Strood


Strood

:"This article is about the town in Kent, England. For the creek in Essex, see The Strood"infobox UK place
official_name= Strood
unitary_england=Medway
lieutenancy_england=Kent
region= South East England
country=England
latitude= 51.403168
longitude= 0.488033
population= 33,182
constituency_westminster= Medway though soon to be Rochester and Strood
post_town= ROCHESTER
postcode_area= ME
postcode_district = ME2
dial_code= 01634
os_grid_reference= TQ725695

Strood is a town in the unitary authority of Medway in South East England. It is part of the ceremonial county of Kent. It lies on the north west bank of the River Medway at its lowest bridging point, and is part of the Rochester post town.

Strood was part of Frindsbury until 1193, but now Frindsbury is considered part of Strood. Strood's history has been dominated by the river, the bridges and the important road and rail links they carried. It is now a mainly residential suburb of Rochester, and a commuter town for London.

Topography

Strood lies on the edge of marshy land alongside the River Medway. The chalk hills of the North Downs have been breached at this point, and they form a river cliff rising to 100ft directly behind. Two gentle chalk valleys, or bournes, descend to the River Medway here, one takes the A2 towards London on its north slope. Another takes the road to Cliffe, and to Hoo. The land has been extensively quarried for chalk and the covering brickearth. These quarries have then been used for housing, and the land reshaped to provide the infrastructure. The river frontage has been drained and infilled, firstly for industry, then for transport links, and finally for housing. It is claimed that the first Strood railways station started to sink and had to be rebuilt due the nature of the land. To the north of Strood are the remains of the canal basin, and to the south the M2 motorway bridge and High Speed 1 bridge.

History

Origin of the name

The name "Strõd" or "Strõþ" refers to "a marshy land overgrown with brushwood". (Stroud in Gloucestershire is derived from the same root).Placenames of Kent Judith Glover 1976, 1982, 1992 Meresborough Books ISBN 0-905270-61-4] 889 "strõd", 1158 Strode, 1610 Strood.

Romans

The Second Roman Invasion, in 43AD, started at Dover and the invaders headed for London. They forded the Medway downstream of Rochester and fought a small engagement to secure the west bank. This may have been in Strood but most likely further downstream as the Medway at Strood would have been dangerously wide for Roman soldiers to swim in full armour.FactKent|must it? See Snodland|date=February 2007 They built a stone bridge and laid a road on a causeway across the marshy ground.R.L.H Coulson ALA, A Chronology of Strood to 1899 c 1979 Published Kent County Libraries.] The foundations were about 8ft below the level of the 1856 road. The road went up Strood Hill, and was called Watling Street, as it still is today. This is the A2. There is further evidence of a causewayed road leading along the bank towards the Frindsbury Peninsula leading to a villa, was found in 1819.Merrily to Frendsbury-A History of the Parish of Frindsbury. Derek Barnard. Private Pub. City of Rochester Society. post 1994.] The present road and field pattern suggest that there was a substantial Roman agricultural settlement centred near Frindsbury.

764 AD Offa King of Mercia and Sigered King of Kent granted to Eardulph lands in Easlingham (Frindsbury).

In 840 AD, 994 AD and 998 AD Strood was pillaged by the Danes.

In 960 AD a wooden bridge was built across the Medway

Normans

A small wooden church was erected at Strood in 1122, as a chapel of ease in the parish of Frindsbury.

Land was granted in 1160,to the Knights Templar by King Henry II. The Manor House was used as a Lodging House.

Newark Hospital

Gilbert de Glanvill, Bishop of Rochester, in 1190, early during the reign of Richard I founded a hospital in Strood, east of the church, which was afterwards called the Newark or Stroud Hospital, the Yoke or North Yoke being a small manor in Strood. Newark Hospital was important in raising the profile of Strood, however there was constant concern about it financial management, and the rivalry between it and the Rochester Priory.

The location of the former Newark Hospital is now mainly a car park behind Strood High Street. The 19th century railway embankment carrying the Chatham Main Line cuts across the back of the old hospital site. Strood Market is currently held on part of this land, but is relocating to make way for a food store. An archaeological dig of the site was done in the 1970s.

