Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Erith

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The railway continues south eastwards

Post to the north Erith and post to the north (north of the river) Coldharbour Point
Post to the east Erith Anchor Bay

Aperfield Road
Road built on the site of a brickworks – Erith Clay Pit in the 1860s and through various owners to become Amalgamated Brickworks in the 1930s
Anchor Bay Farm was partly on the site of the brickworks
Appold Street
The road is cut off by bollards after a short distance but once extended to the deep water jetty.
Railway bridge over line going to works to the east. There were marshalling yards for coal trains between here and Wheatley Terrace. The railway is said in 1930 to be a private railway belonging to Turner and Newall whose works was on the old Easton and Anderson site, to the east of this square. The line once the railway to the asbestos works now appears to be a footpath alongside Morrison’s car park.

Arthur Street
Cobham House. This is a 13 storey block approved in 1960.
Playground and youth shelter
Mission Room. This 19th mission building was on the north side of the road and was supported by Sir William Anderson who took services there.
Avenue Road
Laid out around.1769 to form the driveway to the newly built Manor House for the Wheatley family. The house was demolished in 1858 and the estate was sold in 1874 and developed thereafter. The road had been built as a direct route in the town and named from the long avenue of trees which lined it. Until recent redevelopment the road extended into the town centre as what is now James Watt Way
Bowling green. Since 2006 this has been run by Avenue Road Bowling Club. The previous occupants were Crayford Social Club.
Erith Recreation Ground.  This opened in the early 1900s.  The original Park Keeper's House survives at the leisure centre turning circle. Second World War air-raid shelters have left a footprint visible in dry summers. There are lime trees along the northern boundary and copper beech and horse chestnut remain in the shrubbery belt near the entrance. There are two hard tennis courts operated by a private company as well as football pitches and a children's playground. There was once a bandstand
Erith Stadium. This was developed alongside the recreation ground post Second World War.  The original cinder running track and the stadium were built in the 1950s. It was rebuilt and upgraded in 1999. The pavilion at the track is The Myra Garrett Pavilion.
Football pitch used by Erith Town Football Club. The club dates from 1959 and was originally as Woolwich Town Football Club, a Sunday club. In 1989 they briefly changed their name to Woolwich Heathway Football Club but reverted back. In 1991, the club switched to Saturday football and left Woolwich Barracks Stadium, and in 1995 came to Avenue Road. In 1997 they changed their name to Erith Town Football Club.
Erith Leisure Centre. Swimming Pool and gym. Modern centre built in 2005 by LA Architects. Operated by commercial company.

Bexley Road
The stretch between Cross Street and the High Street was once called Back Lane
Police Station. Erith become part of the Metropolitan Police in 1840 and until 1847 Bexley officers were deployed. In 1847 a Station was built and remained in use until 1908 when the riverside station was built. The site is now under new roads
Wheatley Arms. This, also called the Wheatley Hotel, stood at the site of the roundabout where Bexley Road meets Queens Road
Fish Sculpture. This is the De Luci Pike by Gary Drostle.  It is a 7.5m mosaic sculpture inspired by the former Erith Urban District Council's coat of arms that incorporated three pikes, the symbol of the De Luci family landowners in medieval Erith.
Boundary Street
The boundary between Erith and Crayford. Once called Powell road check
Cranbrook House. This is a 13 storey tower block with 77 flats, was approved in 1960.
Pigs – these are bronze, and by Philip Bews cast by the Castle Fine Art Foundry.
Canterbury house. This is a 13 storey tower block approved in 1960
Britannia Close
Britannia Close is built on the line of the railway to Erith Pier from the main line. The siding connection trailed off the ''down'' North Kent Line to Cory Wharf and originally opened in 1864 to connect with the deepwater Erith Pier. By 1900 this network of lines served a coal terminal, an iron works, a brick works, clay pits and a gravel pit. It went out of use in the late 1980s

Colebrook Street
Mural. This was created by William Mitchell in the late 1960s for the side of the now-demolished Riverside Baths. It used the cloisonne technique to show events and individuals that have a connection to the history of the local area. He used a raised sand and epoxy border to define the different compartments which were then painted in bright colours. Tile mosaics were used to provide greater detail to the faces. The mural was restored and re-erected in 2010, plus an interpretation plaque. It was unveiled by Mitchell, then aged 86

Compton Place
Built partly on the sites of rail lines and sidings as part of the complex of industrial lines from the North Kent Line to the riverside.
Crescent Road
The northern side of the road is taken up with the wall behind which were rail lines and sidings for the transshipment of coal. Railway Line Vast amount of coal went to Bell Green gas works from here. Several train loads a day.
Crescent Road Board Schools. These were built in 1875 and consisted of a girls' school and an infant school. The School Board offices were also here. There is now modern housing on the site.

Erith High Street
This section of the High Street redeveloped in 2013 following reconfiguration of the Siefert built centre
100 Erith Library. New built as part of the new centre.
The Public Hall was built in 1871. It was used as a cinema from 1908 by Sydney Bacon, who had a small local circuit. It closed as a cinema in 1926, and became a dance hall. It later became Mitchell’s Second Hand Store, and was burnt out in the 1960’s, and demolished.

