Thursday, 1 October 2015

Riverside, south bank east of the Tower. Ingress Abbey

Riverside – south bank east of the Tower. Ingress Abbey
Riverside modern housing estate surrounding a mansion with a garden full of follies

Post to the north West Thurrock
Post to the south Knockhall
Post to the west Greenhithe

Broadness Salt Marsh
Black Duck Marsh
Bell wharf   19th cement export.  This is the length of wharf that is attached to the land for its full length. It appears to have been built for White’s Swanscombe works which dated from 1825 and at some time a railway was built from here to a jetty in the marsh.
The Channel Tunnel Rail Link passes under here.

Capability Road
The Monks Well. This is in woodland to the south of the road. It is a Garden structure with a well house from the   18th. It has a flint wall with an arch leading to a tunnel and a semicircular chamber with a well shaft. The Ingress Abbey follies are home to three species of protected bats.- they are Pipistrelle, Daubenton, and Brown Long Eared Bat. These sleep in the crevices between the chalk and the flint. It has been refurbished by Crest. It has expansive views across the Cliff Park. There have been reports of a bluish light coming from inside and a low moaning sound like chanting or praying.
Lovers Arch. This is in woodland to the south of the road at the top of a path which goes nowhere. . It is an 18th garden folly of a flint four-centred arch which originally had a wooden seat. It has been refurbished by Crest

Ingress Abbey
Ingress was a manor in Greenhithe. In 1363, it was given to the Dartford Priory by Edward III. At the Dissolution the estate was confiscated and eventually rebuilt under Henry VIII; it was later passed, with the priory to Anne of Cleves. Under Elizabeth it was given to Edward Darbyshire and John Bere. It then passed through a number of hands until 1760 when it became the property of John Calcraft.  In 1820James Harmer bought the site and built the house which currently stands. Harmer's descendants sold off a large part of the grounds to the Empire Paper Mills.
Ingress Abbey. The current building is probably the fifth house on the site, and was built in 1833 for Alderman James Harmer in Tudor Gothic style by architect Charles Moreing. It is said to have been built of stone from Old London Bridge. It is round three sides of a square with the front facing the river. There is a 19th conservatory at the back and a big heraldic beast above the front.  In 1920 APCM sold the house and grounds to the Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College, H.M.S. Worcester. The College closed in 1968 and became the Merchant Navy College which closed in 1988 and in 1995 most of the land was sold to Crest Nicholson for housing who restored the house. In 1001 Pandora International Ltd purchased Ingress Abbey for their Headquarters.
Ingress Abbey V.A.D. Hospital. In 1917 Ingress Abbey was lent by APCM as an annexe to Rosherville Hospital.  It was equipped by H. Osborne O'Hagan, a Director of the company. It was later affiliated with Chatham Military Hospital, Fort Pitt.  It had a Medical Officer, a Matron, 6 nurses and members of the Kent V.A.D. It closed in 1918.
Stable block. This is east of Ingress Abbey and dated as 1833.
Empire Paper Mills.  In 1905 The Wall Papers Manufacturers’ Association purchased 23 acres of the estate for their factory. This were originally known as the Ingress Abbey Paper Mills, described as wallpaper manufacturers for Darwen based Potter & Branch Co., and date from 1906 and 1908, and used a raft of Blue Gum tree piles as a foundation. The original plant was said to be developed from modified American practice.  The plant included 3 Raw Material Warehouses - Esparto, Rag and Paper and the Wood Pulp -on a foreshore embankment placed so that raw materials were stored in direct line from wharf to mill. These were all keyed in to a system of conveyors. There was a power plant with coal handling equipment and a chimney, of 255 ft. steam engines drove the Paper Machines. Including a Corliss type, horizontal cross compound condensing engine driving the line shafting. In the Engine House were two 400 K. W. generating units. There was also a Preparatory Department. Esparto, Bleach, and Rotary Buildings, plus the Causicizing and Recovery Building Evaporating Room and Colour Room, a Beater Building and Wood Pulp Warehouse. There were five bleach towers for esparto and four for chemical fibre. There were also maintenance sections - Smithy and Machine and other similar shops including The Chemical and Physical Laboratories and office facilities. Later a Paper store was later built at the south end of the site near London Road. In the Second World War, including the recycling of banknotes to make toilet paperIt became part of the Reed Group in the early 1950s where they made paper for newsprint and wood free papers and there were rail connections to the main line. The mill continued until the 1980s and the associated railway closed in 1988.
Ingress Abbey wharf. There are ancient landing rights here. A jetty was built for Empire Paper Mills when the mill opened and this area is now being built on as part of the current housing development. Originally it was built as an integral part of the new mill.-It was 625’ long by 32' wide and connected to the shore by three approaches. It extended out into the river 411' ft with a depth of water to allow vessels to come alongside at the lowest. It included a large travelling transporter tower with electrically driven hoists and winches to load vessels and an electrically driven endless cable railway to transport raw materials to warehouses. Coal transshipment was in a different area with a different system to minimise contamination by coal dust. Barges and other small craft were also handled with a special crane and other equipment
The works’ railway system extended the entire length of the wharf, using the works' locomotives. In 1908 this was connected to the South East and Chatham Railway east of Greenhithe Station. It appears that the line to the works ran north eastwards and through the park in front of Ingress Abbey,

