The Weare Family of High Brooms

I recently recieved an email from Ted Weare, whose family established and ran the High Brooms brickworks from 1862 until its closure in 1968.


Ted Weare and family in 1947

I was looking up my father’s details yesterday, as it was the 100 years anniversaryof the formation of the RAF.  He was in the list of people who shot a lot of planes in World War One.

High brooms was started by my Great-Grandfather in 1862 and it was turned into
High Brooms Brick and Tile Co Ltd in 1885. He was connected to John Smith’s, the
Tadcaster brewery. His Brother also founded John Smith, a very large company. It 
was in the same street.
He came to Tunbridge Wells but died in 1891.   He left a will, which was in force for
62 years until his son Frank Weare and his wife (a first cousin once removed) Mary
Louise Smith both died. In that period the control of HBTC was held by a trust. The
shares were left to my father 50% and 25% to his two sisters.
I was the last Weare to be Director of the Company. I spent 5 years at business
School and emigrated to South Africa, where I consulted to the Office of the State
President, the SA Reserve Bank and almost the whole banking sector.  I returned
to the UK 20 years ago and live on the south coast.
With kind regards,
A G (Ted) Weare
Building bricks of the future
Ted also supplied me with the following newspaper article, although undated it gives an overview of the area at the time after the pits had shut:

Building bricks of the future

While the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company may no longer exist the big business certainly  left its mark on the area’s landscape.

In the 1950s the bustling business based at the bottom of North Farm Road employed hundreds of High Brooms residents. A strong male workforce were given the sweaty tasks of digging two pits of rich Wadhurst clay by hand and throwing the building blocks  into moulds in sheds and firing them in kilns.

At its peak the brick-making sheds were churning out 100,000 bricks a day. These were used to make such landmarks as the Blackwall Tunnel and the Kent and Sussex hospital in Tunbridge Wells.

Due to the large number of people and the comparatively small size of High Brooms at the turn of the century the business had constructed more homes in the area and many staff working there at the time of the coronation lived in these houses. Made of red bricks made only a few metres away these buildings can still be seen along Powdermill Lane. The houses are distinctive in design and bear the company’s logo.

While there may be few traces left of the large structure and it’s huge pits which were closed in 1968, the site continues to be the heart of industry in High Brooms. It was eventually bought up and in the 1970s the pits were filled in and factories and warehouses built upon them. Today, firms such as CK Litho are based there and the brickworks former raining base is now the reception of PK Motors.

While many people living in High Brooms today may not have to endure such straining work, most can still be considered to be hard-working. However, rather than walk to work most of them now drive to nearby towns or use the station to commute into London.

Many, also, may no longer grow up, live and work together, life-long resident of High Brooms Doris Jones, 76, claims a great community spirit remains from those heavy industrial days.

She said: “It is a good place to live. People are still sociable but nowadays they go to work and they come home tired and at the weekends they like to get… and unfortunately the article is cropped there so you will have to guess what Doris said!


Ted Weare at home in 1955

High Brooms Brickworks Staff 1955

High Brooms Brickworks Staff 1955

If you have something to contribute to this blog, or just want to let me know you are enjoying it feel free to comment below, email me at or send me a message on twitter to: @HighbroomsSoc



Written By: Edward James Gilbert, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: June 5, 2016

S Maarshall fishmonger poulterer Bedford Road Southborough undated

There have been many interesting little shops in High Brooms, and the fishmonger and poulterer’s shop of Sidney Marshall was certainly interesting indeed. The photo of his shop shown opposite was taken in the 1920’s when his premises were on Bedford Road.

From the late 19th century up to the time of WW II the family name of Marshall was well represented. A sample of the 1901 and 1911 census for example shows thee branches of the Marshall clan in High Brooms engaged in the trade of butchers, fishmongers and poulterers, as well as other occupations.

The first branch was that of George Marchall, a general labourer, born 1849 in Shirburn, Oxfordshire, and his wife Sarah Ann, born 1870 in Pyrton, Osfordshire, who by 1911 had been married 21 years and had eight children. A review of birth records shows that the family came to High Brooms from Pyrton in 1901 and while living in the town had two sons and two daughters between 1903 and 1908. The eldest son Robert Joseph Marshall in 1911 was working as an assistant fishmonger and living with his parents and siblings in a five room residence at 63 Southview Road.

The second branch was that of Evan Marshall, a butcher and poulterer, born 1861 in Farnham, Surrey and his wife Ellen, born 1865 in Tunbridge Wells. At the time of the 1901 census Evan was the proprietor of a butchers shop at 17 Forge Road. At the time of the 1911 census taken at 9 Western Road, High Brooms Evan and his wife were living in premises of five rooms at 9 Western Road where Evan was the proprietor of a butcher and poulterer’s shop and employing others. By 1911 Evan and his wife had been married 29 years and had four children, including a son Douglas George,age 21, born in Rusthall in 1890, who was working for his father as a butcher, and a daughter Nellie, age 19 who was a dressmaker. He also had a son Evan Marshall born 1883 in Tunbridge Wells who by 1911 was working in the area as an ironmongers assistant.Directories of 1918 to 1922 gave Evan senior as a fishmonger at 154 London Road. The 1930 directory gave Evan as a fishmonger at 154 London Road and a fried fish dealer on Western Road. The 1934 Kelly just listed Evan as a fishmonger at 154 London Road. No 1938 listing was found for him in the trade directories.

The central figure in this article. Sidney Marshall, was from the third branch of the Marshall clan. Sidney’s birth was registered in Tunbridge Wells in the 1st qtr of 1898. Based on the 1911 census, he was one of four children born to Charles and Charlotte Marshall, who had been married in 1895. At the time of the 1901 census, Charles was operating a butchers shop at 124 London Road and was still there at the time of the 1911 census. Charles had been born 1863 at Rowledge,Hampshire and his wife Charlotte 1860 in Southborough,Kent. Their children were (1) Reginald, born 1896 in Southborough (2) Beryl Elsie, born 1897 in Southborough (3) Sidney, born 1898 in Speldhurst (4) Charles, born 1901 in Southborough. Sidney and his two youngest siblings were all attending school in High Brooms at the time of the 1911 census.

Tracing the whereabouts of Sidney after 1911 proved to be a challenge as he does not show up in local directories until 1930. He was not for example found in directories of 1918 or 1922 in Southborough. Because of the year he was born he would have been age 16 when WW 1 began in 1914 and it is speculated with some degree of certainty that he enlisted for service in WW 1, possibly with the Queen’s Own RWK regiment. No military records were found for him, which is not proof he did not serve in the war, for most of the records were destroyed by bombing in London during WW II.  It is known that he was living in Tunbridge Wells after the war for in the 4th qtr of 1928 he married Elsie Agness O’Bryan in Tunbridge Wells.  The photo of his shop on the corner of Bedford Road and Western Road presented at the top of this article is a view of his first shop taken in the 1920’s. It is interesting to note that even at this late date  he had an open front shop and displayed his poultry etc out in the open without the aid of refrigeration. Shown opposite is a modern view of the same building, which at the time this photo was taken the building had converted into residential use.

By 1930 Sidney relocated his business to 100 London Road. He is listed as a fishmonger there in directories of 1930 to 1938 and appears to have retired from business by the time of WW II.

Probate records for Sidney have him of 17 Western Road, Southborough, when he died on December 9,1962 at the Kent & Sussex Hospital. The executor of his 17,896 pound estate was his widow Elsie Agnes Marshall. Sidney was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium on December 13,1962.

Sidney’s wife Elsie Agnes Marshall, who had been born October 3,1901 in Tunbridge Wells, died January 1978 in Tunbridge Wells and was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium on January 16,1978.


Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada

Date: January 2,2016




Fanny Elizabeth Harrison (1844-1933) had been born in Maidstone. She was the daughter of Richard and Mary Ann Chittenden (1825-1903) In 1851 she was living with her mother and brother Richard at the home of their widowed grandmother Nancy Chittenden, in Maidstone.

