Tag Archives: Historic Dockyard Chatham

A Circle of Words in a Military Square

The regeneration and public realm works in Military Square, Chatham have very nearly been completed. This involves the installation of 400 bespoke radius-cut monolithic blocks of granite set into 17m diameter circle, putting a circle of words at the centre of a Military Square!

154 of the granite blocks have words, numbers & patterns sandblasted or inset into the surface. Just over 400 words are included – 

Local school children & people working in local businesses were asked for their comments.

We listened to them & heard their stories. We listened to the sound of their lives.

There is an overwhelming sense of common ownership in this project.

These words are not ours. They belong to Chatham.

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Draft Artwork for Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Granite blocks awaiting installation in Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

You may know that the aim of this public realm project was to upgrade the route from Chatham Station to the Waterfront. This includes pedestrian and cycle routes as well as crossing points, upgrading paving materials, improving steps and ramps, opening up the public realm and streamlining access and pedestrian permeability.

Francis Knight, Public Art Consultants, managed the Public Art Project. Our project collaborators and consultants to Medway Council were LDA Design and Project Centre. 

We have worked within these parameters, using the language of public realm and materials, which are robust and stand the test of time. We have created a quiet ‘narrative’ thread – a story about Chatham –  & more specifically about events and places along this route.

We wanted the streets to speak quietly, confidently & with good humour about Chatham…WHAT MAKES A TOWN? …THESE ARE OUR STREETS…part memorial, part living voice…but mostly a celebration of the rich heritage and community of Chatham.

As an artist and designer of public spaces, this project has been an opportunity to influence our surroundings in a way that ‘speaks’ of Chatham and its people. We mostly take our pavements for granted, but these spaces have often developed from historic pathways and tracks linking communities and towns across the wider region. They have a resonance and a ‘voice’, …and echo with history. 

The route from the Station to the Waterfront takes us down Railways Street & Military Road – in doing so we pass several key places, such as New Cut (a former farmyard), St John’s (a Grade II Listed Waterloo Church) – Military Square, considered the Heart of the Town. At these important sites, we have made interventions to articulate the granite kerb in ways, which are expressive and of interest, whilst still maintaining functionality.

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Some Chatham Words

You may have seen some of our work embedded into the streetscape along Railway Street. Large scale granite kerbs contain words sandblasted or inlaid into the surface. You may wonder what these words mean, or how they relate to you. Here is a short explanation of how they came about. 

We often talk about words having weight – of text being ‘set in stone’… or ’engraved in stone’…suggesting gravitas, importance, longevity, …we all like a funny ‘one liner’…colloquial, local…distinct Chatham voices…

Well, here in Chatham your words really are being set in stone…for all to read…for years to come –

Chatham Placemaking Project. “A Chatham Barber called Long John…”. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project. “Colin carried coal…”. Image: Christopher Tipping. Words: Rob Young

You may know that the aim of this public realm project was to upgrade the route from Chatham Station to the Waterfront. This includes pedestrian and cycle routes as well as crossing points, upgrading paving materials, improving steps and ramps, opening up the public realm and streamlining access and pedestrian permeability. This work was driven by Francis Knight, Public Art Consultants & our project collaborators and consultants to Medway Council, LDA Design and Project Centre. 

We have worked within these parameters, using the language of public realm and materials, which are robust and stand the test of time. We have created a quiet ‘narrative’ thread – a story about Chatham –  & more specifically about events and places along this route.

We wanted the streets to speak quietly, confidently & with good humour about Chatham…WHAT MAKES A TOWN ?…THESE ARE OUR STREETS…part memorial, part living voice…but mostly a celebration of the rich heritage and community of Chatham.

Chatham Placemaking Project. 57 Submarines.
Image: Christopher Tipping.

As an artist and designer of public spaces, this project has been an opportunity to influence our surroundings in a way that ‘speaks’ of Chatham and its people. We mostly take our pavements for granted, but these spaces have often developed from historic pathways and tracks linking communities and towns across the wider region. They have a resonance and a ‘voice’, …and echo with history. 

The route from the Station to the Waterfront takes us down Railways Street & Military Road – in doing so we pass several key places, such as New Cut ( a former farmyard), St John’s ( a Grade II Listed Waterloo Church) – Military Square, considered the Heart of the Town. At these important sites, we have made interventions to articulate the granite kerb in ways which are expressive and of interest, whilst still maintaining functionality.

