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Author Topic: Highsted Chalk Quarry  (Read 13964 times)

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Offline TonyYoung

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Re: Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2014, 01:27:16 »
Grandarog, yes the local Scouts/Cubs used the pits in the 1960s for training and events.

I remember helping my dad (Rover Scout Leader) dig a hole on the cliff tops to the left of the entrance at the end of the path into which we secured a post (bottom end of an electricity pole - dad also worked for Seeboard) attached a rope, threw it over the edge and I started to abseil down. We had committed a mortal sin though, we did not check our equipment before we left the Rover Den, we just took a rope off the 100yd rack and left - it was an 80yd rope and I was dangling some 20feet above the floor of the quarry. Not strong enough to climb back up, I was suspended - so tied myself off!  Dad raced back to the Den, got a correct rope and lowered it down, I managed to clip on and get the rest of the way down - not the best time to spend half-an-hour on a Sunday morning. Needles to say, checking all equipment was a major part of training for Scouts wanting to learn to abseil.

There also used to be a very (very) narrow path down the quarry face to the right as you entered from the half-mile path gate. A bunch of us Venture Scouts (harrumph, what was wrong with Senior Scouts??) tackled the path and used black paint to write 'SCOUTING' in 6ft high letters on the cliff face about halfway down. It is a wonder nobody fell off!

The biggest problem the Scouts had with the pit was the flooding, camping was impossible - ever try banging tent pegs into chalk?? Then the proposed dinosaur park gave the owners a reason to move us out
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Offline grandarog

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Re: Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2014, 19:05:03 »
Heres a pic of locos at Highsted , Source Michael Dodge Walker Facebook.


Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2012, 09:01:07 »
Looks like the pic was shot outside the old boiler house/engine house/ washing plant in the middle pit. I well remember watching these locos working in the new pit from the back of our house in Ruins Barn Road.

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Offline Bryn Clinch

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Re: Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2012, 07:04:23 »
Many thanks, DS239! The first colour photo I`ve seen of the old Chalk Pit.

Offline DS239

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Re: Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2012, 02:47:42 »
Here's a photo of one of the 3rd rail electric loco's at work with a train in the Highsted pit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12a_kingmoor_klickr/5752243793/

darrenh

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Re: Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2011, 22:29:37 »
original pit washmill on the east side of highsted road



newer west pit between highsted and chromers (same view as bryn postcard)



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yukon

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2011, 20:14:22 »
Thank you Bryn.   Yes, we must have been around Highstead at the same time.   It was always known to us and our adults as the 'Chalk Hole', nothing so posh as 'Quarry'!   We were forbidden to go anywhere near either quarry - and had to swear on our Mother's grave never to do so - and used to go home plastered in chalk mud..................   We Tunstall boys used to sometimes meet Sittingbourne boys in the old quarry.   They came from the South Avenue/Shortlands Rd. general area.   Highstead was about the limit of their 'Known World' as Smeed Deans works was the limit of ours.   We never had any 'gang warfare' trouble.   It was one of the Sittingbourne boys that got killed - he was from the Council School.   The army destroyed the engine-house in the old pit leaving a big, vertical single-cylinder steam engine standing exposed in the open air - it was a great shame - it was a lovely thing.   In those days the water table was higher and the railway from the second quarry ran on a low causeway between the tunnel and the old engine-house.   They were not deep lakes.   It was, looking back, quite beautiful down there, with the bushes, the water and the silver birch trees.   After that boy was killed we had to swear to a police inspector never to go near the quarry again.   This we all did, and obeyed him for, certainly, a whole week.   What we never did, ever, was climb up on to the mound of flints the boy was on when the grenade exploded....................   I could take you to within a few feet of the spot - now, so clearly was the incident imprinted in my mind.  (Doubtless it's all overgrown now)   As soon as the war finished and the massive, national rebuilding scheme started they worked day and night for several years, but only dynamited the chalk face during daylight hours.   On a wet rain-filled night I would lie awake and listen to "TAY" struggling to get her heavy train moving from the face.   Her cracking exhaust bark would echo and reverberate as she started, then slipped to a standstill only to start again and again.

Offline Bryn Clinch

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2011, 13:59:23 »

Thanks for your extremely interesting reply, yukon. We must have been `around` at approximately the same time, but I wasn`t allowed to go anywhere near the quarry - I was told that it was dangerous. It certainly lived up to its reputation when it was a working quarry and after. My Granddad was the engineer at Highsted at some time between 1918 and 1940. He was twice injured at the `chalkhole`, as he called it. His violin playing days were over when he crushed a finger and had back problems due to a large steel door that swung and gave him a hefty whack on the back - no Health & Safety in those days.

