Bringing Christ to people and people to Christ

What's On

please expand each section to see what's on


  • 10am Morning Meeting

  • 10:30am KAOS or Junior Soldiers

    • Alternate weeks

  • 10:30am Creche/Primary

  • 11:15am Youth Cell groups

  • 11:30am Outreach

    • Hospice or Open-air meeting

  • 4pm Praise meeting/Cafe Church

    • This runs monthly

  • 6pm Evening Meeting 

    • Next three weeks of the monthly

  • 8pm Invasion

    • Youth Fellowship


Christian faith during the week, when our doors are open to offer programmes and activities for the whole community. 

  • Monday

    • 9:30am - 4pm NHS Talking Therapy
    • 10am ‘Mainly Music’ 
      • Parent & toddler group

    • 10am - 2pm Community Cafe (The Hub)
    • 10:30am - 1:30pm Medway Foodbank open
    • 12:30pm Lunch for the Needs
      • ​​Includes a Bible study

    • 1pm Craft Club 
      • Fortnightly

    • 2pm Book Club 
      • At the Costa on the High Street

      • 3rd Monday in the month

    • 6pm Beavers
    • 6pm Cubs
    • 7:30pm Scouts and Explorers
    • 8pm Ladies Fellowship 
      • 2nd Monday of each month

  • Tuesday

    • 10am Parenting course 
    • 6:30pm Brownies
    • 6:30pm Young People’s Band Rehearsal
    • 8pm Band Rehearsal
  • Wednesday

    • 11am - 1:30pm Employment Plus  - tailored support to help people become job-ready, to get a job and to stay in work.
    • 12:30pm Lunch Club
    • 1:30pm CAMEO
    • 6:30pm Roma Church plant
    • 7pm Alpha Course 
    • 7:45pm Christianity for Life 
    • 8pm Bible Study
  • Thursday

    • 6:15pm Young People’s Singing Company Rehearsal
    • 8pm Songster Rehearsal
  • Friday

    • 10am Mummy & Me
      • Parent & Toddler group

    • 10am - 2pm Community Cafe open
    • 10:30am - 1:30pm Medway Foodbank open
    • 12pm Prayer meeting
    • 7pm Prayer and Praise Kids
    • 7pm Guides
    • 7pm KAOS or Junior Soldiers 
      • Alternate weeks

    • 7:30pm 'Youff' 
      • Youth Club

    • 8pm Public House Ministry



Celebrate Christmas with us


Whilst reading the Corps history books the author came across several memos from Divisional Commanders drawing attention to the importance of maintaining the records. Until relatively recently it has not been convenient or practical for such delicate documents to be widely circulated, but thanks to 21st century technology we now have the opportunity to display the record of our heritage. After many hours of typing and editing, the whole of the three volumes of the History Book up to the present day have been copied. During the period from 1993 to the current day the “Official” History, as recorded in the third volume of the history books, is supplemented by that recorded with enthusiasm by Peter Wood, but these nevertheless had to be typed in also. As in the Gospels two or more historians are better than one.

Chatham Citadel has a long and distinguished history, being only the sixteenth corps to be opened in the early days of the Army in 1873. The Corps was in fact opened as, “The Christian Mission”, the name not being changed to “The Salvation Army”, until 1878. The early history is not very well recorded in the Corps History Books and it is not until 1916 that the books appear to have been commenced. There exist, however, a number of very interesting additional documents maintained by members of the Corps who have, or had, a particular feel for its history. A very comprehensive catalogue of officers stationed at the Corps was kept by a very early convert, Charles Hales, and this is reproduced here. The former Corps Sergeant Major, Peter Wood, has spent many hours researching the early history of the Corps and we are indebted to him for making the material available for this site. Early Christian Mission history comes from extracts the “Christian Mission” periodical and local press of the time, while “snippets” of interesting information about life during those early days come from various other local publications. Music forms a very important part of Salvation Army worship. There is some very interesting background to the formation of our Bands and Songster Brigades.

