Queens Gardens

The current Queens Gardens is between the Glades and the Kentish Way bypass.

Before the Glades was built it stretched between Market Square and the Bishops Palace (the Bishops of Rochester were the Lord of the Manor) – the palace is now the Civic Centre.

The area now covered by the Glades, was the town’s cricket ground, and here is the scene of the live changing event for the famous author HG Wells, when in 1894, he says:

The agent of good fortune was “young Sutton,” the grown-up son of the landlord of the Bell. I was playing outside the scoring tent in the cricket field and in all friendliness he picked me up and tossed me in the air. “Whose little kid are you?” he said, and I wriggled, he missed his hold on me and I snapped my tibia across a tent peg. A great fuss of being carried home; a painful setting — for they just set and strapped a broken leg tightly between splints in those days, and the knee and ankle swelled dreadfully — and then for some weeks I found myself enthroned on the sofa in the parlour as the most important thing in the house, consuming unheard-of jellies, fruits, brawn and chicken sent with endless apologies on behalf of her son by Mrs. Sutton, and I could demand and have a fair chance of getting anything that came into my head, books, paper, pencils, and toys — and particularly books.

I had just taken to reading. I had just discovered the art of leaving my body to sit impassive in a crumpled up attitude in a chair or sofa, while I wandered over the hills and far away in novel company and new scenes. And now my father went round nearly every day to the Literary Institute in Market Square and got one or two books for me, and Mrs. Sutton sent some books, and there was always a fresh book to read… I cannot recall now many of the titles of the books I read, I devoured them so fast…”

(1) From An Experiment in Autobiography by H. G. Wells, 1934, Chapter 2.

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