Waterbodies & Maritime => Chatham Dockyard => Topic started by: Leofwine on October 09, 2010, 19:09:40

Title: Dockyard Gates
Post by: Leofwine on October 09, 2010, 19:09:40
Although the very ornate Dockyard Main Gate in Dock Road is well known I know there were other gates into the Dockyard too. Does anyone have any old photos of them, or remember how they looked?

I have some pictures of Sgt Barr of the Royal Marines Police taken at one or more Dockyard gates and wondered if anyone might recognise them. He was a RMP from 1922-37 and spent all but a couple of those years in Chatham (1927-9 he was at Pembroke Docks, Wales), so it seems likely the photos (or at least some of them) were taken at Chatham.

Group Shot, looks like a fairly major gate to me
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4095/4812550092_6c49020423_z.jpg)

Looks like a less major gate than the first photo
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4115/4811923937_ec2cd3c916_z.jpg)

A guardroom near the gate?
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4134/4811924211_bba6bdf1ac_z.jpg)

Larger versions here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22124479@N03/4811923937/in/set-72157624283300565/
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on October 09, 2010, 21:17:49
I'm sure the only gates to the Dockyard were Main Gate, Pembroke Gate (at the bottom of Dock Road, about where the roundabout is now) and Gillingham Gate (somewhere opposite where the new police station is).

Pembroke Gate was an unimpressive affair, just a couple of brick pillars as far as I can recall, with a police post just inside. Somewhere on the Forum is a photo of an out-muster that shows the whole area round the gate, but I can't find it. The best I can do at the moment is the last bus photo in Reply#4 of this link.
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=5113.0
Pembroke Gate is just out of sight at the extreme left. Having lived in Medway most of my life, I don't think I've ever seen Gillingham Gate !!! However my guess is that the photos of the police group were taken there, and that the single policeman is standing by some internal gateway - certainly there was no radio mast just inside Pembroke Gate.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: Leofwine on October 10, 2010, 03:26:10
Looking at the pics it seems Chatham's gates were all brick built and the gates in the photo seem to be stone. I tried a google image search, but it threw up no decent images of Pembroke (Wales) for comparison.  However, I did check google earth on the off chance, and wonder, is this the gate from the first pic?

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=pembroke+dock+navy+gate+wales&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&ie=UTF8&ll=51.693334,-4.952787&spn=0,0.003484&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=51.693239,-4.952826&panoid=fNw30p4VqmfUbcVaX_OQaA&cbp=12,0.79,,0,5

It would be about right with what I've been finding with his pics - he lived in Kent most of his life (when he wasn't at sea) but half the pictures seem to be taken away from Kent!

Still not sure about the second & 3rd pic though.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on October 10, 2010, 08:44:36
There was an Alexandra Gate to, just down the road from Pembroke Gate.
But Pembroke Gate was at the end of the road. There was an entrance to the RN Barracks (HMS Pembroke) on the right; it can be seen behind the bus in the link of Reply#2. Could it be that?

The first picture is of Pembroke Gate. It is the same as the link in Reply#3; again the railings by the barracks entrance can be seen.

I think the 2nd picture is Gillingham Gate
 
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: swiftone on October 10, 2010, 11:11:40
Gillingham Gate from "The Chatham Dockyard Story". The cranes around No 3 basin can be seen in the background with a pair of cottages just inside the gates. Out of shot, on the left was an alley. Horse Chestnut (Conker) trees in the dockyard overhung this alley.
(http://i864.photobucket.com/albums/ab206/swiftone_album/Page122DockyardrailwayGillinghamGateonlyblurshgamma.jpg?t=1286704708)
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: grandarog on October 10, 2010, 17:06:55
That looks more like a bell tower mast than radio to me.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on October 10, 2010, 17:26:31
Re Reply#6. Is this an earlier or later picture of the same gate as the 2nd one in Reply#3?
Another Dockyard feature that has just come back to my mind was the Dockyard Hooter; it could be heard all over the towns, signalling the start/end of the day, break times, etc. I think it was also used as the "take cover" signal given by roof watchers during air-raids. Does anyone else remember?
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: merc on October 10, 2010, 17:45:21
There was an Alexandra Gate to, just down the road from Pembroke Gate.
But Pembroke Gate was at the end of the road. There was an entrance to the RN Barracks (HMS Pembroke) on the right; it can be seen behind the bus in the link of Reply#2. Could it be that?


