Monday, 7 September 2015

Riverside - south bank east of the Tower. Broadness

Riverside south of the river and east of the Tower  Broadness

A stretch of open marshland containing some useful instrumentation and an isolated community of boats and sheds,  It is however about to become Disneyland (honest!)

Post to the east Northfleet terminal
Post to the north Grays
Post to the west West Thurrock Terminal

Broad Ness Lighthouse. This is to guide vessels from St. Clement's Reach into Northfleet Hope and is 23 miles from London Bridge. It was established in 1885 but the current tower was erected in 1975 and converted to electricity in 1981. It is 43 feet high with a light visible for 12 miles,
Navigation beacon on a buoy near to the northern tip of the Swanscombe Peninsula. The beacon emits light and radio waves to vessels using the river to assist with navigation.

Broadness Creek
Broadness Creek is a tidal inlet full of moorings, old boats, jetties and semi-permanent buildings .
It is the outfall of a number of streams, ditches and dykes through the marshland
Wooden stake and brushwood trackway on foreshore near the mouth of Broadness Creek . This may be prehistoric. Erosion of the foreshore on which the trackway lay showed a layer of flint
Anti-tank blocks. There is a possible Second World War tank trap, made up of 24 large concrete blocks in the river channel

Broadness salt marsh,
This area of marshland is said to be reclaimed land which has had extensive tipping from the cement and the waste industries,
Ferry from West Thurrock.  It is not known where on the Broadness peninsula that the ferry ran to – the point itself seems unlikely given the distance and difficulty of travelling from there.  The site of Bell Wharf may be a good alternative site and several footpaths converge there.
White’s Jetty. White’s Swanscombe works dated from 1825 and at some time a railway was built from here to a jetty in the marsh. Clearly the semi derelict jetty with an arm extending into the river and with rail line embedded in it is more modern and has been rebuilt.  It is however known that the railway line was very early
Radar Scanner – this is a navigational aid belonging to the Port of London Authority
Pylon. This 670 foot tower carries power lines across the river, linking with another on the north bank.  They date from the mid 1960s and are probably the tallest electricity pylons in the UK
Broadness weather station. This belongs to the Port of London Authority and monitors temperature and other weather conditions. It includes an anemometer.

Dartford Council. Web site
London Paramount. Web site
Stoyel and Kidner. The Cement Railways of Kent
Swanscombe Project., Web site
Tucker. Ferries of the Lower Thames
Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide. Web site

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Riverside - south bank east of the Tower. Northfleet Terminal

Riverside – south of the river, east of the tower. Northfleet Terminal

Marshland with one path going to a riverside wharf and a vast aggregates site

Post to the south Botany Marshes
Post to the east North End of Tilbury Dock
Post to the north Grays
Post to the west Broadness

Botany Manor Way
Northfleet Terminal. This discharges with a ship to shore pipe. It handles Sea-Dredged Aggregates. Sand and gravel discharges and processing with conveyor loading of all suitable materials for home or export. This is operated by Cemex. This is a very large building and aggregates company and this is one of very many sites which they operate

PLA Web site

Riverside - south bank east of the Tower. Botany Marshes

Riverside south bank east of the Tower.  Botany Marshes

What was once marshland with many many old and new industrial sites.  Somewhere hidden here is a theatre, with little information and or signage

Post to the south Stonebridge
Post to the east Tilbury Ness
Post to the north Northfleet Terminal

Lower Road
London Bus Company. Depot. They claim to be the leading supplier of vintage buses, operating the largest fleet in the country, offering classic red and green Routemaster buses, single deckers and open top vehicles. Amazing collection of buses.
Britannia House. Old Metal Refinery Studio Theatre. This is part of Walk Tall.  This is a therapeutic organisation and drama school.

Manor (Botany Road) Way
Britannia Metal Refiners. This company are refiners of lead and silver and have been in business since the 1950s.  They are now part of the Swiss based Xstra group.
Britannia Cement Works. This was Macevoy and Henry Holt's works which was built in the 1870s. They became a member of Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers in 1900.  It shut in 1902.
Britannia Terminal. Operated by Mowlem and handles plant and machinery
Tower Wharf. Seacon Terminals Ltd.  Tower Wharf. The wharf has two Berths one of which is covered. There are three 40-tonne gantry cranes operating on covered berth  and two 20-tonne harbour cranes on the main jetty as well as mobile cranes up to 500-tonnes. They have 32,700 square metres of covered storage space on a 22 acre site plus a temperature controlled warehouse for sensitive products. This is owned bit Seacon, a private company owned by the Roth family.  It Was Founded in 1955 as Sea & Continental Waterways Transport Ltd, Seacon
Northfleet Coal and Ballast Co. It is thought that they first opened the wharf in 1868. They dealt in coal, and later chalk,  transhipment. They eventually transferred to Thurrock
Kent Deep Water Wharf Co.  Which became Northfleet Deep Water Wharf Co. dealing with traffic from New Northfleet Paper Mills Ltd.  A new locomotive shed was opened in 19563.
Tower Portland Cement works. This was from 1873 to1880 Goreham, from 1881 to-1900 Tower Portland Cement Co. Ltd and then 1900 APCM (Blue Circle). It was otherwise known as Butchard’s Works. There were six chamber kilns in 1890 Increased later to sixteen. The plant used water transport, although a rail link was later made.
A railway came from this site and passed under Lower Road with a loop to the South Eastern Railway line
Northfleet industrial estate. Trading and light industry stretching to the west of this square
Reservoir – this lies at the back of the north of the estate
Barney Sands. The firm dates to 1939, when three friends, Ron Barney, Roy Sands, and Peter Hartridge made up a company name from their surnames and opened a firm as coachbuilders in Maidstone. In 1946 they moved to Northfleet and in 1976 the firm was bought by West Brothers. They moved into crash repair due to growing demand. In 1986 the Company moved to Northfleet Industrial Estate.

