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28. "I'he Square', Swanscombe. Everyone who knows Swanscombe is aware that there has never been an area known as 'The Square'. The view is the junction of Stanhope Road into the High Street around 1935. The bus service had replaced the trams in 1929 and, unlike the trams, the buses had flexible routes down into Swanscombe itself instead of by passing the town along London Road which was the case with the trams. The Slabs or 'Squint Eye Row' cottages can be seen on the right of the picture, but it is Ramsdales Dairy, which dominated the view at this time. The dairy was formerly 'The Prince ofWales' public house, which ceased business around 1914 becoming one of the three dairies in Swanscombe, which survived into the late 1930s. The whole parade of shops including Ramsdale's Dairy and the neighbouring cottages in Milton Road (to the left) were demolished in 1961 and replaced by a red brick row of shops. This later development was designed to improve Swanscombe's shopping and made a major visual impact in an area ofVictorian development.

29. BelleVue House, Stanhope Raad circa 191 O.This house is unlike the workers cottages, which were rapidly covering Swanscombe from the 1840s onwards. Belle Vue was situated witb views over the Ebbsfieet Valley towards N orthfleet prior to tbe excavation of tbe land and before industrialisation had covered tbe area. The sales particulars of a very similar building on Galley Hill show us that there was a handsome entrance hall with kitchens, wine cellar and coal celJar in tbe basement. The ground fioor having two parlours with a water closet and a hands ome staircase to the next floor with two good chambers: one front and one back complete with a neat dressing room with two roomy chambers on the top fioor. A coach house witb loft over came as part of the property as did gardens and the house was newly constructed in 1846. Swanscombe Urban District councillorThomas Kemp lived here until tbe mid-1930s. During tbe Second WorldWar tbe house was used as flats for bombed-out families and it has been a home for the elderly since the 1980s. During tbe interwar years tbe house next door was the home and practice of Dr. Michael Lynch, one of three general practitioners in Swanscombe at that time.

30. Rixson's Farm, Stanhope Road.This farrnhouse was known as 'Lodge Farm' during the twentieth century and as 'Swanscombe Lodge' in the nineteenth century. The house contained much flint in addition to brickwork and probably dated from the eighteenth century before being altered in Victorian times. The farm occupied much of the land between Stanhope Road and the border with Northfleet, and was in the ownership of Mr. S.c. Umbreville of Ingress Abbey during the 187 Os. William Rixson later occupied the farm, before he gave up the site in 1944. Lodge Farm had acres of orchards in the nineteenth century but its fields were steadily taken over as allotments so that Swanscombe locals could access extra food for themselves and by 1938 the rest of the farmland had been destroyed by chalk quarrying. The house was still able to sell some produce but soon became dilapidated. The farm was eventually demolished in 1984.

31. Southfleet Raad, Swanscombe circa 1930. The view shows the twelve properties built after the sale ofthe land along the western edge of Southfleet Raad in 1 89 1 . Originally a row of some 32 houses and shops was to occupya great leng th of the raad but most were never constructed. The Swan Valley School graunds occupy the site of the un-built houses but this small row had one shop in it: WJ. Pring, which was a general shop also selling sweets. The locals of the 1 93 Os would wander down Southfleet Raad to look at the newly -constructed 3-lane A2 and see the trafik on a Sunday night. Mr. Pring's shop was one of the few businesses open on a Sunday night to supply the needs oflocal traffic spatting: a custom that has long since lost its appeal in this age of almast universal car ownership.

32. Swanscombe Secondary School, Southfleet Raad. The school had a very colourful history. It began in 1938 as a junior girls and infants in temporary buildings behind terraeed houses in Southfleet Raad. The site was originally part of the Mansion House estare and included orchards and a hop garden of same 15 acres. During the Second World War the new building was not used as a school because the huge glass windows were considered toa dangerous if broken in air raids. After 1945 the school was extended and enlarged - it became the Swanscombe Secondary School for bath sexes by 1967 and continued until 1992, when it was deckled to close the school, demolish the buildings and scatter Swanscombes considerable secondary school aged pupiIs to surrounding areas. The stupidity of this politica! move was clearly demonstrated when a new secondary school was then built on the site in 1998 being the first in the area for twenty years. The new school was called 'Swan Valley Community School' and was constructed under the controversial 'Private Finance Initiative' system of funding - the results of which future generations will inherit. In November 2002 Swanscornbe's aid branch library in Church Raad closed and moved to a new accommodation within this new complex.

