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Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Friday 12th February 2016

The archivists and librarians at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre in Strood have been brilliantly helpful during this project !

Norma Crowe, Cindy Ohalloran and Irina Fridman have been invaluable in helping me search for images and text references. We have now obtained several wonderful archive images taken along our route from Chatham Station to the Riverside, along Railway Street and Military Road, which MALSC have given us permission to use.

Chatham Railway Station 1910 Image: by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Chatham Railway Station 1910 Image: by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

This site has remarkably changed very little in over 100 years – only the ironwork railing and lighting columns have gone.

Chatham Railway Station, looking down towards Mountbatten House and St John's Church, 2016. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station, looking down towards Mountbatten House and St John’s Church, 2016. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Road Viaduct, Chatham, Kent circa 1900. Image: by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

New Road Viaduct, Chatham, Kent circa 1900. Image: by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

New Road Viaduct, Railway Street, Chatham, date unknown. Copyright: Collection of Gregory John Jones. By permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

New Road Viaduct, Railway Street, Chatham, date unknown. Copyright: Collection of Gregory John Jones. By permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

The Dutch Gable ended building on the right is still here. The New Road Viaduct  built in 1794 was demolished in 1900 to make way for a new bridge viaduct under which Trams could pass safely. Note the double kerb on the left of the image – this is no longer there, but similar kerbs still exist outside the Railway Station.

Double granite kerb outside Chatham Railway Station. Image: Christopher Tipping

Double granite kerb outside Chatham Railway Station. Image: Christopher Tipping

Railway Street Chatham from New Cut Viaduct circa 1955. Image Copyright: Chatham Observer, by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Railway Street Chatham from New Cut Viaduct circa 1955. Image Copyright: Chatham Observer, by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

What we have all found impressive in this image, is the clarity within the public realm. Clear pavements with contrasting and well defined kerbs. Obviously not as much traffic ! The street frontage to St John’s Church and the clear flow of movement toward the Town Centre is great to see, in light of the current experience for both drivers and pedestrians.

Railway Street, Chatham from New Cut Viaduct 1955. Image: Copyright Fine Art Studio, by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

Railway Street, Chatham from New Cut Viaduct 1955. Image: Copyright Fine Art Studio, by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

It is clear to see how, in the image below taken in 2015, how the landscape and clarity of wayfinding has been considerably interrupted, physically and legibly. Navigating to the town centre and riverside for pedestrians is now a very conflicting and varied experience.

Railway Street, Chatham 2015. Image: Christopher Tipping

Railway Street, Chatham 2015. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

F&H Newcombe and Beveridge Chemist, Railway Street, Chatham. Date unknown. Image: by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

F&H Newcombe and Beveridge Chemist, Railway Street, Chatham. Date unknown. Image: by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

Royal Marines Freedom of the Borough 1963. Image: by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Royal Marines Freedom of the Borough 1963. Image: by permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

This wonderful image shows the Royal Marines on Military Road with Coopers & Bernards Store on the left and The Paddock on the right. All the shops on the left hand side were demolished to make way for Mountbatten House and the Pentagon Shopping Centre. The idea and concept behind ‘Chatham Patterns’, comes partly from the memory of these military parades and formations, which for a century at least have been woven and imprinted into the very fabric of the town. The presence of many Military Outfitters along our route is also a great influence in terms of the images they conjure up about ‘fabric’ and ‘pattern’ and the people who wore them.

I was put onto this thread via an online forum group called Kent History Forum, where a fair amount of detail and social history about Chatham is recalled.

 

 

 

The walk to Strood from Chatham Station gives a wonderful insight into the architecture and industry which developed along the banks of the Medway. Lots of detail and interest to record !

 

 

 

Creative Consultation

On Friday 6th February 2016 we ran a creative consultation drop-in event in Chatham. These were held at Sun Pier House from 10am – 1pm and then at Nucleus Arts from 2pm to 5pm. We presented the same information as the public consultation events – and the creative consultation events were also open to anyone to attend.

Sun Pier, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Sun Pier, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Chatham and Medway has a lively and very creative and well established arts scene. It is important that we make the project as open and available to all to engage with. The afternoon session at Nucleus Arts turned into an impromptu talk and discussion about the wider regeneration project and the creative contextual research with which we hope to influence and inform the design process. This was really well attended, with some artists and practitioners asking about the temporary programme of commissions which will run prior to the permanent works beginning on site. Engagement in this way is the real catalyst for change, creativity and promoting a common sense of ownership.

A big thanks to Claire Poynter, Natasha Steer and Genevieve Tullberg of Nucleus Arts for making this event a success and providing the space.

Public Consultation Events

The Public Consultation events in regard to the Chatham Placemaking Project were held in Chatham from 15th January to the 5th February 2016.

If you click on this link – Chatham Placemaking Project – you can see the information boards which were presented for comment. Additionally, there was a form to complete, which asked some pertinent questions about the project. An online option provided opportunity to complete the survey at home in your own time. All the information collected is now subject to review by the Council’s Regeneration Team.

At these events the general public were invited to comment on the plans developed by the wider project team, including LDA Design, Medway Council, Arts Consultants Francis Knight and me ! I attended one of these days at the Pentagon Shopping Centre. What was so interesting about this process, was that people would stop and look at the information boards. Some would comment favourably, others would raise questions about wider issues in the town. Once engaged however, many people – particularly elderly residents – would tell stories.  

‘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.