There used to be four Salvation Army Centres in Chatham. On the New Road, which is the main road to the coast, Beulah House had been bequeathed to the Army. It was the home for girls between the ages twelve to sixteen who presumably needed care and protection. It existed there for quite a number of years until a further and larger house was bequeathed in Rochester, called Green Acres. Beulah House staff and girls were transferred there. Later it came under the charge of the local authority. There was also another Salvation Army Centre on The Brook in Chatham, quite close to where the town hall now is. It was a slum post and it is understood that in the early days The Brook was an area visited by certain undesirable characters. One must remember, of course, that Chatham was a garrison town and it was the headquarters of the Royal Marines, Chatham Division and also headquarters of a branch of the Royal Engineers, which it still is today. There was also a Naval base known as HMS Pembroke so Chatham had a very large military and naval tradition. In that connection The Salvation Army had another centre almost opposite the old slum post, a five story building with large letters, one foot high, titling “The Salvation Army Naval and Military Home”. This of course catered for the service personnel of the town.

Over the years there have been many officers taking charge of the corps but possibly one of the most famous was the evangelist Gypsy Smith who started his Christian experience as a Salvation Army officer at Chatham. An old lecture hall was used prior to the building of the present Citadel. It wasn’t until 1912 that they found another building was necessary for the young people and this was built adjoining the Citadel. There are tablets entered into the walls of the building which explain which year it was built and name certain people who had been instrumental in that coming about.

  • Background

William Booth started as a preacher in the Wesleyan Methodist Circuit then joined the Methodist New Connection.

In those days it was not acceptable for women to speak in public and during one of William’s sermons on Whitsunday 27th May 1860, in Gateshead, to the astonishment of the congregation, and not least of her husband, Catherine Booth (William’s wife) walked up the aisle as he was concluding and told him she desired to speak. This she did to some effect.

As William Booth was walking through Whitechapel Road in East London one fine evening in June 1865, he got as far as the “Blind Beggar” public house on Mile End Waste in Bethnal Green. A group of Gospel Missioners were concluding a meeting. Their leader, as was customary before pronouncing the benediction, was asking whether any converted bystander would like to have a word. The Rev. Wm. Booth responded at once for nothing in the world could, at that moment, have pleased him better.

His commanding figure and forceful words immediately challenged attention. Passers by stopped to listen. They drew nearer and soon a crowd gathered. Not before had these people heard sin denounced, the love of God extolled and salvation offered so plainly. The language used was the simple speech of their everyday life. Every point of importance, too, was aptly and clearly illustrated. They not only heard, but understood.

Most of these missioners were members of The Christian Community, an association formed by the Huguenot refugees in the 17th Century, others were linked with some of the small missions around east London while a few belonged to other denominations. They were for the time being unitedly taking part in a special mission being held in a tent on a disused burial ground nearby.

A few days after the ‘open air’ meeting a deputation came to Wm. Booth and asked him to take charge of the mission as the evangelist engaged had been taken ill and could not come. Booth decided to accept the invitation and from that humble beginning the seed to begin the open air work of the Salvation Army was planted.

He was eventually asked to leave the Weslyan Methodist Church and the New Connection because of his radical ways. In fact he was banned from many churches, so he took to preaching in tents and the open air with hundreds of people listening.

Conditions in London in these times, around 1865, were abysmal; sewage was emptied directly into the Thames, water supplies were from rotten butts with filth in the bottom. Drainage was via open ditches in places and untrapped gulleys in others. The 1866 cholera epidemic was caused by contaminated water from reservoirs at Old Ford. Over 8,000 died during that summer from cholera and kindred complaints.. The government were forced then to establish Water Works to supply east London.

The cholera epidemic and continued unemployment intensified the distress. Newspapers were full of appeals for help in these and Wm. Booth joined. The Mission distributed food and clothing, opened soup kitchens and provided free teas. But Booth and his workers kept their heads and did not allow themselves to be stampeded into distributing food, clothing and blankets indiscriminately or into losing sight of the Mission’s first objective.

Another illuminating glimpse of the miseries endured by the people in those times were from the records of some matchbox makers in Bethnal Green

“In one house children from four to sixteen years of age were at work. One, a boy with a broken spine, was putting sandpaper on the boxes – he could only work kneeling. In another house was a mother pasting boxes with a sick child on her knee, and a dying mother watching three children at work. A mother and three children earned together 3d (about 6-7p) when they could get a full days work, but sometimes could only make 4s6d to 5 shillings (22p to 25p) per week. The mother was allowed 1s relief and 1s worth of groceries per week and Rent was 2s. per week.”

