Saturday, 18 April 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Perry Street

Railway Line from London Bridge to Gravesend.
The line goes in a north easterly direction

Post to the west Springhead Road

All Saints Road
Elim Pentecostal Church. In the 1930s the building here was the Springfield Gospel Hall.

Burnaby Road
Recreation Ground. Rosherville Park

Bycliffes Terrace
Flint-built houses which appear to have once been called White Post Terrace and later Pelham Terrace
Football field. A field near here adjacent to Campbell Road was used in the late 19h by Gravesend Ormonde football club, made up of local watermen. It later amalgamated with the Gravesend town club to become Gravesend United

Campbell Road
1 Campbell Arms

Cecil Road
Cecil Road Primary School. When it was built in 1909 it was called Cecil Road Board School and took children from infants up to school leaving age. It was and then the most modern of the elementary schools in the town and had cost £12,000. It was opened by the mayor, Alderman H E Davis. Staff were transferred here from Kempthorne Street Higher Grade School which then closed

Coyer Road
Northfleet Technology College.  This is in a new school building built in 2010 on the site of the previous secondary school, Northfleet School for Boys; previously Colyer Road Secondary Modern School.   Northfleet School for girls opened on a neighbouring site in 1937 and moved to a different site in Hall Road in 1950.
Denehole in the school grounds discovered in 1948 when a tree which had grown out of it fell. It was sealed with a brick cap.

Coopers Road
15 The Globe Tavern. This closed in 1976 and was demolished for new housing now on site.  They sold Shrimp Brand beers from Russell’s Gravesend Brewery
20 The Rising Sun Pub. This opened in 1854 and closed in 2012
32 The Jolly Gardeners Pub.  Closed long ago. 

Dover Road
Rail bridge – this angled bridge crosses the North Kent Line but at one time also crossed the London Chatham and Dover Railway line into West Street.
North Kent Line. This section of the line and the bridge appear to date from the late 1840s, and the kink in the road as it crosses the railway may be of the same date. The final two houses on the terrace on the south side of the road appear to follow a slightly different alignment.
Thames Road crossing. The bridge over the North Kent Line continues westwards to cross Thames Way, built in the early 21st on the line of the defunct Gravesend West Line.
Gravesend West Line Branch line. This line built in the mid-1880s passed under the Dover Road slightly to the north west of the North Kent Line. It appears to have been on a higher level than the existing Thames Way (which is in a cutting) since it had been on embankment to cross the North Kent line, to the south east, and yet passed under the road.
Perry Street Sidings – these were on the west side of the West Street line. Thus they were on the down side and allowed for overnight stabling of locomotives.  This area later became a coal yard.

Dover Road East
Fiveash Works – this is an old Tramway Depot. The main part of this site fronts onto Fiveash Road. However the entrance to the works from Dover Road was the exit for trams coming from the tramsheds onto lines laid in the road.
Copperfield “Academy”. This appears to be a very recent new name for Dover Road Primary School.  Dover Road School was opened in 1911.
Bridge Inn. This listed pub up was built in 1906 and closed in 1995. It was later used as an old people’s home. In 2006 it was burnt down and replaced by a modern building.  In
Huntsman Tavern. This 19th pub closed in 1969 and was replaced by flats
54-56 Builders yard and office. In the 1930s and later this belonged to Sid Bridger.

Fiveash Road,
Site of a smock-mill built by John Fiveash in 1795, who at one time worked the mill on Windmill Hill.
Tramway Depot. The original London Transport Northfleet depot was here and later became a factory. It was originally a depot for Gravesend & Northfleet Tramways. The first horse tramway here was opened in 1883 between The Hill, Northfleet, and St. James Church, Gravesend, - later extended to Trinity church. A short experimental electric line - the first in the south of England - was opened between The Hill and Northfleet station in 1889, but this closed a year later. The system was eventually electrified in 1902 and extended to Swanscombe and with a loop via Dover Road and Pelham Road, and a branch up Windmill Street to The Old Prince of Orange. In 1923 six of the original open-top trams had closed tops by Beadle Bros. of Dartford in 1923, the first public service vehicles in the area to have protection from the weather on the top deck. The first closed-top buses were Leylands, which trams in February 1929. The depot closed in 1929, - the first system in the London area to be abandoned. It was owned by British Electric Traction who took over Maidstone and District buses. It was taken over by London Transport in 1933 and closed in 1936. Its original entrance was from Dover Road.  It is now Fiveash Works occupied by a steel fabrication factory.

Glebe Road
The lane between Pelham Road South, Old Road, and Victoria Road was originally glebe land belonging to the church
The Coach Works. Motor repair and construction works. The site is now housing.

Gouge Avenue
New housing at the end built on the site of a building contractor’s yard.

Havelock Road
Gravesend/Northfleet boundary a passage follows the boundary line

Kendal Gardens
Housing built in an area on the edge of the Gravesend/Northfleet boundary.  After the Second World War this area was a chalk pit containing tanks.  On the east side was a light railway dating from the late 19th and operated by Tolhurst who had a cement works on the riverside west of Pier Road.

Mariners Way
One of a number of streets in an area of housing built on land used as a chalk pit for the Red Lion Cement Works.

May Avenue
May Avenue Industrial Estate. The Avenue is made up of industrial units and yard up.  These include Redeemed Christian Church of God. Palace of his Glory and a Homeopathic Health Centre

Mayfield Road
Gravesend/Northfleet boundary. A passage follows the Gravesend/Northfleet boundary

Mill Road
Named for the mill which once stood here at the end of Rural Vale.  This was a 50 foot tall Brick-tower windmill, built in 1840 by Richard Young. It was taken over in 1858 by William Boorman, who was a corn merchant in Milton Road and thus was known as Boorman's mill. It closed in 1894 and was demolished in 1916.

Napier Road
The Gravesend/Northfleet boundary runs from a passage by the Rose Inn as far as this road and then runs along it.

Old Perry Street
26 Six Bells. The pub claims to have originally been a coaching inn dating to 1760. Six bells were recast and rehung in St.Botolph's church in 1758

Old Road West
Old Road is said to have been the main road handling coach traffic between London and Dover – hence part of it is called Dover Road. After 1801 this traffic took the new road through Gravesend. Houses along the road were built in the late 19th. 
189 Pelham Arms

Pelham Road
The name relates to the Darnley family and specifically Lady Darnley but the name only dates from the mid 19th. It was earlier known as Manor Lane, from Manor Farm which was on its south- east side. It was also called Style's Lane from the name of a farmer and, later, White Post Lane.
61 White Post. The White Post pub was partly demolished in 2008 and following a fire completely demolished in 2009.  The pub is said to have had the look of a house and had a croquet lawn at the side. It only became licensed in 1846 when it took on the license of the Black Horse. It was built in 1844 and had been extended on the side and at the rear. It ceased trading in 2002. There is a large walnut tree adjacent to the site and a flint wall along the northern boundary of the former car park
White Post area – the area around the now defunct pub is said to be the centre of the original village of Gravesend.  A 19th writer says that glebe land here was marked out with white posts –hence the pub name. Land here was also known as St (or Queen) Mary’s Green
Site of St Mary's Chapel.  The Domesday Book refers to a church which is thought to have stood on a site near the rear of where the White Post pub stood and its successors remained there until the 16th.  In 1510 it was rededicated to St. Mary after earlier destruction by fire but there were complaints about its distance from the town for infirm people and others and it ceased to be the parish church in 1544. The last burial in its graveyard was in 1598. William Crafter made a sketch in 1822, of the churchyard from his survey of the site and when there were still some stone foundations. Since then Gravestones have been found nearby. The site was sold for in 1844 and then the White Post and the cottages were built. 
St.Mary's Green in front of St. Mary's church. Sometimes called 'Queen Mary’s’ Green,

Perry Street
Perry Street. This was an old village the name of which is first recorded in 1281. Perry may refer to pears.
1 Rose Inn.
29 Crown.  Pub which dates from the 1830s
All Saints Church. The population of Northfleet grew rapidly in the 19th and All Saints was built in 1870 to meet demand. The parish was created from those of the existing churches of St.Botolph and St. Mark. It ids said that this was down to the work of Rev.Gilling, the vicar of Rosherville, and funding from John Edmeades, the Rosher family and the Brenchleys of Wombwell Hall. The architect was James Brooks and it was built by a local firm, Thomas Blake of Stone Street, Gravesend. It is in Kentish ragstone. It is now an Anglo Catholic Church.

Rosebery Court
This court of modern housing appears to be built on the site of the Co-op Dairy. In 1838 a hoard of 552 coins, mainly Saxon were found here. It was thought they dated from between 814 and 878 A.D. buried with them was a silver cross with its decoration unfinished.

