Tag Archives: Victorian

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.

FANNY HARRISON’S BAKERY ON HIGH BROOMS ROAD

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

Date: January 2,2016

HighbroomsRd_PostOffice

 

OVERVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0028

FANNY AND HER BAKE SHOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0017

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

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

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

Further images from the Demolition of the High Brooms Gas Works

The cranes moved in to start demolishing (or ‘deconstructing’ if you prefer) the final Victorian gas holder on Monday, by Thursday morning they had almost reduced its height by half as they steadily moved around the structure attaching long chains from one crane whilst the workers were suspended in a cage from a second crane using welding gear to cut away large sections which are then lowered to the ground and added to the ever growing pile of scrap metal.

IMG_9713_crop1

This is an image heavy blog entry so would  not recommend viewing it on a mobile device unless you are connected by WiFi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Many thanks also go to Tim Bodiam who has supplied some of the images displayed here in the slideshow (as marked!)

Gasworks_small

Further images can be viewed on the LoveTunbridgeWells.com website at: http://lovetunbridgewells.com/gallery/events/2014-2/gasworks-demolition/

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.

Watching it come down

Watching it come down

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

The floods in High Brooms!

I thought that with Met Office and Environment Agency issuing severe weather warnings with strong winds, the highest tides expected in 30 years and potential mass flooding across the UK for today (5/12/13) it would be a good time to share this old image taken from the Kent and Sussex Courier that was recently sent to me by  Derek Daniell.

Silverdale Road - flooded 1920s

The image shows a severely flooded Silverdale Road in High Brooms, probably during May 1922, when a ferocious storm hit the town with heavy rainfall over a short period and causing quite  a lot of flooding and rain damage.

At the Grosvenor Road end of Silverdale Road there are a number of small streams that these days run through ducting under the gas works site and connect with the streams flowing through Grosvenor and Hilbert park, they may even share the same chalybeate springs as a source, and this shows that it is likely the water table is very close to the surface at this point and may also have contributed to the flooding.

As the caption below the photo notes the Tunbridge Wells gas works buildings are visible at the end of the road, which is of greater historical interest to me, these were demolished many years ago and nowadays there is a modern housing estate built on this land but the removal of the adjoining original Victorian gas holders has only just commenced in 2013 as reported in my earlier blog entries.

The New Gas Works, Tunbridge Wells - 1880

The New Gas Works, Tunbridge Wells – 1880 – as they were before Silverdale Road was even built!

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.

Farrant Haulage Lorries in High Brooms

Haulage began with one horse

G E Farrants horse and cart

G E Farrants horse and cart

The following article from the Courier newspaper, dated 26th January 2007, was kindly supplied to me by Derek Daniell, himself a long-term resident of High Brooms, and it tells the story of George Farrant and his local haulage business that ran for almost a century from around 1888 until the 1990’s.

Farrant Haulage

I found an example of one of the later ‘timber tractors’ actually registered to and used by Farrant’s haulage company on the Flicker website, this is a 1950 Latil VA12 Timber Tractor, listed as being sold new to G E Farrant of Tunbridge Wells, where it worked until 1973.

Timber Tractor

Timber tractor image via Flicker – Copyright Jacks_Dad1

There is also a 4-page article  about the Farrant motor lorries at High Brooms in the BYGONE KENT VOLUME 17 NUMBER 7 July 1996, although I have not currently been able to obtain a copy of this.

BYGONE KENT

BYGONE KENT VOLUME 17 NUMBER 7 July 1996

After I originally wrote this article in November 2013 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 business and family history of Farrants:

THE HISTORY OF FARRANT’S IN HIGH BROOMS

Written by; Edward James Gilbert – Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: April 11,2014

OVERVIEW

The name of Farrant is well -known in Tunbridge Wells as it relates to a haulage company founded by George Ernest Farrant (1865-1943) in the late 1880’s in High Brooms. George had been born in Framfield, Sussex  and  in 1881 was working as a carter for George Martin in Uckfield, Sussex. His marriage in 1888 to Bethiah Ann Baldock(1867-1980) in Ticehurst resulted in the move of George and his wife to High Brooms in 1888, where they took up residence at 47 Colebrook Road, and  where George began his business in the town as a coal merchant with a single horse and wagon.  In 1901 while at the same address, his parents and three of his siblings lived next door at No. 49, where his father George Amos Farrant (1845-1934) worked as a carman.

