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Friday, 6 July 2012

Those Places Thursday - 'Old' Brompton and Fort Amherst

Many thanks to my friend and blogmeister Chris Paton of British GENES for alerting me to an excellent new website Brompton - civilian life in a military village. Brompton is the area immediately outside the gates of Chatham Dockyard, and only became 'Old' Brompton with the growth of 'New' Brompton, which in turn became the town of Gillingham, so that 'Old' Brompton could become Brompton again.

If your ancestors had any connection with Chatham Dockyard, or any of the numerous military establishments in the area, this site could be of use to you - it's of more tha.assed through this area. The army, in particular the Royal Engineers, the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines all have long associations with Brompton. I have no ancestral connections, but I have a long-standing interest in both Gillingham and Chatham (grew up in the former, went to school in the latter) and the history of the Medway Towns in general.

There is a lot of good content on the Brompton website, including details of local pubs, schools and significant buildings. You can also comment on articles and add your own memories. There is a well-chosen page of links, one of which is to nearby Fort Amherst a series of tunnels in the chalk cliffs overlooking the dockyard. I used to pass this on the bus between Gillingham and Chatham hundreds of times without even realising it was there, but it has now been open to the public for a number of years. The website used to be rather cheesy and amateurish, but I'm pleased to say that it has been completely re-vamped and is greatly improved. As a tourist attraction it is overshadowed by Chatham's world-famous Historic Dockyard which is almost next door.

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