Alexandra Gate went into the dockyard opposite the St. George's Centre. I don't think it was a main gate though.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on October 10, 2010, 22:38:56
I thought St Georges Centre was actually inside the Main Gate, in the old Dockyard Church.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: swiftone on October 10, 2010, 22:42:52
Re Reply#6. Is this an earlier or later picture of the same gate as the 2nd one in Reply#3?
Another Dockyard feature that has just come back to my mind was the Dockyard Hooter; it could be heard all over the towns, signalling the start/end of the day, break times, etc. I think it was also used as the "take cover" signal given by roof watchers during air-raids. Does anyone else remember?

I believe only reply#6 is a photo of Gillingham Gate.

I recollect that they changed the timing of the breakfast hooter. I think it originally was 9am. The start work hooter was 7am. They changed the start breakfast hooter to 7.10am and the finish at 7.30am. I think this was to get more work done.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: bromptonboy on October 10, 2010, 22:50:18
There were several gates into the dockyard over the years. Some of them main access points and others as restricted access to other establishments. Working from south to north there were:-

1. A gate linking the Gun Wharf into the Dockyard at Anchor Wharf through which the dokyard railway ran.
2. South Gate at the far end of the Ropery onto New Stairs.
3. The wartime pedestrian gates on Dock Road.
4. The Main Gate.
5. Alexandra Gate so named from the visit of Princess Alexandra.
6. Pembroke Gate old and Pembroke Gate new.
7. Barracks Gate linking into the Naval Barracks
8. Gillingham Gate
9. Pier Approach Road
Gate linking through to the Bennan Torpedo factory
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on October 10, 2010, 23:12:46
Whoops, my Reply#10 is wrong.
St Georges Centre is between the old Barracks entrance and Khyber Road, about where the big crowd is at the right of Reply#3, and about where the old bus stop was. Yet there seems no sign of a gate in the wall opposite.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: bromptonboy on October 10, 2010, 23:50:48
The Alexandra Gate is only just out of the picture Peter.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on October 11, 2010, 09:10:50
But am I right in thinking that only the Main Gate (including the wartime "booths" just outside), Pembroke Gate, and Gillingham Gate, gave 'outside' access to the Dockyard? Was Alexandra Gate built for one specific occasion, and then bricked up again?

For instance, there was a gate (unused while I lived there) between the Army and Naval Gun Wharves, that in turn led to the gate from there into the Dockyard, but I wouldn't count those as gates used for in and out musters.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: merc on October 11, 2010, 11:35:23
Was Alexandra Gate built for one specific occasion, and then bricked up again?

The only mention of Alexandra Gate i can find in The Times, is when the public used it at the launch of the new Arethusa in 1934. Also the gate's shown on a 1950's map.

The Alexandra was launched at Chatham in 1875, but i don't know if the gate was specifically opened from that occasion ??? or afterwards ??? I'm sure Bromptonboy will know  :)
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: bromptonboy on October 11, 2010, 12:22:37
In my lifetime I have only seen Main Gate, Pembroke Gate, Barracks Gate and Gillingham Gate in use. Alexandra Gate was there but I never saw it open. The Pier Approach Road Gate is still there but bricked up.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on October 11, 2010, 12:27:01
Sorry to seem sceptical over this, but I've travelled down Dock road umpteen times over the years (including when I worked for the REs during the war, when we maintained some pumps behind the wall opposite, where the bus stop signs are) and I can't recall a gate in the dockyard wall.

This link shows some photos of what must be most of the wall, with the present St George's Centre where the bus is in the far distance. The memorial plaque to the RM Cadet Bus Disaster can be seen, but there is no sign of a gate.

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1284.0
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: swiftone on October 11, 2010, 14:58:53
If you discount Gun Wharf the only gates from public property I can find on a 1932 map are Gillingham Gate, East Gate, Dockyard Main Gate (not shown) and Pembroke Gate as seen on these two map samples. The Main Gate and Alexandra Gate in Dock Rd are entrances to Barracks.