By 1861 Fanny had left the family home and at the time of the 1861 census was working as a domestic servant at the George Harriett residence in Maidstone.

In 1870, at Maidstone, Fanny married a gardener  by the name of Charles Sankey Harrison. The couple had four  children namely Fanny Elizabeth, Margaret Nancy, Charles and Minnie. By 1881 however Fanny’s husband ended up at the Kent County Asylum Barming Heath, Maidstone, and when he  died in Maidstone in 1886 Fanny was left with the young children to raise on her own, and to do this she worked in the early 1880’s as a laundress.

In 1882 she moved to Southborough and by 1891 had  premises at 119 St Johns Road in Southborough where she was the proprietor of a  bake shop.  The 1899 Kelly directory gave her as a  baker at 60 High Brooms Road. By 1901 she and her three daughters and mother moved to 3 High Brooms Road where they opened a bake shop. Their shop was located in a 2 sty red  brick building on the south east corner of High  Brooms Road and Yew Tree Road. Her daughter Minnie worked as an assistant in the shop; her daughter Margaret worked as a dressmaker at home and her daughter Fanny worked as a milliner. Fanny and her daughters Minnie and Margaret were still at 3 High Brooms Road at the time of the 1911 census.

Directories of 1913 and 1918 gave Fanny as a baker at 1 & 3 High Brooms Road. Directories of 1922 and 1930 gave Fanny at 1 & 3 High Brooms Road where she had  both a  bake shop and a post office. Fanny was still at this address when she passed away November 18,1933.

Today her old bake shop is a shop no more. The large shop window was removed and replaced by a smaller window and the wall bricked in. Today the shop is three flats.



Fanny Elizabeth Chittenden was born 1844 in Maidstone,Kent. She was the daughter of Mary Ann Chittenden(1825-1903) Mary Ann Chittenden was born 1825 in Maidstone and was the daughter of Nancy Chittenden, born 1791 at Boxley, Kent. Fanny  had a brother Richard, who had been born 1851 in Ashford,Kent. Fanny was baptised September 4,1844 . He mother’s name was given in the baptism records but no father’s name was given, however the baptism record for her brother Richard of August 24,1871 at Holy Trinity Church in Maidstone gave his parents as Richard and Mary Ann Chittenden. Mary Ann Chittenden also had a sister Charlotte, born 1804 in Maidstone.

The 1851 census, taken at Pudding Road in Maidstone gave the widow Nancy Chittenden as the head of the household and was working as a nurse. With her was her daughter Charlotte, age 47, of no occupation. Nancy’s daughter Mary Ann Chittenden, given as unmarried, was also there as were two of Nancy’s grandchildren Fanny Elizabeth Chittenden,age 7 and Richard Chittenden, age 4 months. Also there as boarders were three members of the Borman family.

At the time of the 1861 census Fanny Elizabeth Chittenden was working as a domestic servant in the Maidstone home of George Harriett and his family.

In the 2nd qtr of 1870 Fanny Elizabeth Chittenden married Charles Sankey Harrison at Maidstone. Fanny and her husband had the following children (1) Minnie, who was  born 1871 in Maidstone. She was baptised May 14,1871 at Maidstone. She never married and died in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1942. (2) Margaret Nancy, who was born 1873 in Maidstone. She was baptised at Maidstone on March 23,1873. In the 2nd qtr of 1934 she married James Sutton in Tunbridge Wells. Margaret N. Sutton died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1959. (3) Charles was born 1875 in Maidstone. He was living with his mother and two sisters at the time of the 1881 census but died before 1891. (4)Fanny Elizabeth was born 1882 in Tunbridge Wells and was living with her mother and two sisters at the time of the 1891 census and by 1901 was working as a milliner in Southborough while living with her mother and two sisters. She left the family home before 1911.

The 1871 census, taken at 1 Romney Place in Maidstone gave Charles Sankey Harrison as the head of the home. With him was his wife Fanny Elizabeth and their daughter Fanny Elizabeth. They along with one other non -family member were living at that time as lodgers with the Baldwin family. Charles was at that time working as a gardener.

Charles Sankey Harrison(1844-1886) had been born at Hollinbourne, Kent, and was one of 10 children born to Edward Harrison (1813-1867) and Elizabeth Frances Harrison, nee Banner (1812-1890).

The 1881 census, taken at 166 Union Street in Maidstone gave Fanny Elizabeth Harrison as married but her husband was not with her. She was working as a laundress at that time. Also in the home was her three children Minnie, Margaret and Charles. So where was her husband? Well the 1881 census shows that he was an inmate at the Kent County Asylum at Barming Heath, Maidstone. He died in Maidstone in 1886, leaving his wife to raise their young children on her own.

The 1891 census, taken at 119 St John’s Road in Southborough gave Fanny as a baker. With her were her children Minnie ,Margaret and Fanny and her widowed mother Mary Ann Chittenden, a retired nurse. Minnie was at that time working as a laundress; Margaret was a baker shop assistant and Fanny was at school.

Sometime after 1891 Fanny and her children moved to High Brooms. A directory for 1899 gave the listing “Mrs Fanny Harrison, baker, 60 High  Brooms Road, High Brooms”. By 1901 she and her family  took up residence at 3 High Brooms Road where on the main floor Fanny was the proprietor of a bake shop, and over it they had living quarters. A photograph of this shop, at the south east corner of High Brooms Road and Yew Tree Road is shown in the “Overview” section of this article. This photograph was taken in 1915. In the window of the shop can be seen painted signs advertising Fry’s Chocolate, a product that my family always had in the kitchen cupboard. At the curb  can be seen parked a motorcycle with a sidecar and against the wall is a bicycle. In the distance along High Brooms Road can be seen an old lorry and further along a horse and wagon. This building like most others in High Brooms was built of red brick, produced at the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company.

The 1901 census, taken at 3 High Brooms Road gave Fanny as a baker on own account at home. With her was her daughter Minnie who was working for her mother as a shop assistant. Also there was Margaret who was a dressmaker on own account at home and Fanny who was working as a milliner. Also there was Mary Ann Chittendenm a 76 year old widow and Fanny’s mother. A nephew by the name of Alfred R.Chittenden, age 19 was also there and working as a drapers porter.

The 1911 census, taken at 3 High Brooms Road gave Fanny as a baker shop keeper. With her was her daughter Minnie who was assisting in the business and Margaret who was a dressmaker on own account. The nephew Alfred Richard Chittenden, age 29 was also living there and working as a drapers porter.


Local directories of 1913 and 1918 gave the listing “ Mrs Fanny Harrison, baker 1 & 3 High Brooms Road. Directories for 1922 and 1930 gave the listing “Mrs Fanny Harrison, bakers and post office, 1 & 3 High Brooms Road.

Probate records gave Fanny Elizabeth Harrison of 1 High Brooms Road, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells, died November 18,1933. The executor of her 577 pound estate was her spinster daughter Minnie Harrison.

The  building in which Fanny had her bake shop and post office was later converted into three flats, a use that it retains today. As can be seen from the modern photograph (above) of the building opposite the big shop window was removed and replaced by a smaller window and the gap bricked in.


Written By; Edward James Gilbert – Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Nugent Sisters

Nugent Sisters

Sisters Ruth Hannah, Esther Mary, and Grace Nugent were three of ten children born to Francis William Nugent (1846-1922), a grainer and painter of Lambeth London, and Barbara Hannah Nugent, nee West (1848-1930). All of the Nugent children had been born in Brixton, Surrey and it was sad to note that of the ten children only six had survived by 1911,five daughters and one son, and that none of the daughters ever married.

By 1891 Ruth left her parent’s home and worked as a drapers assistant in Hove,Sussex and by 1901 worked for a drapers business in Huntingdonshire as a bookkeeper and cashier. In 1891 her sister Esther Mary Nugent was still living with her parents and six siblings at Streatham, London where at that time she was attending school.

