Leisure => Piers & Seafront => Topic started by: merc on November 02, 2008, 17:17:38

Title: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: merc on November 02, 2008, 17:17:38
(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%203.JPG)

Sun Pier, Chatham, is the only historic jetty to remain open to the public in Medway, with Rochester and Strood piers both shut. The Victorian pier was originally used as a mooring for Paddle Steamer pleasure boats, as well as some commercial shipping. In the 1960's a massive blaze destroyed the buildings on the main part of the pier and it came under threat of demolition. It remained closed until 1987 when it was refurbished at a cost of ?85,000. The Sun Hotel stood near to the site for 150 years but was pulled down in the 1960's, again due to fire, it was replaced by Anchorage House followed by other offices in the early 80's.

(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%2011.JPG)

Old picture of the pier before the 1960's fire


(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%202.JPG)

(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%206.JPG)

Recently, in the spring of this year, part of the lower section collapsed into the river after strong winds damaged it. The walkway and lower section are now closed off. Medway Council hopes to re-open the lower section when funds become available to repair the damage.

(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%207.JPG)

(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%208.JPG)

(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%2010.JPG)

(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%209.JPG)

Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: karlostg on November 07, 2008, 11:09:28
Apparently the floating metal section got punctured and sank, therefore making the moving walkway bit fall off the end. Hopefully the council will get it sorted soon, but they don`t seem to be rushing with Strood pier which has been out of action for ages!
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: merc on June 03, 2009, 19:25:34
Old photo of Sun Pier,Chatham.
(http://www.medwaylines.com/10th%20Oct/Sun%20Pier%2011.JPG)
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: merc on January 11, 2010, 18:57:47
They're finally doing some work on the lower section of the pier. They took away the pontoon at the end while i was down there earlier today.

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/SunPier11Jan1.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/SunPier11Jan2.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/SunPier11Jan3.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/SunPier11Jan4.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/SunPier11Jan5.jpg)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/SunPier11Jan7.jpg)
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: kevin9522 on January 11, 2010, 20:49:38
I remember sitting on Sun Pier eating blue raspberry laces bought from Woolworths with my pocket money,

I had some wonderful times down there, Shame to see it in such a sad state.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: karlostg on January 13, 2010, 16:12:33
I dont think the work on Sun Pier is good news,

Quoted from Alan Watkins, Medway Messenger
http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway_messenger/news/2009/tales_from_gun_wharf.aspx (http://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway_messenger/news/2009/tales_from_gun_wharf.aspx)

Quote
"The other demolition is at Sun Pier where mariners have now been warned to stay away.
A giant crane has been brought in to remove the pontoons. They provided a floating landing point for passengers. It failed 18 months ago.
Now the council is ripping them out, with no hope of restoring the pier to a working mooring in the foreseeable future.r />It will be one of the bills that a Chatham waterfront developer will face in the next few years.
Gillingham Pier is becoming a no go area.
Strood Pier has closed.
Rochester Pier is accessible to few working boats.
Ship Pier at Chatham is now the last remaining mooring for working boats.
Medway City Estate's quays are privately used.
Upnor's two MoD piers are occasionally made available to visiting craft - but not to working boats.
A thriving river?
Someone said the river is the beating heart of Medway. At the moment it's suffering from arterial blockages.
***
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: merc on January 13, 2010, 17:59:40
Thanks Karlos, I feared it might be something like that.

Such a shame.


