CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET

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CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
Number 19 – Spring 2022

   Medway Chronicle
   'Keeping Medway's History Alive'

The Last Chatham Navy Days ● Edward Muddle ● Walter Brisac
 Chatham Town FC ● The Little Iron Chapel ● Sydney Schollar

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
CHATHAM HISTORICAL SOCIETY meets at St Stephen's Church, Maidstone Road,
Chatham, ME4 6JE on the second Wednesday of each month except January and August.
Doors open at 7:15pm and the meeting starts at 7:30pm.

News and information about Chatham Historical Society is available on the website:

Officers of the committee
President         Vacancy
Chairman          Len Feist
Hon Secretary Catharina Clement
Hon Treasurer Barry Meade

MEDWAY CHRONICLE is published by Chatham Historical Society.
Editor        Christopher Dardry
Contributors  as credited throughout the magazine.

Views expressed by contributors do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Society.
Copyright remains with the authors.
Published by Chatham Historical Society.

The Editor welcomes articles for inclusion in future issues of the Medway Chronicle.
Please submit text and images in electronic form by email to or on paper to the editor at any of the society's
meetings. (The editor prefers email.)

The Medway Chronicle is produced with the financial support of MEDWAY COUNCIL.

Front cover: HMS Endurance in the Antarctic in early 2007. She would have been at the
1982 Chatham Navy Days if the Falklands War had not caused the event to be cancelled.
LA(Phot) Kelly Whybrow Open Government Licence v1.0

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
Table of Contents
The Last Navy Days at H.M. Naval Base Chatham................................................................................................4
Edward Muddle: Chatham watch and clock maker (1709-1788)............................................................................8
History of Chatham Town Football Club 1960 - 1970..........................................................................................11
The Little Iron Chapel on the Hill.........................................................................................................................19
Sydney Schollar: Part 2.........................................................................................................................................23
Exploding the myth of Walter Brisac: Part 4.........................................................................................................24

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
The Last Navy Days at H.M. Naval Base Chatham
                                by Christopher Nickless

Forty years ago this May, The Naval Base, Chatham prepared to hold its last Navy Days.
The Naval Base and HMS Pembroke were controversially scheduled to close by 31
March 1984 and so the final Navy Days were going to be memorable. A full-scale
programme of events had been prepared for Sunday 30 May and Monday 31 May 1982.
As usual there were to be events in the Arena, such as the Field Gun Competition and the
Royal Marines Reserve were to Beat the Retreat. River trips were planned on Royal
Naval Auxiliary Service vessels and visitors could go round Number Three Basin on
board HMS Egeria. As it was to be the last Navy Days, the organisers had planned to
increase the variety of ships for people to explore. Amongst the vessels to be open
included a missile destroyer, frigates, minesweepers and a submarine. Ships from France,
Belgium and the Netherlands were to augment those from the Royal Navy.

                                    Plan of the site

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
The plan above from the official Souvenir Programme shows the proposed position of the
ships that would be open to visitors. You will see that a berth in Number Three Basin
was allocated to HMS Endeavour, the Red Plum as she was affectionately known. She
was expected to return to her home port, Chatham, after deployment as an ice patrol ship
in the South Atlantic. Sadly, in the Defence White Paper of 1981, she was scheduled for
disposal on 15 April 1982.

                               HMS Endurance by Barker

HMS Endurance, was under the command of Captain N J Barker and he was of the
opinion that the withdrawal of his ship would encourage Argentina to think that Britain
was no longer willing to defend the Falkland Islands and might invade. His view was
rejected by the Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher. History proved
Captain Barker right. On Tuesday 23 March 1982, HMS Endurance sailed as full speed
to South Georgia to deal with an Argentine presence. Matters escalated rapidly thereafter
and by Friday 2 April the Falkland Islands had been captured by the Argentinians.

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
The Navy Days were cancelled and a number of ships which were to have been at
Chatham were sent to the South Atlantic.

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
The poignancy of the whole matter is here further enhanced. The Berth in Number Three
Basin for HMS Endurance was right next to that allocated to HMS Coventry pictured
below. HMS Coventry, a Type 42 Destroyer was commanded by Captain D Hart-Dyke.
In the Navy Days programme, we learn in his own article that his ship had just returned
from Exercise Springtrain in the approaches to the Mediterranean. HMS Coventry
steamed to the South Atlantic. On Tuesday 25 May 1982, just five days before she was
scheduled to have been in Chatham Naval Base, she was sunk by bombs released from
Argentinian Skyhawks, with the loss of 19 members of her crew that day and a further
member of the crew who died later from injuries received.

