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Author Topic: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton  (Read 20404 times)

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merc

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2010, 11:42:09 »
November 1, 1869

During the past summer, a recreation ground for the use of the military has been formed at Chatham, above Chatham Barracks, near the Citadel. The ground was granted by the War-Office, funds were provided by the officers, and soldiers were employed in the formation of the walks, beds, planting etc. The result being very satifactory. The prime mover and most active promoter of this scheme, which provides so acceptable a place of resort for the wives and children of the officers, as well as for the military generally, was Col. A. A'Court Fisher, C.B.,R.E. instructor in surveying at the School of Military Engineering ; and the officers of the garrison are preparing to present to Col. Fisher a testimonial expressive of their appreciation of his efforts, which have been crowned with such success.

From The Times.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2010, 22:12:52 »
Doing some more digging around on the web I came across a part of the Bromton Conservation Area document which might suggest the confusion may come from the fact the Garrison Gardens are not the Memorial Gardens!

The entire scarp of the hillside overlooking Chatham is also within the Conservation Area. This area of land forms an integral part of the Field of Fire and is thus of considerable historic importance. The scarp is a key local landmark that forms a distinctive backdrop to central Chatham.
The land immediately in front of the Boundary Ditch and the "Chatham Eye" building is included within the area.
This is of significance as the entrance into the Garrison area of Fort Amherst.
The area also includes Whiffens Avenue car Park and the Memorial Gardens
The Memorial Gardens are a formal planted garden previously used in the 18th century as a civilian burial ground, and before then as an open-air ropewalk. Whilst not directly connected with the Lines this area is of some historic significance due to its former uses and forms an attractive oasis and foreground to the scarp of the Lines.
The Whiffens Avenue Car Park stands at the base of the scarp on which Fort Amherst sits. This is a former military burial ground of slightly later origins than the civilian burial ground. Both burial grounds came into existence as a result of the Ordnance board taking over land at the Parish Church of St Mary's. Their existence is therefore directly related to the Lines and the Dockyard.


I suppose hearing the Memorial Gardens were 'in Brompton' it was assumed it meant the Garrison
Gardens. I can easily see how such a confusion could have arisen. However, I've always known this area as the Town Hall Gardens. Anyone know the chronology of the naming? Is it currently 'The Memorial Gardens' or the 'Town Hall Gardens'?  And I'm still unsure what it is a memorial to!
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2010, 16:34:01 »
Just behind the tennis courts (Prince of Wales Bastion) and King's Bastion the open land bounded by Sally Port and Maxwell Road was once the Garrison Gardens, although now that name tends to be used only for the fenced off area between the Garrison Church and the tennis courts. However I have also come across this fenced area referred to as the 'Memorial Gardens'. Does anyone know the origin of this, particularly a memorial to what? The Crimea (roughly contemporary with the building of the church), the Great War, a particular person?  I have no idea.

On a similar note I've heard the area immediately behind King&
#039;s Bastion (the old RE paddock) referred to as the Officers' Gardens, but I assume this might be connected with the 1868 act covered in this thread http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=3288.0
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2010, 01:30:29 »
I've just noticed that on the 1866 map I have the avenue of trees running along parallel to Military (Maxwell) Road and the diagonal path from up by the Garrison Church over to the Sally Port, along with other diagonal paths are already there, 2 years before the land was officially made into the recreation ground, so the area may well have already been a Park and the work commissioned in 1868 may have been an improvement rather than creation of the Gardens.

I also noticed that up by the diagonal path near the church, about where the house I've always know as the groundsman's house, a Guard Room is shown.  Would this have been connected with the Fort?
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2010, 23:30:28 »
The park once extended from the edge of Amherst Redoubt/Prince William's Bastion (where the modern Garrison Gardens and tennis courts are) right down to the gymnasium and from Military (Maxwell) Road to the line of the fortifications.

Avenue of trees c. 1910:


Parkland extending right down to the Garrison Gym (with old Sally Port Blockhouse on the right) c. 1912


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Offline Leofwine

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2010, 22:15:10 »
The gates bromptonboy mentioned are still there, I happened to snap a shot of them today.   Those of you who remember it as a muddy path with brick walls and sometimes holes leading to the tunnels below might be surprised.  The area is now behind a chainlink fence and so overgrown as to be almost unrecognisable.  The gates themselves are almost the only thing left visible!
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Offline bromptonboy

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2010, 22:00:50 »
Shock, Horror! Just got back from a walk around the Lines and Garrison Gardens. Someone has cut down one of the magnificent Copper Beech Trees by the Garrison Church! I don't recall seeing anything untoward in its appearance and the huge stump shows no sign of disease or decay. As the Garrison gardens are within a Conservation Area shouldn't permission have been sought from the council for this to happen?