I'm sure i canoed to Sun Pier once, from the dockyard.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Chatham_Girl85 on January 14, 2010, 08:52:40
its such a shame they are demolishing sun pier too, it seems to me they are demolishing all our history, the council get enough money why can't they restore it to its former glory with the building that was at the end... im sure it would be very popular. put a cafe there or something im sure many people would frequent it
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: merc on January 14, 2010, 12:05:24
From The Times

December 11, 1869

An improvement long needed at Chatham for the accomodation of the Royal Navy, as for all using the river Medway, was yesterday bought to a succesful termination by the handing over of a newly and very substantial landing-place at the Sun Pier, by Mr. Lewis Whitehead, a townsman, who has collected subscriptions and carried out the work to the Pier Commissioners - The Local Board of Health. Hitherto there has been no proper means of landing at the Sun Pier at night, and some seafaring men have perished, it is feared, by accidents in attempting to land. Government officials have a right to use the pier ; but Admiralty Boards have declined to pay the cost of providing a landing-place fo use at night. However, for the purposes of this new landing, a very excellent floating-stage has been lent from Chatham Dockyard. The landing-place having been made, the Pier Commissioners, who have not funds, to provide it, will henceforth maintain it.

Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on September 27, 2010, 23:14:27

I'm sure that the fire that destroyed the pavillion on Sun Pier was in the 70's. Can anyone confirm the exact date?
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on August 10, 2011, 21:06:17
How did Sun Pier get its name?
I ask because the first ship built at Chatham was the Sun, built by Matthew Baker at his private ship yard in 1588.
Was the ship built where Sun Pier later stood?
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Chatham_Girl85 on August 10, 2011, 21:54:04
On the corner of Medway Street, on the opposite side of Penguin suit hire shop was the Sun Hotel. It may have got it's name from that..
Hope that helps HerbCollector...

But I am willing to be proved wrong.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: merc on August 17, 2011, 13:48:19
(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee257/mercury1923/ChathamPierDisaster.jpg)

Shortly after 3:00pm, on 26th July, 1885, a steamboat which cruises between Strood and Southend, called at Sun Pier on her way down the River Medway. A large number of excursionists were waiting for her on the pier. As soon as the vessel was moored alongside, a stream of passengers passed through the barrier to descend to the lower tier of the pier. When about seventy or eighty passengers were on the iron structure that slopes to the lower part, without warning it collapsed, sending the distressed people into the river. A large number of passengers were women and children and much excitement was caused. Boatmen thread their boats through the entanglement of broken iron and woodwork to rescue them. A large number of those rescued had sustained injuries from falling onto the wood and iron. Several women were taken to the nearby Sun Hotel in a half drowned and unconscious condition. If it had not been for the extroadinary effort of Mr Whitfield, assisted by two boatmen named Adams and Moore, the loss of life would have been terrible. About half a dozen or so serious cases were treated at St. Bart's, Rochester. Only one death was reported, an infant who was in her mother's arms at the time of the accident, she was tragically killed by a blow to the head. A search was made of the river and mud but no other bodies were found.


Info from various online newspapers and the picture is from The Illustrated Police News.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on August 17, 2011, 18:11:27
It has been stated that the fire that destroyed the pavilion was in the 1960's, but this photo was taken in 1972. So what was the actual date of the fire?


(http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x345/smudge1954/SunPier.jpg)
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: NCR on August 18, 2011, 13:06:11
Like other posters I thought the fire was a lot later. A search of CityArk reveals this:

"Sun Pier Chatham. Includes proposed Boat Showroom & Marina and references to a fire in 1972.  File Ref. W13/1 (1 file) 1971-1974"

Perhaps the "1972" photo posted heralds from a library shot used in a Chatham News story of the time?.

If I hadn't checked City Ark I'd have placed the fire later. Somewhere between 1978 and 1982 approx. I can't believe my recollections of 1972 are that good. Perhaps the fire was covered in a ten years on news feature in 1982?. That would fit with where I was at the time.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on August 18, 2011, 14:44:13

The photo I posted was taken in October, 1972. I know because I took it! I have a memory that the fire took place very soon after this, but I could be mistaken.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: NCR on August 18, 2011, 14:59:50

The photo I posted was taken in October, 1972. I know because I took it! I have a memory that the fire took place very soon after this, but I could be mistaken.

Ok :) partly blew my theory out the water. Nice photo.