                                    HMS Coventry

The Falklands were later liberated and on Friday 20 August 1982, Chatham gave HMS
Endurance a heroine’s welcome as she sailed up the Medway to her home in the Naval
Base. Sadly, there was no happy homecoming for 255 British Service Personnel who
died during the conflict.
May they rest in peace.

In the end the final planned Navy Days at Chatham Dockyard never took place, and the
dockyard ceased its naval role in 1984. Today, however, the Chatham Historic Dockyard
is a heritage site and has preserved much of its naval history. This year would have been
the 40th anniversary of the final Navy Days.

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
Edward Muddle: Chatham watch and clock maker (1709-1788)
                                 by Catharina Clement

Following a recent enquiry about a Chatham made eighteenth century clock, I decided to
write an article on this man who appears to have been a skilled artisan.

Edward Muddle was born at Rotherfield, East Sussex into a family of clockmakers. He
served his apprenticeship along with his two brothers in the family business. It would
appear that Edward moved to Chatham around 1740. In 1743 he married Elizabeth Hack
at St Mary’s Church, Chatham. The couple had eight children all baptised in St Marys,
but four died young. By 1756 Edward’s business was thriving and he purchased property
on Slickett’s Hill, Chatham. He also held property he had inherited at Biddenden, which
allowed him to vote in parliamentary elections for Kent.

His business was getting sufficient orders for him to take on apprentices in the 1760s.
The first of these was William Roberts, who he took on in 1761 for a period of seven
years; the standard length of an apprenticeship at the time, which usually commenced at
age 13 or 14. His second recorded apprentice was Thomas Robins, who he took on in
1766 and was later also to become a master watchmaker in Chatham.
Many of Edward Muddle’s clocks have come up for auction over the last few decades
and show some exquisite work.

                Example of one of his watches c. 1760 sold in Germany

In 1764 Edward was asked to repair St Nicholas Church clock in Strood and was paid 10
shillings for the privilege. A legacy of his clockwork remains in the form of the Corn
Exchange clock in Rochester High Street. Originally designed for Sir Cloudsley Shovell
in the seventeenth century, the clock was in need of urgent repair by 1771. Three local
men were asked to supply estimates and Edward Muddle was selected to take down,
thoroughly clean and repair the town clock. This was completed by May 1772, but
instead of just repairing the clock it would appear he replaced the original clock with a
round dial.

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
He was appointed to maintain the new clock annually and do any necessary repairs at a
fee of fifty shillings per annum.

                         Courtesy Medway Images, C050966309

His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1770 and Edward remarried Margaret Toke in 1772 at
Burwash. The couple continued to live in Chatham and Edward carried on making
clocks and watches for the better off. There are several contemporary newspaper reports
of his works being the subject of thefts with sizeable rewards for their recovery. The fact
that so many of his pieces are still around today is testimony to his workmanship and the
fine example below was the subject of our recent enquiry.

                 Images of the “enquiry” clock, courtesy of Peter Roffey

CHATHAM Medway Chronicle HISTORICAL SOCIETY - 'Keeping Medway's History Alive' - NET
Another indicator of his ability as a craftsman, was the number of properties he managed
to acquire in the Medway Towns during his career. This can be discovered from the Sun
Fire insurance policies he took out. In 4 January 1774 Edward took out a fire insurance
policy, which described Edward as a clock and watchmaker of the High Street in
Chatham. The policy was for £300 to cover his dwelling house and also £100 for two
private tenements under one roof at the upper end of Nags Head Lane, St Margaret’s,
Rochester. A further policy on 9 December 1777 covered: first for £100 to cover
Edward’s household goods in his dwelling house; second for £150 to cover four private
houses adjoining Slickolds Hill (probably Slicketts Hill) in Chatham in the tenure of
Plummer and others, constructed of timber with a tile roof; third for £100 to cover two
private houses adjoining Gads Hill in Gillingham in the tenure of Coote and others,
constructed of timber with a tile roof; fourth for £250 to cover two private houses in King
Street, Chatham in the tenure of Mears and others, constructed of brick with a tiled roof;
fifth for £100 to cover one house on Smithfield Bank in Chatham in the tenure of Stubbs,
constructed of brick with a tiled roof; sixth for £100 to cover three private houses behind
the last in the tenure of Whitfield and others, constructed of timber with a tiled roof.

By 1783 he had sold his business and retired to Rotherfield, where his will drawn up that
year describes him as a gentleman. He died there a few years later in 1788.

Please visit if
you want to find out more information on Edward Muddle.

History of Chatham Town Football Club 1960 - 1970
                            by Pat Byrne (CTFC Historian)

Chatham Town start new decade in the Aetolian League

The Chatham Board & Committee had high hopes that the higher standard of the
Aetolian League would bring about improved fortunes for the club and attract increased
attendances. This certainly was to be the case. However, little did Chatham know at the
time this decade would see them play in three different League Competitions, the
Aetolian League, the Metropolitan League and the reformed Kent League.

