Fragments of Fact - Cliffe History

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Fragments of Fact
July saw the marriage of the   Rector, Revd. Herbert Boyd to Mrs. Lionel Levin. At the   station, gay with flags and bunting, a great welcome awaited   the couple on their return from honeymoon spent in Scotland.   Villagers lined each side of the road from the Railway   Station to the Rectory, and schoolboys pulled the motor-car   conveying the Rector and Mrs. Boyd to their home,   accompanied by Mr. N. McLeod in full Highland costume,   playing the bagpipes.
In November of the same year Mr. T. C. Crane and his   family left for Australia. He was a Parish Councillor, a   Schools’ Manager, Charity Trustee and People’s Churchwarden,   and was presented with an inscribed silver watch, and a   purse of gold (£35) subscribed for by his many friends.

A serious outbreak of   scarlet fever in March closed all the schools for some   weeks.
In June over 100 men employed at the Cement Works came   out on strike, ‘in obedience to a telegram received from   their Union.’They admitted they had no grievance, but felt   that it was no use belonging to a Union unless they abided   by the Rules. Most of the men found temporary work in the   fields, as there very little, if any, distress.
November. Mr. H.S. Lane, of Quickrells Farm, had several   successes at the Malting and Seed Barley competition at the   Brewers’ Exhibition in London. A few weeks later he gained   further awards at the Birmingham Agricultural Society’s   Show, and also at the Scottish National Society’s show held   at Edinburgh.

An ordination service was held at Cliffe Church by the Right   Revd. George H. Spodsham, D.D, Bishop of North Queensland,   the first such ceremony to be held here for 500 years. Owing to the illness of the   Bishop of Rochester the service had been twice postponed.
At the London Dairy Show Miss Elizabeth Morrison of   Cliffe, won the first prize of £5, and a silver medal, in   the class open to all of England for girl milkers under the   age of 18, and was also awarded a special prize of £3.   Edward Youseman and Thomas Morrison, both Cliffe boys, were   5th and 6th respectively in a similar class for boy milkers.

February. Great excitement   was caused by the descent of an aeroplane in a field near   the village. Cement workers, builders, farm workers, bust   housewives and schoolchildren, came running from all   directions, across fields and through hedges to see what was    the matter, nor did they depart until the machine had again   roared skywards and disappeared. Well, well!!
April. A gloom was cast on the village by the death of   “Uncle Steve” – Mr. Stephen Havers – a genial and cheery old   gentleman, beloved by all, and much missed in cricketing   circles.
The Old Smithy which had been in existence for a very   long time, standing back from the road literally ‘under a   spreading chestnut tree’ dealt with its last equine   customer, and closed its doors, making way for the building   of houses – Violet Cottages.


After spending 18 years at   Cliffe, Canon H. B. Boyd, rector, accepted the living of   Lamberhurst. Although a lot of people had been upset by the   Rector’s outburst a couple of months before (at a reciting   meeting, where recruits were not forthcoming, he had called   them a “herring-gutted lot”), he had really been very   popular throughout the whole of the time he was in Cliffe.
December . Death of Miss Straw, for many years   headmistress of the Infants’ School, she having retired two   years earlier.

March. The nine p.m. postal   collection from the village was discontinued, and has never,   so far, been re-introduced, although many requests have been   made for a collection late than 6 p.m.
May. Death of Mr. Alfred Chesterton, of the Post Office,   at the age of 93, he had been known as the ‘father’ of   Cliffe Wesleyan Church.

Cliffe, in common with the   rest of the country, was struck by an influenza epidemic.   All three schools were closed, and 8 deaths reported in the   village.
Death of Miss Conway, head   of the Girls Department, at the Church Schools for over 16.
June brought the opening of   the first Telephone Call Office in the village.
The opening of the “Globe   Electric Theatre” on August Bank Holiday, a full house   seeing the picture (silent, of course) “Ivanhoe.”
Much interest was shown   locally, and in ornithological circles, nationally, in “The   Cuckoo Mystery”, stimulated by the well known authority, Mr.   G. J. Scholey, who was, for some years, manager at the   Thames Portland Cement Company’s works at Cliffe. Mr.   Scholey’s hobby was a lifetime study of the cuckoo and its   habits, and he found the district around the cement factory   a happy hunting-ground wherein to pursue the study.   Somewhere about this time – at any rate, in the early days   of broadcasting we were thrilled to hear Mr. Scholey   broadcast on his pet subject.
During this year a link with Charles Dickens was severed   by the death of Mr. W. T. Woolley of Church Street, who,   during the time he was employed as a gardener at Higham, was   well acquainted with Dickens, who was then living at Gads   Hill Place. Mr. Woolley’s parents were in Dickens’s service.

