A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHANTRY MODEL BOAT CLUB -
BY PETER FITZGERALD - 2017
The Chantry Model Club was initially formed (in 1988) by a number of boating friends who were looking for a place to operate their model boats. In so doing they obtained permission to use the Gravesend open air swimming pool which was originally adjacent to the Gordon Promenade on Saturday evenings. The swimming pool was unfortunately closed and converted to a van park for British Telecom.
At about this time we were approached by the headmistress of The Chantry School to see if we would be interested in running a club at the school thereby encouraging pupils into the hobby of powered models. We did and this is how the club arrived at its Chantry name.
The club met to run 'round the pole' planes and radio controlled cars on Friday evenings. The adult members were however still on the lookout for suitable waters on which to sail their boats. The club remained at this venue for approximately two years; that is until the headmistress retired and the new headmistress decided to charge the club for use of the school facilities.
In January 1994 we were given permission to use the indoor swimming pool at "The Dover Road School". This however was short lived as the building in which the pool was housed was condemned as unsafe. The same year the club became affiliated to "The Thames and Medway Canal Preservation Society" and so gained the use of the Gravesend section of the canal. The following year major works were carried out to the canal and alas it became unsuitable for model boats.
When the gardens at The Gordon Promenade were restored we were given permission to use part of the lake for model boating. This however did not sit well with the fisherman who also used the lake as they claimed that our activities disturbed the fish. The club also obtained permission to use the car park of Asda Stores for running our radio controlled cars but this was stopped when Asda went to 24 hour opening. The club continued to look for suitable boating waters.
One of our club members happened to be a friend of the caretaker of "The Gravesend Boys Grammar School" so the headmaster was approached and he agreed to rent us the school indoor swimming pool on Sunday mornings. The club remained at this venue for a number of years during which time the club held a number of exhibitions using the pool and the school hall hence raising much needed funds for the club. During our stay at this venue the club membership increased considerably.
During 1968 the school applied to the government millennium fund for a grant to repair and update the pool chlorination equipment. They were unsuccessful so the pool fell into decline - becoming unsafe and unusable.
The year 2000, when the Bluewater Shopping Centre started to flourish, a number of model boat clubs applied for permission to use one of the several lakes. We were the lucky club and were given the use of a pond/lake in the water gardens: this area being where 'The Glow' now stands.
The following year the club was offered use of No.7 lake where we are at present located. The summer house was being used by the "outside grounds officer" who offered us the use of the hut whilst we were present at the lake. When the outside works were completed and the outside ground officer retired Bluewater gave us sole use of the hut on condition that we maintain it in good order and while we are required to abide by a number of rules laid down by the Bluewater establishment they have generously given us free use of the lake for the past 15/16 years.
During our time at the Bluewater lake we have added the word "Boat" to our club name so people will better know what the club is about. We are therefore now known as " The Chantry Model Boat Club'.
NOTE: The secretary would be grateful if any member of the club or any person having knowledge of the club are able to furnish any specific names and dates in connection with Peter Fitzgerald's excellent exposition of the "History of the Club'.
INTRODUCING THE CHANTRY MODEL BOAT CLUB
Our friendly Club was established in 1988 and is located at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in North West Kent, where we enjoy one of the well maintained freshwater lakes near the main complex, facilities and car parks.
The club has more than ninety members and meets March through to November on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, with coffee morning gatherings in our closed season.
We sail a full variety of model boats, except IC, as with most other clubs in the area. eg. Sail boats, including Victoria class racing yachts, Grey Navy, Submarines, Tugs, workboats, freighters and cabin cruisers to name a few.
Visitors are always welcome, and we aim to encourage new members to the hobby with our experienced members help and freely available advice.
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