A Tour of Gravesend (1)

After we left the Sikh temple we passed the Clock Tower built in 1887 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Inside are contained copies of newspapers and coins of the time.


Then we walked down to the riverfront and visited the site of Gravesend Blockhouse. Built as part of the river defences in 1539. The gun platforms faced both east and west and it operated in conjunction with Tilbury Fort on the north bank of the river opposite Gravesend. It was remodelled in 1588 during the war with Spain and in 1667 during the war with the Dutch. It became obsolete in 1778 when the New Fort was built a little way to the east.

A little way further along the riverfront is moored LV21, a lightship which is now an arts performance space. Built in 1963 it saw service mostly off the Kent coast and was involved in the worst collision involving a light vessel when on 28th June 1981 LV21 was hit by the ‘Ore Meteor’ which was under tow at the time in rough weather.Observers at the time commented that the tug seemed too small to be handling such a large vessel in open water. In rough seas, the tug and its tow, past too close to LV21 and first the side and then the stern of the Meteor crashed into the bow of the Light Vessel. Thankfully all damage was above deck and the ship escaped and was later towed to Southampton for repairs. It was finally decommissioned in 2008.


Near here is St Andrews Mission Church. Originally a mission to the dockside community it is now an arts centre. It was here that General Gordon (of Khartoum fame) taught as a Sunday school teacher whilst he was stationed in Gravesend.


Our next stop was the 3 Daws pub. This is a historic riverside Inn which is said to date back to around 1400. Originally a group of cottages for ship workers, it was granted a licence in 1565. During its history, it was often targetted by Naval press Gangs looking for new recruits. The 3 Daws of the name refers to 3 Jackdaws, a member of the Crow family.

At this point, we turned inland and made our way through St George’s Churchyard. There had been a Royal Chapel on this site until 1376 when a chapel of ease was built. It became the parish church in 1544. ON 24th August 1727 a fire swept through the town destroying over 100 houses and the Church. The new building was opened in 1732. The church is famous for its connection with the Indian Princess Pocahontas, who was buried in the church in 1616. A search was made in 1923 to find the burial site but nothing conclusive was found. A statue of the Princess, a replica of one in Jamestown was placed in the gardens in 1958.

For more details about the Jamestown settlement and Pocahontas see

https://petesfavouritethings.blog/2016/10/18/all-aboard-the-waverley-2-gravesend/ and https://petesfavouritethings.blog/2015/02/12/statues-and-memorials-in-london-virginia-settlers/


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