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Author Topic: Gun Wharf, Chatham  (Read 53990 times)

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Offline rossco

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2009, 19:29:25 »
I read somewhere about a possible buried counterscarp gallery at the lower end of the barrier ditch. Anyone know any more?

Offline kyn

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 14:52:15 »
1806

Offline rossco

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2009, 13:50:47 »
I was thinking, I wonder if the footbridge mentioned in the text was where the pumping station is now behind the petrol garage on Dock Road?

Offline kyn

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 08:00:08 »
Thats what i thought but doesn't it say about a foortbridge and causeway?  Could be Dock Road, the public would find that road way useful but was not public land...

Offline rossco

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 07:41:31 »
What bridge are they referring to? I guess the causeway is the cobbled area at the bottom of the river wall that runs the length of Gun Wharf? Ive always wondered what that was all about. :D

Offline kyn

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2009, 23:40:06 »
 :)

Offline rossco

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2009, 16:48:08 »
One is War Department the other Admiralty so presumably the two properties had a common boundary here.

Yeah, thats what I was thinking. Could they not define say on the left hand side War Dept land and on the right Admiralty land? This would go along with what Bromptonboy was saying about the Army and Navy Gun Wharves and their boundaries meeting around the Command House area.

Offline david

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2009, 15:57:45 »
One is War Department the other Admiralty so presumably the two properties had a common boundary here.
We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is com

Offline rossco

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2009, 21:00:22 »
Rossco, you little beauty!

The mention in the letter of the original lease being from the War Department tallies up with other info that appears to confirm that the Navy Gun Wharf only occupied the riverfront from the south boundary of what is now called Command House downriver to the wall of the Dockyard. All of the area south of Command House was the Army Gun Wharf.

no probs!  :)

I was wondering about what was the army and navy land when I saw these marker stones up by the church the other day. I dont know much (or anything really!) about boundary markers so it might be nothing but it just seemed strange to have 2 next to eachother.



Offline bromptonboy

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2009, 20:38:08 »
Rossco, you little beauty!

The mention in the letter of the original lease being from the War Department tallies up with other info that appears to confirm that the Navy Gun Wharf only occupied the riverfront from the south boundary of what is now called Command House downriver to the wall of the Dockyard. All of the area south of Command House was the Army Gun Wharf.

Offline rossco

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2009, 18:27:46 »
Here's some bits I got hold of today. They came from a large file regarding the continued tenancy of Gun Wharf Building no.2 (marked on the attached plan) by the UK Atomic Energy Authority from the Borough Council. There were also other documents regarding the erection of a fence and requests for increased electricity and water supply to the building.








Let me know if you want a (little) better copy of the documents and Ill see what I can do. ;)

Offline rossco

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2009, 18:26:56 »
Ive got access to tons of old OS maps at work so checked out Gun Wharf through the years and found something quite interesting. On 1931-1940 map everything is the same including the labels as Merc's map. The next map was dated 1954 and shows Gun Wharf completely blank. No buildings. Nothing. Same for the 1955 map. But on both maps the rest of the dockyard, the barracks and Lines/Amherst are visible and labelled. Then in 1961 magically all of the buildings re-appear. The 'Ordnance Officers Quarters' are called the 'Health Department' and the buildings in the lower part of the Barrier Ditch the 'Housing Dept'. I assume this is when it came under the control of the local authority.
So what was so secret about the area that it was removed from OS maps?


Offline bromptonboy

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2009, 11:53:46 »
Dockyard Museum Shop! Doh!

I have done a bit more digging on the hush-hush 1940's/1950's period of Gun Wharf. Amazing what will come up on a google book search! I was led to snippets of info as follows:-

1. Google Books Search under 'Chatham Gun Wharf'. This found a document entitled 'Analytical Abstracts by the Chemical Society (Great Britain) Society of Analytical Chemistry'. Published by Heffer & Sons in 1960. I could only find small snippets in this document but the two I did find were:-
a) Item 32. Determination of Copper in Beryllium metal. Work carried out at UKAEA (Research Group. Chemical Division, Chatham Outstation, Kent. AERE-AM21 1959.
b) Item 384. Determination of Free Metal and Carbide Carbon in Beryllium Metal. Work carried out at UKAEA (Research Group. Chemical Division, Chatham Outstation, Kent.

