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About Maidstone



Maidstone
 is the county town of KentEngland, 32 miles (51 km) south-east of London. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river was a source and route for much of the town's trade as the centre of the agricultural county of Kent, known as the Garden of England. There is evidence of a settlement in the area dating back to beyond the Stone Age.

The town is in the borough of Maidstone. In 2011, the town had a population of 113,137, about 73 per cent of the population of the borough.

Maidstone's economy has changed over the years from being involved in heavy industry, to more light industry and service industries.








A stone built house with red-tiled roof, overlooking a river. Behind a blue sky with white clouds.
River Medway, Maidstone



 

 

 

History




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Archbishops Palace


 
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Maidstone Museum


Neolithic finds have revealed the earliest occupation of the area, and the Romans have left their mark in the road through the town and evidence of villas. The Normans set up a shire moot, and religious organisations established an abbey at Boxley, hospitals and a college for priests. Today’s suburb of Penenden Heath was a place of execution in medieval times.

Maidstone's charter as a town was granted in 1549; although briefly revoked, a new charter in 1551 created the town as a borough. The charter was ratified in 1619 under James I, and the coat of arms was designed, bearing a golden lion and a representation of the river (in heraldic terms: "or, a fess wavy azure between three roundels gules, on a chief gules a leopard passant gardant or"). Recently to these arms were added the head of a white horse (representing Invicta, the motto of the county of Kent), a golden lion and aniguanodon. The iguanodon relates to the discovery in the 19th century of the fossilised remains of that dinosaur, now in the Natural History Museum in London.

During the English Civil War, the Battle of Maidstone took place in 1648, resulting in a victory for the ParliamentariansAndrew Broughton, who was Mayor of Maidstone in 1649 (and also Clerk to the High Court of Justice) was responsible for declaring the death sentence on Charles I, and today a plaque in Maidstone Town Centre memorialises Broughton as 'Mayor and Regicide'.

Maidstone has had the right to a town gaol since 1604; Maidstone Prison is north of the town centre and was completed in 1819. Army barracks have been in the town since 1797. The White Rabbit pub occupies the former Officers’ Mess of the old barracks, now a listed buildingInvicta Park Barracks is now home to the 36 Engineer Regiment, which includes two Gurkha field squadrons.

Paper mills, stone quarrying, brewing and the cloth industry have all flourished here. The paper maker James Whatman and his son invented wove paper (Whatman paper) at Turkey Mill from 1740, an important development in the history of printing.





 

Demography



In the 2001 UK census, Maidstone town wards had a population of 75,070, a density of 28 residents per hectare. The town had 31,142 households, of which 38% were married couples, 29% were individuals, 10% were cohabiting couples, and 9% were single-parent families. 14% of households had someone living alone ofpensionable age.[18]

The ethnicity was 96.6% white, 0.9% mixed race, 0.3% Chinese, 1.5% other Asian, 0.4% Black and 0.3% other. The place of birth was 94.1% United Kingdom (91.4% England), 0.6% Republic of Ireland, 0.6% Germany, 1.3% other European countries, 1.7% Asia, 0.9% Africa and 0.8% elsewhere.

Religion was 73.9% Christian, 0.8% Muslim, 0.7% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.14% Sikh and 0.11% Jewish. 15.8% had no religion, 0.6% had an alternative religion, and 7.7% did not state their religion.

 





Transport and communications



Roads

 

One of the first roads in Kent to be turnpiked was from Rochester to Maidstone, in 1728. The A20 runs through the town and the M20 motorway runs to the north. Opened in 1960 as the Maidstone Bypass A20(M), this was the first motorway south of London. Maidstone is a hub for major roads: the M20 motorway, the A229A249,A20 and A26. The M2 motorway is a short distance to the north and the A21 also runs close to the town. The historic centre of the town is largely pedestrianised or with restricted access for private vehicles, which are diverted around a one way system.




