Images Through Time
Bawley Bay 1900
Bawley Bay and neighbouring riverside area looking toward the Royal Terrace Pier, Canal Basin and beyond. In both pictures the importance of the water side is clear to see with shipping on the river – especially fishing or Bawley boats on the 1900 version.. By 1956 the Canal Basin was heavily industrialised with engineering, ship repairs and other business adding to the electricity works which opened in 1900 and the neighbouring gas works – unglamorous but essential services in a time when Gravesend was turning into a modern town with facilities provided for its citizens
The 1900 picture clearly shows various “bridges” or landing stages and small piers linking the numerous public houses in West and East Streets with their river borne customers. By the 1950s these features had greatly declined and in the 1960s and early 1970s the majority of the riverside inns had been demolished leaving only the Three Daws, The Pier Hotel and the Clarendon as operating in this part of the river front.
St Andrew’s Waterside Mission (the local arts centre since 1970) is seen on the 1900 picture – originally created to provide Christian help and assistance to the waterside community and the large numbers of emigrants leaving Gravesend throughout the Nineteenth century.
It was from the land jutting into the river in the 1956 picture that Gunther Plüschow escaped in 1915 onto a Dutch liner at Tilbury and so became the only German prisoner of war to escape directly from this country in either world war.
We would like to thank the Gravesend Pontoon for hosting these images.
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