We were keen to hear and to record everyday voices …words spoken by ordinary people – such as ‘the girl who cried when she lost her phone and then cried again when she found it’... ‘the lovey barmaid’ …or ‘Colin, the man who carried coal for charity’…these are the voices of people on the street, passers by, people shopping & passing the time of day. We engaged with people directly in conversation, we overheard the conversations of others, we wrote down and recorded stories and anecdotes we were told.

I was very fortunate to collaborate with other artists on this project. Filmmaker Simon Williams succinctly and with an understated eye for visual language and movement, cleverly framed our project parameters and vision in a series of short films, whilst printmaker Xtina Lamb rendered our architectural vision into graphic patterns & motifs used throughout the scheme. Both artists also live in Chatham, bringing their individual & unique perspectives to play. However, it was the award winning writer Rob Young, who contributed significantly to the embedded text. An astute, profound and funny wordsmith with an ability to engage anyone and everyone, turning their words into poetry along the way.

“The knitter. Whose name is Pearl.

The woman. Who uses the word ‘like?’ As like, punctuation?

The woman. Who said sorry. When you’re the one who pushed in.

The woman. Who draws breath. Then monologues. For an hour.

The waiter. Who had a fling. With a Bride. At her wedding.

The girl. Who cried. All day. When she lost her phone. Then cried again. When she found it.

The boy. Whose Mum. Made him take back the sweets. That he stole.

The man. Who says, I’m mad, me. Who isn’t mad, at all. Just lonely”. Rob Young 2016

 

 

Justin Coe, a poet and writer also contributed, animatedly performing his work directly to camera, whilst walking the route in a film by Simon Williams.

Film still image of Poet & Writer Justin Coe performing his work on Military Road, Chatham. Image: Simon Williams

 

“On his way to his first day of school on Rome Lane

(The name of this road – before the trains came)

And while we’re walking with Dickens – observe the new Church

They’ve called it St Johns. And it will soon be the first

Public building in Chatham lit by electricity!…

Though all the lights went out here by the end of last century…” Justin Coe 2016

 

Local school children & people working in local businesses were asked for their comments. We listened to them & heard their stories. We listened to the sound of their lives. There is an overwhelming sense of common ownership in this project. These words are not ours. They belong to Chatham.

We referenced times past by collaborating with MALSC (Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre) and other local agencies in searching for site specific text, such as the words of famous visitors & local Luminaries such as Charles Dickens, reminiscing about soldiers marching through the town in regimented rows …’

The oversized granite kerbs we have used here become a metaphor for the continuity of the local community – kerbs being critical in holding roads and pavements in place – they are physically important in maintaining the fabric of our environment –they could almost be described as ‘defensive structures’ maintaining the integrity and safety of our public spaces …reminiscent of the Chatham Lines – the historic defensive structures, forts and earthworks, which offered protection to the people of Medway & especially the Chatham Dockyard …

The granite kerb acts as a threshold between various states …of the pedestrian…and the driver, or moving fast or slow – perceptions of safety & danger…often the original granite kerb is often the only thing left in place when pavements and roads have been re-placed or modernised throughout recent history…the kerb maintains the parameters of how public spaces were managed and maintained. These lines of granite are also ‘our other Chatham Lines…’

More of the kerbstone lies buried beneath the surface than on top of it… and so it is also a rather poignant link between the past and the present…where times and events past lie buried beneath out feet –

Chatham Placemaking Project – granite kerbs being installed on Railway Street. Image: Christopher Tipping

Our work in Chatham set out to find and hear voices and words which quietly & evocatively create a sense of place associated with each of our stopping points on the route from the Station to the Paddock… the power of these voices is amplified by the weight and mass of the monolithic granite.

Left in place, these words will still be here in a hundred years from now…

 

Chatham Placemaking Project – PROPOSALS

I haven’t updated this post for some time – actually since April 2017!  Head down and just getting on with it …time flies. OK – I’ll now try to sum up what’s happened in the interim.

Following on from the initial research period, consultation & creative engagement phases of the project, a series of Creative Public Realm proposals were submitted for review. This work originated and was inspired by the positive & creative collaboration with our supporting artists in residence, Rob Young – Writer, Simon Williams – Filmmaker and Xtina Lamb – Printmaker.   These collaborations proved to be highly creative as well as bringing a refreshing camaraderie and friendship to the work.