The Parish of Strood

In 1193, Strood became a parish. It was run by the monks of Newark Hospital, and had its own burial grounds. Corruption in the finances of the Newark Hospital set in and worsened until reforms were put in place formally in 1330 by the Bishop of Rochester Hamo de Hethe. (no attrib).In 1291 there was an affray at Newark Hospital between the Monks of Strood and the locals from Frindsbury.

Commerce

In 1264 Simon de Montfort laid siege to Rochester Castle from the Strood Side. In the action the wooden bridge was destroyed by fire.In 1293 The Strood Quay and Strood Wharf was built by Bishop de Glanville. Rents went to Newark Hospital, ships used this wharf as the one at Rochester was in disrepair. The bridge continued to be out of use, so ferries had to be used. In 1309, a harsh winter, the bridge was damaged by ice. In 1387 a stone bridge was built by John de Cobham and Robert Knolles. In 1460 Edward IV appointed a mayor of Rochester with jurisdiction over part of Strood.

Tudor Period

Strood was owned by the Rochester monastery from the 18th year of Edward III's reign until the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, after which time as part of the Hundred of Sharnel(Shamwell) which included Cobham, it was passed to George Brooke, Lord Cobham.

His grandson Henry Brooke lost his estates to James I in 1603 through a false charge of treason, although he escaped with his life.FactKent|date=February 2007

The Temple Manor thereafter was granted to Sir Robert Cecil, the Earl of Salisbury (son of William, Lord Burleigh), who later became Lord Treasurer of England under Queen Elizabeth, and married Elizabeth, sister of Henry, Lord Cobham.FactKent|date=February 2007

1526 is the first mention of the Angel Inn.

1554 Thomas Wyatt of Allington, heard that the queen intended to marry a Catholic and gathered an army with intention of marching to London. He took Rochester Castle and The Bridge. There was to have been a battle at Strood, but the Queens men deserted. The rebellion fizzled out and Wyatt was executed along with captain of the deserters.Marsh, A History of Rochester,1976, Medway Borough Council]

18th Century

In 1769, under authority of the 1768 Paving Act, a tollgate was erected at The Angel Inn on North Street in Strood, to pay for improvements to the parish.

Near the church, some time after the Newark hospital had been replaced, a workhouse was built, funded by the Watts Charity in 1721.FactKent|date=February 2007

Hasted, in his study of Kent (1778-99), said Strood's inhabitants were chiefly seafaring or fishermen, and engaged in dredging oysters.Hasted, Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, 1778-99. Two vols.]

trood Fair

An annual fair was instituted in 1206 during the seventh year of King John's reign to the priory of Rochester, to be held on 26 August, which continued well into the 18th Century, according to Hasted, the Kent historian. It was traditionally held over three days, and associated with Christian celebration of the Assumption (15 August). The Strood Fair was held regularly into the 1970s. The land used for the Strood Fair was sandwiched between Grange Road and Station Road, adjacent to Strood railway station. It was for many years part of a dairy farm, though by the 1970s the farm building had been turned into a motor repair business. The fair ground was passed on to the people who ran the Strood Fair. It was then used by them to stay through the winter months. Gradually the number or fairs held on the land dwindled.FactKent|date=February 2007

The land is still occupied as winter quarters by the Showman's Guild with its running costs supported by an annual fair on the site. In June 2007, the motor repair building was demolished to be replaced by flats.

Today's market is held on a Tuesday, and Saturday, and a boot fair is held on a Sunday, so this tradition continues, in some fashion, to this day.

Politics

trood Rural District

Strood Rural District was a local government district of Kent from 1894 to 1974. It did not include Strood itself (which formed part of Rochester) and covered a wide area. The offices of Strood Rural District Council were in Frindsbury, Strood; they are now a nursing home called Frindsbury Hall.

trood Representation

Local government was consolidated in the late 1990s into a single tier with the creation of Medway Council.

