‘’Northfleet’’ as a name is derived from North creek (or inlet), and the settlement on the shore of the River Thames adjacent to Gravesend was known as Norfluet in the Domesday Book, and Northflet in 1201. By 1610 the name of Northfleet had become established.
The ancient parish church (dating from the 14th century, but with work from earlier periods) is dedicated to St Botolph. As a parish it is larger in area than its neighbour of Gravesend: it covers 3000 acres (12 km²) in all. Its tower was built in 1717, after the original had fallen.The church contains a C14th carved oak screen, which is thought to be the oldest in Kent. There are also Anglican churches at Rosherville (St Marks) and at Perry Street (All Saints).
The Roman Catholic church, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and with its tower foreshadowing his Liverpool Cathedral, is built entirely of brown brick. It was constructed in 1914
Northfleet Urban District Council was set up under the Local Government Act of 1894. Within its boundaries were the hamlets of Northfleet Green and Nash Street, as well as the now built-up Perry Street; and the later estates at Shears Green, Istead Rise and Downs Road. Northfleet was merged, inter alia, with Gravesend to become Gravesham District Council on 1st April 1974.
With its situation on a busy waterway such as the River Thames, at a point where higher land came close to the river, it was an obvious place for industry to be located. The river provided water supplies and the means whereby raw materials and products could be transported. The forests of the area provided timber for various aspects of most industries.
The Romans first began to dig chalk from the area, but the making of cement came later. The industry require plentiful water supplies, and chalk as its main ingredient, both of which were to hand. When Joseph Aspdin, credited with being the inventor of Portland cement, built his first bottle kilns at Northfleet it was the beginning of a large complex of cement works along this stretch of the river.
Aspdin's became Bevan’s Works in 1853, sold on to the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers (APCM) in 1903, and taken over by the Lafarge Group in 2001.
Northfleet was by 1800 the home of numerous shipyards which had produced many fine vessels, but the docks were in decline by 1843. One such yard was owned by Thomas Pitcher, a shipwright, laid out in 1788. A list of merchant vessels built at his yard included at least 25 ships for the East Indies and West Indies services, and about the same number for the Navy. In 1839 the company was in the hands of Pitcher's sons William and Henry. The yard finally closed in 1860.
Another large employee of labour in Northfleet is the cable works. Originally Henley’s, now AEI, they occupy the land originally used by the Rosherville Gardens (see below).
In 1815 the first steamboat started plying between Gravesend and London: an event which was to bring much prosperity to the area. The number of visitors steadily increased, and in the course of the next ten years several new and rival steam packets were started.. With the regular service given by the steam packets, amenities for the entertainment of visitors began to spring up. One of those amenities was Rosherville Gardens.
The gardens were laid out in 1837 by George Jones in one of the disused chalk pits, covering an area of 17 acres (69,000 m²). Their full title was the 'Kent Zoological and Botanical Gardens Institution’. They occupied an area in what was to become Rosherville New Town (see below).
Robert Hiscock, in his ’A History of Gravesend’ (Phillimore, 1976) describes them thus:
They were a place of surpassing beauty and a favourite resort of Londoners. Adorned with small Greek temples and statuary set in the cliffs, there were terraces, and archery lawn, Bijou theatre, and Baronial Hall for refreshments, and at one time a.lake. At night the gardens were illuminated with thousands of coloured lights and there were fireworks displays and dancing. Famous bands such as the American Sousa were engaged during the season. Blondin, the trapezes performed … In 1857 as many as 20,000 visitors passed through the turnstiles in one week. By 1880 the gardens had reached the peak of their popularity … in 1901 they were closed.
During a brief revival 1903-1911, they were used in the making of early films.
A pier was built to carry these crowds ashore, and a railway station opened on the Gravesend West branch railway. It was one of the steamboats from Rosherville Gardens that was involved in a horrific accident in 1878. The 'Princess Alice' passenger steamer, after leaving Rosherville pier, was in a collison with the collier 'Bywell castle', from Woolwich. 640 people died from the collision, 240 being children. An inquest was held at Woolwich, but no conclusive reason was ever established as to the cause of the disaster at the Devils Elbow on the Thames.
Rosherville New Town
Joseph Rosher gave his name to a building scheme which began with the building of new houses in 1830. A prospectus states that ‘ this spot will ultimate become to Gravesend what St Leonards is to Hastings and Broadstairs to Margate’. That grandiose scheme did not materialise in quite that way, but the area of Northfleet still bears that name.
On Friday, the 16th of August 1941 150 German aircraft crossed over the Kent skies, to deal the worst blow to civilian life the county had experienced to that point in the war. With the formation splitting into groups to be variously challenged from Manston, Kenly , Hornchurch Biggin Hill and Hawkinge airfields, a group of Dorniers made it to Northfleet at a little after mid day.
It was reported that about 106 high explosive bombs ranging from 50-250 kilos were dropped over the town and its industrial complex. A total of 29 people were killed, and 27 injured with two schools badly damaged.
Although one would suppose Gravesend to be the main influence in the history of this club, it was in fact Northfleet that was to be responsible for the early significant accomplishment of this association.
With the opening in [ of the first section of the CTRL, which in part utilised a long-closed branch railway between Longfield and Gravesend West stations, Section II was begun. It leaves the first section at Pepper Hill and immediately turns north-westerly towards the Dartford Crossing over and under the River Thames. Here it will tunnel under the river heading towards St Pancras station in north London where a new terminus is being built, with an intermediate station at Stratford, west London. A new station is being constructed, to be called Ebbsfleet, after the name of a tributary stream of the Thames in Northfleet. Eurostartrains are scheduled to begin running over the line in 2007.
details of the Northfleet cement works
 includes details of William Aspdin’s work
A History of Gravesend (Robert H Hiscock, Phillimore 1976)
Kent History Illustrated (Frank W Jessup, Kent County Council, 1966)