your knowledge !
Questions on industry & commerce
this page - your enquiries and some of your answers on some of our
industries and businesses
AE Taylor - Boatbuilder - E278
Barge - Agincourt
Cattermole - jewellers
Collar Factory Hill
Coal and Bricks
Dolphin barge material
East Kent Ironworks
Hero water bottle
HMS Keppel - E303
mineral water works
John H Amos
Millen bros. Milliners & Drapers
Postal Service by Rail
Paper Mills - E302
Red Triangle Portland Cement - E322
Tannery, Chalkwell Rd - E306
Taylor & sons
The Growth of Sittingbourne
see also our
personal histories pages
Station - Enq 4
I live in Preston, Lancs ( My wife and I
lived in Sittingbourne when we got married in 1969).
I am building a model railway of
Sittingbourne as it was in mid 1950's. I have plenty of photos of the
railway itself, as they are available from many railway books. However, what
I am trying to get hold of, is a photo of the water tower which was in the
station forecourt and photos of the 3 story houses that fronted the station
I am also trying to find out what colour the
transhipment shed for Bowaters would have been painted, if it was painted at
all in the 1950's and also what traffic was brought to this shed, presumably
it was china clay for the paper making. Finally, from the 1938 map, I
see there was what looks like a brickworks to the western end of the station
area with a narrow gauge line leading to one of the railways sidings, can
anyone tell me if this was a brick works, and if so when it ceased working
and what gauge the works railway system was.
It is good to see that the original station
buildings from 1860 are still largely intact. And I am pleased to see
that there is a museum in Sittingbourne.
Yours, Terry Tracey
I note that, in your latest on line question
and answer session, Terry Tracey asks about the transhipment shed and and
narrow gauge line to the west of Sittingbourne Station.
I am not able to provide information as to
the painting of the transhipment shed but it was used for china
clay traffic from Burngullow in Cornwall. The china clay was used in
the production of high quality glossy paper.
The only narrow gauge line which made any
connection with the main line was the 2ft 6 inch (762mm) gauge line to the
paper mill itself and the onward connection to Kemsley and Ridham Dock. Of
course a significant part of this line still exists as the Sittingbourne
& Kemsley Light Railway.
There were a number of brickfield lines in
the general area which appear to have been of 2ft (600mm) gauge. The most
notable of these ran from a brickworks in the vicinity of Church
Marshes and crossed the 2ft 6 in gauge near Burley Crossing.
Managing Director SKLR
Below is a photo of the Bowater siding for Terry.
It was painted green at the time in the 1970s. I have tried to
find pictures of the water tower and the buildings in the forecourt but
Liguria Maritime - Enq 52
I am researching Naval History
post World War II and have come across a photo of HMS Keppel taken 30th
April 1979 beached at LIGURIA MARITIME at Sittingbourne, Kemsley Mill (I
assume) is in the background of the shot. I had just moved to Sittingbourne
in 1979 and did not realise there was/is a ship breakers here. I have also
found references to Ligiria breaking WWII submarines at Sittingbourne.
Please tell me what you can about this yard - is it still trading and where
was it situated in relation to current Sittingbourne geography.
I am happy to respond to your
enquiry about the Liguria Marine Company which was set up on Milton Creek.
From memory, I guess that it was started about twenty years ago and was in
operation for about five years. It has now ceased trading, destroyed by
vandalism and violence. The Liguria brothers were, I believe, Italian and
had probably been in ship breaking somewhere before. They bought vessels at
the end of their working life and cut them up for scrap metal using the
Churchfield Wharf on Milton Creek. They were not particularly careful in
disposing of the fuel oil in the ships and other dangerous chemicals so the
land they operated on became very heavily contaminated and has had to be
very carefully (and very expensively) treated. Unfortunately some thieves
tried to raid the place to steal the valuable metals which were recovered
and there were some violent confrontations. In one of these incidents one of
the Liguria brothers had a heart attack and died. The other brother was so
broken by this that he soon gave up the business and moved away. I have no
idea what vessels they bought and broke up because they tended to be rather
secretive in their operations. I would not know how to start searching for
the names of such boats so I am afraid that I cannot help you with that.
