Thames Tributary Darent - Dartford

Thames Tributary Darent
The Darenth continues through the urban area northwards, and slightly westwards
TQ 5424373729

The southern part of Dartford town centre with important industrial sites along the Darent - the birth of the paper industry is here. Up on the hill above the town is Trevithick's grave

Post to the north Dartford
Post to the south Hawley
Post to the east Dartford The Brent

Brooklands Lake
Formed by gravel extractions. During the war these lakes were covered with camouflage nets so they neither would nor guide enemy bombers to the munitions factory at Vickers. Used by anglers and managed by fishing groups from the 1930s.
Brooklands House
Lower Paper Mill. Built in the mid 17th, and closed in 1790 when it was in the possession of John Finch who manufactured here the paper upon which forged French assignots were printed. Later used as a zinc rolling mill and a printing works for silk and calico. The water arrangements remain.

Central Park
Central Park dates to 1903 when Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Newman Kidd J.P. offered five acres of meadows to the town this was called Central Recreation Ground and was entered from Lowfield Street. In 1910 the grounds of Bank House were added. Shortly after the Council bought riverside meadows as well. In the First World War it was a military camp and guns and a tank were left for display but later sent for scrap. In 1933 association with Dartford Harriers began and a running track was laid out. The town’s market bell was installed over a gate but it was stolen. In the 1940s a stage was built and demolished. In the 1970s the ornamental ponds were filled in. The park has been enlarged by including other areas
GlaxoSmithKline sports and social facilities to be added to the park. These were founded by Burroughs Wellcome in the1890s
Dartford Roman Villa, a modest farmstead occupied in the 2nd. It was excavated in 1979 and is now beneath the Glaxo playing fields which will be added to the park. The remains were first discovered in the 1890s. Owned by Glaxo Wellcome, between Darenth Road and the River Darent. The villa would have been about 100 ft long and close to the river, providing a source of fresh water. It probably had four wings and one room with a hearth and signs of burning. Another room is thought to be a Shrine Room to a pagan deity. Fragments of a pagan mother goddess figurine were found
Acacia Hall. Site of Colyers Mill, Also called Bridge Mill or Acacia Hall Mill. Site of a corn mill, first mentioned in 1216 when King John granted it to Michael de Wallensi. The mill belonged to the Bishop of Rochester in 1253 and in 1299 was known as Orchard's mill, being then privately owned. It was on an eastern artificial channel of the Darent. Which since the mid-18th it was called Colyer’s Mill. Henry Colyer was the miller in 1840 and it was later run by R & H Strickland Ltd. milling ended in 1893 and the building was stripped of machinery, including a large cast iron waterwheel and a steam engine. Sidney Keyes, the maker of Daren flour, vacated it in 1898. He had moved the works here from the windmill on the Brent. They made flour under the name of Seraflo. It was later leased with the house and grounds to Burroughs, Wellcome & Co. for a Social Club. The mill building burned down in 1962 but the ground floor was saved and reused for part of the current building.
Gates with plaque about donation of the land.
Arches from the town bridge re-erected here over a stream which s now underground. 13th-century river crossing.
Base of a gateway and material on display from Roman villa at Farningham, but some of it has since been removed,
Brewery Garden, behind the yew hedge used to be overlooked by the Dartford Brewery
Brewery belonging to the Woodin family in 17th- early 18th small-scale brewery between Lowfield St and the Darent, on part of Central Park. A brewery survived on this site until 1862
Site unclear for a paper-mill, perhaps Britain's first, erected here in the 16th by Sir John Spielman. A German, he was granted a license by Queen Elizabeth 'for the gathering of alle manner of linnen raggs, scrolles, or scraps of parchment, pease of lymes, leather shredds, and chipping of cardes, and oulder fishing nettes and necessaries for the making of all or any sort or sorts of white wrighting paper, and forbidding all other persons for the making of paper, for the space of ten yeres next'. Paper-making has been practised in Dartford and along the River Darent since the foundation of Spielman's mill. The Queen gave him the right to convert the manor's two existing mills into a paper mill and paper- making began there about the year 1585. In 1597 his monopoly was extended for a further fourteen years and then covered the making of all types of paper. When King James visited Dartford mills in 1605, Spielman was knighted. However the Dartford mill continued to be worked, first by William Blackwell from 1670 - 1698, and then by William Quelch from 1702 - c.1724 after which it stopped making paper. Spielman and his first wife are buried in Dartford's Parish Church on the left-hand side of the tomb is a tablet erected by the 'Legal Society of Paper-Makers’

Cranford Road
Swimming Pool and sports centre.

Darenth Road
Next Generation Club
Malt Shovel. Among Dartford's oldest buildings and probably started out life as cottages, the oldest part of the building, the tap room, dates from 1673. The tenants of these cottages probably worked in the nearby fields and at some stage they may have started to serve beer through the windows on market day which lead on to the cottage becoming a pub. By 1873 it had become known as the Malt Shovel and is a listed building
Ivy Leaf pub rebuilt 1929

Dartford is the largest community along the Darent. 'Dartford' means 'Darent ford' - and stands astride Watling Street - the Roman London-to-Canterbury trackway.

