Day to Day => Towns & Villages => Topic started by: HERB COLLECTOR on August 07, 2009, 23:18:07

Title: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on August 07, 2009, 23:18:07
Bluetown 1800-1815.

A large chunk of a letter from "N" printed in the Guardian, Sep, 6th 1862, reprinted 2 April 1910.

"I have known the Isle of sheppey nearly 60 years. I have only been absent at brief intervals. I must beg leave to go back to the beginning.
I had a notable cradle, for i was cradled in the old Sandwich. This ship figured conspicusously in the mutiny at the Nore.
I was landed in the dockyard in the then-called Ville of Sheerness. My first place of residence was in Bull Lane, Bluetown. This place was so named for the number of slaughterhouses in it. The house i lived in-if such a dwelling could be so called- could not in its construction boast of a piece of wood 3ft long. It was built of the chips which the artizans were allowed to bring out of the yard at that time. To such a length was the appropriation of these short lengths carried, that the authoraties were obliged to put a stop to it. They substited "chip money" in lieu of the chips, but both forms of perquisites are now long since abolished. After the old ships were done away with, the artizans who used to live in them were located in the large barracks called the Long Alley and the Little Alley. these buildings adjoined the present old Parade.
The inhabitants lived in them for some time rent free. They were afterwards raised to two-storey buildings, they then had to pay rent for them, and also poor rates towards supporting the poor in the Dockyard workhouse. The foreman afloat was the master of the workhouse.
Where the present Admiralty House stands was the ordnance store and the storekeepers house.
Close to the archway recently pulled down there stood a row of Goverment dwellings. Where the present Admirals gardens is, there stood the old "Three Tuns" public house, and the residences of the dockyard officals. Opposite the front of the Admiralty House was another row of dwellings belonging to the Ordnance, also a tap house and a fish stall. The battery met right round to where the signal station is now, with the exception of the old dockyard gate, and a arch with a church built on top of it. There were steps on both sides of the arch leading up to the battery. Close by there were a few small shops that went on trucks. I remember three in particular-cocking (the Tailor) , Cannon (the shoemaker), and Craig (the barber).
The approach to the town was by a sally-port, a sea wall, and a road to Bluetown called the New Road.
The end nearest the High Street, Bluetown was occupied by shops. The two corner shops were kept by the two Mr Greatheads. The one on the right hand had over it some small guns mounted in the year of the mutiny. Where the Lower Camber now is there stood the market place, with shambles fitted up for butchers and poultrers. The market was well attended on Saturday-which was the regular market-day- by salesmen from the country. One or two persons also attended occasionally during the week. At that time such was the high rate of wages that the artizans received 25s. a week to subsist on, and the rest at the end of the quarter. Their wifes used to always taste the fresh butter on market days with a guinea or a half-guinea.
The sailmakers and blacksmiths worked seven days in the week, from five in the morning till ten at night. One day a blacksmith asked for a days leave. The master shipwright asked what he wanted leave for? He replied that he had four children, whom he had never seen by daylight, and he wanted to see how they looked.
From 1801 to 1806 the place was garrisoned by the Army of reserve, and afterwards by the Militia.There were here then the Cardigan and Benbigh, and two Welsh regiments, these i remember had beautiful bands. The militia used, so many of them, to go into the dockyard every day to work as labourers, while the tailors and shoemakers used to make a good deal of money at their trades.
There used to be fine work with parties of the mllitary parading the town with flags flying, drums beating, and plenty of drink to be had ,to get the men to volunteer into the line regiments after a battle.
Next an Irish regiment came-a complete set of ruffians-they insulted and annoyed everyone. The artizans coming out of the yard armed themselves with their tools. There was some bad work then, but at last they were removed. Then the garrison duty had to be done by the town Volunteers, composed of Jews and Gentiles, under the command of Col Bishop, a grocer of the town.
During that time the place was visited by a very  high tide, which did a great deal of damage. There were three feet of water at the dock gates. They feared the ships would break out of the docks. An old lady by the name of Bush was found and rescued from up a pear tree on a small island at the back of what is now called Miletown.
The late Sir Issac Coffin was the resident commissioner. One of his mild regulations was to make all the workmen living in the garrison put their lights out at 8 o'clock.
I perfectly recollect Admiral Lord Nelson paying a visit to the dockyard here and inspecting the Antelope, then ready for launching. The Antelope was the largest ship ever built in the yard, as it was then. It took the entire hands of the yard to heave a 64 or 50-gun ship by purchases or capstans. To keep the water out of the docks inside the gates, a party of men were employed called scaffiers, who stopped out the water at spring tides with red clay etc.
I daresay there are people in Sheerness who recollect the Impereuse coming into the harbour with three silver candlesticks at her masthead. The crew received upwards of 500 on the capstan, and had 14 days protection from the press gang. She was commanded by the late Admiral Earl Dundonald, K.C.B.
Jack ashore soon made the few public-houses that were in that day all alive. there were the upper White Horse, the lower Whte horse, the Granbys Head, Swan, Chequers, Ship, Kings Head and the Fountain.
there happened to be a sale of some farms about that time, and Mr Sayer, landlord of the Granbys Head, outbid everyone else.
Justice Poore said, "If the publicans make such rapid fortunes it is time there were more of them". Then up springs the Anchor and Hope, Hit or Miss, Horse and Groom, Princess Charlotte, Nelson, and the Prince Regent, where an unfortunate captain of a man-of-war brig was shot by the landlord in mistake for a housebreaker, as he was trying to force his way at night into the house.
In Mile Town, instead of the solitary Bells and Lion, up sprang the Wellington, Crown, Britannia, Victory, True Briton, Sun, Jolly Sailor, Carpenters Arms, Bricklayers Arms, Shipwrights Arms, and others which continue up to this day, with a little host of beer shops.
I was one of the scholars at Mr Herberts school, with Mr Fuller, Mr Brightman, Mr Clarkson, and the sons of the Russian Admiral. The Russian fleet was then laying here for protection from Napoleon. Besides these there were the Barlings, Ushers, Tuckers, and many more who now show the ravages of time, and are grandfathers and great-grandfathers.
Some time later, when the Admiralty wanted to enlarge the dockyard, the north sides of Blue Town, standing on their ground, the houses were all taken down, and most of them removed to Mile Town.
Edward Street has taken the place of the well and farm belonging to Mr Chalk. The first new row of houses that was built was called Navel Row. When the ground was wanted where the  artizans lived in the garrison, they moved into Mile Town and Blue Town.
The Admiral gave the parish of Minster a sum of money to take charge of their poor, and abolished their workhouse. During my absence at sea, the new docks, basins, etc, were finished by Sir Edward Banks, and were opened by the late William IV, then Duke of Clarence, with great pomp and display".

Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: kyn on September 29, 2009, 16:21:58
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on October 19, 2009, 21:51:52
More fisticuffs, this time from around 1850, once again from a chap who prefers not to give his name.

Part of an interview in the guardian, Feb 13 1909, by C.T.P.

"I shall not-by his own request-divulge his name, but i may say that he has lived in Sheerness the whole of his life.
Sixty years ago Blue Town arrogated to itself all the glories of Sheerness. Mile Town was only subsidiary to it, but it would seem as though the growth of this part of the town were resented in the older portion. to further this contention, it is a fact that a perpetual feud existed between the juvenile elements of Blue Town and Mile Town.
If a Mile Town boy dared to have the effrontery to venture into Blue Town without a sufficient bodyguard, he was immediately and ignominously "tanned" by the Blue Townians. this rivalry was given a very special impetus on the fifth of November in every year. The "popers" on these occasions were always thirsting for battle, and valiant deeds of arms were wrought when foe met foe on Guy Fawkes day. with gusto and grit fist met fist, and rivalry found vent in many a fracas. One of such events was graphically described by my informant, who dwelt lingeringly and lovingly upon the part he himself had taken in it.
In this respect the gentleman whose bedroom i invaded was particularly fortunate in his youthful days. For he was the proud and lucky possessor of a real and large Union Jack. When indulging in affrays with Mile Town boys (for he was a native of Blue Town) he used to wave it triumphantly and loyally, and, as the breeze wandered over Sheppey, shook out the gaudy folds of the flag, it incited his companions on to battle, victory and glory!"

