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Thalia, Belvedere and Telemon

Great to seen that our client Countryside & the Hyde Group have adopted several street names for Rochester Riverside from the original contextual research I did to underpin my public art proposals for the scheme, as directed and managed by Public Art Consultants FrancisKnight. 

 

Detail showing a plan of Phases 1 & 2 Rochester Riverside housing development by Countryside Homes with street names. Image: By permission of Countryside Properties

 

Thalia, Belvedere and Telemon were 3 of 4 locomotives that worked at William Cory & Sons Ltd (Coal Wharf) on Rochester Riverside.

‘Thalia’: Built by Robert Stevenson and Hawthorn Newcastle, (works No 7816, Drewry Car Co works No. 2503 of 1945). The locomotive was supplied new to William Cory & Sons Ltd. where it was named after one of the three Graces in Greek mythology. The locomotive was painted black with Cory’s standard logo on each side & spent all its working life in Cory’s sidings, which were located adjacent to Blue Boar Wharf on the River Medway.

‘Telemon’: Built by the Vulcan Foundry 9 (works No. 295, Drewry Car Co. works No. 2568 of 1955) worked at William Cory’s Coal Wharf, Rochester, 1971

 

Locomotives ‘Thalia’ and ‘Telemon’ at Cory’s Wharf, Rochester, January 1971. Image: Copyright Gordon Edgar

Gordon Edgar on Flickr 

 

 

 ‘Belvedere’: Had a streamlined casing and was built by Sentinel (Shrewsbury) in 1945 and worked at Rochester Cory’s Wharf from 1950 to 1957 & now at the Northampton Ironstone Museum.

 

An image of BELVEDERE in the sidings at Cory’s Wharf, Rochester Riverside. Image: Kent History Forum/3pinplug

KENT HISTORY FORUM

 

BELVEDERE. A proposal for a Cast Iron unit 960mm x 400mm x 75mm manufactured by Hargreaves. One of 24 Public Art elements to be embedded into the streetscape of Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Proposals for a variety of Cast Iron units – shown full scale – to be manufactured by Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. One of 24 Public Art elements to be embedded into the streetscape of Rochester Riverside, which recall the history of the site. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Proposals for a variety of Cast Iron units – shown full scale – to be manufactured by Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax. One of 24 Public Art elements to be embedded into the streetscape of Rochester Riverside, which recall the history of the site. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Spritsail Barges of the Medway…and other Rochester Riverside Stories (2 of 3)

‘Mr Gill showed me a very fine model of their barge Centaur, a 50-tonner built by Messrs. Gill & Son, specially for the 1899 Medway barge Race, in the astonishing time of 6 weeks.” 

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

In his wonderfully evocative book ‘Spritsail Barges of Thames and Medway’, published in 1948, Edgar J March paints a highly detailed picture of Barge activity and life on the Medway. Many of these Barges started life in the boatyards of Rochester.

“Staunch and well built though a barge may be, each year sees a toll taken. Some yield at last to the cold embrace of the sea, whose caresses they have so long resisted, others steal quietly up some lonely creek to nose gently into the malodorous mud and settle down into their last berth, gradually to moulder away, forgotten by all save their one time masters, and perhaps, some sentimental fool like myself, who will gaze down on their rotting timbers and imagination see spars clothed with red-brown sails and hulls vibrant with life as they thrash there way round the Foreland.” 

Describing the excitement and thrill of the Medway Barge Races – “The course was from Hoo Marshes to the West Oaze Buoy and back to the Sun Pier at Chatham, a distance of about thirty five miles…A strong easterly wind was blowing, and in Long Reach Verona’s bowsprit snapped off short, but the crew cleared away the wreckage and setting a jib topsail as a staysail, carried on to come sixth in their class.” Edgar J March. 

