Location

The location of Gravesend is at a point where the higher land – the lowest point of the dip slope of the North Downs – reaches the river bank. To the east are the low-lying Shorne Marshes; to the west, beyond Northfleet and the Swanscombe Marshes. The settlement thus established because it was a good landing place: it was also sheltered by the prominent height of what is now called Windmill Hill (see Landmarks below); although Windmill Hill still remains a dominant feature, Gravesend’s highest point is actually further inland at Marling Cross, adjacent to the A2.

From its origins as a landing place and shipping port, Gravesend gradually extended southwards and eastwards. Better-off people from London visited the town during the summer months; at first by boat, and then by railway. More extensive building began after World War I; this increased after World War II, when many of the housing estates in the locality were built.

Gravesend’s built-up areas comprise Painters Ash, adjacent to the A2; King’s Farm (most of King’s Farm estate was built in the 1920s); and Christianfields. The latter housing estate has been completely rebuilt over a 6-year project from 2007 to 2013.

Part of the southern built-up area of the town was originally two separate rural parishes: viz, Cobham and Northfleet.