Barney Sands. Web page
Britannia Metal. Web page
Cement Kilns. Web site
Port of London Authority. Web site
Stoyel and Kidner. The Cement Railways of Kent
Walk Tall Facebook page

Friday, 4 September 2015

Riverside - south bank east of the Tower. Northfleet

Riverside – south bank east of the Tower. Northfleet

A strip of an old village and industrial suburb surrounded by deep chalk workings and riverside dereliction - the biggest cement works in the world demolished less than thirty years after it opened ending cement manufacture in the area where it was developed. The Kimberley Clark tissue mill keeps the paper making tradition alive.  Northfleet remains, with the most respectable local pub recommended as 'a good place to go if you want a punch-up' - however, and amazingly, it has the two most important churches in Gravesend, right next door to each other.

Post to the east Rosherville
Post to the north Tilbury Ness
Post to the west Stonebridge
Post to the south Springhead Road

Church Path
St Botolph's National School was on this path behind the church. It opened, in 1838 with the infants’ school following in 1869.  In 1936 it became a Primary (Mixed) School and in the 1980s the  school moved to a different site in Dover Road.
Vicarage. This was built on the site of the school in the 1970s

Council Avenue
26/27 St Peter’s Nursing Home.  This was Northfleet House built by Thomas Sturge for himself with his sister Esther. Later occupied by Alfred Tolhurst, who had entrance gates with polished whale harpoons on them.  Became offices and Town Hall for Northfleet Urban District Council. It is now a nursing home.
Council houses. In the grounds of Northfleet House the first council houses in Northfleet were built in 1926.

Crete Hall Road
This area of Northfleet between the London Road and the river had been acquired by members of the Calcraft family in the early 19th. A description of the site from 1818 says that 17 lime kilns were burning here on land rented from John Calcraft.
Pitcher Shipyard. The area between the road and the river was the site of Pitcher's dockyard. It was laid out by Thomas Pitcher in 1788 on ground levelled as a result of chalk workings. The first launch, that of The Royal Charlotte 123 tons took place on 2 November 1789. In 1813 the Russian fleet was refitted in this yard. The yard was closed in 1825, but re-opened by William and Henry Pitcher, sons of the founder, in 1839, and became one of the largest yards on the river. For some years steamships were built here for the Royal Mail Packet Co., as well as for the government during the Crimean War. The yard finally closed in 1861. A scheme for much larger docks, including a dock large enough to take the Great Eastern was featured in the Illustrated London News in April 1859, but nothing came of it. Largest dock of 500 ft x 74ft and could take Brunel’s Great Western.  Ultimately however the yard was too far from the new engine builders and had no engine maintenance facilities. They also lacked some of the skills as iron hulls became more usual. Mare ran the yard for the Receiver
Northfleet Castle.  Pitcher built a castellated house and gate using material from Old London Bridge. It was a feature of the waterside and was used as offices by Bowater’s in 1926. It was demolished in 1934 although some walls remained.  Illustrations also show an area surrounded by a castellated wall to the east of the gateway and grand buildings facing the river.
Bowater’s Thames Paper Mills, The Company was founded by William Bowater who was a City paper wholesaler. Their first paper manufacturing site was at Northfleet in 1914 but because of the war and design flaws it did not open until 1925. The firm was then led by Eric Bowater and following a deal with Rothermere the firm expanded and opened other mills. By the end of 1930 the output of Bowater's mills was 22 percent of the UK's total output, soon it was 60 percent and they had become the largest newsprint undertaking in Europe and were expanding worldwide. During the Second World War the Northfleet mill closed down completely. But after the war they became the Bowater Paper Corporation and by the mid-1950s were the largest producer of newsprint in the world. They then began to move into tissue production as Bowater-Scott Corporation, with the Scott Paper Company of Philadelphia and a new tissue mill was built at Northfleet designed by Farmer and Dark in 1956.  Expansion world wide continued. After Eric Bowater died over capacity in U.K. newsprint was tackled by the conversion of machines to other types of paper making, and eventually by closures, including Northfleet paper mill in 1973. 
Kimberley Clark Tissue Mill. In 1986, Bowater sold Bowater-Scott to Scott Paper, and in 1995, the US giant Kimberly-Clark purchased them. The Northfleet site continues to manufacture Andrex bathroom tissue
Water tower. Designed by Farmer and Dark and built in 1957. For this they won the Royal Society of British Architects Bronze Medal for 1956-59. The contractors were Higgs and Hill. Said to be still in use despite apparent poor current state.
Caley Bank. Until 1955 there was a column of chalk and clay some 80 feet in height, which had been left by the early chalk diggers. When the dockyard was in operation a flagstaff stood on the top and small cannon which was fired when launches took place. It was demolished by Bowater’s to make space for new buildings but one of the Kimberley Clark buildings is ‘Callybank House’.
Northfleet Thames Terminal. Owned by Kimberley Clark. This is a Deep Water Jetty with a barge bay and an open storage area. It has approval for forest products and is used by Kimberley Clark and customers.