If there is anything else I can
help you with, you are welcome to get in touch.
Thanks for this information. It
would seem however that they were in business around 30 years ago as the
picture of HMS Keppel aground on the mud of Milton Creek was taken in April
1979. Its such a shame there seem to be no more records of this company, but
it seems that may not have been as legitimate as you would like and not very
environmentally conscious as they would have to be today. Where in relation
to today's layout at Milton was or is Churchfield Wharf? anywhere close to
Prentis Quay or perhaps further up towards Kemsley Mill, or was it more
Murston Side of the creek?
Many Thanks for your time on
Enq 303 - Shipbreakers - HMS Keppel
Whilst serving in HMS Keppel, an anti-submarine frigate, our son was
christened on board, the ship's bell being used as the font in the Wardroom.
My enquiries as to the whereabouts of that bell led me to the information
that HMS Keppel was broken up in Sittingbourne in 1979, although I have no
knowledge as to the name of the shipbreakers at that time.
Would you be able to identify who were the involved shipbreakers, which in
turn might give me further lead as to the current home of the bell?
John Perry, 7/1/09
281 - Hero mineral water
Bob Boyd came into the museum a couple of weeks ago to enquire about a
bottle he had dug up. It was stamped "Hero" mineral water, and also had
Sheerness and District licensed Victuallers on it. Would anybody know where
and roughly when it might have been made? Thanks, Bill Risbridger
made by or for "Jacksons" - enq 03
Dear sir or madam, My friend has dug
up some old glass bottles which were used to store minerals and aerated
water. The bottles are intact including the marbles inside. The
bottles have the name of "Jackson's, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne" on
them and I was wondering whether you have any information concerning this
factory such as where it was and when it may have closed down. If not you
us in the right direction as to were we may be able to get this
yours thankfully P. Collier
I am researching the former Milton Mineral
Works, also known as Jackson Mineral Water Works. When was this company
established, how long did it operate and where was its factory, please? Do
you have any photos relating to this firm?
Many thanks, John Clancy
The works were situated in
St. Paul's St. The location is known but investigation is still in hand as
to the direction the factory faced. We do not have any pictures, but we
have found a note about the factory which first appeared in 1899 which I
will forward to those interested.
John Hull, SHM
Jacksons - Enq 130
you be kind enough to post the following question on your research
enquiries page please:I am researching the Milton Mineral Water Works at
two premises in St Paul's Street and Church Street, Milton Regis.The
building at Church Street was also known as "Jackson's Lemonade
Factory." I know that when the Jackson's finally relinquished control of
this business it was in the hands of E.Reynolds around the late
1920's (Possibly related to the Jacksons). I also have been told that
after the Lemonade Factory was closed down in it was used as a sausage
making factory owned and run by the Twyman Brothers. Can any of your
members help me with further information on the Twyman Bros. and
E.Reynolds trading in Church Street/St Paul's Street, Milton?
Further: I have just received more information from the Saskatchewan
Archives Board in Canada (where the original owner of the Milton Mineral
Water Works emigrated to in or around 1908 and where his family
deposited their collection of photographs and documents).
The Jackson's sold
the business in 1920 to Messrs W.G and W.H.B. Reynolds, but alas, have
not yet been able to view the details of the sale so I do not have an
original address for them.
I think E.Reynolds
was involved at a later date. (AB)
Jacksons bottles -enq 197
I am in fact the great great great grand daughter of
the people that owned and ran the Jackson mineral works.
I was very intrigued to read a posting on your most interesting website
about the finding of the Jackson's mineral water works codd bottles. I
would be most grateful if it would be possible to be put in touch with
the correspondent that had found the bottles? I have in our family
possession 2 broken codd bottles bearing the logo but would like to see
the complete bottles, if possible.
The mineral water works was in our family for quite a few years but
eventually , if your pardon the pun, fizzled out. It is not quite been
ascertained why, but i do know part of the family emigrated to Canada.
