Sunday, 10 January 2010

Thames Tributary Darent - South Darenth

Thames Tributary Darent
The Darent continues flowing north.
The river separates as it emerges from the mill and the St.John’s Stream diverges to the west. The Darent itself continues north.

Post to the west Farningham Road
Post to the north Roman Villa Road
Post to the south Horton Kirby


Devon Road
Was previously Frog Lane.
Devon Road Bridge. Beneath the bridge the river Darent Merges with the mill stream from the site of the Horton Kirby paper mill.
Bridge over a dried up water course. The water rises in the bed of this old stream and flows on past a gravel pit into the St John's stream.

East Lane
The Jolly Millers. Pre- 1851 and its name derives from the millers in the area. There was certainly a flour mill on the River Darent by Mallys Place bridge in those days and the Paper Mill opposite was built on the site of a flour mill. During the early part of the 20th it was connected with the Fire Brigade. The pub is noted for its Karaoke Nights

Gorringe Avenue
Frederick Gorringe was a London draper and one of the benefactors of the Homes for Little Boys.

Holmesdale Hill
Engineering works
Giffords, Grade 2 listed in its own grounds with a cedar on the front lawn. A second cedar was lost in the storm of 1987... It has a mid-18th exterior on an earlier house. In the Second World War it was a hostel for the Land Army. Graffiti from that time is on the back of the shutters and there is 18th graffiti in the barn. At the end of the cellars there is a priest hole.
Avenue House 18th Grade 2 listed situated back from the road. In 1894 it was the home of Sydney Spalding, owner of the Paper Mill, who lived there up to the Second World War. When it became an ARP station and Red Cross Post. The basement was reinforced with concrete beams and telephones and wartime equipment was left there. It then became flats and it was used to house East European refugees. And temporary housing for the homeless. In the 1980s became a private residence.
The White House, a former farm house
South Darenth Mill. a yellow brick building that replaced a mill that burnt down in 1879. It is north of the paper mill and on the eastern branch of the river. It was run by the Cannon family, ground corn and had a cast iron waterwheel and three pairs of millstones. There was also a steam engine. power. In 1894, roller milling plant was installed by Robinsons but milling stopped in 1905 but it was used for electrically driven saw milling later. Woodyard on the site of the mill pond. Chimney demolished 1946. The building was severely damaged in the Great Storm of 1987 and it has been rebuilt from the ruins.
Horton Kirby paper mill. The millstream ran under the mill, and came out into the Green. It was built in by John Hall, the Dartford engineer, in 1820 in place of a flour mill, and was a leader in machinery. It got pure water from artesian wells, there were stables for the horses and the works employed 100 people. It produced high quality printing papers such as that used in 'The Sphere' and 'Tatler'. The first edition of 'Children's Encyclopedia' used photographs of its paper-making processes. The last unit in production here made wood-chip wallpaper. The 1890 chimney remains.

Horton Road
Environmental Studies Centre. The local school was School Lane but as the pupil population increased this school was built in 1894 for Infants and was known as the North School. It is used now as an Environmental Studies Centre run by the London Borough of Lewisham. It was built with typical yellow Victorian brick with high windows to avoid the children being distracted from their work by the view. Built on the site of a vineyard. ,
The Bridges - formerly The Sun. In 1875 it was acquired by Kidd’s Brewery. But a beer house existed here before that. The pub supplied horses for the local fire station and had horse drawn taxis. The horses were kept in stalls at the side of the pub on the site of the car park.

Mally’s Place
In its own grounds a group of detached houses. An original flour mill building is incorporated in this area. The land belonged to ‘Dennis Bates’ whose nickname was Mally. The road was named in memory of him.

New Road
The Queen derives its name from Queen Victoria, during whose reign it originated as a beer house. There was an entrance to an old Roman flint mine in the back garden.
Fire station originally built to serve the paper mill but now under the control of the Kent Fire Brigade.

Prospect Place
1-12 Darenth Valley Gas Works .The site was , in gardens between a pathway from new Road to East Hill. Taken over by South Suburban,

New Road
The Gospel Hall was first used on 7th December 1935. Luther Morgan arrived early in 1935 with his gypsy caravan and a large tent. As the need for a permanent building became the wooden part of the existing structure was built and there are two brick-built additions. One is a separate building which has been used by the Sunday School. In the 1990s it was renamed - South Darenth Village Church and this is interdenominational

Shrubbery Road

Skinney Lane
Southdowns, which used to be the site of the Homes for Little Boys, an experiment in philanthropy which opened in 1867, became an approved school in 1967, and finally closed down in 1976. Redeveloped as a complex for retired people.
Chapel standing on high ground but its wooden spire was lost in the storm of 1987 but one of the metal clock faces now inside. It was built as part of the Homes for Little Boys and its foundation stone was laid by Alexandra, Princess of Wales, on 7th July 1866. A corner of the Chapel is a memorial to the Homes.

Station Road
The Grange
Towers Wood
Named after the building called The Towers which stood in wooded grounds south of Holmesdale Hill. It was built by Edward Cresy, the local historian in 1828 and called Holmesdale. From 1935 it was the home of David Salmon, owners of the Paper Mill. And in 1963, housed the Richmond Fellowship, and an American Missionary Society. Demolished 1970s.

Railway
Viaduct. Built of brick from the outset. The viaduct saw its first trains in July 1858 when the East Kent Railway extended its line from Strood to Bromley. It comprises ten arches in an overall length of approximately 390 foot. It was a key target for the Luftwaffe during 1941 air raids, the ''Chatham'' route being used to carry troops and supplies to Dover. Renovated and strengthened to take Eurostar trains.
Saxon graves – nearly 100 graves discovered when the railway was built.

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