Northfleet in old picture postcards

Northfleet in old picture postcards

:   C.R. Bull
:   Kent
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3490-3
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

Delivery time: 2 - 3 working days ((subject too). The illustrated cover may differ.


Fragments from the book 'Northfleet in old picture postcards'

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8. Huggens' College was founded by the Sittingboume barge owner, corn dealer and brickmaker John Huggens (1776-1865). Huggens originally planned a college in Sittingbourne for the 'elderly of middle or educated class of person' but opposition from various towns people caused him to consider elsewhere and Northfleet received the benefit. The profits from his business, in addition to his own frugal habits of life, enabled Huggens to amass the fortune needed for such asodal undertaking. The building work began in 1844 and in 1847, the first eight beneficiaries were shown their hornes by John Huggens on his 71st birthday.

9. By 1872 the accommodation forthe college had been completed. With the rapid advance of industry and housing in the area around Huggens' College, the foundation soon became an oasis of peace behind its impressive brick wall perimeter. Huggens' wish to provide for the collegians was carried out after his death by the Board of Trustees. Huggens died on 11th August 1865 and was buried on 19th August at Northfleet Churchyard. His hearse was heavily decorated and came from Sittingbourne amid much ceremony. Huggens had already planned his funerallong before his death and everything ran smoothly on the day. The original Huggens memorial (28) was replaced in 1871 by the present cross.

10. The chapel was not used until1870 because of earlier disagreement with the Bishop of Roehester and the Vicar of Northfleet. The whole complex today has totally changed from these illustrations which date from around 1912. The college gateway was restored in 1937 but dismantled in 1952 after having been struck by lightning. The chapel, lodge and all the old houses were demolished during 1966-1969 and replaced by modem bungalows with a new chapel and lodge. Part of the original site was also sold to build council flats so that John Huggens would find it difficult to recognise his own foundation today. Nevertheless, the modem college is still a haven of peace in the busy industrial bussle of modern Northfleet and it still retains the original Chaplain's house.

11. Northfleet's growth into a town was greatly helped by the obtaining of a railway line in 1849. The line ran from Dartford to Gravesend and at both places further rail conneetions existed. This illustration, looking west towards Dartford, shows the railway station with waggons and a goods shed on the right which were used by various loeal cement and other factories. The wooden strueture on the left was the signal box. The two underpass canopies are still there today but the station was reconstrueted in 1891. The varied use of the station is illustrated by an event in April 1887 when a train load of bulls was delivered but one broke loose and knocked down four people before the bull was killed in Hive Lane.

12. This view of the reconstructed station was taken in 1919 and appeared much as it does today although the surrounding housing has undergone considerable redevelopment. In the period up to the 1930's, the station and railway line marked the boundary of Northfleet's development; the area south of the station was largely arabie except for Perry Street and the beginning of development at Istead Rise and New Barn. The right hand house still stands. The Mission Room on the left, built around 1882, won its case to not pay rates in November 1887 as it was a religious building and not merely a social centre. The Mission has now gone.

13. The Ebbsfleet Pleasure Ground was the first public open space run by Northfleet Urban District Council. It was opened by Lady Parker, wife of local Member of Parliament Sir Gilbert Parker, on 12th May 1909. The opening ceremony was preceeded with a rash of bunting on the buildings in the High Street and a march by the Northfleet Silver Band (75) through the town. The area consisted of five acres of land which cost f200 to convert into a park. The generosity of the local cement combine enabled the council to rent the area for a nominal fee - mainly through the efforts of H.K.G. Bamber, a managing director.


14. The appearance ofthe Ebbsfleet stream in this picture dates from 1917 and contrasts sharply with the weed choked stagnant water of today. The Ebbsfleet farms, at this point, the parish boundary between Northfleet (right) and Swanscombe (left hand side trees). This stream, which creates here an idyllic scene of quiet meadows, was a river which had been partially navigable in medieval times. Following the Ebbsfleet north we meet the Thames at Northfleet Creek (4) while south is the Springhead Gardens area (62-65). As late as the 1930's Northfleet Urban District Council was publishing official wamings against the picking of watercress in the Ebbsfleet for fear of spreading typhoid as industry and sewage had polluted this once clear stream.

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15. This view of Northfleet High Street around 1899, shows the view from Stonebridge Road looking east. In the foreground is the horse tram track terminus and on the right, one of the gas lamp-posts. The church-like building, halfway down the left just this side of the 'Bitter and Stout' sign of the Railway Tavern, is the Sturge School. This tiny non-conformist school could only hold 40 pupils and there was always a waiting list of scholars. The building on the right, by the lamp-post, is one of the many beer retailers of Northfleet. These establishments were not fully licenced. The one shown was run by Samuel Johnson in 1906.



16. This view was sent on a postcard in 1916. The contrast with picture 15 is the major event ofthe electric trams whose track and overhead wires can be clearIy seen. The amount of horse traffic is still large although the generallevel of vehiele usage was far below the constant roaring stream of today. The bulk of the buildings shown here date from the late nineteenth century and most of them have now disappeared. The obsession with redevelopment in the 1960's caused this once thriving area to become derelict and depressed before the Council demolished the buildings and replaced them with architecture such as The Hive, Rayner's Court and the housing of Rose Street and Ebbsfleet Walk areas.

17. The Factory Club was opened on 31st July 1878 and built atthe expense of Thomas Bevan (5). The building took three years to build and cost fll,OOO and was built in honour of Bevan's oldest son, Robert, coming of age. Before 1945 the club was open to all members ofthe public and was the cultural centre of Northfleet. Two halls, games room, swimming bath, sports facilities, library and the headquarters of numerous local societies were all accommodated. In 1906 a telephone was installed among great fears that if it was over used it would be removed while in 1908 an excellent organ was presented. Kent County Library established an early branch in 1924. This view is dated 1916.

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