General DescriptionIn addition to King Street itself, the area includes the northern part of Parrock Street and Windmill Street, Manor Road, Stone Street, Railway Place and the western part of Milton Road.
HistoryThe area developed from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, particularly with the creation of New Road in 1801 which encouraged the development of the town as a staging post for the coach trade from London to Rochester and on to Dover. Until then, Gravesend had been bypassed by coaches using the Old Road and Dover Road to the south of the town. This stimulated development which was further fuelled by the emergence of the "New Town" to the east. Few of the original buildings from that period remain but there are some fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings, particularly in Parrock Street, in the western part of King Street and on the south side of Milton Road. Some old red telephone boxes complement the general character of the area very effectively. 1 to 5 Milton Road, was formerly the family home of Dr. Holker who accommodated the Prince and Princess of Orange in 1734. The house was sold in 1780 to become the New Inn, named perhaps because the licensee was from the New Tavern. It had a large garden at the rear, with a bowling green. The northern part of Windmill Street was known as Upper High Street in the 18th Century. The most imposing building in the northern part of Windmill Street is Gravesend Public Library which was paid for by public donations and with the aid of a grant from Andrew Carnegie. It is constructed of Ancaster stone and red brick and was opened in 1905.
King Street's eastern end is one of the entrances to the main town shopping area. The street widens to the west coinciding with an increase in the architectural quality and grandeur of the buildings. Entry to King Street is marked by a typical Gravesend rounded corner. The western end of King Street joins New Road, High Street and Windmill Street at a focal point for the town. The street's width and the height of buildings create a sense of containment and solidity. Robust, confident styles of building are enhanced by the use of simple paving materials. Windmill Street has a smaller scale than King Street, but the grandeur of the latter continues southwards with the Public Library building and together they provide a rich stone skyscape. Further southwards the buildings are lower and more unified.
Manor Road is a quiet, semi-pedestrianised street of specialist shops, yards and alleys with a wide-open space at its western end above the railway. Parrock Street is dominated by the tall tower of St. John's church and forms part of a grid of early Victorian classical streets. The western section of Milton Road is again dominated by St. John's Church.