Gravesend’s Pocock has plaque laid at resting place

PUBLISHED: 16:33 15 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:55 15 December 2010

Robert Pocock plaque - left to right Mr Bull, Cllr Coleman, Mr Larkin, Cllr Lambert and Cllr Hunnisett

Robert Pocock plaque - left to right Mr Bull, Cllr Coleman, Mr Larkin, Cllr Lambert and Cllr Hunnisett


Historians have, in their own words, “righted a wrong” done 180 years ago to one of the most famous men in the area.

Robert Pocock, one of Gravesend’s larger-than-life characters and its first real historian, was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave in 1830. Now a group of his successors have made sure that his last resting place is properly marked with a fitting tribute and plaque.

The plaque was commissioned by Gravesham Heritage Association, and leading member Tony Larkin was on hand with Christoph Bull, vice chairman of Dartford Historical & Antiquarian Society at Wilmington pavilion to see it installed.

Mr Bull, said: “Pocock, whose name lives on in one of the biggest pubs in Gravesend, introduced the printing press to the town in 1786, and the press’ house in the High Street has the only English Heritage blue plaque in the borough.”

Born in 1760, Pocock wrote the first history of Gravesend and Milton and ran a museum and library from his shop. But his business took a dive when he supported the watermen against the local council in a fight over a proposed pier, putting the ferrymen out of work, and the council pulled its work from him.

Coupled with a collapse of the banks in 1827 he went bust and was run out of town to Dartford where his son had a printing business.

Mr Bull said: “While there he began researching the history of Dartford and Wilmington, and he was buried at Wilmington on November 2, in 1830, in an unmarked grave. We have basically righted a wrong.”

Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr William Lambert, and Dartford Mayor, Cllr Pat Coleman, also attended the event.

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