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Author Topic: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek. Chetney Hill Lazaretto  (Read 15402 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Stangate Creek on the River Medway c1823-4.
Water colour by Joseph Mallord William Turner.
Tate 2014. Made available under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) License.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-stangate-creek-on-the-river-medway-d18134
The hulks used as floating lazarrets can be seen in the background.
Don't Let the Devil Ride Chris and Abby

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re disposal of material from Chetney Hill:

MacDougall, P. 2009. Chatham Dockyard 1815-1885. London: Ashgate (for the Navy Records Society). Page 75:

"31 July 1818. Usborne & Co. explains the want of bricks and request to be allowed to use some from the works at Chetney Hills, which was granted"

Froggatt assumed sales of materials demonstrated the project had been abandoned. They could also be disposal of surplus stock.

The soft ground is often quoted as the reason for abandoning the project, leaving the original surveyor to carry the can. Another could be that times and knowledge were changing. After all, the Chetney lazarette was never replaced.

Scoop: that tender invitation was a good find.

Offline Sylvaticus

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Skempton, A. W. 2002. A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers, Vol. 1, 1500-1830. London: Thomas Telford for the Institution of Civil Engineers.
John Rennie: Chetney Hill Lazarette 1806-1816.
James Spedding: "At Chetney Hill on the Medway estuary, the unsuccessful attempt to construct a lazarette in Britain, he undertook the piling" [contract for Rennie].
Hugh McIntosh: Chetney Hill Lazarette 1801-1817.


Also:
John Rennie recorded his work progress continuously in notebooks and report books, several of which deal with the Chetney Hill lazarette. They seem to be archived in two different places, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Scottish National Library. The SNL also has two letters dealing with Chetney Hill, 1811 and 1817.


Offline scoop

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Tender invitation/Materials list - Morning Chronicle 1806

Offline Sylvaticus

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I found a better scan of Froggatt's article, including illustrations:

Froggatt, P. 1964. The Chetney Hill Lazaret. Archaeologica Cantiana 79:1-15.

Here:

http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.079%20-%201964/01/01-15.htm

Offline Sylvaticus

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I've just discovered notes I made a long time ago. Unorganized results of googling, I'll try to sort them and post one topic per post.

James Wyatt (1746-1813) was the principal architect of the day by 1800, described as a genius as a designer. But he is also described as being hopeless as an organiser, defaulting on commissions and leaving projects half-finished. As Surveyor General for the Board of Works, he managed the Chetney Hill Lazaret project, where his irresponsibility led to led to the Board's reorganization after his death. He was killed in a carriage crash in 1813. The accounts reported by Froggatt were mainly concerned with concluding Wyatt's involvement in the project. Froggatt does not mention the part played by engineers like Rennie (the main contractor), McIntosh (canal excavation) and Spedding (piling).


The printed accounts of the customs department are available online by googling.

"Charges in the Department of Customs" for 1806-1815 include the following items for Chetney Hill, giving some idea who did what and when.

[Note: ref. to "tarras" - this is trass, originally a volcanic ash now also burnt shale, mixed with lime and sand as a cement or mortar for underwater construction]

1806
Hugh Macintosh, on account of Excavation performed by him at the Lazarette at Chitney Hill ...  878

1807
Anderson and Co., for lime &c used at the lazaret at Chetney Hill ..........................................   840
John Hooper, for bricks and stone ...........................................................................................   456
Enoch King, for stones ...  570
Hugh McIntosh, for work done at the lazaret at Chetney Hill .................................................. 6498
John Rbt. Miller, for Tarras used at ditto ..................................................................................   396
James Mylme, for stone at ditto ...............................................................................................  959
George Nash, for bricks used at ditto ...................................................................................... 2500
Benjamin Pashley, for work at ditto .........................................................................................  600
James Spedding, for work at ditto ........................................................................................... 2325

1808
Hugh McIntosh, for work done at Chetney Hill ........................................................................ 1770
Ditto, for the loss he sustained in consequence of the delay in the works ............................. 1005
Benjamin Pashley, for work done at Chetney Hill ....................................................................  260
John Timperley, Superintendant of the works at Chetney Hill .................................................  233

1809
William Cooper, for the purchase money of Land at Chetney Hill ........................................... 3750
Hugh Macintosh, for work done at Chetney Hill ...................................................................... 1100
George Nash, for bricks delivered .......................................................................................... 1100
John Rennie, for services at Chetney Hill ................................................................................  200
Roberts and Co., boatbuilders ................................................................................................  792
John Timperley, Superintendant of the works at Chetney Hill .................................................  289