Dock Row
Dock Row originally ran from the site of the Crete Hall roundabout north towards the river. The first houses here were built in about 1789/90 by Thomas Pitcher as accommodation for the workers in his ship yard. The row included the Royal Charlotte inn, and it was later extended. The houses were demolished in the 1930's.
Weslyan Chapel
29 Royal Charlotte Inn. This pub was named after first East Indiamen built by Pitcher. An annual fair and sports known as Royal Charlotte Fair were held here in the 1830s. A new inn, also called the Royal Charlotte was added at the end of the row in 1830/35., but the pub remained until the 1950's

Dover Road
Ye Olde Leather Bottle. Said to be a ghost in the bar every night. The first record of this pub is 1706.  It has acted as a local landmark – where the trams, or whatever, start and finish.

Granby Road
For most of the length of the road this is a footpath only with barriers at either end.
Gay & Blackman brickworks. Northfleet brickfield which in the 1870s was worked by Messrs. Gay and Blackman. It later belonged to George Austin and had a small wharf at the foot of Granby Road.
Engine House. At the bottom of the road was a building called the Mill House. Demolished in 1954, it was apparently erected as an engine house for a stationary engine used to haul trucks.
Tunnel under the road. This runs under from the cement factory site to the 19th shooting range. It has a high flint wall to stabilise the cliff and prevent chalk falls. It is also usually high inside because it was extended down as the pit was dug deeper.

High Street
From the 16th, this was known as Bow Street,
Vineyard Pit. To the west of St. Botolph's Church there was at one time a cherry orchard called 'Vineyard Field', and it is said that the Archbishop of Canterbury had a vineyard here in the 14th.
Church Path Pit. This pit was dug on the site in the 1860s.  An electronic substation was later installed in it. When the new cement works was built in 1968 a rail connection went through to the works via this pit and new tunnels dug under the main road and a double-track loop line laid.
1-2 Granby Place. These houses date from about 1830.  They are on the site of Northfleet's Manor House.  Granby Place was built as two houses but for a while it was used as one.
Northfleet Manor House which stood behind a high wall.  There was originally also a tithe barn and a farm hare, the manor house was used by archbishops for overnight stays. The earliest known date for it is 1726 and in the late 18th it was used as a school. In 1819 it became the Northfleet workhouse until that was moved to Strood in 1836.  It later again became a school and then a private asylum.  It seems to have gone out of use in the 1880s and demolished in 1909. The garden became part of the churchyard
Car repair garage. Part of the wall between the garage and the old vicarage grounds is mediaeval and is the surviving wall of the manor farm
The vicarage. The building was not lived in and neglected in the 17th and 18th and replaced in 1834. This was demolished in 1961 and relocated elsewhere.
Bow House, this was the south side of the road in the early 19th opposite the present site of the Factory Hall. It was intended as a bazaar, but because it was never finished was known locally as a Folly. It was eventually demolished and the land added to the grounds of Northfleet House by Thomas Sturge.
Lawn House or Northfleet Lodge was built on the corner of Lawn Road and High Street in the early 19th. It was later used for Mechanics Institute meetings and social events. Northfleet Local Board used it from 1876 for their monthly meetings. It was demolished in 1900.
Den's Diner. On the Lawn Road corner. Open air eating.
Edinburgh Castle pub. On the other corner of Lawn Road, probably dates from the 1870s. Probably still open.
Cinema. The Astoria Cinema opened in 1929, replacing the Northfleet Cinema which dated from 1912. And which had closed the previous day. The Astoria Cinema, was run by Lion Cinematograph Ltd.  It had a dance hall and cafĂ©. The building ran parallel because otherwise it would have fallen into the pit to the rear. By 1936 it had been re-named Strathconia Cinema, and in 1940 it was re-named Star Cinema, and was soon after it was re-named Wardona Cinema. This closed in 1957. The Astoria Dance Hall continued until around 1960 run as a dance school by Miss Marjorie Shade. The building was demolished and there is now a petrol station there, the Astoria garage
Factory Hall. Once called the Blue Circle Club and most recently called Portlands.  It was opened in 1878 and built at the expense of Thomas Bevan by architects Parr and Strong for Bevan's eldest son, Robert's, coming of age. Before 1945, the club was open to all members of the public and was a cultural centre for Northfleet. The building has a grand frontage and the roof lies behind a tall, elaborately decorated parapet with a central coat of arms. It also has early examples of Portland cement decoration. It had two halls, games room, sports facilities, a library and the headquarters of the Northfleet Choral Society plus numerous other local societies were all accommodated. Outside were a bowling green and an outdoor swimming pool opened in 1907. The pool was on the site of the current car park
Lawn Schools.  The Northfleet Primary School or Lawn Road School was the first Board School built in Northfleet. Within two months of the first meeting of the School Board in 1884 they had purchased land between Lawn and Factory Roads, including the sites of the King's Head and Marquis of Granby. Lawn Road School opened in 1886 designed by James Walford in 1893. New buildings included a clock tower - the first public clock in Northfleet – it was demolished following damage in the 1987 storm. There is a plaque to ex-pupil Ted Ditchburn who played football for England
90 Kings Head Pub. This dated from 1710 and was demolished in 1885 for school building.

Lawn Road
Sure Start Centre. Little Gems
31 Dorset Arms. This pub opened in 1851 and closed in 1952.
Flint retaining wall to hold the houses with tunnels built into then.  There are about 30.some are modern and the earlier ones have had many uses.