By 1901 she moved to Tunbridge Wells where she worked as a drapers assistant at a large shop at 45 to 57 Calverley Road. The third sister Grace, who was the youngest of the three, was living with her parents and siblings in Streatham, London in 1891 but by 1901 she was working as a milliner on the High Street in St Michael, Sussex.

By about 1905 the sisters Ruth, Esther and Grace decided to make Tunbridge Wells their home and place of work and they opened a drapers and milliners shop at 177 Silverdale Road under the name of R & G Nugent, for Ruth and Grace Nugent. Why Esther’s name was not included is not known for by the time of the 1911 census, taken at their shop only Ruth and Esther were living there and operating the business, as Grace was working as a draper at that time in London. At their shop on Silverdale Road the Nugent sisters sold a wide selection of good pertaining to ladies apparel including a selection of lovely hats.

Silverdale Road, flooded during 1920

Silverdale Road, flooded during 1920

Local directories recorded “Misses Ruth & Grace Nugent, drapers and milliners, 177 Silverdale Road up to 1922 and sometime after that the business ended for there is no trace of the Nugent sisters in Tunbridge Wells by 1930. The departure from their shop is most likely connected to a devastating fire that gutted the premises.

It is interesting to note however that the sisters mother died and was buried in Tunbridge Wells in 1930 ; that Ruth Hannah Nugent died and was buried in Tunbridge Wells in 1944. The sister Ester Mary Nugent was buried in Tunbridge Wells in 1956 and the sister Grace, who died in Thanet, Kent was buried with her sisters in Tunbridge Wells in 1968.

This article reports on the Nugent family with a particular emphasis on their time in Tunbridge Wells when they ran their drapers and milliners shop.


Tunbridge Wells had many shops in the drapers and milliners trade, some of which I have reported on in other articles, such as Weeks (later Hoopers) at the corner of Grove Hill Road and Mount Pleasant Road; Waymarks on Calverley Road;Testers, run by Edmund Allen on Camden Road; Noakes on Calverley Road;Frederick Wickham on Mount Pleasant Road,just to name a few. They were to be found in every shopping district of the town, frequented by ladies looking for the latest fashions.

Some milliners shops made ladies hats on the premises,but some did not, and there is no information about the Nugent sisters to establish whether or not they made hats on the premises or just brought them in for resale.

Unlike today, ladies in the 19th and early 20th century, dressed up in the finest attire they could afford given their station in life. Wonderful hats with feathers,fruit and all manner of decoration were all the style until a movement to stop killing birds to make feathered hats gained momentum.

Most drapers and milliners shops at that time were owned and run by men. It was not considered acceptable in society for married women to work outside the home although those in the poorer class, out of necessity, had to. It was quite acceptable for single ladies like the Nugent sisters to work although it was not common for them to run their own businesses and if they did so they were normally expected to give up their employment or business when they got married.

Why the Nugent sisters never married is not known but the fact that none of the five sisters did so suggests it was perhaps not by choice. They did not come from a wealthy or upper class family where a life of living in leisure with their  income derived from dividends or investments, or money received from parents and brothers. They unfortunately had been born at a time when the prospect of war loomed and by the time Grace Nugent was 31 WW 1 had begun, with most young men serving their country at sea, in the air and in the trenches. There certainly was an opportunity for them to have married when they came of age but did not do so and instead decided to work  in the drapers and milliners trade as spinsters.

Shown above is CDV of a lovely lady in a wonderful gown taken at the portrait studio of G. Granville In Tunbridge Wells and second photo of a lady in a fantastic hat and gown, typical fashions of the times by those who could afford such finery.

I begin my account of the Nugent family with the 1871 census, taken at 41 Geneva Road in Lambeth,London in which Francis William Nugent(1846-1922) is given as a grainer, born 1846 in Camberwell, Surrey. Francis was actually both a grainer and a painter. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘grainer’ a grainer is a person who produces painted, stamped or printed designs that imitate the patern found in wood, leather or stone. By 1891 Francis was both a Baptist minister and a painter/grainer operating his own business. At the time of the 1871 census living with Francis was his wife Barbara Hannah Nugent, nee West (1848-1930). Born in Dorking,Surrey, and their daughter RUTH HANNAH NUGENT,born 1870 at Brixton,Surrey (one of the central figures in this article).

Shown above is a photograph from a Nugent family tree which on the back is dated 1912 taken at the photographic studio of local Tunbridge Wells photographer Percy Squire Lankester. The handwritten note on the back of the photo gives “1912 Tunbridge Wells Ruth and Esther Nugent”. As  the photograph does not bear the name of the photographer on the front in typical CDV style this image must be a cropped image of the original. Shown elsewhere in this article are generic images of ladies in fine hats. Also shown is another CDV by Percy Lankester from his Great Hall Studio on Mount Pleasant Road of a lady in a lovely dress taken in the early 1900’s.

The 1881 census, taken at 6 Santley Street, in Lambeth London, gave Francis William Nugent as a grainer/painter. With him was his wife Barbara and his children RUTH HANNAN,age 11; Barbara Sarah,age 9; ESTHER MARY,age 6; Florence Elizabeth ,age 5 and  Ebenezer,age 1. Both RUTH and Barbara were attending school.

The 1891 census, taken at 4 Victoria Terrace,Bedford Hill Road in Streatham,London gave Francis William Nugent operating his own grainer/painter business but that he was also a Baptist minister. With him was his wife Barbara and his children ESTHER MARY,age 16; Florence Elizabethm,age 15; Ebenezer,age 10; GRACE,age 8; Augustus L, age 7 and Edith Priscilla, age 2. The two eldest sisters were not employed suggesting that the family was reasonably well off financially. The younger children were attending school.

By the time of the 1891 census the older sister RUTH HANNAL NUGENT had left the family home . She was found in the 1891 census at 23 Western Road in Hove,Sussex where she was working as an assistant(drapers bookkeeper) in a drapers shop run by Silk mercer William J. Austin. Mr Austin had a large business and at that time he employed several assistants in his shop.

The 1901 census taken at St Ives, Huntingdonshire gave RUTH HANNAH NUGENT as a boarder living on Bridge Street. She was single and working as a bookkeeper cashier in a drapers shop. By 1901 Ruth’ sister ESTHER MARY NUGENT had moved to Tunbridge Wells. Esther is found in the 1901 census at 45 to 57 Calverley Road, where she was working as a drapers assistant in a large shop along with at least 20 other drapers assistants. A postcard view of Calverley Road is shown opposite. Calverley Road at that time was a busy commercial location with both sides of the road lined with shops . The road then was open to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic but in recent times the road was closed off to vehicles, but still thrives with many fine shops.

The shop that Esther worked at was that of “Noakes”. The history of the Noakes family businesses was described in my article ‘Noakes Family Drapers of Tunbridge Wells’ dated October 5,2011. A photograph of the shop where Esther worked is shown above.The memory of Noakes will be  fresh in the minds of many residents of Tunbridge Wells as the last store closed in 2009 after more than 150 years of business in the town.Some may remember that there were actually two Noakes stores,each one operated by a different branch of the family.The first and longest operating store was on Calverly Road and later Grosvenor Road was founded by Elias Noakes(1813-1877) and the second by his brother William Noakes(1823-1893) who had his store on High Street.Elias and William came from a large family of eight children born to Joseph Elias Noakes and Harriet Cox. Elias and William and their decendents established their respective drapers stores as family institutions in the town. Elias Noakes had been born 1813 at Lamberhurst, Kent .He later married and had had children.After the census was taken in 1851 the family moved to Tunbridge Wells and Elias began his drapers business in a weather boarded cottage on what was a fairly rural Calverley Road at the time and operated his store under the name of E. Noakes. By 1861 the business was doing well and by 1871 the shop operated from premises at 27 and 28 Calverley Road.By 1881 the shop employed 14 assistants and apprentices with many of the Noakes children working in the shop. Elias son Frederick ,the only other man in the premises, took an increasing role in the operation of the business. Elias passed away in 1877 but his wife Amy and his son Frederick continued the running of the business, until Amy passed away in 1890 and Frederick took over entirely. In 1896 Noakes had a new 3sty building constructed on the same site as the old shop, which is known today as ‘Calverley House’, a building designed by local architect Herbert Murkin Caley (1859-1938).In 1891 the store,now known as F.E.Noakes Limited occupied 45,47,49 and 51 Calverley Road was doing a good trade and as noted above, by the time Esther worked there the premises had been expanded to include 45 to 57 Calverley Road. For more information about his business please refer to the original article.