1810
Hugh McIntish, for work performed at Chetney Hill ................................................................ 4470
John Timperley, Superintendant of Works at Chetney Hill ......................................................  206

1811
H. McIntosh, for work performed at Chetney Hill ................................................................... 5950
Ditto and Hooper, for ditto ...  340
John Timperley, Superintendant of the Works at Chetney Hill ...............................................  203

1812
Hugh McIntosh, for work performed at Chetney Hill ............................................................ 10600
Nash  Co., for work performed at Chetney Hill .......................................................................  508
P. Bashley, for work performed at Chetney Hill ......................................................................  300
John Timperley, Superintendant of the works at Chetney Hill ................................................  207

1813
Fowler & Co., for ironwork at Chetney Hill ..............................................................................  224
John Timperley ...  203

1814
Joliffe and Banks, for work performed at Chetney Hill ............................................................  200
High McIntosh, ditto ...  700
John Rennie, Engineer, ditto ...................................................................................................  222
John Timperley, Superintendant for the works at Chetney Hill ...............................................  202

1815
Joliffe and Banks, for painting warehouses etc at Chetney Hill ............................................. 1000
Ditto, balance of their contract for ditto ................................................................................. 1320
Jno Timperly, Superintendant of the works at Chetney Hill ....................................................  200


Offline Sylvaticus

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Re my posting third above this, I found a better scan of the 1947 OS aerial photo from Froggatt's article, and replaced the copy I originally had there. This one's more distinct, especially for the pattern of foundations. It also suggests the causeway might have been in place in 1947. In any case this is within living memory, someone might know when the causeway was put there.

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek, Chetney hill
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2011, 00:00:13 »
Thanks Herb Collector. I must confess I didn't know about it. I'll look it up next time I visit London.

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek, Chetney hill
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2011, 18:50:16 »
Nice work sylvaticus,  :) The Soane museum is one of my favourite museums in London and all this time I never knew.
Don't Let the Devil Ride Chris and Abby

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2011, 18:40:00 »
The architect Sir John Soane prepared designs in 1793-95 for "a lazaretto at Chetney Hill
to provide the necessary warehouses ...". These drawings are now kept at Sir John Soane's
Museum in London, which holds his collection of drawings and antiquities, and his own
drawings and designs for his commissions (www.soane.org). Soane's plans were not adopted.

Froggatt reports that James Wyatt was entrusted with the project and that his plans were
destroyed in fires, at parliament and at the Custom House.

The engineer Rennie was also engaged for the project. From Samuel Smiles, Lives of the
Engineers Smeaton and Rennie, London 1904:
     "It was proposed to isolate this hill by a canal, provided with a lock; and Mr Rennie
      was requested to prepare the requisite plans, which he did (in 1806), and the works
      were executed at a heavy expense"

The first Ordnance Surveys were carried out in the 1780s and 1790s as part of preparations
for an expected war with France. Chitney Marsh was surveyed in 1797, and this is an extract
from the surveyor's field book (held at the British Library, on-line gallery of exhibitions,
Ordnance Survey drawings, Halstow):



The drawing is 6in to the mile. This extract shows a bend in Stangate Creek (left), and the
Shade (a smaller creek leading from it to bottom right). Part of Greenborough Marsh is left,
Barsoe Marsh bottom left, and Chitney Marsh from mid top to bottom right. Chitney Hill is the
flat area of grassland in the centre with saltings to the N and SE. Three counter walls
converge on the hill. The red object at the edge of the hill is the Old Chitney farmhouse. The
white patches on the hill might indicate pools on the summit, or might just be an unevenness
in the watercolour wash applied by the surveyor to his field drawing.

These surveys were published in 1801 as "an Entirely New and Accurate Survey of the
County of Kent with Part of the County of Essex" by Captain William Mudge, at a scale of
1in to the mile (on-line at map-co.co.uk). This extract shows the area from Chitney Hill
to Iwade:



Being to a smaller scale, this adds no extra detail. The hill itself is indicated by cross-hatching,
which is possibly deceptive since it's only a hill in relation to the saltings, relatively flat,
maybe 10-15ft above sea level. The on-line maps don't show any height, the farm track
nearby is 12ft.

These two maps show the state of the area before any work started.

Froggatt reports buildings being recorded on the 1819 OS 1in edition. This is not available
on-line.

