What fun we have had researching and meeting the subjects of our 60 plus articles to date. People often ask us if we are running out of things to write about, to which we reply resoundingly ‘No’. All four of us come to our monthly editorial meetings with long lists of possible subjects.
Among the highlights of our first year have been winning the 2017 Kent Creative Award for Publishing jointly with The Middle-sized Garden (written each week by Alexandra Campbell, a Faversham resident). We owe our website designer, Neil Brown of Beamtwenty3, a huge thank you. We have also been interviewed twice on Creek FM Faversham’s new community radio station.
For our First Birthday, Faversham Life has garnered, rather haphazardly, some examples of the riches of Faversham that we have unearthed in our first year.
Ben Saul, who is responsible for organising the weekly classical recitals in the Assembly Rooms and the jazz concerts on Sunday afternoons, is a leading light in Faversham’s cultural life. We said: ‘Apart from the prowess of the performers, the charm of the concerts is that they are free and there isn’t an advance programme.’ Ben feels strongly that the concerts should remain free: ‘There are people in this town who genuinely can’t pay anything and I don’t want to exclude them.’
We also met the sound-sculptor, Henry Dagg, creator of the Sharpsichord.
One of the many joys of Faversham is that it is possible to stride out from the centre of the town for a heavenly walk without jumping into a car. The Two Creeks Walk encompasses magical estuarine landscape, flocks of spring migratory birds, corridors of reed beds and far-reaching views out to sea in the distance and across to the mysterious Isle of Sheppey.
We encouraged Faversham residents to embrace Wild Swimming in the Swale. To our knowledge, most are still resisting its breathtaking thrill. But it’s not too late. Remember, the sea here in October is slightly warmer than in July.
Who would guess that seconds from the thrice-weekly market clustered around the Guildhall, behind a modest façade, is to be found Justin Croft, an internationally-renowned antiquarian bookdealer. He can be found exhibiting at all the major international book fairs in California, Boston, New York, London and Paris. He said: ‘There is a real curiosity about old books. They are increasingly regarded as a luxury artefact.’
Faversham’s importance as a destination for those looking for the antique, vintage and retro is growing. A stalwart of the business, Ann Squires, told us how the treasure trove which is her shop in Jacob Yard came into being: ‘Ann took £10 from the housekeeping money, and took herself off to the weekly auction in Teynham, where she bought a box of bric-a-brac – “a nice assortment of early bits of china”. The following Friday, she put the kitchen table upside down on top of her Renault 4 and set forth to Faversham market.’
A gem of a shop is Apotheca in West Street, which has expanded into the shop next door since we wrote last November: ‘On old chemist’s display shelves stand glass bottles of dried herbs, tinctures, ointments and powders. Bespoke treatments are made up. Preparation takes a while and patients like to watch.’
Surely a better yarn shop exists nowhere else in Kent than The Yarn Dispensary in the Market Place. At least two of us at Faversham Life feel the lure and comfort of new balls of wool as the nights draw in.
In an unusual fashion shoot at Standard Quay, Faversham Life demonstrated in Charity Shop Bonanza, the style and originality that can be garnered from Faversham’s charity shops and vintage market. We wrote: ‘The truly cool and stylish shirk high street banality and head to Faversham’s wealth of charity and vintage shops.’
Faversham’s rural history is nowhere more present than in its food and drink. We were delighted to find that the tradition of hop growing is finding a strengthening contemporary market.
We discovered talented artists, often inspired by the landscape in which Faversham lies.
These are just a few of the highlights of the past year. All our articles are still available to read if you go to our home page and click on People, Culture, Architecture, Shopping, Gardens and Food.
We were delighted to receive this message from a Faversham Life reader: ‘An antique dealer in one of Faversham Life’s profiles remarked: “Faversham people like nice, proper things.” This they certainly get in every piece. But as well as that they get a quirkiness of a very English kind, which is most beguiling. Faversham Life is an original and worthwhile idea, consistently well executed. For these reasons I have never missed a single issue, despite living nowhere near Faversham.’
Text: Amicia and Posy. Photos: Lisa