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‘Another Chatham Line…’ drafts from the creative scope…

These are a few images taken from the Creative Scope work I am doing. These are my artworks / draft plans, created to promote the creative concept.

Chatham Creative Scope - draft artwork and concept development by project artist Christopher Tipping. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope – draft artwork and concept development by project artist Christopher Tipping. Image: Christopher Tipping

Concept

The Lead Artist proposes that these historic, physical and social influences will be experienced in the pedestrian journey from the Railway Station, via Railway Street and Military Road to Riverside. It is proposed that this concept approach may manifest itself as an evolving linear narrative, drawn out from within the pavements and pedestrian areas associated with the route. Referencing the nearby Chatham Lines, this new Town Line could demonstrate a series of distinct, yet inter-related events, thresholds and experiences along its course. As interpretive interventions, they will evoke a narrative of resonant references to Chatham itself, becoming a part of the fabric of the street. Where the Chatham Lines were built as defensive structures, this new line will be resolutely ‘enabling’.

 

The Historic Dockyard is inextricably tied to the social and industrial history of Chatham. It is a rich source of inspiration. Architectural forms, both robust and functional continue to influence the creative approach; some structures, such as the Slipway Sheds presenting striking abstract patterns and geometries. Vertical forests of timbers supporting vast and expansive roofs with rectangular glazing apertures, twisted askew by perspective. The Dry Docks are faced in massive blocks of close fitting granite. These materials are shaped by function, yet are hand crafted and bespoke features, imbued with a legacy of local and honed skills, surely a fitting inspiration for a contemporary streetscape here in Chatham.

 

Dickens writes about an enduring military presence on the streets of Chatham.

 

“They walked about the streets in rows or bodies, carrying their heads in exactly the same way, and doing exactly the same thing with their limbs”. “Men were only noticeable by scores, by hundreds, by thousands, rank and file, companies and regiments, detachments, vessels full for exportation”.

 

These closely observed characteristics, played out on the streets of Chatham until very recently, suggest that an echo of these patterns of movement and symmetric formations, displays and manoeuvres are still extant in the pavements, streets and roads of the town. Perhaps this evocative memory could be recalled in new paving finishes and interventions in the streetscene.

 

This creative interpretation not only brings a site-responsive and contemporary narrative to the project, but also dovetails with and adds to a strategic and deliberate approach to inherent wayfinding and placemaking, assisting and strengthening the pedestrian route and the local and visitor experience.

 

This concept applies to the entire Placemaking Masterplan, setting a blueprint for a programme of temporary and permanent commissions to roll out in a phased approach over the development period.

Chatham Creative Scope - draft artwork and concept development by project artist Christopher Tipping. Image: Artist's own

Chatham Creative Scope – draft artwork and concept development by project artist Christopher Tipping. Image: Artist’s own

 

Chatham Creative Scope - draft artwork and concept development by project artist Christopher Tipping. Image: Artist's own

Chatham Creative Scope – draft artwork and concept development by project artist Christopher Tipping. Image: Artist’s own

Chatham Creative Scope – ongoing

It’s a while since I last posted on the project. My creative scope has now been submitted and contains a number of research-led works, including:

Site visits to Chatham, for the purposes of research and site analysis.

A review of local landmarks and key buildings, places and organisations –

Meetings with archivists –

A personal blog –

Pinterest Board of research images and aspirations –

A text based creative analysis made as a contribution to the Masterplan document being prepared by LDA

‘Another Chatham Line…’ – an illustrated creative scope pdf document –

Concept and diagrammatic drawings to accompany and illustrate the creative scope and concept approach –

The work submitted will be added into the supporting documents or as an appendix to the work. We will now be looking towards a public consultation exercise, which is scheduled for early December 2015.

The following images are from draft artworks I have produced, exploring the idea of a thematic pedestrian route from Chatham Station to the Waterfront and The Paddock.

Chatham Creative Scope - artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope – artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope - artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope – artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope - artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope – artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope - artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope – artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope - artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Creative Scope – artist sketchbook drafts. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Awaiting some permissions…!

Thursday 24th September – 

During recent research visits to the Medway Archives & Local Studies Centre and the Royal Dockyard Library, Chatham, I had gained permission to take digital images of archive photographs, drawings and OS Maps from the collections.

