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 !
The far right hand arch under the viaduct – just obscured by the white van – was the door to the Public Urinal and Barbers.
Watch this space for more images –
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.
Every visit to Chatham throws up more detail and insight to add to the Chatham Placemaking Project –
The open yard seen through the bridge / viaduct is the former Scott’s timber yard site.
There is some real potential for change of pace here if the arches could be opened up to new local businesses – coffee / food / cyclists –
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 work has now started to transform the building once again into a Public House !
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 !
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 –
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.
“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
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 –
Also of interest was this advert for Gale & Polden Ltd. Printers, Publishers, Booksellers and Stationers to the Royal Navy – 121 High Street, Chatham.
Printed materials are something of great interest to the project. Watch this space –
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.
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.
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.
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.