Offline Lyn L

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2010, 13:02:13 »
My Dad's pal had an allotment there in the early 60s, he took me a couple of times but I can't remember where it was at all,  I can remember it was very overgrown getting to it and seem to think we went in somewhere near the Gym, and walked miles ? ( it was a long time ago ) but it seemed very creepy there  I was only about 14 though.
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2010, 11:52:15 »
I can just about recall how the Garrison Gardens were in the 1960's. These days the Garrison Gardens are seen to consist of the area of land between the Garrison Church and the former naval reservoir. When first laid out as formal gardens they were far more extensive stretching from the Sally Port right through to the Spur Battery and taking in the land from the Hornwork through to Maxwell Road. I can just recall the last glories of those recreations grounds. There were the remains of circular wrought iron seats around what at one time had been ornamental trees, a grove of Walnut trees, two groundsmen's cottages, tennis courts just behind the Sally Port and more tennis courts in the ditch bottom by the Couvre Port. On the Tennaile between the Amherst Redoubt and Spur Battery were a set of beautifully kept allotment gardens. The Garrison Recreation Ground was first laid out in 1869 as described in the following passage from the United Services Magazine. vol 12 of 1869.

Chatham Recreation Ground - One of the latest official acts of Sir john Pakington, as Secretary of State of War, was to allow a portion of the Inner Lines of fortifications adjoining Fort Amherst, Chatham, to be set apart as a recreation ground for the use of the officers connected with the garrison. A number of sappers of the Royal Engineers, acting under the direction of a committee of officers, of which Lt Col. A.A.C. Fisher, CB., RE, is the president are now employed in levelling and arranging the site appropriated for the purpose, and forming the necessary roads and carriage drives, the committee having called in the assistance of Mr Menzies, Deputy Surveyor of Windsor Park, under whose superintendance the ground, which is of considerable extent, will be laid out. The entrance to the grounds will be near the drawbridge crossing the trenches at Fort Amherst.

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009, 08:03:14 »
From childhood memories the Garrison Gardens occupied all the area from Sally Port right up through Kings Bastion and over onto part of the Spur Battery. There was a network of footpaths that crossed the ditches at various points. There were the ramains of ornamental gates and wrought iron benches around the bottom of trees - one was still there quite recently close to the Maxwell Road air-raid shelter. Apparently, before the Army quarters were built footpaths crossed the ditches to take the Victorian officres and their ladies out onto the Lines. You can still see the footings for one of these in the ditch wall by the Kings Bastion flanking galleries.

Tennis along with riding to hounds appear to have been two of the big pursuits. There were tennis courts everywhere. The NCO's Tennis Club was down on the Inner Lines of the Kings Bastion close to the WW2 Pill Box. The Combined Services Officers Tennis Club was up on Prince of Wales Bastion. There were some old redundant tennis courts marked-out on the concrete bottom of the ditch just below the Couvre Port. In earlier days the RE Drag Hounds were kept in a concrete compound built onto the rear of Prince Williams Barracks. The gardens and sports grounds always had two resident groundsmen/caretakers who lived in cottages at Maxwell Road and up on the Cricket Ground close to the Naval memorial. For years these were Mr Brightwell at Maxwell Road and Mr Bussey up on the cricket ground.

I can remember the avenue of Walnut trees running down the Inner Lines parallel to Maxwell Road. Us kids used to cross the road from our little school in Maxwell Road and collect the walnuts but the outer green covering always gave us away to the teachers by marking our hands! The walnut trees must have been approaching the end of their lives as they didn't survive for very much longer. I think there are only one or two left. It would be great if as part of the Great Lines Park plans a restoration of the Victorian Gardens could be incorporated.

I am sure the RE Library must have some photographs in its collection of the park in its heyday.




Offline kyn

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2009, 22:27:07 »
I assume the park extended as far as the Sally Port?

merc

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Re: The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2009, 22:23:31 »
I love the Officer's Recreation Ground in Maxwell Road. it's nice and peaceful :)

I would of loved to have seen it when it first opened.

Offline kyn

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The Garrison Gardens, Brompton
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2009, 21:29:46 »
09 December 1868

By permission of the Secretary for War a portion of the inner line of fortifications, adjoining Fort Amherst, Chatham, has been set apart as a recreation ground for the use of the officers connected with the garrison.  A number of Sappers of the Royal Engineers, acting under the direction of a committee of officers, of which Lieut.-Col. A. A. C. Fisher, O.B., Royal Engineers, is the president, are now employed in levelling and arranging the site appropriated for the purpose, and forming the necessary roads and carriage drives, the Committee having called in the assistance f Mr. Menzies, deputy-surveyor of Windsor Park, under whose superintendence the ground, which is of considerable extent, will be laid out.  The entrance to the grounds will be near the drawbridge crossing the trenches at Fort Amherst.

 

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