Other points of interest are.
"Some of the old photographs and prints-of which my informant possessed an abundance-were wonderfully interesting.There was one depieting the ancient and original "Ship-on-Shore" as it existed in 1856. It was then nearer Minster than its present namesake, and stood on a narrow strip of land adjoining the German ocean".
And there were "two coaches which plied between Blue Town and Sittingbourne twice a day".
Almost 78 years old in mid February 1909, born in Bluetown, lived his entire life in Bluetown and Sheerness, employed in the caulkers shop in Sheerness dockyard in 1849, it might be possible to identify this unknown chap, an interesting addition to someone's family tree.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on October 21, 2009, 22:02:58
Bluetown high street c1850.
What is lacking in early directorys of Bluetown High St is any indication of whereabouts the premises were. The following is a  continuation of the interview in my last posting and starts at the Eastern (moat end) of the High St. Numbers are those in use from 1880, and are my addition.
"And i marvelled at him as, with no aid to memory, he sat, propped up by his pillows, his well-loved dog looking up into his face, and his sociable cat purring her very best purr, he particularised for me with scarcely a pause all the business premises of the main streets of Blue Town sixty years ago.
       Mr Sole, gardener.
       knewstubb, stationer, bookseller, post-master and printer.
       head, butcher.
8     The Duke of Clarence.
9     Greathand, tailor.
10   Fife, chemist.
11- 5   dwelling houses.
1864 map shows only 4
15   Phoebe Jacobs, general shopkeeper. listed as selling toys in later directory, still standing.
16   Jacobs, clothier, father of the previous shopkeeper.
17   Duke of Marlborough, kept by Thomas Allen.
The Grapes 1864-1909.
18   The white Horse, kept by mr Scott. The Star Inn in 1864.
       Blanand, china dealer.
       various occupiers, general shop.
Opening to Drummonds Alley comes here.
       Wright (schoolmaster at British school)
       general shopkeeper.
Hearts of Oak in 1909.
       Pratten, coach owner.
23   Druids Arms, kept by Mr Bullard.
24   Shrubsole, grocer.
25   Jackson, baker.
26   Clarke, ironmonger and tool seller.
       # 26 is the site of the first non-conformist Church to be established in Sheerness. This was the Congregational
       Church founded by William Shrubsole in 1762. Worshippers referred to the building as "The Meeting Place". It
       was here that John Wesley preached in december 1769 and oct 1771. The building was burnt down in 1909.
27   Savery, bootmaker.
28   Jacobs, fruiterer.
29   old general shop, kept at one time by Paul Touchney.
30   Filmer, butcher.
31   Watson, hat maker, (all hats were made to measure in those days.)
32   Collier, general shopkeeper.
       Jarret, general shopkeeper.
35   The Shamrock, kept by an irishman (of course!.)
the Beehive from 1864.
36   Johnson, grocer.
37   Holmes, grocer.
38   beerhouse.
the Archor and Hope from 1864.  Army and Navy in 1909
       Barnard, jeweller.
       Ambrose, ironmonger.
42   J Beal, clothier, The Market or emporium.
(built 1837, now the Albion Bar.
       Mr Beal was clearly prone to extravagation. (
43   Abraham, clothier.
44   Palmer, baker and confectioner.
45   Abraham, pawnbroker, (a very private side entrance was attached to the pawn department of this building.
46   Morgan, bootmaker.
47   Wicking, eating house keeper.
48   Baker, draper.
49   Thos Filmer, butcher".
At some time during the 1920's, early 30's this was a doss house, cheap lodgeings, ropes would be strung across the room at shoulder height, and the dossers would sleep standing up, their arms hooked over the ropes.
Chapel street comes here.
     to be continued.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on October 23, 2009, 20:02:39
 Bluetown High Street, c1850, continued.
     "Aaron Brown, fruiter.
      French, candlemaker.
      Gorham, general shopkeeper.
      Levy, furniture dealer.
      Taylor, butcher.
      Coates, hairdresser.
      Harlow, general shopkeeper.
      Goodchild, greengrocer.
      Temple, general shopkeeper. (afterwards a schoolmaster.)
61   the Red Lion.
       general shop kept by various occupiers.
       A clothiers.
       A general shopkeepers.
