Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Northfleet Springhead Road

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The railway continues south eastwards

Inland area of Northfleet - built around the remains of many chalk pits, including the dramatic Blue Lake. The area is covered by railways heading for the town centres and the riverside, there were some industries including breweries, and a facilities area for Northfleet with sewage works and cemetery.

Post to the east Perry Street
Post to the north Northfleet

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


Anonymous said…
WHy is thee no reference to Painters Ash Lane and it's origins?
kevin sawyer said…
i recently saw a disused railway cutting/tunnel which i have a shrewd idea that was a part of the old railway that used to go to greenhithe pits before bluewater was built if i am correct how do i re/find this old tunnel/cutting/kent

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