Chatham High Street, The Brook and The Pentagon Centre
The High Street and Pentagon Centre stretch from the bottom of Chatham Hill to the Paddock at the bottom of Dock Road. The Pentagon Centre was built during the 1970's, but has been refurbished so it at least looks reasonable. There is a wide variety of shops, and most of these are worth looking around. It is bordered on the north by The Brook, shown in this picture, which also shows the old Town Hall building (in the distance on the left) and Fort Amherst (on the Great Lines in the distance). Moving your mouse cursor over the picture will display labels for different parts of the image.
As a child, Charles Dickens used to live in a house on The Brook. I originally believed that it was where the car lot is shown in this photo, but I've since been advised that it was on the other side of the road (the left hand side in this photo), set back and near Solomon's Terrace. That would put its position just off the left of the photo, roughly in line with the bridge across the road, behind the Pentagon Centre car park. The house was demolished just after the Second World War, despite protests from local people.
Chatham's town centre has been going downhill since the Sainsbury's Savacentre opened a few miles away in the early 1980s. Things had settled out, but when the two shopping malls at Thurrock Lakeside, Essex (formerly the largest in Europe) and Bluewater, near Greenhithe (now the largest in Europe) opened, things started to go downhill again. Now that a new factory outlet centre has opened in the dockyard, it's anyone's guess what will happen.
This photograph was also taken from the top of the Pentagon Centre, and shows the view directly across The Brook, along King Street. At the top of King Street there is a Ragged School, to the east (right in this photo) of the burial ground. The Ragged School appears towards the centre of this photograph, at the top of the road on the right (King Street). It is the red brick building with three visible windows and two white signs attached to it.
The burial ground is on the left of the photograph across the narrow roadway (Rope Walk) going up the hill towards the Lines, which is the tree-covered area in the background. If you move your mouse cursor over the image, your browser will display tool tips if you hover over the burial ground or the Ragged School.
If you're spending time in the Medway Towns, and especially if you want to visit the Royal Naval War Memorial, the Town Hall Gardens are an ideal place to visit on the way. To view a map showing the location of the gardens, click here.
Points of Interest
- The current targets for persecution are the hot dog and burger vendors in the High Street. Apparently they, and the obnoxious smell of their wares lowers the tone of the area(!). Oddly enough, many complaints come from the big fast food chains, who have premises nearby. I can't imagine why.
- In case any of you Americans are feeling homesick, there's a bowling alley in the Pentagon Centre!
- The Brook runs from the Town Hall and joins the High Street at Union Street, which is where the original workhouse was built. It actually used to be a brook, until it was built over. This caused serious problems when a (very) big Tesco store was built on top of it as the foundations weren't quite up to the job, and had to be fixed quite soon after the store opened. There's a photo of the original workhouse site here.