Much has resulted from the efforts of The Salvation Army, particularly in the early days, to provide employment, the country’s first “Labour Exchange” or “Job Shop” before the government of the day, housing, feeding, and generally bringing about the betterment of the poor. The Salvation Army’s greatest contribution to the world’s advancement has surely been its insistence upon the principle that the salvation of the soul is the key to the salvation of the body.

Open-Air’ work was regarded from the outset to be the Army’s special sphere. “We found that though the aversion of the working classes to churches and chapels was as strong as could be readily conceived yet they eagerly listened to speakers who, with ordinary ability, in an earnest loving manner, could set before them the truths of the Bible in the open air. At any season of the year, in nearly all kinds of weather, at any hour of the day and almost any hour of the night, we could obtain a congregation.”

Nevertheless Wm. Booth was convinced that every outdoor service should, if possible, be connected with an indoor meeting, where free from outside influences which usually accompanied outdoor preaching, the Gospel could be set forth with greater clarity and an opportunity secured for personal conversation with the people

Wm. Booth wrote later about the open air ‘season’. “That the many thousands of poor people who attend no place of worship should be left to wander about half the year without hearing the Gospel , on the plea that wind and weather do not permit open-air preaching, seems to me to reflect upon the manhood, let alone the charity, of Christian men.”

The Christian Mission was prospering under the leadership of Wm. Booth and others, like Captain Elijah Cadman and his “war”.

The title page of the Annual Report for 1876 said “The Christian Mission under the superintendence of Rev. Wm. Booth is a Volunteer Army”. It is said that Wm. Booth objected to the phrase “Volunteer Army”

“No”, he said “we are not volunteers, for we feel we must do what we do, and we are always on duty”.He then took his pen, deleted the word “Volunteer” and above it wrote “Salvation”. The Christian Mission became, by the inspired hand of Wm. Booth the organisation with a name wholly and unmistakably descriptive of its purposes and character, the appropriateness of which has never been questioned.

  • Music

Having proved the usefulness of musical instruments in attracting crowds to open air work and indoor meetings the General (as he became known) declared hois desire that as many officers and soldiers as possible, male and female, should learn to play instruments.

The musicians of those days were not all as skilled as could have been wished – one Captain headed a march with a ‘four-shilling fiddle’ which he could not play, but was quite satisfied because his attempting to do so was ‘an attraction’. Another Captain, finding he needed more than his voice to gain attention in the street, bought a cornet, practised four hours and a half – and sallied forth.

A dustman’s bell, a huntsman’s horn, bugles were all used. Railton, an early leader, carried a set of bones in his pocket, and when he thought a meeting was stiff and wanted loosening up, rattled them.

In his early days the General had some unfortunate experiences with choirs so he originally forbad their use, allowing only congregational or solo singing. Fortunately he was persuaded to change his mind by the Fry family (od Salisbury) and Herbert Booth (his son) by their use of officers in a brigade. Salvation songs quickly replaced revival hymns because of their association with anything “churchy” and therefore disapproved by the masses who came to the meetings.

The General was persuaded that the use of secular and comic-song tunes would be a great attraction, “Champagne Charlie” being the first of many used.

The first brass band of The Salvation Army was a family affair, the Fry Family of Salisbury. The mob had taken to singing popular songs to drown the voices of the Salvationists. The Fry family were persuaded to bring their brass instruments to the open air and their concerted playing soon put an end to this interruption. Until 14th May 1880 the Fry family were the Salisbury Corps Band and by their excellence of playing gave a stimulus to the formation of bands all over the country.

By 1884 many bands had been formed and the General layed down “our general rule for them”:-

“They are to work for the good of the corps and for the salvation of souls, and nothing else. We are not going to stick them up on the platform, nor march them through the streets for them to perform and to be admired. They are to go there and blow what they are told, and what the Commanding Officer thinks will be best for the good of the Corps and the salvation of souls, and if they won’t blow for this object, let them stop playing. We want nobody like that amongst us. The man must blow his cornet and shut his eyes, and believe while he plays that he is blowing salvation into somebody, and doing something that will be some good. Let him go on believing while he beats the drum or blows his cornet, and he will be just as anxious about the prayer meeting – he won’t want to buckle up and rush off. He will say all his beating and blowing is to get people first into the hall then to the penitent form”.