The next map available on-line is the OS 1869 6in edition:



Chitney Hill is largely obscured by the lettering of the printed info. There's a well (below
the D of IWADE), a pond (between W and A), and a triangle that might mean a trig point
(between W and A above the pond). Near the shoreline in the south is a building that
Froggatt interprets as a farm building rather than a remaining part of the lasaret. This building
was still there in 1961, but not much longer. No on-line OS map, 1869 or later, shows the scar
seen on GoogleEarth (previous posting).

The striking difference to the earlier maps is the canal and the dock. I wonder what happened
to the vast amount of spoils - for example, were they distributed over the island? Were they
carted away? They were not used for a seawall round the island. How was the work done? By
shovel and wheelbarrow, or did they have mechanical diggers? Froggatt's appendix with costs
for the project includes coal for some 670. Does this point to the use of steam engines?
Presumably the canal would need pumping dry as work progressed.

The 1885 25in edition records a shingle hard across the canal from Old Chitney, still there in 1938.

The 1961 25in edition shows a causeway across the canal:



Froggatt includes a photo from an aerial survey done by the OS in 1947 revealing regular patterns of
foundations. The detail has not survived well, from photo to book illustration which was then scanned
for the on-line copy:



For comparison the same aspect from GoogleEarth:

     

These foundations straddle the scar (also visible on the 1947 photo)

The Notes on the GoogleEarth photo:
F  F  F  F mark the corners of the foundations
P  P mark pools recorded on the OS maps
W is the well
B is the site of the building seen on the OS maps from 1869 to 1961 (gone in 1967).

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2011, 18:40:13 »
I found Frogatt's story of Chitney Hill so exciting I've been checking maps over time
to follow the changing events on what is now an island.



This is a bird's-eye view of Chitney Hill looking south, taken from GoogleEarth (to
enhance the 3D effect, this is how the satellite saw it, we're looking into north-
facing vertical surfaces like the inner end of the dock, south-facing vertical surfaces
like the outer end of the dock are hidden).

Despite its name, it's barely higher than the surrounding saltings. Just sufficiently
higher to give smooth grassland rather than the tidal creeks of the saltings. There's
a narrow strip of salting round the northern edge, in the foreground outside the dock.
No heights are given on any map I've seen. A bench mark on Old Chitney farmhouse
just north of the causeway is sometimes recorded, 16ft. Spot heights on the road to
the farm are 12ft. The island is at most about 1400ft long (NW-SE) and about 1000ft
wide (NE-SW), measured with the GoogleEarth ruler.

What surprised me most was the large gash in the centre of the island. To me it looks
like a hole, the far edge looks like a steep clay wall a few feet deep. At the bottom
there's a stagnant pool, and a round white feature that's possibly the well. Has anyone
been there? Is this a hole, or a superficial scar on the surface? The well is recorded
right up to the current OS map seen on e.g. the Bing maps.

The dark oblong shapes are identified by Frogatt as the foundations of substantial
buildings, also visible south of the "hole".

The causeway is relatively recent, post WW2, or possibly during WW2. Previously
there was a shingle hard. Does anyone know if the army were here during WW2? I
know there were AA batteries on Chitney Marsh, the only location I know definitely
is the gunsite just E of Iwade that was visible from the road.

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2011, 21:27:34 »
People

Assistant Surgeon Sidney Bernard.
Doctor aboard HMS Eclair, died from yellow fever, 9th October 1845. Buried on Burntwick Island.
See Surgeon Sidney Bernard @http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=7326.0

Dr Robert Brown M.D.
Staff-surgeon and Medical Superintendant of Quarantine at Stangate Creek, c1862.

Captain Francis E. Loch.
Appointed to be Superintendent of the Quarantine establishment at Stangate Creek, 28th August 1841.

John Matthews.
Superintendant at Stangate Creek c1860-70??

A few more ships, the first two filched from Kyn's post in the forum's Malaria and cholera page.

Hare, sloop, captured in 1709. 13 Jan 1712, ordered to Stangate Creek to enforce quarantine regulations.

Arundell, 1695 5th rate. 1 Nov 1713, Ordered to Stangate Creek to enforce quarantine, but not to approach the 100+ merchant ships moored in the creek.

HMS Bacchante, 36 guns, built Deptford 1811. In quarantine service Stangate Creek 1837-46.

HMS Buffalo, built culcutta 1813 as Hindostan. Quarantine ship at Stangate Creek from 1832.

Christian VII, 80 guns, Danish, captured 1807, quarantine service at Stangate Creek from 1814.

HMS Kangaroo, built 1852, guardship Stangate Creek 1865-72.

