Standard Quay, a Heritage Site

This note which was prepared by Richard Hugh Perks in 2011.

At that time he placed the Quay in the context of comparable facilities: Cinque Port quaysides (Faversham, Whitstable Harbour, Margate Harbour, Rye Harbour, etc.) as these all fell within the Nord Pas de Calais EU Maritime Heritage Area which ran from Hastings round the coast to Faversham; Arthur Percival had also suggested Nieuwpoort, and Hugh Perks then added Etaples.

Hugh Perks went on to say:
“Warehouses on the Standard Quay Frontage

The importance of the warehouses/storage buildings/workshops fronting Standard Quay in Faversham is their grouping. They are among some of the few surviving early 19th groups of similar buildings which have remained substantially unaltered in character and use. An example of such a group of buildings is the Hastings Net Shops, which were restored around ten years ago under a Heritage Economic Regeneration (HERS) scheme.

It has not been possible to date the Standard Quay buildings from documentary evidence. They are shown in their present configuration on the 1867 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey plan, but not on the c.1745 plan of Faversham known as Jacob’s Map, which depicts only one building on the quayside in this location in front of what is now known as Monks Granary. In medieval times the quay and site of the buildings formed part of Faversham Abbey, however, no quayside buildings are depicted on Elia Allen’s 16th C. plan of Abbey Farm.

It is likely that this group of buildings in their present form date from shortly after 1843 when the New Navigation was dug, forming a new channel to the east of the eastern end of Standard Quay. The Faversham Navigation Commission documents held at the Faversham Society show that under the Faversham Navigation Act of 1842 Notice to commence works was served on Lord Sondes, owner of Standard Quay, and on his tenants, Mark Redman’s barge yard and George Crocker’s sail loft. Part of the frontage was taken to accommodate the cutting of the New Navigation but plans do not show the extent of the width of quay taken. The Notice indicates that some buildings existed on the quayside frontage prior to 1842.

The New Navigation enabled substantially larger vessels to navigate up to and beyond Standard Quay. The quayside buildings would have been used primarily for the storage of bulk goods, but also as workshops for quayside activities, including shipbuilding and repairing. This use continued into the early 1980’s when commercial trade ceased to Standard Quay. The Inspector of Nuisances schedule of shipping for 1880-1882 lists vessels berthing at Standard Quay – brigs, schooners, ketches and one fully-rigged ship. Among them are several vessels from the Baltic delivering cereals and timber to Standard Quay – hence the naming of the group of quayside buildings as Baltic House.

The actual quayside buildings themselves are of timber framing and weatherboard cladding. The roofs, however, are not original and were rebuilt to a steeper pitch following incendiary bombing of the quay during the last war. A full survey of the timber framing has not yet been carried out, however there is evidence that some ships’ timbers were used in their construction. For example, a tying beam in one building is formed of the keel and deadwood of a fishing smack.

The quayside buildings form an important group of vernacular structures. Although listed, were these buildings to be altered to provide leisure and other facilities the now rare character of one of the few surviving such groups of industrial buildings would be lost.

Richard Hugh Perks, Local Maritime Historian and Author, and Building Conservation Surveyor, Visiting Professor in the architecture of medieval buildings, University of Trento. Currently course director, Building Surveying, Canterbury College.”


One response to “Standard Quay, a Heritage Site

  1. I agree that no more gentrification should be allowed on this site abbey street does not need any further congestion.

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