It was not too costly in those days -according to present standards – to set up a Corps Band. The War Cry of 2nd November,1882 advertised a set of twelve instruments of first quality for, £31. 7s. 11d (approx £31.40p) but the record for cheapness was achieved by the CHATHAM CORPS under the command of Captain ‘Jockey’ Rowe, in the Spring of 1881. Eight brass instruments used by a military band had been declared to have outlived their usefulness and were sold to a marine store dealer. In such poor condition were they that the dealer had ordered them to be flattened out and sold for old brass. His foreman, a Salvationist named Brock, thought they might be fixed up for use by the corps and obtained possession of them by paying the “Old Brass” price. There was a plumber in the corps, a drunken reprobate who had been recently converted. He set to work on them to good purpose. Another convert had been in a drum and fife band. He recollected that when it had been disbanded he had kept the big drum. He recovered it from his loft – it was very dirty but was quickly cleaned up. After a month’s practise on one tune, “Who’ll be the next to follow Jesus?” the band “played out” at the head of three hundred salvation soldiers!

In August 1880 Chatham had a band of eight players marching in two ranks – a big thing in those days although the instrumentation was made up, oddly enough of fifes, flutes, a violin and concertinas.

Mrs. Booth said in 1890, “We had a great deal of argument regarding the first introduction of bands into the Army and a great many fears. I had always regarded music as all belonging to God, and the church has strangely lost sight of the va1ue of music as a religious agency. I think God has used the Army to resuscitate and awaken that agency – to create it in fact, and while the bandsmen of the Salvation Army realise it to be as much their service to blow an instrument as it is to sing or speak or pray, and while they do so in the same spirit, I am persuaded it will become an ever-increasing power amongst us. But the moment you begin to glory, in the excellency of the music alone, apart from spiritual results, you will begin at that moment to lose your power”.

CHATHAM AND NEW BROMPTON (GILLINGHAM) BANDS played on board the Japanese cruiser “Tsukuba” in Chatham Basin in the evening of 22nd June, 1907

  • Life in the Early Days

Chatham Observer 8th November, 1873 reports:-Early Closing – A few of the grocers in the High Street Chatham have announced their intention of closing their shops for the future at 6 o’clock in the evening except on Saturdays. The movement does not seem to be general at present.

Chatham Observer 15th November, 1873 reports:-A new convict prison is to be opened in Maidstone Road Rochester near Borstal.

Chatham Observer 29th November, 1873 advertisement:-Plot of Garden Land for Sale in Gillingham Road, 20 foot Frontage and 200 feet deep. Price for Cash £30

Chatham Observer 6th November, 1873 reports:-Article about the first burning of ballot papers by the Mayor and witnessed by important dignitaries.

Chatham Observer 20th December,1873 – Notice THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS WAITS. Sanctioned by the Mayor of Rochester and High Constable of Chatham, Messrs. W. T. WILLIAMS & F. CLEGG beg to announce to their subscribers that they will continue their MIDNIGHT SERENADING every night up to Christmas, and will perform a first class selection of Sacred and Secular music by their Four Brass Instruments.

N.B. In answer to many inquiries, this party has no connection with the, to say the least, peculiar noises heard in the street lately.

Comment by the “Observer” 20th December, 1873. Although there may be some difference of opinion among our fellow townsmen on the matter, we think that the soft strains of the brass quartette of our old friends Messrs.Williams and Clegg, will prove generally soothing rather than disturbing to the slumbers of all lovers of harmony.

1893 “Chatham News” Almanac NO MORE WRINKLES – Wrinkles are very much under personal control. A girl or youth who indulges in perpetual knitting of the brows produces a very ugly wrinkle between the eyebrows, but this may be entirely removed by forsaking the trick.

A habit of half closing the eyes produces wrinkles at their outer corners. An ill-tempered dropping of the corners of the mouth brings wrinkles in those positions.

“Chatham Observer” Sept 5th 1874 Ludicrous Misfortunes! On Tuesday last a woman, apparently the wife of a mechanic, laden with potatoes and flour, had just entered the Lines on her way to New Brompton, when the wind was at that time, and at that particular spot, blowing a hurricane.

Her bonnet, if we may be allowed to give it that name, evidently was disposed to leave her head, which caused the poor woman naturally to put her hands up to make it secure.

In doing this she let fall the potatoes, and in stooping to pick them up, to make matters worse, the paper bag which contained the flour burst, and she became literally smothered with the contents.

