Waterbodies & Maritime => Waterways => Topic started by: TowerWill on December 10, 2009, 09:35:59

Title: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: TowerWill on December 10, 2009, 09:35:59
In the 'historicmedway,Strange things in Chatham' site a mention is made of a waterlogged tunnel under the Brook.Is the Brook a small stream such as we have in Dover?If so does it join the River Medway somewhere near where the Barrier Ditch once came down to the River?
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: bromptonboy on December 10, 2009, 11:02:08
Hi TowerWill. There was a stream anciently called the Bourne that rose in Waldersalde valley, flowed through Luton and down what we call the Brook to the River Medway close to where the Rats Bay pumping station is today. In the early Georgian period it was described as 'little more than an open-sewer into which all manner of waste is deposited, and from which noxious and foul fumes arise'. It was gradually bricked over and disappeared from view. The Brook pumping station is apparently linked to it as is the modern Rats Bay pumping station. When the Pentagon was built the foundations regularly flooded due to the very high water table in the area,
 as was also the tunnel later built from the Police Station to the Courthouse.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: TowerWill on December 10, 2009, 17:07:09
Hi bromptonboy thanks for that interesting information on the Brook.I wondered if a stream flows(or flowed)in that vicinity.Not much chance of any Napoleonic tunnels going under that area of not becoming flooded then.In East Kent there's a couple of streams that only flow in very wet periods.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Jason on December 12, 2009, 20:20:32
Hi TowerWill

The Brook used to be fairly wide - I've got an account somewhere of there being a couple of bridges across it - apparently one at the end of Batchelor Street.  There's a quote on my (shamelessly-promoted ;) ) page at:

http://www.historicmedway.co.uk/chatham/strange.htm (http://www.historicmedway.co.uk/chatham/strange.htm)

which says "...it was a waterway then. I can remember being told by a local man that his great grandfather delivered milk in a boat."

The Pentagon apparently has very deep foundations for exactly that reason, and I believe Tesco had to fix some subsidence problems on their building as well.

There were also a couple of pubs along opposite the old ABC cinema, and several times I've seen the Fire Brigade pumping water out of their cellars.  I take it they've got their own sump pumps now.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: kyn on December 12, 2009, 21:08:38
Tesco nearly closed due to the subsidance problems.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: karlostg on December 13, 2009, 09:45:58
Boots in the Pentagon used to have a lot of problems with flooding, especially as their main electrics were underground. The Jolly Caukers in Batchelor Street has a sump pump for the same reason.

The Brook Pumping station is not longer connected to any of the sewers or Brook, however because of the water table it still fills up on a regular basis.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: TowerWill on December 13, 2009, 10:17:13
Hi Jason.Yes i saw that bit about the milkman delivering milk with a boat.Brick lined tunnels of the Napoleonic era would tend to become flooded if they went under the Brook.Digging and lining such a tunnel would have been very difficult in those times as going on what you say i suspect a lot of river silt lies in that area.
We have a legend in Dover, that resurfaces now and again, of a tunnel between the Castle and Western Heights.But the same problems would have been encountered as at The Brook.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Ajemp on April 11, 2011, 19:08:57

  A friend of mine rented a warehouse in Solomons road  near Halfords  Chatham,and when there was a high tide  the basement flooded many times, did the medway, years ago, travel inland as far as the length of the Brook? and If so where did it stop.
                                                                  ajemp....
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: peterchall on April 11, 2011, 21:24:11
There is an underground stream running under the Luton Road area and under the Brook into the Medway. The Brook was at one time an open stream with footbridges over it, hence its name. There's some info here, and I think elsewhere on the Forum:
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=7534.msg60935#msg60935
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Ajemp on April 12, 2011, 20:58:43

 Thanks for the info Peterchall, it leaves a lot to the imagination as to how it would have looked
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: peterchall on April 12, 2011, 22:52:58
Regarding the Brook being an open stream, I was quoting something that I read "somewhere", I think on the Forum as well as in a book. Has anyone got any information on dates? But I'm sure that water flows under it and into the Medway near the junction of Medway Street and Globe Lane, hence the site of the Brook Pumping Station.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: patmore on April 13, 2011, 03:49:11
Smiffys excellent map in '18th century map of Chatham' gives a good impression of the Brook area at that time. The stream was 'The Old Bourne' and has been mentioned and discussed on the Forum, you just have to search for it. I have always been intrigued by the history of this old stream and have tried to research it but there seems very little documentation to be found. I recently approached Southern Water on the issue of water sources at Luton, my findings are in the link mentioned by Peterchall. The water authority have no record of the fabled 'lake under the rec.' but Joan Batchelor in Jim Logan's 'Charting the Changes' states that it does exist ,complete (at one time) with a boat. The adit, at the bottom end of Hopewell Drive, leading down to the lake having been sunk in the 19th century by Richard Batchelor before the waterworks was built at Luton. At the time Richard Batchelor was endeavouring to manufacture and supply bricks for the new Naval Hospital (now Medway Hospital) on the site and the Brompton Water Company were trying to compulsorily purchase the land for their waterworks. In an attempt to stop them , he gave them the well, saying "You want water, here it is!" They took the land, he took them to court, won and RDB thus became a wealthy man.
  I have previously placed a photo of the entrance to the well in the above mentioned link, the lake, according to Joan Batchelor, extends under Hopewell Drive.
                  James
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Lyn L on April 13, 2011, 17:37:31
I was reading a bit about the 2 great fires in Chatham in the 1800s yesterday and a small quote about  The Brook said this.....

