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    THE FORGOTTEN PARISH OF DENTON

    17 MARCH 05

 


Another interesting & informative talk was given by the ever enthusiastic Christoph Bull, about the Parish of Denton, noted in the Domesday Book & is 522 Acres, the same size as Nurstead!

We saw a map defining – Gravesend, Milton, Denton, Chalk, Shorne, Chalk Extra & Higham. Denton is one of 13 ancient Parishes that come under Gravesham, but not all have Parish Councils. There is still a Boundary stone for Milton/Denton & the one for Denton/Chalk is at Lion Garage.

Denton Wharf was built in 1790 by Nicholas Gilby, the Lord of the Manor. Parsons Lighthouse was moved from Shorne Mead area to Denton Wharf & there were brickfields in Denton/Chalk. Denton had a windmill by the Ship & Lobster pub, which was later used as an explosives factory & possibly by smugglers.

By 1901, Denton’s population was 668 people, so a school was built, which then closed in 1976, but is now a Community Centre. There is a Denton War Memorial and Victoria Road became Empress Road. The ‘Markers Retreat’ pub, where the soldiers from Milton Barracks used to march in, was demolished in 1996. Also, the ‘Denton Arms’ pub.

The building, called the Castle, in Waterton Avenue was built in 1903 by George A. Waterton, the owner of universal stores, cash & carry Raphael Rd. This house was owned by the Waterton family till 1974 & demolished in the 80’s.

In 1906 Denton Halt opened until 1961. Gravesend had it’s own tramway system, but if 2 tram lines had joined, you could have travelled direct from Denton Corner to London. In 1925 trams in Gravesend closed down & Dartford trams closed down in 1935, but various holts on the railway opened Eg: in Chalk = East, West, Sep & Frith Marsh.

The Sewage Works was built in 1926 & extended in 1933. Denton was not taken over by Gravesend by then & Cesspools from Gravesend, emptied in the chalk fields. On the 1/4/1935, Denton/Chalk were taken over & there was a different rating for the sewage, which kicked up a stink! Denton Sewage Pipe is now a landmark.

In 1938, North Court Primary School, was the last to be built on the estate; after the pub & shops etc. We saw a cap badge in original colours & the Heads of the infants / juniors, both hated each other!

The Health Centre was previously the Rent Office, as people were transferred to the Northcourt estate, where a house in Shamrock Road had a horse inside! The Gordon Mission, was sometimes used as an overflow, for the school & in 1940, one room was used as Denton Library, now it’s for mal-adjusted kids.

The dairy had cows on site until 1950. Dairy Farm had cow sheds & some horses & the ‘Macleans’ owned West Court farm. The ruins of Denton Church (built in 1883 for £2,900), were incorporated into the restoration but since 1941, it has been used as Roman Catholic. George Matthews Arnold – 8 times Mayor, converted to RC. Quote – Poem by Richard Harris Banham ‘The Ghost of St Ingoldsby’.

Denton Court - N Gilby lived here. He integrated with the Thames & Medway Canal Co, as the canal was to go through his land. There was a prison camp for German Officers, which was rebuilt as flats.

In 1958, Smith’s the Baker’s took over from Shaw’s Laundry, on the corner & there was a huge steaming machine which had to be removed. Smith’s went bankrupt in 1976 & the building is now demolished. Mark Lane nearby, was previously Manor Lane. The Comma factory was previously a camp for displaced persons, mainly Eastern Europeans.

We saw the Isolation Hospital in 1988, for sailors with contagious diseases, but now the main buildings are warehouses etc near the PLA. ‘Rim ship’ was an old hulk 1873 – 1882, which couldn’t be patched up anymore & when people died, they were possibly thrown overboard & washed up at Higham. Bankside Villa was demolished in 1988 & porter cabins now replace it, near The National Sea Training School in Chalk & near the industrial estate developed in Denton/Milton.

Denton Library, off Old Rd East - was the first purpose built Branch Library to open & the first to close (19/01/93) and we heard the story of a spam sandwich being used as a book mark!

Last Revised: 10 June 2005

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