Friday, 8 January 2010

The Historical Town of Dartford

Last Tuesday your intrepid Tourist decided to talk a walk in the pouring rain to explore the historical town of Dartford. 

Copperfields Arcade Dartford (2)Copperfields Arcade Dartford
Copperfields Arcade Dartford

I started off right in the centre of town by the Copperfields arcade.  It really was quite an unsuitable day for walking around with a camera!

Spital Street Methodist Church Dartford
Spital Street Methodist Church

This is the Spital Street Methodist Church.  It was built in 1844 at a cost of £2,500.

Courthouse Pub Dartford
The Courthouse Pub

The Courthouse Pub lies across the street from Spital Street Methodist Church.  This building was first erected in 1850 as part of the  church but was converted into a Crown Court within ten years.  Fifteen years ago it became a pub.  The nearest Crown Court is now in Woolwich but Dartford still has a magistrates court and a county court.

Royal Oak Dartford
The Royal Oak

Dartford Heritage posterAccording to the Dartford  Heritage Trail poster, "An inn has occupied this 17th century building since at least the early 1800s. The oak beams and brick fireplaces date from at least 1690 but it first appears as the Royal Oak on a map dated 1807".

Trust the English to ensure that no matter how lost you are, you’ll always find the nearest pub on a map.

If you click on the poster to the left, you can get a clearer idea of how the Royal Oak and the Congregational Church (below) looked over a hundred years ago.

I really love before and after photos and seeing historical sites through the ages!

Church Court Dartford
Church Court

The old Congregational Church was converted into flats in December 2000.

Manor Gatehouse
Manor Gatehouse

Wow.  This building is seriously old!  This is the western gatehouse of what used to be King Henry VIII’s Dartford Manor House and it was built between 1541 and 1544.  Anne of Cleves was given the house in her divorce settlement and stayed there between 1553 and 1557.  [Sources: Dartford Archive and Dartford Tourism].  The building is now used as a venue and offices.  If you click on the above photo to enlarge it, you’ll see that the sig to the left reads: “Births, Death Marriages and Partnerships”.  Surely “hatch, match and dispatch” would be more succinct?

Railway Bridge Dartford
Railway Bridge

This is something I never saw in South Africa. Tiny little railway bridges drawn over the most impossibly narrow streets. It is probable that this was designed with only a horse and carriage in mind.

Dartford housesDartford houses (3)Dartford houses (2)   

Finally, I decided to give you a taste of the types of houses to be found in Dartford.  First, we have Victorian terraced housing which is generally well over one hundred years old.  Next is the boring and unimaginative post war terraced housing and finally, there is a photo of our little lane.  Our houses are only about two years old which is why it is so impossible that there should be such a huge problem with the boiler.  (First the control panel went and then the engineer decided that something was wrong with the flue and so we won’t have central heating until they fix that!!)

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10 comments

  1. Not a town that comes naturally to mind as a tourist venue, so well done for giving it such a good try.

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  2. what a lovely little town - good thing you went out though, since now I would imagine it's all snow?!?!?! looks like the kinda place I would enjoy - old, quaint, historical, great vistas, views and scenery - nicely captured Mandy! Love your quirp about english and pubs - hehe!!
    have a great weekend!!
    Gena

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  3. such a lovely town. you take great photos, by the way! must have a great camera :)

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  4. Great photos. Even in the rain ;) I love European towns.

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  5. It looks really charming. I'm with you on the old photos; we have a book in the library full of then and now pictures of San Antonio, and it's fascinating! There should be books like that for every city. (Maybe there are?)

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  6. What a lovely trip down memory lane. I spent several years living in and around Dartford when I was at University there. Doesn't seem to have changed much in the decade or so since I left!

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  7. I love visiting your blog! It's like taking tiny travels. Loved your snowy pics the other day too. Keep warm!!

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  8. Thanks for the beautiful pictorial tour!
    Love those magical buildings reflecting the old ages; and your pictures are just amazing!
    hugs hugs

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  9. I'm sure I've been to Dartford, but nothing looks or sounds familiar. Maybe it's Dartmouth I've visited!

    Nevertheless it sounds an interesting place to explore. :-)

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  10. @ John (I Love Old Cameras): I find that most towns in England have really horrible areas and Dartford is no exception. Which is precisly why I am determined to recognise the beauty in it - I'd get depressed otherwise!!

    @ Gena: You are right! That was the last time we could venture out like that for ten days!

    @ Mama Mia: ha! Would you believe it I only have a point and shoot camera?

    @ Brooke: Thank you Brooke and thanks for stopping by!

    @ Kathy: Hmmm, makes me think I should visit the library or museum in Dartford. I shall do that next Saturday morning!

    @ Nat: Really? Unfortunately, I think you would see that some of the malls and shopping centres have really struggled with the opening of Bluewater mall.

    @ Elle: Thank you so much - that is exactly my aim with the blog so I am glad to see that I am succeeding!

    @ Betty: Thank you m'dear! And thanks for coming on my tour!

    @ John (DailyPhotoGallery): Haha! Well Dartford has the gorgeous bridge spanning the river?

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