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

Referencing a painting by T.B. Hardy, 1874, Edgar March goes on to describe the Medway as, “When this picture was painted, marine artists had little need to look for subjects. The Medway was alive with sailing craft : dainty little topsail schooners, picturesque collier brigs with apple bows and dingy canvas, barques from Scandinavia, bringing pine-scented timber from the Baltic to Rochester, and above all, barges innumerable, threading their way through the maze of traffic. One hundred a tide was no uncommon sight, and what a joy to a sail-lover that galaxy of russet, brown and ochre canvas must have been, many with various devices emblazoned on their mainsails – Lees’ stumpies had the white horse of Kent rampant on ebony coloured sails – all either hurrying down on the ebb or beating up against wind and tide. Now gone forever.”

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

…and “In  those far-off days, watermen, or “goozers”, to use their riverside nick-name, plied their trade in skiffs”. Edgar J March

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

William Higham was born in 1838 in Lewes Sussex. On 27/10/1864 he married Fanny Elizabeth Blake in Strood, nr, Rochester. By 1881 they had 9 children.

William was a Barge Builder and they lived in a private house on Victoria Street, Rochester. The location of his Yard is show on the OS map of 1898 on Blue Boar Hard, just above the Pier. ADA & EDITH is just one of many barges built here between 1876 and 1901.

Detail of OS Map 1898 showing land prior to development as Cory’s Coal & Rail Depot & Wharf. Rochester Riverside Industry. Reproduced by Kind Permission of MALSC.

 PROVIDENCE

FOX HOUND

MAID OF KENT

ANNIE & ALICE

CHARLEY BAKER

HERBERT & HAROLD

ADA & EDITH

ANSWERS

SILVER WEDDING

MABEL MAUD

VENTURA

FIVE BROTHERS

DOROTHY

 

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

‘WALRUS’ & ‘NELLIE’ were two portable conveyors owned by William Cory & Son, Coal Factors, at Cory’s Wharf, used for transporting stone aggregates from Barge to Train. These aggregates were known as Fines, Nuts & Cobbles.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

“It has been my privilege to go over and see the marvellous machinery for loading and unloading coal. The five large cranes, when seen at work bowing their stately heads, look like dancers executing a minuet; …when in repose, standing like so many soldiers on sentry duty, with fixed bayonets. What a contrast to see the way a collier is unloaded by these cranes, as compared with the old coal whippers’ days! A coal boat seems scarcely to draw alongside the wharf before it is steaming away again”. Edwin Harris Guides to Old Rochester, Pub. 1930 No. 27 Part 1. (Ref: ROC. 942.23 HAR The Riverside. Harris/Edwin. MALSC).

 

Cory’s Coal Depot with 2 abandoned cranes from the original 5. November 1969. Black & White Photograph. Rochester Riverside Industry. Reproduced by Kind Permission of MALSC.

 

Detail of OS Map 1932 showing Cory’s Coal & Rail Depot & Wharf. Rochester Riverside Industry. Reproduced by Kind Permission of MALSC.

 

The five cranes were originally positioned along Cory’s Wharf on the far right hand side of the above OS Map of 1932

 

Detail of OS Map 1898 showing land prior to development as Cory’s Coal & Rail Depot & Wharf. Rochester Riverside Industry. Reproduced by Kind Permission of MALSC.

The earlier OS Map of 1898 records the same site some 30 years previously as Chatham Goods Yard. The site occupied by Cory’s Wharf is immediately below Blue Boar Pier along the HWMOT line.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Dunlin…A Salt Marsh Bird

 

 

‘The Medway Estuary is believed to be the most important area in North Kent for wintering wildfowl in numbers of international significance. The Saltmarsh serves as a roosting area for waders at high tide. Several scarce plant species include: golden samphire, perennial glasswort and one-flowered glasswort. The estuary is one of the best places in Britain for the study of glassworts. The grazing marsh has breeding and wintering birds of interest; the former include lapwing, redshank, pochard, mallard and gadwall, while in winter large flocks of may wildfowl and wader species are present.

