Hoo St. Werburgh in old picture postcards

Hoo St. Werburgh in old picture postcards

:   D.S. Worsdale
:   Kent
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2924-4
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Hoo St. Werburgh is the name which was given to the Constitutional Parish in 1968. Ta sorne people it was always known by this name but most referred to it, simply, as Hoo. There have been several changes to the Boundaries and the Parish, over the last 100 years has, or does, include Hoo, Chattenden, part of Lower Upnor and a tiny piece of Cooling. Same Boundary changes were made as recently as 1963.

There has been a settlement here as early as in Roman times. There are the remains of a Roman Burial Ground between the Church and the River and the Church stands on the site of a Saxon predecessor. The greater part of the Church's construction taak place in the thirteenth century. There are several good examples of domestic architecture, mainly Inns and Farmhouses, which date from the early eighteenth century. For example the Five Bells Inn was known to exist in 1715 and Meadow House in 1710. The next developments came at the end of the nineteenth century when houses in Stoke Raad (High Street) were built to accommodate workers in the new1y arrived industries of gravel extraction, brickmaking and pottery. Later, befare the First Wor1d War, accommodation was provided in Bells Lane for workers at Kingsnorth Air Station, and in Chattenden Lane for the workers at the ammunition stores. The

next developments came during the 1918-1931 period and included Arrnytage Terrace and Villas in 1921/22 and St. Werburgh Crescent in 1931. The largest development of all occurred in the 1960's in the area to the East of Bells Lane, in Chattenden, and in Church Street. In 1891 the population was 1,400, but by 1971 it was 7,700. Thereafter large development ceased and it reached 7,800 by 1981 and is now, in 1984,8,100.

Hoo St. Werburgh has had a long association with the armed services. Cockham Wood Fort, on the riverside, was completed by 1700, after the raid by the Dutch in 1667, but only a small portion of it remains. Hoo Fort, on Hoo Ness Island, was, with others, built in the 1860's as a defence against possible invasion by the French. Chattenden Barracks was started in 1872. At first it was used by the Admiralty, but more recently became a training centre for the Royal Engineers. Kingsnorth Air Station occupied a large area at the eastern end of the Parish from the beginning of the twentieth century. It was within the responsibility of the Admiralty and various experiments with derigibles and winged aircraft were carried out there. Kings Hill Camp, at the top of Bells Lane, a hutted camp, was built for use in the Second Wor1d War, but has long since given way to housing, Here and th ere

can be found the remains of the Chattenden and Upnor Military Railway and the Chattenden Naval Trarnway.

As to Industry, the Brickworks and Pottery are na langer in existence and they have been replaced by a number of small industrial concerns and by the Kingsnorth Power Station. The small firms are concentrated on the Kingsnorth Industrial Estate and the Marina Industrial Estate, but farming remains the most important and extensive industry. Developments in industry have been accompanied by increasingly varied leisure time opportunities to be found at the Hoo Marina and by the riverside generally, at Deangate Sports Complex, at Upnor and at the Hundred of Hoo Swimming Pool.

Education in the area is based on the Comprehensive Systern and in Hoo there are a First School for the 5-9 age range, a Middle School for the 9-13 age range and the Upper School, Hundred of Hoo Comprehensive School, for the 13-18 age range. There is also a small First School at Chattenden. The Upper School provides accommodation for all pupils in the age group living on the Hoo Peninsula.

St. Werburgh lived in the seventh century and was the daughter of Wulfere, King of Mercia. She established nunneries at Hoo and elsewhere, and became the

supervisor of all the religious houses for wamen in Mercia. Originally buried at Hoo, her body was later removed to Chester, a safer place at the time, and the Cathedral developed around her shrine. Apart from Chester and Hoo, Wembury, near Plymouth in Devon, has its Church dedicated to St. Werburgh. Her motto was 'Live and let live'.