The proposals are presented here in the order in which the various sites are encountered along the route from Chatham Station down Railway Street to Military Road and the Waterfront. This is a visual account of how ideas developed and adopted into the scheme.

Chatham Station, although at the head of our scheme, will be the last Phase to be delivered on the ground & I will report on this work later in a separate post.

The sites where our work and interventions has been focussed are:

 

NEW CUT & NEW ROAD VIADUCT

ST JOHN’S SQUARE

LOWER RAILWAY STREET

MILITARY SQUARE 

MILITARY ROAD

Chatham Placemaking Project. Route & Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

The Red Line indicates our project route & is titled the ‘Chatham Line’, after the Chatham Lines, the nearby defensive fortifications.  The lines follow the historic granite kerb line & will be replaced in relevant sections by bespoke wide

granite kerbs and special transition granite units often with sandblasted or inset granite text. Text is based upon the surrounding local historic legacy & community engagement work & narrative developed by our writer in residence, Rob Young.

AREA 2 – NEW CUT 

New Cut – Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & Draft Plan of Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite & timber seating. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – Sketches & draft plan of bespoke granite kerb units. Creative Public Realm. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut – New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels below the balustrade, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

As with most projects, not all ideas and proposals succeed.Budget limitations, critical rigour and often the subjective nature of the collaborative creative process all bring issues to bear in deciding what is destined to be built on site and what is left in the studio !

 

New Cut – New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels below the balustrade, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut & New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke lighting scheme welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut & New Road Viaduct – Draft proposals for bespoke enamel panels under the bridge, welcoming you to Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

The approach to the materiality and scale of St John’s Square & elsewhere along our route, was influenced by the architectural & industrial heritage of the Historic Chatham Dockyard.

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

This monolithic detail seen above was titled ‘The Submarine’, inspired by HMS OCELOT on display at Chatham Historic Dockyard . This sculptural form was to act as a dividing feature separating two flights of steps at different levels.

I didn’t make it through the final evaluation process…

HMS OCELOT, Chatham Historic Dockyard. Image: Christopher Tipping

HMS OCELOT, Chatham Historic Dockyard. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping & Hardscape

St John’s Square – Draft proposals for bespoke yellow enamel cast iron bollards & landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Square – Research Image of Ropery Artefacts. Draft proposals for bespoke yellow enamel cast iron bollards & landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

LOWER RAILWAY STREET & MILITARY SQUARE

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square is a major pedestrian intersection in Chatham, at the crossroads between Railway Street, Military Road and the High Street.

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Lower Railway Street & Military Square. Draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

THE CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE 

Military Square draft proposals for bespoke landscape interventions. Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

CHATHAM UP – Ideas for Magazine layout –

Chatham Placemaking Project - Draft artwork for Chatham Up Magazine. Image & Artwork: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Draft artwork for Chatham Up Magazine. Image & Artwork: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Still image from an episodic film series by Simon Williams & Rob Young with additional graphics by Xtina Lamb.

Chatham Placemaking Project – Still image from an episodic film series by Simon Williams & Rob Young with additional graphics by Xtina Lamb.

The Fish Finger - by Rob Young. Chatham Placemaking Project.

The Fish Finger – by Rob Young. Chatham Placemaking Project.

Draft page for print proposal. Text by Rob Young - Still Images from documentary film by Simon Williams. Chatham Placemaking Project.

Draft page for print proposal. Text by Rob Young – Still Images from documentary film by Simon Williams. Chatham Placemaking Project.

'Is This You', Draft Page layout - Chatham Placemaking Project. Artwork: Christopher Tipping - Text by Rob Young -  Photograph by kind permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

‘Is This You’, Draft Page layout – Chatham Placemaking Project. Artwork: Christopher Tipping – Text by Rob Young – Photograph by kind permission of Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre.

Chatham Storyline – Barbers in the Bogs

One of the arches under the New Road Viaduct – aka New Cut – aka Chatham Viaduct was home to a Public Urinal & more interestingly a Barbers Shop  – aka Barbers in the Bogs ! The Barber had a collection of paintings on display. Long since closed – the doors are now peeling but the memories of those who knew and used the facilities are still strong.

I am looking for images to use as part of our project – but there are some here on the Kent History Forum page – what an amazing, slightly bizarre and interesting place. Really left me wanting to know more !

Chatham Placemaking Project - New Cut Viaduct. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – New Cut Viaduct. Image: Christopher Tipping

The far right hand arch under the viaduct – just obscured by the white van – was the door to the Public Urinal and Barbers.