Rosherville Way
An extension of Thames Way, from which it diverges at a roundabout north of the Dover Road. It follows the route of an industrial railway which linked to the West Street line at Perry Street sidings.  It then ran northwards to Red Lion Wharf – then operated by Tolhurst & Sons Red Lion Chalk and Whiting Co.  It passes under London Road through a tunnel in the chalk.  It is part of a network of roads in the area on old railway lines built in the late 20th, early 21st.

Vale Road
78-80 Pair of cottages built in the early 19th. They are weatherboarded a slate roof
157 Murrells. This is an L-plan building made up of a two-bay hall with a cross-wing. There is a smoke-blackened crown-post roof, with the rafters sitting on double wall plates dated at 1409. It is thought to date from the early 15th or late 14th.  It is called Murrells from the family who lived there in the 18th.
177 Earl Grey Pub. This flint faced pub dates from at least the 1750 and claims to have been a coaching inn.  It is a Shepherd Neame house which also claims to have a poltergeist.

Victoria Road
Perry Street Conservative Club.

All Saints, Perry Street. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site.
Earl Grey. Web site
Cecil Road School. Web site
Gravesham Council. Web site
Hiscock.  A history of Gravesend
LeGear. Deneholes in the Gravesend area.
Lost Pubs Project, web site
Medway. City Ark. Web site
Northfleet Technology College. Web site
Oxford Archaeology. Web site
Six Bells. Web site
Stoyel and Kidner. Cement Railways of Kent.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Northfleet Springhead Road

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The railway continues south eastwards

Post to the east Perry Street

Camden Close
Modern housing on site of a recreation ground, previously an isolation hospital.
Isolation Hospital. This is shown on maps from before the Great War and still appears in street directories in 1939 with an address in Springhead Road.  It appears to have been a smallpox hospital built by Northfleet Urban District Council along with other facilities.

Chalk Pits
Church Path Pit. This pit now contains railway infrastructure.
Blue Lake.  Owned by Bevan's this was Portland Pit Quarry and was became a lake in 1933 when quarrymen hit natural springs 14 feet below the water table –and the lake formed overnight. It was polluted in 1974 when crude oil was pumped in following a breakdown in the APCM works. It had been used for water supply to the factory and as an emergency  reservoir in a drought.   Many people have died here by drowning or suicide. It is now used for angling and controlled by the Thameside Works Angling and Preservation Society. It is a natural spring fed lake of about 36.5 acres and varies in depth from 4ft to 48ft. there is a big white cliff running down the length of the lake called Railway Bank and on the other side is Tree Bank.
Saxon cemetery

Dover Road
Also known as Old London Road this part of Old Road running from Northfleet to Chalk and bypassing Gravesend Town Centre.
10 Northfleet Tavern. This appears to have been closed by the beginning of the 20th
24 New Shipwright Arms. Closed
41 Brewery Tap. This is Northfleet and District Traders Association club who appear to have been there since at least the 1930s.
39 Northfleet Brewery. Building of 1889 built for Pope & Co. by Bywaters of London.   The brewery originated with Henry Clark, aged 25 from Royston, who brewed at 9 Dover Road and 3 London Road, 1869 – 1880 in partnership with a Dover Edgell, Clark was replaced in the partnership by William Sutthery Pope and in 1885 it became W.Pope and Co.  They moved to this new building in 1890 and remained there until 1895 when they became the Northfleet Breweries Co. Ltd.  After 1897 the brewer was Barkway & Hitchcock, Northfleet Breweries until 1902 when they were again renamed as the New Northfleet Breweries Co. selling beer branded as ‘The Last Drop’.  The Dartford Brewery Co. took them over at the start of the 20th and continued brewing here until 1921
Congregational Chapel. The church moved here in 1850 and the church built in 1856. It is now United Reform.
117 Dover Castle. Dates from the 1850s and now closed.
St Botolph's School. This began as a National School near the church in 1838. In 1977, a new St Botolph's school opened here in large grounds – which appear to partly be the area of an infilled pit worked by the Red Lion Chalk and Whiting Co.
Dykes Pit. This lay south of the road east of no.245

Gravesend West Line. This railway line was opened by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway in 1886 and closed in 1953 to passengers and later to freight in 1968. On this square, coming from Southfleet it had crossed Springhead Road and ran parallel to what is now Waterdales. Much of this appears to be an urban woodland footpath.
Church Path Pit Rail link. This pit lies north of the North Kent Line and south of Church Path to the north.  Tramways from riverside cement works, owned by Bevan’s,  had been laid in the pit in the late 19th but had gone out of use as the pit, and that to the south, were exhausted. A rail link to their riverside cement works was installed in 1969 by APCM. This was a loop which connected to the North Kent Line north west of Northfleet station. The line to the cement works then passed through two tunnels under Northfleet High Street. Another tunnel to the west gave road access. The track was lifted in connection with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL). In 2009 Lafarge, the then owner, wanted a new rail link and reinstatement work on some of the previous system was begun.  Later an arrangement was made to use some of this system for spoil from Crossrail works under Central London using the old cement works wharf.  Nearly three miles of new track was installed and, re-signalling was need on the North Kent Line. In Church Path Pit a single-track curved approach ran towards the Western Tunnel. At the portal a northward-facing siding was laid and double-tracks ran through the tunnel.
Church Path Pit. CTRL sidings. Berthing Sidings for CTRL rolling stock come from the spur from Ebbsfleet International.
North Kent Line connection with CTRL. A junction between the North Kent Line, and the cement works line, by then CTRL, was made in 2011.  There were signalling problems which needed to be resolved and meant a comprehensive re-design.

Shepherd Street
55-57 Prince Albert. This has now been converted to a children’s nursery.

Springhead Road
Was formerly called Leather Bottle Lane.
Barrack Field. Harp Field had been on the east side of Springhead Road in the area of York Road. It was acquired by the Government in 1806 although troops were camping here as early as 1763 and became known as Barrack Field.  Troops were quartered here during the Napoleonic wars.
St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary school. This lies behind no.101 and alongside the railway.
Brook Vale Farm. This stood at Snaggs Bottom up to the late 19th.  Fields were sold the Northfleet local authorities and used for civic amenities
Northfleet Urban Country Park. The site was once orchards  and part of Brook Vale farm. In the 1940's, the site became a chalk pit. From 1957 it was the Northfleet Urban District Council refuse tip from which landfill gases ere vented from 1992. In 1996 it was turned into urban country park containing lake, woodlands, meadows, wetlands and trim trail, play area and toilets/kiosk/seating area. It was landscaped with the cleaned topsoil, to raise the level of the land by up to four metres.
Northfleet Cemetery.  In 1891 Northfleet Local Board of Health decided to provide a municipal cemetery They 15 acres of Brookvale Farm from the owner Mr Sayer for £2,700. James Walford was appointed as architect and building work was carried out by W H Martin of Gravesend. the first burial was in 1893. the cemetery has since twice been extended
Church Field. At the rear of the houses on the west side of Springhead Road was Church Field occupied by a disused quarry and the Blue Lake.
Snaggs Bottom. This is the area of the low point  of Springhead Road
Old Rectory. This is On the west side of the road At Snaggs Bottom. It  is a timber-framed hall house of the late 15th or early 16th, known as the 'Old Rectory'. It was probably the residence of the steward of the Rectorial Tithes which belonged to the Priory of Rochester  It is now used as offices.
Pump house for the Blue Lake                           .
Drill Hall. This was built in 1939 and became the site of local anti aircraft activity. This later became Springhead Sports Centre.
Entry to footpath along the line of the London Chatham and Dover Railway Line
Denehole.  A shaft was found during housing development. all of the original chambers had collapsed . The shaft still had the miner's footholds used to descend and ascend the shaft when it was being worked. An examination showed it was mediaeval.
Trading Estate on the west side of the road

Thames Way
The road was given its current route in 2007 in connection with the works to set up the CTRL line and Ebbsfleet Station.
North Kent Police Station

Vale Road
Gravesend and District Theatre Guild. This was set up in 1948 as a central body for local amateur dramatic groups. The Guild opened the Guild Theatre at Vale Road in 1991.