My mother, remembers her father telling her about it, but cannot
remember all the details as such. I do hope you can help. Trudy
Bricks & Brickmaking
- enq 18
Found your site by chance (searched for "brick making"
& "Sittingbourne") after finding an ancestor listed in the
John Gibson of 30 George Street, Sittingbourne
aged 54, with the occupation of "Brick maker".
Your article on brick making was therefore very
interesting - thank you.
did Sittingbourne Grow ? - enq 16
I'm a pupil at Highsted Grammar School and
am doing a project of the history of Sittingbourne is it possible for you
to answer my question?
Why did Sittingbourne grow?
you for your enquiry regarding Sittingbourne's growth, which I have passed
to our historians for a considered answer. In the meantime
though, please browse our website, because I think the answers you need
are there in the "about our town" page. Possibly the
answers lie in the words, pilgrims, France, railway, bricks, paper and commuters
comprehensive answer follows)
Oswego, NY Paper Mills - enq 242
I am doing some research into my husband's family and I came across your
web-site and I wondered if you may be able to help with a question that
we are trying to find the answer to.
My husband's great aunt with her husband and
brother emigrated from Milton/Sittingbourne about 1907 to Oswego in New
York State to work in the paper mills there. Looking through the records
of Ellis Island and the original ships manifests, we find that not only
most of her husband's family but also friends and other relations moved
out there from c.1903 to 1910.
I wonder if there was a connection between these 2
towns, esp as they both had paper mills or did they just follow a family
member? Was there a shortage of work in the UK and better prospects
elsewhere at this time? The paper mill in Oswego was called St Regis
Would be grateful for any comments
Thanks Helena Kent
Vic Berry's shop - enq 215
I am enquiring about a shop which used to be in West Street in the late
40's, early 50's. It was run by a man called Vic (?) Berry, and was
situated near what is now Bedrock, and the Independent Mortgage
advisors. Any information or memories about Vic or his shop would be
My Dad, Vic Berry, was the other bookmaker
in Sittingbourne (one of your photos shows his rivals Shoesmiths). His
business (East Kent Commissions) was run for many years in the 1940s and
1950 from a very ancient and decrepid Tudor (?) building at 66/68 West
Street. This was constructed at least partly of flint and brickwork,
with a distinctive half-moon shaped window. Sadly the building was
demolished in the late 1950s and Dad moved his business to Crescent
Street and sold up in 1965. Dad and Mum died in 1997 in Queensland.
I hope this information is of interest.
Peter Berry, Wales
Sheerness Docks - enq 192
I am researching the geological history of
Sheerness Docks. Do you know anything about when the land was reclaimed
and how is was reclaimed?
Yours faithfully, Catherine Poulton
Forwarded to Sheerness Heritage Centre
see our links page
Enq 278 - AE Taylor & "Dolly"
Would you have any records about a boatbuilder in Sittingbourne called
AE Taylor. In 1908 my g grandfather had a cutter built by the company in
1906 and designed by E Saul.
I would like to know if any records exist
about this craft, called Dolly and registered at Lloyd's.
Any help would be appreciated.
The Paper Mill and
the Fire ! - enq 67
Do you have available any
details about (Lloyds) Paper Mill in Sittingbourne? - where was it situated
exactly? - I understand there was a fire c1908 - was it completely
destroyed? - an ancestor who lived in Gibson Street was an employee at a
paper mill in Sittingbourne in 1891 - so can I assume this was the only
paper mill in Sittingbourne at that time? - are there any newspaper
articles about the paper mill - ideally with photos and / or the fire?
April Ashton, 2005
The mill is, and was, just
to the North of the railway line, just to the west of the railway
station. You can find it on Google Earth ! There was one major
fire at the mill in May 1900 and another in 1907. A great deal of detail regarding the mill
can be found in the Sittingbourne
and Milton illustrated History by Dr. P. Bellingham. A catalogue record
for this book is available from the British Library. The East Kent
Gazette may have articles or photos of the fire in 1900.
Peggy Jackson, SHM
These pictures appear to be labelled "Great fire at the
'Daily Chronicle' Jan 5th 1907 "?