This was the poorest area in the whole of Chatham (1821)  the quality of life made worse by the existence nearby of a fetid stream ( always referred to as the brook ) which took most of the towns effluent. Not a pleasant place then.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Rochester-bred on April 13, 2011, 19:50:52
I did read some where a long time ago, that flat bottom boats had sailed along the brook many moons ago I think it was in Dickens era but im not too sure ,must have a sort through my old books.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: hypochlorite on April 16, 2011, 07:31:32
If you can still get a copy from Baggins, "Chatham Scandal: A History of Prostitution in the Medway Towns During the Late 19th Century" by Brian Joyce gives a real insight into the history of slums in Chatham, with detailed stories of vice in various pubs.  There is an awful lot of stuff about The Brook.

Other slum areas included the site of Staples.  Ever wondered about those alleys leading off Chatham High Street towards Medway Street, but apparently petering out into nothing?
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Rochester-bred on April 18, 2011, 20:44:02

numanfan great map, so the stream didnt run along the brook but near it, do you think it would still be running undergraound ?
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: numanfan on April 18, 2011, 20:53:44
Reading different reports of how it was gradually bricked over to form a sewer, I would guess it is still there. It could explain why some shops & properties in the area suffer with flooding or subsidence.

But don't forget it is only my opinion that it is a stream on the map, someone with more knowledge of maps may think the 'line' is something else :)
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: DaveTheTrain on April 18, 2011, 22:02:40
If I recall correctly Presnails "Chatham" covers the subject of the brook in a little depth.  I don't have my copy to hand as all of my books are packed while we are decorating the house, and more particulary, my study!
Dave
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: peterchall on April 18, 2011, 22:39:49
This link shows a stream running alongside the Brook and some streams running off it.
Shows up better if you enlarge by pressing CTRL & +:
 http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=9012.0
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Rochester-bred on April 19, 2011, 11:29:25
Thought this may be of interest.... http://www.oldbrookpumping.co.uk/station.htm
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: numanfan on April 19, 2011, 16:23:37
If I recall correctly Presnails "Chatham" covers the subject of the brook in a little depth.

Correct :).  I've had a read (over & over) and I'm still none the wiser.

He explains how for centuries Chatham had fairly natural drainage; the pleasant stream (the Old Bourne) coursing through the Luton valley, met with the tides of the River Medway. The downside was an inhospitable, waterlogged marsh, with the areas covered by Military Road, Medway Street, George Street (Pentagon Centre) & the Brook entirely flooded at high tide.

The problems worsened when the newly-arrived dockyard workers made the banks of the Old Bourne their homes. For centuries, human & animal waste was just washed into the waters, effectively producing an open sewer that spread disease & infection.

This is where I'm confused!

In 1824, the question of sanitation was high on the agenda, when "the High Constable presented the Town Ditch to be a nuisance" & also in 1829 "the High Constable presented the Brook Ditches as nuisance"

The next three pages explain how the Brook Ditch (this is what shows on my map!) was joined to The Old Middle Sewer & the South High Level Sewer to clear away the waste from the area. At no point is the Old Bourne mentioned again. Did the stream become the Brook Ditch?

Further on in the book, whilst 'walking through' the 1864 Ordnance Survey, Fullalove Alley is mentioned "...it is intersected by an open ditch now in the process of being filled in".

Any suggestions?
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: kyn on May 30, 2012, 16:46:19
After spending a few hours at the Southern Water offices checking their digital map of the area I have found that the Bourne(Brook) first appears at the beginning of the High Street, just by Luton Arches.  The culvert at this point is marked as carrying a water course in a concrete culvert made of brick.  The maximum height of this brick culvert is 750 (I assume this is mm, I didnít think to check), the brick culvert runs along to the bottom of Institution Hill.  From here to Union Place is a 212.12 length of concrete culvert, at its highest point it is 900.  The rest of the culvert that carries the Brook along to the main road outside the Brook Pumping station, a total of around 574.7 metres, not reaching more than 900 high and concrete..  A further length of culvert takes the Brook alongside the Pumping Station.
The Brook runs along the road beneath the south edge of the High Street and then along the west and south gutter of the Brook.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: medwayexplorer on September 18, 2012, 14:27:52
I was working just off Luton road about 4 months ago delivering trench boxes to some fellas who had gone through a sewer pipe with a machine. They were fixing it and showed me where this sewer line intercepted a bigger one. We didn't open the lid but they said it was quite a way down and big. Wonder if this is access to the old culvert/sewer/stream.???
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: YonderYomper on March 03, 2013, 12:43:59
A couple of questions I have about this stream:

Firstly, isn't that pumping station by Chatham Pentagon car park something to do with it... the one which is now a steam engine museum where they rebuilt the steam roller that used to be on the Darnley road play area?