I am waiting for approval to use some of the images in my documentation here, as both collections have some brilliant photographs, maps and diagrams, with which to ‘animate’ research for the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, a blue sky day…

Thursday 10th September 2015 – A meeting at the  Royal Dockyard Library, Chatham

This is my 5th visit to Chatham – and the first blue sky day ! – so I had to put this image in…

This is the junction of the High Street, Chatham, with Railway Street and Military Road. The Halifax is on the left and the red brick gable end of Mountbatten House looms large in the centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

This is the junction of the High Street, Chatham, with Railway Street and Military Road. The Halifax is on the left and the red brick gable end of Mountbatten House looms large in the centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Halifax building at the junction of High Street, Chatham and Military Road has elephants carved on its facade. Have you seen them? Image:Christopher Tipping

The Halifax building at the junction of High Street, Chatham and Military Road has elephants carved on its facade. Have you seen them? Image:Christopher Tipping

At the Dockyards I was drawn to the activity at Turks Shipyard, which is a fully working yard. The light coming through the roof and riverside doors was beautiful.

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Turks Shipyard within the Historic Dockyard site at Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Dry Dock, Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Dry Dock, Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Dry Dock, Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Constructed of massive bespoke granite blocks. Image:Christopher Tipping

Dry Dock, Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Constructed of massive bespoke granite blocks. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

 

 

UCA, Fort Pitt to Fort Amherst and the Great Lines

Napoleon & me at Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Napoleon & me at Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Tuesday 8th September 2015 – University of the Creative Arts, Fort Pitt – the bigger picture

My wife Shelly Goldsmith is also my partner in tippinggoldsmith and a Lecturer in the School of Fashion – Textiles:Print at UCA Rochester. The University’s building sit on the site of Fort Pitt, which overlooks Chatham, Rochester and the Medway from a strategically high vantage point above the town.

I walked up to the site from Chatham Station, which is only 5mins walk away, passing by Dickens’ House on Ordnance Terrace on the way. I was allowed up onto the upper floors and the terrace, which offers spectacular views across Chatham and Rochester, the Medway and The Historic Dockyards beyond. This vantage point makes clear why Chatham developed as it did as a strategically important defensive site on the River.

Chatham Lines – comprising a number of impressive defensive structures, earthworks and Forts, developed since Napoleonic times to protect the Docks from a landward attack, are clearly visible in the landscape and although now long past any active role in the defence of the country, have served to shape the town and its inhabitants in both its topography, physical landscape and social history.

Chatham and the Historic Dockyard as seen from the upper floors of the University for the Creative Arts, Rochester Campus at Fort Pitt. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham and the Historic Dockyard as seen from the upper floors of the University for the Creative Arts, Rochester Campus at Fort Pitt. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Chatham and the Historic Dockyard as seen from the upper floors of the University for the Creative Arts, Rochester Campus at Fort Pitt. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham and the Historic Dockyard as seen from the upper floors of the University for the Creative Arts, Rochester Campus at Fort Pitt. Image:Christopher Tipping

The copper green copula of the Brook Theatre, Chatham can be seen in the above image at the top right section of the image to the left of the red brick office clock Mountbatten House, the dominant landmark in the Town.

Chatham and the Historic Dockyard as seen from the upper floors of the University for the Creative Arts, Rochester Campus at Fort Pitt. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham and the Historic Dockyard as seen from the upper floors of the University for the Creative Arts, Rochester Campus at Fort Pitt. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Waterfront and Gun Wharf as seen from Sun Pier. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Waterfront and Gun Wharf as seen from Sun Pier. Image:Christopher Tipping

Sun Pier and Sun Pier House, Chatham. 

Chatham Waterfront and Gun Wharf as seen from Sun Pier. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Waterfront and Gun Wharf as seen from Sun Pier. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Waterfront Pumping Station and Brook Theatre as seen from Sun Pier, Chatham. If ever something cried out for some form of intervention – then the Pumping Station takes poll position on the list. An eyesore on the waterfront, it could become an icon and focal point.

Sun Pier, Chatham with warning sign. Image:Christopher Tipping

Sun Pier, Chatham with warning sign. Image:Christopher Tipping

The empty timber deck of Sun Pier, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The empty timber deck of Sun Pier, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Although historically, the waterfront and area around Sun Pier would have been dominated by warehouses and river bases businesses. The industrial shed which houses Staples, does the site and its potential no favours here. Some softening landscape works and green screening may help.