Erith Riverside
This replaces the Siefert built Town Square which had been refaced and extended to provide social housing and better quality shops.
Shopping Centre Gates by Onya McCausland. These feature images taken from x-rays of items borrowed from shoppers visiting the centre. It includes pens, lamps, glasses and socks and so on. They are reproduced on blue and green colour backgrounds to look as if they are under water

Frobisher Road
This road and a series of closes off it is built on the site of the British Fibrocrete Factory which lay largely to the east of this square and fronting on Manor Road.
Eonit Works. The siding from British Fibrocrete curved to meet the North Kent Line. South of the curve was the Eonite Works. They were an engineering company but here they made blocks from pumice aggregate which was sold as a building material. The majority of the works however was in Richmer Road a private gated road to the east of this square.
The southern end of the road which turns westwards is probably on the path of railway sidings which ran into the British Fibrocrete Works.

Glebe Way
Christchurch Hall. Built as a Sunday School and used for a variety of local activities
Scout Hut alongside the church hall.

James Watt Way
This was previously part of Avenue Road
Atrium Court.  This is on the site of the Odeon Cinema. It has 23 flats, a Resource Centre shell and a Young Persons Foyer.  There is a Water Sculpture by Sokari Douglas Camp in hand forged glass and metal inspired by the River Thames.  It transforms when lit up at night
Odeon. Built for the Oscar Deutsch chain, it was opened in 1938 when it was on the corner of High Street and Avenue Road. The frontage was entirely covered in faïence tiles, broken only by long narrow window, just above the canopy. Kt was designed by George Coles in his Ocean Liner style on a triangular site.  The flamboyant sweptback 65 feet high fin-tower, tower with the Odeon name inserted gave it an imposing presence on a prominent site which became a landmark in the town centre. Inside was a Deco style auditorium and on each side of the proscenium were panels with back lit horizontal bands. There were a series of decorative plaster bands along the ceiling towards the proscenium, which were broken only by a light fitting in the centre of the ceiling. It had a central 'island' pay box with the design reflected in the balcony to the circle foyer above.  It was taken over by the Classic Cinemas Ltd. chain in 1967, and re-named Classic Cinema. From 1971, on Sundays only, it became a Tatler Cinema Club playing uncensored adult films. 1973 there was a Mecca Bingo Club operating in the former stalls area, and a cinema in the former circle, Classic Cinemas leased the entire building to Mecca Ltd. from 1974, and the cinema was re-named Mecca Cinema. It closed in 1976 and the Mecca Bingo Club took over the stalls and circle levels. In 1995, it was taken over by the independent Jasmine Bingo Club chain, and was closed in 1996. The building was boarded-up and lay unused until late-2002, when it was demolished. A block of retail units and flats was built on the site in 2005. It is said the developer tried to keep the tower but were unable to do so for structural reasons.
Avenue Congregational Church. This was on the corner with Queens Road
20 Avenue Hall, this was attached to the Congregational Church. It was built in 1850.
Cottage Hospital. This was on the corner with the High Street, The Erith, Crayford, Belvedere and Abbey Wood Hospital had opened in 1871 in the Sun Cottages in Crayford Road.  It was always busy and too small. In 1875 Col. Wheatley, offered this site. It had 12 beds but was too short of money to use them all. The building was cramped, and had only one bathroom for everybody. The staff were housed in cellars near the morgue and Noise was a problem.  In 1922 a site in Park Crescent was donated and the hospital moved there.
4 Erith Trades and Social Club. Red brick building of 10-8 previously the Erith Amalgamated Engineers and Allied Trades Club and Institute.  This opened in 1908 but is now closed due to debt.  There is now new housing on the site.
Morrison’s Store. The weathervane in the cupola, is of a Thames sailing barge. The store was built on the site of coal sidings and transshipment facilities
Prince of Wales Hotel. This was on the site now occupied by Macdonald burger café.
Royal Arsenal Co-operative store with distinctive tower. The Erith Branch of the Society began in 1882 Kent House

Larner Road
Local authority housing in North End clay pit. Now being demolished. The new housing to be called Erith Park
Pretoria House now demolished. It dated from 1967
Cambria House one of the earliest two blocks built on the estate. 15 storeys approved in 1964
Sara House one of the earliest two blocks built on the estate 15 storey approved for construction in 1964. Now demolished
Medina House 1967. Now demolished
Hamlet House 1967.  Now demolished
Norvic House 1967. Now demolished
Verona House 1967. Now demolished

Lesney Park Road,
Developed by the Wheatley family
6 Christadelphian Hall


Manor Road
Cottages. Rows of houses from 1866 and larger houses from the early 1900s on the other side of the road. Those older ones near the Royal Alfred were built for the workers of Easton and Anderson’s, Erith Ironworks.
British Fibrocrete Factory. This was a very large works most of which lay on both sides of the road but largely to the east of this square. The factory dated from 1911 when it was set up to make construction materials using cement and asbestos. It had rail links in from the west with sidings off the North Kent Line. It appears to have become part of Bells United Asbestos group before 1928 when Bells were taken over by Turner and Newall.  The works was demolished in the 1970s. 
Erith Brickworks. This was on the site of what became the asbestos factory. It was worked from 1839-1903 by J.White and from 1900-1915 by C.Norris. 
Railway Bridge where the line from the North Kent line to sidings and the jetty one passed under the road
101 Royal Alfred. This pub dates from the early 1870s and may now be closed.