HMS Sandwich, launched 1715, 90 guns.
1752, contract for conversion to lazarette with Mr Temple.
1754, ordered to be conveyed to Stangate Creek.
1770, broken up Chatham.
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Re: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 20:36:59 »
Katherine Stewart Forbes, barque, built Northfleet 1818.

In February 1832 she sailed from Woolwich bound for Van Diemans Land (arriving on 16th July) carrying 222 male convicts under the command of Captain James Berry. An ill fated voyage to begin with as cholera broke out aboard her on the day she sailed from Woolwich, so she anchored in Plymouth Sound but was ordered to put to sea again after receiving medical supplies and the services of an assistant surgeon from the Royal Navy. She returned to the Thames Estuary and was laid up in Stangate Creek until almost the end of March before being allowed to resume her voyage. Of the 222 convicts aboard, 30 men developed cholera and 13 died before she finally set sail for the new land.
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Re: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2011, 18:04:59 »
From the Otago Witness, October 1884, NZ newspaper.

The date he was quarantined not known, but HMS Bacchante was at Stangate from 1837.

"Mr W. Mathieu Williams writes in the Gentleman's Magazine:-
......On another occasion, when I was in quarantine on board of the hulk of H. M. frigate Bacchante, in Stangate Creek, where our letters were received in a copper fork, dropped in a copper box, and then pickled or fumigated before posting, the gnats had free "pratique," and were so active that one of my fellow-passengers, who had lived some years in Turkey without suffering any particular trouble from mosquitoes, was nearly blinded by an English gnat on the first night of his sleeping on English water. The bite was so poisonous that his eye was closed by the swelling of the bitten lid. We had come from Constantinople in a little schooner with only two passengers on board and a crew of about eight men, including officers and boy, had been eight weeks on the passage with no symptoms of any plague, nor any communication with the shore, and yet had to spend from 1st to 6th September on the hulk of the old frigate carefully located in a Medway swamp, where gnats armed with lancets specially adapted for carrying infection by inoculation were especially abundant."
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Re: Sheerness Foul Bill Quarantine Station. Stangate Creek
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2011, 21:39:06 »
Is anyone else having problems with the link?
It works for me but maybe thats because I already have it on file?

Fray at Stangate Creek
From The Press Gang Afloat and Ashore J R Hutchinson 1913. Page 52.

'Stangate Creek, on the river Medway, was the great quarantine station for the port of London, and, here, in the year 1744, was enacted one of the most remarkable scenes ever witnessed in connection with pressing afloat. The previous year had seen a recrudescence of plague in the Levant and consequent panic in England, where extraordinary precautions were adopted against possible infection. In December of that year there lay in Stangate Creek a fleet of not less than a dozen Levantine ships, in which were cooped up, under the most exacting conditions imaginable, more than two hundred sailors. At Sheerness, only a few miles distant, a number of ships of war, amongst them Rodney's, were at the same time fitting out and wanting men. The situation was thus charged with possibilities.

It was estimated that in order to press the two hundred sailors from the quarantine ships, when the period of detention should come to a end, a force of not less than one hundred and fifty men would be required. These were accordingly got together from the various ships of war and sent into the creek on board a tender belonging to the Royal Sovereign. This was on the 15th of December, and quarantine expired on the 22nd.

The arrival of the tender threw the Creek into a state of consternation bordering on panic, and that very day a number of sailors broke bounds and fell to the gangs in attempting to steal ashore. Seymour, the lieutenant in command of the tender, did not improve matters by his idiotic and unofficerlike behaviour. Every day he rowed up and down the creek, in and out amongst the ships, taunting the men with what he would do unless they volunteered, when the 22nd arrived, and he was free to work his will upon them. He would have them all, he assured them, if he had to "Shoot them like small birds."

By the 22nd the sailors were in a state of "mutinous insolence." When the tender's boats approached the ships they were welcomed "with presented arms," and obliged to sheer off in order to obtain "more force," so manacing did the situation appear. Seeing this, and either mistaking or guessing the import of the move, the desperate seamen rushed the cabins, secured all the arms and ammunition they could lay their hands on, hoisted out the ship's boats, and in these reached the shore in safety ere the tender's men, by this time out in strength, could prevent or come up to them. The fugitives, to the number of a hundred or more, made off into the country to the accompaniment, we are told, of "smart firing on both sides." With this exchange of shots the curtain falls on the "Fray at Stangate Creek." In the engagement two of the seamen were wounded, but all escaped the snare of the fowler, and in that happy denouement our sympathies are with them.'

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