Northfleet in old picture postcards

Northfleet in old picture postcards

Author
:   C.R. Bull
Municipality
:  
Province
:   Kent
Country
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-3490-3
Pages
:   80
Price
:   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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58. Shears Green was first mentioned in 1357 and was a cross roads where New House Lane (left side) went to Gravesend, Hog Lane (right side) went to Springhead and Southfleet, while Coldharbour Road (foreground and opposite) ran from Perry Street to Watling Street, The area is now thickly covered with housing and the roads busy with traffic. There was no house here until Shears Green House was built around 1905 in the field behind the guide post. Shears Green Heuse's nearest neighbour was Durndale Farm down Durndale Lane (right turning by second gate). Shears Green House became the 'Battle of Britain' pub in 1961 after a temporary wooden hut had served this purpose since 1948.

59. This view of Five Ash Windmill is dated around 1885. The windmill was an essential building in the agricultural economy and was built as a smock mill by John Fiveash in 1795. By 1897 the mil! had been demolished and in 1905 Five Ash Road had covered the site ofboth it and the six smal! Five Ash cottages. As Perry Street expanded along Victoria Road and Dover Road East, the wheat fields shrank and the mill became obsolete. The nature of farming in this area also changed to more dependenee on Market gardening which also hastened Five Ash Mill's end.

60. The picture shown here would be what Waterdales area looked like before development, although this field was situated near Wombwell Hall and formed part ofWombell Hall Park. In June 1923 this was the venue for the first Annual Show of the Kent County Agricultural Society. Over the three days of the show some 15,000 people saw prize cattle, horses, poultry, dairy produce and also many traders' exhibitions. The Mayor of Gravesend opened the proceedings with the Earl of Damley as the show's president. Thomas Colyer-Ferguson of Wombwell Hall provided the venue on his estate which his family had owned since 1859.

61. Waterdales was Northfleet Urban District Council's contribution to council housing after their first estate was built in the grounds of Northfleet House (20) in the 1920's. This was one of the first streets in Northfleet to be built with main drainage and was later joined in the mid and late 1930's with further housing on the fields east of Springhead Road. The name 'Waterdales' came from the name of the field which the housing now occupies. This view was a vision of what the future held for Northfleet's development.

S . h d T & Pleasure Gardens ne ar Gravesend.

Waiercress Beds at pr1ng ea I ea

62. The Springhead Gardens and watercress beds were similar to Rosherville Gardens in that both were privately run and both were produets of, and had their heyday in, the Victorian era. The gardens were situated on the western boundary of Northfleet where the borders of the parishes of Southfleet and Swanscombe also meet. The Ebbsfleet Stream ran through this area feeding the watercress and forming the parish boundary. The Ebbsfleet (left hand side) was itself fed by eight springs, seven of which rose in Southfleet and one in Northfleet. This view, dated around 1908, clearly shows both the watercress and pleasure garden sides of the business.

63. Springhead was developed in 1805 for the growing of watercress by a Mr. Bradbury and soon became a lucrative business. The heyday of the gardens came when J. Silvester, who took over in 1834, improved the quality of the watercress and began catering for the pleasure garden aspect of the site. J. Silvester also increased both the acreage and different types of watercress. Large amounts of watercress were exported to London and a sizeable market was also available at Rosherville Gardens and for local people generally. A local delicacy was shrimps, watercress and bread.

Wafercress-beds, Springhead Tea Gardens, near Gravesend.

64. J. Silvester's gardens flourished with visitors walking over from Gravesend, Northfleet, Swanscombe and Southfleet as weil as places further afleid. He had legal battles against the parish authorities of both Northfleet and Southfleet over their lack of maintenance of a stretch of the Watling Street which led to his gardens in 1845. He also fought the South Eastern Railway Company when their line, opened in 1849, failed to have a bridge over the track to aid visitors reaching the grounds; he won both cases. In December 1849 J. Silvester committed suicide 'by discharging a brace of pistols simultaneously, one on either side of the head'. The verdict was temporary insanity.

65. The pleasure gardens and watereress were supplemented by a museum for the hoard of Roman artifaets found in this area. The gardens partially oeeupied the site of the Roman town of Vagniaeae. Many finds were sold off without record but J. Silvester was persuaded to found his museum which beeame an added attraetion. A small zoo with monkeys, guinea pigs and birds was also maintained as well as numerous other attractions. The end of the gardens began in 1900 when chalk pit digging dried up the springs. Despite the restoration of some water the gardens declined and were finally closed in 1936.

66. This view of Downs Road, Istead Rise, was taken about 1900. Until the early 1900's the Istead Rise area was farm land but housing began to develop in a piece meal fashion especially in the 1920's and 1930's. By the 1950's the whole area had been taken over by Northfleet Urban District Council who organised the remaining development so as to complete what private building had left half finished. Northfleet, in an attempt to fend off annexation plans for this area by Gravesend and also Strood Rural District, stamped its mark on Istead Rise by producing all the lamp-posts in Northfleet's colours of cream and green.

67. We now arrive at the third and final seetion of the book dealing with Northfleet people at work and play. This photograph of Northfleet worthies is dated about 1900. Of those standing (left to right) the second is Samuel Honeycombe, ancestor of Gordon Honeycombe the broadcaster. Fifth is J.H. Huntley, called the father of Northfleet, a councillor and chairman at various times from 1895 to 1936 and after whom Huntley Avenue is named. Fifteenth is Reverend M. Fineh, Chaplain of Huggens' College 1870-1920. The front row has Reverend Torre, vicar of St. Botoph's 1885-1913 (fourth) and W.R. Topham, council member and landlord of 'The Rose' at Perry Street (fifth).

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