London Road
1 Library. The building, now flats, was a public library run by Kent County Council. Earlier there had been a sawpit and carpenter's yard in the field here. The building has a perimeter flint wall with a blocked older gateway – which was presumably a garden entrance.
Northfleet County Youth Club. This was in the house next to the Library from the late 1940's to the 1970's. It was originally for boys, but in 1956-1957 it was opened to girls.
Viewing platform on the north side of the road overlooking the river
Electricity junction box cabinet from the early 20th stands on the corner with The Hill.

The Hill
This area is the historic centre of Northfleet with the church and the village green,
Toll Gate. This would have stood roughly where Church Path leaves to the south. It was set up by the Turnpike Trust in 1860 as an additional gate to try to increase the tolls for the road which had been falling since the opening of the railway. The gate was financially successful, but only lasted until 1871 when the Trust was wound up. It was on the site of the village stocks and parish pound
Village pound and stocks. These would have stood in front of the Catholic Church
Northfleet Horse Tram depot. Catholic Church was built on its site. This dated from 1881. The line was extended in 1889 to Huggen's College in 1889 when there were 5 trams and 14 horses operating a half-hourly service on a single track line. It was followed by a short experimental electric line which also ran from the Leather Bottle to Huggins College in early 1889 built by Brush. Two cars were built and the system was electrically arranged to operate in series, as opposed to the parallel method that became normal. There seems to be some doubt as to whether this was ever a true public service since it had ceased by late 1890. The tramway was taken over by the Gravesend and Northfleet Electric Tramways Ltd. in 1901 with a new depot in Old Dover Road.
Our Lady of Assumption. Roman Catholic Church.  Dramatic building a bleak brown brick monolith known locally as ‘the square church’. It replaced Our Immaculate Mother & St Joseph in Rose Street.  It was built in 1914 on the site of the horse tram depot as a memorial to Alfred Tolhurst, solicitor and cement manufacturer. The architect was Giles Gilbert Scott, and the builder was J. B Lingham who lived locally. It is seen as an important building foreshadowing some of Scott’s more famous works – Bankside Power Station/Tate Modern in particular.
Wooden staircase. This was on the other sides of the road to the church leading down to the Volunteers Rifle Brigade practise grounds.
5-6 Alma Cottages built about 1860 and replacing weatherboarded buildings.
7 in the 19th this was a butchers shop with a slaughterhouse to the rear.
14-15 Dove. This was burnt down in 1906
Village Green. This is the area now used as a car park which between the wars was a site for the War Memorial. In the north west corner was a well. Fairs were held here until the early 19th. There was also a wooden weighbridge here for cattle to be taken through the tollgate.
War Memorial, This was erected on the green in 1923 surrounded by railings. It has now been moved to near the lych gate
Northfleet Veterans club. The club is used by the council for voluntary service as well as many local organsiations.
25 Coach and Horses –This is said to date from 1572 and together with the shop next door made up a house, It was known as the Three Horse Shoes 1686 - 1764
Car Park. This is on the area of what was the council yard and fire station
Pit. The pit to the west of the church was at one time a cherry orchard and a field here was called Vineyard Field, a reminder that the Archbishop of Canterbury had a vineyard at North fleet in the 14th century
Forge. This is where horses were shod until the 1930s.  It was on the north side of the road east of Granby Road
St Botolph’s. This is a big church on a Saxon foundation and there is Roman material in the walls. Its massive Norman tower collapsed in 1628 – it was built without proper foundations - and a new one was built using the original material and has eight bells. The church is a virtually complete structure of the early 14th on an impressive scale. There were 13 ancient brasses although only three are left. There is however a model of the Royal Charlotte.
Churchyard. There is an obelisk to almshouse builder Huggins. Ship builder William Pitcher is buried in the northwest corner.
39 Queen's Head was The Crown which dated from 1626 and had extensive grounds with a bowling green to the rear. It was burnt down in 1830 and rebuilt and rebuilt again in 1909.
31 The Heritage. This is thought to be the oldest house now standing here which was formerly the White Hart, later called the Plough Inn
29 Marquis of Granby this was at the top of Granby Road, built in 1886 and closed 1925
Labour Board office built on the site of the Marquis of Granby in the 1950s
Deaves. This building was built by the Local Board as local authority offices in 1884.  In 1920 Northfleet Urban District Council left these offices and sold it to the co-op. They built a new frontage out into the road and used it as a shop with a hall above let out for hire.