Chatham Placemaking Project - New Cut Viaduct & Public Urinal & Barbers - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – New Cut Viaduct & Public Urinal & Barbers – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - New Cut Viaduct & Public Urinal & Barbers - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – New Cut Viaduct & Public Urinal & Barbers – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - New Cut Viaduct & Public Urinal & Barbers - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – New Cut Viaduct & Public Urinal & Barbers – Image: Christopher Tipping

Watch this space for more images – 

 

Chatham Patterns

There are many ways in which the Chatham Placemaking Project can communicate with the local community. Large scale visuals can be really effective – such as these mock-up ideas drafted onto a series of primesight billboards on Railway Street.

The Chatham Big Screen too would provide a great opportunity for us, as we could post film and moving images as well as sound.

Chatham Patterns - Mock-up artworks have been used on these primesight billboards on Railway Street Chatham to illustrate the kind of work we could take into the community. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Patterns – Mock-up artworks have been used on these primesight billboards on Railway Street Chatham to illustrate the kind of work we could take into the community.
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Patterns - Mock-up artworks have been drafted onto these primesight billboards on Railway Street Chatham to illustrate the kind of work we could take into the community. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Patterns – Mock-up artworks have been drafted onto these primesight billboards on Railway Street Chatham to illustrate the kind of work we could take into the community.
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

The BIg Screen, Chatham. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

The BIg Screen, Chatham.
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Patterns -  Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Patterns –
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping. Historic Dockyards Chatham

Chatham Patterns - Railway Street Chatham.  Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Patterns – Railway Street Chatham.
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

The BIg Screen, Chatham. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

The BIg Screen, Chatham.
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Pattern - Chatham Historic Dockyard. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Pattern – Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Historic Dockyard. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Patterns - Chatham Historic Dockyard. Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

Chatham Patterns – Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Chatham Placemaking Project. Image by Project Lead Artist Christopher Tipping

…more Chatham patterns & places

Every visit to Chatham throws up more detail and insight to add to the Chatham Placemaking Project –

New Cut Viaduct - Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut Viaduct – Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns. Image: Christopher Tipping

The open yard seen through the bridge / viaduct is the former Scott’s timber yard site.

New Cut Viaduct - Kent Fire & Rescue Service - Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut Viaduct – Kent Fire & Rescue Service – Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns. Image: Christopher Tipping

There is some real potential for change of pace here if the arches could be opened up to new local businesses – coffee / food / cyclists –

New Cut Viaduct - Kent Fire & Rescue Service - Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns. Image: Christopher Tipping

New Cut Viaduct – Kent Fire & Rescue Service – Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Railway Street -  Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Railway Street – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Chatham Railway Station -  Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Chatham Railway Station – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Chatham Railway Station -  Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Chatham Railway Station – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Chatham Railway Station -  Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Chatham Railway Station – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Chatham Railway Station -  Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Chatham Railway Station – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Railway Street -  Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Railway Street – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Railway Street Post Office -  Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Railway Street Post Office – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns -Colour at Sun Pier - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns -Colour at Sun Pier – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

 

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns Sun Pier - Colour - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Sun Pier – Colour – Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Sun Pier House  - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Sun Pier House – Image: Christopher Tipping

St John's Church Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Church Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

St John's Church, Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Church, Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

St John's Church, Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

St John’s Church, Railway Street. Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

The Big Screen - Chatham Placemaking Project - Chatham Patterns - Image: Christopher Tipping

The Big Screen – Chatham Placemaking Project – Chatham Patterns – Image: Christopher Tipping

 

 

Mr Waghorn

The statue of Thomas Waghorn on Railway Street in Chatham points conveniently along the route of our Chatham Placemaking Project – from Chatham Station / Railway Street / New Cut / St Johns’ Church / Military Road / The Paddock / Waterfront. He is our biggest fan ! He was also a postal pioneer, who developed a new route from India to Great Britain. Can’t be certain that he is pointing to India – but he is certainly pointing to the Old Post Office on Railway Street, soon to become a Wetherspoon’s Pub and named conveniently – The Thomas Waghorn ! Click on the name and you can see the report from Kent Online  28th Feb. 2016, which announced the start of works on site to refurbish the building.

 

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

Old Post Office, Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Old Post Office, Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

The work has now started to transform the building once again into a Public House !

