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

1853
• St. Marks’s Church, Rosherville, built at a cost of £4,500 which was provided by the Rosher family.
• General Steam Navigation Company’s second paddle steamer “Eagle” built at Pitcher’s Dockyard also the “Northfleet” built for the China trade. (See 1873)

1854
• Last burial at the Woodville Gardens burial ground took place. (See 1789)
• Walkers Brewery in Wellington street established under the name Alexander Walker. (See 1893, 1905, 1928)
• London, Tilbury & Southend railway obtained powers to run steamboats from Tilbury to Gravesend and Rosherville. This was only to carry passengers to and from their trains.
• Gravesend Hospital opened in Bath Street (known as “Dispensary and Infirmary” until 1884). Lord Darnley gave the site and 100 guineas.
• Earl of Darnley and other gentlemen founded the North Kent Cricket Club, with the Bat and Ball as its home ground.
• Christ Church built (Parrock Road) and consecrated in 1856. (See 1935)
• St. James’s School (on the corner of Stuart Road) opened.

1855
• Gravesend “Free Press” started by Thomas Hall of Windmill Street.
• “Sir William Peel” (1,535 tons) built at Pitcher’s Dockyard.

1856
• First edition of the Gravesend and Dartford Reporter newspaper published in February this year.
• An Act of Parliament was introduced for effectually paving, cleansing, lighting and otherwise improving the town.
• Metropolitan Board of Works introduced scheme to discharge London sewage into the Thames at Crossness. (The resultant pollution affected Gravesend’s position as a “resort”)
• Charles Dickens bought Gad’s Hill Place, Higham for £1,790 although he did not make this his permanent home until 1860.

1857
• Pitcher’s Dockyard put into the hands of the official receiver.
• Gravesend Milton Club (later the Mid-Kent Cricket Club) played matches at the Bat & Ball ground.
• Charles Dickens stayed at Waites Hotel in Gravesend whilst alterations were made at Gad’s Hill Place. Later in the year the writer, Hans Christian Andersen stayed as a guest of Charles Dickens at Gad’s Hill.
• Extensive fire in East Street and High Street.
• The Bethel (a branch of the British and Foreign Sailor’s Society) opened in West Street.
• Jewish Academy and Synagogue established at what was previously the Tivoli Hotel, Windmill Street.
• Mechanics Institute dissolved. (See 1838)
• Milton British School had 215 scholars. (See 1852)
• J. Cooper & Co. house furnishers, opened new premises at 18 King Street.
• A number of omnibuses operated between Milton Place and Rosherville Gardens.
• All Saints Perry Street National School opened. (See 1965)
• There were 20,000 visitors to Rosherville for Bank Holiday week in August and the first hospital fete took place at the Gardens to raise funds for the Gravesend Hospital.
• Big fire in King Street.
• Reverend Joseph Hindle of Higham built The Knowle in School Lane, Higham.

1858
• The stained glass window in the east of Milton Church was given in memory of the Pinching family, three generations of whom were doctors in Gravesend.
• Princess Royal and her husband, Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia, sailed for Germany from the Terrace Pier immediately after their marriage. 58 young ladies of Gravesend strewed flowers in their path.

1859
• First Kent Volunteer Artillery Corps formed after a public meeting, because of the threat of invasion from the French.

gravesend-railway-station-1860.jpg
gravesend-railway-station-1860.jpg

1860
• Additional toll gate erected on The Hill, Northfleet.
• Northfleet Dockyard finally closed on the death of William Pitcher.
• St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic School, Northfleet, opened.
• Katy Dickens (daughter of Charles Dickens) married Charles Allston Collins (brother of the famous author Wilkie Collins) at St. Mary’s church, Lower Higham.
• Wombwell Hall built for Thomas Colyer-Fergusson on the site of two earlier houses, built in 1471 and 1663. (See 1949, 1994)

1861
• Stained glass east window at St. Botolph’s Church installed as a memorial to the Prince Consort.
• Population of Gravesend and Milton, 18,039. Population of Northfleet 5,743.