I guess the Council records don't disprove our conjecture even if the Pavilion is not mentioned by name. i do have pretty vivid memories  of Chatham pre Pentagon etc.. so I guess my recalling late '72 is not so impossible. More digging required..

God the number of times I've wished the Chatham Gillingham Rochester Rag archive was online!... i'm an old poster here but it appears my old account was lost in a rejig (wasn't kicked off the site!).
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Bobdonk on August 18, 2011, 15:40:13
God the number of times I've wished the Chatham Gillingham Rochester Rag archive was online!

The good news is that you can find it here: http://www.gparrett.btinternet.co.uk/chatnews/

The bad news it is only up to 1966

bob
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on August 18, 2011, 16:18:43
God the number of times I've wished the Chatham Gillingham Rochester Rag archive was online!

The good news is that you can find it here: http://www.gparrett.btinternet.co.uk/chatnews/

The bad news it is only up to 1966

bob

I use that index often, but sadly it is only an index, not a full archive, and not only does it end at 1966, it only starts at 1900 (I believe the paper started in the 1860s). In my experience, whilst very good, and often useful, it is also incomplete (no wonder, one guy trying to index all those papers alone is a mammoth task!)
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on August 18, 2011, 18:36:05
Somebody must know when the Sun Pier burned down!
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Leofwine on August 18, 2011, 23:47:54
Like other posters I thought the fire was a lot later. A search of CityArk reveals this:

"Sun Pier Chatham. Includes proposed Boat Showroom & Marina and references to a fire in 1972.  File Ref. W13/1 (1 file) 1971-1974"

Perhaps the "1972" photo posted heralds from a library shot used in a Chatham News story of the time?.

If I hadn't checked City Ark I'd have placed the fire later. Somewhere between 1978 and 1982 approx. I can't believe my recollections of 1972 are that good. Perhaps the fire was covered in a ten years on news feature in 1982?. That would fit with where I was at the time.


The photo I posted was taken in October, 1972. I know because I took it! I have a memory that the fire took place very soon after this, but I could be mistaken.

Don't those two replies suggest that November or December 1972 is a likely date?

I'm hopefully visiting the archives on Friday, I'll try to remember to ask if they have the date whilst I'm there.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: pr1uk on April 20, 2012, 01:45:09
The Sun Pier used to be a great place and busy with the floating pontoon used by rowing boats taking people on and off ships moored on a buoy waiting to go alongside and unload or load - Rochester was busy port back in the day.  You could also get the ferry over to Upnor for a day out, I used to play there as a small boy sitting in the open boats.
Another thing I always remember was the farmers would pick up workers on the road just outside the pier and on school holiday I was often taken by mum pea picking for the day, not working of course. The farmer would send an open back lorry with wooden sides and all the old women (well they were old to me 'then') would climb onboard then us kids would be pushed on. You can imagine a load of women and children being driven in an open lorry round country lanes swaying all over the place - great fun. My mother and others worked so hard in those days to try and make ends meet and that was after surviving the war years. Hard times but they were happy ones, sometimes.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Jean on March 22, 2013, 19:54:02
In the 1950's a trip to the Sun Pier was very exciting for my family. We usually visited on a Sunday, I seem to remember that the Pier was full of people who were either watching the boats or waiting to get on one. On one occasion we went on The Medway Queen, how exciting that was to a child of 4 or 5? I sat snuggled up against the funnel. I don't remember our destination nor do I remember getting off, perhaps we didn't.

 I am told that adjacent to the road at the entrance to the Pier, the Agricultural Board had an office, apparently a small wooden hut, there would be a board outside indicating vacancies for agricultural workers. At the appointed day and time a lorry would arrive to collect the workers.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: pr1uk on March 26, 2013, 12:45:39
I am told that adjacent to the road at the entrance to the Pier, the Agricultural Board had an office, apparently a small wooden hut, there would be a board outside indicating vacancies for agricultural workers. At the appointed day and time a lorry would arrive to collect the workers.