£30 was raised at a whist   drive held at the Men’s Club in aid of St. Bartholomew’s   Hospital Extensions Fund. There was a record attendance of   50 tables.
May . The death occurred of   Mr. G. A. Batchelor, who had for many years been prominently   identified with the Wesleyan Church, during which time the   present church was built replacing the old building which   has stood for more than 100 years. Mr. Batchelor was also   prominent in various spheres of public life, having served   on the Parish Council, as a manager of the two Council   Schools.
September. The wedding took place of Miss Edith Wallis,   younger daughter of the Rector and Mrs. Wallis, and was the   first wedding to have taken place in Cliffe Rectory in   living memory. Within a year her elder sister, Miss Mary   Wallis, and her brother, Mr. Sydney Wallis, were also   married.
July . In a crowded Church a   Thanksgiving Service was held for the recovery from illness   of H.M. The King.
Among the deaths during this year were those of Mr. G. S.   Else, who was the last licensee of the old Canal Tavern at   Cliffe Creek, and was closed in March 1912, and of Miss Ann   Fuge, who was the widow of Samuel Fuge, who was a pioneer in   Rhodesia with the late Cecil Rhodes.

May. The death occurred of   Mr. F. Wright, of West Court, who was chairman of the first   Parish Council, Cliffe’s representative on the Strood Rural   District Council and the old Board of Guardians and a   Justice of the Peace.
By May , Cliffe’s quota of   £1,032 for the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Extensions Fund,   which had started in 1926, was complete.
In July two lives were lost as a result of a boating   mishap off the shore. Mr. Ernest Smith and his nephew,   Walter, were intheir punt when the wash from a passing   pleasure steamer caused the punt to overturn.
September. A serious outbreak of diphtheria, 26 cases   being notified.
The death occurred of Mr. W.   J. Filmer, for nearly 40 years at Court Sole, and, except   for one brief interval, a member of the Parish Council for   30 years.
September. An outbreak of   Scarlet Fever closed the schools for five weeks.
October. For the first time in history, villagers were   able to enjoy air trips, for 2/6d, 5/- or 7/6d according to   the duration of trip, from a field at West Court.
Both Mr. H. Lane of   Quickrells, for many years on the Parish Council, and Mr. J.   Robertson, of Manor Farm, died. Mr. Robertson was a member   of the Parish Council for over 30 years, and was chairman   for much of the time. He was also a Parochial Charities   Trustee, a school manager, and president of the Cliffe   British Legion.
April. Cliffe Schoolboy Footballers won the League   Championship, and also all the 16 matches they played. They   also played in the final for the Leech Shield, and drew   (with Snodland) so each side held the trophy for 6 months.   One of Cliffe’s team, E. Goodsell, played for Rochester and   Chatham Schoolboys in the English Schoolboys’ F.A.   Competition, and for Kent against Surrey at Maidstone.
May. Jubilee Celebrations were held on the 6th May, and   consisted of a United Church Service, Children’s Sports and   Tea, Old Folks’ Tea, Adults Sports, free concert at the   “Globe” Cinema, Bonfire and fireworks. A “Jubilee” Challenge   Cup was presented to the School for competition among the   ‘houses’.
August. Retirement of Miss E.B. Chesterton as   sub-postmistress, thereby severing a family connection of   over 60 years with the Post Office. At a public presentation   Miss Chesterton was handed a silver salver and a cheque from   friends and well-wishers. She died in September, 1946
November. A house-to-house   collection for the King George Memorial Fund realised £30.
April. A circus visited   Cliffe for the first time in living memory, and gave two   well-patronised performances.
May. For the Coronation Celebrations over £109 were   subscribed, and each child received a souvenir mug, and   there was also given a new three-penny piece by the local   Co-operative Society. After a Thanksgiving Service at the   Church, the sports programme had to be abandoned owing to   rain, but a special programme was arranged at the “Pictures”   for the children and a concert for adults in the evening.   Outdoor sports, fireworks and a fete were held later.
Retirement of Canon A.T. Wallis, rector for 22 years.   While in the village he was extremely popular with all   sections of the community, and did much to promote good   feeling between the different denominations, and started the   Annual United Open Air Service, which became so popular. He   was president of the Men’s Club since its formation, and   started the Lad’s Club. He was returned regularly at the   Parish Council triennial elections. He was also a fireman   and a special constable, and as a keen cricketer he often   played for the village Cricket Club. He was presented with a   cheque subscribed for by the parishioners, and a wireless   set in recognition of his Presidency of the Men’s Social   Club.
September. The death occurred of Mrs. Chisill, who was   the first headmistress of Cooling Street School, and retired   11 years previously.

