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

• The old windmill, close to the undershore at Granby Road, Northfleet was demolished.
• Sir Richard Acland, M.P., discussed the “H” bomb at a meeting at the Co-operative Hall, Gravesend in May.
• Dode Church, Luddesdown re-opened as a Catholic Church on 21st June and was dedicated to “Our Lady of the Meadows”. (See 1947, 1991, 1992, 1999)
• The 19,000 strong Gravesend and Northfleet United F.C. Supporters Association donated £8866 to the parent club during the past year.
• Axcell and Son, Shrubbery Road, Gravesend’s last mineral water factory closed in September.
• Northfleet U.D.C. applied to the Minister of Housing and Local Government for permission to borrow £80,084 for the erection of 60 houses on the Painters Ash Estate.
• Copus Christi Carmel (St Katherine’s) at Shorne was opened and blessed by the Catholic Bishop of Southwark. The building was to be used as accommodation for novices.
• A plan for a giant gasworks to be built on Chalk marshes was defeated by a Chalk and Denton residents’petition.
• Majestic Cinema, King Street, introduced “Cinemascope” to the Borough in October.
• Dashwood Branch Library, near Woodlands Park, Gravesend opened in October.
• The Cold War Bunker in Woodlands Park was built. (See 1995)
• Southfields Secondary School, Singlewell Road, was officially opened in March. The first pupils were transferred from Whitehill Secondary School, Sun Lane. Whitehill then became a Primary school for junior and infant pupils.
• Five Gravesend men lost their lives when the tug “Cervia” capsized whilst engaged in towing the new P. & O. luxury liner “Arcadia” from the dock to Tilbury landing stage.
• Sir Mortimer Wheeler (famous archaeologist) visited Gravesend Historical Society to speak in the Town Hall at the Society’s annual lecture.
• A plaque was unveiled to the memory of Miss Emma Jane Stevens who, with her two sisters, gave the Meadow Room to Cobham village in 1898. The plaque was situated in the Meadow Room.
• A Northfleet man’s plan for a zoo in Gravesend was opposed.
• Sir Richard Acland, Gravesend M.P., protested against the removal of Swanscombe from the Gravesend Parliamentary Constituency and its transferral to that of Dartford.

• Ragged School, Church Street, Gravesend was demolished. (See 1851, 1862)
• Plans for a new X-ray and operating theatre at Gravesend Hospital were announced.
• Plaza cinema in Windmill Street was closed in March. (See 1911, 1934)
• Higham Bowling Green opened in May.
• The Borough of Gravesend Conservative Club, an exclusively male organisation, decided to form a ladies section.
• Residents of Northfleet complained to Northfleet U.D.C. about the dust, noise and vibration caused by cement lorries.
• Members of the astronomy section of St George’s School, Gravesend, planned to have an observatory built in the grounds of the school. (See 1971)
• The full employment boom was being enjoyed in the Thameside area. There was less than 1% unemployed and workers were urgently required.
• A new school at Kings Farm for Infants and Juniors was opened in September.
• Residents of Northfleet were presented with the keys to the first post war houses to be built in the urban district.
• Judges at the Ice Cream Alliance National Competition at Southport voted Papa & Sons of The Terrace, Gravesend, as having the best ice-cream.
• Six members of the 572 ton coaster “Southport” had to jump for their lives when their vessel sank in a few minutes after being in collision with the Trinity House vessel “Ready” off Gravesend.
• The 9th Earl of Darnley died at the Gravesend & North Kent Hospital. The earl had the distinction of being Britain’s tallest peer at 6feet 6inches.

• Lord Mayor of London and Lady Mayoress visited Gravesend. They landed at the Terrace Pier following the traditional water route.
• Ten crew from the Gravesend Tug ship “Rumania” were snatched to safety by two helicopters after the tug was grounded in heavy seas.
• Gravesend Reporter newspaper celebrated its centenary.
• Cottage owned by Lord Darnley in Cobham woods was wrecked by hooligans - order given for its demolition.
• Cobham College celebrated the opening of new flats (See 1362, 1536, 1596, 1979, 1996)
• Lightning struck houses in Gravesend during a widespread breakfast time storm, which showered more than 2 inches of rain on the south-east.
• Record attendances at Gravesend’s outdoor swimming pool when 2,700 paid to go in on one day in August.
• Westcourt Inn, St. Hilda’s Way built.
• Gravesend Airport and RAF Station de-commissioned.
• First immigrants from India and Pakistan arrive in Gravesend.
• Governor of Virginia led a pilgrimage to St. George’s and invited the Rector Canon Selwyn Gummer to the 350th anniversary celebrations in Virginia the following year. One hundred visitors from Virginia joined the congregation of St. George’s for a memorial service to Princess Pocahontas.
• Lead to the value of £50 was stolen from the roof of Gravesend cemetery chapel.
• Local residents complained about the nuisance from coal dust emanating from the Gravesend gas works.
• The first “all electric” tug joined the Sun fleet of tugs on the Thames.
• Two crew of an R.A.F. helicopter were killed when it crashed in White Horse Woods, near Harvel.
• 29 children at Shears Green Primary school had a mild form of scarlet fever. The spread of the epidemic was due to overcrowding at the school. (See 1959)
• Cobham Hall partly opened to the public (except the south wing where the Darnley family still lived). Hall later put up for sale and sold in 1959.

