Lower Upnor Through the Years

I came across some old photographs of Lower Upnor the other day and wanted to share them online. I'm not too sure when the older pictures were taken or by whom, but perhaps somebody will be able to help. They show an fantastic glimse into how upnor has changed over the last 70 or so years.

Upnor 2006.jpeg

This first picture (above) is the most recent, taken in 2006 by Alan R. Fuller of Albion Place. Not a huge amount has changed between then and the present day. The things I notice are that the pontoon at the bottom of the picture has been removed, the bushes outside the sailing club have recently been removed in order to install a disability ramp and the tree outside of the Waterfront is no longer there. There is a small yacht stored for decorative purposes on the hard area outside of the Pier which has been thre now for some time. It's difficult to be certain but I believe the covered boat on the bottom left, stored in Patman's Wharf is still present, or has been replaced with a similar looking boat.

Upnor 3.jpeg

This picture I'm unsure on the age but it's certainly after 1955, which was the year Courage Brewery merged with Barclay, Perkins & Co to form Courage and Barclay - this can be seen painted on the side of the Ship pub. The most significant change from this picture is that the houses north east of the Pier and behind the Ship are no longer there, replaced with the present Brissenden Close and Margetts Place in the late 80s.

Patman's yard is a little different, with a mound of what appears to be some kind of aggregate piled up. Some of the present day concrete yard is yet to be built but some of the yard must exist as it has been there a very long time. The photographer is also presumably standing on the (now dismantled and removed) travelling crane.

The cottages between the Waterfront and Ship have changed too, although I don't believe they have been rebuilt completely. Certainly the doors, windows and even chimney stacks have changed. From what I can recall, the inside upstairs of Upnor sailing club is resonably old, with visible beams supporting the roof.

The village green can be seen with a structure of some kind too, which I believe is a shelter. The concrete base for this still exists but not sure why it was removed.

Upnor 4 copy.jpeg

This is my favourite picture, I think that it is from around the same time as the second. The thing that I love is that you can just about see where our house now sits, to the left of the Ship.

The shelter can be seen more clearly, on the village green and the two barges give upnor a much different look. Surprisingly the dinghy park is still present although the ramp has since been converted into a pontoon.

The number of houses that would have been demolished to make way for Margetts Place and Brissenden Close seems quite mad too, it must have been quite a controversial development at the time.

Medway Regatta 2019

The Medway Regatta is a big weekend of racing for all classes of keelboat. There are races for Sonatas, Squibs, Dragons, Cruisers and even Thames Barges! The past few years I’ve focused my time underwater rather than on the water but not too many years back I used to spend time sailing dinghies on the Medway in the cadet class. This year I had the pleasure of joining my father and brother-in-law aboard Astral to participate in the Medway Challenge Race.

regatta_1.jpeg

The Challenge Race was a single held on the Sunday which allowed participants to take part in the regatta without needing to race for three full days. The course that morning was identical to that of other competitors also racing cruisers and sonatas for the full weekend but the start time was staggered and a different pennant was used to differentiate vessels. We started in to the wind in Gillingham reach and we got off the line well, with only one or two other boats around us and headed up river and out in to the estuary with about 15 knots of wind behind us. We passed a dragon which while waiting to start had collied with another and dismasted - not a good sight!

regatta_2.jpeg

It was a relaxed sail out into the estuary with the wind gradually picking up as we began to make our way past the Montgomery. We turned back towards Medway and taking advantage of the now stronger 22 knot wind had managed to keep at least one boat behind us. We were tacking down river against the tide which we had hoped would have changed before we passed sheerness point. In shallower waters we opted to reef the sails to maintain control of what was becoming a reasonably windy race.

IMG_4364.jpg

Back into Gillingham and the stronger winds and changing tide played into the hands of our immediate competitor who had a better line and cleaner wind across the line. A fantastic Sunday on the river and no shame in losing to a bigger boat! After the race we attended the Regatta Dinner at the clubhouse which was a great little opportunity to get dressed up and have a little too much wine!

Dinner.jpg

Our First Home

Quite frankly I'm confused as to why this was not on the list - it has been one of the most exciting, stressful, rewarding and challenging things that I/we have ever done. As I write, we're just over two weeks in and it's only now beginning to feel real.

Victoria and I had lived in a relatively small flat together for just over four years - almost all of our relationship. Our little flat had became a huge part of our life; through it we studied, travelled, pursued our career goals and built new friendships. We had many happy and historical moments together here, be it crazy St Valentine's Dinners, Christmas mornings or Surprise Champagne. Of course we had sadder moments too, which will always have a moment in our hearts. The flat, as it become known was something that facilitated a huge and important part of our lives; we entered as teenagers and left as young adults, professionals and with a enormously strong relationship and bond. The flat as it is now clear to us was our incubator, a small compact space providing us all the life support we need to pull through and make it in life.

Many people have asked me if I was sad about leaving, though I never felt sad I did feel aprehension for what the future holds. The feeling of aprehension was outwieghed however by the feeling of gratitude, for the space that allowed us to succeed and for those who continually support us.

Our new home couldn't be more perfect, it's everything that we wished for. The location is in the village where we both grew up, right by the River Medway and close to family. We have an office, a garden and a brilliant pub around the corner. The sense of community has taken me away, something I never realised we should even look for when buying a house. Yesterday we watched the annual fireworks at Medway Yacht Club, a great evening and only 5 minutes walk away.

I eagerly await writing more posts sharing what I hope will be more happy and exciting memories.

A Sunny Weekend!

I could totally take more weekends like this! The weather was amazing this weekend so @tigziefc and I went for a bike ride around Upnor. The first proper time we have been back since we were in our teens!

upnor_river_wall

We were planning to go to Bedgebury Pinetum but since it's a long way away and it's the first time I've had my bike out this year, we thought we'd play it safe and go somewhere locally. We of course found time for a quick beer too! (which is something you can't do in Bedgebury!)

upnor_beer