Centre of the nation's explosive’s industry for 400 years, the 18th century Chart Gunpowder Mills
are the oldest of their kind in the world, powder from which was used at the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo.
Chart Mills were part of the Home Works, Faversham's first gunpowder factory and one of the first in Britain. It was established probably circa 1560 but the Chart Mills were rebuilt when the Government took control some 200 years later.
Following Chart Mills' closure in the 1930s, it fell into disrepair and was almost lost until The Faversham Society rescued the Mills, restored it and opened it to the public in April 1969.
Chart Mills is one of the very few fully restored gunpowder mills in the country and, given a suitable water supply, is fully working.
Chart Mills is an incorporating mill, the process where the ingredients, saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal, having been mixed together, are incorporated together to become an explosive mixture.
Incorporating was the most vital process as it determined the quality, power and evenness of burning of the powder; in all there was 11 processes in the whole manufacture of gunpowder.
The Chart Mills site had 2 waterwheels driving 4 mills, and the pit of the other wheel and the circular bed stones can still be seen as can some spare edge runners on the bank beyond, moved from another site.
Later a steam engine was added; the site is buried under the houses opposite.
The present wheel is of all iron construction with the water flow being controlled by a sluice and power transmitted by steel 'floats'.
LISTEN: listen to local historian Dr Arthur Percival talk about Chart Gunpowder Mills - click here
Opening times and location
Chart Gunpowder Mills are open from April to October, 2pm to 5pm, Saturday, Sunday and BHs.
There is no admission charge, but donations are appreciated.
Groups and those with a special interest can visit at other times by arrangement with the curator John Breeze 01795 534915 or by contacting the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre.
Chart Mills is situated off Stonebridge Way, Faversham, with pedestrian access sign posted from South Road. See Location Map in Quick Links above.
Explosives and gunpowder
For more information about the explosives indistory in the Faversham area, visit
our Explosives and Gunpowder pages.
Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham
Ballincollig Royal Gunpowder Mills