Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chatham, in Kent, is situate upon the south side of the Medway, about 15 miles from its junction with the Thames, and 27 miles east of London, and forms one continuous town with Rochester. The town itself is neither interesting nor beautiful, as Dickens points out in his David Copperfield, but it is of great importance as a military and naval station, and is extensively fortified by a line of detached forts, intended to defend it from an enemy advancing from the south, as well as by forts on the Medway side. These fortifications are for the most part in the village of Brompton, though of late a chain of still further outlying works is being constructed. These works, as well as many of the docks, are the result of convict labour, and Chatham is one of the chief convict stations. Fort Pitt, on the W., near the Medway, is now a military hospital. The extensive barracks, two garrison hospitals, the arsenal, the gymnasium, the military school for engineers, the convict prison, and the dockyards are all included within the famous "Lines." There is a great naval dockyard at Chatham which is nearly two miles long, and has lately been largely extended in other directions. Chatham was of little importance till Elizabeth established the dockyard, and built Upnor Castle upon the other side of the river to defend it. It sends one member to Parliament. There are several brickyards, limekilns, and flour mills in the neighbourhood, and the presence of the garrison and dockyard men gives plenty of trade to the town. Traces of Roman villas and other Roman remains have been found, and in the church of St. Mary there is a monumental brass to Stephen Brough, discoverer of the northern passage to Russia. In 1667 De Ruyter sailed up the Medway and set fire to the shipping at Chatham.