Oh yes, I can remember getting on the lorry with my mother on school holidays and going out pea picking etc. It was an open back lorry with a bench seat either side. The women on the seats kids balancing in the middle, none of the health and safety rubbish back in the day. I started another thread about the days of the lorry from sun pier and field work, the women worked very hard for the money but for the few kids it was just fun.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Local Hiker on November 14, 2013, 22:35:51
I visited Staples today. It was good to see the new walkway and floating pontoon restored on Sun Pier. They were installed earlier this week, apparently.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Troyboy on November 15, 2013, 12:02:43
Reply #22

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1582.msg113660#msg113660
Ref. the ferry to Upnor. I believe they called it the Grey Launches, that had petrol/paraffin engines which had a distinct smell, which some people found rather nauseating.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Signals99 on November 16, 2013, 10:43:16
Hello All,
I recall going to Sun Pier sometime towards the end of the war; one of my sisters was 'called up' for service in the Woman's Land Army. Mum escorted us both to the office on the pier. I was six years old at the time, but it was definitely on the pier. My main memory was the rolls of barbed wire along the sides of it.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: merc on November 16, 2013, 16:38:06
The new pontoon and main part of the pier is currently closed off. I watched the barge delivering the new walkway and pontoon last week. I look forward to seeing it open again.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: pr1uk on July 16, 2015, 07:07:43
Reply #22

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1582.msg113660#msg113660
Ref. the ferry to Upnor. I believe they called it the Grey Launches, that had petrol/paraffin engines which had a distinct smell, which some people found rather nauseating.

I cannot remember the smell I was only young then but I know it was a real treat for mum to say "come on lets go to Upnor" with the boat ride and our sandwiches it was a proper day out. Not something we did every week for a women and a couple of children it was about half a crown so not a cheap day out but a fun one for sure.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Radioham 49 on December 20, 2015, 20:23:07
My first memory of the Sun Pier was going to Upnor on Sat afternoon with mum & dad plus 2 brothers in the small motor boats , also seeing the naval boats mothballed along that stretch of the Medway.
We also went to Southend on the Medway Queen in the late 1950s from the same pier.
My auntie would not go on the pier because she could see the water through the gaps in the wooden decking.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Dave Smith on December 22, 2015, 20:37:04
radioham 49 We also used to go from Sun Pier to Southend on Medway Queen & other paddle steamers in the 30's. A bout 1937 or 8, I went from there in a Naval steam picket boat out to HMS Kent when my uncle returned from a tour at "the China station" & was anchored out in the Medway off Gillingham.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: JohnWalker on December 22, 2015, 20:49:19
I'm another one who remembers the Sun Pier from the 50s.  My Dad worked for Chatham Paper Mill near Canterbury and the annual works outing was coach to Rochester and then the Medway Queen from Sun Pier to Southend.  I spent most of the journey fascinated by the engine room.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: CAT on December 26, 2015, 15:34:26
Does this image from my collection of images of Kent in the 50's help bring back any memories of those journeys?
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: JohnWalker on December 26, 2015, 16:44:02
Thanks CAT - that's exactly how I remember the trip - thanks :)
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Dave Smith on December 28, 2015, 13:39:36
Thanks CAT for great picture of disembarkation at Sun Pier from a paddle steamer in the 50's. My recollection of the 30's very similar but all would have been wearing hats or caps. Signals99, my sister was in the Land Army at a farm in Upnor but never used the ferry. A M&D No.19 went from Gill. cemetery (near where we lived) to the terminus at Upnor.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: AlanH on December 29, 2015, 08:27:07
Yes a great picture. I've looked closely with a magnifying glass just in case my family were there as we used the Medway Queen to Sheerness a couple of times.
Just look at how many decently dressed people there are there....bow ties, jackets, ties and shirts, cardigans and blouses. Now it would all be T shirts with adverts, shorts and tatts on every patch of bare skin.  :) And they'd probably be fighting to see who could get off first and into the nearest pub!
Sorry Kyn, I couldn't resist it. :-))
AlanH.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: CAT on December 30, 2015, 19:18:50
Many thanks for the appreciation of the image. This next one clearly shows the use of the pier by the military, which I think was for civilian support following the floods of the early 50's? You may know more?
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: medwayboy10 on May 23, 2016, 21:52:37
Does anybody know why the half glassed building on the Sun pier was demolished? I remember using the pier for crabbing, trips to Upnor on the little ferry and a trip on the Medway Queen to see the Christmas lights at Southend-on-sea with my mother who worked for the Elliot Automation company. I always thought that the pier looked nice but now it looks a bit bare.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on February 18, 2017, 15:09:41
The old Sun Pier, prior to 1885.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: lutonman1 on October 21, 2017, 12:59:57
Our family used to visit Upnor, on the small launch from the Sun Pier, I trailed my new small yacht on a piece of string behind the boat until I lost it, only had the string to remind me of it.
Upnor in those days, around 1935, had a small fair, I remember the Helter Skelter, sliding down on a mat, and those `boat swings`. Loads of fun. They used to run out a ramp on wheel, depending on the tide, to get people ashore. I believe they had stalls, can`t remember what they were, maybe, slide down a penny.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on November 30, 2017, 20:01:09
Thanks go to Mike Nancollas who sent me this newspaper cutting and text, and who was an eyewitness to the fire that nearly destroyed the Sun Pier. We now have a time and date that pins down this event precisely.