Bygone Kent
Gravesend Historical Society Web site
Gravesend Historical Society. Journal
Gravesham Council. Web site

Gravesend and District Theatre Guild. Web site
Green. Pubs of the Gravesend Area
Hoskins. History of Gravesend

LeGear. Gravesend Deneholes
Kent Rail. Web site
Lost Pubs in Northfleet. Web site
Millward and Robinson. Lower Thameside
SABRE. Web site
Thameside Works Angling and Preservation Society. Web site

Monday, 13 April 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Northfleet Stonebridge

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The line runs south eastwards

Post to the west Swanscombe

Black Eagle Drive
The name of the road relates to a pub which once stood in Stonebridge Hill.
New housing on the site of the Paper Sacks factory.
Paper Sacks was set by Robinsons, a large Bristol based paper company.  They had becomeinvolved with a USs company making paper sacks for cement and took the idea to APCM.  They initially set up a works at Kenysham and then moved production in 1930 to Northfleet .There was a siding into the works from the main line railway and In 1948 a new factory was built here with a pre stressed concrete shell roof. In the 1970s following a merger with the Dickenson paper group they became the Dickenson Robinson Group, and in the 1980s were taken over by the Swedish Kornsas company. The factory closed in the early 2000s, the site bought be developers and housing built.

College Road
This was once called One Tree Lane
Huggens College. John Huggens was a corn factor and philanthropist who. Built this College for old and impecunious gentlefolk. He had a cement works at Sittingbourne, and was a hoy owner who has made a lot of money on grain shipments. He built the college, designed by W.Chadwick, in 1847. Residents had a weekly allowance of and a ton of coal each annum. It was demolished in 1968 and new bungalows and a new chapel built on part of the site, and the remainder sold to the Council, who used it to build Wallis Park.  The chaplain's house, which is all that survives of the original college, is said to have originally been a farmhouse
Football ground. This was south of the College on the west side – and appears to be still present, albeit possibly derelict.
Northfleet Lawn Tennis Club. On the east side post Second World War
The Ebbsfleet stream provides the western boundary to Northfleet.  Historically it was called The Fleet.  It was navigable by small craft in Roman times.
Northfleet villa. A substantial Roman villa complex was discovered in 1911 on the west bank of the Ebbsfleet. The earliest part was built in the early 2nd and later expanded with construction a two large aisled buildings, a bath house and a river-side wharf
Tide Mill. A 6th timber-built water tide mill discovered close to the Northfleet villa. The water ran from the pond through two square funnels, made of hollowed-out tree trunks, and drove two horizontal paddle wheels. Each wheel was connected by a shaft to a pair of millstones on the milling floor above.  Boats could ne load and unloaded from a jetty alongside the tailrace. The mill stood on its own in grassland dotted with trees.
Buildings. Eight Saxon sunken feature buildings were found in and around the Northfleet villa complex, and a further four nearby.
APCM sports ground. This took up much of the area now covered by Ebbsfleet Station. Some methane was burnt off here in the 1980s.
Northfleet Pleasure Park. This lay alongside the railway on the south side. It had a bandstand, a putting green, children’s swings, slides and roundabouts with the Ebbsfleet running along the perimeter and a footbridge leading to the APCM sports ground. It was opened in 1909 and in the early days children used to paddle and play in the Ebbsfleet, until the construction of the sewage works There was a brick park keeper's hut along with a drinking fountain. It closed in 1971 when the new railway sidings for Northfleet Cement Works were built on the site.

Ebbsfleet walk
Modern housing on what Station Street

Galley Hill Road
Dartford Strood road through Gravesend, built by KCC in 1926
Walls – changes in brick work showing place where an industrial railway from the S.E. main line to riverside wharf passed below, having circled the Paper Sacks Factory.

Grove Road
Runs parallel to and east of the Ebbsfleet Creek
Grove House.  Grove House is a 20th office block now occupied by a dentist. The house originally on the site overlooked the cement works and may have been built for Butchard Francis, owner of Tower Cement Works to the east. It was later the home of William Aspdin.  In the Second World War it was the headquarters of Northfleet Home Guard. It is said to have been standing, although derelict in 1965.
Territorial Army Hall. This was where commando raids were planned and led from during the Second World War. It was built as a drill hall in 1934 for the Kent Fortress Royal Engineer Territorial Unit, searchlight training. It was also used by the St.John’s Ambulance service. There was a foundation stone near main door. There was a 25 yard rifle range alongside. The site is now industrial units.
Tramway. This crossed the road north of the Drill Hall. It came from the Bevan Cement works to the east of the site and curved round northwards to riverside wharves
Blue Circle Heritage Centre. This was in this area in the 1980s and 1990s.
Old Foundry. This dates from the 19th and is partly on the site of a brickworks. A brick building dates from around 1870 and follows the original line of the mill pond.  The site is on the west side of the road and a number of works are there, although the foundry itself left in 2014.
Thames works. Cardboard box factory currently on site. This appears to be on the site of a square of housing called Warwick Place.
Cement works. The gates to this works appear to be still extant in Grove Road. Works on the site was operated 1798-1846 by Parker and Wyatt; 1846-1847 by Jones and Aspdin; 1848-1851 by Robins, Aspdin and Co.; 1851-1900 by Robins and Co. Ltd; 1900-1910 by APCM (Blue Circle). It was originally occupied by James Parker, who had invented Roman Cement and made it here in the late 18th, using septaria nodules from the Isle of Sheppey.  Under Wyatt cement manufacture employed 12 men and there was an output of 700 three bushel casks a week.  In 1846 William Aspdin moved here from Rotherhithe. Clinker was ground by the tide mill at the head of the creek and Parker also used a windmill. There were five wet process bottle kilns south of the creek to which three were added in 1847, and there were twelve by 1876. Aspdin left and it was then managed by R. A. Gibbons. Most of the plant was relocated north of the creek and a new wharf built, abandoning the old site. By the time of the APCM takeover, its operations were coordinated with Bevan’s, and the kilns were phased out but the wharf remained in use. Some structures still remain including an intact and much-restored bottle kiln claimed as one of Aspdin’s, although it was later. The area used north of the creek later became part of an oil depot
Bevan’s Works. This was to the east of the earlier works and was operated in 1853-1900 by Knight, Bevan and Surge, and 1900-1970 by APCM (Blue Circle). It was built on the site of the parks and orchards of The Hive. When Aspdin left the Robins company he sold the technology to a whaler, Thomas Sturge. This works was second only to Swanscombe in size in the 19th and early 20th. It was built on an old brickfield adjacent to Robins on the east. Sturge secured a huge swathe of chalk land to the south. The plant used wet process bottle kilns throughout, Rotary kiln installation followed after APCM was set up. The original rotary kilns were cleared in 1922 to make way for the largest APCM installation of the time. Some of the kilns here were the largest in Britain until overtaken in 1929. With its huge reserves of chalk it remained one of Blue Circle’s main sites for forty years. It was shut down in 1970, with much of the cement handling and wharfage kept in use, incorporated into the adjacent Northfleet site. It never had any rail link, and had the best deep water jetty on the south bank. Chalk came to the plant via a tramway.
Bevan’s Beehive Kiln. This kiln sometimes described as an Aspdin beehive kiln or as a mid 19th century bottle kiln, is preserved as an ancient monument. There are also the remains of rails which ran from it to other processing areas.
Public Slipway. This is at the bottom of College Road and is excavated as part of the Northfleet Harbour Project.

High Street
175 Cooper's Arms. This pub is now a chip shop – The Codfather. It probably dates from the 1870s.
Mission Rooms. These were built in 1882 on the corner of Station Street. In the mid 1880s they were used as a boys' school by the Northfleet Education Board. The Northfleet Silver Band practised here.
79 The Little Wonder. This pub stood at the top of Hive Lane from the 1840s until at least the Second World War. It had green tiles and was a Russell’s house called. It was called after the 1840 Derby winner.
Sturge's British School. This was built by local industrialist George Sturge in 1858, He was a Quaker who financed this Non Conformist school which was built on family property on the north side of the road slightly to the west of Hive Lane. It was a flint building with one large room, an office and a playground at the back. At the front was a drinking fountain. It had closed by the Second World War and was used as a 'British Restaurant' and from 1945 was used by the 1st Northfleet Scouts.
Court Mews. This was once the Northfleet Police Station built in 1866. The Magistrates' Court was at the rear and was opened on 1887.
Rayner's Court. These flats replaced shops which had been built in the in 1883. The name comes from a family of shop keepers.
Lodges – two octagonal lodges stood at either side of Hive Lane as the entrance drive to The Hive house.
Windmill. This is said to have stood between Hive Lane and Lawn Road before 1749

