Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend - Dartford

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The railway continues south eastward

Interesting area on the west side of Dartford town centre which includes numerous remains and places of interest. There were a number of important paper mills and other industries here, as well as the remains of the priory and of West Hill Hospital - and not to forget Mick Jagger.

Post to the east Dartford
Post to the west Maiden Lane
Post to the north Darent meets the Cray

Anne of Cleves Road
The road dates from the 1890s-1900s and was built on some of the land between Priory Farm and the railway

Avonmouth Road
Service road on part of the greaseproof mills site

Burnham Road
Named for Lord Burham, owner of the Daily Telegraph in the 19th. The road dates from the early 1900s
Pumping station. Dating from the late 19th. This preceded but was adjacent to the Priory Road electricity works.
Tram depot which opened on 1906 was sited in Burnham Road and housed sixteen tramcars. In 1917 it was burnt down along with thirteen tramcars
Swimming pool. This was built by Dartford Council In 1907. It was an outdoor pool with 'dressing boxes' as changing facilities for bathers, and seats for spectators. In 1936, it was reconstructed.
Stanham Farm. Building in the railway triangle and completely surrounded by railway lines going into Dartford and between Slade Green and Crayford stations. It is only accessible via a footpath from Burnham Road north of this square.  A medieval/Tudor building stood here until the 1930s.

Cochrane Drive
New housing on what was an internal hospital road

Constance Grove
A new chapel was built for the workhouse in 1878. Its west end windows were damaged by bomb blast during the Second World War.  It closed during the 1980s and was used for storing X-rays.   It was reconsecrated in 1994. It was the sole remaining hospital building and was designated in planning consents for community use, but, having been burnt out, it now appears to be derelict

Cross Road
Christ Church. In 1868 the Rev. H. B. Bowlby vicar of Holy Trinity. Dartford felt another place of worship was needed and land was obtained and a corrugated iron church was built. The first service was held in 1870. Curates and in 1904 land was donated for a new church in Christ Church Road. The Church was consecrated in 1909 at although only the building was shorter than originally designed. Instead of completing the church it was agreed that a hall should be built and this was opened in 1934. The church was completed after the Second World War.

Dartford Road
The road is on the line of Roman Watling Street – which is its subsidiary name.
Toll Gate –this stood at the corner of Shepherd's Lane
Dartford Grammar School – the school’s address is in Shepherds Lane, however the Hardy Building fronts onto Dartford Road. This is the original school house and named after the novelist Thomas Hardy who was assistant to the principal architect, Arthur Blomfield. This was built on land was acquired in 1865 to build a new school and to move from the schools original site in Dartford Market. It is now used for administration and some teaching.
West Hill Primary School. This appears to be an amalgamation of a Junior and Infant school, originally a Board School. The buildings, with an eccentric tower, date from 1886

Essex Road
2 Dartford Family Centre
Enterprise House. This was Dartford Technical Institute which opened in 1902 and offered day or evening courses. It also housed a Museum and later Education Offices. It was renamed Enterprise House and used as offices. It is likely to be demolished.
Dartford Working Men’s Club Ltd. The club dates from the 19th century although does not seem to have been based in this building until after the Second World War.

Flanders Court
Housing which appears to be built in a pit or quarry

Hallford Way
Named for lorries made by J. & E.Hall from 1906 to 1926

Highfield Road North
Police station. This opened in 1872 and was later replaced by another in Instone Road.
Magistrates' Court. This was built behind the police station
Baptist Church of 1865-7 built by James Sharp following evangelistic work in the town by Albert Sturge. The hall which is part of the church was originally used as a school and now is home to a playgroup.
11 Walnut Tree. This is a pub which is now closed.

Humber Road
Service road on part of the greaseproof mills site

Kent Road
Air and Breathe Night Club. This was the Scale Cinema which opened in 1921. By 1937 it had, a balcony, and a stage with dressing rooms. It was Taken over by Medway Cinemas and used as a cinema until 1947, when it became a live theatre. It was taken over by Granada Theatres Ltd. chain in 1949, and was leased out to a repertory company. In 1963, it was converted into a ballroom and in 1970 used as a bingo club. In 1978, it became a nightclub, the latest version of which is Air & Breathe.

King Edward Avenue
Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School
Ursuline Convent. In the 1880s the Sisters of St Ursula settled in Dartford,
Coleburt Centre. This was the convent of the Sisters of Mercy was bought back from the diocese for use as the Coleburt Centre in the 1880s. This housed the local Roman Catholic a parish centre, as well as a local business centre, the Coldart Centre. It was opened in 1990. It has since been closed and demolished.
Entrance to West Hill Hospital. Two infirmaries were built for the workhouse between 1887 and 1897 and these were also used by the townspeople.  These became known as King Edward Hospital, with their entrance in King Edward Avenue.

