Rainham shown within Kent
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||ME7, ME8|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Gillingham and Rainham|
The town of Rainham is a part of the Medway Towns conurbation, under the unitary authority of Medway, in South East England, and part of the ceremonial county of Kent. Historically, Rainham was a separate village until, in 1928, it was added to the Municipal Borough of Gillingham, which had itself been created in 1903. It became part of the Medway authority when Gillingham was incorporated with the other towns to form Medway Unitary Authority in 1998.
Rainham is located on the dip slope of the North Downs where it descends to the River Medway; its maximum height is about 125m above sea level. There are three roads crossing the town. The M2 motorway runs along its southern edge, two miles (6 km) from the town centre. The main road through the town, the A2, follows the ancient Watling Street, the Roman road between London and Canterbury. The most northerly road runs close to the southern bank of the river. The Chatham Main Line has a railway station here. London is approximately 39 miles (62.4 km) to the west.
Parkwood estate, in the south of Rainham, was built mainly during the 1960s and 70s. Building this estate required the destruction of one of the last large areas of relict woodland in North Kent. The area towards Gillingham is known as Rainham Mark, named after an old ecclesiastical boundary: and Macklands is an older part of the town to the north. The Macklands Arms public house was named after Macklands Manor House. The manor house was home to members of the Mackay family, who owned a printing company in Chatham. Lower Rainham, once a separate village, is now also a part of the town.
Rainham was originally a linear settlement along the main road. The population in 1801 was 422; two centuries later it is well over six thousand. Part of the reason for this huge growth can be attributed to the railway. When the railway came in 1858 it brought an almost immediate increase in the size of the village; when the Chatham Main Line was electrified in 1959, as with all the places served by it, town growth began again. One of the results was the building of Park Wood estate (see above).
The parish church is dedicated to St Margaret; the Roman Catholic church to St Thomas of Canterbury.
Rainham has a small shopping area, including the Rainham Shopping Centre precinct, with a few major shops. These include a Tesco Metro, Iceland, Boots and Wilkinsons. There is now also a Costa Coffee store located just outside of the shopping centre, facing out on to the main A2 road. It replaced a furniture store that used to be there called Gerald Lukehurst. There is a record store called MagicDiscs as well as some other various charity shops including Demelza House. The precinct has two different Lloyds Pharmacy chemists, and there are various dining places including a cafe called Bunkers. Other stores include Blockbuster (Now Closed) and two Sense charity shops (A furniture store and a smaller store). Rainham shopping centre also has other essential places of interest, such as: Chip shops, cafes, restaurants and some pubs including Mackland Arms and the Angel on the side of Station Road. When the centre first opened, there was a major branch of Lavells Newsagents. This became a branch of Bart in the late 80s and it now currently trades as Iceland Frozen Foods. There is a smaller shopping precinct in Parkwood. There once used to be a bakery named 'Goldings Bakery' within the centre, but it has since recently closed down (Since early 2012).
Parkwood shopping centre has a few shops including The Co-operative Food, Martin's the Newsagent, a chip shop, a pharmacy, a veterinary and a wine store. The town also has a library as well as several parks and a public swimming pool. This swimming pool is called Splashes and is near Cozenton Park and Rainham Mark Grammar School.
Local newspapers for Rainham include the Medway Messenger, published by the KM Group. The area also has free newspapers in the Medway Extra (KM Group) and yourmedway (KOS Media).
In 2011 Medway News and Medway Standard, both published by Kent Regional News and Media had closed down
The local commercial radio station for Rainham is KMFM Medway, owned by the KM Group. Medway is also served by community radio station Radio Sunlight. The area can also receive the county wide stations BBC Radio Kent, Heart and Gold.
Rainham has three secondary schools:
- The Howard School: a selective and secondary school for boys
- Rainham Mark Grammar School: selective school for which the Eleven plus exam has to be taken, open to both boys and girls
- Rainham School for Girls: a comprehensive school for girls
For a full list of schools serving Rainham visit List of schools in Medway
- National Statistics Census 2001
- Medway Council – Local history: Medway in the 20th century 1901 – 2000
- How Was Berengrave Lane So Named
- Rainham Theatrical Society
- Berengrave Local Nature Reserve
- History of Rainham
- Building of Rainham Park (Parkwood) Estate 1960s