Saturday, 28 March 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Stone

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend.
The railway continues to run eastwards


Post to the west Stone Lodge
Post to the east Greenhithe
Posth to the north Stone Marshes

Bell Close
This appears to be on the site of a house called The Limes. The Close is crossed by the footpath which crosses the railway to the north and continues to the church in the south.

Birch Road
Scout Hut

Charles Street
Charles Street now has a spur which runs north to a roundabout and to Crossways Boulevard which are to the north of this square.  This spur once went to a complex of rail lines which were associated with the Kent Cement Works, later APCM. Around the spur stood a number of buildings, on site now covered by Burger King, shrubberies and new flats, which were associated with the cement works.  Before the cement works in the 19th this was a dairy farm and buildings on the east side of the spur were called Manorway Place.
208 Mad Play. Children’s play centre. This building appears to be industrial and appears to date from the 1960s.
Mad Play car park, from the car park steps come down to the road. Southward the steps lead to a footbridge over the railway and a path to Bell Close, which is crosses and then continues to the Church. This path going northwards once led to Manorway Place
Travel Lodge – new build motel on a site which was once rail lines and buildings associated with the cement works to the north. There was also a house here called Dairy Cottage – presumably associated with the Dairy Farm which once stood on the site of the cement works.


Church Hill
St Mary’s Church Hall
Flint walls
Stone Crossing Halt. By 1900 the railways were suffering from competition of tramways.  There was a mile gap between the Dartford and Gravesend systems and the South Eastern and Croydon Railway looked to fill the gap. Thus Stone Crossing Halt and Swanscombe Halt were opened in 1908. It had timber platforms either side of the double-track or were not staggered. A level crossing with timber gates already existed at the eastern ends of the platforms. Gas lamps stood either side of the lines to illuminate the crossing gates. The rail motor services lasted ten years and were replaced by standard trains. As part of electrification, Southern Railway modernised its halts. At Stone Crossing the site was retained, but alterations war made. In 1930, prefabricated concrete, platforms and shelters were built. Electric lights posts replaced gas lamps, and new ticket prefabricated concrete booths were installed on both sides of the level crossing. A joint telegraph and signal post was put up at the eastern end of the down platform. In 1956, the platforms were extended as part of the ten-car train scheme. The word Halt was dropped in 1969. The platforms were extended again in 1992, for twelve-coach trains and also fitted with cameras and television screens. In 2008, the prefabricated concrete waiting shelters, were demolished and replaced
Level Crossing. To the left of the main gate is a pedestrian walkway and its gate can be automatically locked from the ex signal box when a train is approaching.
Signal box. This was adjacent to the up side and was a single storey building in timber. From 1970 Dartford signalling panel took control and Stone Crossing’s box became gate box and ticket office. The ticket booths were demolished, and the signal box acquired a door and a canopy. It appears to be still in use.
Crossing keeper’s house. This was on the down side opposite the signal box. It was demolished in 1967


Church Road
From the church a footpath runs south, crosses the railway and once continued into the marshes.
St. Mary the Virgin Church. In 995 Ethelred II gave Stone to the St Andrew in Rochester and there is an implication of a parish church already in existence here and was a Saxon foundation. It has been suggested that oldest remains of the Saxon church are under the current tower and re-used Tufa blocks are in the walls. The current St Mary’s is 13th but it is not known who paid for it since it is unlikely this tiny parish could fund it.  The quality, scale and similarity are like that of Westminster Abbey and it has been suggested that the same masons worked here. Following a lightning strike in 1638 and a fire which destroyed the spire melted the bells and burnt out the roof of the Nave and aisles remedial work was undertaken. Cressy and Street carried out substantial work the church in the 19th for free and in the course of it destroyed post 13th work. There are Paintings of Virgin and child and the martyrdom of St. Thomas a Becket. There is said to be an attached chapel for Sir John Wiltshire which became ruinous and that this area is now taken up with the Organ which is an original Father Willis refurbished in 1999 by Manders
Rectory. A 19th Rectory once stood west of the church on the north side of the road. Land had been bought from Thomas Colyer in order to build a school and replace the old rectory in St.Mary’s Road.
Stone Court, Manor House. The manor was on the west side of the church and dated from before 1200.  A Bishop’s palace is said to have been rebuilt here before 1214 after the former Stone Manor house had been burnt down. (Such ‘palaces ‘often referred to places where a bishop and his entourage could rest on a journey). In the early 19th it was said that it was the home of a farmer and that a chimney remained from an early building. It was sold by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1856. 
Stone Court. This is a late 19th house now flats. A stone over a doorway is marked '1654'.
National School. The school was intended to be for poor children and adults, managed by trustees. It was converted from two cottages on land adjacent to the garden of the new rectory in 1869. It was later replaced.