Nor was this all: her misfortunes were not yet complete, her bonnet and chignon were still in peril, and the former took its departure without leave at a rapid rate across the Lines, giving her no choice but to enter the colony with head uncovered, and in the guise of a dusty miller.

“Chatham Observer” Sept 5 1874 FIRE IN ROCHESTER. The chimney of Mrs Charlicks sitting room behind the shop had not been swept for about 2 Years, and there was consequently a large accumulation of soot which somehow caught fire; most likely through a match being carelessly thrown in the fireplace.

Mr Andrews was nearby and summoned assistance. Mr Banks of the Volunteer Fire Brigade and P. C. Wakefield were soon on the spot.

They made strenuous efforts to put the fire out by throwing pails of water on it and letting off small quantities of gunpowder in the fireplace to bring down the soot. A large crowd collected outside and as the gunpowder exploded from time to time it was reported that the roof was falling in. Nothing so serious happened, though it was thought at one time it would be necessary to send for the hose to play on the fire. In throwing some of the powder on the fire Mr Andrews had one hand severely burnt.

“Chatham Observer” 26th September 1874 A sovereign for a shilling – At Messrs Wardropers entertainment, at the Lecture Hall, on Monday evening, the money-taker inadvertently gave a sovereign instead a shilling in change. If the person who received it will be so good as to send the nineteen shillings to Mr L. Whitehead, the proprietor of the Lecture Hall, the unfortunate loser will be greatly obliged.

“Chatham Observer” 2nd January 1875 A TUNNEL UNDER THE MEDWAY – Writing on the importance of creating a solid path across the Hudson River, the New York Times says: -”But the Hudson is too broad for a suspension bridge. Then why not tunnel it? In the present age of perfection in tunnel building, it would surprise those persons whose only impressions in this line have been gained from the clumsy effort called the Thames Tunnel to find how cheaply and solidly bricklined iron tunnels can be built under rivers, even when the bed is rock or sand.

If the soil be clay, the work is easy. The Thames has now a second tunnel of iron, the Medway is soon to have one completed, and Englishmen are found talking gravely of running a large, dry well-lit tunnel between Calais and Dover.”

We are aware that the Thames has a second tunnel, and that a tunnel under the English Channel between Calais and Dover is projected with sanguine hopes of success by scientific men, but the above is the first we have heard of a tunnel proposed, much less nearly completed, under the Medway.

It is another illustration of the saying that has become almost a proverb, that one must go abroad to hear news!

Can it be that our Royal Engineers have been driving a tunnel undiscovered by the lynx-eyes of the ‘Observer’ under the bed of the river, from their works at Brompton to those at Upnor, and that, some fine morning they will invite its active representative, or rather the whole staff, to walk dry shod, under the swift flowing waters of the Medway, to partake of a luncheon in the venerable Castle of Queen Elizabeth on the other side.

“Chatham News” 5th June 1875 THE SAILS OF THE “VICTORY” – for many years past the fore top-sail and the main top-sail of the Victory (Nelson’s Ship) have been stored in the Sail Loft at this Dockyard, and have been objects of interest to visitors who have been shown them. The sails formed part of the sails of the Victory in the memorable battle of Trafalgar, and have been at Chatham since the vessel was refitted at this Dockyard after the battle; they are completely perforated with shot holes.

The Admiralty has now directed that the sails are to be forwarded to Portsmouth, where they will again be placed aboard the Victory for inspection by the general public.

“Chatham Observer” 18th December, 1875 THE WAITS – Messers. Williams and Clegg with their Quartette Band are keeping up this old custom, anticipatory of Christmas and have made the quiet hours of the night resound with the strains of instrumental and vocal harmony.

Some few have denounced them for disturbing their slumber, but the many appear to have been delighted with the soft music of anthems suited to the season.

“Chatham News” 9th October, 1875 The weather was bad, almost a hurricane, on Saturday last,2nd October, 1875 and it blew a vein off the windmill situated by Cherry Tree Hall. (Where the 7th Day Adventist Church is now – New Road)

“Chatham News” 25th September, 1875, Chatham Board of Health Meeting:- THE MUD -A Mr. Breeze stated that he and Mr. Stigant were repeatedly stopped on Wednesday by trade people who complained of MUD being swept into heaps in the High Street, and left for a long time being a nuisance. There was only one cart in use.

It was remarked that there was too much mud being swept up at a time. Mr. Gamon said he swept up the mud by the machine as the road was very dirty, he had two horses and cart at work, with four men – he could do no more; he could get no more hands.

