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Monday, 17 January 2011

Mappy Monday - Chatham


This in an odd little map that I picked up several years ago, because I have an interest in the area covered by it; I lived in Gillingham and went to school in Chatham. I bought the map as a single sheet, and it is undated - like most maps of this kind it probably came from a book, and there is no clue to its provenance on the map itself. My guess would be that it comes from the early 19th century, or thereabouts, from the extent (or lack of it) of the built-up areas.

A number of features are indicated on the map, from two forts, Gillingham and Fort Pit, to a brick kiln and an oil mill, and even a pub, the Star, in the bottom right corner. The small cluster of dwellings that constituted Gillingham, and the even smaller Upnor are also shown, as are a few road names. But what interests me most is the lack of any label for arguably the most significant feature of the whole map, Chatham Royal Naval Dockyard. This is the area just to the north-west of the word 'Brompton'.

Although there is no key to the map, the faint dotted lines represent the parish boundaries, indicating 'part of Gillingham parish' and 'part of Chatham parish'. If you look closely you will see that the boundary between the two runs through the middle of the dockyard, so that part of Chatham Dockyard isn't in Chatham at all, but in Gillingham. The population of this are grew enormously during the 19th century, along with the growth of the dockyard itself, a major source of employment in the are until the late 20th century. In 1848 the completely new parish of Brompton was formed from parts of Chatham and Gillingham parishes, encompassing the whole of the dockyard, so that no part of it was in the parish from which it takes its name. Nowadays Brompton, including the dockyard, is part of Gillingham - a nice little piece of geographical trivia, which might come in handy in a pub quiz one day, you never know

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