Adkins (c1831-1908) was the architect of many of Faversham’s finest Victorian buildings, including Davington School and 16-17 Court Street, built as offices for Shepherd Neame. Adkins lived and worked at Newton Lodge, 7 Newton Road, which he built in 1868. He supervised the Old Grammar School's 1887 restoration and designed 13 Market Place (NatWest Bank). Adkins, though of Kentish stock, grew up in France, where his father built boats for the Seine. He was married, in 1860, in a church he helped to design, the parish church of Belmont, Durham.
A founder of the Faversham Institute, a centre for education and entertainment from 1862 to 1979, on whose site now stands John Anderson Court. Elected Faversham’s first county councillor when county councils were created in 1889. Anderson was a partner in Hilton, Anderson & Co, owner of Faversham Cement Works, and was Mayor of Faversham in 1866, 1876 and 1882. He made gifts to Faversham Parish Church and in 1902, in thanks for “fifty years of happy married life”, gave £2,000 for augmentation of the benefice. His portrait is in the Guildhall.
The murder, in 1551 by his wife, of Thomas Arden, the 1548 Mayor of Faversham, inspired the first English domestic drama, Arden of Faversham. Arden, who lived in the former Faversham Abbey’s guest house (Arden’s House, Abbey Street), was killed in his parlour by Alice Arden, and her lover, Thomas Mosby, steward to her stepfather, Sir Edward North, aided by two hired thugs, Black Will and George Loosebag (the play’s Shakebag). For this, Alice was burnt to death at Canterbury and Mosby was hanged in London. Black Will was burnt. Loosebag fled justice.
The events, reported in Holinshed’s Chronicles, are immortalised in the 1592 play, attributed by some scholars to Shakespeare, who had visited Faversham as an actor and who used Holinshed as a source for his English history dramas.
Arden editions include those of 1873 and 1973. Arden was made into ballet by Sadler’s Wells in 1799 and the story became an opera in Alexander Goehr’s Arden muß sterben (Arden Must Die), commissioned by the Hamburg State Opera (1967). A 2004 New York Metropolitan Playhouse production played Arden for laughs.
Details: Arden of Faversham (play study, Anita Holt, Faversham Society Faversham Papers); Thomas Arden in Faversham (Patricia Hyde, Faversham Society); The Tragedy of Master Arden of Faversham (play text edited by Martin Wine, The Revels Plays, Methuen, 1973).
Theodore Upton Barber, a photographer in business from c1914 to c1954 at 84-85 Preston Street, Faversham, recorded an era of much change. A Saturday sight used to be just-married couples in their finery arriving by car at “Tub” Barber’s toys and giftware shop to have wedding photographs taken in his studio at the back. The ancient timber-framed shop was among buildings lost in the early 1960s to make way for a Fine Fare supermarket (now Superdrug) and two lock-up shops. The Faversham Society has a collection of T. U. Barber negatives.
Mayor of Faversham in 1785, 1794 and 1804. In 1830, he left funds to aid needy housekeepers, a gift now administered by Faversham Municipal Charities. Beckett was a grocer at 1 Court Street and owned land extending to Partridge Lane. He sold a piece in the lane to Dr John Simmonds, who in 1789 built on it, for the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, a chapel that later became the town’s first Congregational Church. Subsequently the Congregational Hall, it is now used by the Shepherd Neame brewery. A portrait of Beckett is in the Guildhall.