Chatham Town sign Don Rossiter ex Arsenal & Brentford player

Don Rossiter was born in Strood and was a prominent schoolboy footballer playing for
Medway District Schools, Kent Schools & England and he signed professional forms
with Arsenal and later played for Brentford & Gillingham. Don was a keen local
businessman and wanted to concentrate more on his company and decided part-time
football would be better for him. Don’s non-league clubs took in Dover, Ashford,
Tunbridge Wells before ending up at Chatham Town. It was at Chatham Town where Don
led a strong Chats revival in the Aetolian League picking up Aetolian League Cup
Winners medal & League runners up medal and was instrumental as a senior player in
helping develop Chats legends Don Buxton & Hughie Stinson which eventually saw
Chats lift both Aetolian League & Cup. Don’s man management did not go unnoticed by
the Chats Board and he returned for six months to manage the side, however business
developments and his rising career in local politics meant Don leaving the club to
concentrate on his outside interests.

The Aetolian League was a short-lived football league in the south east of England. It
was established in 1959 after the Kent League had folded, leaving a number of clubs
without a league to play in, this included Chatham Town. The league had two divisions,
although Division Two consisted mainly of the reserve teams of clubs in Division One
together with the now defunct Medway Corinthians. There was no promotion or
relegation between the two divisions but the champions tended to try and move up a
league like the Metropolitan League which was considered the next step up in terms of

Chatham Town win Aetolian League & Cup

Chatham Town played for five seasons in the Aetolian League where they finished 8th in
their first season in 1959/60 season, the winners were Snowdon Colliery Welfare, a name
blast from the past and a great friendly rival of Chatham but sadly no more as the team

folded once the colliery closed down alongside Betteshanger. Chats continued to improve
at this level finishing runner-up in 1962/63 and eventually winning the title in 1963/64.
Chats also enjoyed considerable success in the Aetolian League Cup by completing a
famous double in 1962/3 season plus finishing runners-up on 4 occasions which meant
they reached the final in all five seasons during their Aetolian tenure. Chatham Town
players featuring during that double winning season included Bill Farnfield, Bill Moys,
Butch Burbidge, Hughie Stinson, Barry Judges, Brian Payne, Micky Bull, Derrick Smart,
Don Murfet, Don Buxton, Peter Campbell & Michael Howard and of course the manager
was the great Ernie Morgan who went on to take Dartford to Wembley fame in the FA
Amateur Cup Final.

During this period the former Gillingham all-time goal scorer of the time Ernie Morgan
joined Chatham Town as manager to replace Don Rossiter and during his tenure at the
club he introduced many fine professional methods to training, behaviour on and off the
pitch and managing to entice former Gills player to the club and it was Ernie who
brought in John Adams who was to have a good career as a player and manager at
Chatham. Ernie was also responsible in bringing in Bill Farnfield, Bill Moys, Butch
Burbidge, Hughie Stinson, Barry Judges, Brian Payne, Micky Bull, Irvin Gray, Derrick
Smart, Don Murfet, Don Buxton, Brian Williams & Sammy Moore to name a few which
many are still remembered by Chatham’s mature supporters to this very day.

            Chats League Winning Season 1963/4 Top Five of the Final Table

  Pos      Aetolian League         P     W         D   L   F     A    pts
   1       Chatham Town            22    16        4   2   73    24   36
   2          Herne Bay            22    16        3   3   70    23   35
   3        Cray Wanderers         22    15        5   2   76    27   35
   4        Sheppey United         22    12        4   6   64    49   28
   5          Ford United          22    12        2   8   55    38   26

Chatham Town join the Metropolitan League

Chatham started life in the Metropolitan League for the 1964-65 season and they were to
come up against some famous names which included Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal &
West Ham United who fielded an ‘A’ side which was to be their third team, these teams
were a combination of youth, reserve or players suffering loss of form from the first team
or returning from injury. Over the period Chatham Town played in this league many
famous names would play on the hallowed turf of Maidstone Road Ground, they
included from Tottenham Hotspur Frank Saul (who scored an FA Cup Final goal for
Spurs in their 2-1 win over Chelsea in 1967), 1961 Double players Bill Brown
goalkeeper & Ron Henry full-back, Jimmy Pearce, Derek Possee, Keith Weller, Roger

Hoy who would go on to play for the various First Division teams also Roy Moss would
go on to play for Chatham in his later years. Arsenal played a young Bob Wilson in goal,
John Radford forward & Ian Ure played after returning from injury who would play for
Arsenal & Manchester United and represent Scotland at full international level. West
Ham United played a young Harry Redknapp, Trevor Brooking & Frank Lampard Senior.

