Borough of Gravesham
Gravesend Royal Terrace Pier and town skyline
Gravesend Royal Terrace Pier and town skyline
Gravesham located within Kent
Gravesham located within Kent
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
Non-metropolitan countyKent
Admin HQGravesend
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan District Council
 • BodyGravesham Borough Council
 • LeadershipMember of Parliament
 • MPAdam Holloway
 • Total38.23 sq mi (99.02 km2)
 • Rank198th (of 296)
 • Total106,970
 • Rank225th (of 296)
 • Density2,800/sq mi (1,100/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code29UG (ONS)
E07000109 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTQ647740

Gravesham (/ˈɡrvʃəm/ GRAYV-shəm) is a local government district with borough status in north-west Kent, England. The council is based in its largest town of Gravesend. The borough is indirectly named after Gravesend, using the form of the town's name as it appeared in the Domesday Book of 1086. The district also contains Northfleet and a number of villages and surrounding rural areas.

Parts of the borough lie within the Kent Downs, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The neighbouring districts are Dartford, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, and Medway, plus Thurrock on the opposite side of the River Thames.

Gravesham is twinned with Cambrai in Hauts-de-France, France and Neumünster in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The Gravesham parliamentary constituency covers the same area as the borough.


The first borough in the area of modern Gravesham was "Gravesend and Milton", an ancient borough which had been incorporated in 1568 by Elizabeth I.[2] The borough had been reformed in 1836 to become a municipal borough, at which point the name was changed to just "Gravesend".[3]

The modern district was created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the whole area of two former districts and parts of a third, which were all abolished at the same time:[4]

The new district was named Gravesham, using the form of Gravesend's name which had appeared in the Domesday Book.[5] The choice of name was not without criticism; Robert Heath Hiscock, chairman of the Gravesend Historical Society, in the foreword to his book, 'A History of Gravesend' (Phillimore, 1976) wrote:

"The name Gravesham appears only in the Domesday Book, 1086, and was probably the error of a Norman scribe. It was 'Gravesend' in the Domesday Monarchorum c.1100, and 'Gravesende' in the Textus Roffensis c. 1100. It is strange that this "clerical error" should now have been adopted as the name of the new Council".

The district was granted borough status from its creation, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor.[6]


Gravesham Borough Council
Gurdip Bungar,
since 16 May 2023
John Burden,
since 16 May 2019
Stuart Bobby
since 1 April 2020[7]
Seats39 councillors
Political groups
  Labour (22)
  Conservative (17)
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, DA12 1AU

Gravesham Borough Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by Kent County Council. The more rural parts of the borough are also covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[8]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since the 2023 election.[9]

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities before coming into its powers on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[10][11]

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–1976
Conservative 1976–1987
No overall control 1987–1993
Labour 1993–2007
Conservative 2007–2011
Labour 2011–2015
Conservative 2015–2018
No overall control 2018–2019
Labour 2019–2021
No overall control 2021–2023
Labour 2023–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Gravesham. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1996 have been:[12]

Councillor Party From To
Graham Green Labour 1993 1997
Rosemary Leadley[13] Labour 1997 9 Dec 2003
John Burden Labour 9 Dec 2003 15 May 2007
David Turner Conservative 15 May 2007 26 Jun 2007
Mike Snelling Conservative 26 Jun 2007 17 May 2011
John Burden Labour 17 May 2011 19 May 2015
John Cubitt[14] Conservative 19 May 2015 Mar 2017
David Turner[15] Conservative 18 Apr 2017 Aug 2018
Independent Aug 2018 5 May 2019
John Burden Labour 16 May 2019


See also: Gravesham Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2023, the council has comprised 39 councillors, representing 17 wards, with each ward electing one, two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[16]

The wards are:


The council is based at the Civic Centre on Windmill Street in Gravesend, which had been built in 1966 for the old Gravesend Borough Council.[17] The building was formally opened on 15 November 1968 by Katharine, Duchess of Kent.[18]

Housing and architecture

Housing varies from mid rise to low rise, particularly in the villages. The district has 12 buildings listed in the highest category of the national grading system, Grade I, three of which are private residences:

Cobham Hall, also in the highest architectural category,[19] is a stately home which was formerly the seat of the Earls of Darnley: since 1965 it has been a private girls' school. Cobham Park is Grade II*-listed which is listed separately in the gardens and parklands category of classification approved by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport;[20] and includes the remains of a Roman villa.[19][21]

The other Grade I-listed buildings in the borough comprise its ancient parish churches.

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, Gravesend

Gravesham is home to the largest Sikh Gurdwara in Europe, Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara.[22]


See also: List of civil parishes in Kent

The borough includes six civil parishes, covering the more rural eastern and southern parts. The more urban north-west of the borough, roughly corresponding to the combined area of the former borough of Gravesend and urban district of Northfleet, is an unparished area.[23][24] The parishes are:


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Gravesham Local Authority (E07000109)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ Hasted, Edward (1797). The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. Canterbury: W. Bristow. pp. 319–335. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  3. ^ Municipal Corporations Act. 1835. p. 460. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  4. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972",, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 27 September 2023
  5. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  6. ^ "District Councils and Boroughs". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 28 March 1974. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  7. ^ Delaney, Sean (8 January 2020). "New Gravesham chief executive Stuart Bobby pledges to make area somewhere everyone is as "proud to call home as I am"". Kent Online. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  8. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  9. ^ "Local Elections 2023: Results in Sussex, Kent and Essex". ITV News. 6 May 2023. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  11. ^ "England council elections". BBC News Online. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Council minutes". Gravesham Borough Council. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  13. ^ "By-election for Coldharbour Ward in Gravesend following resignation of Cllr Rosemary Leadley". Kent Online. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  14. ^ Acres, Tom (12 August 2017). "Former Gravesham council leader Cllr John Cubitt dies after illness battle". Kent Online. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  15. ^ McConnell, Ed (4 October 2018). "Gravesham council leader David Turner faces vote of no confidence". Kent Online. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  16. ^ "The Gravesham (Electoral Changes) Order 2022",, The National Archives, SI 2022/1176, retrieved 26 September 2023
  17. ^ "Gravesend Borough Council: Civic Centre". Kent Messenger. Maidstone. 19 August 1966. p. 3. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  18. ^ "Gravesend's Royal Day: Duchess opens Civic Centre". Kent Messenger. Maidstone. 22 November 1968. p. 5. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  19. ^ a b Historic England. "Cobham Hall (1000182)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  20. ^ "Gravesham Listed Building Guidance Notes". Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  21. ^ Historic England. "Romano-British villa and 19th century reservoir in Cobham Park (1012964)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  22. ^ "Kent County Council's cabinet members visit Europe's largest Sikh temple". 17 December 2011.
  23. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
  24. ^ "Parish Councils". Gravesham Borough Council. Retrieved 27 September 2023.

51°24′32″N 0°23′56″E / 51.409°N 0.399°E / 51.409; 0.399