Tag Archives: high brooms

SIDNEY MARSHALL-THE HIGH BROOMS MERCHANT

 

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.

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GILBERT’S HAULAGE AND LUXURY COACH BUSINESS

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

Date: August 2,2015

OVERVIEW

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.

THE GILBERT FAMILY

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

GILBERTS HAULAGE AND COACH BUSINESS

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”.

THE CHRIS SALAMAN ARTICLE-COACHING ON THE KENT & SUSSEX BORDERS

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.

  1. 8 SUTHERLAND ROAD,TUNBRIDGE WELLS

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 HighbroomsSociety@gmail.com 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 DAY FAMILY OF SOUTHBOROUGH

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

OVERVIEW

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 JAMES GILBERT DAY

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.

SERVICE IN THE GREAT WAR

[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 DAY BROS DAIRY

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 HighbroomsSociety@gmail.com 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.

High Brooms – bicycle repairs from the past…

Part of the real interest for me in writing this blog is trying to get a feel of historical High Brooms, how it would have been to live here in decades past whilst is was developing from Gypsy dwellings scattered through the woods of the high weald into area where many more people lived in close proximity to the industries that that they worked in. Many of the older Victorian buildings are still standing but ultimately they are just bricks, the remains or skeleton of a community if you like, but it is the people who have lived and worked here, walked the streets, loved, laughed and cried, the characters, the comedians and the villains that really fascinates me.

I know that many of the families with a long history here are still represented locally and certain names are well known and associated with the area. Previous blog entries have mentioned a few but its always nice when new photos and memories crop up like, this image of J Fermor Bikes from around 1910, kindly shared by Marilyn Laverty.

J Fermor Bikes in Cambrian Road around 1910

J Fermor Bikes in Cambrian Road around 1910 (copyright Marilyn Laverty)

She says “My great grandfather and my grandfather used to have a little business in High Brooms. It was J Fermor Bikes, this was around 1910. They lived at 74 Cambrian Road and my grandfather was on the census 1911 as a cycle engineer. I suspect he worked from home.”

Does anyone out there know any more about the Fermor’s in Cambrian Road and High Brooms, or even have photos and memories of other established local families that they would be happy to share through this blog?

Highbrooms 1909

Highbrooms as it was around the same time in 1909 with housing built on the hills above the clay pits

After I originally wrote this article in early March 2014 I have received the following information from Edward James Gilbert who has become a regular contributor to this blog and adds an excellent insight into the Fermor family history:

J. FERMOR BIKES-HIGH BROOMS

Written By; Edward James Gilbert (member of the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society)

Date: March 31,2014

I read with interest the posting about the bike business of J. Fermor, which prompted me to look further into the history of the family and the business and here are the results.

J. Fermor was James John Fermor, born 4th qtr 1877 at Withyham, Sussex. He was one of three children born to John George Fermor(1849-1931), a sawyer by trade, and Jane Phillips (1860-1936). James had been baptised February 4,1877 at St Michael’s Church in Withyham, Sussex and was the eldest of three sons. The Fermor family had moved to Tunbridge Wells sometime between 1877 and 1881.

The 1881 census records just James and his parents living at Mr Weares Cottage No. 3. The “Mr Weares cottage” referred to will no doubt be one of the many cottages constructed by John Smith Weare (1878-1890), the founder of the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company in 1885, a man who owned several properties in High Brooms and the surrounding area. John Smith Weare had moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1869 taking up residence  initially at Ferndale House at No. 3 Ferndale Road.  At the time of the 1881 census Jame’s father was working as a sawyer .

By the time of the 1891 census, the Fermor’s had taken up residence  at 94 Auckland Road , a short distance from the Grosvenor and Hilbert Recreation Grounds, in what was a small red brick terrace house.James was attending school and living with his parents and two brothers Edward Henry Fermor(1882-1946) and Ernest Sydney Fermor (1886-1942).

In October 1897 James John Fermor married Emily Elizabeth Woodgate in Tunbridge Wells. Emily had been born 1875 in Tunbridge Wells and was one of six children born to Edward and Susanna Woodgate. Before the marriage Emily was employed as a domestic servant . James and Emily took up residence at 59 Tunnel Road  not far from the SER line in an area of small homes.