Metropolitan League also included Wimbledon who in later years would rise up through
the Leagues and win the FA Cup in 1988, Stevenage Borough who would go onto play in
the Football League, Gillingham reserves who were to lift the Metropolitan League in
1964-65 thus gaining promotion to the Football League Combination. Charlton Athletic
fielded their reserve side which also drew much local interest and Dartford who finished
bottom in the first season of 1964-65. Chatham were to finish 9th in their inaugural season
in the Metropolitan League in 1964-65. Chatham had beaten Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’ 1-0
in front of 750 but lost the return 4-0 at Cheshunt the Spurs Training Ground, Chats beat
Arsenal 2-0 in front of 650 and drew 0-0 away at Highbury and Chats beat West Ham 2-0
at home in front of 500 and lost the away fixture 2-1 at Chadwell Heath.

Chatham’s Board & Committee were pleased with a mid-table finish and more
importantly the attendances that brought in extra revenue when Arsenal, Tottenham
Hotspur & West Ham United ‘A’ teams came to Maidstone Road though Gillingham
reserves was the highest attendance at 1,575.

Chatham Town win away at Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’

Chatham’s Board & Committee were again looking forward to the home visits of
Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur & West Ham United but would miss the income that
Gillingham reserves would have brought in. The second season saw Chatham finished in
12th place but recorded two great away victories with a 1-0 win at West Ham United ‘A’
and a splendid 3-2 win at Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’ in a game that saw Colin Boswell a
future Chatham Town secretary and Kent Football Association Director run the line. This
was an historic victory that gained many column inches in the local press and the
Tottenham Hotspur line-up included Spurs double winners Bill Brown in goal &
defender Ron Henry and Derek Posse who went on to play for Millwall and Peter Collins
who collected a League Cup Winners Medal with Spurs in 1973, Roger Hoy also was in
the Tottenham line-up and he went on to have a long career at Crystal Palace, also Roy
Moss who was to end his playing career at Chatham wore the Spurs shirt on that day. The
game was played in the morning with an 11.30 kick-off at Cheshunt on 23rd March 1965
on a brisk cold sunny day at the training ground of Tottenham Hotspur Spurs led 1-0 at
half-time. The second half saw Chatham’s best display of the season as they won 3-2
with Chats goals coming from Buxton (2) and one from McWhinnie. The Chatham Town
side that day was Fullager, Ainsley, Burbridge, Stinson, Judges, Lillis, Campbell, Buxton,
Williams, Payne & McWhinnie. Despite good results against the big three, Chatham had
higher hopes than the final twelfth position.

Chatham were to really struggle in their third season in 1965-66 season as they were
coming up against seasoned professionals and young up & coming talent eager to
impress and make their mark in the game. The Chatham Board & Committee were trying
to help manager Ernie Morgan bring in better players but the club were to finish twelfth
with Bury Town crowned champions. Highlight again was Chatham winning 1-0 at West
Ham United’s Chadwell Heath Ground with Hughie Stinson Chatham’s captain scoring
the winning goal. Chats lost both games against Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at home in front
of 800 and Spurs got their revenge on last season’s home defeat by beating Chatham 5-1
at Cheshunt. Chatham were to draw 0-0 with Arsenal and lose 2-0 in the away fixture at
Highbury. The highlight across the country was that England won the World Cup in
1966. Bexley United hammered Chatham 6-2 to knock Chats out of the first stage of the
FA Cup.

The 1966-67 season saw the Chatham Town Board & Committee having to tighten up the
budget as player cost had risen significantly due to higher match fees & expenses, and
Chatham let some senior players leave. Some Board members had considered whether
Chatham should join the reformed Kent League and to cut their cloth accordingly but the
vote was to continue in the Metropolitan League that brought big gates with the big three
of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur & West Ham United and with Sheppey United & Cray
Wanderers attracting good attendances as well as they had both joined the league and
were former rivals from the Kent League days. Chats drew an away tie at Margate in the
FA Cup and were beaten by 2-1 as Chats FA Cup record over the last sixteen years saw
fifteen first round losses out of sixteen.

Chatham Town were to beat West Ham United 2-0 who had a young Harry Redkapp,
Trevor Brooking & Frank Lampard all in their line-up and all three were to go on and
serve West Ham United well with Trevor Brooking going on to play for England, Chats
also drew the away game 1-1 with Tibby Harcos scoring Chats goal. Chatham were to get
another 5-1 hammering at Tottenham Hotspur but the return game at Maidstone Road
saw Chats run out 4-1 winners in front of the biggest gate of the season with 950 in
attendance as Don Buxton was outstanding and he netted an outstanding individual goal
which resulted in applause by all the spectators and the Tottenham Hotspur management
team. The team were to finish a disappointing third from bottom in 15th place.