Ref: Environmental Stresses and Resource Use in Coastal Urban and Peri Urban Regions. DPSIR Approach to SECOA’s 17 Case Studies.

These overwintering birds, along with thousands of others migrating or breeding species have been present on our site, however the numbers of Dunlin and other birds have undergone a decline, ostensibly to do with habitat loss and disturbance, which is of course of great concern.

 

 

 

 

The Great Flood…and other Rochester Riverside stories (1 of 3)

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

“A creek separates the marsh here from Cory’s Wharf – apparently into which the watermill discharged…” “The marsh was full of logs (a huge stack of wooden piles from Rochester Old Bridge) and was home to many rabbits – wild rabbits, grey, brown and black…” ‘It was said that the Foord Family stocked the marsh, with animals from their farm at Darland’.  Stephen Hannington – Bygone Kent MagazineRochester’s Long Lost Common Part Two –

‘Floods of 1897 and 1928 inundated this area – the flooding in1897 was called The Great Flood and attributed to a record high tide on 29th November’. The image below shows the Homeward Bound Public House inundated by the flood waters. The Gas Holders of the Gasworks, can be seen in the background. The Gasworks, on Gas House Way was one of the earliest built in the UK in 1818. The area was known as Gas House Marshes. Image by kind permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

The Homeward Bound Public House at Gas House Point inundated by the great flood of 1837. Image: By kind permission of MALSC

 

I thought I might post the artwork for all of the proposed granite and cast iron paving slab units. I can then add any historic anecdotes, images or information, which have caught my attention and may be of further interest. I’ll cover all these in this and the next two posts. 1 of 3

 

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

CAST IRON UNIT ‘BRICKIES‘ STACKIES STUMPIES’. You can also add MUDDIES to this list as well!  All colloquial names for the trades associated with Medway Barges built in and operating out of the Rochester Riverside site. Brickies carried up to 40,000 bricks on the up river journey to London and came back laden with London’s rubbish. Stackies were piled high with Hay and Straw. Stumpies could take cement, lime, timber, clay, coal, bricks, hops and other commodities. Muddies are self explanatory…the carried clay and mud dug from the banks of the Medway Estuary and destined for local brickworks.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

CAST IRON UNIT ‘GOLDEN SAMPHIRE’. To the northwest the Medway Estuary consists of an extensive area of marshland, comprising of salt marsh and intertidal mudflats. The River remains tidal at this point and estuarine conditions would have dominated most of the site’s past.’  Ref: KCC HER 012. 2014 -371. Golden Samphire  grows on estuary mudflats and salt march. It is rare and I have used it as it represents the efforts being made by the client team to build upon the heritage and legacy of the natural environment with it’s diverse flora and fauna.

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT  ‘BLUE BOAR CREEK’. “Blue Boar Wharf was our playground”. Edwin Harris

Blue Boar Creek is the one of the more distinctively named and well remembered places on our site. It also gave name to Blue Boar Lane, Blue Boar Hard, Blue Boar Lower Yard, Blue Boar Upper Yard, Blue Boar Lane Foundry and Blue Boar Pier. ‘Blue Boar Hard Pier: November 26th 1886′ as seen at the Medway Archives is set of beautiful, hand painted drawings of plans for a new Pier by draughtsman William Hoelking. Some details are referred to as ‘DOLPHINS’ & ‘DUMMY’. MALSC Ref: Plan 1 of 4 (002) MP/B/30/1 (1 of 4).

Blue Boar Hard Pier: November 26th 1886. Image: By kind permission of MALSC. Ref: Plan 1 of 4 (002) MP/B/30/1 (1 of 4).

Blue Boar Hard Pier: November 26th 1886. Image: By kind permission of MALSC. Ref: Plan 1 of 4 (002) MP/B/30/1 (1 of 4).

William Banks City Surveyor has also signed this document. William was born in about 1850 at Edmonton. He married Anne Mary Everett in June 1876 at Islington. In 1891, he and his family were living at at 10 Albany Road, Rochester, William was by then aged 40 and a surveyor for the city of Rochester.

