10 June, 2006

Erith and Dartford

Erith on the Thames is an anagram of total and utter toilet – well, if it isn’t it ought to be. The town centre is a series of buildings separated by roads. The library (closed between 1:00 and 2:00) and town hall are separated from the shopping alley by a road. The church is also separated from the shopping alley and the library by another road. Even KFC ™ and the Working Men’s Club are separated from the rest of Erith by a road. There is no feeling of a town centre here. As you can see from the picture even Erith’s heritage – the most important things to a town – is slightly off. The picture shows a half tiled wall with door and a fire assembly point notice. Amazingly this is part of Erith’s heritage. Other towns would have demolished it as an eyesore but Erith sticks a plaque on it and says it was a fire station! I’m glad to know it still has a role in fires even if only as an assembly point. I suppose Erithians can go there if ever there is a fire and watch the destruction. London has a number of memorials to people killed in the blitzkrieg which are buildings left unrepaired after damage but these are now being replaced with plaques and other forms of monument. If this is a memorial, Erith, replace it, it’s not nice.

Erith Heritage Posted by Picasa

Erith was a Royal Naval depot in past days and fitted out the Great Harry, one of Henry VIII warships and the biggest ship of its day. There is a long pier on the Thames and this is a pleasant promenade for erithians although the views are not spectacular. The Thames is wide here and the views good from the new Morrisons which is separated from the rest of the town by roads.

While I was there there was some bellringing on 6 bells from the 160 foot spire of Christ Church. This church is Victorian and if there is an ancient church in the town I did not see it. Arthur Mee says there is a St John’s. Archbishop Tait called Erith the ‘darkest spot in the diocese’ and I can see what he means. I recall a previous visit where I saw the Edward VII coronation window in Christ church. It is a pictorial representation of the King at his crowning, and the church is worth a visit.

My other picture shows the weathership on the library which tells us where the wind is blowing. The library has been modernised (it is the gift of Andrew Carnegie so cannot be closed otherwise the Carnegie Trust will demand its money back) but the motto “Labour overcomes all things” together with the Erith coat of arms is worked into a mosaic in the porch of the library. The library is a grand building (perhaps I should do another blog of library pictures – there’s a thought!) still serving the residents of Erith who can cross the roads.

Erith Library weathership Posted by Picasa


Kent Market town with Coöperative Department Store. Some pretty intense competition from the new retail developments just off centre though. There was jubilation in the streets as England had won their world cup match against Paraguay, although if England can’t win against Paraguay (pop 2 million = 3.3% of UK Population) it really is a poor lookout. Dartford has a chalk and flint chequered church and the little River Darent runs into the Thames here. Wat Tyler, leader of the peasant’s revolt had a cottage here in 1382, and coming to more modern times Mick Jagger went to school here. Tesco want to build a new store on the public gardens here.

1 comment:

Hugh said...

I completely agree with your comments regarding Erith - I have lived here for the last ten years. Believe me, it is actually FAR better than it used to be - at least we have a modern town centre (OK - most of the units are empty 18 months after it opened, but the old concrete monstrosity was horrendous). You can read my own blog, with many comments and photos of Erith here: http://arthurpewtysmaggotsandwich.blogspot.com/

A specific moan about the awful public "artwork" can be seen here: http://arthurpewtysmaggotsandwich.blogspot.com/2006/10/waste-of-money.html