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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38. Here is a view of some of the patrons of the gardens crewding in to sce the attractions. Each of the coloured lanterns strung along the sides had a candle which was lit by one of the garden's employees. The atmosphere of the gardens was quite romantic as the light from the lantems gradually crept up further into the evening gloom along the various paths and terraces. However, the Rosherville Gardens Company, despite notices and insistenee upon the reasonable dress of patrons, still had considerable vandalism problems. Society produced its army of aggressive louts who travelled with the ordinary visitors and smashed anything when not kept under supervision.

39. The postcard here was sent in 1917 but dates from around 1910. The view is along the Italian Garden with its ornate architecture of balustrades, temples and statues. For most visitors this would be the dosest they could ever get to Italy. The Rosherville Gardens Company spent hugh sums on wages needed to employ gardeners to maintain these spectacular layouts. Rare plants and flowers were planted throughout and were pieces only to be seen by visits to the gardens. During the 19th century, Rosherville surpassed even the gardens at Vauxhall and North Woolwich. This beautiful spot gradually lost its statuary and balustrades during the 1910's, part ofthe Italian Gardens became an allotment.

40. The bear pit was a popular feature. The bear would climb to the top of his pole and catch buns thrown by the public , but was described as 'rather smelly'. A soldier , who climbed into the area around the bear pit, fell against the railings and the bear bit his hand in November 1884. The injury meant that the soldier had to leave the army but wanted f500 compensation - which he did not get. In November 1887 the bear met with a sticky end when he died and was then roasted and eaten by guests. When in 1900 the gardens temporarily closed, a young Russian male kharki bear, eight feet tall, was up forsale.

Roshervi/le Gardens. Upper Terrace.

41. Apart from the normal visitors, private parties also used the gardens such as in 1887 when a party of 750 jews descended upon the grounds. The nature of the gardens changed from being the rather scientific 'Kent Zoological and Botanical Gardens' in the early years, to more of a simple pleasure ground in the heyday of the 1880's. Quiet terraces such as this were used by many courting couples. the local children loved to dimt up in the trees and drop twigs upon them. For more lively folk such paths led to other attractions like birds, wolves and various fun fair shows such as fortune telling and the hokey-pokey man.

42. Because the gardens were in a chalk pit, the cliffs had to have entrance stairways cut into them to enable the public to gain admittance to the various parts of the complex, such as the pheasantry, the firework lawn, the wilderness, the rookery, the maze and the many terraces and paths. After 1900, however, the gardens became cven less profitable and the new managements were unable to hold the decline. In 1914 the Magnet Film Company took over and used the site for several film scenes, while the archery lawn became a football pitch.

43. After 1918, structures such as this one, "The Arokas', were rapidly demolished by both neglect and man. The Gravesend and North Kent Hospital, to which Northfleet sent patients, had held fund raising fetes in the gardeIis since 1857. After 1911, these fetes were no longer held in the gardens. The continued growth of industry along the riverside meant that Henley's, the electric cable factory, purchased the site and began spreading their factory on to it. The aerial view shown in photograph 31 illustrated the extent of the garden's area and the decline by 1924. In 1936 a final hospital fete was held here. In 1937 the whole site was purchased by Henley's: the tower entrance was demolished in 1939.

44. Leaving Rosherville Gardens through the London Road Tower, Rosherville itself was entered. St. Mark's was built to serve the growing Rosherville area in 1853 at a cost of f4 ,500 paid by the Rosher family. The structure was built of Kentish ragstone which weathered so badly that extensive repairs had to be carried out in 1896 when four stone angels on the spires (shown here) were removed. In 1965 the neighbouring vicarage was demolished and the church itself followed in 1976 to be replaced in 1977 by the present church centre.

45. Rosherville Railway Station was opened on 10th May 1886 for the benefit of visitors to Rosherville Gardens and also Ioeal residents. One of the entrance drives to the station was off London Raad next to the farmer Labour Exchange. The !ine was that which terminated at the Gravesend West Station to the north and Fawkham Junction to the south, conneeting the Charing Cross route with the Victoria line. In 1922, when this view was taken, Rosherville was Northfleet's second station and its station master was Arthur G. Povey. The decline of Rosherville gardens resuited in fewer passengers and the station was closed on 16th July 1933.

Jhe Jhame8 from .}?08Iie;vi!{e 8al'dens.

46. The above postcard was sent in 1909 but is dated around 1900. The view is towards a house known as 'The Mount' which was one of the former gentry residences and was last mentioned in the Town Directory for 1900. The chimney comes from the Red Lion Cement Factory owned by Alfred Tolhurst who lived at Northfleet House (20) and whose family built the Roman Catholic Church on The HilI in 1914. The view comes from the western end of Rosherville Gardens which was the first area to be covered with industry. The field, shown on the right of the postcard, was also industrialised by the early 1930's.

47. Crete Hall was one ofthe severallarge houses which stood in Northfleet which have since been demolished for industry such as Howard House, Orme House and Hive House. Crete Hall was built around 1800 by Benjamin Burch and was situated in a small park by the riverside near Henley's Jetty. By 1818 Jeremiah Rosher, after whom 'Rosherville' is named, was in occupation. In 1838 some 20 acres of the park were taken over by Rosherville Gardens. In 1905, Henley's Cable Works bought the house and 12Y2 acres turning it into the Work's Managers' residence.

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