‘What is now left of Blue Boar Creek and the river beyond at Limehouse Reach, lies deathly silent. Coal is not longer unloaded from colliers at Cory’s Wharf. So too is the Pier, once festooned with skiffs and rowing boats, where formerly small boys with rod and line and a jar of worms could fish away the school holidays’. John K. Austin from his publication ‘Yesterday’s Medway’. Johns has been involved with this project from the outset, having been consulted by the project Architects BPTW on his local knowledge as a historian, author, teacher and artist.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT ‘THE FIVE BROTHERS’  William Higham had a Barge Building business on Blue Boar Hard. He was born in 1838 in Lewes Sussex. On 27th October 1864 he married Fanny Elizabeth Blake in Strood. By 1881 they had 9 children and lived in a private house on Victoria Street, Rochester. William employed 11 men and 7 boys. THE FIVE BROTHERS was the last barge built at this yard alongside DOROTHY in 1901.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT ‘PERENNIAL GLASSWORT’.  ‘The Medway Estuary is believed to be the most important area in North kent for wintering wildfowl in numbers of international significance. The saltmarsh serves as a roosting area for waders at high tide. Several scarce plant species include: golden samphire, perennial glasswort and one-flowered glasswort. The estuary is one of the best places in Britain for the study of glassworts. The grazing marsh has breeding and wintering birds of interest; the former include lapwing, redshank, pochard, mallard and gadwall, while in winter large flocks of may wildfowl and wader species are present.’ Ref: Environmental Stresses and Resource Use in Coastal Urban and Peri Urban Regions. DPSIR Approach to SECOA’s 17 Case Studies.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT ‘COAL: METER HEAVER WHIPPER’. Colloquial names for trades employed in the Coal business.Frederick Furrell was born in 1807 and died in 1877. Frederick Furrell & Son were Coal Merchants based at Furrell’s Wharf, a  He was also an Alderman & Shipowner. He had ten children with his wife Katherine who he had married on February 25th 1832 at St Margaret’s Church in Rochester. Fred was Mayor of Rochester in 1855. Furrell’s Wharf was a 30m length of post and plank revetment of Oak and Elm Posts, most likely made from re-used ships timbers was in use in 1865 making it one of the oldest sites for industry on Rochester Riverside. It was accessed via Furrell’s Road.

His name also lived on as ‘Furrells Pond’“where children swam and skated in Icy weather – The site flooded during exceptionally high tides” . Edwin Harris

 Furrells Wharf was also the destination of many travelling shows, menageries and circuses – such as Wombwells Wild Beasts & Edmonds Menagerie – George Sangers Circus, Pinder’s Circus, Middletons’ Marionettes. 

Coal was a major industry at Rochester, with several businesses engaged, most notable William Cory & Son of Fenchurch Street London were registered in 1896 after taking over he business of coal factors, merchants and Lightermen of William Cory & Son of Rochester at Rochester Coal Wharf.

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

GRANITE UNIT ‘MARSH COWS GRAZING’ 

 

Brickies, Stackies and Stumpies

Brickies, Stackies and Stumpies refer to Thames Sailing Barges (aka Medway Barges or Rochester Sailing Barges or Spritsail Barges), which were built at Rochester and more specifically to the the trades they carried out. Brickies carried up to 40,000 bricks on the up river journey to London and came back laden with London’s rubbish. Huge mounds of glass bottles recorded on the Rochester Riverside site, north of Blue Boar Creek, are a result of this domestic waste being brought up the Medway from the capital. Stackies were piled high with Hay and Straw. Stumpies could take cement, lime, timber, clay, coal, bricks, hops and other commodities.

“Russet Brown & Ochre Sails with Various devices Emblazoned” Edgar J Marsh. ‘Spritsail Barges of the Thames and Medway’. 1948

Draft design for a granite paving slab. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Sample granite paving slab with water jet cut granite inlay and sandblasted text. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

The granite units will be manufactured in collaboration with Hardscape. 