Chatham Town final season in the Metropolitan League

In the close season, the Board & Committee agreed to give the Metropolitan League one
last effort for the 1967-68 season as they felt the side had improved and finances
remained steady due to some large attendances. The FA Cup saw a large crowd in excess
of 1,000 turn up for the visit of Maidstone United which Chats ran out 4-2 winners but
the cup run was halted in the next round as Chats lost 2-1 at Tonbridge. Chatham had a
quick double set of fixtures early season against Tottenham which saw Spurs win both

games, Arsenal drew both games 0-0 with Chats and West Ham won the first encounter
2-0 at Chadwell Heath, however Chatham struggled yet again winning just six games
drawing seven and losing thirteen to finish third from bottom again and the only
consolation was that Chatham were to win their final game of the season at home to West
Ham United in a below average attendance for this fixture which drew 450 spectators,
this was several hundred short on previous years. Chatham Town beat West Ham United
2-1 in what was to be their last game in the Metropolitan League game.

The Board & Committee met at the end of the last game of the season and agreed
unanimously to resign from the Metropolitan League and to re-join the Kent League. The
Board & Committee agreed it had been an exciting adventure and the supporters enjoyed
seeing Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur & West Ham United but the club needed new
challenges and the Kent League would also provide more local derby games which itself
would generate much needed funds and reduce player expenses.

           Programme cover from the Metropolitan League – Chats won 2-0

Complete Metropolitan League Tables during Chatham Town’s tenure 1964-1968

                          Final Metropolitan League 1964-65
                                      P     W D       L     F    A    Pts
   1    Gillingham Reserves           42 31 4         7 149     58    66
   2    Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’         42 30 3         9 129     39    63
   3    West Ham United ‘A’           42 29 4         9 107     52    62
   4    Bury Town                     42 26 6        10 85      56    58
   5    Arsenal ‘A’                   42 23 6        13 98      53    52
   6    Wimbledon                     42 23 6        13 100     76    52
   7    Bedford Town                  42 21 6        15 91      76    48
   8    Woodford Town                 42 19 9        14 94      93    47
   9    Chatham Town                  42 19 9        14 79      84    47
   10   Chertsey Town                 42 18 6        15 105     108   45
   11   Chelmsford City               42 18 6        18 82      66    42
   12   St Neots Town                 42 13 14 15 66            66    40
   13   Dunstable Town                42 15 9        18 72      89    39
   14   Charlton Athletic Reserves    42 14 8        20 74      98    36
   15   Guildford City                42 13 9        20 82      83    35
   16   Romford                       42 15 5        22 70      93    35
   17   Dartford                      42 10 11 21 91            112   31
   18   Metropolitan Police           42 10 9        23 66      94    29
   19   Cambridge City                42    9 10 23 59          108   28
   20   Luton Town Reserves           42    9    7   26 72      123   25
   21   Stevenage Town                42    8    7   27 62      123   23
   22   Bexley United                 42    6    9   27 39      122   21

                     Final Metropolitan League 1965-66
                                 P     W D       L     F        A     Pts
   1 Bury Town                   36 29 5         2 108          27    63
   2 Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’       36 28 3         5 123          35    59
   3 Brentwood Town              36 25 7         4 101          46    57
   4 West Ham United ‘A’         36 25 7         4    85        34    55
   5 Arsenal ‘A’                 36 21 8         7 107          54    50
   6 St Neots Town               36 21 5        10 83           62    47
   7 Wimbledon                   36 19 3        14 95           74    41
   8 Chelmsford City             36 15 6        15 80           74    36
   9 Woodford Town               36 17 2        17 64           84    36
   10 Barnet                     36 13 7        16 69           72    33

11   Sheppey United              36    13   7   16    63   88    33
12   Chatham Town                36    12   7   17    68   78    31
13   Metropolitan Police         36    13   4   19    75   67    30
14   Dartford                    36    9    5   22    61   105   23
15   Stevenage Town              36    8    7   21    50   91    23
16   Bedford Town                36    8    6   24    64   108   20
17   Hatfield Town               36    6    6   24    58   121   18
18   Chertsey Town               36    5    7   24    54   109   17
19   Dunstable Town              36    3    6   27    43   122   12