Historic kerbs, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic kerbs, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Walking back from Sun Pier to the Waterfront and Bus Station, these historic granite kerbs and cobbles jump out for their simplicity, texture and purpose.

I wanted to see the town from the opposite vantage point of Fort Amherst adjacent to Great Lines Park , formerly known as the Field of Fire , so walked across to the Brook Theatre and beyond to the Town Hall Gardens, the former Town Burial Ground. Prior to 1828, the site was a former Rope Works.

The Brook Theatre, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Brook Theatre, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Decorative wrought ironwork gates inside the Brook Theatre, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Decorative wrought ironwork gates inside the Brook Theatre, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Decorative wrought ironwork gates inside the Brook Theatre, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Decorative wrought ironwork gates inside the Brook Theatre, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The gates to the Town Hall Gardens, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The gates to the Town Hall Gardens, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Just a short walk further up the hill is the path and steps leading up to the Great Lines Park and Fort Amherst.

Several steep fights of steps meet the visitor to the Great Lines Heritage Park and Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Several steep fights of steps meet the visitor to the Great Lines Heritage Park and Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Napoleonic brick faced defensive structures of Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Napoleonic brick faced defensive structures of Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Fort Amherst Signage, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Fort Amherst Signage, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

A detail of the Fort Amherst Signage found at Great Lines Park, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

A detail of the Fort Amherst Signage found at Great Lines Park, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

A view of the University for the Creative Arts at Fort Pitt, Rochester, taken from Belvedere Battery, Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

A view of the University for the Creative Arts at Fort Pitt, Rochester, taken from Belvedere Battery, Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

UCA at Fort Pitt is at top centre of this image. The copper green copula of the Brook Theatre is at the centre bottom.

The pedestrian route from Chatham Railway Station to The Paddock and Bus Station can be made out in this image taken from Belvedere Battery, Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The pedestrian route from Chatham Railway Station to The Paddock and Bus Station can be made out in this image taken from Belvedere Battery, Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The pedestrian route from Chatham Railway Station to The Paddock and Bus Station can be made out in this image taken from Belvedere Battery, Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The pedestrian route from Chatham Railway Station to The Paddock and Bus Station can be made out in this image taken from Belvedere Battery, Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The pedestrian route from Chatham Railway Station to The Paddock and Bus Station can be made out in this annotated image taken from Belvedere Battery,  Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The pedestrian route from Chatham Railway Station to The Paddock and Bus Station can be made out in this annotated image taken from Belvedere Battery, Fort Amherst, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

in the afternoon I also paid a visit to Chatham Library, which is housed in the Chatham Community Hub, at Gun Wharf – near The Waterfront.

They have a brilliant book on Chatham and it’s history – “The Story of a Dockyard Town” by James Presnail, published by the Corporation of Chatham in 1952 MCMLII. Ref:942.23 CHA. I was much taken by it’s last paragraph on social responsibility.

 

 

 

 

FrancisKnight and LDA Design, Margate Steps

Friday 4th September 2015 – Meeting with Francis Knight Public Art Consultancy and LDA Design at Margate Steps – 

Margate Flood & Coast Protection Scheme. Aerial image obtained from a multi-rotor copter by photographer Dean Barkley. Image: Dean Barkley

Margate Flood & Coast Protection Scheme. Aerial image obtained from a multi-rotor copter by photographer Dean Barkley. Image: Dean Barkley

Margate Coastal Flood & Protection Project aka Margate Steps. Margate, Kent. Image: Christopher Tipping

Margate Coastal Flood & Protection Project aka Margate Steps. Margate, Kent. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

I met up with Laura Knight and Louise Francis of FrancisKnight Public Art Consultants along with Neil Mattinson and Jennifer Corlett of LDA Design. Neil & Jennifer hadn’t visited Margate or the Margate Steps before so this was a good opportunity to see a successful coastal engineering project , which also happens to provide a considerable and much need public realm and meeting place for residents and visitors alike. The project also encompasses much of Margate’s legacy and heritage as a seaside town which has seen storms and weather act as the primary catalyst for changes and regeneration.

