from Westerham to the Dartford Crossing. The M26 motorway, built-in 1980, provides a short link between the M25 at Sevenoaks and the M20 near Wrotham. Kent currently has more motorways by distance than any other county in the UK, with sections of the M2, M20, M25 and M26 totalling 173 km (107 mi) within the extents of the ceremonial county.

In the run-up to Britain leaving the European Union, Government Minister Michael Gove MP for Surrey Heath confirmed that the UK government intended to impose a de facto border between Kent and the rest of England for freight lorries, [59] in order to deal with expected lorry queues of 7,000 or more [60] at Folkestone, Dover and other ports. HGV operators need to apply for a 24-hour Kent Access Permit (KAP) to take a vehicle of 7.5 tonnes or more into Kent if their intention is to cross to the EU via Dover or the Eurotunnel. [61]

Water

The medieval Cinque Ports, except for the Port of Dover, have all now silted up. The Medway Estuary has been an important port and naval base for 500 years. The River Medway is tidal up to Allington and navigable up to Tonbridge. Kent's two canals are the Royal Military Canal between Hythe and Rye, which still exists, and the Thames and Medway Canal between Strood and Gravesend. Built-in 1824, it was purchased in 1846 by the railways, which partially backfilled it. [23] Container ports are at Ramsgate and Thamesport. Following the closures across the lower Medway, and the Swale to the Isle of Sheppey, during the 20th century, the Woolwich Ferry is the only domestic ferry that runs in the broadest definition of the county.

Railways

A 300 km/h (186 mph) Eurostar train at km 48 (mile 30) on High Speed 1, near Strood StroodCTRL2.JPG
A 300 km/h (186 mph) Eurostar train at km 48 (mile 30) on High Speed 1, near Strood

The earliest locomotive-driven passenger-carrying railway in Britain was the Canterbury & Whitstable Railway which opened in 1830. [62] This and the London & Greenwich Railway later merged into South Eastern Railway (SER). [63] By the 1850s, SER's networks had expanded to Ashford, Ramsgate, Canterbury, Tunbridge Wells, and the Medway towns. SER's major London termini were London Bridge, Charing Cross, and Cannon Street. Kent also had a second major railway, the London, Chatham & Dover Railway. Originally the East Kent Railway in 1858, it linked the northeast Kent coast with London terminals at Victoria and Blackfriars.

The two companies merged in 1899, forming the South Eastern & Chatham Railway, further amalgamated with other railways by the Railways Act 1921 to form the Southern Railway. [63] Britain's railways were nationalised in 1948, forming British Railways. The railways were privatised in 1996 and most Kent passenger services were franchised to Connex South Eastern. [64] Following financial difficulties, Connex lost the franchise and was replaced by South Eastern Trains and after Southeastern. [65]

The Channel Tunnel was completed in 1994 and High Speed 1 in November 2007 with a London terminus at St Pancras. A new station, Ebbsfleet International, opened between Dartford and Gravesend, serving northern Kent. [66] The high speed lines will be utilised to provide a faster train service to coastal towns like Ramsgate and Folkestone. This station is in addition to the existing station at Ashford International, which has suffered a massive cut in service as a result.

Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway P9300406.JPG
Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway

In addition to the "main line" railways, there are several light, heritage, and industrial railways in Kent. There are three heritage, standard gauge railways; Spa Valley Railway near Tunbridge Wells on the old Tunbridge Wells West branch, East Kent Railway on the old East Kent coalfield area and the Kent & East Sussex Railway on the Weald around Tenterden. In addition, there is the 15-inch (380 mm) gauge, Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway on the southeast Kent coast along the Dungeness peninsula. Finally, there is the 2 ft 6 in (0.76 m), industrial Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, previously the Bowaters Paper Railway.

Air

Charter flights are provided by Lydd Airport at Lydd.

