Following some requests by our out-of-area landlords, I am blogging a series of articles containing information about the different areas in the Medway region of Kent. Here, we take a look at Gillingham.

Gillingham is located in Medway. The surrounding areas are Chatham, Rochester and many small villages. Gillingham is made up of many settlements including Hempstead, Wigmore, Brompton, Parkwood, Rainham and Twydall. Gillingham became an urban district in under the local government act in 1894 and In 1928 Rainham was added to the Gillingham Borough. The name Gillingham is recorded already in the Domesday book of 1086. It is said to have been named after a warlord, Gyllingas—from the old English gyllan, meaning "to shout". He was a notable man in Kent history as he led his warriors into battle screaming and shouting. At the time of the Norman Conquest, Gillingham was a small hamlet. It was given to his half-brother, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, who rebuilt the parish church at Gillingham and constructed an Archbishop's Palace on land bordered by Grange Road, the ruins of which could still be seen in the last century. Gillingham itself, at the time, was a small hamlet, built around the parish church and surrounded by large farm-holdings, of which St. Mark's Parish formed part, being part of Britain Farm. William Adams mentioned Gillingham in his writings, saying: "... two English miles from Rochester and one mile from Chatham, where the King's ships do lie". Adams was baptised at Gillingham Parish Church on 24 September 1564.

War with France began again in 1778, and once more it was necessary to strengthen the defenses. Fort Amherst was the first to be improved; it was followed by work beginning in 1800 to add others at Fort Pitt, Chatham, plus Fort Delce and Fort Clarence (both in Rochester); later in the 19th century others were added, including one at Fort Darland in Gillingham. Within all these buildings a barracks was built to house the soldiers. All this work, and the expansion of the dockyard, meant that more homes were needed for the workers. The position of the Lines meant that this building could only happen beyond, and so New Brompton came into being. The population rose to 9,000 people by 1851 and in 2011 was estimated to have a population of 104,157 people.

Gillingham train station offers many southeastern services including a direct high speed link to St Pancras with a time of 41 minutes and services to all major London stations in under 60 minutes including London Victoria. Gillingham also offers a service to Ebbsfleet international taking 19 minutes that boasts a direct rail link to Paris and Calais.

Gillingham offers an Arriva bus service that will take you around the Medway Towns. It also benefits from a Kings Ferry service that runs through the towns dropping off in 15 London destinations every morning and evening making it a highly desirable place for London commuters.

Leisure Activities 

There are many country parks in Gillingham such as Riverside and The Strand with attractions such as swimming, golf, tennis and FootGolf, to playgrounds, inflatables and the famous miniature railway
Gillingham offers many different restaurants from all over the world ranging from Indian, Chinese, Turkish and good old English Pub Grub. The Barn in Rainham is a leading place to dine famous for its Michelin star food in the rustic setting mixed with west end glamour dining.
As one of Medway's popular shopping centres, with around 200 shops, Gillingham has an excellent choice of brand names to choose from, including New Look, Boots, WH Smith, Somerfield, Aldi, Bon Marché, Wilkinson and Iceland. More specialist shops can also be found in the pedestrianised high street. Shoppers can also enjoy traditional street markets that operate in the town centre every Saturday and Monday, offering a wide range of quality goods. Parking will never be a problem as the town centre holds 570 car parking spaces.

Victory Pier is a brand new development located on the waterside. The development is generating many homes and jobs in the Medway towns. The first phases are sold out and the next phase is in the process of being built due to be completed in spring/summer 2016. With the direct London links close by they are a commuters dream.

Education prospect in Gillingham could not be better with three university campuses including Canterbury Christ Church, The University of Greenwhich and University of Kent. The University of Kent has been shortlisted for University of the year 2015 and the University for Outstanding Support to students. Mid Kent College has its very own newly 86 million pound campus built in 2009 offering a wide range of courses to develop skills and qualifications to either venture into the working world or progress at university.
Gillingham FC known then as New Brompton FC, were formed at the Napier Arms pub in May 1893 but last season (2012-13) saw the celebrations of the name change to Gillingham FC 100 years ago. The capacity of the stadium at Priestfields is 11,582. The club is currently in league one and had the Biggest Southern League win: 12-1 v Gloucester City (Nov 1946).

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