Ironworks - enq 84
Do you have any
information of the above situated in Frederick Street in 1908 particularly
register of workers. We are researching my wife's great grandfather Walter
Burrell who came to Borden in 1911 from Suffolk originally then Stratford
Essex he was a Blacksmith and we would like to know why he made the move we
also know that he was a Baptist. John Rose, Plymouth Devon
John, Feb 2006
Postal Service by Rail - enq. 98
I am engaged on a personal research project
regarding the Postal History of the South Eastern and Chatham Railways (and
constituent companies: the South Eastern Railway and the London Chatham and
Dover Railway). This dating from pre uniform postage (1840) to railway
grouping in 1923, nothing later. I have been happily trawling my way through
the Primary Sources held at A number of archives such as that held at my
own place of work; the British Postal Museum & Archive, the National
Archives (Kew), National Railway Museum and the Ashford Railway Library.
Having now seen most of the relevant material held by the Nationals, I Now
need to start filling in the gaps with any available local material, so I am
now beginning to work through more local collections, hence my contacting
yourselves. Do you hold any archive material relating to the railways for
this period, circa 1858 - 1923 that relate to the postal operations carried
out by the railway? This would include the movement of mails between post
office and station, telegraph operations at the station, the opening of the
first station letter box (a large Victorian 'A' type wall box currently
being sited at Sittingbourne Rly Station), any images of the TPOs or Indian
Mails moving through etc. etc. Living in Sittingbourne myself (though
working in London), I am happy to visit at a time convenient to yourselves
to research any such material you may hold.
Julian Stray, Apr 06
Enq 302 - Mill and Nightclub
Im wondering if you may help Im trying to get contacts for the paper
mill in town to go and do some photography of the place before it starts
to get demolished I have had family and a lot of friend work there so
Im trying to get some photo history on the place plus one more Im
trying to get a contact on is the old night spot in town j j,s or base
night club this one a lot of people in the town have visited over the
years so I would like to catch this one before this gos too
Kwai Galloway, 2008
Kemsley Paper Mill - enq187
I have just visited your website and must
say I was enthralled by it, I lived in Sittingbourne from 1974 to 1990
and also worked at the Paper Mill in Kemsley and I am ashamed to say I
knew very little about the Town.
Could you tell me when the mill was actually
built and was it always owned by Bowaters until it became UK Paper?
Taylor & sons - enq 168
I have come across your fine webpage via a
Google search. Apparently you are very helpfully answering
questions on local
industry and trade. I wonder whether you can
help answering my query?
My father left me a Barometer which on its
dial states "Taylor & Sons" and "Sittingbourne".
Being otherwise unable to find anything
about this company, I wonder whether you have any information about this
company that would help me find an approximate date of manufacture or
some other background information.
Thanks you very much for your esteemed
Taylor & Sons
are in the 1908 directory at 38 High Street as Jewellers and Silversmiths.
The 1925 Directory lists a Mrs Ruth Gabriel trading as Jeweller and
Silversmith at that address.It seems unlikely that Taylor & Sons actually
made the barometer.
The Tannery, Chalkwell - enq 306
I wondered if anyone could help me with my research re: the above? I've
lived there for 20 years.
I have over the last few years tried to find a
photograph of it in its earlier environment 1870-1880's all to no avail.
I have just started to go to the Archives at County Hall with Mr Alan
Amos who is kindly helping me.
I wonder if anyone could let me have any photos or
relevant information that could help me?
Sittingbourne Bank - Enq. 97
I have just been sorting out my late fathers
house, I have found a one pound note dated 1844 issued by Sittingbourne
Bank. Could you please tell was there a Sittingbourne bank that issued its
own currency at this time?
Thanks, Bob Stride.
Collar Factory Hill - ENQ121
Can you please tell me anything about
what was formerly called "Shirt Collar Hill" ? Where can I find out
anything about the Old Brenley Corner which originally stood before the
roundabout was built, as my grandmother lived in one of the two cottages
that stood there ?
Thanks, Ron Glister
Issue No. 25 of our Journal
Heritage contains some memories of Phyllis Harrison who worked at the
shirt factory in the 1930s.
