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Commemorative statue showing Aylesham's history of mining
|Aylesham shown within Kent|
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Aylesham // is a village and civil parish in the Dover district of Kent, England. The village is located around 6.5 miles (10.5 km) southeast of the cathedral city of Canterbury, and around 8.5 miles (13.7 km) northwest of the town and port of Dover. According to the 2001 Census, the parish had a population including Drellingore and Snowdown of 3,884, increasing to 3,999 at the 2011 Census.
The village was built in the 1920s to accommodate workers at nearby coal mines. The parish also includes the village of Snowdown. Both villages are served by railway stations – Aylesham railway station only 10 minutes from Canterbury in a northerly direction and 5 minutes to Snowdown railway station.
By British standards, Aylesham is a relatively new village. It established in 1926 to house miners working in the Kent coal mines. The heads of the first families to be housed there all worked at the nearby newly sunk Snowdown Colliery. It was planned to also accommodate future workers at two other proposed new pits at Adisham and Wingham, but neither colliery was ever built.
Although it is still a village, it was originally intended by its masterplanner, Sir Patrick Abercrombie, to grow to be a town with a population of up to 30,000, but only 1,000 houses had been built by the 1960s.
Miners from all parts of the UK (notably South Wales, Scotland and the Northeast) seeking better wages and safer conditions, travelled to the South East to work at Snowdown Colliery. Due to this the people of Aylesham have developed a unique accent and vocabulary, which was the subject of a 2016 article in the Transactions of the Yorkshire Dialect Society. Most residents use the short [a] in words such as bath, as is common in the northern half of the country, and a schwa in words such as strut, as in common in Wales. Some older residents also use glottal stops for the definite article, as in Yorkshire and Lancashire.
The miners brought with them the traditional Male Voice Choir, Brass band and Rugby pastimes; all of which are still in evidence today and each of these organisations keep the colliery name as their identity.
During the Second World War, the Aylesham coalminers formed a Home Guard contingent that took part in many rescue operations during the German bombings, especially in Canterbury and the surrounding areas. Old pillboxes can be found in the fields and woods around the village.
Several footballers were sponsored by the Latrobe Soccer Club of Brisbane, Australia, to migrate in the early 1960s. Both Henry Brown and Robert Yore came via this way. Brown played and coached at Latrobe, Polonia and Wynnum. Many of the 1960s emigrants settled in a suburb of Brisbane called Acacia Ridge. The resettled families often affectionately referred to this suburb as "Little Aylesham."
Aylesham has been identified by the Dover Local Plan as a location for expansion.
Aylesham Fire Station was founded in 1955, and still remains active, despite the closure of other fire stations within the Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
Kay Sutcliffe, the wife of a striking miner at Aylesham, wrote the poem Coal not Dole, which became popular with the Women Against Pit Closures groups across the country and was later made into a song by Norma Waterson.
Sport and leisure
The village is on the Miner's Way Trail. The 27-mile circular trail links up the coalfield parishes of East Kent, passing through or near the villages of Goodnestone, Wingham, Ash, Eastry, Betteshanger, Tilmanstone, Elvington, Snowdown and Nonington.
The village has a long sporting history, with rugby, football and bowls all playing prominent roles in community life. Snowdown Colliery Rugby Club (a name that dates back to when the local colliery was open) currently play in the London & SE Division - Shepherd Neame Kent 1 league.
In addition to the increasing sports activities with a newly opened sports centre in 2011, Aylesham Carnival Association promotes the village to surrounding areas in Kent and beyond.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Aylesham is twinned with:
- "Civil parish population 2015". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- "Aylesham". The Times Digital Archive. London. 15 Nov 1927. p. 21. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
- "Kent Mining Village That Begs To Be Bigger". The Times Digital Archive. London, England. 6 January 1964. p. 8. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
- Welcome to the north! New Dialect Formation in Kent's 'Sunshine Corner'. David Hornsby. Transactions of the Yorkshire Dialect Society 2016, pp.44-56.
- "Pillbox FW3/24 Aylsham". tracesofwar.com. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "Ward population 2015". Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- Insert booklet from CD Voice + Vision: songs of resistance, democracy + peace, page 4, Topic 75 records, 2014
- "The Miners Way Trail". The White Cliffs Countryside Partnership. Archived from the original on 7 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
- [permanent dead link]
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