R.G. Nugen fire Silverdale Road

R.G. Nugen fire Silverdale Road

The 1901 census taken at 176 High Street at St Michael, Sussex gave GRACE NUGENT boarding at the home of Jane Fears along with two other drapers assistants. Grace was also drapers assistant, and it was not long after this that she and her sister RUTH HANNAH NUGENT opened a shop on Silverdale Road in Tunbridge Wells under the name of R & G Nugent, drapers and milliners, further information of which is given below.

A photograph of their shop taken at the time that a great fire gutted the building in the 1920’s is shown above.

The 1911 census taken at 177 Silverdale Road,Tunbridge Wells, was taken at the drapers and milliners shop of R & G Nugent. Surprisingly one of the founders of the ship (Grace) was not living or working in Tunbridge Wells at the time of the census was taken, suggesting that she and her sister Ruth had moved to Tunbridge Wells by about 1905 to open their shop, but for some reason Grace left the premises, although her name continued as part of the business name. At the time of the 1911 census, living in the apartments above the shop was RUTH HANNAH NUGENT, a draper, and her younger sister ESTHER MARY NUGENT, who’s occupation was given as drapers clerk.

The 1911 census, taken at 21 Ryde Vale Road in Wandsworth,London gave Barbara Hannah Nugent, age 62, born 1849 in Dorking. With her living on private means were her two daughters Barbara Sarah, age 39 and Florence Lizzie,age 35. Also there was her daughter GRACE NUGENT with the occupation of draper, and her sister Edith Priscilla, of no occupation. There was also commercial traveller living with them as a visitor. The census recorded that Barbara had been married 42 years and that of the 10 children she had, only 6 were still living.

The shop at 177 Silverdale Road was part of a row of shops in one large 2 sty red brick building above which were living quarters. The 1911 census recorded that they had 5 rooms a above the shop. The bricks for the construction of this fine looking building had been made by the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company, as so many other buildings in High Brooms had been. Details about the history of this brick and tile company can be found in my article ‘Brick Making in Tunbridge Wells’ dated October 12,2012. This company had been founded by John Smith Weare in 1885. Details about him can be found in several articles I have written pertaining to the history of the residences he occupied and his involvement in the Ferndale residential development.

A review of local directories in 1913 showed that there were several shops in the vicinity of the Nugent shop. Directories of 1913 to 1922 gave the following listing “ Ruth & Grace Nugent (Misses),drapers and milliners, 177 Silverdale Road,Tunbridge Wells”. No record of the business was found in the 1930 directory and it appears that their business closed in the latter part of the 1920’s perhaps as a consequence of the great fire that gutted the interior of the shop, as shown in the photograph above.

As I noted in the ‘Overview’ the sisters Ruth,Esther and Grace never married, and for that matter nor did their other sisters. As there is no record of the sisters in the Tunbridge Wells directories of 1930 to 1938 is the view of the researcher that they left the town but it is known that they did return at a later date, based on death and burial records. Electoral records for Ruth in the late 1920’s gave her living at 20 Wolstonbury Road in Hove,Sussex.  Directores of the 1930’s and 1940’s record her living at 72 Holland Road in London.

Probate records for Ruth Hannah Nugent gave her of Chilston Lodge, 1 Chilston Road,Tunbridge Wells when she died as a spinster, on October 6,1944. The executor of her 3,013 pound estate was her sisters Esther Mary Nugent and Florence Lizzzie (Elizabeth) Nugent, spinsters. Ruth was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on October 11,1944.

No. 1 Chilston Road was one of the large single family homes built in the Woodbury Park Development, a development that is described in detail in the Civic Society Book ‘ The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’. This development dates back to 1856 when the Conservative Land Society became owners of a large tract of land in the area and on which many fine homes were constricted. By about 1887 all of the homes had been built and originally Chilston Road was called Woodbury Court. Sometime before 1909 the road became Chilston Road and  in the 20th century No. 1 Chilston Road became a nursing or retirement home . A modern view of the home, located on the north west corner of Chilston Road and Woodbury Park Road, is shown above. It is somewhat interesting to note the John Smith Weare , who’s company ,The High Brooms Brick and Tile Company, supplied the bricks for the Nugent sisters shop, was also involved in the construction of homes at 2-12 Park Road, just a stones throw away from where Ruth Hannah Nugent died.

Probate records for Esther Mary Nugent gave her of Ryde Vale, Gloucester Place in Wadhurst,Sussex, spinster, when she died January 29,1956. The executors of her 3,255 pound estate were her spinster sisters Florence Lizzie and Grace Nugent. Esther was buried at the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on February 2,1956.

Death records for Grace Nugent gave her passing away in the 2nd qtr of 1968 at Thanet,Kent. She was buried at the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on April 29,1968.

It was also interesting to note that although the sisters father died and was buried  in London in 1922, that their mother Barbara Hannah Nugent was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery  in 1930.She had died in Tunbridge Wells January 25,1930.

Shown above is a modern photograph of the shop at 177 Silverdale Road, occupied at the time by Green Fish Consulting. No.177 is the shop on the far right with the green awning and on the left is the Magenta Design & Print shop. Previously No. 177  it had been the florist shop ‘Daisy Chain’, operated by Hazel Parsons, which may well account for the green awning. This row of shops is located between Upper Grosvenor Road and Denbiegh Street.


Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: August 2,2015


Although there is no family connection between the author and this business proprietor I could not help researching the history of the man, Harry Gilbert (1893-1974), and his business. My interest in this topic is demonstrated by two previous articles I have written about removal companies in Tunbridge Wells and High Brooms, namely ‘ The Royal Victoria Pantechnicon’ dated October 22,2014 about a business located in the former Royal Victoria & Sussex Hotel in the pantiles operated by the Harris family, and ‘The History of Farrant’s in High Brooms’ dated April 11, 2014, in which George Ernest Farrant (1865-1943), who began as a coal merchant, operated a haulage business from North Farm Road from 1918 to the time of his death in 1943, and which business was continued by his son and other family members afterwards.

Harry Gilbert had established his haulage contractors business in Tunbridge Wells in the early 1920’s (some say he had been a coach operator based in Tunbridge Wells since the First War) and is found in directories as a haulage contactor operating from premises at 8 Sutherland Road, Tunbridge Wells from 1927 to 1956 and as a removals and luxury coach business from 1957 to at least 1969, and perhaps up to the time of his death in Tunbridge Wells in 1974, with premises during that time period at 8 Sutherland Road,Tunbridge Wells and at North Farm Road in High Brooms.

This article reports on the family history of Harry Gilbert, his wife Elsie Ethel Gilbert, nee Shorter (1895-1979) and their four children as well as his activities in the haulage, removals, and luxury coach business.


Harry Gilbert was born October 18,1893 with his birth registered at Uckfield,Sussex in October 1893. Although no baptism records for him was found to confirm who his parents were it appears from census records that he was one of at least two children born to Frank and Marion Gilbert. Frank and Marion Mepham had been married in 1891, with their marriage registered at Uckfied in the 4th qtr of 1891.

The 1901 census, taken at Crowborough,Sussex gave Frank Gilbert as a groom and gardener, born 1871 in Crowborough,Sussex. With him was his wife Marion, born 1870 at Hastings,Sussex and their two children William, born 1893 and Harry born 1894. Both children were born in Crowborough,Sussex.

