Joyce Green

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Joyce Green

Name derived from Joyce Green Farm, which used to occupy the site. First mentioned in documents dating from 1690, but is no conclusive evidence that the name referred either to a place or to a person.

Circular track for biplane experiments in 1910 by Maxim. Site of Joyce Green Aerodrome where Vickers tested from 1911 until the First World War. . Vickers Rep Monoplane in 1911. Flown to Brooklands from Joyce Green site. They developed 28 models there, including the famous Vickers Vimy bomber that made the very first crossing of the Atlantic in 1919. Then 10 Reserve Squadron of Royal Flying Corps (RFC) took over the northern end of the site in 1914. Flying FE 8s from it. The existing facilities made it attractive but there were other drawbacks. "To use this waterlogged field for testing (and in emergencies) every now and then was reasonable... but to employ it... as a Camel (i.e. Sopwith Camel aeroplane) training station was lunacy. A pupil taking off with a ...failing engine had to choose, according to wind direction, between drowning in the Thames (half a mile wide at this point) or crashing into the Vickers TNT (explosives) Works; or hitting one of the several high chimney stacks; or sinking into a vast sewage farm; or killing himself and numerous patients in a large isolation hospital; or being electrocuted in an electrical station with acres of pylons and cables; or trying to turn and get back to the aerodrome. Unfortunately, many pupils confronted with disaster tried the last course and spun to their deaths." Air Vice Marshal Gould-Lee The RFC left in 1919 but the other occupants the Air Marshal mentions stayed on. The Site was later used for testing aircraft built at Erith and Crayford. Seaplane tested on the Darenth and crashed. Site used to build First World War aviation wireless sets by Royal Engineers and moved following a row. The RFC station was briefly commanded by Lieutenant James McCudden, a colossal hero of humble origins who won the Croix de Guerre in January 1916, the Victoria Cross in April 1918 and, in between, the Military Medal, Military Cross and Bar and Distinguished Service Order and Bar. He destroyed fifty-four German air- craft yet died in an accident as the war drew to an end.

Aviation still continues on the Marsh for a group of enthusiasts come here to fly radio-controlled model aircraft.

Joyce Green Hospital.  600 beds transferred from Metropolitan Asylums Board to London County Council took over much of the work of Dartford's general hospital, which closed down in the 1960s.

Pathway through the salt marsh. Cobbled road underneath the mud. Canals draining everywhere. Site of gibbet

Unwin's Pyrotechnics Factory. Tin shacks. Explosives Act notices. Explosives industry generally moved after the 1953 floods.  Dispersed buildings. Fireworks on the Thames to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 and in Hyde Park on Prince Charles' wedding eve in 1981, as well as for our own Guy Fawkes fun, have been made here.

Orchard Hospital Transferred from Metropolitan Asylums Board to London County Council

Name from Joyce Green Farm, 1690 or a 13th century       man, Joceus de Marisco, Joceus of the marsh


1953 Floods flooded to around 8ft.

Abounding in bird life, the Marsh is also farmed with arable crops and two hundred and fifty head of cows.

A more primitive yet still unsurpassed form of flying is manifested by the varied bird life here. Countless larks trill and hover in summer, whilst in grey winter wildfowlers take their toll of ducks. One may see heron, mute swan, mallard, shelduck, buzzard, partridge, moorhen, lapwing, ringed plover, snipe, redshank, little owl, swift, swallow, meadow pipit, yellow wagtail, magpie and reed bunting


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