Returning to and turning right into the High Street, on the left is Kings Parade. Built as a market building later housing Ashford Urban District Council offices; from 1894 to 1959 it housed Ashford’s fire brigade. Until the acquisition of a motor tractor in 1917 the horses that pulled the fire engine were stabled behind the Saracen’s Head.
Further on, to the right, is the oak-beamed George Hotel. Ashford’s oldest public house, it began as a coachmen’s staging post and was first referenced in a will of 1533 as a bequest from John Burwashe to his wife Idev. If you look to the building skyline to your left, you will notice that many buildings are emblazoned with their opening date. How many can you spot?
Just past the George is the town bandstand which features motifs of Ashford’s heritage across its design. See if you can find emblems of markets, the River Stour, St Mary’s Church, the railway and oast houses, which were used for drying hops for beer, pepper the Kent landscape and underpinned the local economy throughout the 19th Century.
The offices of local newspaper, the Kentish Express were located at what is now the entrance to Park Mall. The Kentish Express was founded in 1855 as the Ashford and Alfred Times, a reference to Alfred Town the original name given by the South Eastern Railway Company to the workers village built opposite its locomotive works and now known as Newtown.
Read more about some of the buildings in Upper High Street:
- 57 – 59 High Street
- 61 – 61A High Street †
- 63 High Street
- 65 High Street
- 67 – 71 High Street
- 75 High Street
- 83A High Street †
- 89 – 91 High Street †
- 68 HighStreet – The George Hotel
- 88 High Street
- 96 – 104 High Street
† Comprises only an extract of the list entry for the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990