Granite square tile with a sandblasted letter B. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Sample coloured granite squares with sandblasted letters. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Sample coloured granite squares with sandblasted letters. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Detail of sample granite paving slab with water jet cut granite inlay and sandblasted text. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

I am proposing to make 24 artwork units in either cast iron or granite, with inlaid & sandblasted detail. The units will be embedded into paving within or adjacent to the threshold entrances to all Apartment blocks and to the footpaths of all the central and riverside designated housing. I want these works with their accompanying text and drawings to be seen each day as people cross the thresholds between the public realm and the private home. This site was an industrious place for hundreds of years, providing and creating the wealth upon which Rochester grew into a powerful and beautiful cathedral city. It’s wealth however, is not only in the grand and the elevated. The everyday, the matter of fact, the local and colloquial have all contributed over time to this place leaving a rich social and community-led legacy through the people whose livelihoods were centred on this fascinating site next to the River Medway. Shipbuilding, Sailmaking, Gasworks, Railways, Livestock Market, Transport, Fishing, Metal and Aggregate Trades and Market Gardening have all at various times left an indelible and tangible mark on this place, as have the domestic residences, pubs, shops and small businesses such as:

Henry Allen – Dealer in Building Materials

Jane Weaver – Milliner

Joseph Anderson – Clay Pipe Maker

George Millar – Wheelwright and Coach Builder

Ebenezer Baird – Tailor

…all of Rochester Common.

Detail of cast iron paving slab with low relief pattern and text. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

The images above shows a single panel manufactured by Hargreaves Foundry immediately after casting, when the surface is a gun-metal colour and then after a couple of weeks outside, where the colour is more akin to Corten steel.

The actual finish will be almost black, as the cast iron will eventually be treated with nitric acid to prevent further weathering.

There was an Iron Foundry on the site up to the 19th Century. HALLS IRON FOUNDRY was founded in 1785 and worked form premises adjacent to Cory’s Creek on Blue Boar Lane.  In the 1918 Directory of Manufacturers in England, James Hall & Son Ltd are listed as trading as T/A Hall’s Foundry. Tel. Chatham 169.

Cast Iron items such a pavement drains can still be see bearing the makers name in the streets surrounding the site.

James Hall & Son Cast Ltd. Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft design for a cast iron paving slab. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

BELVEDERE was the name of a Locomotive (a sentinel geared vertical boilered tank engine) that worked at William Cory’s Coal Yard and Cory’s Wharf. She was built by Sentinel (Shrewsbury) in 1945 & worked at Cory’s Wharf from 1950 to 1957 & is now at the Northampton Ironstone Museum. Belvedere was one of four Locomotives working in the yard – Thalia, Telemon and Greenwich being the others.

Detail of cnc milled model board for cast iron slab showing low relief pattern and text. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

The original models for the cast iron units are being manufactured by Arthur Jackson & Co Ltd in Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

Plan of Rochester Riverside Phases 1 & 2, showing proposed sites for artwork as red or blue dots. Image: Christopher Tipping

I had researched the whole Rochester Riverside site and so have an enormous resource of material to draw upon. For the first two Phases of delivery however, we are focussing on site specific references relevant to the locality.

The following images show some of the draft artwork we may have to work with for the delivery of future Phases.

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

The Ross family were Shipbuilders working out of Acorn Yard on Rochester Riverside. Following the death of her husband Charles Ross in 1808 leaving her a widow with seven children, Mary Ross  took on the running of the yard. This was highly unusual for a woman at this time.

These are the ships built by Mary Ross following the death of her husband Charles.

