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BROMPTON THEN AND NOW: INNER LINES & SALLY PORT
By Ben Levick

Brompton High Street Wood Street & River Street Westcourt Street & Middle Street Prospect Row & Garden Street Mansion Row & Maxwell Road Inner Lines & Sally Port Melville Court & Manor Street

The name Inner Lines was originaly applied to all the open area immediately behind the defensive ramparts of Chatham Lines. This area was intended for the mustering and manouvering of troops for the defense of the fortifications, and were initialy kept free of buildings. As time went by some buildings, mainly miltary, appeared here, although much remained open, some eventually becoming the Officers' or Garrison Gardens.
The Sally Port was a defensive gateway in the Chatham Lines between Wood Street and Fort Amherst, built to allow troops to "sally forth" and counter-attack or outflank any troops attacking Fort Amherst or Chatham Lines. Later the name was applied to the road leading from the juntion of Military Road and Garden Street across to the gate and the Great Lines.

Holy Trinity Church, Inner Lines/Sally Port, Brompton, c. 1910 and 2010

Tinted postcard photograph entitled Old Brompton, Inner Lines and Trinity Church comprising a view of Holy Trinity parish church, Military Road (later Maxwell Road) and the Inner Lines, looking north-north-east, showing in fore and right middle grounds and right distance path leading through avenue of trees and in the left middle ground Military Road, church and spire. The buildings at the left side of the picture are the Conway Hall and Trinity Church School buildings.
In December 1868, by permission of the Secretary for War a portion of the inner line of fortifications, adjoining Fort Amherst, Chatham, was been set apart as a recreation ground for the use of the officers connected with the garrison. The avenue of trees was part of this Victorian park which included carriage drives and tennis courts.

Inner Lines/Officers' Gardens c.1910

Inner Lines/Officers' Gardens 2010

The open land behind King's Bastion is now much more overgrown than it was, although the line of the tree-lined avenue can still just be made out. It seems many of the trees may have been felled, but allowed to spring back up, effectively coppicing them. The most distinctive landmark of the earlier picture - Holy Trinity Church - is long gone, but some of the school buildings can still be seen to the left, incorporated into the modern housing development.


Inner Lines/Sally Port c. 1912 and 2011

This view is taken from the open area behind the King's Bastion of Chatham Lines, looking north to the Sally Port and the Garrison Gymnasium. The Gymnasium was built in 1863.
It is a postcard photograph entitled 'Sally Port and Gymnasium' comprising a view of the Garrison Gymnasium and Royal Engineers’ offices looking north-east across Inner Lines towards Sally Port. In the foreground sheep are grazing on Inner Lines, in the middle ground a shrubbery, wooden fence and clump of trees partly hide the R.E. offices. In the left middle-distance is the gymnasium and in the right middle distance inner side of the Sally Port guardhouse.

Inner Lines c.1912

Inner Lines 2010

The view has changed substantially since the old photo. Perhaps the only remaining feature are the 3 trees in centre of the shot. The Garrison Gymnasium is still there but is now hidden by the Army housing built between 1930s and the 1970s


Garrison Gymnasium, Late 19th Century and 2010

Photograph of Garrison Gymnasium looking north-east across Inner Lines towards the building, showing in the foreground a civilian bystander looking at camera, in the middle ground the gymnasium and in the left distance trees and structure adjacent to Brompton Road/Wood Street. It was built by Matthews and Sons of Dover, government contractors in 1863 and opened in 1864.
April 2, 1863
By direction of the Duke of Cambridge, a number of non-commisioned officers are to be selected from the battalions at Chatham garrison in order that they may undergo a special course of training to qualify them as instructors at the military gymnasium which is about being established at Chatham.
The new gymnasium, the erection of which has been commenced, will be placed in an appropriate private spot within the Inner Lines of fortifications, and within a convenient distance from the several barracks in Chatham garrison.
The building will be one of the most commodious establishmets of the kind yet erected, and will be adapted in a complete manner for carrying on the physical education and training of the officers and troops according to the suggestions and recommendations of the Army Sanitary Commissioners.
The main building will be close to 200 ft. in length, and will include a school of arms 100 ft. long by 50 ft. wide, together with a separate gymnasium, with a prepared soft floor, of exactly the same dimensions. Communicating with the two large rooms will be an officers fencing room 50 ft. by 25 ft., together with dressing and other rooms for officers and men, as well as instructors' and other apartments. The whole will be surmounted by a handsome square tower, rising to the height of 70 ft.
The builder is Mr. A. Mathews, of Dover, and the plans and drawings were prepared at the Royal Engineer Establishment, Chatham. It was designed by Archibald Maclaren. The whole is to be completed and ready to be taken possesion of by the Government in eight months from the contract being signed.

The Garrison Gym, c.1865-1900

The Garrison Gym, 2010

The view of the gymnasium in the 19th century is impossible to recreate today due to the building of housing that has occured in the mid and late 20th century, obscuring the view of it. The Building itself seems to have remained substantially unchanged.


The Sally Port Guardhouse Between Kings Bastion and Prince Edwards Bastion c.1906 and 2010

This photo shows the rear of the guardhouse, just behind the Sally Port. Although the Sally Port gate, rampart and ditch were destroyed in 1906 to allow a road across the Great Lines, the guardhouse (or blockhouse) remained until the late 1950s.

Sally Port Guardhouse, c.1906

Sally Port Guardhouse, 2010

The guardhouse is long gone, demolished in the late 1950s or early 1960s and since then the land has become rather overgrown with self-seeded trees and bushes.


The Sally Port Guardhouse c.1950 and 2010

Although largely derelict, the Sally Port Guardhouse remained an imposing feature between the Great Lines and Brompton until the 1950s.

Sally Port Guardhouse, c.1950

Sally Port Guardhouse, 2010

This car park was built on the site of the Sally Port Blockhouse after its demolition in the early 1960s.


The Sally Port c.1906 and 2010

The Sally Port during the final stages of demolition in January 1906. The gate and rampart are almost entirely gone, although the guardhouse is still an imposing structure dominating the view. Behind the guardhouse the spire of Holy Trinity Church can be seen.

Sally Port, c.1906

Sally Port, 2010

This is the view looking towards the site of the Sally Port guardhouse from the Great Lines. The bridge over the ditch would have been just behind the car.


The Sally Port Guardhouse c.1906 and 2011

This view is looking along the front of the guardhouse, in the 'courtyard' between the guardhouse and the gate. The bridge seen in the picture joins the guardhouse to King's Bastion. This photo was taken at the time of the demolition of the gate and the northern bridge to Prince Edward's Bastion in January 1906.

Sally Port, c.1906

Sally Port, 2011

By January 2011, the guardhouse has long since been demolished and the brickwork of King's Bastion has been lowered since the days of this being a defensive gateway.


Brompton High Street Wood Street & River Street Westcourt Street & Middle Street Prospect Row & Garden Street Mansion Row & Maxwell Road Inner Lines & Sally Port Melville Court & Manor Street

 
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