Hive Lane
Hive Lane was originally the drive to a large house and grounds called Hive House.
Hive House and Park. The name could be a corruption of ‘The Hythe’ – the area in which it stood.  The estate belonged to the Crown and was eleven and a half acres, extending from the High Street almost to the river and between College Road and Lawn Road. It was a brick three storey house with ten bedrooms, library and so on in walled gardens with carriage shed and stables, in park land and orchards. In the 18th it was a private house and the home of members of the Chiffinch family who held a series of important public appointments. In 1830, a Mr. Gibbons opened a boarding school here. The estate was auctioned in 1838 and purchased by Thomas Sturge, who in 1853 built the Knight Bevan and Sturge cement mill on the site.
The site was redeveloped for Northfleet Urban District Council in the 1960s including two terraces of shops, and a six storied building. Mostly flats and maisonettes

Huntley Avenue
Called after James Huntley Northfleet Councillor Chairman of school management and founder of Gravesend WEA

International Way
Road built across what was an area of infill and sports grounds in order to proved access to the station and a vast amount of car parking.
Ebbsfleet Station. In 1989, British Rail and Trafalgar House had devised a Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) and then submission of various plans. Eventually a route devised by The Arup & Partners was adopted but it was not until 1993 that a station here was considered. Work began in 2000 initially to dispose of flue dust from Southfleet Quarry and importing Thanet Sand to the area to stabilise the old chalk pit plus archaeology. Seven tracks would approach the site from the north, and six platform faces provided: four at ''low-level'', and a two above. Domestic services would be able to leave the CTRL at Ebbsfleet via double-track line on a 1410 yard-long viaduct. This would also accommodate a single island platform, and a direct rail connection would be made with the North Kent Line east of Northfleet station. The station’s main ‘building would be above the low level lines and be of steel, clad with 2,200 square metres of glass. Construction work was complete by 2006 and equipment recycled from Waterloo International was installed. The station opened in November 2007 and called Ebbsfleet International.
Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The first section of the CTRL opened in 2003 using the old closed branch West Street Railway. The second section leaves this at Pepper Hill and turns north-west heading for a tunnel under the Thames and passing through Ebbsfleet International railway station. However Ebbsfleet International Station has no short and convenient pedestrian connections to Northfleet.
APCM rail line going towards a tunnel under the main line. This was built in the early 1970s.

Robins Creek
Northfleet Harbour. The area now called Northfleet Harbour was formed from the inlet of the Ebbsfleet, or Fleet river into the Thames. Upstream is evidence of Roman and Saxon communities. By the 18th the Fleet was no longer navigable. It was later used for shipping Portland Cement around the world – Robins was the name of one of the early manufacturers here.
Slipway dating from pre 1800. With a dock on either side recently excavated
Watermill and weir. This was set up for flour production in the 18th in the mouth of the Fleet. It was later superseded by a watermill for cement production parts of which survive. These remains are 19th with a sluice gate, through which water still flows, with controls on the flow of water. The exit from the mill pond was designed to channel the backed up River Fleet through to the sluice.  Wyatt is said to have installed mill stones here made by Mr. Green, millwright, of the Borough and in addition, Hall of Dartford estimated for the machinery. The Tide mill was used for bruising and grinding and a windmill for grinding.
Orme House. This is said to have stood on the waterfront, to be possibly 17th and also possibly to be owned by the Crown.  It is said to have had a connection with Judge Jeffreys. In 1827 8t had stabling, coach-house, a walled kitchen garden, lawn and pleasure-grounds and a water gate. It was apparently rebuilt in 1834 and demolished in 1872 by Knight, Bevan and Surge cement company.

Robinson Way
Housing named after the original company who operate the Paper Sacks plant.

Rose Street
The Rose Pub

Station Road
Northfleet Station. Train services are operated by Southeastern. The ticket office is on the down side with a PERTIS passenger-operated ticket machine outside the station. The station is close to Ebbsfleet International station but the walking route between the two stations is 1 km and a pedestrian link has not been built because of funding issues and objections.  This station was opened by the South Eastern Railway with the North Kent Line in 1849, with two staggered platforms. It had a two-storey brick main building, on the down side - a small version of Greenwich. In 1891 this building was demolished and replaced by a wooden one on the eastern side of the subway entrance.   With the extension of third rail here the platforms were lengthened. The buildings were modernised in the mid-1960s, with the removal of the ornate canopies.  The up side shelter went in 1970 but the down side building was left although the chimney stacks being removed and windows were boarded up. Since privatisation, all windows have been boarded up
Goods. The station had single road goods shed opened with the station in 1849. These closed in 1968
A timber signal box was built in the early 1890s which controlled the goods sidings and this section of the main line. This closed in 1968
Siding in 1849 a siding ran  from west of the station to go under the London road. Tailing junctions from other chalk pits and from the new Northfleet paper mills joined it.
Sidings in 1970 a new cement sidings complex for the Portland Cement Company was installed adjacent to the up platform. The main line embankment beyond the east end of the platforms was dug out and a bridge installed allowing a second, lower track bed to be created.
Rainbow centre. Community centre
Catholic Church. The  first  catholic church  at  Northfleet  was  dedicated  to  Our  Immaculate  Mother  and  St Joseph and built in 1867. It was used as a school during the week and as a church on Sundays. It closed in 1932 and  is now the Mercy Centre for the Redeemed Christian Church of God

Stonebridge Road
Stonebridge Hill was originally called Fisherman's Hill
1 The Ebbsfleet Grill. The Ingress Tavern. This pub closed in the late 1990s. One of the rooms was at one time headquarters of National Amalgamated Stevedores, Lightermen, Watermen and Dockers union, set up in 1922
The Stone Bridge. Thus is, first mentioned in 1451, and it crossed the Ebbsfleet river and valley. A stone bridge was built in 1634, being replaced by a brick bridge around 1790. The turnpike road began here. The bridge was angled slightly to the north and not directly towards Stonebridge Hill. The reason may have been that the lower road originally went round by the Creek as the route to Gravesend. The second brick bridge was aligned to Stonebridge Hill, alongside the old bridge.
Battle of Stonebridge Hill. on 1 June 1648 this was the site of a Civil War skirmish, when a force of six hundred Royalists, under Major Childs, were defeated by four hundred Parliamentarians, mounted and foot soldiers, under Major Husband.
Black Eagle Pub. This was at the bottom of Stonebridge Hill and said to be an old manor house. Demolished in 1968
Gates to Huggens College. These are now disused.
65 Plough opened in 1715 and closed in 2010. It reopened later that year as The Cosmopolitan, closing again in 2012. It is now used as a cafe India arms
Plough Pond this was at the bottom f the hill, fed by the Ebbsfleet, and controlled by a sluice. In 1775, the Trustees of the Turnpike Road had issued instructions that a sheep wash was to be constructed in the space between the two Stone bridges. This fell into disuse in the 19th and became a pond which was filled in at the end of the 19th and the Ebbsfleet diverted under the road through a pipeline. 
Plough Marsh. This was the field on the opposite side of the road from the Football Ground was known as Plough Marsh. In the North West corner was a pond which was formed from flooded clay digging from the turn of the 18th/I9th. By 1870, it was called the 'mud hole' and there were a number of drownings. In the 1890s it was filled in by Bevan. In the Second World War a barrage balloon was sited here. It is now an industrial estate and petrol station
Ebbsfleet United Football Ground. Before the Second World War it was the home of Northfleet United founded in 1890 and playing from here in 1905. In 1946, the Gravesend and Northfleet Football Club was formed and they became Ebbsfleet United in 2007.

The Creek
The Huggens Arms. This pub opened in 1860 and closed in 1976. It had been renamed The Riverside Tavern in 1975
Wallis Park
Housing built by Noethlleet Council on Huggens College Land

Wood Street
This road ran downhill from the High Street to Station Street
Wood Street Primitive Chapel opened 1875,

Bygone Kent
Cement Kilns. Web site
Francis. The Cement Industry
Gravesend Historical Society Web site

Gravesend Historical Society. Journal
Gravesham Council. Web site
Green. Pubs of the Gravesend Area

Hoskins. History of Gravesend
Kent Rail. Web site
Lost Pubs in Northfleet. Web site
Millward and Robinson. Lower Thameside
Northfleet Harbour. Web site
Northfleet Station. Wikipedia. Web site
Robinsons of Bristol. Web site

Monday, 6 April 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Swanscombe

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend.
The railway runs eastwards, veering to the south east

Post to the west Knockhall
Post to the east Northfleet

Ames Road
The road was developed by Swanscombe Urban District Council after 1926 to provide decent housing for working people. It was named after a local councillor, Walter Ames.
1 Wardona House. This is sheltered housing built on the site of the Wardona cinema. The cinema was originally the Electric set up in 1923 and run by a shopkeeper and his daughter. In 1935 it became the Jubilee and then the Tivoli.  In 1939 it was rebuilt as The Wardona and operated by Wardona Cinemas Ltd.  This was an Art Deco style building designed by Thomas Braddock, including a fin sign outside with cinema’s name in neon. It closed in 1958 and then used as a warehouse. It was later demolished.