The Shore
This is essentially a public footpath crossing a wide expanse of derelict open space with some riverside activity to the north.
Northfleet Cement Works. This opened in 1970 and was on the now derelict site. It was the biggest cement works in Europe. By 1960, the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers had many cement making plants in this area, in 1967 it was decided to consolidate them into one large works on site of Bevan’s Works. Construction began in 1968 for a cement plant with six kilns with an output of four million tonnes of cement a year of which 20% was for overseas markets. In 1969 the first kiln became operational. Despite impressive figures, the export market was slowing down, and to cut costs half the number of kilns at the Northfleet Works were closed down by 1980.  As costs continued to rise kilns were modified which led to increased energy costs. Economic recession in 1991 led to a fall in output and by 1993, Northfleet Works was working with just one kiln. A second kiln reopened at Northfleet in 1994 in response to demand, but rail operations and excavation at Western Quarry ended. In 2001 Blue Circle Industries was purchased outright by the French Lafarge Group. Northfleet’s long association with cement production ended in 2008, when the works closed. The chimneys were brought down in 2010. There is now a large empty space.
Rail links. In 1969 plans were made for a direct connection between the new cement works and the North Kent Line via a chalk pit on the south of the London Road. A double-track loop line would curve around the perimeter of the cement works, in a continuous loop which meant that trains could exit without the need to reverse. This came into use in 1970. As the works began to close down cement delivery ended and by 1993 the loop line and sidings went out of use. All this was cut back and abandoned when Lafarge took over Blue Circle and the CTRL was built.
Bevan’s Works. This plant was the fifth on the Thames, second only in size during the 19th and early 20th, It was set up when William Aspdin fell out with his partners at Robins Works. Bevan’s was built on identical lines on what had been a brickfield adjacent to Robins.  There was little innovation before APCM took over using wet process bottle kilns throughout. In 1864 there were 17 kilns and another ten had been added by 1903, when some were demolished to make way for the rotary kilns which followed shortly after the formation of APCM . The original rotary kilns were cleared in 1922 to make way for what was the the largest APCM installation of the time, in the 1920s. Demolition of the previous kilns, took five years, and Blue Circle found it difficult to maintain supply. Bevan’s was then until 1929 the largest UK plant. The plant was shut down in 1970, with much of the cement handling and wharfage incorporated into the adjacent Northfleet site. The river was used for most of its transportation with the best deep water jetty on the south bank and it was Blue Circle's main exporting plant. A late 1950s kiln stack remained until demolished in 2010.
Bevan’s Wharf. Until the early 1980s this was busy loading bulk carriers with cement and clinker. This is said not to be in use and Lafarge intend to demolish it
42 Wharf. So named because of its 42 feet depth. Until the early 1980s, this was busy loading bulk carriers with cement and clinker. It is jmo0re modern that the Bevan’s Wharf and uses for it are planned.
Lafarge riverside office block. This has the PLA scanner on it.
London Portland Cement Works. This works was to the east of the Bevan works. It was opened in 1868 by J.C. Gostling and solid in 1876 to the London Portland Cement Co.  It became part of APCM in 1900 but closed in 1908. This works had a private siding from the West Street main rail line and a tramway to pits south of the London Road.
Northfleet Upper lighthouse. This was on the west end of the Associated Portland Cement Company's jetty in 1926 and maintained by Trinity House and was 29 feet high. In 1972 it was replaced with a modern light contained in a room on the roof of the 8 storey office block which now belongs to Lafarge Cement UK Ltd at Bevan’s Wharf. It is still used.
Northfleet Lower lighthouse Trinity House established a light here in 1859 to guide inward bound vessels around the bend from Gravesend Reach to Northfleet Hope. In 1883 the current lighthouse was placed on India Arms Wharf near the pub and was a white occulting light of 10 seconds visible for 6 miles. A red painted iron framework tower is 53 feet high with the light at 48 feet above High Water.  This was unmanned and was inspected three times a fortnight by Trinity House officer. It was originally lit by acetylene while sun valve ensured that the light was off during daylight hours.  It was later converted to town gas and in 1975 converted to the shore electricity supply,
7 India Arms. This was at the foot of Lawn Road and was built by 1780. It was a large and impressive building facing the river. It closed in 1978
Small fort. This was adjoining the pub and built by Major Birch in 1795. It had four guns manned by the Northfleet Volunteers, who also at the time of the Nore Mutiny manned the Gravesend blockhouse.
Howard House.  On the waterside was a red brick Queen Anne house, so named after Jeremiah Howard, a lime merchant. It was built about 1717 for Francis Mackreth, himself a lime merchant.
Howard Square, to the east was a small square of late-18th houses occupied mostly by customs officers and watermen.
Bevan’s war memorial. This stands isolated in the middle of the dereliction. It was designed by Francis William Doyle-Jones, it is a concrete memorial with a seated art deco Britannia in robes and armour with crested helmet, her cloak draped over the back of her throne. The throne stands on a cubed plinth with a bronze plaque which says 'GREAT WAR 1914-1918/EMPLOYEES OF BEVANS WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE THEIR NAMES LIVETH FOR EVERMORE' and it lists the names and occupations of the fallen..

Vicarage Drive
A small housing estate on the site of was the vicarage, built in 1834, on the site of an earlier one.  Demolished in 1961 when the present houses were built.

British Listed Buildings. Web site
Bygone Kent
Cement kilns. Web site
Cinema Treasures. Web site
DoverKent. Web site
GLIAS Newsletter
Grace’s Guide. Web site
Gravesend Historical Society, Transactions
Gravesham Borough Council. Web site
Hiscock. A History of Gravesend
Historic England. Web site
Kent Rail. Web site
Lighthouse compendium. Web site
Northfleet Heritage Trail. Web site
Northfleet History Group. Web site
St.Botolph's Church and Team Ministry. Web site
Our Lady of the Assumption. Web site
Smith. Defending London’s River
Stoyel and Kidner.  The Cement Railways of Kent
Tolhurst and Hudson. Alfred Tolhurst

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Riverside - south bank east of the Tower. Rosherville

Riverside south bank east of the Tower. Rosherville

Acres and acres of riverside dereliction, with some scandalous demolitions, awaiting 'regeneration' with tower blocks et al on a useful riverside.  Surrounded by an area which had pretensions and lost them - plus an ex resort and an art deco suburb that only Edith appears to have noticed

Post to the west Gravesend
Post to the south Perry Street
Post to the north Tilbury Docks
Post to the west Northfleet