Pier Road
This was previously Stanley Road.  It is now a pedestrianised area within the shopping centre
Hedley Mitchell’s Department Store. It was this store which was ceremonially smashed by the Mayor to start the Siefert development in 1966. The shop had closed in 1961. Hedley Mitchell was one of 12 children of Lesney Farm owner. He opened a shop in Pier Road in the 1890's, and later purchased other premises until he had a very large site Hedley himself lived in South Africa and the Company was run by Mr. Cope
Ritz Cinema.  This was built in 1926 as The Picture House for and the Sydney Bacon Circuit. It was the first cinema in the local area to show ‘talkies’ in 1929, It was taken over by Union Cinemas, modernised two years later by Percy Brown and renamed the Ritz  . It became part of ABC in 1937. It was demolished in the 1960s and shops built on the site.
70 Bank Chambers. Built for London and Provincial Bank in 1898. From 1901 it was the head office of Herbert Clark, tug owners and lightermen, who had a coal wharf based in Anchor Bay the Clarke family now operate a travel agency from the build.
Wind Wave and Sail Sculpture. Designed by Penumbria Compilers 

Queen's Road
Earth Core Columns by Gary Drostle and Onya McCausland. These pillars feature words and artwork created by children and young people, abouy their personal history as Erith residents and drawings of fossils and finds.

Queen Street
Baptist Church.  Church of 1877 now the church hall with a new church from 1892
South Road
Bridge which carries the roads across the North Kent Line.

Stuart Mantle Way
This road was named in 1945 after Councillor Stuart Mantle

The Nursery
Previously St Martins Vale

Town Square
This now refurbished shopping complex was designed by Richard Siefert in 1968. I was in concrete and pretty nasty. It has been reconfigured as Erith Riverside Centre with better quality shops
Erith Market. This was behind the Town Square and replaced a medieval market which had fallen into disuse. It dated from around 1980. This is now a car park.

Victoria Road
Christ Church. The church is partly built over a chalk pit. It is large with a tower and a stone spire added in 1915. It was built in 1874 by James Piers St Aubyn in brick with some patterning. Inside the walls are covered with murals by Ward & Hughes, 1906-9. Reredos has a painted triptych of the Adoration of the Magi in a c15 Italian style, by A. O. Hemming, 1904. Stained glass by Hardman and Sons, 1875. Windows commemorate the coronation of Edward VII.   
Churchyard. This is mainly grass with specimen trees including a row of Lime trees which screen it from the busy road. It has never been used for burials.
War Memorial. This dates from the 1920s and is a marble cross on a stepped plinth

Wharfside Close`
Erith Gardens. In the 19th these were on the site now covered by Morrison’s’ supermarket. They opened in 1845 . There was a broad walk, archery field, bowling green, conservatory, maze, refreshment rooms and a fountain. It was not a success and was sold on 1874. Beadle Bros. coal merchants took over the site of the gardens from the 1870s.  From 1896 the site was operated by Wm. Cory and Sons ltd.
Pier the Guardians of the Wheatley Estate built a wooden pier going out, 444 feet into the river. This was opened in 1842. Two ships called here from Gravesend/London every day. Following a takeover of the site by Beadles and later Cory’s it was known as ''Cray Coal Wharf'' or ''Cory's'' connected to the rail network although the rails on the Pier were narrow-gauge. In 1957 a new concrete pier was built allowing access to larger ships. This has since been renovated by Morrison’s as a local attraction. It is the the longest pier in London, with many benches and good views along the Thames.
Rail lines. Line which opened in 1864 and connected the North Kent Line with the deep water Pier.
Pier Hotel. This was built in 1844.It was later used as offices and demolished in 1957.
Shuttleworth's Ship Yard and Anchor Works.  They were marine engineers hedre from 1882 until 1885 and also made torpedos.  Edward Butler made a Patent Petrol cycle here in 1889-96. They made engines for road vehicles and motor launch

Wheatley Terrace
This road once ran parallel to the river through the area now used as Morrison’s car park and to the then Easton and Anderson Works to the east of this square.
General Metal Spinners

Sources
Arthur Pewty’s Maggot Sandwich.  Web site
Bexley Civic Society. Walk
Bygone Kent
Chelsea Speleological Society, Newsletter
Christ Church Erith Centenary Booklet
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Erith and Belvedere Local History Society. Facebook page
Erith. Official guide,
Field. London Place Names
Hudson. Archaeology of a Consumer Society
Ideal Homes. Web site
Kent Rail. Web site
London Borough of Bexley. Web site
London Gardens Online. Web site
London Mural Preservation Society. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. South London
Pevsner and Cherry. West Kent
Pritchard. A History of Erith
Spurgeon. Discover Erith and Crayford
UK Housing Wiki. Web site
Waymarking. Web site

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