January. Induction of Revd.   F. S. Gammon as Rector, by the Archdeacon of Rochester, and   Institution by the Lord Bishop.
Death announced of Mr. Wm Horne, of Perry Hill, a   well-known fireman, and one-time member of the Parish   Council.
Retirement of S.C. Sibson,   after having bee headmaster of the Church Schools for 30   years. He had also been Clerk to the Parish Council since   1920,and a churchwarden since 1923. He was presented  with   an electric clock by the Parish Council, and an armchair by   the Staff and Scholars of the Church Schools. Mrs. Sibson   was presented with a clock and a coffee service by members   of the Girls’ Friendly Society, of which she had for so many   years been leader, and an electric reading lamp from fellow   committee members of the Cliffe Nursing Association.
The death of Mrs. “Dave” Smith, one of the best-known and   best-liked people in Cliffe. For many years she was engaged   in nursing work in the village, and was a member of the   Nursing Association committee. She was an active   churchworker and a member of the Church Parochial Council.   For many years Mrs. Smith was President of the Cliffe   Co-operative Women’s Guild.
September. Mr C.J. Bailey,   for many years a teacher at the Church Schools, died   suddenly on Charing Cross Station while waiting for a train   to return to Cliffe after a day out in London.
April. Mrs. Evenden,   attending a British Legion function in London, was presented   to H.M. the Queen who asked, “Where is Cliffe?”
January. Presentations were   made to Dr. A. B. Rogers on his retirement after 48 years of   untiring service in Cliffe and Cooling. A collection in the   village realised £112.
April. Formation of the Cliffe and Cooling Women’s   Institute.
June. Miss G.Goodwin attended a Garden Party at   Buckingham Palace, given in recognition of the efforts of   the National Savings workers throughout the war years.
November. The death occurred of Mrs. G.M. Radford, who   helped to start our W.I. and became its first treasuer. Mrs.   Radford was also secretary of the Cliffe and Cooling Nursing   Association.
May. At the Malling Horse   Show on Whit Monday, Mr. W.R. Filmer, of Courtsole, won the   Silver Challenge Cup. The previous winner, Mr. A.G.   Batchelor, of Gattons Farm, was third on this occasion.
October. At the Ploughing Match of the Gravesend and   Rochester Agricultural Association held at “Gattons”, there   were 57 horse and tractor ploughs on the field, and for the   first time in history of the show the premier award went to   a tractor-ploughman. Mr. W.R. Filmer’s brown mare “Kitty”   was awarded the cup for the champion horse in the show.
December. On the 22nd December the automatic telephone   exchange replaced the manual exchange, which, under the   supervision of Mrs, J, Lewis (sub-postmistress) maintained   continous service, day and night, during the war years   between vital points connected with the defence of Kent and   London, and in addition the air raid warning system was   operated in conjunction with the exchange.

