Created 18-Jul-16
217 photos

"Dirty Dartford, peculiar people, bury their dead above the steeple" A rhyme that came about because Holy Trinity church graveyard is situated in St Edmund's Pleasance on the summit of East Hill (the place where Richard Trevithick is buried) way above the town. The church actually has no steeple; it has a tower featuring a ring of eight bells. Images of Dartford, a marmite town in N.W. Kent. Plagued by almost daily traffic jams, too close to the M25/Dartford Crossing, ruined by the Tesco Fiasco, in need of major regeneration and redevelopment, you either love or loathe it. The views expressed are my own.

Much of Dartford's visible architectural history disappeared in just a few decades. It was ironic that the town centre was declared a conservation area after much of the destruction had already taken place. Imitation Victorian street furniture and bogus historic facades provided a poor substitute for the real thing. Signs heralding Historic Dartford were quickly removed as the local newspapers pointed out that there was very little historic architecture left in Dartford worth seeing. Old Dartford was no more. The old community and its buildings were dead and buried under concrete and asphalt. Dartford strives to discover a new identity for itself since the threshold of the new millennium dawned and passed.

Some further investigation seems to claim that the heath that was Dartford Brent was famously the encampment site of Richard Plantagent (Duke of York)'s army in 1452 whilst waiting to parley with Hentry VI who was encamped at Blackheath. In 1648 the Roundhead army of General Fairfax also camped there. The long gone gravel pit at the entrance to the Brent was the place of public execution in the reigns of Bloody Mary and Elizabeth I. In 1772 eight human skeletons were discovered in the gravel pit, most likely criminals executed for their crimes. There are documented burnings at the stake on the Brent, violent times.

More recent history reveals that having abandoned its long-term plan for a new store in Lowfield Street in 2014, the supermarket chain TESCO has now sold its holding to European real estate investment manager Meyer Bergman in 2015. Two years on, still nothing to be even remotely excited about. Nothing has changed. But as of 16 March 2017, Dartford council's development control board gave developer Meyer Homes the all-clear to start work on a huge residential scheme in Lowfield Street, which will replace its dilapidated store fronts with 548 homes, retail space, a cafe, and a microbrewery, despite protests from local doctors about the lack of healthcare infrastructure, hospital beds, and school places. Watch this space.
Horseman's hospital, bottom of West HillOld Courthouse, now a pub.Old Court HouseMethodist Church, Spital Street built in 1844 at a cost of £2,500.Methodist Church, Spital StreetMethodist Church, Spital StreetModern day street furniture - the parking meterThe Dartford Co-opArt Deco facade, all that remains.Falling into disrepair, no takers for redevelopment?Co-op FacadeMemories of a violent incidentHome House, High Street.Wat Tyler Pub (known as Crown&Anchor until 1966)Holy Trinity Church Dartford’s parish church, which dominates the High Street, was built by Bishop Gundulf c.1080.Holy Trinity ChurchMarket Place ChambersCorner of Spital Street and Hythe StreetCorner of Spital Street and Hythe StreetCorner of Spital Street and Hythe Street

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Keywords:Bergman, Dartford, Kent., Meyer, Tesco, micro-brewery., property, redevelopment, town