Church Road
The road was once a footpath, running parallel to Stanhope Road and thus linking Galley Hill with Swanscombe Village. It was once known as Bird’s Row, and by 1881 Barnfield Road. It was Church Road by 1888
Swanscombe Fire Station. The fire station opened in 1908. In 1907 Swanscombe Parish Council bought land at the south end of the Primitive Methodist Chapel and in 1907 drew up plans for a new fire station. They operated this until 1941 when the National Fire Service was set up and in 1948 responsibility was devolved to Kent County Council.
Swanscombe Branch Library. This was in the upper floor of the fire station which was added in 1922 as the council chamber but unused by 1926. The library occupied the rooms from 1928 until they moved to the ground floor in 1968. Swanscombe was an early Kent County Library and this remained here until 2002
Church Road Hall. This is now a local community lettings hall. Post Second World War this was the Civil Defence Head Quarters
110 1st Galley Hill. Scout Hut
Morning Star. The pub originally operated as a small brewery and beer house. It was rebuilt about 1890 and in the 1930s tenanted by Russell's Brewery of Gravesend. It is now closed and has been converted to housing.

Craylands Lane
The Rising Sun. Pub
House – there was a 19th detached house, since demolished, which stood opposite the Rising Sun pub. It was on the site of a farm yard, with barns and an oast house in the 1860s. In the 1930s it was used by Stone Court Ballast Company.
Crown Farm. This was further down the road towards the Swanscombe Centre. A barn survived until the 21st
Pit to the east of Craylands lane. This pit lay between the London Road and the main line railway. These belonged to the J.B.White Cement Works which lay to the north of the London Road and were accessed via tunnels under the road. In time a tunnel was also dug under the railway.  There was a transshipment siding here with the South Eastern Railway. In the 1920s the light railway to the works was replaced with a standard gauge line on a steep and curving route. This line eventually led to Alkerden Lane pits.  A factory complex was also built in this pit – and later engine sheds. Edith personally remembers huge circular tanks with stirring apparatus, constantly in use here in the 1950s

Eglington Road
This was developed from 1885.

Galley Hill
Galley Hill was a separate hamlet to Swanscombe into the 1840s.
All Saints Church. It succeeded an iron church of 1882 for a parish created from St Peter & St.Paul. Built for cement maker Bazeley White by Norman Shaw in 1894. Declared redundant in 1971 it became a Roman Catholic Church. Closed again, it has since been converted to housing. On the site of Galley Hill Farm
Church Hall. This once stood to the rear of the church and was the old church hall. It was the home of slate clubs and community events.
Vicarage next to the Church
Pit to the north of Galley Hill. Appears to have exploited by the Tower Cement Co., and/or the Onward Cement Co., and/or Britannia Cement Co. Once the pits were no longer being worked they had other used. In the pit to the north of Galley Hill were a number of paper mill and related industries and that within the area of this square were the British Vegetable Parchment Mills.
British Vegetable Parchment Mills. Vegetable Parchment was used to wrap butter and similar fatty substances. The process of making vegetable parchment by immersing suitable paper in sulphuric acid was discovered by W. E. Gaine in England in 1853. Machinery, enabling its production as a continuous was developed in Bohemia. After the Great War William Harrison (chairman of the Inveresk Paper Company), established the British Vegetable Parchment Mills, at Northfleet. The Mill closed in 1971.

Gunn Road
Named for the Gunn family. Local politicians who ran Manor Farm
War Memorial. This is in the south west corner of the Recreation Ground, near to the Gunn Road gate. It is a simple, free standing memorial inscribed "To the memory of all from this district who lost their lives in the defence of freedom. Their names liveth forever more. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them".

Harmer Road
Harmer Road School which functioned 1927-1949. In the 1960s it was Harmer Road County Primary School which closed in 1967 and then used as a youth club before demolition in November 1998.

High Street
Pits lay to the east of the High Street both north and south of the main line railway.  These seem to have been the pits operated for the Tower Cement Works on the Northfleet riverside and to have been linked to them by a light railway. A tunnel under the London Road allowed access to the southern pit.
26 The Alma.  Pub built in 1860
29-33 Post Office Site.  This was site of The Forge operated by Bundy and Williams in the 1900s.  It later became 'Old Forge Garage'. In the 1960s it was redeveloped as a post office but was in other use from the mid-1980s. A sorting office remains to the rear.
40-44 Lions Hospice shop.  This is the old Co-op shop. The parade was opened in 1913 by the Gravesend Co-Operative Society. The branch had originated here about 1889. The Cooperative movement in Gravesend closed in the 1980s, and the building has had different uses since
60 Wheatsheaf Pub
Swanscombe Station. This was a wooden platformed halt opened by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway as Swanscombe Halt’ in 1908. Existing services did not stop here and a rail motor service was provided in competition with the tram networks.  In 1930 the Southern Railway built a new station from prefabricated concrete to the east of the original.  The road bridge was used to link the two platforms and flights of steps were built carved into the hillsides. Waiting accommodation here was a timber shelter on each platform, complete with canopy. It was called just 'Swanscombe' from 1969 and was served only by stopping trains.  The wooden shelters remained and were replaced in 1995 by quasi bus shelters.

London Road
Dartford/Strood road through Gravesend built by Kent County Council in 1922. It had been turnpiked in 1738
1 George & Dragon pub. This provided accommodation and stabling and stood on the main Strood to Dartford road. The building dates from the 1840s replacing an earlier house.
Sites of houses which stood next to the pub were developed in the late 1970s into industrial units.
All Saints Room. This building, also described as a club stood opposite the George and the Dragon on the corner of London Road. A mechanics institute associated with Galley Hill School was supported Bazeley White at whose factory many of its members worked. In 1847 the works had supported a Literary Institute which met at All Saints Room.
Galley Hill School. This was founded by cement maker Bazeley White in 1858, and was associated with a mechanics' institute. The school stood in London Road opposite the George and Dragon.
Council Offices. At the entrance to White’s Cement Works, on the corner of Manor Road, White built a house like an Elizabethan mansion in concrete in the 1840s.  This was the first concrete house. It was associated with a school and a teacher’s house. From 1926 to 1964 it was used as the offices of Swanscombe Urban District Council. It was demolished when the council moved out.

Milton Road
Primitive Methodist chapel. Built in 1888 and where the congregation is still active.
59 Moore Brothers Mineral Water Company. This opened in 1879 and closed in 1963. This was classed as a brewery which produced mainly ginger beer and mineral water. Moore Brothers were active in local politics
A Strict Baptist chapel was opened in 1901 and closed in 1932

Milton Street
Swanscombe Consolidated Almshouse Charity which is made up of a number of 16th to 19th bequests for the poor which were put together to make up a house for four people. This dates from 1911.
The Woodman Pub. Closed 1913.

Park Road
Swanscombe Recreation Ground. This opened in 1932 having been built by local unemployed labour. It ground was opened by Councillor Alexander Entwhistle, chairman of the council 1930-1931, There was a bandstand and a Memorial Fountain, dedicated to the memory of Councillor Edward Moore, who died in 1932. A boating pond, was used by model boat enthusiasts During the Second World War this facility was used for roller-skating and cycles

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link passes under Galley Hill road through what are described as ‘two chalk spines’ and passes through the area once covered with paper mills in an old chalk pit.
Industrial rail and tram lines. In 1825 James Frost opened the country's first cement manufacturing plant in Swanscombe, to make ''British Cement'' and a narrow gauge rail system linked the works with the quarries. Initially horses hauled the wagons.  In 1837 under John Bazeley White & Sons steam locomotives were introduced and by 1900 this network was the most extensive in North Kent. It was later converted from narrow to Standard Gauge along with a single line connection to the North Kent Line.  The system closed in the early 1980s.

Stanhope Road
Salvation Army Barracks. This stood on the east side near the junction with Swanscombe Street.
Swanscombe Lodge. This farm dated from the 18th and owned much of the land between Stanhope Road and the Northfleet border.  It was sited at the northern end of Stanhope road and was demolished in 1984.

The name is said to mean the pasture of the swan or swineherd. 