My role as project artist within the integrated design team on the Margate Coastal Flood & Protection Project – aka Margate Steps – was to influence and challenge the design process via contextual and site responsive research and collaborative practice. The scope for influencing the process within the Chatham Placemaking Project is a similar one – albeit a much shorter consultancy – and is as much about a collaborative and discussive one.

This was a useful and engaging meeting, where we had an open discussion about the scope for the Chatham project, whilst also experiencing and reviewing a recent regeneration project at first hand.

Medway Archives & Local Studies Centre

Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Medway Archives & Local Studies Centre, Stood. 

I had an appointment to meet the archivist at MALSC to review their photographic collection – particularly in regard to Railway Street and Military Street. I took a number of digital images from old photographs, but will require permission to post them on the blog. Hopefully, I can do this in due course.

Old OS Maps of the area were of particular interest as these obviously mapped out – some in great detail – large areas of the site where building had been lost during ‘development’ and / or razed to the ground by fire or neglect. Again – watch this space as i hope to post these images too.

Of particular interest were the OS 1848 Board of Health Map and the 1843 Tithe Map.

Chatham Research Visit 2 – a clearer vision

Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Chatham Research Visit No 2 – A clearer vision…

Chatham is making more sense ! – the topography here is incredibly helpful in aiding navigation around the town. Geography, topography and the particular curve of the River Medway provided the strategic advantage which led to the exponential growth of the Docks and town from the early part of the 18th Century. The day today was clearer and brighter – unlike my first visit when it poured down all day – this really makes a considerable difference! Still walking as much as possible – by far the best way of getting to grips with a place – today I went as far as Strood, via Rochester and visited the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

The following images again trace the pedestrian route from the Rail Station to the Waterfront.

Chatham Railway Station -  Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station –
Image:Christopher Tipping

A short walk from Chatham Railway Station and in clear view from the station entrance is Ordnance Terrace and the house where Charles Dickens lived for several years as a small boy. Image:Christopher Tipping

A short walk from Chatham Railway Station and in clear view from the station entrance is Ordnance Terrace and the house where Charles Dickens lived for several years as a small boy. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station and Railway Street looking from Ordnance Terrace. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station and Railway Street looking from Ordnance Terrace. Image:Christopher Tipping

At the centre of the image, the Viaduct with New Road can be clearly seen, as can the tower of St John’s Church and the red brick monolith of Mountbatten House on Military Street, adjacent to the new Bus Station.

A wide panoramic shot of Chatham Railway Station and Railway Street from Ordnance Terrace. Image:Christopher Tipping

A wide panoramic shot of Chatham Railway Station and Railway Street from Ordnance Terrace. Image:Christopher Tipping

Pedestrians walking up to Chatham Rail Station along Railway Street. Image:Christopher Tipping

Pedestrians walking up to Chatham Rail Station along Railway Street. Image:Christopher Tipping

Pedestrians walking up to Chatham Rail Station along Railway Street. Image:Christopher Tipping

Pedestrians walking up to Chatham Rail Station along Railway Street. Image:Christopher Tipping

The roads around the Railway Station and Railway Street are heavily trafficked by cars, buses and lorries, making for a poor pedestrian experience. Image:Christopher Tipping

The roads around the Railway Station and Railway Street are heavily trafficked by cars, buses and lorries, making for a poor pedestrian experience. Image:Christopher Tipping

A view from the Viaduct over Railway Street looking towards the Railway Station and the Alexandra Hotel. The older image is circa 1905.  Image:Christopher Tipping

A view from the Viaduct over Railway Street looking towards the Railway Station and the Alexandra Hotel. The older image is circa 1905. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Alexandra Hotel at 53 Railway Street, Chatham has stood on this site for over a Century. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Alexandra Hotel at 53 Railway Street, Chatham has stood on this site for over a Century. Image:Christopher Tipping

The statue of Thomas Fletcher Waghorn was raised on Railway Street, Chatham in 1888. Image:Christopher Tipping

The statue of Thomas Fletcher Waghorn was raised on Railway Street, Chatham in 1888. Image:Christopher Tipping

Thomas Fletcher Waghorn (1800–1850), whose statue stands in Chatham, Kent, was a postal pioneer who developed a new route from Great Britain to India. Waghorn’s route reduced the journey from 16,000 miles, via the Cape of Good Hope to 6,000 miles: from three months to between 35 and 45 days. Waghorn was born in Chatham, England, and baptised at St Mary’s Church on 16 July 1800″. Wikipedia