In 2002, it was revealed that the government was considering building a new four-runway airport on the marshland near the village of Cliffe on Hoo Peninsula. [67] This plan was dropped in 2003 following protests by cultural and environmental groups. [68] However further plans for a Thames Estuary Airport on the Kent coast have subsequently emerged, including the Thames Hub Airport, again sited on the Isle of Grain and designed by Lord Foster, [69] [70] and the London Britannia Airport plan, colloquially known as "Boris Island" due to its being championed by the former Mayor of London Boris Johnson, which would see a six runway airport built on an artificial island to be towards the Shivering Sands area, north-east of Whitstable. [70] [71] Both of these options were dropped in 2014 in favour of expansion at either Gatwick or Heathrow Airport, the latter finally being the chosen option following Theresa May's installation as Prime Minister in summer 2016.

Manston Airport, located near the village of Manston in the Thanet district, was a former RAF facility that also handled some civilian flights. It closed in 2014. [72]

Education

Kent has four universities: Canterbury Christ Church University with campuses throughout East Kent; University of Kent, with campuses in Canterbury and Medway; University of Greenwich (a London University), with sites at Woolwich, Eltham, London and Medway; the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) also has three of its five campuses in the county.

Although much of Britain adopted a comprehensive education system in the 1970s, Kent County Council (KCC) and Medway Unitary Authority are among around fifteen [73] local authorities still providing wholly selective education through the eleven-plus examination with students allocated a place at a secondary modern school or at a grammar school.

Together, the two Kent authorities have 38 of the 164 grammar schools remaining in Britain. [73] [74]

Kent County Council has the largest education department of any local council in Britain, [75] providing school places for over 289,000 pupils.

In 2005–06, Kent County Council and Medway introduced a standardised school year, based on six terms, as recommended by the Local Government Association in its 2000 report, "The Rhythms of Schooling". [76]

Kent County Council Local Education Authority maintains 96 secondary schools, of which 33 are selective schools and 63 are secondary modern schools.

Schools in Kent (data from 2000) [77]
LEANurseryPrimarySecondary
(modern)
Secondary
(Grammar)
Special Pupil
Referral
Units
Independent City
Technology
College
Total
KCC147574323411831711
Medway 0891463170120

Music education is provided by Kent Music (formerly Kent Music School), [78] which has its origins in the 1940s. Kent Music provides services across the county including Kent County Youth Orchestra, Kent Youth Choirs, and an annual summer school at Benenden School.

National Challenge schools

In 2010, Kent had the highest number of National Challenge schools in England: schools which are branded 'failing' based on the British Government's floor targets that 30% of pupils achieve at least 5 GCSE grades A* to C. [79] Of the 63 secondary modern schools, 33 missed this target; thus 52% of Kent secondary modern schools (34% out of all 96 maintained secondary schools) are 'failing'. [80]

Sport

Priestfield Stadium is the home of Gillingham FC, Kent's only Football League team Priestfield Stadium Medway Stand.jpg
Priestfield Stadium is the home of Gillingham FC, Kent's only Football League team

In association football, Kent's highest ranked football team is Gillingham FC, who play in Football League One. Maidstone United was a Football League side from 1989 until going bankrupt in 1992. Kent clubs in the higher levels of non-league football include the current incarnation of Maidstone United and Dover Athletic playing in the National League along with Ebbsfleet United, who were promoted in 2017. Dartford currently play in National League South, the sixth tier of the English football pyramid.

Kent is represented in cricket by Kent County Cricket Club. The club was a founder member of the County Championship in 1890 and has won the competition, the major domestic first-class cricket competition, seven times. The club is based at the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury and also plays matches at the Nevill Ground in Royal Tunbridge Wells and the County Cricket Ground, Beckenham. [81] The Kent Women cricket team has won the Women's County Championship seven times since it was established in 1997. Cricket has traditionally been a popular sport in the county and Kent is considered one of the locations in which the game first developed. Teams have represented the county since the early 18th century. The Kent Cricket League is the top level of club competition within Kent and features teams from throughout the county, including areas such as Beckenham and Bexley which were formerly part of the county.

British tennis player and US Open champion Emma Raducanu grew up and was educated in Bromley, North-East Kent

Canterbury Hockey Club and Holcombe Hockey Club both play in the top division in both the men's and women's England Hockey Leagues. Sevenoaks Hockey Club's women first XI plays in the second tier of national competition.