Cotton Lane
West Lodge
Stone Court Cottages
Rail lines. The industrial railway from the Kent Works on the riverside arriving at a point north of the main line where it tunnelled under parallel with a side road.  Some buildings associated with the line appear on the north side of the tunnel. The line continued into the pit to working areas and to Stone Works. One branch turned to the west to access the Atlas Stone Works in pits to the west. This travelled between the main Line and Cottons Lane running behind Railway Cottages. Another line went east to meet a line which had passed through another tunnel west of Stone Crossing Halt. The line through this westerly tunnel had come from another complex of lines going to the river and the Kent Works. As noted there was a connection between it and the line running under the more eastern tunnel. Its main branch ran due south under Elizabeth Road to continue between the eastern pit and a sports ground where it fanned out into a number of branches. There were sidings and a connection to the main line to the west of this area
Rail tunnels – these were to transport material from the pits to transport hubs and factories. A standard gauge railway built before 1885 ran under the road and under the South Eastern Railway line. Later a cutting was made south of the main line to access these pits to the west. This included transport for Atlas Stone which was in the westernmost pit from 1928. The tunnel also allowed a rail connection with the adjacent 1885 Stone Court Chalk Works whose operation was to quarry and supply chalk for the cement industry. To the immediate south of the tunnel was an area bordered at both its north and south ends by roads. The western portion was used by the Stone Court Chalk Works, and the eastern portion by the Kent Works. The Kent Portland Cement Co, had been established near the river in 1919 and a year later taken over by APCM. By 1938, the Kent Works’ excavations had reached London Road and were to tunnel under it by 1960.   Stone Works was set up in the most easterly of the two pits before the 1930s to the south east of the tunnel from where a number of branches fanned off to working areas within the pits.
Easterly Bridge. Abutments of the more easterly bridge may exist between the Lodge and the junction of with Elizabeth Lane.
Westerly Bridge. A level crossing existed here on Cotton Lane
Stone Pits 9 and 9a. In the 1950s the Borough of Bexley tipped waste here when the pits were owned by Blue Circle Industries and the Trustees of the Colyer Greenhithe Estate. Later the Greater London Council tipped here. Dartford Council became concerned about gas from this landfill and this went to the High Court and legal action was ongoing. The site is now owned by Frontier Developments Ltd who intends to landscape and promote for recreational use. Gas is still recovered from these sites.The Orchard


Cowley Avenue
Part of Worcester Park new housing area named after the training ship once moored off Greenhithe.
This road and those around it are on the site of the west section of the Johnson Cement Works. The main part is in the square to the east.

Elizabeth Street
Lads of the Village. Pub, said to date from 1833.

Hayes Road
Stone Pavilion. Council offices, Parish Council Offices and function rooms.


London Road
Stone Recreation Ground. This is managed by Stone Parish Council and has a children’s playground, basketball court, football pitches, and cricket.  It is home to a number of sports grounds. There is a very small war memorial in a small locked area.
289 Welcome All. Pub
Horns Cross. Traditional name for the area and what appears to have been a hamlet around the cross roads
293 The Bull. Large pub on the cross roads.
Horns Cross Garden. Green with a village sign and seats on the cross roads
152 Fire Designs Solutions. Fire safety manufacturing. Founded in 2001


Steele Avenue
This road and those around it are on the site of the west section of the Johnson Cement Works. The main part is in the square to the east

St Mary’s Road
Brewery House – earlier this was Brewery Farm. It is known there was a small brewery in Stone in the 19th . The railway from the cement works once ran along the north boundary of the house, and thus surrounding it by rail lines. The line of this railway appears to be visible through gates and lines of land.
Kids Inc Nursery. Closed. This appears to be on the site of a Flint Works.  Flint was a waste product of the cement industry but was used as a building material among other things. This area was once the centre of gun flint manufacture.
Old Rectory.  This building burnt down in the 1970s and has been replaced with modern buildings. It was a 16th timber-framed building which had stopped being the Rectory to Stone Church in 1857 and was replaced by a, since demolished, building opposite the church.
Thames Water. Stone Pumping Station 


Stone Place Road
New housing on the site of the drill hall
Stone Place. This was a large house, possibly built in the 16th.  It has been speculated that Henry VIII stayed there with Anne Boleyn in the 1530s. In the 18th Hasted noted that the gatehouse to it still stood
Territorial Army Centre. Drill Hall. This was built in 1939 when reserve forces were being gradually expanded and used were for air defence units, the threat of air attack being seen as an increasing threat. It has now been demolished


Worcester Park
This appears to be the name of a large park situated to the east of the new housing area so named. It appears to have been developed on the site of older playing fields and on an area of rail lines and old quarries to the west of the Johnson Cement Works.   Older lime kilns once stood in this area

Sources
APCM booklet
Baldwin. The River and the Downs
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Bygone Kent
Cox. Kent
Dartford Council. Web site
Grueninger. In the footsteps of Anne Boleyn
Kent Churches
Kent Rail. Web site
Medway City Ark. Web site
Millward. Lower Thameside
Pastscape. Web site
Penguin Kent
Pevsner. West Kent
Porteus. Dartford Country
Stoyel and Kidner. The Cement Railways of Kent

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