West Malling


West Malling

infobox UK place
country = England
latitude=51.29170
longitude=0.41521
official_name= West Malling
population =
shire_district= Tonbridge and Malling
shire_county= Kent
region= South East England
constituency_westminster= Tonbridge and Malling
post_town= WEST MALLING
postcode_district = ME
postcode_area= ME
dial_code= 01732
os_grid_reference= TQ685575

West Malling is an historic market town in Kent, England.

It contains many historic buildings, including:
* Prior house was once a leper colony. There is currently a group of Anglican Benedictine nuns living in community in West Malling. The abbey consists of some modern buildings as well as a number of very old buildings.
* Ford House in the high street is at least 600 years old
* St Leonard's Tower was built by Bishop Gundolf, who also built Rochester Cathedral and the Tower of London. The tower features on the RAF West Malling Station crest.
* Swan Bar, was a coaching inn in the 18th century.

History

County cricket

West Malling is reputed to be the site of the first recorded cricket match in Kent. The ground, off Norman Road, was once the home of inter-county cricket in Kent, and it is known that In 1705, "West of Kent" played Chatham at Malling.

The setting for the cricket match between All Muggleton and Dingley Dell in Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers was based on an amalgamation of the grounds at West Malling and Maidstone. There is a resemblance to West Malling in the original illustration of the match, a version of which featured on the back of the £10 banknote featuring Dickens, first circulated on 29 April 1992.

Magical Mystery Tour

In 1967, The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" was filmed around West Malling, including in the High Street and at the airfield. The Beatles were once owners of Duce's Manor, between the town and the airfield.

Transport and communications

West Malling is some 35 miles (56 km) from central London, next to the main road between London and the coastal ferry ports of Folkestone and Dover and with good communications links by road and rail the area has become a popular commuter location.

Air

In the 1930s, Maidstone Airport was established two miles from the town, at Kings Hill. During the Second World War, RAF fighters were based at the then-named RAF West Malling, and several US Navy squadrons were based there during the 1960s. After closure as an operational air station in 1967, several commercial air-based activities moved onto the site, and a number of populur airshows took place - the last being in 1987. By this time work had started to convert the area to non-flying use, developing into the new parish of Kings Hill.

Rail

West Malling station, situated on the outskirts of the town, provides a regular service, operated by Southeastern Trains up to Victoria, Cannon Street and London Bridge, and down to Maidstone and Ashford. Journeys into London take around one hour.

With the recent development of Kings Hill, the station was renamed "West Malling for Kings Hill", and in 2007, road access was provided from the West Malling bypass, taking commuter traffic away from the High Street.

Road

Originally established on the main road to London from the coast, West Malling is about a mile (1½ km) from Junction 4 of the M20, and from Junction 2 of the M26 which leads on to the M25, encircling London.

Kings Hill

This is a mixed residential housing estate and commercial development. The 2004 "Wealth of the Nation" report lists Kings Hill as having the highest average income and the highest proportion of households earning greater than £100,000 per annum in Great Britain.

Notable associations

*Chris Evans : Radio and TV Presenter once lived in West Malling
*Guy Gibson, V.C., leader of The Dambusters : was stationed at RAF West Malling in 1941

External links

* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/kent/in_pictures/panoramas/west_malling/index.shtml Panoramic views of West Malling (BBC)]
* [http://sca21.wikia.com/wiki/Malling_Action_Partnership Malling Action Partnership] , a community-based partnership leading to a community-developed vision for the future of West Malling as a market town.
* [http://www.casa.ucl.ac.uk/2003/wealthofthenation.pdf Wealth of the Nation]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/133178 Geograph photo of the Cricket Ground]
* [http://www.west-malling.co.uk West Malling Resource Centre] , a non-profitmaking local community site, includes personal memories from current and previous residents.


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