               Metropolitan League Final League Table 1966-67

                                 P     W    D   L     F    A     Pts
 1   Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’       32    20   6    6   102   45    46
2    Arsenal ‘A’                 32    20   5    7   91    41    45
3    Brentwood Town              32    20   4    8   75    41    44
4    Bury Town                   32    16   8    8   73    46    40
5    West Ham United ‘A’         32    16   7    9   73    36    39
6    Hatfield Town               32    16   7    9   67    47    39
7    Sheppey United              32    14   9    9   62    55    37
8    Bedford Town                32    13   8   11   60    46    34
9    Cray Wanderers              32    14   6   12   60    75    34
10   Wimbledon                   32    15   3   14   65    73    33
11   Metropolitan Police         32    11   9   12   42    48    31
12   Crittall Athletic           32    11   3   18   40    62    25
13   Woodford Town               32    10   3   19   47    78    23
14   Chelmsford City             32    7    7   18   46    77    21
15   Chatham Town                32    8    5   19   35    69    21
16   Hillingdon Borough          32    6    5   21   29    73    17
17   Stevenage Town              32    5    5   22   43    98    15

        Chatham Town Final Tables in the Metropolitan League 1967-68

                                 P     W    D   L     F    A     Pts
1    Chelmsford City             26    17   4    5    56   25    38
2    Bury Town                   26    15   7    4    56   26    37
3    Tottenham Hotspur ‘A’       26    15   3    8    53   40    33
4    Cray Wanderers              26    12   8    6    50   35    32
5    Bedford Town                26    15   1   10    59   42    31
6    Metropolitan Police         26    13   3   10    66   61    29
7    Hatfield Town               26    12   2   12    49   45    26
8    Arsenal ‘A’                 26    9    6   11    46   48    24

9   West Ham United ‘A’            26    10   4     12    39    41     24
    10   Wimbledon                      26    8    6     12    35    46     22
    11   Sheppey United                 26    7    6     13    43    68     20
    12   Chatham Town                   26    6    7     13    23    46     19
    13   Crittall Athletic              26    7    4     15    36    49     18
    14   Brentwood Town                 26    2    7     17    18    57     11

Chatham Town join the Kent League

Chatham Town were back in Kent League football for the 1968-69 season and hopes
were high amongst Board, Committee & Supporters as the club introduced some new
players and the club had a new feel about the future going forward. Everyone was
looking forward to seeing the return of old friends and foes which included Sheppey
United, Sittingbourne, Slade Green, Deal Town, Dover Athletic, Kent Police &
Crockenhill to name a few.
The Chats squad included Carey, Ainsley, Franks, Lamb, Wyatt, Burbidge, Lillis, Gray,
Styles, Driver & Stolley and they finished in 5th place in a league of 18 teams. The team
played 34 won 20 drew 6 lost 8 scored 80 goals conceding 52 and amassed 46 points.
The FA Cup record continued to be dismal as another first-round exit at the hands to
Sittingbourne at home by six goals to one. It was another decade near completion and
the seventies were to see some exciting times at the club and the return of much needed

Chatham Town lose Kent League Cup Final

In the Kent League Cup Chats reached the quarter-finals and recorded a resounding 6-1
win over Ramsgate reserves with Styles getting a hat-trick, Driver (2) and a Parsons
penalty, the Chats faced Faversham in the semi-final who had beaten Chats soundly twice
that season. However, Cup football is always full of surprises and Chats ran out 3-2
winners in a pulsating game in front of 892 spectators. The Kent League Cup Final was
on 16th May against Kent Police at Sittingbourne, the referee being no other than Ray
Cocup a well-known Football Association League referee from Gillingham. The game
was quite even until the midway through the second half where the Kent Police took hold
of the game through two quick goals to end Chats dream of glory. The Chats side was
Carey, Ainsley, Franks, Campbell, Wyatt, Parsons, Lamb, Styles, Driver, Stollery &
Burbidge (Gray was sub), the attendance was 832. This was the start of returning to a
brighter future on the field of play.

The Little Iron Chapel on the Hill
                                     by Brian Joyce

I spent my first ten years living in Luton, but in 1959, we moved up to the Darland
Estate. However, my sister and I continued to attend Luton Primary School, which meant
a walk down “the Steps” to Beacon Road, down Church Hill and along Luton Road to
the School.

My ten-year-old curiosity was roused by a green painted iron building at the corner of
Beacon Road and Church Hill, but with the Range Rider and Beano taking precedence, I
did nothing about it. Now I am slightly more mature, I have the time to satisfy my

Although “the Beacon” area was technically part of Luton in the late nineteenth century,
it was effectively an autonomous community, separated from the rapidly expanding
village of Luton by a steep bank, with an even steeper bank behind it leading up to

Before Luton Lane was surfaced, widened and renamed Luton Road, Beacon Road had
been the main route from Chatham Hill to Luton village. It was originally named Lidgin
Road and led to Lidsing and Bredhurst via Wagon Lane (later renamed Ash Tree Lane).
Beacon Hill, a side road, led down into Luton village.

