Chart Gunpowder Mills

Chart Close, Faversham, Kent ME13 7SE
4 Chart Close Faversham England ME13 7SE GB

Oldest of their kind in the world, Chart Gunpowder Mills laid foundations for Britain’s greatness. They made powder for Nelson at Trafalgar and Wellington at Waterloo. In peacetime their product blasted routes for the nation’s network of railways and canals.

Restored and managed by the Faversham Society.

Chart Mills formed part of the Home Works, the first of Faversham’s three gunpowder factories and one of the first in Britain. It was established probably circa 1560 but the Chart Mills were rebuilt when the Government took control some 200 years later.

Following the transfer of Faversham’s powder output to Ardeer in Ayrshire in 1934, the Mills fell intodisrepair and three of them were dismantled and only one was left standing. This was rescued from the jaws of the bulldozer, and then restored, by the Faversham Society. It opened it to the public in April 1969.

The restored mill, and the other three, were used to ‘incorporate’ the three ingredients, saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal, under the heavy pressure of pairs of 3-ton stone ‘edge-runners’. Once incorporated, the mixture was explosive, but several further processes were needed to make it fit for us..

Chart Mills had 2 waterwheels driving 4 mills, and one of the huge wheels and both the wheel-pits, as well as the bed-stones of the three other mills, can still be seen.

Inside the surviving mill is a working model of it, photographs and plans of the local factories, and – for family historians – a detailed database of everyone known to have worked in the industry between 1573 and 1934.

Easy walking distance from town centre and station.

Opening Times: Open 2-5pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, April-October.

Costs: Free Admission

Photo Credits: © Copyright Chart Gunpowder Mills.

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