• Skeletons found in the vicinity of West Street viaduct. (May have been where the gibbet stood). Iron manacles were also found nearby.
• Frank C. Bowen, local author and maritime journalist, died.
• A ceremony took place to mark the occasion of the official opening and handing over of Northfleet’s 1,000th permanent post-war council house.
• Over 1500 men and women to be employed at the new buildings of Bowaters Paper Mill at Northfleet. The announcement was made to over 2000 stockholders at the AGM.
• A total of 241 members enroled in the Civil Defence Corps.
• Contents and household furnishings of Cobham Hall put up for sale by auction.
• Gravesend Airport sold to the Dolphin Development Company who were granted planning approval to build the Riverview Park housing estate on the 22 acre site.
• Hever Court estate built on the site of the original manor house erected in 1675.
• Former isolation and maternity hospital opened as a pub called the “Stork at Rest”. (See 1887, 1928, 1949)
• Wardona cinema (previously the Astoria) in High Street, Northfleet closed.


• A bronze statue of Pocahontas presented by the people of Virginia was unveiled and Pocahontas Gardens opened by the Governor of Virginia. Some of the gravestones were removed from the churchyard to create the garden.
• A number of buildings were demolished, marking another step in the plan for the continuation of a straight road through West Street and along to Royal Pier Road.
• Severe snowstorms caused disruption to the area. Blizzards struck again in March making roads impassable.
• The 100th house in Thong Lane (part of the Riverview Park Estate) was officially opened.
• Super Cinema (New Road) closed. The last film to be screened was “Next to No time” starring Kenneth Moore. (See 1933)
• As a result of severe storms, 1500 graves at the Gravesend cemetery subsided and many tombstones sunk. The cost of repair was estimated at £2,000. Many other properties were damaged as a result of the storm and floods opened up a twin chamber denehole in the back garden of number 12 Singlewell Road.

• Church of the Holy Family, Valley Drive, dedicated.
• The new Shears Green School buildings were opened to accommodate 480 boys and girls. (See 1956)
• A civil defence exercise was held, known as “Combine II”. Members of HQ, Wardens rescue and ambulance and casualty collecting sections participated.
• Kent Archaeological Society found evidence of a Roman settlement near the Old Watling Street at Cobham.
• Council offices in Northfleet were re-opened after being extended and were officially to be known as the Town Hall, Council Avenue.
• The first wing of the £200,000 council maisonettes and flats at Park Place, Gravesend were opened.
• Woolworth’s re-opened (corner of High street and King street) in an “impressive new building”.
• The village sweet shop in Cobham closed after 150 years of trading.
• Big blaze occurred at Bowater tissue mill, causing nearly £50,000 of damage.
• The first transaction was carried out at the new Perry Street, Northfleet (Baldwins) Sub Post Office when it was officially opened in October. (See 1998)
• Kings Farm Branch Library, Sun Lane, opened.

• Extension built to Pinnocks Almshouses. (See 1624, 1730, 1838, 1897, 1937, 1951, 1992)
• Two votes stopped a former runner up in the “Miss Gravesend” contest, from being the first woman taxi-driver in the town.
• Flooding at the “Three Daws” occurred in August, when the saloon bar had 4 feet of water and customers had to “jump on the counter to finish their drinks”.
• Mr. R.J. Billings leased the Bat and Ball Cricket club on 999 year lease at a peppercorn rent of £1 a year.
• The last farrier in the town, William Harpum of Queen Street, closed.
• Main drainage came to Cobham.
• A procession drove from Welling to Gravesend protesting against the use of nuclear weapons.
• The Royal Yacht “Britannia” passed Gravesend with Princess Margaret on board as she began her honeymoon, following her marriage to Anthony Armstrong-Jones.
• Building of Marks and Spencer store began, the first part opened in May and the second part in November.
• The new Gordon Secondary School for Girls, Lower Higham Road, Chalk was officially opened. (See 1975, 1987)
• The “Admiral Beatty” public house in Valley Drive rebuilt in brick. (See 1946, 1989)
• Last forge in Higham demolished. This was situated in Forge Lane where a row of shops are now sited.
• TSS “Catherine” went into retirement after operating for 60 years as part of the Gravesend - Tilbury ferry fleet.
• A twenty year plan was unveiled to re-build the High Street at Northfleet at a cost of £472,000 in the first 8 years.
• A six and a half foot Conger eel was found at the new Northfleet power station, which was officially opened in October 1963.
• The building of a permanent school for pupils at St. John’s Roman Catholic School began, at Rochester Road, Denton. (See 1950)