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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Arthur Percival & Peter Kessler, 22 November 2009. Updated 1 January 2020

Swale Part 4: Churches of Faversham

St Saviour's Church, Faversham, Kent

St Saviour's Church is on the west corner of Whitstable Road and Cyprus Road. It was named after King Stephen's St Saviour's Abbey, which was founded in 1147 in Faversham. Also known as the 'tin church', it was build in 1885 or soon afterwards as a daughter to the parish church of St Mary of Charity, to serve the new parishioners in an expanding town. The corrugated iron sheets cover a softwood frame, making these 'flat pack' buildings very quick and cheap to erect.

St Saviour's Church, Faversham, Kent

The corrugated sheets used in these churches are thicker than those which were used in other buildings, giving this generation of tin churches a much longer life span - ideal for their main intended purpose of being shipped out to the colonies. This church is also a rare survivor of its kind in Britain, although many survive elsewhere in the former empire, especially in New Zealand. To ensure its preservation it has been listed, and some repairs were carried out in 1991.

Cyprus Road Gospel Hall, Faversham, Kent

Cyprus Road Gospel Hall is a bit of a minor surprise, as it sits on the western side of Cyprus Road very close to the rear of St Saviour (see above), and is entirely unseen from the main, Whitstable Road. The date of the hall's construction is unknown, but it may have been immediately pre-Second World War. More recently (2009) the roof supports had to be renewed. Gospel Halls tend to be Brethren places of worship, although this cannot be confirmed here.

Faversham Baptist Church, Faversham, Kent

Faversham Baptist Church is on the west side of St Mary's Road. Its congregation formed in 1868 and held its first meetings at the Gatefield Lane Chapel (below) just around the corner (the Faversham Club since about 1887). The foundation stone for the new chapel was laid on 31 July 1872, and it opened for worship in February 1873. No one seems to know who the architect was. The bricks were local stock, made by hand in immense quantities, mostly for London.

Faversham Congregational Church, Faversham, Kent

Faversham Congregational Church stood on the south-eastern corner of Newton Road and East Street. The Congregationalists moved here from the Partridge Lane Chapel in 1878. They merged with the Presbyterians in 1972 to become Faversham United Reformed Church, but declining numbers saw them merge with the Methodists at Preston Street. The building (shown here in 1965) was demolished in 1974 and replaced by a block of sheltered housing.

Gatefield Lane Chapel, Faversham, Kent

Gatefield Lane Chapel is on the northern side of the lane, off Preston Street. It was opened in 1833 by Calvinistic Baptists and then used by Wesleyan Methodists. Faversham Baptist Church was formed here in 1868 and moved to its own building in 1873. Then the chapel was taken by the Plymouth Brethren before being converted into the Faversham Club about 1887. The building may have been gutted by the architect, Adkins, although the facade may be original.

Three photos on this page by P L Kessler, and three by Arthur Percival.

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