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
Post to the north Greenhithe


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 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
Housing
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.

Sources
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

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