By 1911 he and his wife and three children Gertrude Dorcas, Alec George and Gwendoline Gladys, had moved to Alexandra House at 28 North Farm Road.In 1914, while returning from a journey to Folkestone a tractor driven by George lost a wheel. The stearsman was fatally injured and George’s leg was so badly damaged that it had to be amputated.  By 1918 he expanded his premises by occupying both 28 and 30 North Farm road.

Farrant carried for all the major businesses in Tunbridge Wells and expanded from a main supplier of coal, coke and corn and domestic removals to long haul contracts by steam powered ‘Road Trains’. His steam fleet was ,in the pre WW II years, upgraded to diesel lorries.

In 1934 Farrant’s Limited was formed. In 1942 G.E. Farrant (Transport) Limited was incorporated. When George died in 1943 his business remained in the family and was continued by his daughters Gertrude and Gladys who were company directors. His son Alec went into farming.

A major change to the operation of the business came when Gertrude Dorcas Ferrant (1892-1980) married Reginald R. Norton (1893-1956) in 1920 and with him had a number of children who worked for and became directors in the business.  The business continued to expand under their control .The company’s mid-blue lorries were a familiar sight on local roads until the business closed. The last accounts for G.E. Farrant (Transport) Limited were filed up to June 30,2000 and the business dissolved December 11,2001.. The firm of Farrants’s Limited ceased operations on August 3,2004.

This article traces the history of the company and those who ran it.

 

BUSINESS LOCATION

Colebrook Road in High Brooms has always been primarily a residential area. The street was and still is lined with mostly red brick homes, some detached, but most terrace houses. Some had been finished on the exterior with white stucco, including 47 Colebrook Road where the Farrant family first settled in High Brooms. A photo of this residence is given latter.

North Farm Road was less developed than Colebrook Road in the 19th century but today has been redeveloped and built up. The site of Alexandra House and the companies business premises at 28 and 30 North Farm Road is today the site of a modern three storey brick building with a sign on that reads “ Andrew House and Cameron House 28-30 North Farm Road”.

Shown above is a map of the area. Marked in blue is the location of 47 Colebrook Road, situated on the west side of the road not far from High Brooms Road. No. 28-30 North Farm Road is marked in red and is located on the east side of the road south of High Brooms Road. At the time the Farrant’s operated their business there the area was less built up and their site would have included the family’s residence a yard for the business and no doubt at least one outbuilding in which the company’s horses and wagons, and later lorries were kept.

BUSINESS OPERATIONS AND CONVEYANCES

The company began hauling coal by horse and wagon. The photo above shows the companies horse and wagon (perhaps the first one) with a gentleman standing beside it. Could this be George Ernest Farrant?

Starting with one horse and one wagon ,  the number of each were added to as the business expanded. Later still the company left the age of horse and wagon and established a small fleet of steam lorries which over time were added to. Later still as the company approached the years of WW II the company switched to diesel and petrol lorries.

Three authoritative references provide details of the companies conveyances. The first is an article that appeared in the Old Glory Magazine in their December 2007 issue when Alan Barnes wrote an article entitled “G.E. Farrant-The Steam years” in which he author traces the history of the one-time steam hauler G.E. Farrant “whos modern fleet of lorries only finished when the business closed”. This magazine, containing the Farrant article can be ordered online.

The second reference is an 4 page article written by R.A. Whitehead, entitled “Farrants’ Motor Lorries at High Brooms” which appeared in By Gone Kent  Volume 17 Number 7 dated July 1996. I wish to thank the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library for sending me a copy of the article. I have reproduced this article later but begin with the following.