Death of Mr. G.H. Payne, who   had been a member of Cliffe Parish Church choir for 75   years. He was for many years captain of the bellringers, and   the care and maintenance of the Church clock had been his   special responsibility. He was also chairman of Cliffe   District of National Deposit Friendly Society.
April. Nurse A. Taylor, for nearly 20 years District   Nurse for Cliffe and Cooling Nursing Association, resigned   owing to ill-health. A collection in appreciation of her   services to the villagers realised the sum of £56 11s. 9d.   Nurse Taylor passed away a year later.
June. At the Annual Medway Youth Leaders Federation   Sports Day held at Rochester , Cliffe Youth Club gained two   1st awards, and seven 2nd and 3rd places. Cliffe’s team also   won the tug-of-war event.
September. Frankie Howerd, a well-known stage and radio   artist, paid a surprise visit to a dance held at the Men’s   Club in aid of the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund.
December. In a Pageant of Christmas held at the Parish   Church, parts were taken ny members of the congregation, two   of whom, Mr. S Baldock and Mrs. Hinkley, were over 80.

March. To avoid confusion with   Hoo, our postal address was changed from “Cliffe-at-Hoo” to   “Cliffe, Rochester.”
April. The death occurred of Mr. L. Oakey, who was not   only present at the sinking of H.M.S. Victoria in 1893, and   was at the Cape during the South African War, but, being   recalled at the outbreak of the 1914 – 1918 war, was awarded   the Medaille Militaine for services at Mons, and a   certificate for gallantry with the R.N. division in 1915.
Following the departure of the Revd. J. N. Pratt, Rector   for Cooling for 15 years, the parish of Cooling became   linked with Cliffe, and in charge of the Rector of Cliffe   (Canon F. S. Gammon).
Spending a holiday in Cliffe   which he left 27 years ago when he sailed for Australia, Mr.   Walter Loft said the biggest change he noticed in Cliffe was   caused by the chalk excavations. “Fields I used to play in   as a boy are now one big hole” he said.
While bird-watching in   Cliffe on Easter Monday, two Cliffe men, Mr. R. Hutchings   and Mr. L. Batchelor, jun. Saw a moustached warbler, a very   rare visitor to these shores. It was under observation for   half an hour. This is only the fifth recorded occasion on   which this bird has been seen in this country since its   first appearance in 1916.
June. The death occurred of Mrs. L. P. Ward, who was for   60 years a member of the church choir. She was also a   founder member of the W.I.
August. Death of Mr. A. G. Batchelor of Gattons. He was a   well-known farmer, a churchwarden, and one-time member of   the Parish Council.
September. Sheep-dog trials were held   for the first time in the district at Cooling marshes.
December. The 250 year old weather vane on the roof of   the Parish Church was takendown and repainted – the first   time for nearly 60 years.
February. Floods which   affected much of the east coast on 3rd February, submerged   the marshes both at Cliffe and Cooling. People residing at   the Coastguard Cottages were evacuated, and hundreds of   sheep had to be rescued. Collections throughout the village   to aid sufferers from the floods realised £69. For work   carried out in connection with the floods Sub-Officer J.   Witherden received Queen’s commendation for brave conduct.

The Coastguard Cottages.
The Coronation of Her Majesty Queen   Elizabeth II June, 1953

A week of revelry was given a good start by the   performance of a “Coronation Pageant” by the children of the   C. P. Infants’ School, under the guidance of the   headmistress, Miss Goodwin, and Mrs. N. Evenden, assistant   mistress who had written the pageant especially for the   occasion.

One day pupils of Miss Crickmore’s School of   Dancing gave a wonderfully colourful display, and another   evening was given over to a Camp Fire and Revels by the   scouts, Cubs and Guides.
The highlight of the Women’s Institute concert which   occupied another evening was the finale “This England”   performed in a setting of rose-covered trelliswork, and   included the singing of “The English Rose”, “Rose of   England”, “England” and “Long live Elizabeth”, interspersed   with the appearance of Queen Elizabeth I and Victoria, and   concluding with the recitation of “Our Gracious Sovereign”.
The Parish Church Bellringers organised a Military Whilst   Drive, and the week finished with a Carnival and Fete held   on the Recreation Ground (arranged by the Memorial Hall Fund   Committee) and a dance arranged by the Youth Club. In   addition to a “Darby & Joan”Party, “street” parties were   provided for all children residing in the village. At these   parties each child received a souvenir of some sort, such as   “Coronation” Crown-pieces, and also a book of information   about the district, and given by the Strood Rural District   Council. Children also received souvenir gifts from the Kent   Education Committee – the older children spoons, and the   younger ones beakers.
To commemorate the Coronation, the Girl Guides a   seat on the recreation Ground, and the Scouts a wayside seat   in Church Street. Residents of Norwood area installed   electric lighting in their bus shelter at Norwood Corner and   the Youth Club provided litter bins.
A beautiful knitted fine wool jumper designed and   made by Miss Joan Smith, of Morning Cross Cottages, was a   unique prize of “Coronation”handwork. As the illustration   shows the design included the Royal Cypher, Britannia’s   head, a lion and unicorn, garter-stars, crowns, orbs,   swords, Tudor Roses, thistles, shamrocks and daffodils, as   well as the words “Coronation, June, 1953, N. Ireland,   Canada, S. Africa, Australia.”