Priory Hill
The road goes through an area once part of the area of Priory Farm.
Weather boarded building is the former Zion Chapel of 1720 with two associated cottages. Blessed Hope. Seventh Day Adventists

Priory Road
The Dominican priory was founded in 1355 by Edward III following representations to the Pope on the matter by Edward II. It is possible that there had been a previous religious institution here. The Priory was to educate women and was for an order of nuns, the only such to be founded in England. Princess Bridget, daughter of Edward IV, was an inmate and it provided a school for the daughters of great families. The dissolution of the priory took place in 1539 and pensions were granted to the nuns. Henry VIII kept the site and buildings as a house for himself and in 1548 granted it to Anne of Cleves. After her death in 1557 it was restored to the Dominican sisters. In 1559 they refused to take the oaths of supremacy and they were ordered to leave and went to the Netherlands.  The priory, site and buildings reverted to the crown, and Elizabeth kept them and rested here in 1559 and 1573. Under Elizabeth’s parts of the house were demolished building materials were removed to be re-used in other building projects. James I granted the premises to Sir Robert Cecil in exchange for Theobalds. Foundations, probably of the Priory church, were uncovered in 1913. The site became a farm - allegedly where cabbages were grown for London markets. It was purchased by J & E. Hall in 1927 and became part of their factory site and is now the registry office.
Smelting.  It is believed that an area of the site was used for smelting a black ore in the 16th which was thought to contain gold. This had been brought here by Martin Frobisher from Baffin Island. It was later found to be worthless. This was deduced from stones alleged to be found in the perimeter walls which are believed to be associated with this.
Dartford Registry Office. This is in the West Gatehouse which is all that remains from Henry VIII's Manor House. It was built in 1541-4 on the site of the Priory.  Tthe gatehouse was purchased from the farm by J. &E. Hall in 1927.  Halls used it as a pattern store, and offices and latterly for a sports and social club. It is now owned by the Borough
Walls – some remains of the priory wall stand along the east side of the road. It is made up of work from a mixture ranging of dates from medieval to modern.
Electricity Transformer Station. Dartford Urban District Council had built a power station in Priory Road for the town in 1901 on the corner with Burnham Road.

Priory Road North
Greaseproof Mills. The site was bought by Wiggins Teape from the Ettrick Forest Mills to build a greaseproof paper works. This was done with the Belgian company, Louis de Naeyer. They were to make Glassine which was a special paper for cigarette wrapping and specialist uses, they were also to make ordinary greaseproof paper and also a high quality paper for commercial food wrapping, like biscuits etc. The site was designed by Wallis Gilbert. It was opened in 1933. Pulp was delivered by barge from Dartford Creek and paper shipped out by lorry. The mill was later taken over by Joseph Rank Ltd and closed in 1957.
The London Paper Mills Company based at the Riverside Mills, Dartford, opened in 1889 and installed five machines installed which. Initially produced 250 tons of paper per week. In 1909 the company was taken over by Albert Reed and production increased to 400 tons per week. They specialised in the manufacture of printing paper. In the 1930s they employed 500 people making paper for photographic printing, office paper, envelopes and stationery. The mill remained open until 1968.
Mill House. Wiggins Teape paper mill office building opened in 1910. The mill itself was to the north of this. 

Prospect Place
This trading estate was the site of the great J. &E.Hall works. Only the western portion is in this square.

Shepherds Lane
Boys and Girls Grammar Schools. Modernised 1936. Dartford Boys Grammar School had originally been founded in 1576 and was in the High Street. A new building was provided in 1866 and designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield. Old boys include Sir Erasmus Wilson, Sir Henry Havelock, and Sir Mick Jagger. On the corner of Shepherd’s Lane and Dartford Road
The Mick Jagger Centre, this is a performing arts venue on the site of Dartford Grammar School; which is also open to the local community
Becket Sports Centre. Thus is in the grounds of Dartford Grammar School. It was opened in 1995 as a community centre for the use of the school and the local population of Dartford and surrounding areas. It houses sports including, badminton, table tennis, football, cricket and netball.

Spital Street
Waterbridge Court. This was previously the Masons Arms
Reformed Christian Church of God. Centre of Joy Parish, above the shops.
Royal Oak. Dartford’s oldest pub built in the 17th to serve travellers on the old London to Dover road. It was refurbished in the 19th
43 Court House. Pub in old county court building. This was first erected in 1850 as part of the church but was converted into a Crown Court within ten years. It became a pub in the 1990s but it retains its Royal Arms

Tower Road
Light on the Hill. Spiritualist church founded in 1919 but with a more modern building,
Twisleton Court
John Twisleton was a member of the leading gentry’s family and a local mill owner.  He built the Spital Almhouses in the 18th.
Endeavour House. This consists of the original workhouse buildings. A Dartford parish workhouse was built on Lurchin's Hole at the corner of West Hill and Priory Hill in 1729. Dartford Poor Law Union was formed in 1836 with an elected Board of Guardians. It took over the existing workhouse but built a new building designed by John Whichcord with an unusual layout a long entrance block fronted onto West Hill to the south with a central archway flanked by the porter's lodge and board-room. There was a men's hall and receiving ward to the west, and women's to the east. The rear building was in a semi-circle with a chapel in the centre, there was also on the spine a washhouse, cookhouse and kitchen. The Master's residence was at the southern end. Two infirmaries were added 1887-97.  By 1986, the original workhouse buildings were scheduled for demolitions but were refurbished and are now used for small business.

