The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 54 From London to Tilbury and Gravesend


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24+ miles. Gravesend (Clarendon Royal, Room from 4/, L. from 3/, D. 4/; Mitre), a town of 31, 137 inhabitants, on the Thames estuary, is the headquarters of the Royal Thames Yacht Club. Passengers from London to the Continent used to come thus far by barge, proceeding by land to Dover. Gravesend is the pilot-station for both outward-bound and inward-bound vessels; and here the latter are examined by the revenue and port medical officers. The streets in the older and lower part of the town are narrow and crooked. There are two piers: the Town Pier, where the steamboats call and whence a steam-ferry plies every half-hour to Tilbury; and the Terrace Pier, used by pilots. The parish church of St. George (keys at the Church House), near the Town Pier, was rebuilt in 1731 after a fire. Pocahontas (died 1617), the Indian princess who saved the life of Captain John Smith and married John Rolfe, is buried in this church; two stained-glass windows in memory of her were placed in the church in 1914 by the Society of Virginian Dames, and there is also a marble memorial-tablet on the chancel wall. Milton Chantry, founded by Aymer de Valence in 1322, occupies part of the dismantled New Tavern Fort, at the east end of Gravesend. Rosherville Gardens, laid out in a chalk-quarry 1 mile to the west, once a noted pleasure-resort, were closed in 1920. Cobham Hall, 6 miles to the south, the stately seat of the Earl of Darnley, has a beautiful park and a famous collection of pictures, but the public are not at present admitted. The parish church contains a celebrated series of brasses. Behind the church are the beautiful old almshouses of Cobham College. Gad's Hill Place, 3+ miles from Cobham, is famous as the last home of Charles Dickens (died 1870).