Coal and Bricks -
The former gas works, which I believe were at Milton regis. Where and how
did they get the coal from, as far as I can see from the 1938 map, there was
no rail connection and how were the by-products transported.
Also, were the local bricks, produced at Sittingbourne, yellow London stock
or another colour.
Terry Tracey, Preston, Lancs.
coals from Newcastle by coastal sailing vessels which had been plying this
trade for many years to London and the south. They could put in at Milton
Creek to unload or to load. The bricks were the yellow stock brick used
extensively in building Victorian London including the Underground
The Puggy - Enq 131
Hello, I think that your website is great. I now live in Germany
after moving from Sittingbourne in 1977.My Mum and brothers and sister still
live there. I wonder if anybody can give any information or photos about the
"puggy" we used to play there as kids. What was made there I remember some
kind of machine or big wheel ...
And where did "scratchasshill" get its name
Best regards John Warner, Germany
Loved the site used
to live in Sittingbourne 1953-75 and used to play in the puggy as did my
older brothers before me.
The puggy was
originally some kind of clay quarry and mill which must have closed in
the 50s as my eldest brother recalled paying in the wagons used to take
the clay to the mill building. He and friends remembered being
thrown our or being tipped out on a bend!
By the time I played
there in the early sixties with many other children from the Rectory
Road area the wagons had gone but it was a great adventure playground
lots of mounds and pits with long grass and shrubs in which to hide,
and we built camps in the main quarry (always water logged) from all of
the wood, corrugated sheets left lying around. And when older it was a
great bicycle obstacle course and somewhat dangerous with tracks on
top of mounds from which to fall but going up and down the dips was
The mill building ruin
was still there and there was a huge mill race (?) concrete stone used
for some part of the process being horizontal in a brick/concrete pit
of water we were told it was turned by ponies which presumably also
pulled the wagons.
The puggy was accessed
from the top of Gaze Hill Avenue and the top of Glebe Lane by the
corner of the recreation ground / Glebe ?? House.
enquiry 62 about the old Rectory within what was referred to as Murston
Park which must have become the recreation ground off Rectory Road when
the council estate was built in the 50s brought back other memories
the house was used in the 60s for I think builders from the M2
construction. I recall workers walking along the path from Rectory
road which went across the middle of the rec to the house. Nutfields
further down Rectory road went up a hill with the rectory on the left
had no houses except on the corner near the shop it but it had lots of
prefabs to the right which seemed to be built with no proper roads I
can only recall the muddy lane up to and between the prefab bungalows!
They later built houses up the lane and on the prefab site i.e. the
back of the houses on rectory road backing onto the rec.
The old rectory became
derelict and a place for older children to play very dangerous I can
recall it was a huge 3-4 or more story building and was then pulled
down. Another estate was built on its site in the late 60s / early
70s Glebe Gardens I think.
On a return to
Sittingboune some 7 years ago I was surprised to see the puggy had been
built on but I was relieved to find the remains of the mill retained
in a fenced off area the rear of the old persons flats accessed from the
older estate (1970s off the top of South Avenue Perigrin Drive.
Kind Regards, David J
Essex Labourers - Enq 119
Hope I have the right address for this enquiry? In very general
terms I wonder if you have any knowledge as to what was bringing Essex
labourers to Kent (sittingbourne specifically)around 1880? Was there are
a large building project in the town at that time? am seeking this info
for family history purposes.
Cement Works - Enq 140
tell me if there was a cement mill at Sittingbourne in the 1870's? I
have an ancestor, William Bullivant, living in Sittingbourne, who states his
occupation as a cement manufacturer in the 1870 census. In the 1881
census, he is living in Shakespeare Road, Sittingbourne and describes
himself as a retired manager.
Thank you for your help.
During the 19th century
there was a cement works at Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey near
Sittingbourne. There was a ferry across the Swale between Sittingbourne and
Elmley. The works closed in 1881 having found local raw materials
Smeed Dean & Co. had brickfields and a cement works in Church Road Murston,
again next to Sittingbourne. The cement works was certainly functioning
around 1900 but I am not sure if it started as early as the 1870s. A check
on the 1871 census for Church Road Murston might provide a clue.
