Tag Archives: Southborough

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.

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 Village Green

As of September 24th 2013 High Brooms officially has a Village Green, of course as the locals know it has unofficially had a village green for over a century but events over the last year had almost led to the community losing it completely.

Village Green

Our Village Green, October 2012  (photo @danieljmarsh)

The beginnings of the story of how and why this came about start way back in the Victorian era with the owner of this piece of land being a lady called Esther Beaney (also spelt Beany, Beeney, Beney),  who was a descendant of the Romani gypsies that had lived in the heavily wooded High Brooms area way back before the brick company and workers arrived and started to build their houses here.

Esther (daughter of Thomas and Sarah Smith) was married to Robert Beaney (son of Absolom and Priscilla Beaney) and had 7 or 8 children. Sadly her oldest, Robert (known as Bobby), died aged 4 years old after a wall collapsed on him as he played in the garden of their rented property at 59 Colebrook Road. Another of her children, Mary Robinson, is also mentioned below.

By the time Esther died, she had purchased a home for each of her surviving children. Sadly Esther passed quite suddenly and having been a relatively secretive person during her life it is not known how she afforded these houses and the existing family members have been guessing for many many years – they think she was a money lender and also wondered if she was given some compensation from the High Brooms Brickworks following the death of her eldest son.

Additionally it is likely that she inherited money and land, possibly including this area, from Absolom Beney who was well known in High Brooms and surrounding area, he died in 1905 aged 84,  and was subsequently buried in St Peters cemetery. In a Kent and Sussex Courier tribute to him it reported that ‘he was reputed to have amassed a considerable amount of wealth. He was well known all round the district as a keen man in his own line of business’.

So, whether purchased or inherited, Esther now owned the land at the junction of Southview Road and Colebrook Road and at this time there was also a pond there. It was reported that she had wanted to open a pub but the council would not grant a licence and eventually they bought the land through a compulsory purchase order from her. Esther was not happy with the way the land was purchased and allegedly had a solicitor draw up a covenant that prevented the new owners from building on the land.

When the council applied to themselves for planning permission to build 6 houses on this land in 2012 they received this letter from Mrs Smith, a direct relative of Esther Beaney:

I write in memory of my Grandmother Mary Robinson who lived all her life in High
Brooms. My Grandmother told me a story many, many times, that her mother Esther Beaney had owned the Green at South View Road and had planned to build a pub on it. Esther’s plans were blocked and then TWBC had compulsory purchased the land from her (maybe as much as 90 years ago). 

We were told that prior to the lands transfer, Esther Beaney visited a solicitor in London and had a covenant placed on the land preventing anyone from ever building on it. I know that last time plans were submitted for building on the Green (early 1990s), my Grandmother Mary had become very upset and relatives were dispatched to the Council Offices to voice their concern. 

Thankfully the plans were withdrawn. Mary Robinson died in 1993.
Please withdraw the latest plans. We have always believed that the Green at South View Road is a legacy that Esther Beaney left for the people of High Brooms to enjoy. 

Even if the story cannot be proven, or is slightly inaccurate, in 2012, the year of the London Olympics, space for children to run and play is a legacy we should all be trying to leave for future generations.

Between the date of the compulsory purchase and recent developments it appears that the land sat vacant and was used by the local community for recreational purposes. Before the last war I have also been informed that the Tunbridge Wells Corporation used the area as a dump for car roofs and even a steamroller, and I suspect these infilled the pond and are quite possibly still buried there. It could prove to be quite an interesting outing for Tony Robinson’s Time Team.

Planning Application

Planning Application

In October 2012, without any prior consultation with the local community the local authority posted a single notice on a lamp-post indicating that they were applying to themselves for planning permission to build 6 large semi-detached houses with 12 off road parking spaces and an access road on this green area.

TWpeople

Lobbying the local community via local forums (TunbridgeWellsPeople)

Needless to say the locals were outraged and immediately formed a protest group with an online presence, this rapidly attracted over 150 members, many of whom also wrote letters of objection to the council, KCC members and local MP Greg Clark, as well as getting the attention and support of the local councillors.

Save our village green - the community took action

Save our village green – the community took action and engaged with the local press

Kent and Sussex Courier

The resulting article in the Kent and Sussex Courier

The local press also got involved and ran a number of articles on behalf of the community. It was at this stage that I first had contact with members of Esther Beaneys family who were understandably furious as they said this was the second time in recent years that the council had attempted to build on the land, the previous being about 20 years earlier. I contacted the planning officer directly and put this to him but he denied all knowledge, in his defense though the earlier attempt to develop here was before computer records existed and it is likely all the paper ‘evidence’ has long been destroyed.

