In a little corner of Rochester in Kent there is a little unknown lane (in comparison to its well documented sister Rochester High Street), Horsewash Lane. As you know I love a bit of local history and have been fascinated by it for ages, however the history behind Horsewash Lane has only come onto my radar recently.
When I was little my father lived in Strood, and when returning home we’d always cross Rochester bridge, going under the subway which is the start of Horsewash Lane (opposite the Crown Pub), at the time I didn’t know it by that name. I was fascinated by that white tiled subway, as I descended the spiral stair case to it, or when I went with my mum and brother (who was in a pram at the time) down the ramp. I can’t really explain why I had a real connection with that subway, perhaps as it book ended some great memories from days out, then we returned home with the hustle and bustle of the road above, safe in our echoey subway.
Anyway I digress, Horsewash lane, I’ve investigated the history behind the area, through Medway Council Archive Centre and CityArk online, both of which note that horse washing took place at this point at the river from around 1828, as depicted in sketches found from the Frindsbury side of the river. The lane has been documented to have been there since 1548 (then known as St Clements Lane) when the Parish of St Clements declined following Henry the 8th’s united church policy. The City ark document noted that in 1851 an arch from the Church of St Clements was found when the new bridge was being built. This Lane linking to the area know as ‘The Common’ hosted many a market in its hey day including wheat, cattle, corn. It is refreshing to see that the traditional markets of Medway are being kept alive such as the Rochester Farmers Market and Rochester Flea.
Visiting the area today, it is very run down, fenced off, with no real evidence of the interesting area that it once was, it feels unloved and neglected (apart from the graffiti and the coach park). The old subway is now boxed in, the stairs removed, and a new pedestrian crossing now takes it’s place. With the new Rochester Riverside housing development, I wonder whether Horsewash Lanes new residents will even know that this place ever existed. So much of our local area is well documented, I don’t like to see those little gems not so well known, fall to the way side in our wonderful and rich local history.
The photographs I have taken show the area 2016, before further development takes place, and this area’s history is potentially forgotten.
I love being involved in anything to do with my home town and I really love food. One of best combinations of home town and food currently takes place in the Corporation Street Car Park in Rochester, yes you’ve guessed it, Rochester’s Farmers Market -Yay!
I loved wandering down today in this chilly January morning, a bit overcast but the sun finally put in an appearance.
It was good to meet some of the stall holders and supporters. The market has recently been voted by the Taste of Kent Awards one of the top three in Kent. With a some support via lots of twitter action!
Fellow twitterer Steve the Fish had a good selection of fresh fish and sea food and I took home some scallops and Whelks.
I bought a nice Cheese and Tomato focaccia and a Rosemary and sea salt Ciabatta, and some Goats Cheese.
There were crepes, from Crepe in my Face, (I recommend the Brie, Mushroom and Garlic Savory -Yum) Samosas and Chutneys from Baljinder at Cinnamon Girl, and a great demonstration of cooking crushed potatos, with Goats Cheese, greens and onions, by Sparky from Source2Sauce, with all produce sourced from the stalls at the market today. It was very yummy and I’ll definitely be making that at home!
There was also a variety of stalls selling Meats, cakes, ales, ciders, jewellery, candles, preserves, sweet things, plants and flowers, and a Gardeners tips corner.
I was intending to just pop down, take a few photos and go home and enjoy my food, but I found the atmosphere so warm and welcoming, with real community spirit, I stayed for a couple of hours chatting and sampling the food!
I have fond memories of the original flea/Farmers market at Corporation street when I was a little girl. I’m so pleased that the Farmers Market appears to be growing, and along with the revival of the Flea Market at the Gordon Hotel, it is good to see the Rochester community supporting local businesses.
Really looking forward to the next one: