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Author Topic: Old Bluetown  (Read 623 times)

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Offline CDP

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Old Bluetown
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 15:21:00 »
Bluetown to Mile Town.
From the Guardian and East Kent Advertiser, Dec 9 1919.
"When in Sheerness a fortnight ago, many people stopped me who I knew before I left with my mother and sisters to go to Southend, and all of them said they expected I was going to tell them about Bluetown all the way down the high street. I told them that was my intention, but before proceeding any further I purpose relating how the road was between the two towns.
From the top of Bluetown, where No. 1 is, to the Well Marsh gate entrance, was simply a mud bank, no pavement or paved gutter channel. It was sloped to form a gutter, the road sloping also to make the gutter complete. There was no Engineer's gate or Colonel's gate either; in fact, Engineers had not yet arrived in the town. I note the gates are there now; they were opened and closed many times, also shifted according to the Colonel's fancy when a new one came.
The only Colonel in Sheerness belonged to the Royal Artillery; his house was down the Well Marsh road, on the right hand side. Colonel England was his name; he rode a spotless white horse. The other side of the road had a curb, and two thirds of the path was made up of a kind of asphalt; the other third was sandy, the same as the sandy bank right down Bluetown along the Dockyard wall, as it now is, bar the pavement. There was no iron fence, but posts about 30 feet apart and a chain along. The posts and iron rail going down to the Garrison were not up at that time. There was no iron railing in front of the Guard House, the spaces were open. There was no path whatever on the right-hand side of the road to Mile Town beyond the Well Marsh gate; you had to cross over to the other side. That was paved with flagstones until you got over the second bridge, then paved with headers to the entrance to Mile Town.
There were two drawbridges; first at the battery near the Guard House, the second at the other battery. At the end of both batteries there was a room where the machinery was kept to pull the bridges up and down. I never saw them pulled up or down, but I saw them replaced with new drawbridges. The first bridge had iron plates right across, the new bridges had short plates in the centre and long ones each side from end to end. At each bridge there was a pair of gates, and where the brick wall loop-holed for muskets is, there was a pair of gates also. These all crossed the road and there was a single gate on the footpath at each of them. They closed them once a year on the 1st October and people had to go round Queenborough. But the trade used to be arranged so that there was not much traffic that day. This was for the road gate. The next day the path gates were shut and of course people had to get off the path and go through the road-way.
There were wooden posts and iron rails over the bridges all the way. The top rail was about three inches wide (not the round kind of post there now, they were square). The path was not good enough for boys to walk on, they perferred the top rail. There were old guns a part of the way (as there are one or two now). and wooden posts from the second bridge to Mile Town. They were used by school boys to jump over going and coming from school.
Then the path was made on the other side of the road, and eventually carried right through to Mile Town. It is now quite different to what it was then from the second bridge to Mile Town. On the right hand side was a wooden rail fence to part, the other portion being a close wood fence enclosing a garden (Milner's garden, of the Victory, and a veterinary surgeon). The left hand side had the same kind of fencing as over the bridges.
Mr. W. H. Shrubsole planted the gardens on both sides from the bridges to Mile Town. It was kept up by voluntary contributions. A box was fixed up for donations (I used to carry farthings and put one in every time I passed up or down, so you see a penny a year is not a new thing to me).
Then the Railway Station came, where the garden was, and I could not get the first third class ticket issued there I managed to get the second-class, Mile Town to Blue Town, which I kept for many years, at last making a present of it to the Editor of the "Guardian," also the first from Port Victoria to London and the first from London to Port Victoria.
When the path was made on the right hand side three gates were put upon it to match the three on the other side. These gates were all taken down when the drawbridges were taken away, and the machine houses at the end of the batteries were also cleared away, and the thoroughfare made as at the present time. In conclusion, I would say after Mr. W. H. Shrubsole gave up the care of the plantations they were taken over by the then Local Board of Health.

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