The 1911 census, taken at Crowborough Lodge, St John’s Road, Crowborough noted the presence of Frank James Gilbert, born 1871 Crowborough, who at that time was a coachman. With him was his wife Marion born 1870 at Harting,Sussex and their four children William,age 18, Harry,age 17, Frank,age 8 and Mark, age 3. All of the children had been born in Crowborough. The son William was working at that time as a gardener domestic and his brother Harry as a grocers assistant. The family were living in premises of 6 rooms. The census noted that Frank and Marion had been married 19 years (1892) and that they had four children in total, all of whom were still living.

Sometime after the 1911 census Harry moved to Tunbridge Wells. Details about his early life in the town are sadly lacking but it appears that during WW 1 he went into the haulage and coach business, as noted in an article I give later by The Roads and Road Transport History Association (December 2007).

Harry Gilbert married Elsie Ethel Shorter (1895-1979) inTunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1921. Elsie had been born at Kingston Deverill,Wiltshire(according to census records) but birth records have her as being born January 16,1895 at Mere,Wilshire. She was baptised at the Kingston Deverill,Wilshire February 17,1895. She was given in the baptism records as the daughter of Frederick John Shorter(1872-1911) and Isabelle Shorter, nee Marshall (born 1876). Elsie had three siblings namely Henry John, born 1896; Thomas, born 1900 and Albert Frederick (1903-1960). The 1901 census, taken at Railway Cottage, Normandy, Ash, Surrey gave Frederick Shorter, born 1871 at Wokingham,Berkshire (a railway worker) with his wife Mary, born 1873 in Wiltshire (who must have been Isabelle) and their three children Elsie, born 1895 at Kingston Deverill,Wiltshire; John (Henry John) born 1897 at Gillingham,Dorset; and Thomas, born 1900 at Badshot Lee,Surrey. Details about Elsie Ethel Shorter after 1901 are lacking as are details about where and when and under what circumstances she came to know Harry Gilbert, but there is a 1911 census record for an Elsie Shorter at Windlesham,Surrey born 1894 at Kingston Deverill, Wiltshire,   working as a servant (kitchen maid)for the Frederick Arnold family at Lambourne, Bagshot,Surrey.

A review of baptism records for Harry Gilbert and his wife Elsie Ethel Gilbert show that the couple had the following children (1) Reginald Gilbert, born 2nd qtr 1922 Tunbridge Wells, who was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery April 1,1968 (2) Marion, born in Tunbridge Wells in 1924, who remained a spinster, and died in Tunbridge Wells. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on January 25,1995 (3) Alice Stein Gilbert, born January 7,1932 in Tunbridge Wells, who never married.She died in the 1st qtr of 1984 at Sutton,Surrey but was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on January 11,1984. Her birth was registered in the 1st qtr of 1932 in Tunbridge Wells. (4) Frank James Gilbert, born 1935 in Tunbridge Wells and died in infancy, age 3, in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on June 14,1938. All of the baptism records gave the maiden name of their mother as “Shorter”.

As you will read later Harry and his family spent the rest of their lives in Tunbridge Wells and lived in a nice townhouse at 8 Sutherland Road which also served as Harry’s head office for his haulage/removals business, details of which are given later. A review of local directories records Harry at this address from at least 1927 up to 1974. As you will read later he also had premises in High Brooms on North Farm Road where he kept his lorries and coaches.

Harry Gilbert died in Tunbridge Wells in 1974 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on April 16,1974.The London Gazette of October 18,1974 announced that Harry Gilbert died April 9,1974 in Tunbridge Wells; that he was a resident of 8 Sutherland Road; that he was a retired coach proprietor and haulage contractor; and that the executor of his estate was his daughter Alice Stern Gilbert, with the solicitors being Cripps Harriss Hall & Co of 84 Calverley Road,Tunbridge Wells. His estate was valued at 6,431 pounds.

Harry’s wife Elsie Ethel Gilbert died in March 5, 1979 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on March 9,1979.She was of 8 Sutherland Road at the time of her death and left an estate valued at 23,791 pounds.

Gilberts coach


Shown opposite is a business card for Gilbert’s Removals & Storage in Tunbridge Wells, with his premises given as 8 Sutherland Road. The person who provided this image stated that the Pantechnicon removal lorry depicted is based on a lorry from 1947 and so presumably the business card dates from around that time.

Given below is a record from a review of local directories of Harry Gilbert and is premises.

1927-1937…………Harry Gilbert, haulage contractor, 8 Sutherland Road,Tunbridge Wells

1942-1956…………Harry Gilbert, removals, coaches, 8 Sutherland Road,Tunbridge Wells

1957-1969…………Harry Gilbert, coaches, removals, 8 Sutherland Road,Tunbridge Wells and North Farm Road, Highbrooms, Southborough.

No listings for his business prior to 1927 or after 1969 were found but in the last section of this article you will find an article by Chris Salaman ,entitled Coaching on the Kent & Sussex Boarders that appeared in The Roads and Road Transport History Association Newsletter of December 2007 that states “ I unofficially elected to offer my services to my local coach operator who had been based in Tunbridge Wells since the First War…I reported to the premises of Harry Gilbert in High Brooms”. Chris refers to meeting Harry Gilbert and that “he had started the business just after the First War when like so many other entrepreneurial drivers, he had bought an old second-hand Ford model T flat-bed that during the daylight hours had a lift-on body with seating bodywork, whilst at night it reverted to a flat-bed carrying produce to Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market in London.From this small beginning he had become the only coach operator in Tunbridge Wells and stayed so for many years…Now well past retiring age, he still took an active part in the day to day running of the business and soon I got to know and respect him for who he was…..Sadly it was not long after my initial employment that Harry decided to sell off all the pre-war fleet…Eventually after a number of years working for Gilbert’s Luxury Coaches, all good things had to come to an end and sadly Harry decided to retire, now well past official retiring age, and the business was sold to a local business, Beeline Radio Taxis of Tunbridge Wells.This was run by the Maynard brothers who hailed from my village of Speldhurst and who went on to build up a thriving coach business under the name of Beeline Coaches for the next few years..” The article by Chris Salaman unfortunately does not give any dates for the events described but based on the directories listed above it would appear that Harry Gilbert retired from business in 1969.

A book entitled “British Buses 1967” by Jim Blake shows the photo opposite of a bus with “Gilbert’s” on the front sign. The text associated with this image states it was “A Bedord OB, dating from the early post-war years which could still be seen in use in 1967. Here we see a Duple Vista bodies BJR 679, with Gilbert’s Coaches of Tunbridge Wells, who were well-known for keeping elderly vehicles in service at this time. It had been new to Armstrong of Westerthorpe in March 1947, thus was exactly 20 years old when seen arriving at Wembley on March 11,1967,where it had returned fro another sporting event that brought a vast array of interesting buses and coaches”.

The Hansard of 1943 referred to a Bedford Coach sale December 1,1943 in which M. Turton asked the Minister of Supply whether he was aware that on April 10,1943 his department sold a Bedord coach W.D. 453 8153 to Mr. A Tebb, of Carlton Husthwaite, and that on April 14,1943 his department, without Mr Tebb’s consent, delivered the same coach to Mr. H. Gilbert of Tunbridge Wells, and whether he will now secure that that this coach is returned to Mr Tebb and that Mr Tebb receive due compensation for the period during which he has been deprived of the use of this vehicle? Sir A Duncan replied that he was aware of the facts of the case and that it was not possible to deliver to Mr Tebb the original coach but negotiations are in the process with his solicitor with the object of providing him with a similar coach and of meeting any expense to which he has been put”. There was a delay of some eight months before this matter was settled. Shown opposite is a photo of a 1943 Bedord similar to the one delivered to Harry Gilbert.

The London Passenger Transport Board held a meeting on October 30,1950 at which meeting was discussed in part “operator 532-Gilbert’s Luxury Coaches Limited” operating an express carriage service.