A third source of information is from an article that appeared in the Kent and Sussex Courier dated January 26,2007 which I have reproduced in its entirety here. “ George Farrant set up his haulage contracting business in High Brooms at about the time of his marriage in 1888, with a single horse and wagon, and progressed through steam vehicles to a fleet of six and eight-wheeled diesel lorries. He lost a leg in a steam tractor crash on Quarry Hill in 1914, but carried on as head of the business until his death aged 78, in 1943, when it was continued by his daughters Gladys and Gertrude and Gertrude’s husband Reg Norton.  Farrants carried for all the major businesses in Tunbridge Wells and expanded from a main supplier of coal, coke and corn and domestic removals to long-haul contracts by steam-powered “road trains”. Robert Whitehead, who writes extensively on steam haulage, has described how Mr Farrant seized an opportunity after customers complained that furniture carried in containers on goods trains often arrived damaged due to shunting. From 1919, he won business from the railways by using his relatively fast five-ton steam tractors for long-distance jobs. Returning from a journey to Folkestone for W.G. Harris, a Tunbridge Wells company, in 1914, a tractor driven by Mr Farrant lost a wheel on Quarry Hill. The stearsman was fatally injured and Mr Farrant damaged a leg so badly that it had to be amputated. His business continued to expand with more powerful vehicles and soon the range of his work on roads and drives, mainly for private clients, called for the purchase of a road roller. Then came timber tugs and better and faster road vehicles. A major job, moving house and farm equipment for George Drummond, a banker from Smarts Hill, Penshurst, to his other estate at Potsford, Hants, included a close brush with disaster. Sid Lambert, a driver for Farrants, was on a steep hill in the dark when the tractor ran out of control and he had to stop it by running along a roadside bank. Damage was slight, but daylight revealed that a wall on the bank concealed a steep drop. Steam lorries were the next generation capable of running to London and back in a day, but still needing water to top up the boiler. Sid ambert, facing a water crisis, broke the law by dropping his hose into a horse trough and was spotted by a policeman. He got away by warning the constable “If you don’t get some water into her she’ll blow up”. The policeman fled. Steam haulage was always a dangerous business and claimed the life of George Farrant;s son Alec while hauling timber in a wood at Bidborough in 1942. The firm’s last steam roller, a 1920 Marshall, lasted until 1960, driven by Bill Clinton, who moved to Farrants from High Brooms Brick where he drove a Sentinel steam wagon. Sale of the Marshall for Preservation ended Farrant’s long love affair with steam. The firm went over totally to motor transport, building from a humble Bedford two-tonner into a fleet of powerful six and eight when tippers. They were a familiar sight in their mid-blue livery on local roads until the business closed in the 1990’s”.

Recently Daniel of the High Brooms Society published a piece about Farrants on a blog in which the above Kent and Sussex article was included. Also included by Daniel was the photo shown above, which can also be found on a Flicker website, that is an example of one of Farrant’s timber tractors that had been registered to Farrant’s haulage company. It is a 1950 Latil VA12 Timber Tractor, listed as being sold new to G.E. Farrant of Tunbridge Wells where it worked until 1973.

Although not a Farrant lorry, shown opposite is a photo from the book Tunbridge Wells a Second Edition In Old Photographs, by Rowlands and Beavis, published in 1994.I have included the image and its related text as an example of the type of steam lorries being used in Tunbridge Wells as the beginning of the 20th century. The image and text are self- explanatory. These early steam contraptions were prone to mechanical breakdown and of course required water, often times needing the boiler topped up with water along the route. The lorry operated by The London and Counties Distributing Company Limtied ran in competition to Farrant. A second image, not shown here, can be found in the 1st edition of Old Photographs by Rowlands and Beavis on page 150-151 showing a different steam lorry operated by The London & Counties  Distributing Company , upon its arrival in Tunbridge Wells on June 7,1901, being “the company’s first goods car to enter the town”. The caption to that photo states that the company “intended to send a line of steam waggons, travelling at an average speed of five miles an hour to Tunbridge Wells and intermediate towns for the conveyance of goods of various descriptions. Their objective is quickness of delivery”. The wagon was delayed on its journey due to a broken pump, but was greeted in the town with cheers from the assembled traders of the town who welcomed the service.This inauguration of service was celebrated by a dinner at the Swan Hotel. The arrival of Farrant’s steam lorries in the town would have been met with the same enthusiasm.

Below is the article entitled “Farrants’ Motor Lorries at High Brooms by R.A. Whitehead I referred to above, as published in By Gone Kent.

