The Medway Valley: A Kent Landscape Transformed

Edited by: 
Andrew Hann
First Published: 
7 September, 2009

In 1750 the lower Medway Valley, the area between the towns of Maidstone and Rochester, was firmly part of Kent's 'Garden of England'. A century later, this tranquil, agrarian landscape had been transformed into a hive of industry and commerce, through the emergence of papermaking, cement manufacture, brickmaking, brewing, ship and barge building, seed crushing and engineering. The Lower Medway Valley became synonymous with the production of Portland cement, stock bricks and the steam engines of Aveling and Porter, yet, by the end of the Second World War, much of this industry was gone.

The Medway Valley: A Kent Landscape Transformed, the first Victoria County History publication in Kent for over 75 years, charts this cyclical story of landscape change. It explores how the quiet, rural landscape of a collection of eight riverside parishes around Rochester was dramatically transformed during industrialisation, before returning to its formal rural state.

This volume traces the impact of industrial development and decline on the valley and its people. It details changing patterns of work and society, the creation of new settlements and the pivotal role of the river in all aspects of village life reflecting two centuries of change and upheaval.