Shown opposite is another one of Gilbert’s coaches. This one is a GRY45 AEC Regal III Plaxton FC-F shown on the Hamton Court Station forecourt in July 1964.

An article of unspecified date stated “Another coach station for London-The premises will be used by Gilbert’s Luxury Coaches and by other companies”. A review of records for Gilbert’s Luxury Coaches Limited show that it was registered as 00969961 January 9,1970 but was now dissolved. The London Gazette of August 27,1985 listed “Gilbert’s Luxury Coaches Limited” regarding its upcoming dissolution by the Registrar of Companies.

Another article stated “In 1969 William Arnold acquired Evan Evans of Woodburn garage London. This encompassed the companies of Evan Evans Transport Ltd, Evan Evans Tours Ltd, Charing Cross Tours Agency Ltd, Dyers Coaches Ltd, GILBERTS LUXURY COACHES LTD, Lismore Coaches Ltd and Thorpe Coaches Ltd. A total of 37 coaches and 23 mini-buses.Wallace Arnold was one of the UK’s largest holiday motorcoach tour operators. It was founded in 1917 and named after its founders Wallace Cunningham and Arnold Crowe”.


This article appeared in the December 2007 edition of The Roads and Road Transport History Newsletter, and describes the experience of Chris Salaman as a coach driver with Harry Gilbert’s coach company and provides some interesting facts about the business, its coaches and about Harry Gilbert himself. I have reprinted below the entire article along with its photographs of various buses in the fleet of Harry Gilbert.


As noted above Harry Gilbert had occupied a townhouse at 8 Sutherland Road in Tunbridge Wells from at least 1927 up to the time of his death in 1974, making him the longest resident at this address in the homes history. An extensive study of this home has not been undertaken for the purpose of this article.

Shown in this section are two images of No. 8. The black and white image is a recent view . the redish brick townhouse at No, 8 with white trim was one of several similar homes built on the street in the 19th century. In this image No. 8 is the left side of a pair of identical homes . No 6 on the right of it is shown below in the colour photograph. No. 8 in the black and white image is the house the number on the wall to the left of the door and is the one where the front gate is slightly open. The number plaque on the wall had “8” in the middle with “The Warren” written above and below the number. This three sty house with basement had been nicely maintained and its identical mate (No. 6) sold in 2013 for some 610,000 pounds.

The 1903 Kelly directory gave the occupant of his home as Edward Thomas Collins. The 1913 Kelly gave the occupant as Ernest Arthur Shaw and the 1918 Kelly gave Thomas Carpenter as the occupant. It is believed by the researcher that Harry Gilbert and his wife moved into No, 8 just after their marriage in 1921 although the earliest directory listing for Harry at this address was for 1927.

The home is located on the west side of Sutherland Road . Sutherland Road runs south off Grove Hill Road just east of Mount Pleasant Avenue.

A review of Planning Authority records for this home revealed that few changes have been made to it over the years. It was interesting to note that in 1978 and application by G.A Gilbert was approved for a kitchen extension at this address, but no obvious connection between this Gilbert and Harry Gilbert was found and it appears coincidental.

Tug or War in Highbrooms

The following two images have recently been supplied by Christine Knight, the first depicts the High Brooms Tug-of-War team.

Christine remembers that the the Tug of War used to take place beside the High Brooms Hotel (before the houses numbers 80 onwards were built) on High Brooms Road (this is now ‘The Brick Works Freehouse but still remembered by many as the High Brooms Tavern).

The date of the photo is most probably 1921 as CHristines late father Peter Pronger was the Mascot & held by his father Walter George Pronger (always known as Ern!)

High Brooms Tug of War team

High Brooms Tug of War team

I have also heard that other events took place racing around the ‘island’ – now the one way system that has the pub in its centre and woudl be interested to hear others memories, maybe we could even recreate the event to coincide with the High Brooms Village fair.

The second image supplied by Christine is of Southborough Football Club 1902-03, I’m not sure where they played but woudl like to think that it was on the Ridgeway fields!

photo (1)


As ever please let me know if you recognise any of your own family members in these pictures…

If you have something to contribute to this blog, or just want to let me know you are enjoying it feel free to comment below, email me at or send me a message on twitter to: @HighbroomsSoc

Copyright for all images belongs to Daniel Marsh @danieljmarsh unless otherwise stated – please do not replicate or use in any form without prior permission being granted.


The following article detailing the family history of the Day family in High Brooms and the surrounding area was written and supplied by Edward James Gilbert from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: July 8, 2014


In the 1890’’s William Gilbert Day (1836-1918) operated a greengrocers business at 54 Auckland Road, prior to that he had been a gardener. He and his wife Mary Ann Webb Wyman had three sons and one daughter. One of the sons George James Gilbert Day (1871-1932) had been born in Tunbridge Wells ,and after marrying Mary Jane Matthews in 1893 had 9 children. George and his son in law Joseph William Matthews were living in Southborough in 1901 with the wife and children of George, and at that time George and Joseph both worked for the High Brooms Brick & Tile Company as ‘brick pressers’. By 1911 however, George became a fruit merchant and in 1911 he and his family resided at 41 Holmewood Road, where his wife and sons Frank Gilbert Day( 1895-1918) and George Francis Day (1896-1918) worked as assistants in the family business. Both Frank and George were killed in WW 1 and their names are among the 801 names given on the plaques of the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial. George also had a son Percy Gordon Day(1899-1977) who served in WW1 and lost an eye in combat.

Two of George’s other sons Bertram John Day (1906-1985) and Leonard Aubrey Day (1907-1973) started up Day Bros Dairy in about 1945 with premises in 1953 at 33 Quarry Road, Tunbridge Wells. Although details about this dairy are lacking it appears it was still in business in the 1970’s.This article traces the life and times of members of the Day family in the 19th and 20th centuries.


George was born August 12,1871 in Tunbridge Wells, one of five children born to William Gilbert Day (1836-1918) and Mary Ann Webb Wyman, who was born in 1844. At the time of George’s birth his father was a clog maker,but when George was married in 1893 he was a greengrocer. George was baptised in Tunbridge Wells on April 27,1874.

William Gilbert Day had married Mary Ann Webb Wymann December 5,1858 at Lambeth St John the Evangelist. In 1861 he was living at Aldershot,Surrey. In 1871 he and his wife Mary and children Mary and William were living at 34 Wood Street,Tunbridge Wells, and at that time William was a clog maker.

[insert scanned image of 42 Auckland Rd}

The 1881 census, taken at 42 Auckland Road  (photo opposite) recorded the presence of William Day as the head of the household and working as an under gardener with his year and place of birth given as 1844 “British subject”.Family members who have made recent inquiries about the reference to “British Subject” are of the opinion that William was born in England.  Living with him was his wife Mary, born 1844 in Oxford and their children (1)  Mary Ann Elizabeth Day, born 1865 at Bermondsey (2) William Henry Day,born 1867 at Bermondsey (3) George James Gilbert Day (1871-1832), born in Tunbridge Wells (4) Frederick Charles Day,born 1875 in Tunbridge Wells (5) Ernest Reginald Day, born 1880 in Tunbridge Wells.  It is recorded that this is all the children born to the couple. At the time of this census William’s wife Mary was working as a fruit seller and her daughter Mary was an unemployed domestic servant. The only other working member of the family at that time was their son William Henry Day, but he was given at that time as an unemployed errand boy. The rest of the children were attending school. Today 42 Auckland is a private residence, one of many on the road of modest terrace houses.

The 1891 census taken at 54 Auckland Road recorded the presence of William Day as a greengrocer and his wife Mary. Also present in the home were their children William,George,Frederick and Ernest,who were all working as general labourers. Also present in the home were two boarders. The 1899 commercial directory gave the listing “ William Day, greengrocer, 54 Auckland Road. When contacted about the location of William’s business, Daniel of the High Brooms Historical Society was of the opinion that it was located at 54 Auckland Road, and although just a private residence now,it was back in 1891 his shop, indicating if that is the case that the family were living above the shop.

