Consultation on Chatham Docks redevelopment, Wed 29 June

Peel Land & Property are hosting two open events (one is past) to understand the local community’s opinions on their masterplan for the regeneration of Chatham Docks Industrial Estate.

Peel Land & Property is bringing forward an exciting vision for the regeneration of Chatham Docks Industrial Estate. They are hosting two open events to share this vision with the local community and understand feedback and opinions on their initial early masterplan design.

Peel L&P claim that the lock gates will cease to operate beyond 2025 and are currently working with the local authority and existing port tenants to find suitable relocation options. This timeline provides an opportunity to engage and listen to the community, local businesses, charities and wider stakeholders, ensuring that the vision for Chatham Docks Industrial Estate is aligned with what Medway needs to be: a place where people want to continue to live, work and play for generations to come.

Where: Unit 4, Ground floor, The Kell, Gillingham Gate Road, Gillingham, ME4 4SA (opposite the Waterfront UTC)

When: Wednesday 29 June, 10:00am -7:00pm

If you are unable to attend, you can provide feedback via the Chatham Waters website www.chathamwaters.co.uk

MSBA Business Meeting Tues 28 June, Gillingham Marina

Please ensure your club or organisation is represented at our next quarterly business meeting, which will be at Gillingham Marina on Tuesday 28 June at 7pm. If you’d like to get a drink before the meeting please gather at the Quarterdeck bar (near the boat hoists) from 6.30pm. Depending on numbers, the meeting will most likely proceed at the marina’s Leisure Centre with its superb view of the river. The marina’s security staff will give you directions if it’s your first visit.

The agenda and minutes will be emailed out shortly. If you don’t receive the email please contact secretary@msba.org.uk with your contact details.

Jubilee Pageant, Sat 4 June

This will be a HUGE event on the Medway on the Saturday afternoon involving over 100 vessels of all sizes. The boats will form an orderly queue in Saltpan Reach at 12.30 and will then proceed slowly up to Chatham for about 15.30 whereupon there will be a Grand Cacophony. The classic gentleman’s launch Lilian will take the lead and a Switzer tug will bring up the rear. NO VESSEL THAT IS NOT REGISTERED FOR THE EVENT SHOULD COME BETWEEN THESE TWO. Please read the Notice to Mariners below for more details.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – Maritime Salute

Peel Ports London Medway invites all vessels to participate in a synchronised salute from their horns at 12:00 on Saturday 4 June 2022 to celebrate the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. All UK ports have been approached by the Secretary of State for Transport to assist in the co-ordination of the tribute. Notice to Mariners No 27 of 2022 refers.

Note this is a nationwide maritime salute and is separate from the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant organised by Tiller & Wheel on behalf of Medway Council, which will include a 21 gun salute and “Grand Cacophony” at Chatham at 15:30.

Rochester Pier collapse

We have just been informed that the brow connecting Rochester Pier to the shore has suddenly collapsed. The public pier, maintained by Medway Council, has been closed since 2019 due to the dangerous state of the structure and lack of funds to repair it.

Loss of visitor moorings at Chatham

The Rats Bay visitor moorings near Sun Pier at Chatham have now been removed by Peel Ports to make room for visiting vessels at the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant on 4 June.

Sun Pier and Rochester Pier (awaiting repair to the brow) are now the only free public moorings on the Medway, both council-run, but are not supposed to be for used for overnight mooring. At each pier a token must be purchased from a machine for re-entry to the pontoon.

Viking ship remains found at Rochester

Typical Viking ship

The Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Normans have left plenty to see in Rochester, but until today (1 April) there has been no trace of the Vikings who visited in 842 and 884 AD. Although they were unable to take the city, they stayed until 885 AD when most of them were sent on their way by Alfred the Great. A few were allowed to remain in their fortified encampment, which according to the Anglo Saxon Chronicles was “by the entrance of the city”. Unfortunately the city, being of Roman design, had four entrances so until now the site was unknown. As the Vikings came by water they would probably have used the North Gate, which opened onto the marshes now being developed as Rochester Riverside, and this has been confirmed by Kent Archaeologists today.

Could this be Guthrum’s sword?

Workmen digging near the site of Acorn Wharf have uncovered remains of Scandinavian ninth century weapons and traces of a clinker-built ship of the style used by Vikings led by the warrior Guthrum.

A spokesman for the Medway Heritage Harbour Group said, “This exciting discovery supports our claim that Rochester has considerably more maritime heritage than meets the eye. The Romans, Saxons and Normans understood the strategic importance of the location, being where Watling Street crosses the Medway. Medway Council must ensure that the site is properly excavated and protected for use by future generations of boaters.”

Mystery houseboat

The boat in these pictures is moored along the Esplanade in Rochester at a point that dries out soon after HW. It is tied up and doesn’t look quite as if it’s abandoned, but it’s an odd place to moor. If you have any information about the boat or its owner please contact info@msba.org.uk or AllMedwayMarineManagers@peelports.com

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant, Sat 4 June

Calling all vessel owners – historic, commercial and recreational! On the afternoon of Saturday 4 June 2022, the River Medway will play host to the Platinum Jubilee Medway River Pageant, featuring a parade from the lower reaches up to Sun Pier, Chatham and culminating with ‘The Great Cacophony’ – a wall of sound from ships to shore – the event will be a grand spectacle. If you are interested in taking part in the event, please register your interest no later than Friday 11 February.
The event is likely to be popular and, in order to maintain safe operations, there will be a restriction on the numbers taking part, so registration is not a guarantee of participation. The final event plan will be released once vessel registrations have been received and processed.

Do you have any old photos of the islands, marshes or piers?

Medway Council is in the process of creating a River Strategy which, once completed, will be instrumental in helping to address river user needs, monitor pollution, coastal erosion and secure future funding to protect and enhance river access locations and plan ecological improvements such as salt marsh preservation and creation. To help us understand the changing nature of the estuary and visual history of the river, we are seeking old photos of the following:

  • St Mary’s Island
  • Darnet Island
  • Hoo Salt Marsh
  • St Mary’s Island
  • Oakham Marsh
  • Burntwick Island
  • Greenborough Marsh
  • Rochester Pier
  • Sun Pier
  • Gillingham Pier

If you have any photos of these sites we would be very grateful if you could scan and send them to adam.taylor@medway.gov.uk or alternatively photos can be collected from your address, copies made and then returned to you.

This is a unique opportunity for river users to make the first contributions to the River Strategy. For any photos we use we will credit the person who provided them.

In the meantime, here are two photos: the farmhouse which once stood on Nor Marsh, taken in 1932, and Sun Pier taken in the 1960s, which we hope are of interest to MSBA members.

We look forward to hearing you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Adam Taylor, Rivers & Paths Manager