At the junction of the A2 and the A278 Hoath Way is the Bowaters Roundabout. It's also called the Tesco Roundabout, mostly by people who don't remember Bowater's.
Bowater's was one of the main employers in the Medway Towns, along with the Dockyard, GEC/Marconi Avionics (Now BAe Systems) and Lucas CAV (now Delphi Diesel Systems). Parts of it closed in the early 1990s, making way for the new Tesco store.
The store is now open almost all the time - the only reason the car park is empty in the photo on the left is because it was taken on New Year's Day. The water tower was originally part of the Bowater's works, but was kept because it's something of a landmark in the area, and when it's lit by spotlights after dark it's a very noticeable advertisement for the store.
In the same way that everyone knew someone who worked at the Dockyard, most people knew someone who worked at Bowater's.
During the 1990s, the other parts of the complex were still used by Bowater Crest and Crest Packaging. They've now closed down, and rumours keep going round that Tesco will be expanding their store and/or warehouse over the site. These photos were taken during January 2008, before much demolition had been started on the site.
In this photo, showing the end of the main factory, the Tesco store is just to the left. The concrete blocks appear to have been put there to prevent unwanted vehicles from being parked outside or driven on to the site.
One of the odd things about the factory is its walkway, which runs above the entrance between the factory and an office block.
Looking through the main entrance, past the security post on the left, things look a little untidy but not too bad.
Walking around the offices there are a few broken windows, and the roof access door seems to have been left open, but nothing too major seems to have gone on.
Looking at the far end of the office block, there are quite a few broken windows, and the railing has been ripped off of the steps. In the background, to the left, is the main factory block. To the right is one of the lorry loading bays.
The loading bays look a little worse for wear. The concrete surfaces have been broken, and the roof is starting to break up.
There seem to be parking spaces marked in front of the loading bays, so maybe it was an overflow parking area.
Moving further along Courtney Road gives a view of the factory, with the water tower and walkway in the background. Until recently there was a warehouse at this end of the factory.
But by January 2008, the warehouse had been demolished.
Moving even further along Courtney Road, the office building next door also seems due for demolition.
As from March 2008, the demolition has apparently started in earnest. It won't be long before the site is cleared.
All photographs © 2007 - 2008 Jason Ross