[insert ‘Mary Jane Matthews)

On December 30,1893 George James Gilbert Day married Mary Jane Matthews (1875-1939) at Southborough. George at that time was a labourer and his father was given as a greengrocer. Mary’s father was a labourer also. Shown opposite is a photo of Mary Jane Matthews.Mary had been born 1875 at Chittem,Wiltshire and died June 1939 in Tunbridge Wells. She was one of seven children born to Frederick William Matthews (1830-1891) and Ann Stokes (1834-1930). In 1881 Mary was living at 48 Lower Village in Bradford On Avon. In 1891 she and her sister Sarah were working as domestic servants in Tunbridge Wells. Mary was a house maid and her sister a cook.

[insert scanned image of 54 Auckland Rd)

The 1901 census, taken at 54 Auckland Road listed William Day born 1843 Cranbrook,woking as a greengrocer on own account at home. Living with him was his wife Mary and two boarders. Sometime between 1901 and 1911 his wife Mary passed away. The 1911 census, taken at 5 Providence Place in Pembury recorded William as a widow, living with John Cheesman (a builder’s labourer) and his family in 4 rooms. William, interestingly , was given as an army pensioner. William died in Pembury in 1918. William Gilbert Day was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery January 5,1918.

The 1901 census, taken at 1 Cambrian Road, Southborough records George James Gilbert Day as the head of the household and working as a brick presser  for the High Brooms Brick & Tile Company. Details about this business can be found in my article ‘Brick Making in Tunbridge Wells’ dated July 18,2012.Livign with George at that time was his wife Mary Jane and their children (1) Frank Gilbert Day (1895-1918) (2) George Francis Day (1896-1918) (3) Percy Gordon Day (1899-1977) (4) Beatrice Mary Eleanor Day (1903-1984).Beatrice was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery April 19,1984.Beatrice had worked with her brothers Bertram and Leonard in their dairy business but never married. She had died as a result of a cerebral vascular accident. See the last section of this article for a photo of her. (5) Cecil James Day (1904-1977).Cecil had been born December 15,1904 in the general shop at 10 Woodbury Terrace in High Brooms. In 1911 he was living with is parent s and siblings at 41 Holmewood Rd, On December 17,1926 he married Elsie May Sivyer (1901-1992) and with her had three daughters,

[insert Cecil James Day’ and ‘Elsie May Sivyer’]

Shown opposite are photos of Cecil and Elsie. Elsie had been born May 29,1901 at 30 Holden Park Road, Southborough, one of two girls born to Walter Sivyer (1861-1925) and Alice Kate Pratt (1873-1947).In 1911 she was living with her parents in Southborough. The couple were married December 1926. She died February 1992 at Maidstone, Kent. Cecil  was cremated at the Kent & Sussex crematorium January 11,1977. (6) Bertram John Day (1906-1985) (7) Leonard Aubrey Day (1907-1973). Also present in the home was Georges son in law Joseph W. Matthews, age 31,born 1870 at Imber, Wiltshire, who was also working as a brick presser.

Not given in the 1901 census was Phyllis Lilian Day born to George and Mary in the 4th qtr of 1905 but who died in the 3rd qtr1906. The couple had one other child, namely Ronald Francis Day(1911-1956).Ronald had been born in the 3rd qtr 1911 in Tunbridge Wells. In 1937 he married Florence M. Gould (1907-1972) and had two daughters with her. The couple were married at the registry office in Tunbridge Wells.  Ronald died in 1956 at Hawkhurst, Kent of a heart attack. His wife Florence died at 32 Park Cottages in Hawkhurst.

[insert scanned image of 41 Holmewood Rd)

The 1911 census, taken at 41 Holmewood Road, Tunbridge Wells, records George James Gilbert Day as a fruit merchant. Living with him was his wife Mary who was assisting her husband in the business. Also present were his sons Frank, George and Percy, who were also assisting their father. The remaining four children were also in the home of 5 rooms.

It is not clear what became of the marriage between George James Gilbert Day and his wife. George died February 24,1932 at Edmonton and no record of his burial could be found in Tunbridge Wells. His wife Mary appears to have continued to live in Tunbridge Wells for she died in the town in January 1939 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on January 12th.

No attempt has been made to fully research the Day family but in the next part of this article I refer to three of his sons that served in WW 1 and in the last section I refer to two of his sons and one daughter that were associated with Day Bros. Dairy.


[insert postcard of Tunbridge Wells war memorial}

The three sons of George James Gilbert Day who served in WW 1 were George Francis Day (1896-1918) ; Frank Gilbert Day (1895-1918) and Percy Gordon Day (1899-1977).Details of each of them are given below. George and his brother Frank were both killed in the war in 1918, but Percy survived .The Tunbridge Wells War Memorial on Mount Pleasant Road has a series of brass plaques upon which are the names of 801 men who made the ultimate sacrifice in WW1, as well as the names of those lost in WW II. Last year I undertook a detailed study of the war memorial and provided in an article I wrote about it transcriptions for all the names on these plaques, among which were the transcriptions for George and Frank Day, which I give later. Shown opposite is a postcard by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold Hawtrey Camburn, taken at the time of the unveiling of the memorial.

[insert ‘George Francis Day photo 1 to 3 ‘and ‘Poxieres Memorial’ ]

  • GEORGE FRANCIS DAY (1896-1918)…………George had been born in the 4th qtr of 1896 at Southborough. He had been baptised December 13,1896 in Southborough. In 1911 he was living with his parents at 41 Holmewood Road. Shown opposite is a photo of George. Below is a photo of his death notice; a photo of his medals, which included the British medal, the Victory medal and the 15 Star. The last image in the series is of the Pozieres Memorial. Given here is the transcription I did last year.” G.F. DAY ……….[George Francis]……..George was born in Southborough October 1896 and was a resident of the town before enlisting at Maidstone, Kent. He was a private (#225555) with the 1st Bn attached to the 2nd/4th Bn London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) who died in France March 21,1918 at age 21. He is recorded at the Pozieres Memorial (panel 85 or 86). He was the son of George James Gilbert Day and Mary Jane Day of 41 Holmewood Rd., Tunbridge Wells. He had formerly been #2596 with the Hurts Cyclist Btn but posted to the 2/4th London Regiment.He is also listed on the plaque at St James Church as George F. Day.   He is also listed on the High Brooms memorial plaque as Private G.F. Day. His brother Frank Gilbert Day was also killed in the war. George was baptised December 13,1896 at Southborough. He was one of 9 children in the family and worked in the family fruit merchant business in 1911 as an assistant in business. His death notice was published in the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser on April 23,1918. The Posieres British Cemetery is enclosed by the POZIERES MEMORIAL, which relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918.The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died in France during the Fifth Army area retreat on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918.

[insert ‘Frank Gilbert Day’ photo 1 to 3}

  • FRANK GILBERT DAY (1895-1918)……….Frank had been born in the 1st qtr of 1895 in Southborough. He had been baptised in Southborough on April 14,1895. In 1911 he was living with his parents and siblings at 41 Holmewood Rd,Tunbridge Wells. He was awarded the same medals as his brother George. Shown here are two photos of Frank and one of a document from Frank during Christmas. Also given is a photo of the Pernois British Cemetery at Halloy-les-Pernois. Given here is the transcription I did for him last year. “     G. DAY………..[Frank  Gilbert]……..He is also listed on the plaque at St James Church as Frank G. Day.He is also listed on the High Brooms memorial plaque as Private F.G. Day.In the 1911 census he was living at 41 Holmewood Rd., Tunbridge Wells. He was born at High Brooms, Southborough in the first quarter 1895  and enlisted for service in Tunbridge Wells. He was a Private(#G/3964) with the British Expeditionary Force who died of wounds in France August 14,1918. He is recorded at the Pernois British Cemetery, Halloy-Les-Pernois (III.D.11). He was one of 9 children in the family and his brother George Francis Day was also killed in the war. He and his siblings worked as assistant in business for their father who ran a fruit merchant business in Tunbridge Wells. He was the son of George James Gilbert Day (1871-1932) and Mary Jane Day(nee Matthews 1872-1939). In December 1917 he sent his mother a Christmas Card with his regiment ( 8th Royal Sussex) printed on it.  He had been baptised in Southborough August 14,1895. The Pernois British Cemetery was opened towards the end of April 1918, during the German advance, for burials from No.4 Casualty Clearing Station. The cemetery was closed in August. The cemetery contains 403 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 17 German war graves.