Mr. Breeze did not wish to increase expenses but he found the men had but 2s 9d (14p) per day and went hopping in preference. The Clerk and others said – people went to the hop-gardens without reference to what they could earn.

“Chatham News 22nd January, 1876 CLEANING OF PATHS AT ROCHESTER – Superintendent Radley has issued a notice calling the attention of the citizens of Rochester to one of the bye laws, (by) which residents are compelled to have the paths cleaned in front of their houses before ten o’clock in the morning, Sundays excepted, in default of which they render themselves liable to a penalty of ten shillings. It is intended to enforce the bye-law.

May 1876. Chatham skating rinks opened behind the St. John’s Church with access from Railway Street and New Road. A fine example with banks and mounds, decorated with shrubs etc. and a band playing most evenings, with good facilities for refreshment.

Chatham News 12th August 1876 A fine large sturgeon was caught last Sunday by a fisherman fishing for smelt above Rochester Bridge. This is a Royal fish and as such should be presented to the monarch. As the last one caught was sent to the Queen it was decided that this fine specimen, be sent to the Prince of Wales.

On Monday morning Mr. Watson the Water Bailiff, duly proceeded to Marlborough House with the fish which was 5’6″ long and weighed 56lbs.

“Chatham Observer 3rd June,1876 “Too Many Pigs & Bad Water” – Two persons residing in The Brook, named Sullivan and Neison, kept 45 Pigs upon their back premises, which Chatham Medical Officer considered dangerous to the health of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood now that the warm weather has set in. He ordered immediate steps (unspecified) to abate the nuisance. A sample of water, tested in Front Row, and Ordnance Place, discovered it to be teaming with animal life, and totally unfit for use. It appeared that this was the only water which the inhabitants could obtain. It was ordered that the owner of the property supply his tenants from the Water Company’s mains.

“Chatham News” 19th August,1876 VALUABLE DRESSING FOR THE HAIR – If your hair is turning grey or white, or falling off, use “The Mexican Hair Renewer” for it will positively restore in every case grey or white hair to its original colour, without leaving the disagreeable smell of restorers. It makes the hair charmingly beautiful as well as promoting the growth of hair on bald spots, where the glands are not decayed.. Ask your chemist for “Mexican Hair Restorer” prepared by Henry C. Gallup, 493 Oxford Street, London, and sold everywhere at 3/6 per bottle.

“Chatham News” 2nd September 1876 Chatham Board of Health have effected much needed improvements. The work of channelling the High Street has resumed this week recommencing at Hamond Hill and proceeding eastward on the south side of the street.. In time we hope to see all the High Street, north and south, properly “channelled” (Open surface drains?)

“Chatham News” 30th September, 1876 Another Submarine Tunnel – suggest a tunnel from Gibraltar to North Africa – cost about £4 Million.

A submarine way under the channel would allow an overland route to India without change of carriage.

“Chatham News” 14th July, 1887 St John’s Church, Chatham. New organ dedicated – details of construction.



These machines surpass any others in existence and are warranted to thoroughly Wash, Dry and Mangle everything for FAMILY USE thus doing away with unpleasant washdays at home. No rubbing, wear and tear, in the process.

Families waited upon in their residences by sending Name and Address to George Barnes, Proprietor Steam Laundry, Chatham Hill. All orders punctually attended to.

Clothing will be collected from any part of the towns and vicinity on receipt of postcard or otherwise.

“CHATHAM OBSERVER” 26th January, 1878 New Road improvements – Trees planted on the whole extent of City boundary on the New Road, which will form one of the most picturesque improvements in the city, and which is already much admired.

10th August 1878

Religious services outdoors at “The Circus” ??

“CHATHAM NEWS” SAT. 29th June, 1878 The time at which holidays should be held causes much difference of opinion since “Bank Holidays” were instituted. At Chatham, we are at 6′s and 7′s about holidays, caused by our having Government Establishments and by the adoption of “Bank Holidays” by the townspeople. Thus “Coronation Day” was formerly the universal holiday of Chatham, it has ceased to be so, but the Dockyard makes holiday on that day and when the town “keeps” a “Bank Holiday” the employees of the Dockyard are all at work.

It would be a good thing if a change could be made so that all folks could keep holiday together – but we do not expect such an alteration at Chatham – the more the pity.