Burch Road
The road is named after Rosher’s father in law, Benjamin Burch, who was a Limehouse base lime merchant. It was laid out as part of Rosherville New Town in 1830 by H. E. Kendal, the architect
2-6 Houses which date from the first designs for the new town.
Entrance to Rosherville Gardens At the south-west corner of Lansdowne Square and on the bend in Burch Road. This entrance was flanked by a lodge and had a grand gateway topped with sphinxes. There is now a security gate and some dereliction around this area.
39 Rosherville Hotel. This was built for Jeremiah Rosher in connection with the gardens. At the foot of the road on the west side built by H. E. Kendal. This played its part in the Gravesend Yacht Week. On the ground floor was a bar called “Rosherville Shades”.  It was used as a hospital during the First World War and then became flats and was demolished about 1963.  The site now has a tile warehouse open to the public, and a clothing factory.
Rosherville V.A.D. Hospital.  At the outbreak of the Great War the Kent/42 and /92 Voluntary Aid Detachments quickly established two hospitals near Gravesend - and soon they were full. The long disused Rosherville Hotel was then requisitioned and opened in November 1914 with 64 beds for enlisted men. It was affiliated with the Graylingwell War Hospital in Chichester and had a fully equipped operating theatre, and a dispensary. The convalescent patients were entertained by the local population, who arranged whist drives, concerts, and river trips. It closed in 1919.
Shawline House. This is the remains of the hotel. It is a single storey flat roofed building of irregular shape. It was used as drawing offices and before that as a works canteen by Fleetway Press.The building is a remnant of the former Rosherville Hotel which was demolished in 1963.
60 Burch House.  This is shown on maps of the 1860s and marked as such. In the 1930s it was offices for the National Union of Paperworkers with a membership in nearby print works and paper mills.  It now appears to be flats.
Rosherville Court. This was the ‘big’ house built as part of Rosherville on the corner of the main road. It probably dated from around 1850 and was built by George Rosher.  It subsequently had a number of local businessmen and others as residents. By the 1930s it was the Research Department for British Portland Cement Association. Apex House is on the site
St.Mark's Vicarage. On the corner of Burch Road until 1964. A ragstone Gothic building in the same style as the church. It was demolioshed in 1968 and replaced by Apex House,
Apex House. Commercial office block built in the late 1960s presumably for Apex Construction, who make process equipment for the chemical engineering trade, but who left the site in 1988 for a base in Dartford.

Clifton Marine Parade
Slaves Alley.  Beneath the cliffs was a row of cottages, at right angles to the river known as Slaves Alley, in which the 'chalkies' lived
Hit or Miss Pub. The pub had this name in 1805 and it has been conjectured that it refers to a 17th bowling-green nearby, or by a rifle range for volunteer regiments here in the 1860s, or from archery practice in the garden.  The pub was rebuilt in 1929, closed in 1987 and demolished
Bycliffes. This house was built, probably by Cleverley, at the western end of his shipbuilding yard east of Slaves Alley.  It was lived in by a succession of industrialists, who had works on this site, including Gladdish, and Fletcher, and eventually became offices for the Imperial Paper Mills and eventually demolished.
Rails. The road ends at the Northfleet boundary.  Here were tramlines coming down from the chalk pits and lime works to the south and going to riverside wharves for transshipment.