The 1901 census, taken at 59 Tunnel Road records James John Fermor, a  stationary engine driver. A stationay engine driver today would be called a machine operator. In 1901 the engine was powered by steam and as the name implied was a large immobile engine used to  provide mechanical or electrical power to other machines. Stationary engines would have been used as the Broomhill Brick and Tile Company but also in farming and mining operations and for that matter anywhere else where a device to power machinery was required . Since 59 Tunnel Road was not far from the Baltic Sawmills Plant in the Goods Station Road area, and his father was a sawyer, there is a good possibility that James worked at the Baltic Saw Mills. In this census James was the head of the home and living with him was his wife Emily and  two of their children namely Lilian and Edward. James and Emily had six children in total namely (1) Lilian Beatrice(1898-1987) (2) Edward James (1901-1975) (3) Edward (1901-?) (4) Alice Elsie (1903-1973) (5) Cecil Leonard (1907-1963) and (6) Kenneth Wilfrid (1910-1946). All of the children were born in Tunbridge Wells.

By 1911 the family were on the move again, and in that year they were living at 33 Cambrian Road in Highbrooms. This residence was , like all the others there, constructed of red brick made by the Highbrooms Brick and Tile Company. This was quite a nice home with a pair of small bay windows on the main floor bordering the front door, with two windows on the front of the second floor. The front of the home was separated from the sidewalk  by a low brick wall with an entrance gate.Living at 33 Cambrian Road in 1911 was James John Fermor, an engine fitter; his wife Emily; and their five children, the eldest of which were attending school. The census records that their residence had only four rooms, which is hard to believe as the home looks larger than that.

At the time of the 1911 census, James John Fermor was only age 34 and his eldest son Edward was only 10. Marilyn Laverty suggests that her photo to two men and bikes dates from about 1910 but the eldest man in the photo, which I took to be James, appears much older than age 34, suggesting that the photo must have been taken later. Could the boy in the photo be his son Edward when he was a teenager ? The sign in front of the bikes reads in part “J. Fermor Bikes, below which is “Cycles” and then “Motors”, the rest of the printing is too small to be readable. It would be interesting if Marilyn could take a close look at the original photo and tell us what it says.

I was unable to find out much more about James John Fermor or the rest of his family after the 1911 census. They seem to disappear from directory listings but it is known that most of them remained in Tunbridge Wells. James John Fermor died in Tunbridge Wells in April,1955 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery  on April 6th. When and where his wife died has not been determined.

So what happened to his children ? Well Cecil Leonard Fermor married Harriet Brooker in the 3rd qtr of 1930 in Tunbridge Wells; Kenneth Wilfrid Fermor married Rose Brooker (probably the sister of Harriet) in the 3rd qtr of 1938 in Tunbridge Wells; Alice Elsie Fermor married John Mackenzie in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1929 and Lilian Beatrice Fermor married John T. Houghton in 1917. James father was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on May 28,1931. Cecil Leonard Fermor was buried there also on June 10.1963.Also  in the same cemetery was  Kenneth Wilfrid Fermor on April 1,1946. James eldest son Edward James Fermor was found in a 1922 Kelly directory for Tunbridge Wells as “a Vulcaniser”.

Quite an interesting family . I wish I knew more about them!

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 HighbroomsSociety@gmail.com 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.

High Brooms Boys School – 1958 – 1965

There has recently been quite a few memories posted on the High Brooms Society facebook page looking back at a childhood spent in the High Brooms area and the school gets a regular mention, alarmingly most of these memories seem to involve harsh punishment of one sort or another, as many of us remember schools were far stricter environments back in those days than they are today!

Coincidentally I have also been sent a photo from the school to share by Gary Mewis – this picture is of class 1 back in 1965 with the the redoubtable Miss Stonestreet in charge!

