A view from the west-facing slope of the Hempstead Valley
Hempstead shown within Kent
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||ME7 3XX|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Gillingham and Rainham|
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Location and geography
Most of Hempstead is in a valley, with Hempstead Valley Drive running along the length of the bottom of it, with housing on both sides.
The settlement of Hempstead dates back to at least the mid-1600s. Within the records of the Hundred of Chatham & Gillingham, a hamlet then known as "Hemsted" denoted a few houses along today's still-extant Hempstead Road. The hamlet's original farmhouse still stands; lands owned by this farm bequeathed to regional administration have become today's "Hempstead Playing Fields". The Hempstead Field currently supports football; once it fielded a winning cricket team, since disbanded.
By the early 1980s, significant areas of legacy woodland and orchard ranging from Gillingham Link Road (A289) to the Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, across to Capstone Road and back to the border of Wigmore Business Park were developed by Wards Construction. More recent planning applications made to Medway Council for the development of areas west of Hempstead, around Capstone and towards Princes Park, have at present been staved off.
Hempstead has a church, a library, an Air Scout group, two doctors' surgeries and an infant and junior school. Good travel links by bus to Hemstead Valley Shopping Centre and Chatham and the surrounding areas. The village centre houses a pharmacy, estate agent and a Co-Op convenience store, as well as an Indian restaurant and a pub, The Flying Saucer. Recently, an allotment was created at the end of Hempstead Road. Elm Court garden and craft centre is nearby which is located within a small business estate.
All Saints Church was built in 1911 as a mission chapel and was a part of the Parish of Luton.
Hempstead School was founded in 1907 in the building that is now Hempstead Library. In the 1980s, the school split to form an Infant school and a Junior school. There are approximately 90 children in each year group (3 classes of thirty per year group). There are 3 years in the Infant school (Year R, Year 1 and Year 2) and four years in the Junior school (Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6). The schools occupy two sides of the same site, with playing fields in between. The school often competes in the 'Medway Mini Youth Games' in sports such as hockey, table tennis, cricket and athletics. They have recently provided the children with new amenities, such as a new climbing wall, a gazebo (officially opened by local comedian Joe Pasquale) and various other playground decorations and playthings.
Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre
|Owner||British Airways Pension Fund and British Steel Pension Fund|
|No. of stores and services||50+|
|Total retail floor area||330,000 sq ft (31,000 m2)|
The area is host to a large shopping complex called Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre. It was one of the first out-of-town shopping centres in Kent. The centre includes the county's largest branch of Sainsbury's (formerly a Savacentre) and Medway's largest Marks & Spencer. The centre also once housed the world's largest branch of NSS. This newsagents later became a 'Forbuoys' (now part of the RS McColl group).
Development of the centre commenced in 1974, creating 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) of retail space. In the early 1990s an extension was built which is now home to a 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) M&S.
The original Picnic Parlour at Hempstead Valley was the UK's first food court and the centre was modelled on successful complexes in North America. It was originally planned to be an open-air shopping centre but the concept was changed to a covered shopping complex. The centre opened on 17 October 1978.
Medway Council granted permission for a further extension in 2011. This extension will convert the empty units outside the main centre into a new food court with more outdoor seating, the old food court will then be converted into more retail units within the centre.
- "A History of Hempstead Valley". Hempstead Valley. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- "Victoria Dam and Hydro Electric project". www.rainham-history.co.uk. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hempstead, Medway.|