Saturday, 19 August 2017

A trip to Faversham, Kent

Sue and I felt like a change of scene today, and after some thought we decided to take a trip to Faversham in Kent.

There have been people living in what is now called Faversham since before the Roman invasion, and it is one of those small, historic market towns that seem to pepper the English countryside. It lies close to the route of Roman Watling Street, and has had a market for the last 900 years.


In the late sixteenth century it became a major production centre for gunpowder, and when the move to other explosives was made towards the end of the nineteenth century, two new factories were built for the production of trinitrotoluene (TNT) and cordite. These production facilities closed in 1934 when the manufacture of explosives was moved to Ardeer in Ayrshire, which was much farther away from the threat of attack by a potential enemy.

The town is also famous for being the home of the Shepherd Neame Brewery (the oldest family-owned brewers in Great Britain), which was officially founded in 1698, although records show that brewing was taking place in the town as early as 1573. Brewing still takes place in Faversham, and visitors can book tours of the brewery and visit the onsite shop.


The reason for our visit was two-fold. Firstly to visit the market that is held every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday … and secondly, so that I could visit THE HOBBY SHOP. This is located in West Street, Faversham, and although it is quite small, it sells all sorts of model kits, model trains, diecast model cars etc. I bought a bag of assorted model trees that I hope will work with my Heroscape hexed terrain.

All-in-all it was a nice place to visit, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

14 comments:

  1. It's a well stocked shop for its size. I bought some trees and some card stock building models last time I was there. With that and the Rochester and Chatham dockyard shops I think we're quite lucky in this part of the world. A shame we lost the shop in Whitstable.

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    1. Nigel Drury,

      When I first moved to South East London there were model shops in Welling, Plumstead, Bexley village and Lewisham. They have all since shut, and until last Christmas the nearest model shops were in Rochester, Chatham, and Faversham (I don't count Hobbycraft or Games Workshop).

      A small model shop has now opened in Welling, and although the range of stuff they sell is limited, I can at least buy Humbrol paint, polystyrene glue, and Airfix kits there.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. A change is as good as a rest as they say but so is a good hobby shop.

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    Replies
    1. Ross Mac,

      It certainly was ... on both counts!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Bob,
    Good to hear you have found one of those gems- a nice town with a great little hobby shop...sadly I think the internet is the cause of closures of small hobby shops- or is it a new generation of non-model making youngsters who would rather play computer games ....or is it the shops themselves pricing themselves out of the market. The best we can do is support our local hobby shops- even if it means paying a little more at the cash register. Cheers. KEV.

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    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson,

      I suspect that you may well have identified some of the reasons why so many model shops have closed, with the addition of the increased cost of renting shop units and the constantly rising local business rates (taxes on business premises) in the UK.

      Personally, when it comes to models and modelling stuff, I prefer to buy from shops than online ... and don't mind paying slightly over the odds in order to do so.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob,
      Yes- certainly a bricks and mortar shops do have huge rents to pay...particularly if in a Maul or larger Complex. Our Local Hobby Shop - is expensive...e.g. an item which may be 7GBP is put on the shelves at $30AUS. I recently paid 26GBP for a small OO Railway Locomotive direct from the UK...that same model here commands a price of $135 at the Local Hobby Shop. I tend to buy, Paints, Raw materials - such as Styrene, Modelling Timbers etc from the Local Hobby Shop....sometimes, if the mark-up isn't too high I will prefer to buy an item Locally then and there. Nothing beats handling the item you intend to buy to check the quality and other features- something which the Internet Shops cannot offer. Cheers. KEV.

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    3. Kev Robertson,

      The model shop in Faversham has a small footprint, which must keep its costs to a minimum. There used to be a chain of model shops in the UK called Beatties ... and they had to close down due to rising costs, They were succeeded by Modelzone, who had shops in several shopping malls ... and they have also closed down.

      The only model shops that seem to survive are in small shop units in small towns or in semi-industrial units that are on the outskirts of towns.

      Your local model shop seems to operate with very high mark-ups. It says a lot about the situation that it is cheaper to buy a model in the UK and have it shipped to Australia than it is to buy it locally.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. Bob,
      Yes, I recall reading that 'Beaties' had something like 30 shops across the country during the 1970s...unbelievable that closures occurred. In my modelling of OO British Railways I am buying direct from the UK for the most part - yes postage is steep- though, the whole choice of British outline is still far more ecconomical than modelling HO Australian outline. Cheers. KEV.

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    5. Kev Robertson,

      Over the past few years quite a few well-known UK High Street retail chains have gone to the wall (Woolworths and British Home Stores to name but two) to be replaced by poundshops and what Sue and I term Euroshops. The latter are ones that seem to be in every town and city across Europe (e.g. H&M, Carphone Warehouse, Footlocker, Zara).

      It does not surprise me that modelling a railway using OO British railway models is easier than almost anything else you could have chosen. The fact that we have - or have had - such a variety of different manufacturers making stuff in that scale means that almost anything you want can be found somewhere in stock or second-hand. Trying to model Australian railways must be both time consuming and very, very expensive.

      Good luck with your project,

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Bob,

    I'm blessed and cursed that such shops are thinner on the ground in this country. Probably for the best in some ways.

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    1. Conrad Kinch,

      It is probably helping to keep your wallet from being emptied every time you go shopping. Mind you, I'm sure your children are going to do that for you for the foreseeable future!

      All the best,

      Bob

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