Facts about Dartford
Dartford is the principal town in the Borough of Dartford, Kent, England. It is located 18 miles south-east of Central London and is situated adjacent to the London Borough of Bexley to its west. To its north, across the Thames estuary, is Thurrock in Essex, which can be reached via the Dartford Crossing. The town centre lies in a valley through which the River Darent flows, and where the old road from London to Dover crossed.
In prehistoric times, the first people appeared in the Dartford area around 250,000 years ago: a tribe of prehistoric hunter-gatherers whose exemplar is called Swanscombe Man. Many other archaeological investigations have revealed a good picture of occupation of the district with important finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. When the Romans engineered the Dover to London road, it was necessary to cross the River Darent by ford, giving the settlement its name.
The earliest industries were those connected with agriculture, such as the brewing of traditional beers and ales. Lime-burning and chalk-mining also had their place. Fulling was another: the cleansing of wool needed a great deal of water, which the river could provide. This led to other water-based industries, using hydropower to operate machinery.