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Author Topic: Bandstands on Chatham Lines  (Read 787 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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Bandstands on Chatham Lines
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2016, 15:57:49 »
I've been digging into the two bandstands on the Lines near Fort Amherst, but have come up with very little definite information. I wonder if anyone here has more details?

The 1945/6 aerial photo below shows the two bandstands circled in yellow. At the top of the picture is the Naval Bandstand in the Naval Recreation Ground in front of Spur Battery. At the bottom of the picture is the Army Bandstand, located on Prince of Wales Bastion.



Naval Bandstand
The land to form the Naval Recreation ground was granted on 7th July 1900, and correspondence took place in 1903, regarding erection of bandstand and pavilions (see http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=18645.msg162729 ), so that around 1903 would seem to be a likely date for its construction. It is shown on the 1932 OS Map, 1938 OS Map, a 1940 Aerial photo, a 1945/6 Aerial Photo, the 1953 &1955 OS Maps, a 1960 Aerial photo, and the 1961 OS Map. It is no longer shown on 1963 OS map, suggesting it was demolished around 1962. (see also http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=6621.msg54235 )

Army Bandstand
I have been unable to find any information on the construction date of this bandstand, but Prince of Wales Bastion was where the Officers' Tennis Courts were, and the clubhouse was built in 1903, so it is not unlikely the bandstand was added at a similar time, making it contemporary with the Naval bandstand. It is shown on the 1932 OS Map, the 1938 OS Map, a 1940 Aerial photo, a 1945/6 Aerial photo, but is gone on 1953 Map, suggesting it was demolished shortly after the war.

During the BHRG oral history sessions a few local residents remembered attending concerts at the bandstands, recalling that the R.E. Band and Infantry bands played in the one by the tennis courts, whilst the Royal Marines played in the Naval one. It seems most of the time the concerts were scheduled one after the other, and walking briskly between the two locations would allow attendance at both. However, some recollections suggested that on occasion the concerts would overlap and that army and navy would compete to outdo each other in volume and enthusiasm!
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