Dartford Bridge
The bridge stands at the site of the ancient ford and dates from the middle ages.

Dene Road
Home of war poet Sidney Keyes

East Hill
Previously called St. Edmund’s Highway
26 Victory
St. Edmund's Cemetery. Now called Pleasance, it is a green open space on the site of St Edmunds Burial ground which between the 14th and 16th was an important religious centre. There are memorials to both Richard Trevithick and John Hall. The most obvious feature is the Martyr’s Memorial, a Gothic structure like a church spire, erected in 1851 to commemorate Christopher Waid who was burnt at the stake during the reign of Queen Mary. It is on the site of a chapel to St.Edmund. Trevithick’s grave is unmarked but there is a plaque marking the approximate site. St Edmunds closed for burials from 1857 but was not cleared of gravestones until the 1960’s.
Livingstone Hospital. Local hospital and nursing school donated by Welcome in 1894 and named after Livingstone within whom Wellcome was involved. The hospital was opened by Stanley with an hour long speech.

Great Queen Street
15 Foresters Arms

High Street
47-49 Bank House, bought by the town in 1910 and its grounds added to Central Park early 19th red brick built as a private residence and used in the 1850s by Hill’s Bank, hence the name. From 1909 it was used as the Council Offices until 1985
74 Tollgate public house. Nearby,

Lowfield Street
Cranpit or Lowfield Street Stream tributary of the Darent now underground in a culvert
Evidence of Roman occupation was found at the junction of High Street in 1973. Lowfield Street, extending south from the High Street existed in 1379. John Martin, built a house at the junction with High Street in the early 15th, and Thomas de Luda built a mansion, known as Horsman’s Place, in Lowfield Street, by the River Cranpit, in the early 14th. A Tudor fireplace believed to be part of Horsman’s Place, was discovered.
One Bell pub on the corner with High Street – coaching inn on the main London road. Its demolition has created a new square.
Bridewell, built in 1720
Brewery belonging to the Tasker family survived from 1700s until 1925 under various owners
Beadles - John C Beadle Ltd, coachbuilders was established in 1894 in Lowfield Street
Priory Shopping Centre - low cost shopping. It was originally the Arndale Centre. The first shopping centre to be built here, early 1970s. An extension, Cleves Court, linking to the market site, was added later
10 Ripley’s market
Lowfield Street Almshouses. 1889 replacing Elizabethan buildings which were founded in 1572 by John Byer
Salway and Sons local ironmongers and founders.
201 Fox and Hounds
33 Two Brewers. Weatherboarded through cheap Baltic timber coming into London along the Thames. Listed
34 site of John Hall’s first works in Dartford. Blacksmith’s shop 1785
35-39 listed
95 Windmill
110 Plough
for old people, co-operative
Drill Hall
Fairfield Pool and Leisure Centre. Built 1976 on the site where traditionally Dartford fairs were held.
The Cinema opened in 1913 and renamed Rialto in 1926, became the Century in 1950s and closed in 1960.

Market Street
Junction with Lowfield Street was the entrance to the Hussey Fleet Brewery, later the Dartford Brewery Company.
Built in the 1920s through the grounds of Bank House to help access to the park and museum,
Paper Moon public house, originally designed as a bank by Sir Edward Maufe,
Museum and Library. The building was opened on the 1st January 1916, with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Trust. It was extended in 1937. Above the entrance to the Museum is the coat of arms granted to the first Borough of Dartford in 1933.
Bus Station
War memorial unveiled 1922.

Overy Liberty
Essentially this is an area on east side of Dartford Bridge.
Bridge House
RAF Memorial Hall on the site of Victoria Mills, also sometimes called Town Mill, Royal Mill, Keys Mill, Hards Mill, Daren Mill or Kings Mill. On the westerly natural channel of the Darent. The mill was on the site of a 15th fulling mill and a wire mill mentioned by Lambarde in 1570 as a glazing mill, used for polishing armour plate. In the early 19th there was an oil mill, a mustard mill and a corn mill here, in the late 18th it was owned by a Mr Fomereau and worked by the Loder family and the corn mill was a four storey wooden structure built in 1790. There was a breast shot waterwheel driving four pairs of millstones. The head race arch can still be seen from the footpath. A Royal Coat of Arms indicated that one miller had received the royal warrang. Latterly used for Daren Bread.

Princes Road
By pass road built in 1925
Serena Hall. St.John’s Ambulance Station

St.Alban's Road
28 Tiger

Baldwin. The River and the Downs,
Bygone Kent
Carr. A spot that is called Crayford
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Cox. Kent
Dartford Council. Web site
Dartford Historical and Archaeological Society. Newsletter

Fairfax. Walking London's Waterways
Hesketh. J.&E. Hall
Kent County Council. A history
Kent County Council. Web site

Malt Shovel. Web site
Miller. Halls of Dartford

Paper Moon. Web site
Penguin. The Penguin Kent
Pevsner and Cherry. West Kent

Porteus. Book of Dartford,
Tapsell. Kent Cinemas

Two Brewers. Web siteWelcombe Foundation. Web site
Wood. Lets Explore the River Darent


Anonymous said…
26 Victory. No longer a pub, it has been converted into a take away pizza shop.

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