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

You can view all the pantomimes since 1968 by visiting the link in the collections menu below or by clicking on this link : Pantomimes 1968 - 2011

 

 The Duchess of Kent opening the Civic Centre and Woodville Halls

The Woodville Halls was officially opened on Friday 15th November 1968 by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent.  The concept behind the design was to provide a focal public space between Wrotham Road and Windmill Street. The design also included a large underground car park with space for around 80 vehicles.

 

The building which also forms part of the Civic Centre was designed by architects H. T. Cadbury-Brown and Partners of London with the main contractor being G. E. Wallis and Sons Limited of London. Interlinking the two buildings with a view out across the forecourt is the Mayor's suite and Committee rooms.

 

The theatre has seen many a famous face perform and a huge variety of entertainment acts. Every year from it’s opening it has thrown it’s doors open to Pantomime, it has had monkeys, ponies, penguins, snakes, dogs, parrots, a Chinese Lion, Dames, Princess, Princesses and it’s fair share of gung and foam spread across the stage.

 

Front view of the Civic Centre and Woodville HallsThe building’s design and operation was state of the art for it's time, its versatility far outweighed other nearby venues. It was intended to be multi-purpose and able to accommodate a mix of events such as dinner dances, wrestling, boxing, theatre shows and ballroom dancing.

 

The 45ft central floor area was designed to be flat and level with the stage or raked to provide ideal viewing for stage based shows. Originally the auditorium contained two bars, one on either side and cleverly these would almost disappear from view behind large wooden panelled doors during a show.

 

From the traditions of Pantomime to the beauty of the ballet, Woodville Halls has staged them all. The theatre continues to encapsulate its original concept of being a multi-purpose venue, its central floor still provides the perfect space for dinner dances and discos and the stage continues to accommodate touring productions and events.

 

Structurally little has changed inside the venue, but patrons today experience a larger foyer area now shared with the Civic Centre, a refurbished bar, new café and the addition of a gallery in the lower area.

 

For information on forthcoming shows and events please visit: www.woodvillehalls.com or call 01474 33 77 74

 

 

 

 

The entrance to the bunkerGravesend's Cold War bunker is located within Woodlands park and was originally known as Civil Defence Region 6.

This type of bomb was introduced into service in the Royal Air Force in the 1960s, and succeeded earlier types of air-dropped nuclear weapons. Until the introduction of the Royal Navy's submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles in the later 1960s, the RAF was the sole provider of Britain's nuclear deterrent. The WE177 was in use in parallel to the submarines and remained in service until the 1990s. Now the sole deterrent is provided by the Royal Navy. The bomb (or rather the casing in which the nuclear weapon would have been placed) is 133 inches long and weighs 900 lbs.

Location, Location, Location James DArcy and Sean Bean on set
The bunker made it's screen debut in May 2010 in a film called Age of Heroes. It's various rooms and main corridor were used to represent the Cabinet War Rooms in London's Whitehall. The film starred Sean Bean and James D'Arcy and was released in June 2011.

The bunker is owned by Gravesham Borough Council and operated by Thames Defence Heritage.

Guided Tours
Tours run on various dates throughout the year, for further information or to book a place please call TOWNCENTRIC tourist information centre.

Telephone: 01474 33 76 00
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: www.gogravesham.co.uk 
Open hours Monday - Saturday 9am - 5pm.
TOWNCENTRIC can be found within St Georges Shopping Centre, Gravesend.

 

  1. 1838 - An act of parliament was passed to establish a cemetery in Gravesend
  2. 1884 - The cemetery expanded onto a strip of neighbouring land

  3. 1905 - Gravesend Borough Council bought the cemetery, Victoria House and a triangular piece of neighbouring land

  4. 1925 - The cemetery expanded into the extra land 1926 - The extra land was consecrated

  5. 1930 - Expansion into land formally owned by Dashwood House, consecrated in 1931

  6. 1943 - Neighbouring properties sold their land to Gravesend Council for further growth

  7. 1950’s - Eight acres of land were bought from Northfleet Council.

  8. 1997 - The latest area to be added

 Map of Gravesend and Milton Cemetery

 

 

After the WW1 the cemetery needed to be expanded. Many ideas were put forward including using 15 acres of the recently purchased Kings Farm Estate, but this never happened. Instead, six and a half acres of land and Dashwood House were bought in 1923 for cemetery use.

Throughout the WW11 areas were set aside for war graves. Simple white headstones were later erected by the War Graves Commission to mark them. During bombing raids, up to 150 people crowded into one bay of the catacombs seeking protection under its strong roof.

The Chapel designed by Stephen Geary

After the war the cemetery again grew when eight acres of land was bought from Northfleet Council. Since the 1970s the Grade II listed chapel and gatehouse have had large amounts of money spent to restore them to their former glory.

The historical and natural importance of the site was recognised in 2002 when the cemetery became one of the first 40 listed on the register of Historic Parks and Gardens in England.