infobox UK place
country = England
population = 12,000
Tonbridge and Malling
region= South East England
Snodland is a small town in the county of
Kent, England, located on the River Medwaybetween Rochester and Maidstone. It has a population of about 12,000 people.
Snodland is on the
A228 roadthat connects the Medway Townswith Tonbridge. The M20 motorwayjunction 4 is 2 miles south of the village allowing good access to London and the Channel Ports. The Snodland by-pass takes heavy commercial traffic away from the village centre. The Medway Valley Linebetween Stroodand Maidstonepasses through Snodland. There is a station; for London passengers change at Strood or Maidstone Barracks/ Maidstone East.
The first Roman advance in the conquest of Britain may have crossed the River Medway near Snodland, but there are other contenders. The supposed crossing place is marked by a memorial on the other side of the river from Snodland, near Burham. Near this spot, a ferry later carried pilgrims bound for
Canterburyalong the Pilgrims' Way.
By the Domesday survey, Snodland and adjoining Halling were owned by the Bishop of Rochester. Bishop
Gundulph, at the end of the 11th Century, built a palace at Halling that was used by his successors until the 1500s.
Snodland shows much evidence of industrialisation, particularly chalk extraction. There are long terraces of 19th and 20th century houses.
Lime working had been carried out at Snodland for centuries, but expanded dramatically in the 19th Century, as building boomed. The firm of Poynder and Medlicott began quarrying on the Snodland-Halling border in the early 1800s and the company was taken over by William Lee in 1846. Others followed and the last one was built in 1923 by W L H Roberts at Holborough. Lime for building the Waterloo and new London bridges came from the area.
The paper-making industry came to Snodland about 1740, when the May family built a mill; the Hook family took over in 1854. New manufacturing techniques and the coming of the railway in the 1850s improved paper production from five to 70 tons a week. Snodland's population doubled between 1840 and 1857. After the Medway Valley railway was opened on
June 18 1856, the village trebled in size between 1861 and 1881.
Snodland is now under a 10-year development plan by [http://www.tmbc.gov.uk Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council] to redevelop and expand the Holborough part of Snodland. Berkeley Homes are building about 1,000 'New England style' homes on the [http://www.holborough.co.uk Holborough] Quarry development.
One of Snodland's residents was
Thomas Fletcher Waghorn(1800-50), a postal pioneer who shortened the overland route between England and India from three months to between 35 and 45 days.
The white reggae star
Judge Dread(real name Alex Hughes, 1945-98) lived in Snodland. Eleven of Hughes's songs were banned by the BBC, starting with "Big Six" in 1972. Hughes had worked as a club bouncer in Brixton, a wrestler (called the Masked Executioner), a bodyguard for Prince Busterand a DJ before his career in "rude reggae".
He died from a heart attack on
March 13, 1998, shortly after finishing a set at the Penny Theatre, Canterbury, Kent. A road in Snodland is now named after him. Several Judge Dreadsongs refer to Snodland or mention Snodland in the lyrics. "Belle of Snodland Town" and "Last Tango in Snodland" are two examples.
The poet and playwright
Samuel Beckettreferred to the town in his short play 'Play':
"Before I could do anything he disappeared. That meant she had won. That slut! I couldn't credit it. I lay stricken for weeks. Then I drove over to her place. It was all bolted and barred. All grey with frozen dew. On the way back by Ash and Snodland"
It is believed that Beckett found Snodland while examining a local map of the area whilst staying in Kent.
A village sacrificed to industry, by Stephen Rayner, Memories page, "Medway News", August, 2003. Reproduced with permission.
* [http://www.snodlandcouncil.co.uk/ Snodland Town Council]
* [http://www.snodlandhistory.org.uk/ Snodland history]
* [http://www.snodland.com/ Local Information for Snodland]
* [http://www.snodlandscouts.org.uk/ 1st Snodland Scout Group]
* [http://www.town-talk.net/ Town Talk] Magazine published by Snodland Chamber of Commerce
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