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Bank Street

Bank Street was formed by the encroachment of properties in Middle Row (first mentioned in 1446) into the former broad marketplace. It is probably the most complete historical street in Maidstone and most of the buildings in it are listed for their architectural or historical interest.

Many medieval timber-framed structures, often re-fronted in the 18th or 19th centuries, can still be recognised by their overhanging upper floors, a feature known as jettying.

No.78 is a particularly important double jettied example with an elaborate early 17th century lower facade featuring Ionic and Corinthian colonettes, a fine carved bay window and vigorous pargetting (applied plaster decoration) featuring the Royal arms and the Prince of Wales feathers. This decorative treatment originally extended the full height of the building, but the upper floors were simplified to their present appearance in about 1820.

Remains of mural paintings found on other notable features in the street include the flamboyant Queen Anne style shop front at No.73, the gilt crossed guns at No.85 (a 19th century trade sign), the elaborate neo-Tudor building at No.89-90, built in medieval dress, and The Brenchley, built in 1927 by F.C. Palmer and Walter Holden, which is an excellent example of a Georgian bank, with a fine domed interior, and which occupies the site of the former headquarters of the Kentish banks.

Bank Street was the former location of a distinctive industry - gin distillation. George Bishop was permitted by Parliament to distil gin in the 18th century and, by 1809, the Bank Street distillery was the town's largest manufactory, producing 5,000 gallons a week by the time of Bishop's death in 1818.

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