Queens Road

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Queens Road
Queens Road railway bridge soon after completion c1898.
Other Names
Former name(s)Queens Buildings

Meadow Road
Bedford Place
St Andrew's Terrace

St Andrew's Road

Bethune Way Castle Hill Passage Cornwallis Street Elford Street Elphinstone Road Harold Place Havelock Road Nelson Road Portland Place Robertson Street South Terrace St Helen's Road

Station Road
Places of WorshipSt Andrew's Church

Queens Road most likely originated as a muddy, often flooded dirt track running along the eastern margin of the Priory Meadow, any development being on the hill-slopes, where the ground was relatively stable. The meadow, together with the flood plain bordering the Priory Stream was marshy ground, with many difficulties reported when the 'Ashford railway arm' extension (opened c.1850) was constructed which required a large embankment to be built across the Priory Meadows; the scale of the embankment may be judged by the height of St Andrew's Bridge, effectively forming a dam across the Priory Valley and altering the appearance of the whole area more than anything else in recent history.

The 'St Andrew's Archway' circa 1895

During construction of some of the buildings, dinosaur bones have been found, together with pebbles from the beach in the bores for piling which reached a depth of in excess of 40 feet in places

Formation of Road[edit]

Queens Road first came into being when the council merged and renamed the roads called Queens Buildings, Meadow Road and Bedford Place, during 1876. Above Russell Street and Portland Place, the road was known as St Andrew's Terrace, and later as St Andrew's Road. The roads, including Spring Gardens were dedicated in 1849[1] The Bedford Public House stood on the corner of Portland Place and was at number 1 St Andrew's Road. Originally, the road did not extend very far up beyond this point, but following a gift of land from Sarah Waldegrave, it was possible to widen and extend the road leading to St Andrews Archway, the route prior to this being via Stonefield Road. In June 1882 the Prince and Princess of Wales dedicated (and renamed) St Andrew's Gardens (that had opened in 1864) as Alexandra Park and the road leading to it was renamed too, as Queens Road; the pub would then become No 37 with the numbering running up the east side of the road to the railway bridge and back down the western side.

Northerly extension of town[edit]

As a result of the opening of St Andrew's Gardens and development occurring further up the Priory Valley, the archway carrying the railway which had been constructed in 1846 over the road that provided access to these areas rapidly became a dangerous bottleneck. This was replaced by an iron girder bridge with fluted columns in November 1898, the demolition taking three days to complete. The bridge received a makeover on its centenary in 1998 and on the southern footpath there is a brick bearing the original 1898 date stamp.

In the block immediately below Waterworks Road, St Andrew's Church stood on the west side of Queens Road, just down from the Gas Showrooms. Both of these were demolished, the church going first to make way for a garage, then the Gas Showrooms to make way for a supermarket. Behind the Gas Showrooms were workshops and depots for Maidstone and District bus company; these are now the supermarket and car-park associated with the supermarket. There is now a supermarket garage on the site. A 'legacy' building still stands isolated, the sole survivor of the terrace above the Gas Showrooms as a chinese takeaway.

Construction of Queens Arcade 1956

Construction of Queens Parade[edit]

During the late 1950s, the wall between the Central Cricket Ground and Queens Road was demolished in favour of an avenue of shops extending round the corner into South Terrace (Queens Parade). A Coach Ticket Office and small car-park was placed in the area immediately adjacent to the Town Hall, with one of the turrets serving as a public convenience (later a bookmakers office). This avenue of shops was demolished during the 1980s, together with the Cricket Ground as part of the development of Priory Meadow (Shopping Centre).

The terrace of shops with the set-back first floors opposite Priory Meadow (Shopping Centre) are mostly original, although the large building and the adjacent property (nos 10 & 11) on the corner of Albert Road was lost when the road was widened in the early 1990s.


Features in this road[edit]

Map showing shops present around 1970
Name Street No From To
A. Rulf 71 1969 1969
Abbey National 37-38 1980 1990
Acres the Bakers Ltd 13 1970 1980
Albert Memorial 1864 1974
Arthur Silk 25 1960 1969
Beckett Coal Merchant 1880 1915
Bedford Arms 1865 1940
Bollom 18 1970 1990
Harry Boyd (1868-1954) 194 1905
Bradfords Steam Laundry 79 1969 1969
Brighter Homes 48 1969 1969
Bryant and Sons 43 1907 1969
Bryant and Sons 44 1907 1969
Bryant and Sons 45 1907 1969
Bryant and Sons 46 1907 1969
C. H. Darby 6
Caprice 64 1969 1969
Chapman & Co 89
Cheshires Wood Supplies 68-69 1969 1990
Cobley's 5 1969 1969
Court-Hughes 61 1969 1975
Courtlands 81 1969 1969
Currys 28-29 1950 1980
D & A Drugstores 9 1970 1980
D. & M. Knights 54 1969 1969
Dadswell Corn Merchant 70 1969 1969
Dewhurst 19 1970 1980
Direct Supply 83 1969 1969
Disc Jockey 2 1969 1980
Dunn & Co 24 1970 1985
E. H. Flay 50 1969 1969
Eastmans 47 1894 1969
F. C. Jones & Son 75 1969 1969
Fair Isle 59 1969 1969
Featherstonhaugh 78 1969 1983
Fludes Carpets 37-38
G. H. Jones & Sons 49 1969 1969
Gaiety Theatre 1882
Gambrill's Pram Shop 66-67 1969 1969
Gas Showrooms 70 1986
H. Hail 73-74 1969 1969
Halfords 42 1969 1969
Halfords 40-41 1970 1990
Hickman Bros 26 1900 1969
Hiltons Shoes 17 1970 1980
Howard Swain (Stationers) 156 1885
J. Watson 14 1969 1969
Janet Rye 55 1969 1969
John Collier Tailors 10 1970
King Bros. 2 1923 1956
Lapworth Bros. 94 1960 1970
Lapworth Bros. 133 1938 1970... further results