Rink hockey, a game like ice hockey but played on roller skates, developed rapidly during the early years of the 20th Century.
An advertisement in the local press dated 8th January 1910 brought to the attention of the public the pastime that was to dominate two decades of Faversham’s sporting history. The Faversham Rink - or to be more precise, the Brents Roller Skating Rink - opened on the 27th of January 1910 on what is now the car park for the Weston Works.
The building was leased from the Syndale Estate who had recently acquired it from Osborn Dan who had built barges there, including the ‘Baden Powell’ and the ‘Cecil Rhodes’.The proprietors had already opened a rink at Gillingham and were developing others at Rochester, Dover and Folkestone.
The building, an old barge chandler’s, was ideal having an open floor space, the main hall measuring some 142 ft x 42ft, the actual skating area being 130ft x 42ft. The floor was a solid construction of Rock Maple resting on a deep course of wooden end grain blocks, with lighting consisting of six arc gas lamps. A spiral staircase to a gallery for spectators completed the essentials for perfect viewing. To encourage the public to use the facilities the Creek Bridge was to have its own lighting, courtesy of the Town Council who, incidentally, owned the Electric Light Works in Westgate Road.(now the site of Sommerville Close).
The rink was destroyed by fire in July 1925 but the Faversham team continued for another five years.
Great Britain won the 1930 international tournament held at Montreux, gaining the coveted “Cup of Nations”. The whole team came from Faversham, then pre-eminent in the sport. In the final, playing against a team consisting of the best players in the rest of Europe, Great Britain / Faversham won 5-1. During the tournament the team scored 33 goals and conceded only 4. They were treated like heroes when they arrived back in Faversham. Greeting them at the station was a huge crowd led by the Club chairman, Bob Mills, a local outfitter. In procession through flag-bedecked streets they went to the Guildhall, where they were welcomed home by the Mayor, Cllr. J H Johnson. Celebrations continued at a reception at the Railway Hotel.
Full details of the success and the history of roller skating in Faversham can be found
in “The Skate Boys, 1910 – 1933” by the late Fred Poynter (About Faversham no.61,
published by the Faversham Society.
Seen here are two of the hockey sticks used by the team in the tournament, signed by each member; examples of the boots and skates they used; the pennant they won; the elaborate “Cup of Nations”; and a photograph of the team taken at the reception.