On doing a search on the initials UKAEA I found the following:-
The UKAEA was formed by the UK Government in 1954 to oversee Britain's Nuclear Research Programme. UKAEA's role was to provide Britain's Atomic Weapons deterrent.

2. The same search phrase brought up the 'Nuclear Power Year Book' for 1957 published by Rowse Muir Publications. It contained a small snippet referring to 'The Chatham Analytical Laboratory HM Gun Wharf'.

3. The same search of the initials UKAEA led me directly to the company newsletter of the present day organisation which is still operated under the name of UKAEA; which by the way stands for United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. In the news letter was an obituary for a man named as Harry Shalgosky. After gaining his degree in 1949 he had joined the Chemical Inspectorate at Woolwich Arsenal where he was Leader of the Chatham Outstation when it became incorporporated into the UKAEA. They give the date of this incorporation as 1962 which appears to me to be very late as I thing Gun Wharf was by then in the public domain. Is the date incorrect or did they relocate into another Chatham establishment?

It is starting to appear that Chatham was playing a role in the early development of the UK's atomic weapons programme.

What makes the whole subject even more intriguing is that at about this time Chatham and Sheerness Dockyards were working on the naval support element for the Christmas Island Atomic Weapons Test Programme. From what I have heard HMS Plym was fitted-out at Chatham for the tests as were some other of the ships involved. I think I recall hearing that HMS Plym was actually one of the detonation ships for the bomb, and that componants for the bomb were brought down to Sheerness from Shoeburyness for incorporation into the ship.

Incidentally, the UKAEA was set-up out of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment Harwell that was set up in 1946. This is a date that coincides conveniently with the 1945/46 period when our RAOC chaps were upto 'something' at the Gun Wharf Chatham! This may be a 'blind-alley' to go down, but there again?

seafordpete

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Re: Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2009, 17:34:47 »
Hi searched the Times, Seems to be confused but looks like an RN Gunwharf and an Army Ordnance but sometimes gun wharf.


Times  23/2/1856
Ordnance schooner Marlborough arrives at Woolwich with 30 32pounder carronades from Chatham Gun Wharf, there being no room to store them
28/1/1857
Captain Allan at The Gun wharf Chatham has been instructed to hand over the  Turkish Engineer Stores brought home from Kertsch with the exception of the 64 pontoons.which are too largeto store at Brompton
18/8/1857
 reference to Royal Marines at the Gunwharf Barracks
4/4/1861
Yesterday the floating batte
ry Thunderbolt, 16, 200HP was towed into Chatham Dockyard and placed alongside the sheer hulk to receive  her guns from the Gun  Wharf consisting of 16 68pounders of 95cwt each
6/9/1861
reference to WD transport Petrel unloading 200 cases of 100 pounder Armstrong shells from Woolwich at The Ordnance Wharf.
10/1/1863
Sir Richard Mayes and Superintendant Mallion spent the day inspecting the Metropolitain Police at Chatham Dockyard and visited the Ordnance and Gun wharves, both places  being under charge of the Police
14/4/1863
Order by WD  to replace convict labour with hired men at the Ordnance Establishment at Gun Wharf. Thev convicts to be used for building work within the Dockyard
14/12/1867
WD transports Henry & Alfred have arrived at the Ordnance Wharf Chatham from The Tower with about 3000 stands of arms in cases being the newly converted  Snider breech loader. Upwards of 30,000 old patter Enfield rifles have been converted and are in
store at Chatham
11/6/1870
Maj Gen David Russell Commander of Southern District inspected Chatham Garrison. Firstly Gun Wharf then Fort Pitt Hospital, Fort Clarence....etc
18/7/1873
Yesterday a large part of the River wall at Chatham Gun Wharf gave way. Report on 19th says it was due to water in  the culvert from Chatham barracks backing up at high tide and bursting the culvert. About 100ft of wall fell pushing WD transport Marlborough away from the dock

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1873/aug/04/navy-chatham-dockyard-the-river-wall