Interestingly, Thomas appears to be pointing the way to the Town Centre and Waterfront to pedestrians coming down from the Rail Station. Good man ! –

The Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, with detailed ironwork balustrade. Image: Christopher Tipping

The Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, with detailed ironwork balustrade. Image: Christopher Tipping

A view from the Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, with a detailed view through the ironwork balustrade. Image: Christopher Tipping

A view from the Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, with a detailed view through the ironwork balustrade. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Shadows cast by the cast iron balustrade of the Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Shadows cast by the cast iron balustrade of the Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

A panoramic view of Gibralter Hill and Railway Street, Chatham, looking up to wards the Railway Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

A panoramic view of Gibralter Hill and Railway Street, Chatham, looking up to wards the Railway Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

On the New Road Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, looking to wards the Waterfront. Image:Christopher Tipping

On the New Road Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, looking to wards the Waterfront. Image:Christopher Tipping

On the New Road Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, looking down Railway Street towards St John's Church on the left and the Town Centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

On the New Road Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, looking down Railway Street towards St John’s Church on the left and the Town Centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

A view from the New Road Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, looking down  towards St John's Church and the Town Centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

A view from the New Road Viaduct over Railway Street, Chatham, looking down towards St John’s Church and the Town Centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

The junction of Waterfront Way with the A2 at St John's Church, Chatham, where the highway has been punched through Railway Street, creates a hostile zone for pedestrians and effectively cuts off the lower part of Railway Street and the Town Centre, from the upper section and the Railway Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

The junction of Waterfront Way with the A2 at St John’s Church, Chatham, where the highway has been punched through Railway Street, creates a hostile zone for pedestrians and effectively cuts off the lower part of Railway Street and the Town Centre, from the upper section and the Railway Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

Where Railway Street is dissected by the A2 by St Joh's Church in Chatham, pedestrians have to navigate a complex & carbuncle-like step/ramp/concrete barrier arrangement to gain access to and from lower Railway Street and the retail centre of the town. Image:Christopher Tipping

Where Railway Street is dissected by the A2 by St Joh’s Church in Chatham, pedestrians have to navigate a complex & carbuncle-like step/ramp/concrete barrier arrangement to gain access to and from lower Railway Street and the retail centre of the town. Image:Christopher Tipping

Wrought iron gates remain intact at the courtyard entrance to the old Post Office Building on lower Railway Street, Chatham. The building is a handsome addition to the fabric of the street, but is currently empty. Image:Christopher Tipping

Wrought iron gates remain intact at the courtyard entrance to the old Post Office Building on lower Railway Street, Chatham. The building is a handsome addition to the fabric of the street, but is currently empty. Image:Christopher Tipping

The retail units along the lower section of Railway Street, Chatham, appear busy and animated. The streetscape is abruptly interrupted and stifled by the A2 cutting and awkward steps, ramps and concrete wall. Image:Christopher Tipping

The retail units along the lower section of Railway Street, Chatham, appear busy and animated. The streetscape is abruptly interrupted and stifled by the A2 cutting and awkward steps, ramps and concrete wall. Image:Christopher Tipping

Architectural text and detailing on the upper stories of extant buildings along Railway Street, provide clues to the rich legacy of activity and usage in the area.

The lower section of Military Road, Chatham ought to be a highly activated, fluid, dynamic and versatile public space with the Brook Theatre as the anchor building and focus.  Unfortunately the space is a dead zone, underused and slightly unsettling. Image:Christopher Tipping

The lower section of Military Road, Chatham ought to be a highly activated, fluid, dynamic and versatile public space with the Brook Theatre as the anchor building and focus. Unfortunately the space is a dead zone, underused and slightly unsettling. Image:Christopher Tipping

A panoramic image of the lower section of Military Road, Chatham, which ought to be a highly activated, fluid, dynamic and versatile public space with the Brook Theatre as the anchor building and focus along with the adjacent Bus Station. Unfortunately the space is something of a dead zone, underused and slightly unsettling. Image:Christopher Tipping

A panoramic image of the lower section of Military Road, Chatham, which ought to be a highly activated, fluid, dynamic and versatile public space with the Brook Theatre as the anchor building and focus along with the adjacent Bus Station. Unfortunately the space is something of a dead zone, underused and slightly unsettling. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

 

The Historic Dockyard, Chatham

Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Main Gates. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyard, Chatham. Main Gates. Image:Christopher Tipping

Tuesday 25th August 2015 – Historic Dockyard Chatham 

A long day of walking streets in Chatham, trying to understand how it all works – I finally made my way along Dock Rd, past Medway Council buildings at Gun Wharf and St Mary’s Church, where Pepys and Dickens both worshipped; past Fort Amherst to The Historic Dockyard.