       Dr Walkers house and surgery.
       The Swan kept by Mr Ward.
       A general shop.
       Two dwelling houses.
       A general shop.
       Clayton, a painter.
       The George. (this house was rather notorious for the quarrels perpetrated by its patrons.)
       The towns rubbish yard was just around the corner here. (The Police court stands on the ground now.)
West Street, Bluetown.
1     An general shop.
2     The Lord Nelson.
3     A general shop.
4     The Ship Inn, this house was famous for its reading room at the right-hand side of its entrance. In this room one gentleman usually read from the various
       newspapers which arrived by boat late in the afternoon, while the others listened. The room was exclusively used by tradesmen.
5     Kings Head, A well appointed house kept by Mr Coodys.
       A general shop.
       a fishmonger famous for his shrimps.
       Goldup, a greengrocer.
       Lister, bootmaker.
       Baker, shoemaker.
       Chas Palmer, baker.
15   Fountain Hotel.
         West Lane comes here.
16   The Jolly Sailors, kept by Mr Shrubsall.
       A general shop.
       Hy Jacobs, silversmith and clothier.
20   Crown and Archor, kept by mr Strood.
       Pallard, coal merchant.
       The White or Wesleyan chapel.
       And Mr Edgecomb kept a shipping agents business at the end of the high street.
Serveral hours had passed since i entered the room. Darkness was falling, and the football patrons had deserted a field near by. The cat was asleep and the dog still kept close to his master. Kind members of the household brought the old gentleman his tea, and the homely lamp was being lit and the fire distured into a cheerful glow as i left the man of memories".
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on October 30, 2009, 21:05:34
A week after the letter from "n" was published. This letter from "J.B" was printed. The "Guardian" Sep 13th 1862.
"Your correspondent, "n", does not know everything, like the rest of us. In the first place, he says Bull Lane was so called from the number of slaughter-houses there. There was only one, which was used by Mr George Macket (who supplied the Navy and probably the troops and convicts), and who invariably killed bull-beef for them-hence the name of Bull Lane.
He says, too, after the old ships were done away with, they used to live in the alleyhouses, which were raised to two stories. They were originally three storeys, and an extra storey was raised, which made four storeys: The artificers lived in them at the time the old shops were in existence. The three small shops he speaks of near the batteries were on the opposite side of the road, and occupied by the parties he mentions, viz Cocking, Cannon and Craig-soap, leather and rags! The road through the sally-port was not the way to Blue Town, but only led to where the soldiers guard-house now stands. The road before the new one was made used to lead down to the dockyard by a road which turned down where the factory gates now stand, at the bottom of Blue Town, and about half-way to the garrison stood the old red gates, the entrance to the dockyard. After this the new road was made, and an arch, with three avenues, was erected between the garrison and Blue Town. The shop he which he says was occupied by Mr Greathead, and which had small cannon placed there the year of the mutiny was not so: that year was 1797, whereas the shop was only built and the guns placed on it about the years 1802-3. I was present in putting them there. The market place stood close to the arch lately pulled down. There were three Welsh regiments in the garrison at the time he mentions-the Cardigan, Denbigh and the Radnorshire. The garden, in which he says Mrs Bush was rescued from a pear tree, was the one at the bottom of Rose Street, occupied by Read.
Capt Brown, of the Kite sloop, whom he says was shot from the Prince Regent, was not shot from that house, as it was not in existence then. The person who fired the gun was Charles Wilton, and who lived next door to where Miss Phoebe Jacobs now lives, the gun was fired from that house at about 12 at night. I slept either next door or two doors from it, and heard the report of a pistol or gun. The Captain was buried in Minster Churchyard, on the right or south of the path at the east end of the yard.
 There is a marble head and foot-stone to his grave".

