Maidstone has played an important role in English history. The Battle of Maidstone took place during the English Civil War, in 1648, resulting in a victory for the Parliamentarians. Andrew Broughton, Mayor of Maidstone in 1649 (also Clerk to the High Court of Justice) was responsible for declaring the death sentence on Charles I. Today a plaque in the Town Centre memorialises Broughton as ‘Mayor and Regicide’.
Maidstone remains a historical and cultural centre, but is also filled with amenities and services right on your doorstep, and the colourful fishing boats on the River Medway are a sight to be seen. The surroundings and transport links are great and there are some lovely pubs and restaurants close by.
Notable former residents include the priest and anti-slavery campaigner Christopher Newman Hall and William Shipley, founder of the Royal Society of Arts.
Information about the local residents
In the 2011 Census, Maidstone’s population was 155,143, compared to 138,948 in 2001. In 2011, the population was 51% females and 49% males. The 40-44 and 45-49 age groups make up 15% of the total population. The proportion of males decreases to 41% at the age of 80-84.
The percentage of Maidstone students achieving 2 or more passes at A Level is higher than the percentage for the South East and England, demonstrating a generally upward trend in achievements. About a quarter of Maidstone residents have a degree level qualification (level 4) or above. This is a lower proportion than the South East and England. By contrast the number of Maidstone residents with GCSEs or A levels (total of levels 1, 2 and 3) as their highest qualification totals 44.4%.
The number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance has fallen, by 16.7%. Maidstone’s youth unemployment rate is 4.4%, lower than the national average of 5.8%.
Current levels of overall unemployment in Maidstone are 6.3%. However, unemployment still compares favourably to Kent (7.2%) and national levels (7.9%).
Average earnings of Maidstone residents are higher than Kent and similar to the South East. There is a disparity in earnings between those who work in Maidstone and who commute to London or elsewhere: at around £24,700, the median income of Maidstone workers is about £5,000 lower than the median income of Maidstone residents.
The town is served by 23 primary schools, some of which feed in from local infant schools. There are also many comprehensive schools that provide a very good quality of education, such as Valley Park, which is consistently in the top percent of the country for value-added teaching.
Maidstone, being the county town of Kent, benefits from numerous mixed and single-sex grammar schools. Invicta Grammar School is currently celebrating a 99% GCSE pass rate, whilst Maidstone Grammar School holds both a Language College award and a Healthy School award.
There are also two special schools serving the Maidstone area, as well as a regional University for the Creative Arts campus.
Maidstone is easily accessible by motorway, with the A20 running through town and the M20 to the north. The M2 is a short distance to the north, and the A21 also runs close to town. There are also three railway stations with links to London and the rest of Kent.
Maidstone buses run regularly from the town centre and serve neighbouring towns including Chatham, Faversham, Sittingbourne, Tonbridge, Royal Tunbridge Wells, and Tenterden. They also operate a limited service to Bluewater Shopping Centre.
Maidstone is one of the top five shopping centres in south-east England, with two large shopping centres, The Mall and Fremlin Walk, located at the heart of town, as well as a bustling high street and contemporary restaurants. It also has plenty of household names, such as Marks and Spencer, Next and Primark.
The riverside Lockmeadow Centre, which includes a multiplex cinema, restaurants and nightclubs as well as the town’s market, is another recent development.
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