By the 1890s, Beacon Road had lost its previous significance as a through route but was
still home to a variety of economic activities. There were several farms along its length,
including those of George Auger and George Barnes. The chalk cliffs behind the latter
enabled him to diversify into lime burning. He also owned a steam laundry on the site,
giving Barnes a 400-foot frontage to Beacon Road.

Other businesses included the “chalk hole” belonging to John Dunstall, a Chatham High
Street coal and lime merchant.

There was also a significant community of “gipsies”, living in what the census
enumerator called “travelling vans” in 1891.

By 1890 there were some respectable residents of the Medway Towns who had come to
believe that the Beacon’s chalk diggers and lime burners, agricultural labourers and
“gipsies” were somehow outside the civilising influences of organised religion.

Thus in 1892, Wesleyan Methodists from the Canterbury Street church in New
Brompton, created a mission in a cottage on Beacon Hill. Around fifty-five worshippers
began attending regularly, and there was a flourishing Sunday School of seventy-eight
children and a Band of Hope, which attempted to wean locals away from the evils of

Eventually, the mission outgrew the cottage, and a subscription fund was started for the
building of a chapel and either by accident or design, a plot of land was acquired a few
doors east of the Beacon Arms beerhouse.

By then, it was possible to purchase prefabricated buildings of all descriptions off the
shelf. From a firm in London, the Beacon Wesleyan Mission bought a small, corrugated
iron chapel capable of seating 120 worshippers. This would have been shipped to
Chatham or Gillingham stations by train and then collected and taken by road to the
Beacon. It was then erected on a concrete base by the firm of Edward Seagers, a
Chatham builder.

The foundation stone was laid by the Mayor of Chatham in May 1894, and after efficient
work by Seagers’s labourers, the opening service was held a few weeks later. By this time
£184 had been raised towards the £500 cost of the chapel. The rest would need to be paid
off by collections, further subscriptions and donations and fund-raising events such as the
annual Christmas concerts.

One assumes that the Chapel’s building costs were paid off eventually, but ongoing
maintenance and renovation would have incurred further costs. The gradual decline in
non-conformism after the First World War would have affected attendance, but the chapel
survived as a place of worship well into the 1950s. Eventually it closed, the building
being occupied in the 1960s by Wheaton Ltd, television aerial installers, which could be
interpreted as a sign of the times.

The “little iron chapel on the hill” has long been demolished, as has its parent church in
Canterbury Street in Gillingham.

Sydney Schollar: Part 2
                                        By Len Feist

After a recent lengthy chat with a fellow Schollar’s employee, Colin Palmer, I bring you
my further memories of the business. Mr Schollar took over the business of Hugh & Rees
who operated from premises in Rochester High Street along the part known as Chatham
Intra. These premises were later occupied by Summer & Co, stationers and typewriter
sales and repairers. A man I knew worked for many years in that location; he was Arthur

This acquisition increased the number of shops that had to be delivered to, which led to
an increase in staff. At this time David Drewett took over the cheese cutting from me,
which meant I had more time to spend on the bacon section of the business. We had
bacon from abroad; Holland, Ireland and Poland, as well as home produced products. I
must say the boxed backs of bacon from Poland were the best because they cut them so
there was less of the streaky on them. You got what you paid for although it did come
with fat and was not always popular.

I had a couple of other jobs at Schollars as well, not hard work though at my then
youthful age, ordering the jams from the producers. James Robertson & Sons (the jars
have changed somewhat today and no longer show the inappropriate golly) were the
manufacturers and I would see the representative to give him Schollar’s order of the
different types required, including catering size tins. I can’t recall his name, but the other
representative was a Gerry Mellor from Oxo. They sold little cubes and are still found on
supermarket shelves today as well as spread to put on your toast-Marmite has since then
become the main spread producer.

I remember ordering from many of the producers still in business today; Heinz for beans
and soup, Hartleys for jam, Golden Meadow for butter, Stork for margarine, Tate & Lyle
for sugar, Birds for custard, Pearce Duff for blancmange and jelly, Chivers for jam and
marmalade, Ovaltine for your bedtime drink, Cadburys for chocolate, Bisto for gravy and
the list could go on. Perhaps you can remember others. Some of these brands have been
taken over, but the names still sit on our supermarket shelves.

Exploding the myth of Walter Brisac: Part 4
                              Walter’s demise and memorial
                                 by Catharina Clement

However much esteem Walter Brisac was held in, it did not prevent him dying a pauper
in abysmal circumstances in the ‘hovel’ called his home at 51 The Mount, Chatham.