Swanscombe Street
Swanscombe Street was the original village of Swanscombe before industry brought an increased population. It has had several names. In 1881 it was Church Road and in 1909 it was High Street.
The Mansion House was on the south side of the street east of the church. It was thought to be 16th In the 19th on occupant was John Russell the Gravesend brewer and later it was home to Henry Stopes and his daughter, birth control pioneer. The estate was sold in 1890 and the house demolished in the 1920s.
16 Sun Inn
St Peter and St Paul’s Church. There has been a church on the site since Saxon times, one building having been burnt down by Sweyne the Viking. The altar includes remnants with consecration marks of Saxon Bishops. The first stones of the current building were laid in 1050 but the south wall of the tower is all that remains of that building. The surrounding wall is built of Roman tiles.  In the 6th the Lady Chapel, was the shrine of St Hildefirth whose relic, a finger bone, was brought to Swanscombe by Bishop Odo.  It was a stop off point for Canterbury pilgrims but was destroyed during the Reformation.  There are many tombs in the church – one to Elizabethan courtier Ralph Weldon now has a replica sword and helmet over his tomb. There is also a monument to the 19th dermatologist, Sir Erasmus Wilson. Until the 19th women who died as virgins had garlands of flowers placed on their coffins.  The church was ‘restored in 1870s with money from Erasmus Wilson and the White Brothers. The tower clock and box pews were removed and the gallery and porch were rebuilt. The church was damaged by a lightning strike in 1902. This destroyed the tower and melted the bells. The church was restored within a year and the bells replaced with a peal of eight new bells replacing the six dating from 1751. They were restored again in 1995. The organ was built by Henry Fineham but has been replaced with an electronic one.
Churchyard. In 1995 the Invic6ta monument was moved here. This records the story that William the Conqueror was being forced by a Kentish army at Swanscombe to retain Kent's ancient rights in 1066. The monument originated in 1958 on the A2 and in 1965 was moved to Swanscombe Urban District Council's offices in 1965 and then into a council store.
Cemetery. The Swanscombe Burial Ground was opened in 1885. There is a small chapel built in 1905. The 4.5 acre site has an avenue of mature trees, shrubs and rose bed. Entrance at the Swanscombe Street end is via a traditional lychgate opposite the church. Swanscombe Urban District Council were responsible for this Cemetery until the 1970s when it was then taken over by Dartford Council.
Houses on the site of the Blue Anchor Pub. This was a Style & Winch house, taken over by Courage in 1958. It was built in 1735 with big garden with a stable and a skittle alley.  The name is supposed to come from storey of a chain with an anchor coming from the sky one Sunday morning to the churchyard. A sailor climbed down the chain and tried to free the anchor and apparently drowned. The metal of the anchor became the hinges of the north door of the church. The old pub was demolished and in 1965 replaced with a new pub set back from the road. This has also now been demolished

The Grove
Broomfield Park. This sports ground is managed by Fields in Trust.
Swanscombe and Greenhithe Council Offices and Community Hall.
The Grove Hall. Used by playgroups, etc.
Fire station was opened here in 1966
Squash Courts. Opened in 1975
The Pavilion Athletic Sports and Social Club

Bull. Concise History of Swanscombe
Bull. Swanscombe in Old Picture Postcards
Cinema Treasures. Web site
CTRL. Web site
Dartford Council. Web site
George and the Dragon. Web site
Kent Rail. Web site.
Stoyel and Kidner. The Cement Railways of Kent
St.Peter and St.Paul. Web site

Friday, 3 April 2015

Railway line from London Bridge to Gravesend. Knockhall

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The railway continues eastwards

Post to the west Greenhithe
Post to the east Swanscombe

Abbey Road
Sure Start Children’s Centre

Alexander Road
Greenhithe Community Centre

Alkerden Lane
Western Cross Farm.All that remains of this farm is a series of buildings perched on an island surrounded by cliff faces.The buildings were bombed in 1944 and there is now no sign of a farm house. There was once an oast here
Millennium Milepost - The Cockerel
Tunnel under the road for the J.B.White Cement Works railway built as the pits extended south.
Barnfield Pit to the north of the road. This was owned by J.B White and Bros., and dug from the early 20th. A conveyor belt ran parallel to the road in the 1950s

Barnfield Pit
The pit is 39 metres deep of which 60% has been backfilled with Thanet sand and 40% partially backfilled with Whiting Dross This is slurry from the production of White Portland Cement. In the past it has been has been used as filler for medicines, toothpaste and as an additive in the manufacture of bricks give the illusion of a handmade brick through imperfections.
Footpath from Craylands Lane to Knockhall Road.
Swanscombe Heritage Park is in the old Barnfield Pit. Flint tools dating back 400,000 years to the early Stone Age have been found in Swanscombe along with the remains of the animals they killed.  Three different pieces of the Swanscombe Skull were found in 1935, 1936 and 1955. These fragments came to be known as the remains of Swanscombe Man, that they had belonged to a young woman.  These were the oldest human fossils discovered anywhere in the UK, until the 1990s discoveries at Boxgrove. The pit site was given in 1954 by APCM to the Nature Conservancy. There is a sculpture inspired by a Palaeolithic hand axe
Craylands Gorge, an area of open space carrying the pipe from Eastern Quarry to Swanscombe Marshes.  It was a tramway linking the Eastern Quarry with the cement works. The tramway ran along the floor of a narrow man-made gorge, cut into the chalk bedrock. The precipitous slopes are cloaked in dense scrub and woodland and it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest
Bridge which crosses over the deep cutting of the gorge.

Craylands Lane
Craylands Lane is an ancient roadway linking the hamlet of Milton Street with the Gravesend to Dartford road at Swanscombe Cross. The west side of the road was the site of J.B.White’s Barnfield pit.  South of the pit was an area used for gravel extraction. To the east, and in the next square, was the New Craylands Lane Pit.
Swanscombe Cross - The cross roads on London Road was crossed by a cement works tramway the route of much of which is still visible
Council Yard. This now derelict site was on the west side London Road corner.
Coopers Arms. This pub was on the east side of the road and is long gone. Coopers Arms It was known local!y as the 'Bottorn House').
Springfield Lodge Day Nursery
Craylands Primary School. This is a new school which opened in 2003.
The Swanscombe Centre. Sports and similar facilities opened in 2013. A previous Swanscombe Centre including the Swanscombe & GreenhitheTown Council offices was opened in 1989.
Craylands Square
This was redeveloped from 1969, replacing 19th and early 20th housing

Eynsford Road
Knockhall Community Primary School. This school is now an ‘academy’. The school opened in 1901 when it was 'Swanscombe Knockhall Council School’. In 2011, a commemorative mosaic was made based on designs drawn by pupil and is in the school library.
Greenhithe Community Market Garden. Opened around 2005 in the grounds of the school and managed by volunteers.

Knockhall Chase
Knockhall Clinic. Demolished and site sold.

Knockhall Road
Barnfield Pit. This lay on the east side of the road. Dierden’s pit was to the west.
Passing loop in the railway in the pit near Knockhall House.
1 Flint Cottage. This is a 19th castellated Gothic lodge built of knapped flints. It has a crenulated parapet and at the front is a half octagonal tower with lancet windows.
Ingress Vale Chapel. This building is hidden between No2. And the railway. It dates from 1861 as an independent chapel, becoming Congregational in the early 20th and later United Reform.
Manse in house next to the chapel
5 Ingress Tavern. This dates at least from the 1870s.  It is closed as a pub but there is still a Greene King sign outside it.
Entrance to the playing fields and to a footpath to the leisure centre. A large rock is displayed here.
Playing Fields. This is a field from Fields in Trust set up by King George V as the National Playing Fields Association
Empire Sports Ground. Now disused factory sports field with an old changing room and very overgrown vegetation.
25 Empire Bowls Club
Knockholt Farm. This was roughly on the current site of Jubilee Gardens and was gone by the early 20th.
Knockhall Lodge. Convalescent home in the Great War and it was later used as a library. The site is now housing.

London Road
Swanscombe and Greenhithe British Legion Club
Greenhithe Library. This is a Kent County Council Library.
Swimming Pool. This was next to top of Knockhall Road – where the cobbles on the frontage of the flats which replaced it mark the old entrance.  It was opened in 1936 and built slightly above the level of the road. The site is now housing.
Transhipment siding at Craylands for interchange with the railway at White’s works. This ran north of the London Road to the east of this square.

British Listed Buildings. Web site
Cox Kent
Dartford Council. Web site
Knockhall Academy. Web site
Pevsner. West Kent.
Stoyel and Kidner. The Cement Railways of Kent
Swanscombe Heritage Park. Web site

Monday, 30 March 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Greenhithe

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The line continues to run eastwards

Post to the west Stone
Post to the east Knockhall

Bean Road
This was the main road going south from Greenhithe and heading to the village of Bean and beyond.  At the northern end it was lined with big houses on the east side built into the hillside. Many of these are now hotels. Care homes and similar institutions. The road was cut off at Mounts Road to the south with the development of the East Cross pit and it continues as a footpath alongside the western edge of the pit.
West Works. On map before the 1970s and from the 19th a small works appears to be marked on the road on the corner of what is now the East Cross Pit. A tunnel ran under the road here and continued with a line through the now private belt of woodland between Bean Road and St. Clements Way and appears to remain as a footpath through it. The line continued across London Road to West Works Jetty, east of Johnson’s.