1862
• The Russian composer, Rimsky-Korsakov (then a midshipman in the Russian Navy) spent four months from November, at Gravesend while his ship was anchored for refitting, and composed part of a symphony during that time.
• St. John’s Church, Higham built.
• The Ragged School moved to a new building in Church Street. (See 1955)
• Milton Barracks officially opened in June. The first troops occupied the Barracks soon after - 304 men and 12 officers. (See 1969, 1979)

1863
• The Primitive Methodists built a chapel in Darnley Street.
• Princess Alexandra of Denmark landed and was met by her future husband, later Edward VII.
• The foundation stone of the London & County Bank (High Street) laid and premises opened the following year. (Until 1901)

1864
• Gravesend Journal founded (later Gravesend Standard). (See 1892)
• Avis Lee, gypsy queen and fortune teller at Rosherville Gardens died. She once lived in a hut amongst cliffs at Rosherville.
• The South East railway company replaced the Milton Road level crossing with a bridge.
singlewell-1864.jpg
singlewell-1864.jpg

1865
• General Gordon came to Gravesend as Royal Engineer officer in command at the New Tavern Fort.
• John Huggens died, aged 90 and was buried in St.Botolph’s churchyard. The cortege came by road from Sittingbourne to Northfleet. (See 1847)
• Holy Trinity School opened.
general-gordon-1867.jpg
general-gordon-1867.jpg

1866
• Christ Church enlarged.
• Chalk village school opened. (See 1938)

1867
• New Thames Yacht Club formed.

1868
• Ragged School partly destroyed by fire.
• The first cricket team to tour England from overseas, the Australian Aboriginee side, landed at Gravesend and were taken to lunch at the Bat & Ball Inn. They later played a match at the ground against the Gentlemen of Kent.
• Gravesend became a Parliamentary Borough (this included Northfleet). Gravesend’s first Member of Parliament was Sir Charles Wingfield of the Liberal Party. (See Appendix II for a complete list of Members of Parliament from this date)
• Inaugural meeting of the Gravesend Co-operative Society at “The Amsterdam” in East Street.
• Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (the American poet) spent a weekend with Charles Dickens at Gad’s Hill Place, Higham.

1869
• General Gordon became a member of the Ragged School Committee.
• Woods Brewery, East Street, established under the name G. Wood & Sons. (See 1910)

1870
• St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church established in the Grove. (See 1947, 1961)
• Chalk Vicarage built by the Reverend William Joynes. (See 1966)
• County Court building erected in King Street (the court was previously held in the Town Hall).
• The foundation stone laid at St. Andrew’s Waterside Mission Church and was consecrated the following year.
• All Saint’s Church, Perry Street, built.
• Huggen’s College Chapel completed. (See 1847)
• Charles Dickens died at Gad’s Hill Place. Dickens Swiss Chalet in which he wrote many of his novels, was given to Lord Darnley and erected in the grounds at Cobham Hall. (It is now housed at the Dickens Centre, Rochester) (See 1929)

1871
• The Turnpike Trusts were dissolved and the Toll Gate on The Hill, Northfleet removed.
• Milton Mount College founded. (See 1971)
• General Gordon left Gravesend. (See 1865)
• Population of Gravesend and Milton 19,995. Population of Northfleet 6,515.

1872
• Regatta boat won by Jesse Lukes. This was a “free watermans race” in which the winner received a fully equipped watermans boat as first prize. The first boat ever offered as a prize at the regatta was in 1846.
• Shorne Village School built on Butcher’s Hill, Shorne. Classes were previously held in Randall chapel in the church on the common. (See 1974)
• Tower of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church built.
• Orme House, Northfleet, demolished to make way for the expansion of Knight, Sturge & Bevan’s cement works. The house was probably built in the early 18th Century and may have stood on the site of an earlier house, dating back as far as Elizabethan times.