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Brompton History Research Group (BHRG)

The Brompton History Research Group (BHRG) are trying to find out some more about the Chatham Lines and the RE connections with them in the mid 20th century (c.1930s-1960s) and hopes that some REA members might have memories or photographs that they might be willing to share with them.

The first concerns two buildings on the Lines that BHRG believe were demolished by the Royal Engineers in the early 1960s (or possibly very late 1950s), the Sally Port Guardhouse and Belvedere Guardhouse. A picture of each which might help jog some memories and clarify the buildings we are looking at are shown below.

The Sally Port Guardhouse stood at the point that Sally Port Gardens crossed the ramparts of Chatham Lines, and in more recent years has been a simple tarmac car-park.

The Belvedere Guardhouse once stood at the height of Fort Amherst, overlooking Chatham. It was in Belvedere Battery, at the top of Maxwell Road.

Does anyone remember these buildings, or perhaps was involved in the demolition? BHRG are interested in finding out when the buildings were demolished and also any descriptions or photographs of them, particularly details such as numbers and placements of doors, windows, fireplaces, etc., as well as details of their construction such as, were the rooms arched casemates or just simple rooms, connecting doors, etc.

For the Belvedere Guardhouse, BHRG are also interested in approximate height (single or multiple storey) and any details of the second world war additions on the SW corner of the building (possibly a pillbox or spigot mortar position?)

The second query is in regards to the Tennis Club and Garrison Gardens between the Tennis Club and Garrison Church. This area sometimes seems to be referred to as the "Memorial Gardens" but the exact nature of what they commemorated is unclear. Does anyone have any memories of this area as "the Memorial Gardens", or any idea of who or what they were a memorial to? Also connected to this is a childrens' playground within the gardens with swings, slides, climbing frames, etc. Does anyone remember when this playground was built? There was also once a bandstand in the tennis court area until at least the late 1940s, does anyone know or remember when this was removed? Any other more general memories or photographs of the area would also be of great interest.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, BHRG hope you will be able to help. If you can, Ben Levick of BHRG can be contacted at bromptonvillage@yahoo.co.uk


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