Also, the stream has to emerge somewhere doesn't it?

Either to join the river directly at Chatham Ness, or as it passes through a water board facility to be ejected there in case of overflow?
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: kyn on March 04, 2013, 19:56:54
This thread may answer your questions:  http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=893.0

It may be worth using the search function on the forum, it can save time!
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: YonderYomper on March 04, 2013, 21:28:54
Thanks for the pointer Kyn. :)
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Durobrivae on April 29, 2014, 02:02:18
Given the entire area was marshes, I would like to know where they got the infill from, it is an enormous amount of soil/chalk/clay to raise the entire area from marsh? St Mary's island was a similar situation but apparently they used the earth from the basins.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: James P on April 29, 2014, 17:46:24
The course of the Old Bourne through the Luton Valley has always intrigued me. As records show, it was intentionally covered from some point below Luton Arches, but further back into Luton disappeared below ground naturally some hundreds of years ago. I have tried without success to find record of its position through Luton. I have wondered if it played a part in the tragic subsidence of the old Christchurch, noting that about the same time my sister's house in nearby Pheasant Road developed a huge crack in the gable end wall, from top to bottom, requiring a great amount of repair work.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Lutonman on April 29, 2014, 19:42:59
James P,
No evidence of a stream was uncovered during investigations or demolition of the old Christ Church, they used Auger piling for the new building but they were largely in chalk and as far as I know all came up dry. It is likely that the dry summers caused the stream to dry up was a more likely contributing factor to the  demise of the building. That apart the building was very badly built, laid on just 6ft flint foundations ( I actually dug down to inspect them).

However, the former Rector John Speers, who was there in the 1950's recalled to me once that he had been told that a village pond existed roughly where the entrance to the bus depot was. How true that is I don't know.

Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Durobrivae on April 29, 2014, 20:26:26
Could it be the building of the waterworks in Luton caused the bourne to dry up?
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Sentinel S4 on April 30, 2014, 06:42:28
I have noticed that in Kent we have a number of rivers that are wet for some parts of the year and then dry up or only rise to the surface every seven years (a legend in the Canterbury area) or are wet in their lower reaches only like the Little Stour (which is one of the many 'Nail Bourne's in the area along its upper reaches) which is wet from Littlebourne to Stourmouth. Could this river/stream have been the same with no discernable course above the Luton Arches?

S4.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: James P on May 02, 2014, 16:33:13
Available literature suggests that the stream disappeared many years before the activities of Richard Bachelor and the Royal Engineers in their quest for a water supply. Perhaps the growth of Luton and the digging of numerous wells had already played their part in its demise.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Bilgerat on May 02, 2014, 19:10:03
In the late 1970's/early 1980's my dad worked for the Department of the Environment, which at the time was responsible for the maintenance and construction of all Government-owned buildings, including in Medway, the likes of Crown House in Chatham (now the Jobcentre), Rochester and Upnor Castles and all the buildings in the Dockyard, HMS Pembroke and the various Army barracks in the area. He told me a tale of how the construction of a tunnel from Chatham Police Station to the then new Magistrates Court next door had to be abandoned because the builders were constantly fighting a losing battle against flooding in the tunnel.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: smiler on May 15, 2015, 14:14:25
Sometimes The Brook was a brook this photo was taken pre 1910 as the Rob Roy pub closed in 1909
  photo from Past and Present Pubs Chatham.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Rochester-bred on May 15, 2015, 15:53:11
They actually built over the brook leaving the stream underneath but flooding did continue for some time.
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: skipraider on May 21, 2015, 15:54:46
... the construction of a tunnel from Chatham Police Station to the then new Magistrates Court next door had to be abandoned because the builders were constantly fighting a losing battle against flooding in the tunnel.

I assure you that the tunnel was completed, as I have been through it. I won't tell you why  :)
Title: Re: " The Brook" Chatham (Stream)
Post by: Bilgerat on May 22, 2015, 19:06:18
... the construction of a tunnel from Chatham Police Station to the then new Magistrates Court next door had to be abandoned because the builders were constantly fighting a losing battle against flooding in the tunnel.

I assure you that the tunnel was completed, as I have been through it. I won't tell you why  :)

I stand (or sit) corrected!