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Buildings' Finer Points

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Elizabethan style bracket Royal CinemaIt is sometimes forgotten that as well as serving practical purposes buildings are documents. They are reflections of social and economic history.

From older houses you can learn about the means and tastes of their owners. The way in which ancient churches have evolved ‘speaks’ to us about the development of building crafts and skills, not to mention the aspirations of our forebears. From the form that factories and offices take you can trace changes in industry and technology.

There's no 'dictionary' of the language of buildings, but happily you can pick it up as you go along.

Doorcase 24 Court Street c1810 The Faversham area boasts many fine 'Wealden hall houses' and you'll soon pick up that the recessed centre hall portion, originally open to the roof, was a reduced version of the Great Halls of stately mansions, Oxbridge colleges and the London Inns of Court. The owners ate their meals on a dais at one end, just as in their grander counterparts.

Here and there in the area you'll still see outbuildings or garages with distinctive arc-shaped corrugated iron roofs. Do a little research, and you'll find that these recall the local high explosives industry - they are process houses which were dismantled when the factories closed and found new uses elsewhere. Some were split in two, mounted on wagons, and towed to their new location by a steam traction engine.

Abbey Street Ornamental Bracket c1576The finer points are also informative. Here - a finely carved wooden bracket installed by a 16th-century merchant wealthy enough to be able to make his new home a 'character residence' just a bit different from its neighbours. There - a superb Georgian doorcase, which betokens the high degree of skill commanded by a local carpenter in the 18th century. Or simply a Victorian house whose owners patriotically named it after the Prince Consort, or the resort where they spent their honeymoon.

The Faversham area is richer than most in such telling features. We illustrate just a few of them on this page. Come to the area with your camera, and you won't be disappointed - you'll spot lots more worth photographing!

Photo Gallery

Enjoy our Buildings' Finer Points Photo Gallery.