A Virtual Museum - Your Town, the Borough and its History

General Description

This area includes the river frontage from the PLA site in Royal Pier Road, eastwards as far as the lock and Canal Basin.

History

chantry heritage centre
chantry heritage centre
Central to the area is one of the town's most striking features, New Tavern Fort; built in 1779/80, a poignant reminder of the role long played by Gravesend in the defence of the realm, as are the indicators of the Tudor blockhouse near the Canal Basin and the remains of another in front of the Royal Clarendon Hotel, just outside the area.


This historic defensive role has now been interlaced with leisure uses which take full advantage of the changes of level to provide a natural auditorium around the bandstand and a viewing platform for the river, which can be viewed at closer quarters along the promenade. A joint venture between the New Tavern Fort Project and the Borough Council for the restoration, rearmament and display of the fort has continued since 1975 with the aim to promote an understanding of its role as a defensive organism and a military community. It now has a museum within its structures. Within the gardens also stands Milton Chantry, a late fourteenth century building on the site of a former leper hospital. Converted to a dwelling at the Reformation, in the eighteenth century to a public house called the New Tavern, and used during the nineteenth century as a barracks and a hospital, it is now Gravesend's heritage centre.

statue of general gordon
statue of general gordon
bandstand
bandstand
General Gordon is remembered here. He lost his life at Khartoum in 1885 and his house (Fort House) located in Fort Gardens, was destroyed during the Second World War but his name lives on in the area and his statue stands in the Gordon Memorial Gardens.

The Canal Basin is the western end of the Thames and Medway Canal. Built by the engineer William Tierney Clark, it was opened at the Gravesend end in 1824. It was not a success and was eventually abandoned for commercial use in 1935. The basin is now separated from the canal.
Fort Gardens
Fort Gardens

Character

canal basin
canal basin
The eastern part of the area is dominated by leisure uses and the character is one, therefore, of a low-key informal and relaxed nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the town and its traffic. The pattern of development at the western end is more complex. The Custom House, a building of great dignity, contributes to the maritime character of the area and Royal Terrace Pier and the presence of the Port of London Authority offices compound the maritime ambience.

pier
pier

customs house gravesend
customs house gravesend