|OS grid reference:||TQ775675|
|Region:||South East England|
|Police force:||Kent Police|
|Post office and telephone|
|UK Parliament:||Gillingham (UK Parliament constituency)|
|European Parliament:||South East England|
Gillingham is a town in Kent in the United Kingdom, forming part of the Medway conurbation; it is a constituent of Medway unitary authority. The town includes the settlements of Brompton, Hempstead, Rainham, Rainham Mark, Twydall and Lidsing.
Gillingham means a homestead of Gylla's family, from Old English ham (village, homestead) and ingas (family, followers), and was first recorded in 10th century as Gyllingeham.
Each of the Medway Towns formerly had a different status: Strood was a rural district council; Rochester a city; while both Chatham and Gillingham were boroughs. When in 1974 the other three became one as Rochester-upon-Medway, Gillingham remained as a borough on its own. It was only when the conurbation was given unitary authority status that Gillingham lost its independence.
At the time of the Norman Conquest, Gillingham was a small hamlet; it was given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo of Bayeux. The land was mainly farmland, and Odo rebuilt the parish church of St Mark's and constructed an archbishop's palace here.
The Roman road now known as Watling Street passed through Gillingham; and until the opening of the Medway Towns bypass (the M2 motorway) in the mid-1960s the same route was followed by the traffic on the A2 to Dover. That road had been turnpiked in 1730, as part of the London–Canterbury coaching route.
In June 1996 the Medway Tunnel opened, linking Gillingham with the M2 and Strood.
The London, Chatham and Dover Railway opened its line between Chatham and Faversham on 25 January 1858; and a country station was opened here called New Brompton. This was to serve the dockyard labourers' homes that had sprung up during the Napoleonic Wars. A branch line led into the dockyard. The station later became Gillingham.
Train services became part of the suburban network when, in 1933, Gillingham became the terminus of the electrified system of the Southern Railway.
Brompton Barracks have long been the home of the Royal Engineers. Today the regiment also has a museum there.
Gillingham is twinned with two Japanese cities, Ito and Yokosuka, the latter being the burial place of Will Adams, Gillingham's most famous son.
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