Gravesend & Rosherville 1985

West St, Gravesend, August 1985. J&R Starbuck, a family business was founded by William Starbuck soon after 1634.

In 1985 I was teaching full-time, and when the Summer Term ended in mid-July we went to Germany for a couple of weeks with our friends in Neümunster where I finished the photography for a project I had begun a few years earlier, German Indications, a series of images and texts which was shown the following year and which in a slightly different form is now online. I hope to publish am extended version of this as a PDF, but am having problems finding some of the colour transparencies. So more about this when I find them or decide to abandon the quest.

It was not until August 1985 that I was able to continue my work on North Kent, starting again from Gravesend but making my way along as close to the river as possible towards the west. The ship at Tilbury is a cruise ship, the SS Royal Oddysey, in service with the Royal Cruise Line from 1991-8 according to Wikipedia, though before and after she had various names, built in France for the Israeli Zim Lines and entering service in 1964 as SS Shalom. After service with various owners she was sold to Indian ship-breakers in 2001, but was in such poor condition by then that she sank while being towed to India

I went back a few years ago and found little that was still recognisable from my previous visits, with most of the industry replaced by flats and supermarkets or warehouses or simply now derelict land, with all buildings razed.

The fence and two buildings on the right of the street were still there in 2012, though
one has a different top floor. The rest has all gone.

Gravesend locals will probably recognise more than I do. I didn’t make many notes at the time, but can trace much of my wandering from the contact sheets. I walked along West St and Clifton Marine Parade towards The Shore, though wandering a little from the direct route. The pictures on this page are in the order that I took them, although I may well have wandered back and forth a little.

Most of the chimneys that dominated many views have now gone

Some of the pictures were taken on Kodak Technical Pan, a fine film in several ways – fine sharpness, fine grain – but a real pain to process for pictorial use. Kodak made it for things like microfilm records where high contrast was needed. I found it very difficult to avoid uneven development (at least until Kodak’s Technidol became readily available here) and you can see that in the sky in the image above. Unlike most negative defects it isn’t easy to correct digitally either, though I don’t think I’ve yet tried on the above image, though I’ve tried with some success on others here.

These cranes were still in place in 2012

Sand and gravel

in ‘portrait’ as well as landscape format

The Shore, Rosherville, Gravesend. August 1985

And as you can see, I had this image laterally reversed when I put the watermark on it. It’s rather too easy to do this when you are scanning images. This site was still easily recognisable, although the whole area is looking far more run-down. As of course you can easily see on your computer, using Google Streetview, which shows you how the same corner looked in May 2012.

This walk will be continued in another post.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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