Dartford has a long history, being on the pilgrim’s road to Canterbury. Since Medieval times there has been a street market in the High Street - nowadays on Thursday and Saturday. There are two Grammar Schools – a Boys’ and a Girls', an impressive Carnegie Library and Museum (one of only three remaining in Kent), Henry VIIIth’s Manor House and more recently Bluewater Shopping Centre nearby (the largest in Europe) which together with Dartford Heath contribute to making Dartford an interesting and thriving town to live in and visit.
Compiled by Dartford U3A Local History Group
1974 DARTFORD COAT OF ARMS
SHIELD: The chevron represents the River Darent crossing, the discs the authorities amalgamated in 1974 and the local pharmaceutical industry. The mill rinds, jester's jead and sacks symbolise the milling, paper-making and cement trades respectively.
CREST: The galley stands for the shipping industry and the many people who have come to settle in the area, the lightning is the electricity generation and the oars are the constituent Boroughs and six Parishes.
SUPPORTERS: The lion symbolises the many connections with the Monarchy and the White Horse is the emblem of Kent. The staff and hammer represent respectively the Priory and the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. The crosses of St John stand for the Knights Hospitallers, the anvil for engineering and the sheaf for agricultural activities in the locality.
MOTTO: 'Floreat Dartford' - May Dartford Prosper
The Dartford warbler was first described by the Welsh naturalist Thomas Pennant from two specimens that were shot in April 1773 on heath land near Dartford.
This small long-tailed warbler is resident in the UK but has suffered in the past from severe winters. Its population decreased to a few pairs in the 1960s, since when it has gradually recovered, increasing in both numbers and range. It is still regarded as an Amber List species. It will perch on top of a gorse stem to sing, but is often seen as a small flying shape bobbing between bushes on lowland heathland with gorse and heather. Look for them at RSPB reserves at Arne, Dorset; Aylesbeare, Devon; and North Warren Suffolk. Also try Dunwich Heath, Suffolk, the Surrey and Dorset heathlands, and the New Forest. Alas, no longer seen in Dartford.