"Gillingam" Gillingham by smschley

Gillingham Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 19 photos

Don't pronounce it Gillingham

As the locals kept correcting me, the town is pronounced Jillingam not Gillingham. I would have asked “why??” but I was worried about being asked to explain a lot of the US pronunciation. Now Gillingham may not be on any tour guide, nor does it have much to draw much in the way of crowds, but that was precisely its attraction to us. It was a taste of what life is like for most English; no crowds, local activities and a relaxed community feel.

The start of Gillingham goes back to the time of the Norman Conquest, when it was a small hamlet. The land was mainly farmland, and was given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo of Bayeux.

War with France began again in 1778, and it became necessary to strengthen the defenses. Fort Amherst was improved followed by the creation of new defenses: Fort Pitt, Chatham, Fort Delce and Fort Clarence.

All this work, and the expansion of the dockyard, meant that more homes were needed for the workers so New Brompton came into being. The population rose to 9,000 people by 1851. Gillingham was still only a small village; eventually it, too, was swallowed up, and the name of the whole settlement changed to Gillingham.

As with most towns in the area, the closing of the Dockyard in 1984 brought huge unemployment which effects are still felt

  • Last visit to Gillingham: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated Jan 5, 2008
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