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Constitution Crescent
Constitution Crescent

General Description

The boundary of this conservation area runs along the centre of Parrock Road, Leith Park Road and Windmill Street. It includes all properties in Clarence Place, 70-90 Parrock Street, 13-16 William Street, 2 Parrock Road and all properties in Christ Church Crescent and Road.

History

Much of the area's development may be traced back to early Victorian times when Windmill Hill was a popular tourist attraction, at the height of Gravesend's popularity as a resort, for the thousands of holidaymakers who arrived from London by steamboat.

Hill Side Terrace
Hill Side Terrace

Character

Although most of those tourists abandoned Gravesend for other resorts further afield when the railway was extended, particularly the North Kent Line which opened in 1849, much of the area is still in leisure use, either as informal open space or more formally laid out gardens. The hill's topography has resulted in some interesting and intricate patterns of townscape, involving changes of level; steeply sloping roads with framed glimpses out over the surrounding area; grand villas elevated above the road, exploiting the views around the edges of the Conservation Area and culminating in spectacular views over the town and beyond from the summit. The area contains many fine buildings of which Clarence Place probably has the greatest concentration. 
View of Constitution Crescent from Windmill Hill.
View of Constitution Crescent from Windmill Hill.
The finest architectural gem, however, must be Constitution Crescent in South Hill Road. An uncompleted classical terrace, it dominates the skyline for miles around. At close quarters this group is even more dominant, particularly when viewed against the neat rows of artisans' cottages nearby. These, however, have their own innate charm and they contribute just as much to the character and appearance of the area as the grander, more ornate villas. Shrubbery Road, one of the oldest roads on the hill, contains a fine collection of different architectural styles and periods. A stroll from Constitution Crescent and down Shrubbery Road to its junction with Clarence Place is an aesthetic adventure that should not be missed.

The Windmill Tavern public house
The Windmill Tavern public house
Walk a little further and you will come to Christ Church Crescent, a neat group of terraced houses surrounding the site of the former Christ Church of which only a few stones remain. The view from the back of the green is even more impressive. The main road then becomes insignificant and Ashley Down, 30/31 Clarence Place and the former South Hill Bank Club in its Arts and Crafts exuberance are seen together as a group, enclosing the view and forming a dramatic backdrop to the scene. Around the edge of the conservation area are some fine buildings which include, in Parrock Road, Nos. 5-7 (formerly the Bronte School), 13-19 (Bronte Villas), 29 (Echo Lodge) and 31, 33 (Parrock Lodge), and 35 (Rowland Lodge) (formerly the first pumping works of the Gravesend and Milton Waterworks). In Windmill Street, also, Tivoli House and Portland Villas are worthy of note.
Constitution Crescent South Hill Road
Constitution Crescent South Hill Road
Windmill Hill Summit
Windmill Hill Summit
Christ Church Crescent
Christ Church Crescent
clarence place houses with black railings
clarence place houses with black railings
white cottages
white cottages
cottages
cottages
houses on shrubbery road
houses on shrubbery road