Crete Hall Road
Crete Hall. This was on the east side of the later printing works. It sat in a little miniature park on the riverside with lawns at the back. It was built by Benjamin Burch about 1800 and was later the home of his son-in-law, Jeremiah Rosher. In 1905 it was bought by W. T. Henley’s Telegraph Works, Ltd... It was used as housing for their local manager, and was later used as offices, being demolished in 1937
W.T.Henley. The Henley submarine cable works had been set up in North Woolwich in 1859 and, in order to expand, bought the Crete Hall Estate in 1903.  This first Northfleet works made paper insulated power cables. In 1921 the Henley Tyre and Rubber Co made tyres and balls. They expanded through the 1920s to land in the south and eventually the whole of what had been Rosherville Gardens. In 1939 the site was cleared to build a factory for electrical distribution equipment. During the Second World War the Henley organisation played a major role in development and producing equipment including input into PLUTO.  In 1959 Henleys were taken over by AEI who were in turn taken over by GEC in 1967. In 1997 the cable operations passed to T T Electronics.  Most of the site is cleared but the art deco Engineering Building from 1939 possibly still remains with ship emblems in between windows.  When ships loaded cable it was run in a continuous length from the factory. The art deco research laboratory with ceramic tile decoration has also now gone. The whole site is to be developed for housing.
Fleetway Press. This had begun as Harmsworth's Printing Works opened in 1901 along with their paper making works at Imperial Paper Mills. In the 1960's it became part of the International Publishing Corporation and eventually the Reed Group. It was renamed as Fleetway Press.  Originally there were gas-powered generators, flat-bed and rotary presses, collators and binders.  The works undertook runs of weekly magazines with massive circulations.  By the 1960s it had been modernised with rotary letterpress, and a large sheet-fed offset-litho. They could fold and bind journals as well as produce unsewn paper-backs and children's annuals, and long run comics and weekly women’s magazines. The factory was demolished in 2013.
The Mount. This was a big house owned by Mr. Killick and standing between the Crete Hall Estate and industry. It was bought by Alfred Tolhurst.
British White Lead Company. This had been the Northfleet White Lead Company who had a works on land adjacent to London Road, previously owned by Tolhurst.
Imperial Portland Cement Co took over the white lead works in 1898 and the Little Dockyard to the north and made cement. By 1900 they were part of APCM.
Northfleet Power Station was a coal fired 720 MW power station opened in 1963 by Central Electricity Generating Board on the site of the Red Lion Cement Works. It was oil fired from 1970.  It had two five hundred foot chimneys and a wharf .It closed in 1991 and was demolished, although final demolition of foundations has only taken place in 2015
Red Lion. The current pub dates from around 1900. It now has an attached night club and loud music venue called Leo’s.
Red Lion. The old Red Lion public house was on a site nearer the river to the south of Red Lion Wharf and dated from 1723Sheeps Hill cottages were nearby.
Red Lion Cement Works. This was later the site of the Northfleet Power Station in the 1960's and 1970s. When Alfred Tolhurst built the Red Lion Cement Works about 1880 it had had a previous existence. There were two pits and a tramway which ran under the London Road in a Tunnel.  Tolhurst was a Gravesend solicitor.  He built the cement works in 1896 and was the first cement manufacturer to use locomotives to haul his chalk trucks. He exploited the Red Lion Works to sell chalk as ballast and for cement manufacture. The works became part of APCM in 1912 and was closed during the First World War
Red Lion Deepwater Wharf. In 1894 Tolhurst built the Deepwater Wharf, a wooden T-shaped structure jutting which enabled a large sailing vessel to operate from the wharf at low tide. It carried a tramway and had tipping facilities. Locomotives replaced horses.  The site was not used between the wars but in the Second World War concrete anti-aircraft towers were built here. These  were the 4,500 ton reinforced concrete floating forts designed by Guy A. Maunsell placed in the Thames Estuary to deter enemy mine laying. The first fort was towed down the river in 1942 followed by three more - Shivering Sands, Red Sand Fort and Nore Fort. They are five stalked towers in a star shape with four legs and joined by a walkway.   Holloway Brothers then constructed twenty one towers for the Army, also to be placed in the Thames Estuary to deter German Aircraft. The Red Lion Wharf site was used for the construction of reinforced concrete Floating Dry docks and a single Normandy Bombardment Tower, all designed by Guy Maunsell. The site was finally cleared when the generating station was built in 1951.
Gravesend Welding and Electrical Engineering Ltd. This company which existed from at least the 1920s employed 140 men and in the Second World War and made gun carriages as well and components of Mulberry Harbours.  In peacetime they made machinery of many sorts and also electrical equipment. They had factories here and in Sittingbourne.
Imperial Cement Company's works adjoining Red Lion and closed in the Great War.

Fountain Walk
This is an estate built in the 1960's on the site of large houses which had been demolished.  Flats called Rosher House, owned by the Gravesend Churches Housing Association were built in the late 1970's on the site of St Mark’s church. The entrance road which replaces the tower has a fountain from which the estate takes its name.

Lansdowne Square
Laid out as part of the scheme for Rosherville New Town in 1830, by H. E. Kendal. It was planned as a block of four large villas - 1-8 - surrounded by open space and then terraces and having a strong relationship to the pier which lies downhill of the houses and the river.

London Road
Immediately after crossing the parish boundary the name of the road changes from Overcliffe to London Road.
Rosherville Schools. This small flint school was built in 1871, as church schools by the Rosher family. It became a junior mixed and infant school in 1937.
Tunnel under London Road which now carries Rosherville Way. This dates from about 1870 and carried a tram way from the riverside cement works to pits to the south.
Lodge. This stood at the north side of the road from where a path now descends northwards, This was a road known as the Coach Road and is said to have been a private carriage drive to Crete Hall,
27 Fox and Hounds. Pub which dated from 1839 and has been demolished, probably since 2000.
52 Nisa and post office.  This was once St Marks Social Club
75-81  Shops. This parade of shops, though neglected, are in a pretty art deco style, like so much of this part of Rosherville and very much reflects its period.
Bus Depot. Until about 1930 the site was Johnson's dairy farm. The bus depot was built here to replace an old tram depot in Old Dover Road, which had been compulsory purchased by London Transport along with the buses and routes. It opened in 1937 having been planned for 85 vehicles. It was the first London Transport Country Bus garage to have a staff canteen and also included office accommodation for district staff in a pretty art deco entrance block. There was some air raid accommodation and facilities for dealing with contaminated buses.  Room for expansion was included. The garage is now owned by Arriva.
Rosherville Substation. This was the Northfleet sub station for the Gravesend electric works and the Gravesend coat of arms remain on the building. It is enclosed by the original railings. The supply was extended to Northfleet in 1907. It is still in use as part of UK Power Networks
Rosherville Halt.  This was opened in 1886 by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway to serve Rosherville Gardens and tickets could include admission to the gardens. The West Street railway line went under road in a tunnel.  The station was in a cutting with an island platform and had wide staircases because they expected big crowds. There was a second entrance.  .  In 1886 on Whit Monday 14,000 people visited the gardens which closed in 1910. The station closed in 1933 July. 
Signal box. This was in a recess in the cutting wall. 
The stationmaster's house remained on the bank but now appears to have gone.
Labour Exchange. This closed in 1973 when new offices were opened in The Grove
Fountain Court. This estate marks the site of the London Road entrance to Rosherville Gardens. The garden entrance, built to open in 1864, had a tower with a clock with chimes which played tunes. It was replaced by circular windows. The tower was demolished in 1938, but the entrance remained with its wall plaques until 1965. Remains of the Upper Walk and steps in the cliffs can be seen at the end of the housing estate, and the urns and statues now forming part of the ornamental gardens come from there,.
Rosherville Gardens. Cliff top entrance with a platform, terrace walls, tunnel and stairs to the Gardens built in 1869 by James Pulham and Sons in Pulhamite over brick, clunch and plaster. The staircase leads into a 17 metre sloping tunnel excavated in the chalk. The platform has terrace walls, balustrades and places for statues. One arch in the tunnel once went to an Ionic temple.  Ultimately it now leads out onto the cliff
St. Mark's. This modern church replaces one built in 1855 which was demolished in 1976. The architects were Messrs. H. and E. Rose, and it was paid for by the Rosher family. It was built of Kentish rag which weathered very badly, and extensive repairs were carried out in 1896 under W. and C. A. Bassett Smith, when the four stone angels which stood on supports round the spire were removed. The new church was built in 1977 and included some stained glass windows saved from the original church. The new church was built to be used both as a church as a community centre. The sanctuary can be closed with a screen. It was extended in 1997 to include a room for small group activities and meetings
War memorial. This is outside the new church centre and comes from the original church.
106 Elephant’s Head Pub. This probably dated from 1843. An elephant's head was the crest of the Rosher family. The pub is now apparently Sikh owned along with the two Asian food shops adjacent.