In ref to captain Brown, "n" had this to say.
"and the Prince Regent, where an unfortunate Captain of a man-of-war-brig was shot by the landlord in mistake for a housebreaker, as he was trying to force his way at night into the house".
The Minster Churchyard has been grassed over and the gravestones placed against the walls, many are very worn or overgrown with ivy and i have been unable to find the unfortunate Captain Brown.
Ageofnelson gives this possible ref to Capt Brown and HMS Kite. 1796. (
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: kyn on October 30, 2009, 22:23:18
I wonder what happened to the cannons outside the shop?

Minster Abbey must have a record of the graves at Minster, could it mean Minster Abbey or Love Lane?
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: oldsunset on April 28, 2010, 02:48:44
I wonder what happened to the cannons outside the shop?

Minster Abbey must have a record of the graves at Minster, could it mean Minster Abbey or Love Lane?

I believe the graveyard in Love lane was for the hospital & also for the inmates when it was the union poorhouse, its not connected to the abbey, the other graveyard in union road opposit belonged to the bethal church which was on the corner of brecon chase originally called (break neck) hill because it was so steep
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: Alan on June 24, 2010, 21:40:21
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: derrydale on February 20, 2011, 17:35:56
The map at the top labelled 1860's must be about that as you point out Kyn. No St. Paul's Church ................!  also East Lane doesn't look right and Edward Street disappeared with the redevelopment of East Lane.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: The Sheppey Kingmaker on February 20, 2011, 21:15:07
Just to Tell you Edward Street still exists its the Alleyway next to Kent House. As well as the things you mentioned not being on the map there is no school in Chapel Street (which I think was built in the 1870's)  and A lost street next to the school site that was later called School Lane which is called Bull Lane (more likely named after the fact that there were 2 slaughter Houses in this road) in this period. Also it shows no sign of the Crystal Palace Beerhouse which was at the junction of West Lane, Union Street and King Street.

Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: seafordpete on February 21, 2011, 08:44:54
At least one of the slaughter houses was still going in the 1920s as my mother used to talk of it.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: conan on February 21, 2011, 13:20:16
A few general shots of old Bluetown.

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Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: The Sheppey Kingmaker on February 21, 2011, 21:59:48
what area of Bluetown is the first picture of?

Is it the old police Station?
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: sheppey_bottles on February 21, 2011, 22:29:38
I just love the picture that shows Millers and part of The Crown and the Pier. To me it says it all about Bluetown.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on February 21, 2011, 22:41:22
Nice photos, Conan.
I am fairly sure the first photo is of the Police station.
2nd photo, West street opposite pier.
3rd photo, The Criterion pub, High St, Bluetown. To the left is the entrance to the New Palace Variety Theatre. The theatre could seat around 200 with more standing at the back. Marie Lloyd once appeared there. Prior to the First World War, the proprietor and impresario of both the pub and theatre was Philip Reymond.
Early in the war it changed proprietorship and lost its drinking licence.
Gieves, the naval outfitters moved into the pub. It was destroyed by German bombs on the 5th June 1917 with 2 deaths.
The Bluetown Heritage Centre and cinema is now on the site.
Phil Reymonds, daughter 'Topsy' Rose Reymond (later Mrs Stevens), wrote the novelette 'Barbed Wire Island' under the pen name Rosa St Maur. If one ignores the female German spy, it is a good account of Bluetown and Sheerness during 1914-18.
The book was republished by Tams publishing in 2009.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on February 24, 2011, 20:15:00
Nice photos, Conan.
I am fairly sure the first photo is of the Police station.
It is definitely the old Police station, the photo taken from the southern end of Kings Street during the 1960's.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on April 03, 2011, 21:36:16
The Criterion is listed as a hotel in Parsons guide, 1902. Interestingly the building seems to be wedge shape in plan. Note also the curved roof of the New Variety Theatre. I would love to see a photo taken from the opposite side.
The Bluetown Police Station was closed in 1961, when the current Police Station in Sheerness opened.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: The Sheppey Kingmaker on January 07, 2013, 23:12:14
Just looking at that the photo of the 'Criterion' and reading what Herb Collector said in Reply #19. From the documents which I have looked at, the building behind 'The Criterion Hotel' to me seems more likely to be 'The Good Intent' Beer-House which stood between 'The New Variety Theatre' and Criterion Passage.

