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Plans to hold celebrations for Maidstone's historical figures, including William Shipley, will be held next year

He was the founder of the Royal Society of Arts and a man with a strong social conscience at a time when few knew what one was.

Now William Shipley, a Maidstone man who is buried in All Saints’ churchyard in Mill Street, may be remembered on the 300th anniversary of his birth next year by his home town.

The Maidstone Town Team has been handed the task of leading a project to celebrate the County Town’s history, centred on the landmark date, which will be held in 2015.

A meeting to discuss the possibility, organised by the Maidstone Cultural Group, was held at the town hall.

The grave of William Shipley in All Saints' churchyard in Maidstone
The grave of William Shipley in All Saints' churchyard in Maidstone

Ken Scott, chairman of the Maidstone Town Team events group, said: “It is something that the Town Team really ought to support because it is about trying to celebrate our history and trying to get the message out that this is the County Town of Kent which over the centuries has been involved in producing people of significance.”

William Shipley was an English drawing master from Maidstone, who founded the RSA in 1754. Other figures from history may also be included in the celebrations.

Names from history with links to Maidstone include Andrew Broughton, a Mayor of Maidstone, who as clerk to the High Court read out the death sentence on Charles I; and Benjamin Disraeli, an MP for the town who became Prime Minister in 1868, and and Captain Nolan, who was the cavalry man responsible for the Charge of the Light Brigade.

The Town Team, with Maidstone Cultural Group and borough councillor Clive English have been given six weeks to create a proposal for the project and then organisers will turn their attention to getting funding for the event.

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