It also transpired that although the land was purchased at the turn of the last century the council had only now registered it with the land registry in 2008, without any detail of how they came to be the owners nor with details of the covenant. A very convenient arrangement for them indeed….

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Relief following withdrawal of the original application (photo http://www.thisiskent.co.uk)

The consultation process ran it course, with new objections added daily, including those from the councils own landscape officer who pointed out that it broke a number of planning guidelines and also the county highways department who made it quite clear this was a totally unsuitable development proposal. A full survey was carried out but eventually the council withdrew their planning application in the light that it was unlikely to succeed and this could now prove quite embarrassing to themselves. I would definitely like to know how much public money was wasted on this ill-thought plan. I was told that the council would be re-visiting the scheme and another application was likely to be submitted during early 2013, so it was time for the now connected community to act….

Original boundary for Village Green application

Original boundary for Village Green application

I was aware that whilst we were battling with the council to preserve our little bit of green space the government was also debating ‘The Growth and Infrastructure Bill’ with its second reading scheduled for early November 2012. This was likely to prove to be the nail in the coffin for many Village Green applications if the area has been previously identified for development, although in reality it is meant to reduce the numbers of NIMBY applications where people simply want to block development around their houses even if the land is not used routinely by the local community.

Several of us investigated the requirements more closely and looked at the ‘Open Spaces Society’ advice website and decided we had a really good case if we could get the application into the county council quickly enough so we proceeded. This involved highlighting the area to be considered and then collecting a body of evidence of use from the local community in the form of questionnaires. These had to illustrate continual free access and a range of recreational use (simply using the land as a shortcut does not count) over a long period of time.

The local community really excelled here and with an additional ‘drop-in’ session organised in the local TOC-H hall we soon had over 50 to submit with the application so off it went. We waited for a number of weeks and another notice regarding this new application was displayed by the green. This time in a far more prominent position just in case anyone wanted to object to having a village green instead of a housing development. We waited, the council did not object, the boundaries and land ownership were queried and the application was adjusted accordingly and we continued to wait patiently as the summer came and went and the green continued to be enjoyed.

4 Roads Association summer fete 2013

4 Roads Association summer fete 2013  (photo @danieljmarsh)

In September 2013 we were finally sent a copy of the report that had been produced for the Regulation Committee Member Panel who would be making the decision on September 24th, on opening the report on the very first page it read:

Application to register land at South View Road in Tunbridge Wells as a new Town or Village Green

A report by the Head of Regulatory Services to Kent County Council’s Regulation
Committee Member Panel on Tuesday 24th September 2013.

Recommendation: I recommend that the applicant be informed that the application to register land at South View Road in Tunbridge Wells as a new Town or Village Green has been accepted, and that the land subject to the application (as shown at Appendix A) be registered as a Village Green.
Local Member: Mr. P. Oakford Unrestricted item

Of course this in itself was fantastic news but it still had to undergo approval of the panel, but luckily after a couple of other agenda items on the day the panel, who had visited the green earlier that same day, passed approval without question. To say that the local community are elated is an understatement and I know that the descendants of Esther Beaneys family are also happy that her wishes for this land to remain undeveloped and open to the community for future use are now granted and protected in law.

Now we have to think what sort of event we should have to celebrate this achievement and also start looking for funding opportunities to implement a few improvements to the area.

Local community enjoying the snow of the village green

Local community enjoying the snow on the village green – 2013 (photo @danieljmarsh)

I have been supplied information for this article through communication with members of the Beaney family and local community as well as historical newspaper cuttings and so I cannot guarantee the accuracy of all content although much of this was verified from more than one source.

Although this fantastic result is through the combined effort of a whole community special thanks should also be given to Margaret Heasman, John Neller and Paul Batchelor for the parts that they have played in making sure it happened.

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.

 

St Matthew’s School Air Raid Shelter – Heritage Open Days

I was lucky enough to hear about the Heritage Open Days which run a series of events that give the public free access to historical places that are normally shut to the public or charge admission. There were over 50 events in the Tunbridge Wells area, of which at least two were in High Brooms and I was able to get along to view St Matthew’s School Air Raid Shelter which is on Powder Mill Lane, High Brooms, Southborough, Kent, TN4 9DY.

Entrance to the WWII air raid shelter in St Matthews School

Entrance to the WWII air raid shelter in St Matthews School

This World War II air raid shelter is located under the playground and was only rediscovered about 10 years ago when the school had some ground works carried out so many people who have lived and grown up in the immediate area were totally unaware of it or that is still existed.