Also the aforesaid passage was later moved to its present orientation, which goes over the site of 'The Good Intent'. The original orientation can still be seen due to the surviving parts of the wall which goes off on an acute angle to the rest of the passage. This wall seems to have been originally part of the wall which separated the passage from the land that surrounded The Lock Up (which I think was locally called The Black Hole). 

Hope this explains this building behind the Criterion Hotel in the photo in question and why it seems to be in the middle of the passage.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: BygoneMedway on April 03, 2013, 11:24:24
Forgive me if the answer has already been posted on the forum. I have always wondered why it was named "Blue Town".  :)
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: davpott on April 03, 2013, 12:32:51
Forgive me if the answer has already been posted on the forum. I have always wondered why it was named "Blue Town".  :)

I think the accepted origin is it was the colour used to paint the original timber dwellings that were built just outside the dockyard using materials purloined from the yard.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: BygoneMedway on April 03, 2013, 18:28:29
Many thanks Davpott.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: CDP on April 03, 2013, 22:54:30
Most of these  wooden houses were built with planks of wood approximately 6 feet long.
When a ship was built there were many scrap pieces of wood left over and the men were allowed to take these home for firewood. These were called "chips ". After a short while these " chips " became larger and larger and so the men were then allowed a maximum length of 6 feet only, and these were then used to build these houses.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on April 08, 2013, 23:16:19
I am not sure when Blue Town became known as Blue Town, does any body know?
In 1730 the area was known as the 'blue houses.' Sheppey diarist Stephen Rouse notes that there were sixteen 'blue houses' in 1754, and one hundred and thirty 'blue houses' in 1792.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: CDP on April 09, 2013, 13:57:08
HB.Re: "I am not sure when Blue Town became known as Blue Town".

Was it decided by the Church Registers, the local newspaper, the Council, the local people?
I think it will be very difficult to decide.
My father lived in the flat over the Sheppy (no " e") Gas Company, (I was born there), his letters were addressed to "Flat ?  above "Sheppy Gas Company " and for years it was always known as Sheppy long after Sheppey was used.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: kyn on July 07, 2013, 19:35:40
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Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: CDP on July 07, 2013, 20:43:58
 In 1940 ish we always referred to Jacobs Bank as the Mussel Bank, being hundreds of mussels on this bank. We were never brave enough to eat them !!!
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: busyglen on July 08, 2013, 16:32:06
Thanks for the 1914 Map Kyn, I was delighted to see that as it also shows the Naval Recreation Ground.  I notice that they also show a Naval Slaughter House nearby which I had never heard of.  I guess it must have disappeared years later before we moved there.  Possibly used for meat for the Navy ships.

I also noted that the Fleet meandered across the land, presumably towards the moat.  I wonder when that was filled in?
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: John38 on April 05, 2014, 15:21:09
As I was a boy brought up in Blue Town, this (just found) thread is really magical.

It is interesting that 'Jacobs Bank' is shown on the map - and referred to as Mussel bank by CDP. There were a family of Jacobs that lived in Charles Street next to the back entrance of Bigwood the Butcher. The Jacobs pushed their barrow around Sheerness selling 'Cockles (by the pint) and Mussels.' As kids we made a few bob from selling Mussels (from under the Pier) to Mr Jacobs.

