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Author Topic: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.  (Read 28393 times)

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Offline rossco

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2010, 12:56:34 »
Macaroon - thanks for your very interesting and detailed information on the Curtis & Harvey factory at Cliffe.

In the 1901 census my Great Grandfather was living at 'Lower Hope Point Powder Works', which I assume to be part of C&H.  From the sketch you made from the Cityark document was there anywhere that appeared habitable dwelling?  

There were two families living there, the other was described as 'Powder Magazine Keeper'.  My Great Grandfather had a young family, the other family were older and had children employed as 'Powder Magazine Labourers'.  There was also a Powder Magazine Clerk boarding.  The employment must obviously be connected to Curtis & Harvey (or is it Curtess & Harvey?)

The addresses either side of Lower Hope Point appear in the Census as:

Cliffe Fort
Cliffe Creek
Coastguards Ship
Lower Hope Point Powder Works
Chalk Cliffe Cottage
Coastguards Ship
Allens Hill
Allen Farm

. . . which suggests it was a Spartan area as far as dwellings were concerned.

Regards,

Jonathan S

EDITED: I must have missed the "house" in the photos on p1 of this thread when first reading through.  Interesting to know that this still exists, albeit as a ruin.  This was quite possibly the family pile!  



I'm sure I read somewhere (may have been on the plan at Cityark) the house I photographed was the Foreman's or Gatekeepers or Site Manager's house, something along those lines anyway! :) On a later map (1961) it's called 'The Poplars'...

Other houses were Coatguard House and Coastguard Cottages which was right at the end of Mead Wall - theres a faint outline of them on Google maps still.
There was also at the end of the 19th century a pub called 'The Anchor and Hope' or Hope House right on Lower Hope Point.



Offline Macaroon

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2010, 00:55:28 »
Sorry Jonathan I dont remember the detail you asked for re house but agree that the remains seen in those superb pictures is at least one of the dwellings.Although this area is remote and open there have been some odd houses to be found on the marsh but have now been demolished. In retrospect I should have got a picture of the document for reference but would have infringed copy right if it was posted here. Might get the copy one day.
Time fly's and its charged to your account.

Jonathan S

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2010, 17:42:25 »
Macaroon - thanks for your very interesting and detailed information on the Curtis & Harvey factory at Cliffe.

In the 1901 census my Great Grandfather was living at 'Lower Hope Point Powder Works', which I assume to be part of C&H.  From the sketch you made from the Cityark document was there anywhere that appeared habitable dwelling?  

There were two families living there, the other was described as 'Powder Magazine Keeper'.  My Great Grandfather had a young family, the other family were older and had children employed as 'Powder Magazine Labourers'.  
There was also a Powder Magazine Clerk boarding.  The employment must obviously be connected to Curtis & Harvey (or is it Curtess & Harvey?)

The addresses either side of Lower Hope Point appear in the Census as:

Cliffe Fort
Cliffe Creek
Coastguards Ship
Lower Hope Point Powder Works
Chalk Cliffe Cottage
Coastguards Ship
Allens Hill
Allen Farm

. . . which suggests it was a Spartan area as far as dwellings were concerned.

Regards,

Jonathan S

EDITED: I must have missed the "house" in the photos on p1 of this thread when first reading through.  Interesting to know that this still exists, albeit as a ruin.  This was quite possibly the family pile!  


Offline Macaroon

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2010, 22:24:03 »
My first post on this incredible site and hope this will further the scant information about this interesting place.

This cache is along way out on the marsh but it is possible to drive most of the way along a rough track. Go to Cliffe village end and down Pond Hill keep going for a further mile and a half keeping the pools on your left you finally reach a raised RSPB viewing and info place, turn right and park at the gate don't drive through any open gate as it could get you locked in.

This area is the remains of a large explosives manufacturer site which closed in the early 20's. You will realise this suitability for the site of 60 acres as it is remote from most things and with 2 jetties nearby , handy river access for the transport of the products that included cordite and nitroglycerine.
Curtess Harvey only made chemical explosives on this site, manufacture of gunpowder was carried out elsewhere. The site originally was built for storage but at some stage manufacturing was started and at its height employed nearly 2000 people mostly young girls and women.
The now derelict buildings all around are like any explosives works all small separate work places so that in the event of an accidental explosion the event would hopefully be confined to the one place and so minimise the risk to other personel and property. Of coarse some processes were of no risk of exploding but some were very dangerous and needed constant monitoring and control. There is a curious circular building know as 'The Hill' and this is where one of the most dangerous operations in the manufacture of nitroglycerine was carrried out
Known as 'The Hill' there are 2 others nearby .The original roof would have been very light and the walls are earthed up so that the force of any explosion would have been deflected upwards. Unfortunately before the first world war there was a massive explosion at this place that killed many workers. I am still trying to get more information about this place but little seems available specific to this site .
There is a good view of this place on Google Earth the remains show up well. And finally this whole marsh is where they want to build another airport.
 There is a very interesting document held in Cityark relating to the auction of the place in about 1923 .This is a plan of the site and a description of the buildings . I wanted to copy this  but was told that they couldnt oblige but I would be permitted to photograph it with my camera (which I didnt have with me) for a fee of 5 per shot!!!! I thought that a bloody cheek and had to content myself with a hand drawn sketch. The information
was enough to tell you where everything was and its function.

I originally wrote this information for the Geocacheing forum and the information was gleaned from library books about the Hoo peninsular in Chatham library.
Time fly's and its charged to your account.

sturoberts1975

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2010, 17:47:37 »
If you are planning to go down here it may be worth reading some of the info on this link http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/showthread.php?t=12242, apparently it is used for "an annual shoot", the chap that explored was given a "stern" talking to!
But some intersting info nonetheless

Offline sheppey_bottles

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2008, 23:49:52 »
Looking at the third picture down, the circularish mounds, reminds me of Woolwich Arsenal. When we were kids we used to creep inside the Arsenal grounds near Abbeywood to go fishing. As in your picture there were circular banked areas where they used to have a shed for assembling munitions. Around the outside of the circular bank was a dyke, I take it if the building exploded the bank and dyke would take the full force and send anything skyward. Anyway we used to fish in these dykes as they were full of Tench,Rudd and monster crucians. Some of these have been incorporated into the later stages of Thamesmead.

Offline Trikeman

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2008, 22:44:27 »
The WW1 explosives factory of Curtis & Harvey at Cliffe on the Isle of Grain [see history elsewhere on forum] must have been very large indeed if my recent aerial photos are anything to go by. Would take hours to explore by foot - you need an aerial view to appreciate just how much acreage was covered.
I am assuming that this is all the explosives factory? Feedback welcomed
Geoff


Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast

Offline rossco

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2008, 08:08:24 »
Yeah, def not driveable in a little car, tracks way to bumpy. There were a few people in bigger cars and vans bird watching along there though. You can get upto here http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=skcp3th15pfh&style=b&lvl=2&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=30828151&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1 before its gated.

As FF said, its worth ta
king an aerial photo too as theres ditches everywhere!

Offline Riding With The Angels

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2008, 23:14:08 »
It's some year since I have been down that way (prob about 6) but you used to be able to drive (car or 4X4) to a point of no return past the disused farm buildings on Mead Wall to the end. From that point most gates are locked and its a hike across the marshes to the factory buildings. The drive would save you what is probably about 3/4 to an hours stroll from Cliffe Village or park at the end of West Street and descend down the 'cliff' onto Mead Wall.


cave zombie

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2008, 22:38:23 »
could u drive to this sit in a 4x4

Offline rossco

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2008, 13:16:04 »
Old WW2 boom. I could have had a closer look but the ground looked abit soft underfoot so I didnt risk it  :).

Im confused now cos Ive got a map of the Thames booms in a book at home and this boom is much further along towards Alhallows by St Marys Bay. It even shows on todays OS maps as a disused camp. So this photo might not be a boom... ???

I think I might need to go on another bike ride. ;D

Offline rossco

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2008, 11:51:08 »
Could be theres a download for GE its a kmz file Called  "UK WWII HAA and Decoy Sites" it shows posistions of all the sites in the UK :)
Quite useful,but i dont know how to get it on Here for download ???

http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/mbriscoe/images/UK%20WWII%20HAA%20and%20Decoy%20sites.kmz

Cheers mate, it worked fine! Thats a handy little file, has quite a few sites that Defence of Britain hasnt.

Offline Paul

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2008, 11:18:03 »
Could be theres a download for GE its a kmz file Called  "UK WWII HAA and Decoy Sites" it shows posistions of all the sites in the UK :)
Quite useful,but i dont know how to get it on Here for download ???

http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/mbriscoe/images/UK%20WWII%20HAA%20and%20Decoy%20sites.kmz
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline rossco

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2008, 10:11:22 »
Looks like sombody has been using those buildings fot target practice ;)
pics 16-17

I think I know what your saying  :)... I wonder if it was disguised as an airfield for the decoy site?

Offline Paul

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Re: Curtis & Harvey's Explosives Factory, Cliffe.
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2008, 21:55:13 »
Nice pics Rossco :)
Looks like sombody has been using those buildings fot target practice ;)
pics 16-17
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

 

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