November. At the Brewers’ and Allied   Traders’ Exhibition held in London, first place was gained   by Mr. S Lane, of Quickrells Farm, and third place by Mr. W.   R. Filmer, of Manor Farm.   By coming first for malting barley in the Home Counties   section, Mr. Lane’s entry went on to compete with winners of   other sections from all over Great Britain and Ireland, and   in this he emerged victorious, and was awarded the 250   guinea silver championship cup. Mr. Filmer received a   diploma and bronze medal.
The Misses Rita Ayears, Gloria Batchelor and Shirley   Richards, who help in the Parish Church Sunday School,   attended Founder’s Day Festival of the Children’s Society at   the Albert Hall, when Rita and Shirely presented purses to   Princess Margaret.

The   Queen’s Homecoming – 15th May, 1954.

Many villagers (and a lot of visitors) made their way   across the marshes to watch the Royal Yacht, Britannia,   travelling London-wars, bringing home H.M. The Queen and her   husband and children after their journey to distant lands.

 The Queen Returns.
                      .........welcomed home by people
....who came in their cars.
January. Among the speakers at a meeting at the Methodist Church was Sir Richard Acland, Member of Parliament for Graves Division, of which Cliffe is part. The subject of his talk was “What Christ means to me.”
July. Although Cliffe Christian Mission   has been in existence for more than 60 years, it only became   registered for marriage this month, the first couple to be   married there being Mr. R Fox and Miss Hagreen.
December. The death occurred of Mr. C.   E. Rogers, for many years vice-chairman of the Parish   Council, and a trustee of the Parochial Charities. He was   also a circuit steward of the Methodist Church, and the   founder of Cliffe Labour Party. At the Annual Parish meeting   held the following March it was unanimously agreed that   Mr.Rogers many years of public service be permanently   commemorated.
The death also occurred of Mrs. B. Stanley, a keen   committee member of Cliffe and Cooling Women’s Institute.   Mrs. Stanley always took a great interest in amateur   dramatics, and had taken part in plays performed by the   Rochester Drama Griop, as well as those produced in the   village.
April. A seat was placed in the Recreation   Ground to commemorate services rendered to the village by   the late Mr. C. E. Rogers.
November. Alternative premises in Church   Street for use as Cliffe Post Office replaced those formally   occupied in the High Street.
This   ticket autographed by the Driver of passenger train, No.   31689, which made the last journey from Allhallows to   Gravesend on a wet and windy Saturday night.

March. After practising in Cliffe for   nearly 50 years, Dr. Arthur Boolds Rogers died at the   advanced age of 97 years. He was loved and respected   throughout the village, retiring from practise in 1945.
April. To celebrate the Coming-of-age of   our Institute, a ‘sit-down’ party was arranged for this   year. The twelve remaining Founder Members marked their   pleasure at still belonging to the Institute by presenting   new cups and saucers for use at the meetings. The Founder   Mambers were also guests of the first President and   Secretary on an outing to Lullingstone and Horton Kirby.   Work was also started at the latter end of the year on a   Banner for the Institute.
June. Work commenced on the building of   Cliffe Memorial Hall, and completion expected by Christmas.
July. The first Flower and Music   Festival ever held at the Parish Church, with village   exhibitions nearby. Mediaeval costumes worn by many.

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