High Brooms School - 1965

High Brooms School – 1965 (photo copyright – Gary Mewis)

Following my original posting about the school Tad Stone has also been in contact to supply me with some further photos of his time at the High Brooms School, as shared below, Tad has also shared a list of the names that he can remember displayed below each photo:

1958/9 with Mrs Mutton and Mr King (Copyright Tad Stone)

1958/9 with Mrs Mutton and Mr King (Copyright – Tad Stone)

From Back row (L- R)
Bob Taylor, Andrew Smart, Stuart McEwan, ?, Earnest Tompkinson, Roger Relf, Leonard Aldridge
Ronald Latter, Terry Coles, Brian Paine, John Whiterod, Bob Jeffrey, Trevor —-, Mike Stone, Mervyn Fermer
Roy Hibbert, Michael Killick, ?, Peter Sandles, David Cushman, Richard Chalklin, Charlie Lindfield, Dudley Hutson, Donald Punyer
Richard Meakin, Raymond Parker, Graham Wickham, ?, Alan Stoner, Vincent Jones, ?, Roy Cheeseman

Teachers  Mrs Mutton and Mr King (Headmaster)

School Choir with Mr Shorter - probably 1960/1 (Copyright Tad Stone)

School Choir with Mr Shorter – probably 1960/1 (Copyright – Tad Stone)

From Back row (L- R)
Mr Shorter, Brian Paine, ?, Peter Sandles, Roger Clarke, ?, ?, ?
?, ?, Andrew Trott, John Whiterod, Like Stone, Andrew Smart, Terry Coles, Bob Taylor
Vincent Jones, Bob Tickner (I think), Bob Jeffrey, Mervyn Fermer, Roger Relf, Bob Everest, Alan Stoner, Raymond Parker, Richard Meakin

He remembers competing in singing competitions against secondary schools

Last year with Mr King - 1962 (Copyright Tad Stone)

Last year with Mr King – 1962 (Copyright – Tad Stone)

From Back row (L- R)
Roy Lockey, Peter Sandles, John Whiterod, Alan Stoner, Michael Killick
Raymond Parker, Richard Meakin, Vincent Jones, Terry Coles, Mike Stone, Ian Brown, Michael —-
Trevor —–, Earnest Tomplinson, Roger Relf, Andrew Smart, Mr King, Mervyn Fermer, Charlie Lindfield, Bob Everest, Richard Chalkin

Are any of you in any of the photos, or do you recognise anyone who is or perhaps you are still in contact or living in the area? Did you attend this school and have memories to share – we would love to know!

A quick scan on Google images also bought up this fantastic photo of the school from the Friends Reunited website taken in 1958.

High Brooms Boys School - 1958 (Friends Reunited)

High Brooms Boys School – 1958 (Friends Reunited)

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 HighbroomsSociety@gmail.com 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 last of the giants in High Brooms is coming down….

Following on from previous entries about the Victorian gasometers in High Brooms today has seen the arrival of the heavy plant that will be used to dismantle the final giant structure that housed the expansion chamber when it was full of coal gas back in the days when the Tunbridge Wells Gas Company made and supplied gas to light peoples houses.

Gasometer, July 2013

Victorian Gasometer at High Brooms, July 2013

I remember as a child looking at this chamber as it slowly moved up and down within the steel frame but it has not been used for many many years (the gas is stored in the pipe networks these days) and the site has been desolate awaiting redevelopment but still dominating the skyline of the local area.

The Gas Works as they were in 1938

The Gas Works as they were in 1938 (courtesy of Mick White via New Old Tunbridge Wells Photos on facebook)

I arrived at the site hoping to get some shots of the workers in the crane cage with their welding gear fired up cutting away but I timed it with the arrival of heavy rain and the cage was already being lowered to the ground, I waited for a while hoping that they would resume the work and was rewarded with a beautiful rainbow over High Brooms instead.

Cranes set up for removal of the main structure

Cranes set up for removal of the main structure

I will endeavour to get some more photos as the huge steel sections are cut away and the structure is reduced back into the ground – I would really appreciate it if you have taken photos that you are willing to share here as well – just zip them across to me at the usual address as below and I will credit you for your works!

Close up on the rainbow

Close up on the rainbow over High Brooms

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 HighbroomsSociety@gmail.com 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.

Dominating the skyline - the view from Holmewood Road

Still dominating the skyline in January 2014 – the view from Holmewood Road