There is a lot of info in
the book George Bargebrick Esquire by Richard Hugh Price.on cement
production and brickmaking unfortunately he doesn't give a time line so you
would need to find the relevant page the access the info
Page 37 deals with some aspects of the cement industry
Not sure if its still in print
Millen bros. - Drapers enq 393
I would like some help with regard to dating a drawing found where the
backing paper refers to Millen Bros (millners and drapers etc) of
Sittingbourne High Street.
R Cattermole - jewellers enq 268
I have recently come in to the possession of my late grandmother's
engagement ring. It was purchased from a jeweller in sittingbourne by
the name of R Cattermole. The address was 32 High Street West
Sittingbourne. I would love to be able to find out more about this shop
as i would love to find out how old this ring actually is. I would be
grateful for any help.
Yours sincerely Wendy Bishenden
material - enq 195
My cousin and I are coming to Sittingbourne to do some family research.
I was born and brought up in Sittingbourne and am an old girl of
Highsted School, but my cousin knows very little of the town. Our family
history illustrates the history of the town fairly well! As well as
agricultural labourers, our ancestors include brickfield labourers and
barge masters as well. Our grandfather was a supervisor on the
locomotives at the Mill, now the SKLR!
As well as visiting parish churches and
graveyards, we'd like to do some research on the barges and wondered if
you hold any records relating to them. We have the names of a couple of
barges our great-great-grandfather was working on during the censuses of
1881 and 1891 and would love to know what they were carrying (almost
certainly bricks one way, but how about the return journey?). Can you
confirm whether the Dolphin Barge Museum is still closed? Is there any
chance of accessing their information? Could you also confirm that you
will be open on Saturday 11 August from 10 to 4 as we'd like to call in
on you too!
Many thanks Julie Ashdown
Research on barges: I'm afraid that the Dolphin
Sailing Barge Museum has had to close. The paper records are stored in
our museum and we have several members who are familiar with the barging
world in this town. I could ask them to be present at the museum when
you visit there. You ask about the return journey of the barges after
discharging their bricks in London; they brought back domestic rubbish
which was then spread all over the North Kent Marshes.
For the graveyard of St. Michael's Church, Sittingbourne, I suggest you
contact the vicar and ask for access to the Parish Burial Register to
see if any of your relatives are buried there. For the Sittingbourne
Cemetery, I suggest that you contact Swale Borough Council and ask for
the burial records they hold.
The SBC tourism department will send you a map of Sittingbourne if you
write or phone to ask them.
Sadly, following a fire in 2008, the
Dolphin Barge Museum is closed - see the link on our links page for up
to date information.
Barge - Agincourt - Enq 258
Wonder if you can help me, we are currently investigating our family tree
and discovered that a relative "EDWIN PRYER" was the captain of a barge that
was built in Sittingbourne, see details below:-
Barge Reg Tons Off. No. Port of Reg.
Agincourt 35 52967 Rochester Sittingbourne 1866
He showed up in the 1881 census, please
could you tell me whether you would hold any additional information on the
boat or captain to include in our search.
Any help you could give would be very
Regards Mark Pryer
Steamer - John H Amos - enq 392
Could you please tell me the name of the paddle steamer that was moored in
murston creek for a number of years.
was it the famous amos or was it another one.
i used to play on it when i was a kid and am
interested as to what happened to it...
I have contacted some of the people living in
lower Murston, Yes there was a paddle steamer berthed at the cement wharf
during the eighties, but no one can remember what it was called. I don't
know how I missed this one as I was working at the auto plant
Red Triangle Portland Cement - enq 322
The Friends of Berengrave are at present involved in an archaeological
investigation into the area of the engine house pump room at Berengrave
Chalk Pit and we are led to believe the company were declared bankrupt in
1933 or 35. As Rainham was part of Sittingbourne in this period we wondered
if you have any records or pictures concerning this company which traded as
Red Triangle Portland Cement. and was operated by a Mr Horne a barge owner
from Essex from 1901.
Friends of Berengrave