[insert ‘Percy Gordon Day’ and ‘Cicely Laurel M Hawkins’0

  • PERCY GORDON DAY (1899-1977)……….Percy was born February 4,1899 in Tunbridge Wells and was baptised April 9,1899 at Southborough. In the 1911 he was living with his parents and siblings at 41 Homewood Rd, Tunbridge Wells. His service records have not survived and therefore it was impossible to establish any reliable details about his military service. Several medal index cards have survived but there was nothing on them to establish which one pertained to him. An attempt was made to determine which regiment he was in from the cap badge in one of his photos (shown opposite) but without success. A request was made for information with a decendent of the Day family who had posted his photos to the family tree but the person did not reply. A note attached to the photos of him state that the image was taken before he lost his eye. All that can be established is that Percy was badly wounded in the war, resulting in the loss of an eye. When this event occurred was not established but it resulted in him being discharged from the army and returned home. Details about his private and working life after the war have not been established except to note that  in the 4th qtr of 1927 he married Cicely(sp) Laurel M.  Hawkins at St Matthews Church, High Brooms. Cicely, who’s name is given also as “Cesily’ on her burial records, was born May 5,1901 in Tunbridge Wells and died  in the 3rd qtr of 1978 at Cambrian Road, Tunbridge Wells. Percy and Cicely are known to have had a daughter Margaret L.R. Day (1928-1997) and probably had other children as well. Percy died in September 1977 in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on July 7,1977. Cecily Laurel May Day was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on September 20,1978. A descendent of the family offered this information “Percy volunteered after his two  elder brothers George and Frank were already in the army. Both brothers were killed but Percy had shrapnel wounds and lost his eye, My father was his younger brother and said he was never the same when he came home. Before the war he had been a bright lad and worked for the post office after the war he married had a daughter Margaret Day but never worked.”He said he still had shrapnel in his brain which they were unable to move. I don’t think the family believed this but when he was in his 70’s he developed a septic sore on his head and when it discharged out came a piece of shrapnel much to the surprise of the doctor and the family.


The two sons of George James Gilbert Day who started up Day Bros Dairy were Bertram John Day (1906-1985) and Leonard Aubrey Day (1907-1973). Descendants of the Day family report that Bertram and Leonard established their dairy business in 1945 at 33 Quarry Road, in premises that were empty at the time,  and that “ their sister Beatrice worked for them until they sold the dairy when they retired. They used to collect the milk from two farms in Pembury. They had to agree to take all the milk that the farmer produced whether they could sell it or not. Pre WW II Len had a milk round in Tunbridge Wells”. A descendant of the family said they had rounds in Rusthall, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells and Pembury and that they never really used the shop much.

A directory for 1953 gave “ Day Bros, dairymen, 14 Clifton Road, Southborough and 33 Quarry Road, Tunbridge Wells. There is also a directory listing for B.J. Day (Bertram James) at 14 Clifton Road from 1968 to 1970. A relative of the family stated that Bertram lived at 14 Clifton Rd but later moved to Charles Street in Southborough and Leonard lived at 41 Holmewood Rd.

A family descendant offered the following. “Day Bros Daily -they took milk from two farms in Pembury and the bottle washing and filling was out back of the shop in a separate building, with the vans parked at the rear. They had quite a large number of rounds and about three vans. Bert did all the books etc., Eventually they sold out to John Browns Dairies in St Johns Tunbridge Wells, at the time Express dairies were trying to buy up all small dairies and John Browns wanted to make theirs bigger so as not to be taken over. They sold to John Brown’s circa 1970 for a good price as J.B wanted to stop Express Dairies having an outlet in Tunbridge Wells. J.B had a larger organisation in St John’s. Day’s shop & bottling plant was never used by the new owner but became a car hire outlet”.

[insert ‘Beatrice Day’)

Shown opposite is a photo of Beatrice Mary Eleanor Day( 1903-1984) who the family say worked in Day’s Dairy on Quarry Road for her two brothers.

[insert’Leonard Aubrey Day’)

Shown opposite is a photo of Leonard Aubrey Day with a lady (his wife? ) beside one of the company’s milk vans. Leonard had been born December 25,1907 in Tunbridge Wells. In 1911 he was living with his parents and siblings at 41 Holmewood Road and it is stated by family members that he lived at that address his entire life. In 1939 he had a milk round. In 1940 he was in the Royal Army Service Corps and was in the desert. He also saw service in France and Germany. Family members state “He told the Germans to give up their cameras and then the British brought them all home with them” Leonard died at the Kent & Sussex Hospital September 1973 of prostate cancer . He was cremated at the Kent & Sussex crematorium on September 26,1973.

[insert ‘Bertram John Day’)

Shown opposite is a photo of Bertram John Day, who had been born August 5,1906 in Tunbridge Wells. In 1911 he was living with his parents and siblings at 41 Holmewood Road. In December 1939 he married Lillie M. Taylor (1903-1960) at St Matthews Church in High Brooms and with her had a daughter. He was married a second time in 1960. No records were found of the name of his second wife or of any children born to Bernard. At some point in time he left Tunbridge Wells. He died in Eastbourne, Sussex in the 4th qt4r of 1985.His wife Lilly M Day ,who had been born in Tunbridge Wells died 1960 at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Continuing with family history  it is stated by a descendent “ George James Day (1871-1932)…In circa 1904-1907 General Stores,10 Woodbury Terrace, Silverdale Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Cecil James Day, son of George James, was born here in 1904.. George James Day, Cecil’s father, had a general stores here according to the Kelly Commercial Street Directory. He rented the property and bought stock on a weekly basis, many people were doing this at the time. The shop was in a row of town houses. Next door was a greengrocers, the proprietor of which eventually took over both shops in 1907. The number of the shop kept changing. In 1906 it became 128 Silverdale Road and in 1907 it was 142 Silverdale Road, which it remains today. It is now converted back to a house and next door is a pet food store.1908-1909 Fruiterer, Hastings Road, Pembury, Kent. Bo Peep Stores, Pembury, Kent. George owned these stores at one time and sold the business to his brother-in-law, John Cheesman. John is here in 1911.William Gilbert Day (1836-1918) George James father.1893 From his son’s MC: Greengrocer.

According to Sheila, Cecil told her that he thinks he was his grandfather’s favourite. He used to go out with his grandparents in the back of their horse and cart. Sheila does not know who was driving the horse. If WG was discharged from the Army as unfit to do his duties as a Driver, would he now be able to drive a horse and cart or did he teach his wife to drive? Cecil was able to drive the horse, he would sit up front with his granddad. 1891 & 1901 lived at 54 Auckland Road, Tunbridge Wells. Greengrocer own business. Location of shop unknown. 1881, 42 Auckland Road, Tunbridge Wells, William was an under gardener. His wife, Mary Ann was a fish seller. I hope that’s of interest….Ben”.

Edward has been a regular contributor to this site and his detailed research into family history is very much appreciated, hopefully I will be able to add some of the images to compliment the text at at later date.

If you have something to contribute to this blog, or just want to let me know you are enjoying it feel free to comment below, email me at or send me a message on twitter to: @HighbroomsSoc

Copyright for all images belongs to Daniel Marsh @danieljmarsh unless otherwise stated – please do not replicate or use in any form without prior permission being granted.