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Bradshaw’s Guide

London and Beckenham to Chatham, Canterbury and Dover

Chatham Main Line

This company has now two termini in London; both conveniently situated to accommodate pleasure and business traffic. The West End terminus is a portion of the extensive Victoria station, Pimlico, whilst the City station is at Farringdon Street, where it unites with the Metropolitan or under-ground railway to King’s Cross and Paddington. This section of the line, under the name of the Metropolitan Extension, joins with that of the Western at Herne Hill, and has become very much crowded with local traffic.

Leaving Victoria, we almost immediately cross the Thames, pass Battersea Park, and arrive at Stewart’s Lane, at which are situate extensive works belonging to the company. From thence we pass Wandsworth Road, Clapham, and Brixton to Herne Hill, the point of connection with the City or eastern section of the line, from whence we proceed over a viaduct of 30 arches, 1,000 feet in extent, and which has from a distance a very picturesque appearance, Beyond this is an embankment of a mile and a quarter, in the middle of which is Dulwich station. Following the embankment is a cutting of one third of a mile in extent, with slopes of 4 to 1, This brings us when at the depth of 60 feet, to the tunnel under Sydenham hill, and at the face of which there is now erected a station for the accommodation of the neighbourhood. Immediately beyond the tunnel, the line passes under nine lines of railway belonging to the South Eastern and Brighton Companies. We next come to a small cutting which brings us to

Penge, and an embankment, similar in character to the one already mentioned, brings us to Beckenham. We next pass the station of Shortlands, and at the distance of three quarters of a mile further, arrive at

Bromley

Principally composed of one long street; market house, supported on pillars. Dr. Johnson’s wife and Hawkesworth, the author of the “Adventurer” lie buried here.

Bickley and St. Mary’s Cray stations.

Sevenoaks Junction.

A line here turns off to the right, 8 miles long, passing through Eynesford and Shoreham, to

Sevenoaks

A town of some importance, deriving its name from that of its found, Sir W. Sevenocke.

Farningham. – Lullingstone and Eynesford Castles in the neighbourhood.

Meopham and Sole Street are then passed; and at a distance of six mules beyond, the arrival of the train is announced at Strood (the North Kent junction), which, together with Rochester and Chatham, have just before been described.

New Brompton station.

Rainham

One of the villages on the Old Roman road, Watling Street.

One of the villages on the Old Roman road, Watling Street, passing which, and the station of Newington, we arrive at that of

Sittingbourne

Near to which is the old town of Milton, situated on a creek or arm of the Swale, in which the celebrated “Milton Natives” are dredged.

Sittingbourne & Sheerness

A branch 7 miles long, running direct across the western extremity of the Isle of Sheppy, passing through Queenborough, to Sheerness (described here and at Chatham).

Chatham and Dover continued

Continuing the route we pass the station of

Teynham

In the vicinity of which are Rodmersham Lodge (2 miles); Teynham Lodge (2½ miles) and Norton Court (2 miles).

and arrive at

Faversham

This town is situated on a small stream running into the East Swale, which is navigable for vessels of 150 tons.

Kent Coast

Faversham to Ramsgate

This branch turns off to the left at Faversham, taking a direction coastwise by the Whitstable Flats to Whitstable. A distance of 3¾ miles further brings us to

Herne Bay

Herne Bay,was not, many years ago, more than a scanty collection of houses, irregularly built along the beach.

Leaving the Herne Bay temporary station we immediately pass the handsome red brick permanent station, which will be opened in June, 1864, and through deep earth cuttings and over marshy down; we pass the celebrated Reculver ruins on our left hand and reach

Birchington

A pleasantly situated sea side village, which must soon rise to the dignity of a watering place. Here is a church of the 15th century, foil of brasses and monuments.

About three miles further is the station at

Margate. – At the back of the Bathing Infirmary and close to the sea; there is a second Margate station for the convenience of the local traffic between here and Ramsgate, whence the trains run off the main line on a short branch to the right, and enter a station facing the sea and directly parallel with the South Eastern Station.

Proceeding across fields, through cuttings, and oil embankments, we next come to

Broadstairs

A place at once remarkable for its extreme genility and dullness.

Immediately on leaving Broadstairs the traveller enters upon the chalk cliff line of the coast, and on emerging from the tunnel has the sudden and agreeable surprise of finding himself in a familiar place, amongst the bathing machines of Ramsgate sands. The station is directly under the cliff and close to Augusta stairs, a position which literally leaves the visitor where he wishes to be, at

Ramsgate, and the sea side, without the need of walking another step. A short continuation of the line will ultimately have a terminus on the Pier.

Chatham and Dover Main Line continued

On retaking our seats at Faversham, a few minutes brings us to the station of

Selling, and a distance of 6½ miles further, the archiepiscopal city of

Canterbury.

A distance of 15 miles brings us through the little villages of Bekesbourne, Adisham (the station for Wingham), Shepherd’s Well, and Ewell to

Dover

This much frequented point of continental embarkation has of late years occupied a prominent position among the watering-places of our island.

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Further reading