4/3/1875 A WD transport left Chatham Gun Wharf to unload Fawn 5 which has arrived from the Pacific to be broken up. The Shot and powder are to go to the magazines at Purfleet
11/3/1878
The Armour Plate Turret Ship Monarch is completing for sea at Chatham and is taking on guns, slides & carriages from the Gun Wharf where they have been altered.
30/9/1958
For Sale
Lot 2 Royal Naval Gunwhar
f,site are approx 3,500 acres, 61000 sq ft of covered storage and 780 ft of river frontage
29/12/1958
Chatham Gunwharf closing- The Gunwharf which dates back to the reign of Edward V1 is to close tomorrow and be sold as part of the Navy Ecomomies
29/1/1959
Tender to purchase by William Palfrey has been accepted by the Admiralty for The Gun Wharf  and the adjoining RM Barracks at an undisclosed price

Offline bromptonboy

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Gun Wharf, Chatham
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2009, 15:29:11 »
Of all the bits of the Chatham Defences it is the north and south extremities that the least is known about. I post this subject in the hope of stimulating some dialogue about the Gun Wharf area at the southern (Chatham) end. I apologise now, but I have set this up as a series of questioning passages just to see what comes out of the ether!

1. It is known that the original Gun Wharf was run by the Board of Ordnance until its demise in the 1850's. My contention is that only the north section of the Ordnance Wharf backing on to the RM Barracks was transferred to the navy to become the Navy Gun Wharf, and that was not done until the 1860's as is suggested in the National Archives document listed as 'General Series WO32/18198' covering the dates of 1960-1867 which details the 'Transfer of part of Gun Wharf from War Department to the Admiralty'. So the suggestion is that ALL of Gun Wharf was predominantly utilised for Army based activities up to the date of transfer, most certainly as an integral part of the Chatham Defences, and that the bulk of the land mass known as Gun Wharf was retained by the Army.

I believe that what was known as the 'New Gun Wharf' that was situated between Globe Lane and the river became the Army Gun Wharf and remained as an Army Gun Wharf until its ultimate closure in in the 1950's. My evidence for this is contained in a National Archive Record ref DEFE 51/22 covering the date period of 1955-1961 on the subject of 'Sale of land and reclaimed foreshore at WD Gun Wharf to Borough Council'. A second Nat Arch document is even clearer in the Army labelling - WO32/20895 covering dates of 1955-1961 refers to Chatham: Army Gun Wharf Sale of land and foreshore.

I believe that after 1855/61 there were two very distinct and separate Gun Wharves at Chatham. The Navy Gun Wharf on land situated between the Barrier Ditch and the Dockyard bounded by the river and the RM Barracks; and the Army Gun Wharf in the area between Barrier Ditch around to the site of the old Kings Arms PH and bounded by the river and Globe Lane.

2. So what were the Army doing on their Gun Wharf at Chatham? I can find very little printed or oral anecdotal evidence of what they were up to there. So all answers on a postcard please!

I do have some tantalizing bits of info about the Army's activities at Gun Wharf in the late 1940's though!

What I do know is that the RAOC must have had a reasonably sized presence on the Army Gun Wharf in the 1940's. This is deduced from two sources.
a. The Records of the Chemical Society have a Captain John Payne Bsc Hons applying to the society on February 15 1945 to be approved as a Fellow of The Chemical Society. He gave his place of residence as The RAOC Officers Mess HM Gun Wharf Chatham. His civilian background was as a research chemist employed by British Celanese Ltd. So how many RAOC Officers were employed at Gun Wharf to warrant them having their own RAOC Officers' Mess?
b. National Archives record WO 352 details that in March 1946 the RAOC Research and Development Centre was moved to Chatham where it was renamed as the RAOC Field Test Centre.

So what were the Army up to on their part of the Chatham Gun Wharf towards the end of the war? We have some evidence that there were enough RAOC Officers there to warrant their own Officers Mess; we know there was at least one RAOC Officer there who had a specialist knowledge of chemicals; and we have the RAOC Research and Development Centre relocated to Chatham.

Now rumour can be either a dangerous or very useful indicator of a direction for further research. It is known that Chatham and Sheerness Dockyards played a major role in the early development of the UK Atomic Weapons Programme, but how far did that role go? Some little known local rumour has it that certain workshops at Chatham Gun Wharf were leased for use by the UK Atomic Weapons Research people. So what was going on?

Over to you!! Yes I am being mischievous, but let's see what develops!!

 

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