Victoria Road
Depot –site of extension to Hall’s works
Victoria Trading Estate. Surface Water Pumping Station.  The station was established  in  1908  by the Dartford Urban District Council and  used  to pump surplus surface water from   the low  lying  ground  on  the North side of Dartford.
Cafe in a blue hut with no name and no road number, up against the wall
Priory wall

West Hill
4 Church Court. Old Congregational and United Reform Church church opened as a Congregational Church in 1882 and designed by John Sulman. It closed in 2000 and is now flats
West Hill Hospital. The workhouse infirmaries were used by the townspeople.  A  Fever Hospital was built northwest of the workhouse which closed in 1893.  In 1913 the infirmaries became known as King Edward Hospital. During the Great War Vickers-Armstrong took over the workhouse and Hospital for their workers. The workhouse became a hostel, and the Hospital became a hospital for the workforce. In 1919 it was returned to the Board of Guardians.  In 1930 Kent County Council took over the Hospital, which by this then had taken over the workhouse site.  A Nurses' Home was built in 1934. It was renamed the County Hospital, Dartford, in 1935 and health, light and orthopaedic clinics were established.  In 1937 the Louise I ward block was built.    In 1940 a high explosive bomb demolished one of the two women's ward blocks, killing 2 nurses and 22 patients.  One of the ward sisters, Mary Gantry, crawled through the wrecked building and administered injections of morphine to the trapped, injured women.  The Hospital joined the NHS in 1948 as West Hill Hospital.  A new maternity unit - Louise II block - was opened in 1949.  The air-raid shelter was adapted into a sterilising room, milk preparation room, bathroom, sister's offices and a nurses' Lecture Room.    In 1950 the old casual wards built in 1898, became the psychiatric unit but were demolished in 1964 for the new Out-Patients Department and Accident Unit.   In 1971 a new Accident & Emergency Department, operating theatres and Out-Patients Department were opened by Princess Anne. In 1997 Accident & Emergency Department and ancillary services were transferred to Joyce Green Hospital and everything closed in 2000 when the new purpose-built Darent Valley Hospital opened. The Hospital buildings were demolished in 2001 and the site is being redeveloped by Barratt Homes as West Hill Park
Spital almshouses. The Almshouses were built in a former leper hospital in 1572. They were rebuilt by John Twisleton in 1704 and used until 1975. They provided nine aged widows of the parish with £12 per year each, besides coals and wood;
National Schools. Built in 1826 and now flats. Reports of the 1970s excavation describe the site as Holy Trinity School
A Saxon cemetery was discovered to the rear of the school and has been excavated
50 Dartford Delivery Office. Royal Mail. Includes Royal Mail sports and social club.  Appears to be on the site of the lime kiln.
Bate Motor Cycle business. Bate’s Yard to the rear of the premises would appear to be in a chalk pit.
The area on the south side of the road was chalk pits with limekilns and whiting works.
43 Rose and Crown. Traditional pub with Mystic Nikki
Lock Up. This building with four cells was built in 1843. When the new police station opened in 1872 it was used as a casual ward and drying closet by the workhouse.
72 Oddfellows pub
West Hill House. This is now the Masonic Hall. It was the home of John Landale in the 1810s that won £300 in a lottery and built the two terraces of cottages alongside the property.
MonpelierTerrace. Cottages with modelled heads
Martyrs memorial hall. Kent Martyrs’ Memorial Hall. This was built in 1890, with a library, reading and refreshment rooms, a gymnasium, and a hall. An additional hall was a memorial to Sir Stevenson Arthur Blackwood K.C.B. and is used as an institute for lads. From 1928 it was the YMCA.
YMCA A new building opened in 1971. It provided sporting and other facilities for young people of Dartford. A branch of the YWCA was started in Dartford in 1917.

Air and Breathe. Web site
Baldwin. The River and the Downs,
Bygone Kent
Carr. A spot that is called Crayford
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Christ Church, Dartford. Web site
Cox. Kent
Dartford Baptist Church. Web site
Dartford Grammar School. Web site
Dartford Council. Web site
Dartford Historical and Archaeological Society. Newsletter
Hesketh, J. &E.Hall Ltd.
Kent County Council. A history
Kent County Council. Web site
Lost Hospitals. Web site
Miller. Halls of Dartford
Penguin. The Penguin Kent
Pevsner and Cherry. West Kent

Porteous. Books of Dartford,
Skinner. Form and Fancy
St.Anselm Church. Web site
St.Anselm Primary School. Web site
Tapsell. Kent Cinemas
Walking London's Waterways,
West Hill Primary school. Web site
Workhouses. Web site


Anonymous said…
Hallford was in fact the telegraph code for J&E Hall (Hall from J&E Hall and ford from Dartford) and the lorries were named after this. I believe the original Hallford Way contained workers cottages for J&E Hall.

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