Vigo: 1810 / 74 Guns / Broken up 1867

Goodwill:

Stirling Castle: 1811 / 74 Guns / Hulk in 1839

Thistle: 1812 / Gun Brig / 12 guns / broken up 1832

Epervier: 1812 / 18 Guns

Eridanus: 1813 / 36 Guns

Confiance: 1813 / Cruizer Class / broken up 1832

Tanais: 1813 / 38 Guns / built of Fir / broken up 1819

HMS Fury: 1814 / Bomb Vessel / Lost 1825

HMS Fury was launched in 1814 and was one of Captain Parry’s two ‘Discovery Ships surveying for the Hudson Bay Company. Fury was converted to an Arctic exploration ship. Commander William Edward Parry commissioned her in December 1820 She then made two journeys to the Arctic, both in company with her sister ship, Hecla. Her second Arctic voyage ended in disaster. She was damaged by ice while overwintering and was abandoned on 25 August 1825, at what has since been called Fury Beach on Somerset Island on the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

William Higham had a Barge Building business on Blue Boar Hard. He was born in 1838 in Lewes Sussex. On 27th October 1864 he married Fanny Elizabeth Blake in Strood, nr, Rochester. By 1881 they had 9 children and they lived in a private house on Victoria Street, Rochester. William employed 11 men and 7 boys. THE FIVE BROTHERS was the last Barge built at this yard alongside DOROTHY in 1901.

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

Frederick Furrell was born in 1807 and died in 1877. Frederick Furrell & Son were Coal Merchants. He was also an Alderman & Shipowner. He had ten children with his wife Katherine who he had married on February 25th 1832 at St Margaret’s Church in Rochester. Fred was Mayor of Rochester in 1855. Furrell’s Wharf – a 30m length of post and plank revetment of Oak and Elm Posts, most likely made from re-used ships timbers was in use in 1865 making it one of the oldest sites for industry on Rochester Riverside. It was accessed via Furrell’s Road.

His name also lived on as ‘Furrells Pond’, “where children swam and skated in Icy weather – The site flooded during exceptionally high tides” . Edwin Harris

 Furrells Wharf was also the destination of many travelling shows, menageries and circuses – such as Wombwells Wild Beasts & Edmonds Menagerie – George Sangers Circus, Pinder’s Circus, Middletons’ Marionettes. 

 

 

 

 

Draft designs for granite or cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft designs for cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft designs for cast iron paving slabs. Rochester Riverside. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

 

All the RRR’s…

ROCHESTER RIVERSIDE

RESEARCH – REGENERATION – RECLAMATION – RECYCLE – REMINISCENCE – REVEAL – REPLACE – RESONATE

RE-USE

The Rochester Riverside development aims to deliver 489 homes in Phases 1, 2 & 3. The first show homes are scheduled to be ready by September 2018. I have been researching and developing ideas to embed some of the social & industrial legacy from this site into the new build homes and apartments & not forgetting a new community which is being delivered. The site has a treasure trove of layered history to uncover fed by its unique position between Rochester and  River Medway.

Intertidal Salt Marsh

Tithe Lands

St Nicholas Parish Rochester 

Livestock Grazing

Clay & Mud

Market Gardens

Oyster Fishery

Gas Works

Ship & Barge Building

Iron Foundry

Coal Factors

Coal Depot

Railway Goods Yard

Scrap Metal Merchants

Wharfs

Cranes

Locomotives

Aggregates

Cement

By 2006 almost all the site had been cleared for re-development.

I have to find a way to be creative with the public art budget and to produce high quality, robust interventions, capable of withstanding the wear and tear of a contemporary urban space. My approach to this project has been to work with a series of 2.4m high brick walls, which form the entrances to parking courts on the Central Streets of Phase 1 & 2. I am also embedding work into the threshold entrances of six apartment blocks and numerous private houses throughout the site. Materials being investigated at this stage include granite, cast concrete, cast iron, architectural ceramic & brick. The concept drawings shown below are all subject to change, revision, omission – all the usual ups and downs of project development.