All three major parties are politically active in Strood,
* [http://www.stroodlabour.org.uk Strood Labour Party]
* [http://www.stroodconservatives.com Strood Conservative Party]

Economy

Engineering

Chatham Dockyard had always been a centre of new technology, and high standards of workmanship. Numerous small enterprises were formed to service the dockyard and by dockyard trained staff.

Joseph Collis started as a retail ironmonger in 1777. By 1865 he was a wholesaler specialising in zinc, iron, tinplate and locksmithery. By 1870, he and his partner Stace took over the Pelican Foundry and manufactured structural ironwork, toilet cisterns and manhole covers.
Thomas Aveling built his traction engines at the Invicta Works next to Rochester Bridge from 1861. Later the works were acquired the Collis and Stace's Pelican Foundry. Avelings were noted for excellent employment practices, and made their premises available for meetings of co-operative and radical societies. Avelings in turn became Wingets factory, then the Rochester-upon-Medway Civic Centre which passed to Medway Council.

Shorts the seaplane manufacturer, used a yard on the Strood side for construction of the airframes of F3 and F5 flying boats.

Other employers were Hobourn-Eaton, Kent Alloys, Fishers and the Co-operative bakery.

Retail

A number of small shops grew up around The Angel. Further small rows were built within the housing, along Gun Lane, at Darnley Road etc. In 2005, Strood was served by two supermarkets, Tesco being built over the demolished Temple Street, and Safeway's in the High Street, built on the site of many small firms and the Budden and Biggs Brewery. Following the recent takeover by Morrisons, this has closed and lies empty, a new store has been built at the far side of Jane's Creek. There is thus no major food shop or magnet store on the High Street at present but Aldi has confirmed its interest and has purchased the land opposite the Angel Corner and development is likely for 2008/09.

Transport

The Thames and Medway Canal was to pass through a deep cutting but the cutting was abandoned and a tunnel dug instead. It was 2.5 miles long the canal was 8ft deep with 27ft headroom and 26ft 6in wide, to take 94ft long, 60ton Thames Barges. It had a 5ft tow path its entire length. Spoil from the tunnel was used to infill the marshland between St Mary's Church Strood and the River Medway. It opened 4 October 1824.

The Frindsbury Basin could handle vessels to 300 tons. A steam pump was installed here to keep the canal topped up. Commercially the venture was a failure, because

* Tolls were high to recoup the cost
* Entry to the basins could only occur at high tides, making it quicker to sail the 47 miles round the Isle of Grain
* The effect of the railways

The tunnel was sold for 310,000 to the South Eastern Railway (SER), c. 1845 who filled in the canal and laid a double track (see North Kent Line). The railway terminated at Strood with passengers taking a steamer or coaches to reach Rochester or Chatham, the station completed 10 February 1856, was opposite The Railway Tavern. More recently it was called the Old Terminus.

On 18 June 1856, the line was extended along the river bank to Maidstone, and Strood Station we see today, was opened (see Medway Valley Line). Also in 1856 the new road bridge over the Medway was opened,Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith, Southern Main Lines Dartford to Sittingbourne,1994,Middleton Press, ISBN 1-873793-34-0] in its present position, back where the Roman bridge had been. In 1857 the Mediaeval bridge was demolished the stone being used to build the Strood Esplanade in 1858. In 1860 the SER built the Strood pier.

The East Kent Railway had permission to run a line from Faversham to Chatham, and intended to connect with the South Eastern Railway at Strood. When negotiations failed, the East Kent, now called the London Chatham and Dover (LCDR), linked with the Mid Kent Co. at Bromley (see Chatham Main Line). The East Kent Railway built a bridge over the Medway (1853) and taking their line to the North of the Angel, over Gun Lane, and Watling Street then south to Cuxton where it followed the Bush Valley and hence to Sole Street. The London Chatham and Dover built a Station on the A2, adjacent to Canal Road, this was called
*Strood Station, when it was built, then
*Rochester Bridge Station,1 April 1861
*Rochester & Strood, 1 November 1861
*Rochester Bridge (Strood), 1862
*Rochester Bridge, 1905

The South Eastern Railway retaliated by building a parallel bridge (after 1866 and before 1909) and running a separate line into Chatham. To do this the Watermill was demolished and the Mill Pond filled in. Over the pond was built an Oil and Seed Mill with its own sidings.