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - Georgian brickwork of the main gateway entrance. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – Georgian brickwork of the main gateway entrance. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The imposing and very long brick perimeter wall along Dock Road. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The imposing and very long brick perimeter wall along Dock Road. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The imposing and very long brick perimeter wall along Dock Road. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The imposing and very long brick perimeter wall along Dock Road. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the massive extant granite coping stones along the edge of Mast Dock. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the massive extant granite coping stones along the edge of Mast Dock. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The scale of the original Dockyard architecture is so impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The scale of the original Dockyard architecture is so impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The geometry and pattern within the buildings are evident in structure and light.  Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The geometry and pattern within the buildings are evident in structure and light. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The internal roof of the slipway buildings is really something to behold ! Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The internal roof of the slipway buildings is really something to behold ! Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - The massive structural timbers of the No 2 Slipway building. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – The massive structural timbers of the No 2 Slipway building. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the roof apertures & timbers of the No 2 Slipway building create wonderful geometry and rhythms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the roof apertures & timbers of the No 2 Slipway building create wonderful geometry and rhythms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the roof apertures & timbers of the No 2 Slipway building create wonderful geometry and rhythms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the roof apertures & timbers of the No 2 Slipway building create wonderful geometry and rhythms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the early oak timbers were part of what were revered as 'Chatham Timbers' - Impressive forms with considerable interpretive merit. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the early oak timbers were part of what were revered as ‘Chatham Timbers’ – Impressive forms with considerable interpretive merit. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the massive bespoke granite forms which make up the dry docks are particularly impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the massive bespoke granite forms which make up the dry docks are particularly impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the massive bespoke granite forms which make up the dry docks are particularly impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the massive bespoke granite forms which make up the dry docks are particularly impressive. Image:Christopher Tipping

Material use within the Historic Dockyards is often massive in form, frugal in detail and places enormous emphasis on function and being ‘fit for purpose’. This robust, economic and honest use of material and form is influential and informative and should be used as a template and contextual influence within the regeneration of the Town Centre of Chatham.

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the bespoke granite paving forms and trackways which criss cross the site conjure up the legacy of movement and industrious activity of the dockyard. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the bespoke granite paving forms and trackways which criss cross the site conjure up the legacy of movement and industrious activity of the dockyard. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - Dockyard Trains with great text - Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – Dockyard Trains with great text – Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - List of submarines built in Chatham Docks. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – List of submarines built in Chatham Docks. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham - the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

Historic Dockyards, Chatham – the interiors of some of the buildings on site are immensely evocative and full of abstract forms. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Chatham Research Project – first contact !

Visit 1 – Tuesday August 25th 2015 –

 

In early August this year I was commissioned by FrancisKnight Art Consultants  and Medway Council to identify and scope creative public realm opportunities within the strategic Chatham Placemaking Project, which is being delivered by LDA Design.

“FrancisKnight have been appointed to work with LDA DESIGN and Medway Council on the Chatham Placemaking Project and in particular producing a creative public realm strategy to enhance the proposals and to add a sense of place and purpose to the spaces.

 At the heart of the Thames Gateway, only 30 miles from central London, Medway is the largest conurbation between the capital and continental Europe. A modern place with green spaces and a superb quality of life, close to breathtaking countryside, the area has a young and culturally diverse population.

 Chatham is located at the heart of Medway, with a population of 264,900 people living in the urban area in 2013. The area is world famous for its historic naval dockyard, and has also been a strategic centre for trade”.

This is a short term consultancy for me, which focuses particularly on the pedestrian route between Chatham Railway Station and The Waterfront, Chatham, via Railway Street and Military Road. This route leads on towards the Historic Dockyard Chatham – which is the subject of a World Heritage Bid –

I had up till this point never been to Chatham!  I know of Chatham via Dickens and Pepys – as well as having looked at the Historic Dockyards online ! I have passed through the Medway Towns many times on the train between Ramsgate and London, which does not really help frame a complete & honest image of the town.