Breakneck Hill
This steep road once went to an area called Mount Pleasant; the eastern end of the road is now only a footpath

Charles Street
This end of Charles Street is now broken by Crossway Boulevard and the eastern end now merely goes to a supermarket and its parking area. Previously it ran under the lines of industrial rail and tramways.

Cobham Terrace
The end of Bean Road at its junction with London Road
2 Railway Arms. This building was a public house from 1707 when it was The Wyvern Head, changing in 1750 to The Three Horseshoes and in 1814 to the Plough and Harrow and from 1851 The Railway Tavern and from 1891 Railway Hotel. It is now a cheap fast food outlet.

Cowley Avenue
Johnson Works.  The road is part of an estate which is on part of the site of I.C.Johnson and Co. Cement Works. Johnsons Works. Isaac Johnson took over the quarry in 1872 – it has previously been used as a supply of ballast. It had an existing tramway to a pier. Johnson had had a works on the Tyne where he had developed the Johnson Chamber Kiln but had decided to put his new works close to the source of the chalk and opening it in 1877. A rotary kiln was installed in the works in 1903 and they joined BPCM in 1911. The works was modernised in the 1920s with 8 96ft high concrete silos. The works closed in 1970 and was demolished before 1978.  The works was connected to the jetty by a complex of rail lines

Crossways Boulevard
New road partly built on an area previously used by industrial railway lines. It bypasses Stone Village and takes traffic from the Dartford Tunnel and M25 down to the industrial areas in Greenhithe.

King Edward Road
Greenhithe Gas Works. Greenhithe Gas Co.  dated from 1867 and appear to have built on the site of the National School.  They enlarged their existing works, and come to an arrangement with the Dartford Company from 1877. They later changed their name to the Northfleet and Greenhithe company, and were taken over by the South Suburban Company in 1929.  The attractive gas holder was removed in the early 21st

London Road
Ingress Lodge. 19th gothic lodge at the road junction.  Has been derelict for a long time but apparently about to be done up.
Globe Portland Cement and Whiting Works. This appears on maps from the early 20th and is in a pit south of the road and adjacent to Mount Pleasant. A tunnel runs under the road with a line which continued to a jetty. The pit had originally been operated by J.&E. Hall before 1868 and later by Cubitt, Gostling & Co. By 1899 it was operated by Globe who had other works at Frindsbury.  In 1911 it became part of BPCM and had closed by the late 1920s. There have been important archaeological finds from this Pit. The pit appears to have been infilled and there may be a gas extraction plant.
Rail tunnel. 253 yard-long Greenhithe Tunnel
Fire engine house. This was on the north side of the road in the 1930s
Greenhithe British Telecom. Telephone Exchange
National School. This replaced the earlier school in Greenhithe Church Road and opened in 1866. However it appears that the gas works was on the site from 1877
St. Mary the Virgin. This is situated on a mount and is a stone building in the decorated style built in 1856 by George Vulliamy and J Johnson.  Vicarage and later church hall.
218 This appears to have originated as a Wesleyan Methodist Church registered in 1911. By the 1930s it was a congregational church. It closed in the Second World War and from 1956 was a factory for the Thornton Brush Co.  In 1978 it was a Masonic Hall and is now a private house.
232 This was built as a garage but is now housing
Lodge to Stone Castle. In the 1970s the entrance to the Blue Circle Research Laboratories. This now appears to have gone
307 Stone Castle. The castle Dated from the mid 11th century and is thought to have been built without licence during the reign of King Stephen. In 1165 Thomas A Becket stopped here. It is believed that the castle was rebuilt in the 13th. The Black Prince (was reputedly knighted here. Around 1400 the Norwood family sold it to the Bonivants family and in 1527 hosted more Cardinal Wolsley, Sir Thomas Moore and the Earl of Derby. In 1660 it was owned by Dr Thomas Plume, Arch Deacon of Rochester.  The existing house was built onto the old tower in 1825 and extended later. In 1907 it was occupied by the Managing Director of a local cement works and in 1932 by Sir Arthur Davis, Managing Director of Blue Circle. In the Second World War the RAF occupied it and erected an anti-aircraft gun and shell bunker Blue Circle used the building as part of their research facility bit later sold it, and the land to Land Securities in 2000 and it is now a venue for private events.

Maritime Court
This is one of a number of roads built in a chalk pit. To the east is Eagle cliff, a wooded chalk promontory forming one side of the pit.

Mounts Road
Denehole. At least one shaft seems to have been open permanently at Mounts Road and visits to it recorded. In a 19th excavation three skeletons believed to be Iron Age date were found plus Roman refuse

St Clements Way
Dual carriage way servicing Bluewater from the M2.  It also replaced Bean Road and Station Road

Station Road
Greenhithe Station. Greenhithe was an original station on the North Kent Line in 1849 with two-platforms. Like others on the line it was designed by Samuel Beazley.  The main buildings were at the western end of the down platform with a single-storey booking hall flanked by two-storey high Station Master’s house and a single-storey ancillary building. The up platform had a brick shelter and on the down side was a canopy. There were no goods facilities. Under the Southern Railway the platforms were lengthened and again under British Railways. Gas lighting was changed to electric and the Master’s house demolished. In 1999 Bluewater Shopping Centre opened and more trains began to stop here as well as increased number of passengers resulting from more housing.  In 2002 the original up side waiting shelter was demolished, and a replacement glazed waiting shelter installed. Vegetation behind the down platform, was cut down And a second station entrance was opened up midway along the down platform avoiding the original steep stairs. By 2007 a completely new station building was sited midway along the down platform with elevations clad with orange tiles and glazing, and incorporates an overhanging white flat roof. There are also lift shafts.
Bus stops. Behind the station, land was developed as a turn-back bus stop facility for buses from Bluewater and for the ‘’Fastrack’’ vehicles.
Siding which was a direct rail connection with the standard gauge network to Empire Paper Mills in 1908. The single-track connection left the down line shortly before the Greenhithe Tunnel.
Signal box. This was built in 1885on the ramp at the western extremity of the up platform. It was in wooden construction with access via a timber staircase from the platform. This was taken out of use in July 1965
Plaster Products factory. Head Office was Warspite House. This was a large works running parallel with the south site of Charles Street and with a wharf to the east of the main Johnson’s wharf. They made a variety of plaster based building materials. The company dated from 1936, was taken over by British Plasterboard in 1955 and became part of ICI. The head office eventually moved to the Bath Road in West London.  It is now dissolved.

Waterstone Village
Research Laboratories for APCM built in 1953 and now demolished
Sculpture by Tim Carrington as the focal point of the Waterstone Park Development.
It is made from over 13,000 pieces of recycled glass from the Thames foreshore at Greenhithe. It celebrates a former Greenhithe resident, Sir Erasmus Wilson (1809-1884), who financed the transportation of `Cleopatra’s Needle` from Alexandria, Egypt to the Thames Embankment in 1878. It is lit by LED lights around the clock.

Cement Kilns. Web site
Chelsea Speleological Society. Newsletter
Kent Rail. Web site
Pevsner. West Kent
Porteus. Dartford Country
Pub History. Web site
Stoyel and Kidner. The Cement Railways of Kent

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Stone

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend.
The railway continues to run eastwards

Post to the west Stone Lodge
Post to the east Greenhithe

Bell Close
This appears to be on the site of a house called The Limes. The Close is crossed by the footpath which crosses the railway to the north and continues to the church in the south.

Birch Road
Scout Hut

Charles Street
Charles Street now has a spur which runs north to a roundabout and to Crossways Boulevard which are to the north of this square.  This spur once went to a complex of rail lines which were associated with the Kent Cement Works, later APCM. Around the spur stood a number of buildings, on site now covered by Burger King, shrubberies and new flats, which were associated with the cement works.  Before the cement works in the 19th this was a dairy farm and buildings on the east side of the spur were called Manorway Place.
208 Mad Play. Children’s play centre. This building appears to be industrial and appears to date from the 1960s.
Mad Play car park, from the car park steps come down to the road. Southward the steps lead to a footbridge over the railway and a path to Bell Close, which is crosses and then continues to the Church. This path going northwards once led to Manorway Place
Travel Lodge – new build motel on a site which was once rail lines and buildings associated with the cement works to the north. There was also a house here called Dairy Cottage – presumably associated with the Dairy Farm which once stood on the site of the cement works.