Old Post Office, Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Old Post Office, Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Window Tracery and Waving Man at the Old Post Office, Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Window Tracery and Waving Man at the Old Post Office, Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

I am very keen to get inside the building for a look around. How much of the original interiors remain is unknown. The building has twice before been transformed into pubs – first the Francis and Firkin & then The Old Post Office !

Handsome facade of the former Post Office Building on Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Handsome facade of the former Post Office Building on Railway Street, Chatham. Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Rail Station

Thursday 10th March 2016

The guiding principles for the Chatham Placemaking Project, as outlined in the proposals developed by LDA Design, Francis Knight and myself as Lead Artist can be summed up in the following brief statements –

Getting Around – To create an easier journey for commuters and visitors from the Station to the Town Centre and Waterfront, with more shared space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Identity – Chatham is a great destination. Use the collective experience of the local community to tell this story. Use the Maritime and Military History of Chatham to tell this story. Chatham’s Historic Dockyard starts as you step off the train! How is this made obvious?

Destination – What is the experience of visitors to Chatham who arrive by train? This visitor experience is critical, so too is the daily experience of commuters and residents. We hope to deliver bold, attractive and contemporary changes which welcomes and enhances this journey.

This process clearly starts at the Station. Click on this link to Vimeo for a short film – 

 

Chatham Railway Station 2015 - Image: Christopher Tipping

Chatham Railway Station 2015 – Image: Christopher Tipping

Walking to Chatham Station - a pedestrian experience. Image: Christopher Tipping

Walking to Chatham Station – a pedestrian experience. Image: Christopher Tipping

At peak times – and throughout the day, pedestrians have to navigate a series of crossing points and narrow pavements with poor way finding to reach the Station. This is also the same experience coming from the Station. An adjacent bus hub stop and heavy traffic flow, make this a demanding environment for pedestrians and cyclists alike. A much more sympathetic environment is being proposed within this regeneration programme.

 

 

 

 

 

Military Outfitters in Chatham

“Over a century of experience in expert tailoring of both naval and civilian outfits”. 

It can’t really be a surprise that such a massive military and naval presence in Chatham was serviced by local outfitters. What is interesting is that so many of these had businesses on Military Road and Railway Street. 

At the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, there is a collection of print magazines and periodicals. One of these is called CHATS – a magazine for the personnel of Chatham Port Division. An amazing selection of adverts for military and civilian outfitters are contained within – almost all of them along our route. I managed to find a copy to buy – Vol.8 April 1955 No. 2 

CHATS - Chatham Port Division Magazine Vol. 8 April 1955 No.2. Collection of Christopher Tipping

CHATS – Chatham Port Division Magazine Vol. 8 April 1955 No.2. Collection of Christopher Tipping

Amongst some that I listed were –

W.Cooper‘Cooperstyle’ Regimental Blazers! 56 Military Road  –

Gieves Ltd – 13 Military Road –

Unifit – 40 Military Road –

Baker & Co – 22 Railway Street – “As long as the Spirit of England Remains, we are at your service”. 

A. Fleming & Co. Outfitters Ltd Contractors to the Admiralty – 15 Railway Street –

F & H Newcombe – Military, Naval and General Outfitters – Railway Street –

C.H Bernard & Sons – Bernard Buildings, Military Road –

Military Outfitters, Baker & Co. 22 Railway Street, Chatham. CHATS Magazine. Collection of Christopher Tipping

Military Outfitters, Baker & Co. 22 Railway Street, Chatham. CHATS Magazine. Collection of Christopher Tipping

Coopers Windows are the Talk of the Town. CHATS Magazine Vol 8 April 1955 No 2. Collection fo Christopher Tipping

Coopers Windows are the Talk of the Town. CHATS Magazine Vol 8 April 1955 No 2. Collection fo Christopher Tipping

C.H Bernard & Sons Naval & Civilian Tailors and Outfitters. CHATS Magazine. Collection of Christopher Tipping

C.H Bernard & Sons Naval & Civilian Tailors and Outfitters. CHATS Magazine. Collection of Christopher Tipping

 

Also of interest was this advert for Gale & Polden Ltd. Printers, Publishers, Booksellers and Stationers to the Royal Navy – 121 High Street, Chatham.

Gale & Polden Ltd. Printers RN Barracks, Chatham. CHATS Magazine, Collection of Christopher Tipping

Gale & Polden Ltd. Printers RN Barracks, Chatham. CHATS Magazine, Collection of Christopher Tipping

Printed materials are something of great interest to the project. Watch this space –