                                   The Mount, Chatham

                Reproduced with permission of Medway Archives Centre

At the inquest into Walter’s death the coroner said in regard to the ‘cottage’: ‘It certainly
was no credit to the town. One could scarcely realise any town possessing a Sanitary
Authority permitting such places to exist; especially an important place like Chatham.
He had never seen a worse case in his long experience.’ J. Holroyde, Medical Health
Officer for Chatham, replied in the newspaper the following week: ‘Early in June 1891, I
reported the condition of this property, and urged that the houses should no longer be
used as human habitation’. In fact, he advised the case went to court but was thrown out
on a technicality.    Chatham Health Committee Minutes for 6 th June 1891 read:
‘Recommended that the two cottages Nos. 51 and 52 The Mount mentioned in the above
Report be declared unfit for human habitation and that the usual notices be given by the
Town Clerk to the owners and occupiers of these cottages requesting them to be closed.’
The gap in the above photo was probably where these two cottages stood.

The inquest described conditions in the cottage as: ‘consists of two rooms- one upstairs
and one down- was entirely destitute of furniture. In the upper room, where the body
was found, there was nothing but a few rags and old coats. The lower room was strewn
with books , while under the window was to be seen the poor old fellow’s pedlar’s box,
containing the few humble commodities which comprised the deceased’s stock in trade-
representing the whole of the old man’s worldly possessions.’ Police Sergeant Benger
noted: ‘There was no food of any description in the house. There was neither candle or
firing.   The place was entirely destitute of bed or bedding.        The body was quite
uncovered and was lying on bare boards.’

Just eighteen pence was found in the cottage at the time of the discovery of Walter’s
body, but on the Thursday after his death whilst making arrangements for his funeral two
of the policemen found his bank-book tucked in the window frame. Walter had held an
account with Chatham Saving’s Bank from 1860 and on that morning showed a balance
of £3 4s. The Chatham News’ journalist assumed he had not touched this amount, saving
it for his funeral to avoid a pauper’s burial.    According to the Burial Board records
Walter died on 5th December 1893 and was interred at 2.30pm on the 9 th December. His
funeral was paid for by the relief officer of the Burial Board at 8s 8d. Although the
pedlar’s licence placed his age at 61 on his death, from his father’s affidavit and the 1881
census it is evident he was seventy when he died.

Despite these funds in Walter’s bank, he was given a pauper’s burial in Section P (where
all the paupers were interred) Plot 162. Apparently, the people of Chatham raised a public
subscription for this eccentric, reclusive, but kindly gentleman, soldier and pedlar to
ensure he had a decent headstone. On 28th February 1894 the Burial Board approved the
inscription for Walter’s headstone, but this could not be placed in a pauper’s grave. The
same minutes indicate that an Emma Hubbard purchased the above plot on 14 th March
1894, presumably to ensure the headstone could be erected.          Who was this elusive
benefactor? No report of the public subscription raised is to be found in any of the local

papers, which is rather puzzling. Was this another myth?

Even the idea that the people of Chatham rallied round to give Walter a decent send-off is
now no more than folklore. A discovery on a family history website has shed much light
on this elusive benefactor, Emma Hubbard.         In 1932 Arthur Hubbard wrote down the
tale his mother had told him many years earlier and so we now know she was solely
responsible for his headstone. She presumably read of the tragedy in the national press
and being descended from the same Brisac lineage (the link stems back to France in the
late seventeenth century) felt compelled to provide Walter with a decent burial and
memorial. ‘When she heard of his (Walter’s) death, my mother would not allow him to
have a Parish Funeral. She bought ground for his grave in the cemetery of the Burial
Board of the District of Chatham Extra, in Kent. We have the Certificate of Purchase. It
gives her the exclusive right of burial in the grave space in Section P. numbered 162 on
the plan, at the burial Ground, situate on the Maidstone Road, Chatham. The document
is dated 14 March 1894. She also set up the gravestone, and wrote the epitaph. It stood
thus, though I have to omit the date, and she, knowing little, had to omit nearly
everything else.’

                                     Walter de Brissac
                               Soldier - Pedlar – Gentleman

Without the philanthropy of this Victorian lady, it is unlikely that Walter would still be
remembered today. Sadly, the headstone is no longer in Chatham cemetery alongside the
boundary of Chatham sports ground. Possibly removed for health and safety reasons or
because the lease on the plot had expired. Perhaps Coles Finch concluded there was no
story to be told. However, on the 120 th anniversary of Walter Henry Largent Brisac’s
death it is time that his history, warts and all, was finally written.   Characters like this
rarely exist, who can motivate and inspire not only a town, but several generations.
Whatever the story, a plaque to commemorate this mysterious ‘gentleman’ in either the
cemetery or the Town Hall Gardens, where he often plugged his wares, would be a fitting
tribute and remind future generations of one of Chatham’s more eccentric characters.

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