In rugby union, Canterbury RFC play in the fourth-tier of English rugby in the National League 2 South. Gravesend RFC and Tonbridge Juddians both play in the fifth-tier National League 3 London & SE. Blackheath FC, a club within the historic boundaries of the county, play in third-tier National League 1.

In motorsport, the Brands Hatch circuit near Swanley has played host to a number of national and international racing events and hosted 12 runnings of the British Grand Prix in various years between 1964 and 1986.

Kent is home to two National League netball clubs, both based in northwest Kent: Telstars (Premier Division 2) and KCNC (Premier Division 3).

Local media

Television

Much of Kent is served by the BBC's South East region, which is based in Tunbridge Wells and provides local news for the county and East Sussex. Its commercial rival is ITV Meridian Ltd, which has a newsroom at The Maidstone Studios despite the main studio being based in Hampshire. Main transmitters providing these services are at West Hougham, near Dover and Blue Bell Hill, between Chatham and Maidstone. A powerful relay transmitter at Tunbridge Wells serves the town and surrounding area. Those parts of Kent closest to London such as Swanley, Westerham, Dartford, Gravesend, and Sevenoaks lie within the ITV London and BBC London areas, taking their television signals from the Crystal Palace transmitter.

Radio

Kent has two county-wide stations – BBC Radio Kent, based in Tunbridge Wells; and the commercial station KMFM, owned by the KM Group. KMFM previously consisted of seven local stations which covered different areas of the county (and are still technically seven different licences) but have shared all programming since 2012 [82]

The county's first commercial station was originally known as Invicta FM and began broadcasting in 1984. After various buyouts, the station was rebranded into Heart Kent in 2009 as part of the Heart Network. The station was closed and merged with several other Heart stations in the south of England in 2019 to form Heart South, with the Kent studios in Whitstable closing and production moving to Fareham in Hampshire.

There are several community radio stations in Kent including:

Newspapers

The KM Group, KOS Media and Kent Regional News and Media all provide local newspapers for most of the large towns and cities. County-wide papers include the Kent Messenger , Kent on Saturday , Kent on Sunday , and the Kent and Sussex Courier .

See also

Related Research Articles

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South Eastern Trains Former British train operator

South Eastern Trains was a publicly owned train operating company that operated the South Eastern Passenger Rail Franchise between November 2003, when it took over from Connex South Eastern, and 1 April 2006, when Southeastern began operating the new Integrated Kent franchise.

Medway Valley line Railway line in Kent

The Medway Valley line is the name given to the railway line linking Strood and the Medway Towns with Maidstone West and onward to Paddock Wood & Tonbridge. High Speed services also link between Maidstone West, Snodland, Strood and London St Pancras International. The section from Maidstone West to Tonbridge passes through some of Kent's most picturesque countryside along the narrower sections of the River Medway.

Chatham Main Line Main railway line in south-east England

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Ebbsfleet International railway station Railway station in Kent, England

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Geography of Kent Overview of the geography of Kent

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The Kent County Council election, 2009 was an election to all 84 seats on Kent County Council held on 2 May as part of the 2009 United Kingdom local elections. 84 councillors were elected from 72 electoral divisions, which returned either one or two county councillors each by first-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office. The electoral divisions were the same as those used at the previous election in 2005. No elections were held in Medway, which is a unitary authority outside the area covered by the County Council.

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KM Media Group is a multimedia company in the county of Kent, England which originated as the publisher of the Kent Messenger. The Group now produces local newspapers, radio stations and websites throughout the county. Iliffe Media acquired KM Media Group in April 2017.

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Grade II* listed buildings in Kent

The county of Kent is divided into 13 districts. The districts of Kent are Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Swale and Thanet.

The Kent League was a football league which existed from 1894 until 1959, based in the English county of Kent. Another, unrelated, Kent League was formed in 1966, and is now known as the Southern Counties East Football League.

These awards were created to celebrate design excellence in Kent and were first staged in 2003 and are usually held every two years. They were then renamed 'Kent Design and Development Awards' in 2012. Then have stayed as the 'Kent Design and Development Awards' in 2014.

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