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Tunnels as they are today

The tunnels as they are today

The air raid shelter, known as the ‘trenches’ to the children at the school, were in regular use between 1939 until 1945 with up to three air raid warnings a day it meant that some lessons were also taught underground in the tunnels.

Lessons being taught in the 'trenches'

Lessons being taught in the ‘trenches’

In 1944 the Battle of Britain was underway and the south east was under constant threat from the German ‘flying bombs’. The school did not totally escape this danger after a bomb landed in Powdermill Lane, within metres of the school buildings,  on July 28th but then failed to explode! The schools head teacher recorded an entry in the log book later that day:

“At 1.35 this afternoon a flying bomb landed 200 yards away from this school. The children were in the trenches where they had to remain all afternoon. At 3.30 they were dismissed in small parties accompanied by a teacher. All the homes near the bomb had to be evacuated so the children who lived in them joined their mothers at the rest centre in the Parish Hall. Luckily the bomb did not explode and was dismantled by a bomb disposal squad. The people were allowed to return to their houses at about 8pm”

Audio demonstration with the air raid warning siren sounds echoing down the tunnels

Audio demonstration with the air raid warning siren sounds echoing down the tunnels

We were able to go down into the shelter where there is a small display of WWII posters, the children were very excited when the lights were turned off so they could experience the trenches in blackout conditions, although it is thought that there was electric lighting installed during its use. There was also an audio demonstration with the sounds of an air raid siren giving the warning as well as the ‘all clear’ which also signalled our departure from this fascinating place.

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It is very hard to imagine what life would have been like during this very dark period in our history or to experience what the young school children who grew up through this did, but this event at least let us have a look back into their world.

Many thanks to the Heritage Open Days (@heritageopenday) and St Matthews School for making this visit possible as well as our hosts on the afternoon (who I believe was a previous headmaster from the school and his wife but apologies as I didn’t get any names!)

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.

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WWII poster in the display

WWII poster in the display

High Brooms from the air!

Lots of people tell me that they don’t understand ‘Twitter’ as a vehicle for social media or that they don’t see the point of it. I try to explain that it is a way of either disseminating information to a greater audience or indeed filtering back information from the millions of tweets sent every day to find something for your own interest.

And every now and then it throws up a real gem such as the aerial image below that was taken by @NPAS_Redhill  (the National Police Air Service based at Redhill) on the 11th September 2013.

Aerial view of Highbrooms - photo courtesy of @NPAS_Redhill

Aerial view of Highbrooms – photo courtesy of @NPAS_Redhill

Looking at the photo you can see that this is the view looking south over modern day Highbrooms, the major road in the foreground is Highbrooms Road with the one way system with Stewart, Gordon and Wolseley Roads spurring off and the Brick Works Freehouse standing in the island (@the_Brick_works). To the right of this you can see St Matt’s Church (@stmattschurch) at the end of Gordon Road and then the large white building which used to be the Longbow pub, now Longbow Court, standing on Colebrook Road just below the green on the corner of Southview and Colebrook Road with footpaths diagonally crossing it.

In the middle ground on the left side of the photo and adjacent to the train line you can just make out the metal cage of the dis-used gas works, this is currently being dismantled (see earlier blog posts) and won’t be there much longer so its great that this photo has been taken with it still in place. The roads running from left to right across the photo are Holmewood, Cambrian and Dynevor Road, all joining up with Woodland Road.

Further south you can see across the wooded and open areas of Grosvenor and Hilbert Park to the left and Silverdale Road stretching back up the hill towards Queens Road and Stephens Road and reaching further into the St Johns area of Tunbridge Wells on the centre and right.

If you are struggling to see all of this it may be easier if you use the annotated image below although it is at a slightly different angle of view but the best that I could do quickly.

Bing mapping tool - 3D map of similar area

Bing mapping tool – 3D map of similar area although at a slightly different directional view

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 new ‘Brick Works Freehouse’ in Highbrooms

Ok so this isn’t really a blog entry as such but having written about the history of the High Brooms Hotel, or Tavern as it is locally known, it only seemed right to post up something about the newly renovated and newly opened ‘The Brick Works’ Freehouse in Highbrooms.

I hope you enjoy the photos and make an effort to get down there and see whats its really like for yourself and you never know who you might bump into!

Once again this blog entry is image heavy so best viewed somewhere with wifi…
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The Brick Works Freehouse can be found on Facebook and now on twitter @The_Brick_Works

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.