33. Swanscombe Street,looking west circa 1905. Swanscombe Street was the original village ofSwanscombe before the industrial era, which created the modern High Streel. Swanscombe itself was weil away from the main A2 2 6 road to the north and it had the make up of a classic village: a major public house, manor house and church all in close proximityThis view shows the 'Blue Anchor' public house on the right (with sign) and a row of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century brick cottages, most of which have been demolished or greatly altered since 1905. The enclosed land on the left, above the brick wall, was an open field with two ponds separating the Manor House from the Mansion House. Part of this field was used as a Prisoner of War camp during the Second World War. The German prisoners were used to help on the farms and sorne married Swanscombe ladies after the war. Af ter 1945 the camp was used to accommodate building workers who travelled to London to clear war damage. Keary Raad and Munford Drive occupy the field area today. At a quick gla:nce of this picture, one could be forgiven for thinking it was nearby Cobham or Southfleet and sa shows how much of the rural pre-industrial heritage was still in existence until weil into the twentieth century.

34. Swanscombe Street looking East circa 1908. On the right side is the fence ofManor Farm, which stood next to St. Peter and St. Paul's Church (see pictures 39 and 40).The farm had been owned by the cement industry since 1872 and was rented by a succes sion of farmers including]ohn Westacott Gunn who ran it from about 1898 with the Gunn Family in occupation throughout the period prior to 1939.

On the left is Eglington Road with a gas lamp-post supplied by the Northf1eet and Greenhithe Gas Company. The row ofVictorian terraeed houses sweeps down to the Blue Anchor public house and its adjacent eighteenth century cottages. Beyond the Blue Anchor is whar appears to have once served as the inu's stabling facilities before the early nineteenth century houses known as Rosina Terrace begin.

Tasteless redevelopment since the 1960s has destroyed this scene apart from the now much altered Victorian cottages on the left.

35. Swanscombe Street looking west circa 192 O. The view is looking from the junction of Stanhope/Southfleet roads along Swanscombe Street. Like many streets, this has had several names. In 1881 it was Church Road, which is logical as the parish church is further along, but by 1909 it was 'High Streel' and became Swanscombe Street shortly afterwards. The lamp-posts shown are gas but in 1930 a decision was taken to use electricity and by 1931 123 such lamp-posts had been converted ar replaced. The houses on the left are 'White's Villas' which have an obvious conneetion with the Whitc's Cement Works and were built in 1899. These replaced five farm cottages, which were sold for development in 1890. Beyond the houses is open ground occupied until the 1930s by allotrnent gardens, which were one ofmany fairly smallland plots given over to providing extra food for Swanscombe's poar families. On the right can just be seen 'Combe Lodge' a large Victorian house dating from the 1850s. lts garden spread towards Stanhope Road, which was developed piecemeal from about 1902 until the 1930s when the former planned garden was covered in housing.

36. The Mansion House (not to be confused with the nearby Manor House) stood on the south side of Swanscombe Street almast opposite the junction with ChurchRoad. It was believed to have been Elizabethan (1558-1603) but as this picture shows it was massively altered in the nineteenth century During the mid- to late-nineteenth century it was occupied by various families, including the Russells, who also lived at the Manor House. Iohn Russell was the owner of a large brewery in Gravesend and was twice mayor of that town (1876-1877 and 1898-1899). The most famous occupant was Henry Stapes and his family - especially his daughter Marie Stopes (1880-1958), the pioneer of promoting birth control in the early twentieth century. Henry Stapes rented the house for holidays in Swanscombe looking for prehistorie fossils - he was buried at Swanscombe Cemetery in 19ΓΌ2.The Mansion House and its estare were put up for sale in April 1890 consisting ofnearly 29 acres including building land, cottages and shops dotted over Swanscombe. The Mansion House itself consisted of three floors with dining, morning, drawing rooms, six bedrooms, a library with panelled walls, two staircases, a huge kitchen, stabling and a gardener's cottage. The house was subsequently rented out, reduced in size before being demolished after 192 2.

37. BlueAnchor Public House, Swanscombe Street, circa 1905. Swanscombe has had at least 25 pubs that are recorded - that excludes Greenhithe. Most public houses were 'beer houses' offering a basic service with na spirits allowed for sale. The Blue Anchor and the George & Dragon were the two premier establishments with fulllicenses and able to offer stabling for horses and rooms for guests. The name Blue Anchor is supposed to come from an ancient legend whereby a chain appeared from the sky one Sunday morning with an anchor at the end, which had lodged itselfbehind a gravestone in the churchyard. A man in sailor's costume descended the chain and in attempting to free the anchor drowned - even though he was on dry land. The chain was cut leaving him in Swanscombe. A local version of this story was that he was abandoned by the unseen vessel in the clouds, but survived to be the first landlord of the Blue Anchor. The anchor was seized by the locals, melted down and made into the hinges on the north door of St. Peter and St. Paul's church. This wonderlul building, with astanishing lack of taste, was demolished and replaced with a new pub on the same site (but set further back from the road) in March 1965.

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