Marina Drive,
Site was until about 1930 a small dairy farm known as Johnson's. The houses were built, like the rest of Rosherville in this period, in an art deco style.

House with gate posts that appear to come from a previous site. May be a path which went down to Bycliffes??
Walkways down the cliff side to Thames Way below. Tunnel is that provided for the Gravesend West Line to run under the road.

Pier Road
Laid out as part of a scheme for Rosherville New Town in 1830, by H. E. Kendal.
32-39 Full Gospel Church. In the 1930s this was known as the Glad Tidings Hall.  It appears to date from between the wars.

Rosherville Gardens
Rosherville Gardens. These were laid out in 1837 by George Jones in a disused chalk pit on a site bounded by Crete Hall Road, London Road, and Burch Road. He had leased the land from Rosher and set up the "Kent Zoological and Botanical Gardens", which were intended as a botanical garden and educational project. It was to become a popular resort of Londoners. Gardens were laid out with flower beds, paths and many attractions. From 1842 it was renamed Rosherville Gardens. Visitors coming by boat via Rosherville Pier entered from Burch Road but in 1869 a new entrance was made from the London Road with steps inside a tunnel to the gardens below. The remains of this entrance have now been listed.  There was a maze, a hermitage, a lookout tower and a Gothic Hall with Baron Nathan who was the Master of Ceremonies. The Hall was used as a restaurant, ballroom and theatre.  An outdoor dancing platform was built outside it in 1860 and later a Drawing Room Theatre and later Bijou Theatre. An open-air stage was built by the dancing platform. Entertainments included fireworks, tightrope walkers, balloon ascents and a gypsy fortuneteller.  There was much else. In 1872 George Jones died and the gardens were taken over by the Rosherville Gardens Company Ltd. Gradually less people came to the gardens despite in 1886 the provision of Rosherville Halt. In 1900 Rosherville Gardens went bankrupt and re-opened following changes in 1903. However the site continued to lose money and closed in 1913. In 1914 they were the location of a film made by the Magnet Film Company, which planned to make more films there, but the Great War intervened. In 1924 five acres of land were sold to T Henley's Cable Works and in 1939 they bought the rest of the land and the gardens were completely cleared. Recently all 20th building on the site of the Rosherville Gardens have also been completely removed.
Bear Pit. The bear pit of 1837 has recently been excavated and listed. It was an open bear pit with four attached chambers or dens.

Rosherville Place
This tiny row of shops and a pub was on The Shore, facing the river at the bottom of pier road and below the balustrade which continued above it. It has now been demolished, probably in the 1970s – since known families were living there until then. This is probably what was also called ‘Teapot Row’.
1 British Tar. Russell’s Brewery house extant from 1851 until 1914.

Rosherville Way
By pass road from the river southwards on the line of a tram line from the Red Lion Cement Works to pits south of the London Road.

Thames Way
New Road built on the line of the West Street Railway Line

The Shore
Rosherville Place. Shops and a pub built at the eastern end
Rosherville Pier. This was built at the foot of Burch Road in 1840 to bring visitors to the gardens. It was designed by the architect H.E.Kendall for Jeremiah Rosher. The quay walls are constructed in stone rubble with stuccoed gate piers. The steps are of York stone. There is a central entrance in the quay wall with steps leading down to the drawdock, which goes under the road.  The pier which ran from here was wooden.
Drawdock with lower walls of coursed stone
Mine-watching post from the Second World War in yellow brick with a concrete roof.
Ferry from this pier to Tilbury in the mornings and a return trip at night for those who lived at Rosherville and travelled to London by the London, Tilbury and Southend railway.

The Old Sun. Believed to have been present by 1766 but rebuilt in 1905. Now closed and flats and offices, but manages to look open.

Bygone Kent
DoverKent. Web site
Fountain Walk Residents News. Web site
Glazier. London Transport Garages
Gravesend Historical Society, Transactions
Gravesham Borough Council. Web site
Historic England. Web site
Lost Hospitals of London. Web site
Northfleet Heritage Trail. Web site
Romance of the Amalgamated Press
Stoyel and Kidner.  The Cement Railways of Kent
Tolhurst and Hudson. Alfred Tolhurst
Turner.  The W.T.Henley Telegraph Works.

Again Edith must confess to her Gravesend childhood - with a father who worked at one of these factories and houses visited in these streets. So some unsourced memories here.