There was a loop between the lines at Strood, opened 29 March 1859 which closed in 1860.In 1875 Mayor N. E. Toomer forced the two companies to reopen the loop, now nicknamed Toomers Loop. The service resumed 1 April 1877.

The SER and LCDR effectively merged on 1 January 1899 to form the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. Subsequent rationalisation saw the closure of the SER branch to Chatham, and the closure of the LCDR Strood station. The SER bridge over the Medway was retained for the Chatham Main Line, and the LCDR bridge was abandoned (its piers were later used for the second road bridge). The link between the two lines was used to run services from the Chatham line onto the North Kent Line.

For the current railway station see Strood railway station.

The River and the Strood Basin

All Strood below The Angel Inn, on North Street, near Strood Post Office, was built on marshland which was fed by small creeks, these were excavated to make usable jetties and wharf. Two such creeks are well known, Janes Creek which once extended back to the Cricketers Inn, and Temple Creek. Joining Janes Creek, at a right angle was Pelican Creek which has been in-filled and now forms a car park and the foundations of B&Q. Strood frequently flooded and the area around Temple Street (now a car park and a Tesco) was known as the 'Swamp'.

Floods

In such a low lying area, flooding is a perpetual danger, and when it occurs it accelerates changes, both social and economic. The reconstruction, after a flood, provides a boost to economy and the opportunity to affect structural change. Floods of significance have been recorded in Strood in the years 1158, 1235, 1309, 1682, 1735, 1791, 1854, 1874, 1887, 1953, 1968 and 1979

Barge Building

William Curel was Medway's oldest establish barge builder, with two yards on the Strood bank. The Curel's Upper Yard was next to the Railway Tavern. In 1900 Gill and Son took over the yard, and it became a sail loft.John K. Austin, Yesterday's Medway from Rochester Bridge to Chatham Intra,2006 Rainmore Books ISBN 0-9553903-0-3]

The Tidal Mill

When the tide was rising, water flowed into the mill pond driving the mill, when the tide was falling, water flowed back into the river, driving the mill.

Windmills

There was a mill on Strood Hill , two on Broom Hill and 5 in neighbouring Frindsbury.
*The Strood Hill Mill was a smock mill that was demolished in 1860. It was unsuitably sited, and suffered from variable winds The site now forms part of the Cedars Hotel.
*Killicks Mill on Broom Hill cap was blown off for the second time in 1880. It was replaced and worked again for a year in 1890 but was unprofitable and was probably demolished in the 1920s. It had 6 sides rather than the usual 8.
*Fields Mill on Broom Hill burnt down in 1875. In Dickens' times the Miller was a Mr Clark, but the owner was Mr Field. Mr Field was an amateur musician, who kept a piano a harp, and a barrel organ in his sitting room. It is said that the Organ was bought from Loose Church, and so fixed that the power from the mill turned the organ's handle. Dickens would visit the Mill, on his walks and listen to the organ music.Windmills and Watermills, William ColesFinch, 1933, pub. C.W. Daniel, reprinted 1976, Arthur J. Cassell Ltd ISBN 978-0-903253-02-4] The Frindsbury Mills.
*The oldest was a "tripod - or post mill".It was called the Quarry Mill and was 100 yds southeast of the church. Destroyed in 1850. The other four mills were all owned by Mr Kimmins.
*On Prospect Hill there were two mills. The first was called Manwaring Mill, or Little mill. It was a black tarred "smock mill", and it drove four sets of stones. Little Mill was struck by lightning and demolished in 1886.
*Also on Prospect Hill was Great Mill or Rose's Mill. It was the highest in Kent with forty foot by nine foot sweeps. Together the two mills produced 400 sacks of flour a week. Great Mill was demolished in 1890.
*Kimmin's Mill on Frindsbury Hill was a smock mill with no base. The land became a brick field. A man was killed by its sweeps.
*House Mill, also known as Kimmins Mill or Frindsbury Mill, stood on Frindsbury hill and was a black smock mill. It was demolished in 1931.

