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12 Market Place, Faversham, Kent ME13 7AE

Population Growth

The graph below traces changes in the population of the town of Faversham between 1530 and 1990.

Population Graph 1500-2000

The first census did not take place till 1801, so for figures before this date only unofficial estimates are available.The earliest ones (till and including 1680 and also 1772) are based on counts of the number of households. Used here are the multipliers which seem to be generally accepted (x 4 up to 1680s and x 4.8 for 1772) but it is possible that for the 16th century x 4 is too low a multiplier.

For 1576, for example, it yields a population of 1,520, but prima facie this seems on the low side, given that the town had been self-governing since 1252, has a large number of 13th-16th century timber-framed houses (some quite big and lavish) surviving in the town centre, and had a sophisticated local government system and was very prosperous in the late 16th century.

Other points which should be noted:

  • Between 1780 and 1850 the town's population increased steadily, reflecting perhaps the industrialisation of the two breweries, the onset of brickmaking and the expansion of the explosives industry.
  • Between 1850 and 1900 it increased even faster, reflecting in particular the growth of the brickfields, large-scale expansion of at least one of the breweries, and the arrival of the railway and the town's status as a junction and ‘shed'. The new high explosives factories probably also played a part, though they were some distance from the built-up area and may have drawn some of their labour-force from outside the town.
  • Between 1900 and 1930 (probably also 1940, but there was no Census then) the population declined, reflecting mainly the working-out of the brickfields and the closure of the high explosives factories. The population began to increase again after the end of World War II. New industries were attracted to replace the old, the railway was electrified and the M2 opened.

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