Here`s another older photo with a strange spelling of "Q(h)uarry. I thought that I had already posted this one but I can`t find it!



yukon

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2011, 21:13:03 »
I would like to say 'Thank you' to both the (unknown) person that published the photos of the tunnel mouths - really good stuff and takes me back to my childhood down in there, although then, mid to late 1940's, the tunnel had track through it.   Many thanks.   Also 'Thank you' to Bryn Clinch for his superb photos of the main engine and boilers, also the long-distance shot of the plant.   This latter is exactly how it looked through the 1940's.   Of course, we boys never did see the engine and boilers so, after a lifetime of wondering, I am extremely grateful to you.

The small shovel always seemed to be in that position - I have no idea what it was used for - we never saw it working!   The west face of the quarry was the working face (to the rear of Woodstock Road)   The face shovel was a big electrically-powered machine encased in a big, sheet steel cab.   Power to the shovel was supplied by overhead cables.  During the war very little took place in the quarry but two steam lorries, a Foden platform lorry and a Sentinel 3-way tipper, frequently went into the quarry.   They were run by German POW's - totally unsupervised.   They kept both vehicles in a magnificent condition, paintwork spotless and brightwork glittering.

Both the army and the Home Guard used the old quarry for training.   A favourite place for siting a Bren gun was in a gap between the little pine trees between the Highstead road and the edge of the quarry just where the road turnes quite sharply to the left (ie over the tunnel)   The army was careless and always left cartridge cases and a few live rounds in the grass, when they left.   Just near that point was a sloping ledge about 2ft. wide, more or less a pathway down into the quarry, we frequently went down that way, as did the soldiers.   
 

Offline sheppey_bottles

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2011, 09:02:39 »
I was speaking to my older friend yesterday and told her about others on the forum that remember the incident at the Quarry. She lived in Shortland by the railway and used to play in this area as a child. She said they used to walk up the half mile path to scrump in an orchard, and pick primroses and violets after she got her star at Sunday school. I will not put her full name here but she was called Lil. If anyone thinks they know her then I will PM her surname.

yukon

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 20:35:04 »

The quarry railway was standard-gauge.   There was one engine, an 0-4-0 saddletank built by Andrew Barclay, her name was TAY.   The track passed through the tunnel and ran some 200 yards to the old-ruined wash-back mill where there was (is?) a well and various valves.   In the period 1945/49 the loco only went through the tunnel in order that the driver could operate these water valves (about twice a day)   TAY was not in the quarry during the war - was used elsewhere.   She came back at the end of the war (on a low-loader)  I saw her come up Woodstock Rd.   She looked magnificent.

Yes, there was a tragedy in the old quarrey.   Yes, the army (from Woodstock Park, used it as a training ground and left live ammo everywhere.   The death in question was of a boy picking up a grenade.   He was standing on top of a pile of flints.   He said "Look what I've found" and it exploded.

I know because I was there, I was one of the kids. :)

Offline Bryn Clinch

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2010, 14:10:22 »
Some years ago I believe the local council intended to use the quarry as a `tip`, which caused a public outcry. I wonder if the ubiquitous Tesco ever thought of building another `Bluewater` there?

Offline seb

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2010, 15:08:32 »
I went to view a bungalow that backed onto the quarry and on the rear wire fences were DANGER signs.   Needless to say I didn't buy one.   Then I viewed a bungalow in Woodstock Road that backed onto the quarry and the vendor had removed his rear fence so that garden rubbish could be disposed of.   Didn't buy that one either :)

Offline Bryn Clinch

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2010, 14:53:19 »
Yes, sheppey bottles, I can remember the incident and even the name of one of those involved. When I was a lad I was told not to go near the chalk pit as there were grenades there. I`ve always assumed that it must have been used to store ammunition during WW2 but I could be wrong. Perhaps when the chalk pit was a working quarry explosives were used and accidentally left behind.


Offline sheppey_bottles

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Highsted Chalk Quarry
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2010, 11:38:34 »
I was chatting to an older lady the other day who used to live in Sittingbourne and she briefly mentioned that when she was a child three youngsters found a Grenade in the quarry. Two of the children were killed when it exploded and the third survived..anyone else heard about this?

 

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