St Mary's Church Rooms or the 'Tin Tabernacle'

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St Mary's Church Rooms, Sole Street





Sole Street originally was just a Railway station a mile or so from the Village of Cobham near Gravesend.  The station was built in 1861 at the insistence of the Earl of Darnley for his use, as recompense for the London Chatham and Dover Railway passing through his land.  Housing soon sprang up around the station and now Sole Street has a greater population than its parent village of Cobham.

In 1888, to cater for the growing community, a smallish prefabricated Church Meeting Room, was delivered and erected near to the station in Sole Street.  It, St. Mary's Church Meeting Room, remains the only community facility in the Village. It is in desperate need of modernisation and almost a complete rebuild, as the original construction is 100 years past its (25year) life expectancy.  It is one of a very few of these buildings left.  There is another in Hythe, the Luddesdown one has gone recently, as has the one in Cuxton (now in a museum in Maidstone). Look on Wikipedia to see more - click here for the link.

The Room was opened on Thursday 14 March 1889. The Vicar at that time was the Revd Arthur H Berger - brother of the owner of the paint company of the same name!

Our combined Village (Cobham and Sole Street) has been good in raising funds locally but the lead was recently stolen from the Church roof and around £50k had to be raised to repair the Church's windows.  So now we have also to look elsewhere for the estimated £50k - £150k needed to bring this Meeting Room back to useful life and provide a community centre for the majority.

English Heritage funding was raised for another 'Tin Tabernacle': Our Meeting Room however remains 'Unlisted' which limits our ability for Lottery Heritage and English Heritage Funding.