Gravesend, Kent

Gravesend, is a town in northwest Kent, England, situated 21 miles (35 km) east-southeast of Charing Cross (central London) on the south bank of the River Thames and opposite Tilbury in Essex. Located in the diocese of Rochester, it is the administrative centre of the Borough of Gravesham.

Its geographical situation has given Gravesend strategic importance throughout the maritime and communications history of South East England. A Thames Gateway commuter town, it retains strong links with the River Thames, not least through the Port of London Authority Pilot Station and has witnessed rejuvenation since the advent of High Speed 1 rail services via Gravesend railway station. The station was recently refurbished and now has a new bridge.

Gravesend is located at a point where the higher land – the lowest point of the dip slope of the North Downs – reaches the Thames. To the east are the low-lying Shorne Marshes; to the west, beyond Northfleet and the Swanscombe Marshes. The settlement was thus established as it was a good landing place: it was also sheltered by the prominent height of what is now called Windmill Hill (see Landmarks below); although Windmill Hill still remains a dominant feature, Gravesend's highest point is actually further inland at Marling Cross, adjacent to the A2.[27]

From its origins as a landing place and shipping port, Gravesend gradually extended southwards and eastwards. Better-off people from London visited the town during the summer months; at first by boat, and then by railway. More extensive building began after World War I; this increased after World War II, when many of the housing estates in the locality were built.[28]

Gravesend's built-up areas comprise Painters Ash, adjacent to the A2; King's Farm (most of King's Farm estate was built in the 1920s); and Christianfields. The latter housing estate has been completely rebuilt over a 6-year project from 2007 to 2013. There is also the aforementioned Riverview Park estate built on the old RAF field in the south-east, in the 1960s, and Singlewell, which is adjacent to the A2 in the South

Part of the southern built-up area of the town was originally two separate rural parishes: viz, Cobham and Northfleet.