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Benjamin Adkins, architect of many of Faversham's finest Victorian buildings

Home / History / People / Benjamin Adkins, architect of many of Faversham's finest Victorian buildings
 

Benjamin Adkins at Newton Lodge 1873
Benjamin Adkins at Newton Lodge, Faversham, in 1873

Newton Lodge, Newton Road
Newton Lodge, Newton Road, where Benjamin Adkins lived

Shepherd Neame's Court Street entrance
The ornate entrance to Shepherd Neame's Adkins-designed offices

Benjamin Adkins (c1831-1908), the architect of many of Faversham’s finest Victorian buildings, spent most of his childhood in France, where his father designed and built boats for the Seine.

He returned to Britain after his father's death in 1845.

In 1851 the census return records him living at 3 Castle Place, Canterbury, and gives his occupation as carpenter.

Church

While training as an architect, he met his future bride, Sarah Rutherford, a farmer's daughter, and married her in 1860 at the parish church of Belmont, on the outskirts of the city of Durham, a church that he had helped to design.

Back in Kent he sought a suitable town in which to set up a practice. He settled in Faversham, where, in 1868, he designed a house for himself and his family, the handsome Newton Lodge, in Newton Road, now marked with a Faversham plaque.

Here he also worked, designing some of the finest Victorian buildings in the Faversham area.

Offices

Qualifying ARIBA in 1869, Adkins became Faversham's first architect.

Among his many buildings are Davington School, and the purpose-built offices of the Shepherd Neame brewery at 16-17 Court Street, complete with hop motif around the door. The portion at No 17 was built first, in 1869, following a decade of increased production by the brewery after the coming of the railway to Faversham in 1858 had allowed it to transport ales more easily to the London market.

He also designed the splendid 13 Market Place (now the NatWest Bank) with its heavily carved red brick ornamentation reflecting Flemish influence and being a fine example of local brickwork of the Victorian era.

Freemason

Adkins’s other work includes the 1889 Faversham Gospel Mission, in Tanners Street and an addition to nearby Graveney's village school.

A freemason in Faversham's Lodge of Harmony, Adkins oversaw, in 1887, the sensitive conversion, for masonic purposes, of the Old Grammar School, built three centuries earlier in 1587-88.

Towards the end of his life, he moved to Brighton, where he died in 1908.