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

These early concept drawings explore the various combinations of narrative elements which could be developed further. They are rather overstuffed with ideas at this stage – far too many to deliver – but are beginning to explore the legacy of the site via stories created by combining strands of research. Visiting menageries share space with Iron Foundry production and mud and clay trades carried out on the site. The elephant would be sandblasted into the brick surface, whilst adjacent panels of cast iron with relief detail and glazed brick units and polished granite are embedded into the brick structure.

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for brick walls. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Cast Iron Units to footpaths. Artwork Draft Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Cast Iron proposals are being developed in collaboration with Hargreaves Foundry in Halifax.

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Cast Iron Unit to brick walls. Artwork Draft Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside. Artist Concept. Draft cast iron units to brick walls and paving. Artwork Drafts Only Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite paving units with inset text. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite paving units with inset text. Image: Christopher Tipping

The proposals for granite paving units with inset granite text are being explored in collaboration with Hardscape. 

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for architectural ceramic units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Architectural Ceramic proposals are being developed in collaboration with Darwen Terracotta & Faience

 

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite & cast iron paving units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for granite & cast iron paving units with low relief text & pattern. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke balcony balustrade detail with pattern inspired by the Gas Works. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke balcony balustrade detail with pattern inspired by the Gas Works. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke Front Door & Garage Doors treatment. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Riverside Artist Concept Draft proposals for bespoke Front Door & Garage Doors treatment. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rogallo Place, Horsted Park, Rochester, Kent

Since August 2017 I have been working on a project for Optivo , commissioned by  Francis Knight Public Art Consultants  

“Rogallo Place is an extra care scheme with 63 apartments available for rent or shared ownership. FrancisKnight has commissioned artist Christopher Tipping with a brief to create art work that aids a sense of arrival to the buildings entrance. Designs are currently in production for vinyl artwork and a sculptural granite seat that reflect the historic rural and agricultural lands and the relationship with Rochester Airport that was built upon the local farmland. The Rogallo Wing is also credited which was a precursor to the modern hang glider and paraglider”. Francis Knight

Draft artwork for glazing vinyls. Rogallo Place, Horsted, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft artwork for glazing vinyls. Rogallo Place, Horsted, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Rogallo Place, Horsted Park, Rochester. Site Visit August 2017. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rogallo Place, Horsted Park, Rochester. Site Visit with Francis Knight, August 2017. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rogallo Place will provide 63 apartments – a new community will grow together here – part of the much larger new community of Horsted Park.

I am proposing that this artwork will be digitally printed on optically clear vinyl and applied to the glazing screens of the Entrance and Reception areas of the building.

I am creating abstract motifs inspired by various plans for ‘flexible wings’ such as Delta shaped airfoils and Ram-air types to create assemblies and group formations, which are intercut and mixed with drawings of plants and landscape. At a small-scale these new formations may themselves resemble flowers and plants within an abstract landscape. The groups are also suggestive of people and individuals coming together to form new associations and a new community. This approach is further inspired by aerial views of the locale taken from historic & contemporary aerial mapping as well as information gathered from local historic sources to create abstract motifs suggestive of clouds and patterns of updraft and airflow experienced by fliers, as well as textures and colours of field patterns and woods.

THE OS Map of 1869 shows Horsted Farm, with its Pond, Orchard & Chalk Pit surrounded by woods within a rural, agricultural landscape. Historic rural and agricultural lands with orchards, gardens and allotments surrounded by woods, which have been cultivated and managed for hundreds of years, interspersed with small communities working together. ‘The Horsted Valley is a wonderful green resource. It is one of the Medway Towns hidden gems, providing a vital green buffer between the surrounding urban areas and an important area for recreation and relaxation, and yet also providing a vital refuge and home for a wide variety of plants and animals’. Friends of Horsted Valley 

Churchland Wood

Great Chatham Grove

Newland Wood

Crooked Oak Wood

Newland Shaw

Warren Wood

East Cookham Wood

Great Delce Wood

Little Delce Wood

Horsted Grove

Westfield Wood

Slippers Wood

Crowhill Shaw

Court Bushes

Monk Wood

Bridge Wood

Detail of the OS Map of 1869 showing Horsted Farm. Image: National Library of Scotland – Map Images

 


Fort Horsted is one of five Forts built to protect the eastern flank of Chatham and the Dockyard, with its inherent history of military order, regimentation, defence and protection to draw upon.