River

 

 

The River Medway was, until the coming of better roads and the railways, the principal means of transporting goods. Improvements had been made in about 1730 to the river so that barges of 40 tons could get upriver to East Farleigh,Yalding and Tonbridge. This meant that a good deal of trade, including corn, hops, fodder, fruit, stone and timber passed through the town, where there were several wharves.

The medieval stone bridge was replaced in 1879 to give better clearance: it was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. A second bridge, St Peter's Bridge, was built in 1977.

Today the river is of importance mainly to pleasure-boat owners and the considerable number of people living on houseboats. For many years there has been a river festival during the last weekend in July, and a millennium project inaugurated the Medway River Walk, the Medway Park and a new footbridge linking the former cattle market (now a multiplex cinema and nightclub) west of the river to the shopping area to the east.


 

 

Education


The town is served by 15 secondary schools, 23 primary schools, and two special schools. Non-selective secondary schools include Cornwallis AcademyMaplesden NoakesNew Line Learning AcademySt Augustine AcademySt. Simon Stock School and Valley Park School. Grammar schools serving the town include Invicta Grammar SchoolMaidstone Grammar SchoolMaidstone Grammar School for Girls and Oakwood Park Grammar School.

Alumni of the oldest school, Maidstone Grammar School (founded 1549), include James Burke, television presenter, andLord Beeching, of the British railway cuts of the 1960sWilliam Golding, author of Lord of the Flies was once a teacher at the school.

Oakwood Park to the west of the town is host to a regional campus of the University for the Creative Arts (formerly Kent Institute of Art & Design) at which Turner Prize nominated artist Tracey Emin, fashion designer Karen Millen and television personality and artist Tony Hart studied.

In the 2001 census, 15.7% of residents aged 16–74 had a higher education qualification or equivalent, below the national average of 19.9%. 27.5% had no academic qualifications, compared to the national figure of 28.9%.

 

 

 

Religion



In 2001, religions were 73.9% Christian, 0.8% Muslim, 0.7% Hindu, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.14% Sikh and 0.11% Jewish. 15.8% had no religion, 0.6% had an alternative religion, while 7.7% did not state their religion.

All Saints' Church in the town centre was the collegiate church of the College of All Saints built in 1395 next to the Archbishop's Palace. It is a landmark building and is one of the largest and widest Parish Churches in England. It contains a monument toSir Jacob Astley, the Royalist Civil War soldier and a memorial to Lawrence Washington, great-uncle of George Washington's great-great-grandfather, that includes the stars and stripes in the family coat of arms The college, the church, the palace and the palace's tithe barn are all Grade I listed buildings.

 

 

Museums




Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery

The Maidstone Museum & Art Gallery is located in the town centre, near to the Fremlin Walk shopping centre. Operated byMaidstone Borough Council, the museum is open seven days a week, with free admission. The museum and art gallery has a large collection of over 600,000 objects, including collections about ancient Egyptiansarchaeologycostume;ethnographybiologyfine and decorative artgeologyJapanese decorative arts and prints; and local history. It also hosts temporary exhibitions.

The core of the museum is located within the former Chillington Manor, an Elizabethan manor house completed in 1577. New wings were added to the building in the 19th century. A striking gold-coloured extension was added in 2012 which has extended the display space by 40% but the modern design has divided opinion.

 

 

Kent Life

Kent Life, formerly the Museum of Kent Life, is an open air rural life museum at Sandling, near Allington Locks, on the east bank of the River Medway. The museum includes a collection of historic buildings including a chapel, village hall and old houses. It also includes displays on agriculture, including a farm yard and farm animals.




 

 


Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum of Carriages

The Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum of Carriages is located in a Grade I Listed tithe barn near the Archbishop's Palace. The museum was established by Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake, a former mayor of Maidstone, who amassed a large collection ofhorse-drawn vehicles.





Martian crater

Following the NASA tradition of naming craters on Mars after small towns, the Maidstone crater was added to the list of Martian geographical features in 1976.

 

 

 



 Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maidstone


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