This is a small sample of the visual record I made of my first visit in response to the project brief –

 

Chatham Railway Station.  Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station.
Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station, Kent.  Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station, Kent. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station approaches. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station approaches. Image:Christopher Tipping

As you leave the Station  and turn left, this leads you, via Railway Street towards the Town Centre and The Waterfront – however this route is a difficult one to navigate – if you know the town, then various landmarks map this out for you, but for a visitor, the experience is confusing and not for the faint hearted. The first 100m of this route, the car is certainly King – much to the detriment (& risk) of the pedestrian!

Railway Street, Chatham,  Kent. The same view -   Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, Kent. The same view – Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham,  Kent. Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, Kent. Image:Christopher Tipping

This view looks down Railway Street towards the Town Centre with the red brick edifice of Mountbatten House  dominating the centre view.

Railway Street, Chatham,  Kent. Looking up towards the Train Station through the Viaduct, which replaced the original Old Viaduct of 1794, which was referred to as a 'defensive'  gateway.   Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, Kent. Looking up towards the Train Station through the Viaduct, which replaced the original Old Viaduct of 1794, which was referred to as a ‘defensive’ gateway. Image:Christopher Tipping

St John the Divine Church, Railway Street. Built in 1820/21 & closed in 1998. Image:Christopher Tipping

St John the Divine Church, Railway Street. Built in 1820/21 & closed in 1998. Image:Christopher Tipping

 

Railway Steet was split into two sections with Waterfront Way connecting to the A2. This created issues with pedestrian flow and connectivity. Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Steet was split into two sections with Waterfront Way connecting to the A2. This created issues with pedestrian flow and connectivity. Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, looking towards the Town Centre from St John's Church. Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, looking towards the Town Centre from St John’s Church. Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, looking towards the Town Centre from St John's Church. Image:Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham, looking towards the Town Centre from St John’s Church. Image:Christopher Tipping

A variety of great buildings still extant on Railway Street. Image:Christopher Tipping

A variety of great buildings still extant on Railway Street. Image:Christopher Tipping

The 'Prince of Wales' Public House on the lower part of Railway Street, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The ‘Prince of Wales’ Public House on the lower part of Railway Street, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Two views along Military Road, Chatham, which is dominated by the red brick office block on the right hand side - Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. At the far end of the long view is the beautiful Brook Theatre, the former Town Hall. Image:Christopher Tipping

Two views along Military Road, Chatham, which is dominated by the red brick office block on the right hand side – Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. At the far end of the long view is the beautiful Brook Theatre, the former Town Hall. Image:Christopher Tipping

A wide view at the lower end of Military Road looking towards the Brook Theatre and the New Bus Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

A wide view at the lower end of Military Road looking towards the Brook Theatre and the New Bus Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

A wide view at the lower end of Military Road looking towards the new Bus Station and Waterfront. Image:Christopher Tipping

A wide view at the lower end of Military Road looking towards the new Bus Station and Waterfront. Image:Christopher Tipping

Walking from the Bus Station towards The Pentagon Shopping Centre and Military Road, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Walking from the Bus Station towards The Pentagon Shopping Centre and Military Road, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The main pedestrian crossing point towards the Bus Station & Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

The main pedestrian crossing point towards the Bus Station & Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Waterfront Pumping Station and Big Screen, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

Chatham Waterfront Pumping Station and Big Screen, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Pumping Station appears to divide two distinct landscapes along the river frontage. Top - looking left of the Pumping Station. Bottom - looking right of the Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tpping

The Pumping Station appears to divide two distinct landscapes along the river frontage. Top – looking left of the Pumping Station. Bottom – looking right of the Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tpping

The local population on the river below the Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

The local population on the river below the Pumping Station. Image:Christopher Tipping

The local population sit on railings along the waterfront,  Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The local population sit on railings along the waterfront, Chatham. Image:Christopher Tipping

The new Bus Station looking towards Mountbatten House. Image:Christopher Tipping

The new Bus Station looking towards Mountbatten House. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Paddock, which is green space between the Bus Station, Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

The Paddock, which is green space between the Bus Station, Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. Image:Christopher Tipping

Brook Theatre, Chatham, the former Chatham Town Hall. Image:Christopher Tipping

Brook Theatre, Chatham, the former Chatham Town Hall. Image:Christopher Tipping