"It was the 19th December 1972 I had just gone to lunch it was a very foggy day difficult to see Medway Street from my office on the pier. I locked up and went off to eat.
After an hour i went back to find complete devastation. What I was told afterwards, though I can't say if it were true or not, was that the guy who ran Grey Launches used to have a bunk in his part of the pier together with an electric fire. Some days he used to bring a girlfriend back and during the lunch time the bedclothes had slipped onto the fire which started the blaze and his little place was full of fuel for his boat and paint etc, all flammable stuff. Also I understand that a yacht club had part of the the old building on the river side  of the building. I never heard any more about the fire.

The part of the pier that I was in was a small office at the land side facing Medway Street, behind was the old custom house with the lockers that Officers used to use in the days when Customs were active on the pier. I believe they moved the office into the high street nearby to the junction of Medway street.

The old Kent Land Corps office was completely burned out but we did managed to salvage the records, and re located in St Margarets Street Rochester just up from the Cathedral."
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: conan on November 30, 2017, 23:34:04
What was the Kent Land Corps please?
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: Bryn Clinch on December 01, 2017, 09:48:26
Women`s Land Army?
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on December 01, 2017, 13:17:24
conan, I think replies #21, #22 and #23 in this thread touch on the subject.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: mikeb on December 01, 2017, 14:43:49
Looking again at the photo of old Sun Pier posted by Smiffy, two things fascinate me.
1) The number of piers (some looking very rickety!) there were, do we have a definitive listing of how many piers and their names?
2)The arched wall in the foreground. Appreciating that the camera can exaggerate distances etc, but would this be the end wall of the Gun Wharf?
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: conan on December 01, 2017, 18:01:04
Thank you Bryn Clinch and Smiffy

mikeb the OS map shows the piers and names them.Taken from the 1892-1905 edition.

(https://i.imgur.com/Z0efp8Tl.png)

(https://i.imgur.com/lgjvvjHl.png)

Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: smiffy on December 01, 2017, 20:33:19
mikeb, I believe the arches were actually some kind of storeroom running the length of Dark Lane and would indeed mark the boundary of Gun Wharf.
Title: Re: Sun Pier, Chatham
Post by: mikeb on December 05, 2017, 18:32:33
smiffy / conan, thanks.