heritage is cheap

heritage is cheap | 365/2011 Day 30

Aveling and Porter, as it became known, was founded in 1850 when farmer Thomas Aveling set up a small engineering works in Rochester to repair agricultural machinery. Aveling, a Kentish farmer, was dissatisfied with the portable steam engines then used to power farm machinery because the engines had to be hauled from site to site by teams of horses. He set out to make the engines self-moving, and in the process became known as the “Father of the traction engine”.

By 1858, Aveling was established in Rochester High Street with a workshop in Edwards Yard (near Free School Lane) and a foundry at what later became the Invicta Works just over the river in Strood.

The main works were moved to Strood in 1861 to give Aveling room to build his own engines and Richard Porter, having provided extra capital for the expansion, was invited to form the partnership of Aveling and Porter (source).

The faded building you see here is the main works in Strood referred to. It was demolished by Medway Council in 2010 not long after I took the picture. The council had taken ownership and for a number of years used it fo for civic purposes. Following a review and relocation of services the council no longer had any use for it. The land was worth more to them on the market without the building and so it came down. The timing was unfortunate given the rececession and what not. To date the only thing that has been developed is the empty car park you see in its place.