Ingress Park Avenue
This is the spine road through the new estate

Lovers Lane
Ha Ha. In the lane are the remains of an 18th Ha-Ha from the time of e mansion house that preceded the current Ingress Abbey. Maps of the mid 19th show Lovers Lane on an embankment and appearing turning at a bridge.
Boundary stone. This is either a boundary marker for the 1833 Ingress estate or maybe a parish boundary stone between Greenhithe and Swanscombe. It is a square stone with B inscribed on one side and I on the other
Folly bridge. This has two arches, the eastern arch larger and the western a smaller. Both arches have flint walls
Lovers Lane pit – this is an old chalk pit to the east of the southern end of Lovers Lane.
Park Cliff Cottages. These were at the northern end of the lane
Barge Yard. This dated from the late 1890s and was on the site of part of the later Empire Paper Mills Wharf at the end of Lovers Lane.


Palladian Circus
Modern housing around a central mound.
Tudor Mound with Hermit's cave. This had once been assumed to have been established during the 16th century, but there is no evidence of its date. It now has a spiral walk up to the top where there appears to be a spire. There is said to be a small flint grotto buried somewhere near the top.

Riverfront
Memorial to the Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College, H.M.S. Worcester, on the river bank.  Seats and circular mosaic design at the end of The Boulevard.
Chichester and Arethusa. In 1866, Lord Shaftesbury, promoted the idea of a naval training ship for homeless boys in London and persuaded the Admiralty to loan a redundant 50-gun frigate. It was moored on the Thames off Greenhithe. And managed by the Committee of the National Refuges for Homeless and Destitute Children. In 1873, following a donation from Angela Burdett-Coutts towards, a second ship was established, the Arethusa.  The increase in the use of steam power led to a fall in demand for naval crews and it was decided in 1889 to replace the Chichester. By the late 1920s, the Arethusa in a poor state and was told to leave Greenhithe by the Port of London Authority. In 1932 it was replaced by the Peking with a new mooring at Lower Upnor

Swanscombe Cement Works
A small part of the Swanscombe cement works
is on the eastern edge of the square.
Thames Nautical Training College H.M. S. Worcester
The Thames Nautical Training College for over a hundred years used ships named HMS Worcester. London ship-owners and insurance owners subscribed to the institution to train officers for a seagoing career. The Admiralty loaned a frigate H.M.S. Worcester and it opened in 1862 moving to Greenhithe in 1871. A series of other boats were used and renamed Worcester, The Cutty Sark was also used here during the Second World War. In 1968 Worcester became redundant and was sold to be broken up in Belgium in 1978 and the college used Ingress Abbey. This closed and the land wad sold to Crest Nicholson in 1995.

Sources
Baldwin. The River and the Downs
British Listed Buildings. Web ste
Bygone Kent
Children’s Homes. Web site
Gravesend History Society transactions
Lost Hospitals. Web site
Penguin Kent,
Pevsner and Cherry, West Kent
Wheatley and Meulenkamp. Follies

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