The Police Station was directly on the seaward side of St Paul's Church, and although the top picture, kindly posted by Conan, looks like the police station it seems in the wrong setting: It fronted directly onto the pavement with no forecourt. It could be that the two high walls in the foreground are not the boundary to a forecourt but belong to King's St (?) and the camera has foreshortened the view.

I hadn't realised that 'School Lane' had formerly been 'Bull Lane,' but there wasn't a slaughter house there when I lived in our one up/ one down wooden house in School Lane. In the summer months, however, some side doors (looked like garage doors) were opened at the top of the Lane where it meets Charles St. and a few men sat in the Lane, on chairs, plucking poultry. Mr Bigwood slaughtered pigs at the back of his shop - the front of the shop was in the High Street and the pig lorry delivered the squealing pigs through the back entrance in Charles Street.

When I asked my mum why the pigs squealed so loudly, she replied in a mater-of-fact sort of way, "Oh they can smell death, it's the blood of their relatives." It seemed such a normal reply in those days... these days it would seem a very strange way to talk to a little boy  :)

At the end of Charles Street they converted the buildings into 'Barratts' Crisp Factory. On hot days the girls opened the hatch on the East Lane side and we would watch them frying off the crisps. They stood in rows at the same sort of friers' you see in a Fish and Chip shop.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: John38 on April 17, 2014, 20:57:36
I know that there are a number of maps of Blue Town posted on here, but my eyesight is so tatty that I can't read the street names. I need the prompt as my memory is worse than my eyesight.

Is there anyway I can get one of the maps 'blown-up' so that I can read it.

I've placed this on a General topic rather than PM Kyn who is busy enough already.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: kyn on April 17, 2014, 20:58:41
I would post a clear one for you but not sure I have time as have a busy weekend ahead.  If I get time later I will find one for you.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: kyn on April 17, 2014, 21:15:08
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Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: grandarog on April 17, 2014, 22:35:31
Google Map.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: John38 on April 17, 2014, 23:41:00
Thank you Kyn and grandarog - most considerate of you both.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on April 22, 2014, 23:10:05
A link to some photos of Bluetown from Sue Bidgood. (
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: John38 on April 23, 2014, 13:31:25
Thanks Herb Collector, I had seen them before, but sometime ago, and so I enjoyed the revisit.

I knew the Bidgood's (Butchers) ... Colin B was about my age
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on February 02, 2015, 23:10:18
Proposal to demolish Blue Town to allow extension of Sheerness Dockyard. 1816.

One of John Rennies proposals for Sheerness Dockyard was for the Navy Board to purchase Blue Town and demolish the houses, the area then being incorporated into the dockyard expansion.
An Act of Parliament was obtained for this in 1816.
By 1819 no action had been taken and the Blue Town inhabitants petitioned for a decision. At the same time the Navy Board felt that the land upon which Blue Town stood would not now be needed and suggestions were made that the act be repealed. Despite this an agent was appointed in 1820 to look into the purchase. The agent noted that over 500 houses were involved with many of the owners having an inflated idea of their property's value.
A bill was then drawn up in May 1821 to purchase the whole of Blue Town, but this was held in abeyance pending instructions to proceed from the Navy Board. Further petitions were sent by the Blue Town house owners demanding a decision. Possibly because of the high costs estimated by the agent, the act of 1816 and the proposed bill were repealed.

Part of Blue Town was demolished to allow the dockyard to expand. Houses had been allowed to be built on government land on the north side of Blue Town High Street on the understanding that the occupants give up possession when the land was required. Charles Dickens once lived in one of them. These were demolished by the end of 1818.
On the west side of West Street, a strip of land with private housing was purchased. The demolition of the houses on the north and west side of the town thus allowing the dockyard wall to be built.
Title: Re: Blue Town
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on March 06, 2015, 14:52:58
Link to some more old photos, and some modern, mainly of Blue Town but also of Sheerness and the docks. (

Link to aerial photo of Sheerness Dockyard and Blue Town taken in 1951. To zoom in on the photo you will need to register but its free. (