“CHATHAM NEWS” SAT. 10th August, 1878 A good many people are much exercised, by the “Sunday Cries” in Chatham – we have heard complaints that the nomadic tribes of the Brook pour forth on Sunday to vend various small edibles, uttering vociferous announcements, and in localities, too, where the inbabitants are not the least likely to buy “Winkles” or “Cresses” on Sunday, and only desire the peace and rest on that day and the privilege to attend places of worship without being annoyed by the street cries.

We read that many complaints having been made to the police and the Rev. H. J. Bevis having addressed a letter on the subject of hawkers crying “Shrimps and Prawns for sale” during the hours of Divine Service, they resolved that the police be instructed to proceed against such persons offending in this respect.

“CHATHAM OBSERVER” 24th August, 1878. Local News – Provision for Public Worship in Chatham/Rochester & Gillingham

Chatham (Intra & Extra) Places of Worship Established Church 7, Other Denominations 20.

It is estimated that 42% of the population are generally detained from attendance at public worship e.g. children, aged persons, invalids, nurses, medical men, persons employed on public conveyance etc.

Above census shows a deficiency of accommodation for 52% of the entire population of the towns of 9,935 sittings. Only a small deficiency in Rochester as the Cathedral holds 1,200 people.

“CHATHAM NEWS” SAT 28th September, 1878 The Proposed Tramway:- Company will lay tramway, without cost locally, down through the High Street. At present the idea is to lay it down from Luton to Chatham Intra, and afterwards extend it to Rochester, Strood and Brompton. The matter is before the Chatham Board of Health for sanction.

“CHATHAM OBSERVER” 2nd November, 1876 The Electric Light – We may expect shortly to see a practical application of the electric light in Medway, as Messers Hayman and Sons are examining the various inventions with regard to it to see which is most fitted for the purpose of lighting vessels unloading cargoes of coals.

Electric light has been so far approved at Royal Arsenal Woolwich, that a second lamp has been fitted up and further extensions planned.

Experiments are being made to produce small, low cost, tin canisters, to hold butter, which can be hermetically sealed, with the view to preserving it without the use of more salt than is put into fresh butter. It may not be a new idea but it could have an influence on the supply of Irish Butter.

“CHATHAM OBSERVER” 22nd February, 1879 Shopping – The early Closing Movement is in full swing – it is not opposed to 8 p.m. – leave well alone

  • Personal Memories

When the Songsters were celebrating their centenary Peter Wood was given this letter from a former ‘Chathamite’ by Joan Davison of Newcastle Temple Corps. Joan is the daughter of former Corps Officers Major and Mrs Louis Young .

“To comrades of Chatham Corps.

In May 1921 my mother and father, Major & Mrs. James Jeavons farewelled from Chelmsford Corps after spending two happy years there and were appointed to Chatham Corps. Bramwell, the eldest (the late Lt.Colonel) was left behind in Chelmsford. Cyril, Bernard and I went to Luton Road School, walking distance from the Quarters in 98 Luton Road.

The Singing Company was commenced when we were there under the leadership of Eva Dorey, daughter of Major & Mrs. Dorey who were in charge of the Naval and Military Home on The Brook in Chatham. I still have my Singing Company Commission.

I remember my mother doing Pub Booming which included the notorious Long John Pub. I also remember the Luton Chariots (as they were known) passing the Quarters nightly round about midnight on route to the Cesspool – (the older comrades will remember). Apart from the noise we knew they were passing.

I remember Bandmaster Durrant and his daughter Doris, Eva Seaton and Beatrice and Theresa Hudson. We were all friends. Mrs. South, Home League Secretary and her son Johnny who was Songster Leader (I hope I’m right).

I wish you all a very happy Reunion in every way. I understand you have Regent Hall Band (Songsters) celebrating with you. My father, the then Captain James Jeavons was in command there as a single officer in the 1890′s. His photo is on display there with all the other former officers. My youngest brother, Bernard, was Promoted to Glory 10 years ago and Cyril January 16th 2002.

I still try to keep active as far as possible and once again managed another record figure of £2,500 for the Annual Appeal.

Ruby Collingwood-Stewart (nee Jeavons)

PS. We enjoyed our walks to Rochester Cathedral from Luton Road – no bus rides.

Meet the people

our church leaders are committed to transforming the lives of people in their community

Ian Payne