- Philip MacDougall
15th November 2019
The modern town of Gillingham grew up on the banks of the River Medway around the Royal Naval Dockyard of Chatham, most of which actually lay within Gillingham. The sixteenth century saw the expansion of the one-time fishing and farming village of ‘Jyllingham’ into a town. The population of the town expanded as the dockyard, with its accompanying fortifications around the Medway, grew, and today Gillingham is the largest town in the Medway area.
In this book Philip MacDougall investigates Gillingham’s past, including many lesser-known and secret events, including a hidden English warship sunk by the Dutch when they invaded the Medway and that was still under the foundations of the dockyard; the prison hulks for convicts and prisoners of war moored in the River Medway, off Gillingham; an attempt to turn the town into a seaside resort to rival Margate; Jezreel’s Tower and the unusual sect that built it; the country’s worst death toll from a single bomb dropped in the First World War; and failure to prepare the town for the threatened mass bombing of the Second World War.
Secret Gillingham explores the lesser-known episodes and characters in the history of Gillingham through the centuries. With tales of remarkable people and unusual events, and fully illustrated, this book will appeal to all those with an interest in this town in Kent.