Thursday, 6 January 2011

Rained Off

My visit to the reserve was curtailed early this morning as soon as I got there, it was raining steadily and didn't look as if it was going to stop, which has proven to be the case and its still raining steadily as I write this in the early afternoon.
It makes for a frustrating time with little indoors to do but at least after such a dry winter we are on the way to seeing water levels rise a little on the reserve. Despite the snow recently ditch levels have pretty much remained at mid-summer levels, which is very low, and that's not the way for a wetland reserve to head into the spring. Today's rain will help bring up the water levels out there enormously and more is forecast for tomorrow, so its a matter of enduring the boredom and knowing its doing good somewhere.

As a result I found myself looking through some old books and photograph albums and came across a couple that might be of interest to those readers that recall some of Sheppey in its better years (perhaps boring for those that don't). They should enlarge if you double click on each one.
This grainy first one harks back to the start of my last blog and the picture of the two bridges, this is the original Kingsferry Bridge that stood there before those two, taken from the Elmley seawall. Like its successors it was a combined road and rail bridge with its central section hinging upwards from both sides when a vessel needed to go through to the small Ridham Dock opposite Elmley. Evert time a train went over it it used to clatter and rattle quite noisily.

This photo shows the old Sheppey Light Railway crossing the Minster Road en-route for Leysdown, at Harps Inn in around 1949-50. The shop is still there today.

Two stops down the line, and the train is once again seen, crossing the Lower Road at Brambledown. The current Farm Shop is around 100yds past this to the right but there is no sign that the railway ever crossed there but the houses in the background are still there.

This last one shows a scene from Chapel Street, Minster village, I know not what year. This view has changed a lot and the current Minster Post Office now stands more or less where the tree is. The low building to the left of the children was originally the village blacksmiths and then in my early years was a greengrocers before being demolished. The pointed roof to the right of the children and further down the road, is that of the Bethel church, which still remains, although the houses before it are long demolished.


  1. What a grim old day Derek :-) But as you say, the water levels will go up now, my wet wood pools could do with some !

  2. Hi Derek,
    Are you sure that the (very) old bridge was hinged on both sides ? My, admittedly hazy, recollection is that it was hinged on only one side - the mainland side I think. I've looked at my old photos but they don't help. Do you have any shots of the bridge in the raised position ?
    Nice shots of the old Sheppey Light Railway. Thanks for the memories, as always.

  3. Ken, you was part right. Took me some while to find a photo, on another website, but yes it did lift from just one side. It was hinged against the middle building thing, with the lift rising towards the mainland side, so technically it was hinged on the Sheppey side.

  4. I find the history of Sheppey fascinating, thanks for sharing Derek. I wish you and yours a Very Happy New Year!


  5. Hi Derek
    I have the chapel street postcard in my loft at home ,my great uncle sent it to a family member as a postcard.He wrote on the post card explaining the fact that the little girl in white was his sister Charlotte Harcup (my gran).If my memory serves me correctly the picture was taken in the early 1920s