Housing

The area of Strood around Knight's Place and Temple Street, was referred to as the Swamp. On the floods Smetham wrote in 1899 "in that woebegone spot the foul contents of water closets were washed into poor peoples homes, and an indescribable filth permeated the fetid spot for months"Henry Smetham, History of Strood, 1899.] In 1912 there was a typhoid outbreak here, 56 people contracted it, 5 died.

In the 1880s, there was a major expansion of houses. Terraced houses were built on the hill, closing the gap between Strood and Frindsbury. The land around St Mary, s, now drained and close to the station was used. There was a mix of sizes, from the large detached to the small terraces that opened on the street. They were all built in local yellow brick, with detailing in reds.

Following World War I, the city built 19 houses in Steele St, and 73 on Frindsbury Hill (Murray Road). Following World War II, under the Housing Act, 1946, and the Housing Subsidies Act, 1956 the city continued to build, including the triangle between the A228, Watling Street and the M2.

With continuing population growth and pressure from commuters, more and more land has been developed by the private sector. By 2000, the riverside by the station had been developed. Kingswear Gardens off Canal Road is a social housing estate with numerous antisocial and undesirable tenants. Kingswear Gardens is a high crime area and is prone to flooding. By 2008, the chalkpit by the A228 at Merral's Shaw will have occupied houses in it, in spite of the massive infrastructure work needed, it will be called Medway Gate. Plans are in existence to build over the Temple Marsh.

Churches

* St Nicholas'
* St Mary's Church Frindsbury was opened by Bishop Claughton in 1869 now operated by the Church of God.
* Zoar Chapel 1782 - Protestant dissenters.
* Gospel Mission Evangelical Church, Brompton Lane
* Wesleyan Methodist Jubilee Church, Stonehorse Lane (now Cliffe Road)
* English Martyrs Catholic Church
* St Justus Catholic Church
* Darney Road Evangelical Church
* St Francis' Anglican Church

People

Kelly Brook, a popular television presenter hails from Strood.

(1806-1893), the botanist, was born in Strood. She wrote several books in the 19th century covering a wide range of botanical subjects. She was so well respected for her knowledge of wild flowers that she was granted an allowance from the Civil List. A portrait of her was placed in the Rochester museum. Her most famous work is "The flowering plants, grasses, sedges, and ferns of Great Britain and their allies the club mosses, pepperworts, and horsetails. London: Frederick Warne and Co., (6 vol.) [1873] ". [ [http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/iss/library/speccoll/exhibitions/botex/popbot.html Popular Botany in the Nineteenth Century ] ]

Charles Roach Smith (1806- 1890) notable amateur archaeologist, died in Strood. He was born at Shanklin, Isle of Wight, the youngest of ten children. In 1826 he moved to London , and established his own business oa s chemist in 1834. In 1876 he and his sister bought Temple Place on Cuxton Rd Strood, and some adjoining horticultural land.

In London he made the first collection of Roman coins from London excavations which was bought by the British Museum. He subsequently pioneered 'urban site observation' and his 'Illustrations of Roman London '(1859) remained the principal work on the subject until 1909. He pioneered the statistic study of Roman coin hoards.

He was elected fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London(1836), London Numismatic Society (1837) and was founder member of the British Archaeological Association (1843).Michael Rhodes, ‘Smith, Charles Roach (1806–1890)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/25789, accessed 12 May 2007] ]

Edith Gulliford (1901–), made the Guinness Book of Records on 31 March 2007, when she was bridesmaid to her great granddaughter Kyra Lucas. Edith was 105 years and 171 days. Medway Adscene, 01-11-2007 p 16 ]

Visits

1165 Thomas Becket - the story of cutting off the tail of his Horse.

1527 Cardinal Wolsey's men stayed overnight in Strood. He stayed in Rochester.

1772 Hogarth visited and made his way "Merrily to Frendsbury".

1871 Ex-Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugene waited in the garden of the Railway Tavern for the Steamboat.

References


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