Date: 16/06/2011 Category: Arts and Theatre
The 150th anniversary of Chatham's rail links to London is celebrated in a new exhibition at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre in Strood.
It shows the struggles of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway Company to complete the line.Known as 'the Chatham' it struggled financially but it was to become one of the pioneers for the country's first commuters into London.
The original Blackfriars Bridge in the capital was built for the company and 'the Chatham's' ornate badge, incorporating the Kent Invicta symbol, was displayed at either end of the crossing. The columns, and one of the insignia, can still be seen today running parallel with the new bridge.
It was in fierce competition with the South Eastern Railway which operated a longer route into London. So strong was the rivalry that the Times described 'the Chatham' as the "Undone, Smash’em and Turn’em Over."
The two companies eventually joined forces to become the South Eastern and Chatham Companies Managing Committee, better known as the SE&CR. The new outfit's ornate livery for its engines, finished in bright Brunswick Green, made them the most eye catching in the country.
The first World War stretched the SE&CR as austerity measures came into force, with some stations closed -never to re-open.After the war it merged with other companies into what was to become the Southern Railway.
The exhibition runs from 14 July to 30 August. For further information please phone: 01634 332714.
Rail enthusiasts can also learn more about the line at a talk in September, given by local historian Bob Ratcliffe. That's on Tuesday 13 September at 7.30pm at Frindsbury Parish Hall. It's organised by the Friends of Medway Archive (FOMA) and more information is available from their secretary, Odette Buchanan,via her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org