Gravesham

Lost Pubs: The Railway Tavern by Nigel Rumsey

1a Railway Place, Gravesend

The Railway Tavern opened in 1881 and was tied to the Meux’s Brewery, it still features the original Meux glazed tiles. After 129 years of trading it closed in 2010 and then reopened in 2011 as D-Ream. D-Ream lasted just over a year, closing in October 2012.

It now trades as Treatz Dessert Parlour, one of two pubs in the town that have reopened as ice cream parlours.

This is just one of many pubs to have recently closed in Gravesend. Since the turn of the century 24 pubs in the town have closed their doors for the final time.

Part of an ongoing project. For more pubs go here.

Mecca-on-Thames by Nigel Rumsey

Marks & Spencer, Bluewater shopping centre

Gravesend like so many towns is caught between the twin threats of online shopping and the out-of-town mall. In our case that is Bluewater. 

Built in a former chalk quarry the Bluewater site occupies 240 acres and has 154,000m2  of sales area, making it the fourth-largest shopping centre in the UK and the sixth largest in Europe. It has 330 stores, 40 cafés and restaurants, a 13-screen cinema and parking for 13,000 cars. This is a shopping destination.

It’s something of a blessing and a curse employing 7,000 people many of whom live in Gravesend.  Yet the overwhelming majority of the stores are national or international chains so the bulk of that revenue heads of elsewhere. Bluewater serves over 27 million visitors a year, that’s a huge number of drivers on local roads, very few spending other than at the centre itself.

What to do? Gravesend certainly can’t ignore the behemoth only 5 miles west. I for one would hate to see it become a ‘theme town’ resting on its history and connection to the Thames, but I’m not sure I know the alternative.

We Are Gravesend flyer by Nigel Rumsey

This week I've started trying to get my We Are Gravesend flyers in as many shop windows and on as many noticeboards around the town as possible. If you're here as the result of seeing one please head over to my project page to find out some more information.  If you'd like to take part please get in touch. The flyer for my We Are Gravesend photography project

 

We are Gravesend : Genevieve Jones from Sierra Leone by Nigel Rumsey

A portrait of Gravesend resident Genny JonesIt's such a great feeling to have finally started my personal project about my home town, Gravesend, Kent. Yesterday I had the privilege of shooting and interviewing Genevieve 'Genny' Jones, an inspirational woman and one of the real life-bloods of our community. If there's a community event in Gravesend it's likely somewhere behind it will be Genny Jones - The Confident Queen. Genny was born in Sierra Leone and is the first, but my intention is to photograph and interview at least one person from each of the nationalities in the borough. In 2011 that numbered 40, I have no idea how many there may be now but it will be interesting finding out.

If you live in Gravesend, were born outside the UK and are interested in taking part please get in touch. However I understand not everyone welcomes immigration, it has effected the lives of residents here as it has in many towns in the UK. As I write we are five days from a General Election and immigration has featured significantly in all of the debates. If you were born in Gravesend and have lived here all of your life you'll have seen your town change significantly in the last 20 years. I'd love to meet you and hear your views.

You can read more about the project here.