(http://i864.photobucket.com/albums/ab206/swiftone_album/GillinghamGateEastGate.jpg?t=1286805115)

(http://i864.photobucket.com/albums/ab206/swiftone_album/AlexGateDockRoad.jpg?t=1286805115)
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: bromptonboy on October 11, 2010, 15:42:47
The Alexandra Gate show on the plan went through the Dockyard wall directly opposite the bottom of Khyber Road. It was there until demolished to create the new access to the Observatory and the Jig Saw Nursery. The plan also shows where the original Pembroke Gate used to be ~ much further down the road towards the basins. The first plan also shows the East Gate that I have erronously referred to earlier as the Pier Approach Road Gate. The footpath from this gate went through a tunnel under the dockyard railway line.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on October 11, 2010, 17:18:17
Thanks folks. The impression I now have is that the various gates have changed over time. The second plan shows the Main Gate to be where the final Pembroke Gate was, although seeming to refer to an entrance to the Barracks rather than the Dockyard! All rather confusing to someone relying on only his personal memories :) I know there were very comprehensive bus services to/from Pembroke Gate (as witnessed by the bus stops signs in Dock Road), but can't remember if there were similar services from Main Gate (the big one on the main part of Dock Road :)) and Gillingham Gate.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: swiftone on October 11, 2010, 17:32:42
As Bromptonboy pointed out the Pembroke Gate was moved as shown in this 1969 map, next to the Main Gate of the barracks.

below this map is a cutting that confused me, but below that is a report that backs up Bromptonboy. Were there two Alexandra Gates opposite each other?

(http://i864.photobucket.com/albums/ab206/swiftone_album/AlexGateDockRoad1969.jpg?t=1286814279)

(http://i864.photobucket.com/albums/ab206/swiftone_album/DE402_19_51.jpg)

(http://i864.photobucket.com/albums/ab206/swiftone_album/AlexGateCampus-medway-ac-uk1875.jpg)
from Campus.medway.ac.uk site
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: bromptonboy on October 12, 2010, 10:41:58
For some reason the newspaper got the name of the gate wrong! I was there for the ceremony and it was definately the gates to Pembroke Barracks that were locked. There was only one Alex Gate and that was opposite the bottom of Cumberland Road that was sometimes misquoted as being Khyber Road
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: Leofwine on October 13, 2010, 00:11:44
Which gate is this one?
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4132/5076824624_b3d29b21e5_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: peterchall on November 16, 2010, 23:35:04
It is called 'Main Gate', although I think most workers entered and left the yard via Pembroke Gate. It is situated on Dock Road.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: man-of-kent on December 30, 2010, 17:35:16
It is called 'Main Gate', although I think most workers entered and left the yard via Pembroke Gate. It is situated on Dock Road.
I spent many a night in the Main Gate when I was on the security about ten years ago.
Alexandra Gate is no longer used for vehical access to the Historic Dockyard but during my time there,
it had a security hut and lifting barriers.
I also worked there for a couple of years in the early 1970s and remember the famous Dockyard Hooter.
There was a pair of them up on a large building not far from Pembroke Gate and there were a couple of others elsewherethat were higher pitched and only seemed to work occasionally.

Derek Brice
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: kyn on June 01, 2011, 12:32:45
Please start individual threads for each topic.
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: dennis on October 05, 2011, 23:02:20
The topic has been locked so please excuse the re-birth....

The top picture with the rows of police(?) is taken at Main gate at Pembroke Dock Royal Dockyard.

The Canons seen in the ground are now mounted in replica carriers at the 'Garrison Chapel' - done in the early nineties

I have lived in PD for 25 years and lived for many years in a former RAF married quarter jsut outside those very gates. I worked in teh dockyard (for C&E) so walked thru them many times ! The walls are still 'stained' where the sign were fastened. The tops of the pillars were damaged by HGVs in the nineties and have been rebuilt.

I shall try to remember to get a current photo.

BTW I also served with teh ROC at MAI 21 post Kingsdown in the 80s and was the resident Customs officer at Manston for a few months
Title: Re: Dockyard Gates
Post by: kyn on October 06, 2011, 08:07:12
The topic was locked to ensure that the dockyard gates were discussed individually, rather than collectively. 
Thank you for your observations, I will merge this post with the original thread but would ask that any further posts from members be made for each gateway.
Thank you.