- Rainham, Kent
infobox UK place
region= South East England
population= 6394 [ [http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=3&b=280516&c=ME8+8AD&d=140&e=15&g=406563&i=1001x1003x1004&o=1&m=0&enc=1 National Statistics] Census 2001]
postcode_district = ME8
The town of Rainham is part of the Medway Towns conurbation, under the
unitary authorityof Medway, in South East England, and part of the ceremonial county of Kent. Historically, Rainham was a separate village until, in 1928, it was added to the Borough of Gillingham, which had itself been created in 1903. [ [http://www.medway.gov.uk/index/leisure/localhistory/timeline/17909.htm Medway Council - Local history: Medway in the 20th century 1901 - 2000 ] ] It became part of the Medway authority when Gillingham was incorporated with the other towns to form Medway Unitary Authorityin 1998.
Rainham is located on the
dip slopeof the North Downswhere it descends to the River Medway; its maximum height is about 125m above sea level. There are three roads crossing the town. The M2 motorwayruns along its southern edge, two miles (6km) from the town centre. The main road through the town, the A2, follows the ancient Watling Street, the Roman roadbetween Londonand Canterbury. The most northerly road runs close to the southern bank of the river. The Chatham Main Linehas a railway station here. London is approximately 39 miles (62.4km) to the west.
Park Wood estate, in the south of Rainham, was built mainly during the 1960s and 70s and at the time of its construction was the largest private housing estate in Europe Fact|date=January 2008. Building this estate required the destruction of one of the last large areas of relict woodland in North Kent. The area towards Gillingham is known as Rainham Mark, named after an old ecclesiastical boundary: and Macklands is an older part of the town to the north. The Macklands Arms public house was named after Macklands Manor House. The manor house was home to members of the Mackay family, who owned a printing company in
Chatham. Lower Rainham, once a separate village, is now also a part of the town.
Rainham was originally a linear settlement along the main road. The population in 1801 was 422. [ [http://www.rainham-history.co.uk/articles/berengrave_lane.htm How Was Berengrave Lane So Named ] ] ; two centuries later it is well over six thousand. Part of the reason for this huge growth can be attributed to the railway. When the railway came in 1858 it brought an almost immediate increase in the size of the village; when the
Chatham Main Linewas electrified in 1959, as with all the places served by it, town growth began again. One of the results was the building of Park Wood estate (see above).
Rainham today has a significant proportion of elderly residents, especially around the town centre where there are several retirement homes Fact|date=January 2008. The area is also popular with commuters to London and with young families due to the good reputation of local schools. Fact|date=January 2008.
Famous People From Rainham
Famous 'sons' of Rainham include TV chef Gary Rhodes, Duncan Faure (lead vocalist with 80s hitmakers Tight Fit), 'Pop Idol' finalist Rik Waller and singer-songwriter Rick Dougall (of 'Cabin Fever' fame). In fact, all four attended the same school (the Howard School for Boys). Influential indie rock band The Dentists also hail from Rainham.
The parish church is dedicated to St Margaret; the
Roman Catholicchurch to St Thomas of Canterbury.
Rainham has a small shopping area, including the "Rainham Shopping Centre" precinct, with a few major shops, including
TescoMetro, Iceland, Boots and Wilkinsons, as well as independent retailers including a large bookshop. There is a smaller shopping precinct in Parkwood. The town also has a library as well as several parks and a public swimming pool. This swimming pool is called Splashes and is near Cozenton Park and Rainham Mark Grammar School.
Rainham is also home to the first ever
oast housetheatre Fact|date=January 2008, where the "Rainham Theatrical Society" ("RaTS") puts on regular performances.
Rainham has three secondary schools:
The Howard School: a specialist Sports College
Rainham Mark Grammar School: selective school for which the Eleven plus examhas to be taken)
Rainham School for Girls: a Technology College
The Riverside Country Park, which fronts on to the river Medway at Rainham
Creek, includes the promontory of "Horrid Hill". Berengrave Local Nature Reserveis located on the Lower Rainham Road.
* [http://weather.hythefm.com/ Weather in Rainham]
* [http://www.oasthousetheatre.f9.co.uk/index.htm Rainham Theatrical Society]
* [http://www.rainhamgirls.medway.sch.uk Rainham School for Girls]
* [http://www.rainhammark.medway.sch.uk Rainham Mark Grammar School]
* [http://www.thehowardschool.co.uk/schcal.asp The Howard School]
* [http://www.friendsofberengrave.btik.com Berengrave Local Nature Reserve]
* [http://www.rainham-history.co.uk History of Rainham]
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