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Author Topic: Chatham Town Hall  (Read 32382 times)

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Offline davidt

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2011, 13:31:22 »
Until the purpose built building, Chatham wouldn't really have had a town hall.

Brian Joyce's book "The Chatham Scandal" contains a small section about Chatham before it became incorporated:

"The government of Chatham was as inadequate as its polic force. The town still retained the last vestiges of medieval manorial government, which consisted of a court leet, a High Constable, and all the other anachronisms which incorporated towns swept away when they obtaind borough status. By the mid-nineteenth century, these ancient institutions were merely ceremonia; the High Constable, for example would welcome on behalf of the town, troops returning from active service abroad, fulfilling a role which would presumably be undertaken by a mayor in an incorporated borough. There was also a parish constable who was not a professional policeman but simply womeone who acted in the interests of the parish when the need arose." The book then goes on to talk about Chatham's two meaningful institutions of local government; the Medway Board of Guardians and the Chatham Board of Health. The board of health was the next best thing to a borough council and dealt with complaints from discontented residents as well as issues such as the sewage system. Chatham wouldn't have had a mayor until its incorporation

Philip MacDougall's book "Chatham Past" also has a chapter on the incorporation of Chatham. Incorporation took place on 10 December 1890 and George Winch was provisionally nominated as first Mayor of Chatham. Incorporation took place at the Home Office and a large deputation gathered at Victoria Station for the return by train to Chatham. There was then a parade which ended at the Board of Health Offices "at the top of Military Road" where the incorporation charter was read out. The Town Hall was built between 1898 and 1900 and replaced the board of health offices, which was used in the meantime.

So the conclusion is that between 1890 (incorporation) and 1898/1900 (building of the town hall) the mayor and other dignitaries would have met at the board of health offices, which were on the site now occupied by the town hall.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2011, 15:49:13 »
I was wondering where the location of the "Town Hall" was before the purpose-built one we know now existed. Where did the Mayor and other local dignitaries meet to discuss and undertake council business before it was built?

I don't know if it was the 'official' town hall but in the 19th (and possibly 18th) century a lot of official business seems to have been conducted from the Mitre Hotel, which had previously been Chatham Manor House (or at least built on the site of the old manor house). However, i know pubs were often used as venues for nquests, public meetings, etc so it may be that the Mitre was just one among many used for such purposes.
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Offline smiffy

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2011, 15:23:09 »
I was wondering where the location of the "Town Hall" was before the purpose-built one we know now existed. Where did the Mayor and other local dignitaries meet to discuss and undertake council business before it was built?

Offline davidt

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2011, 19:27:22 »
Don't worry Numanfan - I made the same mistake when I first got the card and it took me a while to get my head around where it was taken from. From the angle it's taken from, it certainly does look like it's taken looking along The Brook and I couldn't work out at first why the clock face appeared to be blank.

Don't be too puzzled Swiftone. Postcard publishers often made mistakes. I have a view of Military Road which has been labelled as the High Street and another with view of Chatham High Street looking towards the junction with Military Road which has been labelled as High Street, Rochester.

Offline swiftone

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2011, 18:41:38 »
Funnily enough I was thinking about why the rear face was blank on Saturday when I was up at Fort Amherst. I'd assumed it was a money saving thing - why pay out money for a clock face on a side which the general public would be unlikely to see? From the two cards I've scanned below it looks like the back face has always been blank.


What puzzles me with the second photo is the caption "Main Street" to describe Military Road.

Offline numanfan

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2011, 14:46:39 »
but the second one shows a blank face driving down Dock Road, not the back of the Town Hall.

Sorry about that, I thought the view was looking along the Brook, and the wall on the right was around Gun Wharf. (it was very early when I looked at it :))
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2011, 14:29:56 »
Great images again davidt, but the second one shows a blank face driving down Dock Road, not the back of the Town Hall.

That view is taken from the Sailors' Home according to the caption, and that was behind the Town Hall so the view is looking down Military Road/Railway Street. The Sailors' Home can be clearly seen behind and to the left of the Town Hall in the 1905 pic in my previous post.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2011, 11:26:02 »
........there appears to be small balconies present just below the clockfaces? Were these ever used by dignataries, etc during the buildings life as a Town Hall?
Election results were announced from the Town Hall as soon as the count was finished, but I think it was from the balcony above the entrance, not from the ones under the clock.

It's a sobering thought, but at least until early post-war days, ALL of the council's business was managed from the Town Hall.
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Offline swiftone

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2011, 09:00:14 »
Great images again davidt, but the second one shows a blank face driving down Dock Road, not the back of the Town Hall.

That must be the back of the Town Hall as surely, the second view is looking down Barrier Road/ Military Road. That face is still blank now I think.

Offline numanfan

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 05:09:57 »
Great images again davidt, but the second one shows a blank face driving down Dock Road, not the back of the Town Hall.
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Offline davidt

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2011, 23:41:32 »
Funnily enough I was thinking about why the rear face was blank on Saturday when I was up at Fort Amherst. I'd assumed it was a money saving thing - why pay out money for a clock face on a side which the general public would be unlikely to see? From the two cards I've scanned below it looks like the back face has always been blank.




Offline MedwayDweller

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 23:30:16 »
Does anybody on here know why the clockface to the rear of the Town Hall is a "blank". Also, and it may just be me, but when comparing the clockfaces of today they seem to be a different style to those on old postcards and photos.

Also, there appears to be small balconies present just below the clockfaces? Were these ever used by dignataries, etc during the buildings life as a Town Hall?
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Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2011, 18:11:53 »
Wonderful at how they 'airbrushed' a new skyline in to suit. Where has Amherst gone? It is a magnificent building anyway. Good pics. Sentinel S4.
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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2011, 17:34:56 »
A couple more postcard views. It seems the Town Hall was a popular subject.

c.1905


c.1908

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Town Hall
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 22:09:32 »
Concerning the dates on numanfan's photos, I'm still not sure of a date for the first one, but Couchman had a copy of the second one in his collection and it is described thus:

Town Hall, Military Road, and The Paddock (formerly The Shrubbery), Chatham.
Postcard photograph entitled Town Hall and Paddock, Chatham comprising view of town hall and surrounding area looking north-east from east side of The Paddock, showing in left fore and middle-grounds The Paddock (formerly The Shrubbery), pedestrians, recumbent visitors, girl with perambulator, iron railing, trees, shrubs and border, in right fore and middle-grounds town hall, motor saloon omnibus in The Brook, Military Road and Eagle Inn (no.10 Military Road), in middle-distance, left to right, Royal Marines’ Schools or Drill Hall, Royal Sailors’ Home, Military Road, town hall and Whiffens Avenue and in distance Fort Amherst (Cornwallis Battery and Belvedere Battery) [cf. Great Lines of Defence and North Downs]. On rear, message from Herbert (Herbo) [-] [soldier?] to Miss N. Wildash, Greenstreet, Sittingbourne, stating he will be coming home for good on Wednesday. Published by W. Naylar, Eastgate Photo Series, Rochester. Postmarked Rochester and Chatham 14 January 1919.


So I guess the original image dates from during, or perhaps just before, the First World War. (It's always hard to know how long a postcard had been in production before it was sent.)

Here are a few more early images of the Town Hall:

From about 1900


From about 1902


From about 1905



From about 1908


From about 1910-13 (note the Belvedere Blockhouse is still present at Fort Amherst)


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