G-Travels - Stop #1

Thread: G-Travels - Stop #1

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  1. #1
    Member David S's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Kent, UK

    G-Travels - Stop #1

    I live in Ashford, Kent, in the UK. Ashford grew up around the railway; there were at one point three different companies running trains through the town, each with their own line, station, carriage works etc, and a lot of this land still remains unused.

    There are a lot of old railway buildings still standing, like these carriage works:

    When these works were built, the railway company also built a model village to accommodate their employees. This is a view across the village green at 'Newtown':

    The railway works are to be redeveloped, and a lot of the buildings have already been demolished (but would have been mainly engine sheds like the ones in the previous pictures). There are also a number of other ancillary buildings, like the clock tower at the main entrance to the works:

    In the town centre a lot of the older buildings remain:

    Although there is the mix of different ages of building found in so many British towns, with the inevitable shops built in the 60's/70's/80's – when town planners seem to have allowed anything, no matter how ugly, to be thrown up.

    The church in the distance in the last picture, St Marys, is right in the middle of the town, but very well hidden away-I'd lived here some time before I even knew it existed.

    One of the town's less salubrious drinking establishments:

    A 'man of Kent' comes from the part of Kent East of the River Medway, a 'Kentish Man' from the part to the West.

    Following the first World War, towns which had raised funds for the war effort were rewarded with a tank-Ashford's was driven into place in 1919 (but has since had it's engines and guns removed!), and for some years contained an electricity sub-station.

    Another left-over from the war are these anti-tank defences, which would originally have been along the sides of roads or railway tracks. These ones, known as 'dragon's teeth' would have originally been alongside the railway line to Maidstone, and were removed when the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was built.

    The River East Stour runs past the end of my road:

    Further downstream the river merges with the Upper Great Stour to form the River Stour, which goes on through Canterbury and into the sea near Sandwich. Where the two rivers merge there is a mill:

    No longer a working mill, the building is now used as a nightclub. This isn't the only mill in the town; the Willesborough Windmill is less than a mile away. It is open to the public, and a small amount of flour is still produced.

    Running through Ashford is a 'green corridor'. This is made up of green spaces and parks, protected by the council from development (no great loss to developers, as it is prone to flooding!). In the largest of the parks stands the Hubert Fountain, originally constructed for the Second Great International Exhibition in 1862, and moved to the town in 1912.

    The town centre has undergone a certain amount of redevelopment in recent years; a new shopping centre has been built, an controversially, some of what was the ring-road has been changed into a 'shared space'. The idea is that all barriers between vehicles and pedestrians are removed, as are signs, markings etc., and as a result road users show more consideration for each other. It even made the national press when Jeremy Clarkson put in his (un-suprisingly critical) tuppence worth.

    As part of the town centre development, a number of pieces of installation art have been put in. My favourite of these is 'The Bolt', which serves as a mini-roundabout.

    On the outskirts of the town stand the Eastwell Towers, originally the gatehouse for Eastwell Place which was a Royal residence for some time. The house has long since been demolished, and a hotel now stands in it's place.

    The nearest church to my house:

    This was built for the railwaymen; however, the pub directly across the road was finished a year earlier (the church is behind the trees in the background):

    The railway is still central to Ashford. The Eurostar stops here, and there are direct services to Lile, Brussels, Calais & Paris. The 15:07 from Paris, leaving for St Pancras:

    I decided to decide who to send the watch to next randomly, and threw a couple of die to decide. Then I realised that there were more people on the list than I'd thought, so I used a random number generator to pick. Amazingly both methods picked the same person! So tomorrow I'll be posting the watch to Sjors.
    'I never done it'

  2. #2
    Member tribe125's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Re: G-Travels - Stop #1


    You've really dug into Ashford's history there. I used to like exploring Newtown when it was semi-derelict, but the railway engineering works were still intact. It was a pretty notorious slum for many years but I rather liked it.

    Pledge's flour mill was still operating when I was a boy. It was the main brand in the area. Each packet contained a little ticket that gave you something off the next bag.

    The moped next to the tank is parked where I used to park my Lambretta when I came into Ashford.

    And naturally I've had a few jars in both the insalubrious Man Of Kent and The Locomotive.

    That's a great kick-off to the resuscitated Travels.

    Regards to Alice. And your wife of course...

    (For others - Ashford is around twelve miles from my home town of Tenterden. I went to secondary school there for seven years.)
    I used to list my watches here until I realised it ruined people's Google searches...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Re: G-Travels - Stop #1

    Great post & pics David !

  4. #4
    Member Jakpro's Avatar
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    Jul 2009

    Thumbs Up Re: G-Travels - Stop #1

    Those are some really cool pictures!! I feel like I just visited.

    A lot of great history there--you are lucky.

    thanks for sharing them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    NW USA

    Re: G-Travels - Stop #1

    stupendous job. some of the most engrossing forum travel writing i've ever read. (and trust me, surf some motorcycle boards and you'll be reading a lot of travelogues! )

    your pictures and text worked so well that i couldn't recall the songs on the radio for the last 10 minutes if my life was on the line! we are in for a treat if the future installments are similar.

    "It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in providence, than to see their real import or value." - HEGEL

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    New York City

    Re: G-Travels - Stop #1

    terrific history lesson. THanks for sharing!
    Couple of watches here and there

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  7. #7
    Member casiophile's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Alpharetta, GA, USA

    Re: G-Travels - Stop #1

    Very cool post! Interesting about the tank...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Re: G-Travels - Stop #1

    This is the best traveling watch post I have ever read. I love seeing and learning about far away places. The world is large and small at the same time.

  9. #9
    Member KVM888's Avatar
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    Sep 2007

    Re: G-Travels - Stop #1

    Wonderful story and thanks for the excellent pictures.

    best regards,

    Kirk M.

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  10. #10
    Member WhtShadow's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    South Carolina

    Re: G-Travels - Stop #1

    Great job! Thanks for sharing. The history and such was really interesting. Looking forward to more of this fun!

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