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Kent Archaeological Review extract

Faversham Gunpowder Mills --
Appeal Making Good Progress.
by Arthur Percival -- Honorary Secretary.
(The Faversham Society.)

Within three months of being launched, the Faversham Society's appeal for the restoration of Chart Gunpowder Mills has reached 750. Contributions have ranged from a few shillings to a hundred guineas, and all have been most gratefully received. Particularly encouraging has been the response from people outside the town. Many of these we know -- and others we suspect -- are readers of Kent Archaeological Review, and there is no doubt in our minds that the success of this venture will owe much to the keen and active support it has received from the Kent Archaeological Research Groups' Council.

There is still a long way to go, of course. Allowing for 250 which has just been promised by the Kent County Council, we can expect a total of 1,500 from official sources. Add the 750 already raised, and we have 2,250. But we need another 1,500 to bring the fund up to the total required - 3,750. All sorts of plans are in hand to raise the rest of the money. Already as one small means of raising money we have published a history of The Faversham Gunpowder Industry and its Development (4 shillings and 6 pence post-free from Arden's House, Abbey Street, Faversham), and as another we have formed a ffellowship of ffeversham Gunpowder Makers, with membership (complete with pictorial indenture) at 1 shilling and 6 pence post-free. The latest issue of the Faversham Magazine, the Society's own 'glossy,' features some illustrated reminiscences of the local industry, as well as pictures and details by Brian Philp of the Faversham Roman villa excavated two years ago (3 shillings and 6 pence post-free).

Useful technical and historical information is being given by people outside Faversham who have read about the Mills or seen them on television. We are exchanging the fruits of experience with the DuPont Company's Hagley Foundation in Wilmington, Delaware, where the Eleutherian Mills (a little younger than Chart Mills) are being restored. We have been intrigued to find that the first gunpowder mills in North America, started in autumn 1675 near Milton, Mass., were run by a Kentish powder-maker, Walter Everenden, and we are trying to find out more about him.

All the time we are realising more and more what a vital part the early Faversham factories played in the nation's development -- and how important it is that the Chart Mills should be preserved in their typically beautiful setting. As with almost anything archaeological, there's a great deal of hard work, but also a great deal of fun. At the end of it all, Kent will have another fine showpiece from the past.

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