 

Construction works started on Fort Horsted in 1880 – one of five Forts protecting Chatham’s Eastern Flank and primarily its strategically important Dockyard. Ordered by the Royal Commission following its report of 1860, the Fort was constructed by convicts under the supervision of the Royal Engineers.


Darland

Twydall

Luton

Horsted

Bridgewoods

 

The Fort sits adjacent to the historic Horsted Farm and the new Horsted Park. Its starkly geometric form is striking in plan in the landscape.

Detail of the OS Map of 1955 showing Fort Horsted. Image: National Library of Scotland – Map Images

Draft artwork for glazing vinyls. Rogallo Place, Horsted, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Rochester Airport was established in 1933 and built upon local farmland is the nearest industrial and business neighbour to Horsted Park. Its close proximity has been the inspiration for the street names throughout the site.

Rochester City Council compulsory purchased the land at Rochester Airfield in September 1933 from the landowner as the site for a municipal airport. One month later Short Brothers, who had started building aircraft in 1909 on the Isle of Sheppey, asked for permission to lease the land for test flying and thus began the privileged relationship between the local authority and the aviation industry.

In 1934-5 Short Brothers took over the Rochester Airport site when they moved some of their personnel from the existing seaplane works. Pobjoy Airmotors Ltd moved to Rochester at the same time to be closer to Short Brothers, to whom they were contracted for production of aircraft engines for the Short Scion. Financial difficulties led to a capital investment by Shorts in Pobjoy and the eventual assimilation of Pobjoy.

 

Rogallo Place itself has been named in response to this aviation history by taking its name from Francis Rogallo 1912 – 2009, an American aeronautical engineer inventor born in Sanger, California, U.S.; who is credited with the invention of the Rogallo Wing, or “flexible wing”, a precursor to the modern hang glider and paraglider. His patents were ranged over mechanical utility patents and ornamental design patents for wing controlsairfoils, target kite, flexible wing, and advanced configurations for flexible wing vehicles.

Francis Rogallo is still celebrated through aviation events, such as the Rogallo Kite Festival held annually at Nags Head Outer Banks North Carolina. His inventions started the sport of hang gliding and his designs have carried over into the stunt kites, power kites and hang gliders that are flown today. This event provides some very surreal and colourful images.

Draft artwork for glazing vinyls. Screens C & D – Rogallo Place, Horsted, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft artwork for glazing vinyls. Screens C & D – Rogallo Place, Horsted, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft artwork for glazing vinyls. Screens A & B – Rogallo Place, Horsted, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft artwork for glazing vinyls. Screens A & B – Rogallo Place, Horsted, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft artwork for glazing vinyls. Screens A & B – Rogallo Place, Horsted, Rochester. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

To compliment this interior work, I am also proposing an intervention in the landscape just outside the main entrance area.

A granite seat in several sections; a monolithic block of honed granite with large letters sandblasted into the vertical face of the seat spelling out ROGALLO PLACE. In plan, the shape suggests part of a delta wing – perhaps a nod to the Rogallo Place logo and the robust and enduring form of the nearby Fort Horsted.

Rogallo Place Drawing of Granite Bench by Hardscape. Image: Permission of Hardscape England.

Rogallo Place Drawing of Granite Bench by Hardscape. Image: Permission of Hardscape England.

Granite Benches Draft V2 Rogallo Place. Image: Christopher Tipping

Granite Benches Draft V1 Rogallo Place. Image: Christopher Tipping

Designs reproduced from the glazing vinyl artwork could also be sandblasted onto the honed granite surfaces, contextually and visually joining the two elements.

Granite for the bench is supplied and manufactured by Hardscape.