John Speller's Web Pages London, Chatham & Dover Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - SE&CR
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The London, Chatham and Dover Railway was 198 miles in length, extending from London through Rochester, Chatham and Canterbury, to Dover. There was a branch from Sittingbourne to Queenborough Pier, and from this port and Dover boats ran to Flushing and Calais respectively, providing the company with an extensive Continental traffic. There was also an important branch from Faversham to the popular watering-places on the Kentish coast, Ramsgate, Margate, and Westgate-on-Sea. Other and smaller off-shoots left the main line at Swanley for Sevenoaks, Maidstone, and Ashford, and at Farningham Road for Gravesend.

The first Chairman was George Watson Milles, First Earl Sondes (1824-1894) from 1858 to 1874, succeeded by James Staats Forbes (1823-1904) from 1874 to 1894.

The company's locomotive works was at Longhedge, just east of Clapham Junction, and the Locomotive Superintendents were: William Cubitt (1858-1860), William Martley (1860-1874) and William Kirtley (1874-1898).

The London, Chatham & Dover was quite a late-comer to the British railway scene. It originated as the East Kent Railway whose line from Strood (near Rochester) to Faversham opened in 1858. In the same year the West End of London & Crystal Palace Railway constructed a line from Crystal Palace to Beckenham. The East Kent then extended its line to Beckenham and joined up with the Crystal Palace line. At this point the two lines merged as the London, Chatham & Dover Railway and the line to Dover was completed in 1861. In the same year the LC&DR also obtained access to London via Victoria Station.

Map of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway. To enlarge, click here
Illustrated London News engraving of Blackfriars Bridge and station at the time of opening in 1863
Spy cartoon of James Staats Forbes (1823-1904), Chairman of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway 1874-1886
London, Chatham & Dover Railway insignia on Blackfriars Bridge, 1864, including the shields of the Cities of London, Dover and Rochester, the County of Kent and "Invicta," the motto of the County of Kent. The right hand shield should have a ground of gules, not azure as currently painted.
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