About Aylesham

Aylesham /ˈlʃəm/ is a village and civil parish in the Dover district of Kent, England.

The village is located around 6.5 miles (10.5 km) southeast of the cathedral city of Canterbury, and around 8.5 miles (13.7 km) northwest of the town and port of Dover. According to the 2001 Census, the parish had a population of 3,884.

The village was built in the 1920s to accommodate workers at nearby coal mines. The parish also includes the village of Snowdown. Both villages are served by railway stations – Aylesham railway station only 10 minutes from Canterbury in a northerly direction and 5 minutes to Snowdown railway station.


History

By British standards, Aylesham is a relatively new village. It established in 1926 to house miners working in the Kent coal mines. The heads of the first families to be housed there all worked at the nearby newly sunk Snowdown Colliery. It was planned to also accommodate future workers at two other proposed new pits at Adisham and Wingham, but neither colliery was ever built.[1]

Although it is still a village, it was originally intended by its masterplanner, Sir Patrick Abercrombie, to grow to be a town with a population of up to 30,000, but only 1,000 houses had been built by the 1960s.[2]

Miners from all parts of the UK (notably South Wales, Scotland and the Northeast) seeking better wages and safer conditions, travelled to the South East to work at Snowdown Colliery.[2] Due to this the people of Aylesham have developed a unique accent and vocabulary. The miners brought with them the traditional Male Voice Choir, Brass band and Rugby pastimes; all of which are still in evidence today and each of these organisations keep the colliery name as their identity.

During the Second World War, the Aylesham coalminers formed a Home Guard contingent that took part in many rescue operations during the German bombings, especially in Canterbury and the surrounding areas. Old pillboxes can be found in the fields and woods around the village.[3]

Several footballers were sponsored by the Latrobe Soccer Club of Brisbane, Australia, to migrate in the early 1960s. Both Henry Brown and Robert Yore came via this way. Brown played and coached at Latrobe, Polonia and Wynnum. Many of the 1960s emigrants settled in a suburb of Brisbane called Acacia Ridge. The resettled families often affectionately referred to this suburb as "Little Aylesham."

Aylesham has been identified by the Dover Local Plan as a location for expansion.

Aylesham Fire Station was founded in 1955, and still remains active, despite the closure of other fire stations within the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

Aylesham continues to grow, and thrive, as both a community and an economically viable alternative to the larger, local settlements. This emphasis upon trade and business has seen Aylesham continue to grow into a moderate sized town and it continues to contribute significantly to the local economy.

Sport and leisure

The village is on the Miner's Way Trail. The 27-mile circular trail links up the coalfield parishes of East Kent, passing through or near the villages of Goodnestone, Wingham, Ash, Eastry, Betteshanger, Tilmanstone, Elvington, Snowdown and Nonington.[4]

In addition to the increasing sports activities with a newly opened sports centre in 2011, Aylesham Carnival Association[5] promotes the village to surrounding areas in Kent and beyond.