Kent'S Industrial Heritage by Preston James
Kent is thought of as the 'Garden of England' and has been described as a county of 'hops apples and cherries'. This may be true of a large part of the county particularly after the Weald lost its important broadcloth and iron industries but North Kent bordering the Thames and Medway became in the nineteenth century the most highly industrialised area of south-east England outside London. Kent strategically located on the approach to London had a long association with the armaments industries. It cast iron cannon from Tudor times to the early eighteenth century provided the navy with warships from private and royal dockyards and was an important manufacturer of gunpowder and explosives. It became a major supplier of paper to London stationers and a source of millions of bricks and millions of tons of lime cement stone and sand for nineteenth century developments in London and overseas. To fill a demand created by these industries for machinery an engineering sector developed which was at times at the cutting edge of technology. Barge building developed to exploit cheap water carriage of the county's products. Diversified farming provided the raw materials for a variety of agriculturally related activities including milling tanning malting and brewing. The book outlines the important place Kent industry held in the economy of southern England and illustrates what remains extant in what is now essentially a post-industrial era.