Church Hill
St Mary’s Church Hall
Flint walls
Stone Crossing Halt. By 1900 the railways were suffering from competition of tramways.  There was a mile gap between the Dartford and Gravesend systems and the South Eastern and Croydon Railway looked to fill the gap. Thus Stone Crossing Halt and Swanscombe Halt were opened in 1908. It had timber platforms either side of the double-track or were not staggered. A level crossing with timber gates already existed at the eastern ends of the platforms. Gas lamps stood either side of the lines to illuminate the crossing gates. The rail motor services lasted ten years and were replaced by standard trains. As part of electrification, Southern Railway modernised its halts. At Stone Crossing the site was retained, but alterations war made. In 1930, prefabricated concrete, platforms and shelters were built. Electric lights posts replaced gas lamps, and new ticket prefabricated concrete booths were installed on both sides of the level crossing. A joint telegraph and signal post was put up at the eastern end of the down platform. In 1956, the platforms were extended as part of the ten-car train scheme. The word Halt was dropped in 1969. The platforms were extended again in 1992, for twelve-coach trains and also fitted with cameras and television screens. In 2008, the prefabricated concrete waiting shelters, were demolished and replaced
Level Crossing. To the left of the main gate is a pedestrian walkway and its gate can be automatically locked from the ex signal box when a train is approaching.
Signal box. This was adjacent to the up side and was a single storey building in timber. From 1970 Dartford signalling panel took control and Stone Crossing’s box became gate box and ticket office. The ticket booths were demolished, and the signal box acquired a door and a canopy. It appears to be still in use.
Crossing keeper’s house. This was on the down side opposite the signal box. It was demolished in 1967

Church Road
From the church a footpath runs south, crosses the railway and once continued into the marshes.
St. Mary the Virgin Church. In 995 Ethelred II gave Stone to the St Andrew in Rochester and there is an implication of a parish church already in existence here and was a Saxon foundation. It has been suggested that oldest remains of the Saxon church are under the current tower and re-used Tufa blocks are in the walls. The current St Mary’s is 13th but it is not known who paid for it since it is unlikely this tiny parish could fund it.  The quality, scale and similarity are like that of Westminster Abbey and it has been suggested that the same masons worked here. Following a lightning strike in 1638 and a fire which destroyed the spire melted the bells and burnt out the roof of the Nave and aisles remedial work was undertaken. Cressy and Street carried out substantial work the church in the 19th for free and in the course of it destroyed post 13th work. There are Paintings of Virgin and child and the martyrdom of St. Thomas a Becket. There is said to be an attached chapel for Sir John Wiltshire which became ruinous and that this area is now taken up with the Organ which is an original Father Willis refurbished in 1999 by Manders
Rectory. A 19th Rectory once stood west of the church on the north side of the road. Land had been bought from Thomas Colyer in order to build a school and replace the old rectory in St.Mary’s Road.
Stone Court, Manor House. The manor was on the west side of the church and dated from before 1200.  A Bishop’s palace is said to have been rebuilt here before 1214 after the former Stone Manor house had been burnt down. (Such ‘palaces ‘often referred to places where a bishop and his entourage could rest on a journey). In the early 19th it was said that it was the home of a farmer and that a chimney remained from an early building. It was sold by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1856. 
Stone Court. This is a late 19th house now flats. A stone over a doorway is marked '1654'.
National School. The school was intended to be for poor children and adults, managed by trustees. It was converted from two cottages on land adjacent to the garden of the new rectory in 1869. It was later replaced.

Cotton Lane
West Lodge
Stone Court Cottages
Rail lines. The industrial railway from the Kent Works on the riverside arriving at a point north of the main line where it tunnelled under parallel with a side road.  Some buildings associated with the line appear on the north side of the tunnel. The line continued into the pit to working areas and to Stone Works. One branch turned to the west to access the Atlas Stone Works in pits to the west. This travelled between the main Line and Cottons Lane running behind Railway Cottages. Another line went east to meet a line which had passed through another tunnel west of Stone Crossing Halt. The line through this westerly tunnel had come from another complex of lines going to the river and the Kent Works. As noted there was a connection between it and the line running under the more eastern tunnel. Its main branch ran due south under Elizabeth Road to continue between the eastern pit and a sports ground where it fanned out into a number of branches. There were sidings and a connection to the main line to the west of this area
Rail tunnels – these were to transport material from the pits to transport hubs and factories. A standard gauge railway built before 1885 ran under the road and under the South Eastern Railway line. Later a cutting was made south of the main line to access these pits to the west. This included transport for Atlas Stone which was in the westernmost pit from 1928. The tunnel also allowed a rail connection with the adjacent 1885 Stone Court Chalk Works whose operation was to quarry and supply chalk for the cement industry. To the immediate south of the tunnel was an area bordered at both its north and south ends by roads. The western portion was used by the Stone Court Chalk Works, and the eastern portion by the Kent Works. The Kent Portland Cement Co, had been established near the river in 1919 and a year later taken over by APCM. By 1938, the Kent Works’ excavations had reached London Road and were to tunnel under it by 1960.   Stone Works was set up in the most easterly of the two pits before the 1930s to the south east of the tunnel from where a number of branches fanned off to working areas within the pits.
Easterly Bridge. Abutments of the more easterly bridge may exist between the Lodge and the junction of with Elizabeth Lane.
Westerly Bridge. A level crossing existed here on Cotton Lane
Stone Pits 9 and 9a. In the 1950s the Borough of Bexley tipped waste here when the pits were owned by Blue Circle Industries and the Trustees of the Colyer Greenhithe Estate. Later the Greater London Council tipped here. Dartford Council became concerned about gas from this landfill and this went to the High Court and legal action was ongoing. The site is now owned by Frontier Developments Ltd who intends to landscape and promote for recreational use. Gas is still recovered from these sites.The Orchard

Cowley Avenue
Part of Worcester Park new housing area named after the training ship once moored off Greenhithe.
This road and those around it are on the site of the west section of the Johnson Cement Works. The main part is in the square to the east.

Elizabeth Street
Lads of the Village. Pub, said to date from 1833.

Hayes Road
Stone Pavilion. Council offices, Parish Council Offices and function rooms.

London Road
Stone Recreation Ground. This is managed by Stone Parish Council and has a children’s playground, basketball court, football pitches, and cricket.  It is home to a number of sports grounds. There is a very small war memorial in a small locked area.
289 Welcome All. Pub
Horns Cross. Traditional name for the area and what appears to have been a hamlet around the cross roads
293 The Bull. Large pub on the cross roads.
Horns Cross Garden. Green with a village sign and seats on the cross roads
152 Fire Designs Solutions. Fire safety manufacturing. Founded in 2001

Steele Avenue
This road and those around it are on the site of the west section of the Johnson Cement Works. The main part is in the square to the east

St Mary’s Road
Brewery House – earlier this was Brewery Farm. It is known there was a small brewery in Stone in the 19th . The railway from the cement works once ran along the north boundary of the house, and thus surrounding it by rail lines. The line of this railway appears to be visible through gates and lines of land.
Kids Inc Nursery. Closed. This appears to be on the site of a Flint Works.  Flint was a waste product of the cement industry but was used as a building material among other things. This area was once the centre of gun flint manufacture.
Old Rectory.  This building burnt down in the 1970s and has been replaced with modern buildings. It was a 16th timber-framed building which had stopped being the Rectory to Stone Church in 1857 and was replaced by a, since demolished, building opposite the church.
Thames Water. Stone Pumping Station 

Stone Place Road
New housing on the site of the drill hall
Stone Place. This was a large house, possibly built in the 16th.  It has been speculated that Henry VIII stayed there with Anne Boleyn in the 1530s. In the 18th Hasted noted that the gatehouse to it still stood
Territorial Army Centre. Drill Hall. This was built in 1939 when reserve forces were being gradually expanded and used were for air defence units, the threat of air attack being seen as an increasing threat. It has now been demolished

Worcester Park
This appears to be the name of a large park situated to the east of the new housing area so named. It appears to have been developed on the site of older playing fields and on an area of rail lines and old quarries to the west of the Johnson Cement Works.   Older lime kilns once stood in this area

APCM booklet
Baldwin. The River and the Downs
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Bygone Kent
Cox. Kent
Dartford Council. Web site
Grueninger. In the footsteps of Anne Boleyn
Kent Churches
Kent Rail. Web site
Medway City Ark. Web site
Millward. Lower Thameside
Pastscape. Web site
Penguin Kent
Pevsner. West Kent
Porteus. Dartford Country
Stoyel and Kidner. The Cement Railways of Kent