A cknowledgements

Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Vidgeon; Mr. and Mrs. Harris; Mr. B. Flack; Mrs. J. Brinton; Mr. and Mrs. J. Hempstead; Mr. and Mrs. L. Jordan; Mrs. W. Bell; Mr. and Mrs. Field; Mr. and Mrs. F. Peters; Mr. and Mrs. Shoebridge; Mrs. D. May Gallop; Mrs. Hedgman; Mrs. M. Gunner; Mr. E.J. Reed; Mr. Andrew Brice and Mrs. C. Gaze.

The Guildhall Museum, Rochester; The Royal Engineers' Library, Brompton; Messrs. Lambert & Foster; Hoo St. Werburgh Parish Council; Leonard Hill, Photographer; Kent County Library, Local Studies Section, and the many others who have helped during the course of general conversation in the many places where people meet.

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1. This Map is part of an Ordnance Survey, revised in 1903 and published in 1905; it shows virtually all of the Parish. The Parish Boundary of the time included part of Lower Upnor and so it remained until 1963. Similarly, parts of Chattenden and Cooling were not joined to the Parish of Hoo St. Werburgh until1963.

2. This print was produced in 1840. The Church remains today substantially as it is shown here, but there are not many dripstones to be seen above the windows now. There was no clock in 1840, it was not fitted until1892. The building on the right is thought to have been the local 'loek-up'. It has been suggested that the fen eed area might have been the Village Pound.

D: ß. ~e r- ièx.

CHURC'; STREET, ·Ho..<:.


3. This card is post-marked 1903 and shows the upper end of Church Street. On the right-hand is the seventeenth century Ivy House and just beyond it is a row of cottages known as Tassell's Cottages which were built in 1897. On the left-hand, after the two 'clap-board' houses, is Red House then occupied by Dr. D.L. Wall. The oillamp should be noted. The cart, without the horse, belonged to MI. Cuckow, the baker, and his premises were nearby, just out of sight. Beyond the cart is the junction with Vicarage Lane, a timber Barn and the White House. Mr. Williams is wheeling the barrow.

4. In the lower half of the window in the Tower, above the North Poreh, is the Church Clock given by Mr. Warwiek Stunt as a thank-you for the recovery of his wife from a serious illness in 1892. On the right-hand is Parsonage Farm, now long gone, which was the family home of the Everists whose burial vault can be seen just above the wall. The cottages, left, have been rep1aced by pensioners' flats, and the wooden post, partly obscuring the North Poreh, was once topped by a lamp; the post remains in p1ace today.

5. The Vicarage was built in 1879. There were many rooms and a large cellar. By the middle ofthis century it became expensive to run and the cellar would be flooded whenever the Brook overflowed. The Reverend Mr. Tuffm was the last Vicar to occupy it and then only for a short time. The land was sold for re-development in 1964/65 and the proceeds were used to provide the new Vicarage in Church Farm Road. Butt Haw Close now occupies the site.

6. The fust Church on this site dedicated to St. Werburgh was built by her cousin King Ethelbald in the eighth century, about 741. She was the daughter ofWulfere, King of Mercia. Nothing of the first Church remains visible and the present building was constructed during the thirteenth century. It stands on a sma1l mound and has remained, during the past centuries, free of flooding. The Spire and the Stair Turret were added during the fitteenth century. There is a stained glass window to the memory of Thomas Aveling (died 1882) who, with R.J. Porter, produced the first Steam Roller (Aveling & Porter).

7. This is a view ofthe eastern end of St. Werburgh's Church. The Wooden Spire is covered by Oak Shingles and is 60 feet high. The Tower is 55 feet high. The small door in the spire is used by workmen getting to the top of the Spire, first by ladder inside and then through the door and by ladder again outside. The Yew Tree is said to be between six hundred and one thousand years old.

8. This view of the interior of St. Werburgh's Church was taken round about 1912 after the departure of the Reverend Robert Marley in 1910. A plaque to his memory can be seen on the left of the Chance1. Electricity was not installed until 1934 (hence the oil lamps) and then in memory of Walter Miskin, a one time Church-warden.

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