As my article in Volume 16, Number 10 attracted so much notice it was suggested that an account of the motor lorries used by Mr Farrant might be of interest. The first motor lorry known to have been used by him was a Hans-Lloyd. This was a chassis intended for a two-ton payload, and was built in the early twenties by the German company of Hansa-Lloyd Werke AG of Bremen. At some point in its career it was converted into an articulated vehicle, possibley by Carrimore Six-Wheelers Ltd of Finchley,North London. It was this vehicle, along with the Clayton steam wagon, which was taken in part exchange by Richard Garrett & Sons of Leiston, Suffolk, when George Farrant bought the first Garrett six-wheeled steam lorry owned by the firm. The Clayton ended up as scrap but the Hansa was resold to Mr R.J. Hutchinson, for 60 pounds, a price far in excess of its scrap value which might have been 5 pounds.

The next motor lorry of which definite evidence survives was a Bedford two-tonner of the type introduced in 1934, but there may have been another light truck in between, the record of which does not survive. The Bedford, however, was so successful that it caused its owner to think about replacing his steam wagons with motors on serious haulage.

The rise in the Road Fund taxation on steam wagons imposed by the 1934 Budget coincided with the launch by Bedford of the WTS and WTL types with the engine moved forward over the front axle and the famous short bonnet. In the three and five-ton versions these were built over a period of twenty-years, and as the steam wagons were withdrawn a fleet of short wheel based WTS type, with hydraulic tipping gear, was built up. By the outbreak of war these numbered ten. Additionally a two-ton normal control Bedford, with the same cab design as the WTS, was brought primarily for the coal business. This had a very long life and, having had a complete rebuild in 1956, was still running in the 1960’s. Latterly at least it was driven by Fred Saunders-whether he drove it from new I cannot say.

Also owned was a 1937 pneumatic Latil Trailer, based upon a French design but actually built in this country by Shelvoke & Drewry at Letchworth, a firm better known for their refuse collecting vehicles. The Farrant example had a Meadows petrol engine, and the wheels were fitted with retractable steel stakes folding out from the hubs for off –road working. This remarkable tractor, which had a wheel-base of only 7 feet 6-1/1 inches; a wheel-track of 4 feet 11 inches; and steered on all four wheels, was extremely manoeuvrable on timber haulage work. The drive was through a dual range three speed gearbox and chassis mounted lockable differentials to reduction gearing in the hubs, the axles themselves being dead-beams. The drive severely limited the road speed which was about 15-16 m.p.h. at the maximum and resulted in a very characteristic high-pitched gear note. Its usefulness in the wood was still further increased by its being fitted with a winch carrying a hundred yards of wire rope. The tractor usually worked with a large pneumatic tyred timber tug under the care of its owner’s on Alex (Alec) who ultimately met his death when it overturned on top of him whilst he was working with it in a wood at Bidborough. The tractor was afterwards recovered and repaired.

Shown opposite from this article is a photo identified as “the second Latil tractor with a large log of round timber”.

Because of the large increase in home-grown timber production during the 1939-45 war and the shortage of parts the Latif was worked pretty nearly to death so that by 1947 it was ripe for renewal. G.E. Farrant himself died in 1943 and by then his two daughters Gladys and Gertrude, together with the latter’s husband, Reg Norton, were running the firm. As the original tractor had served them so well a further example in the then current range was purchased. In this the power unti was a diesel and the arrangement of the retractable lugs was dispensed with in favour of very much larger pneumatic tyres. However, the day of this type of heavy tractor was drawing to a close, conversions of agricultural tractors offering a cheaper alternative both in initial and running costs, and the timber hauling side of the Farrant business ended its days using two Fordson conversions fitted with spades, a winch, front protection, and cabs. They were not, however, fitted with four-wheel drive.

Post was shortages kept three WTS Bedfords in service for some while after hostilities ended, but as opportunity offered they were replaced by )-types, the updated version of the WTS introduced as the war began ,but ousted from production during the war by the austerity OY type. Though minute by today’s standards of size these tippers gave wonderful service. There were also two O-type articulated units; one driven by Fred Smith and the other by Charles Lambert. When the O-type Bedford was dropped from production in 1954 it was succeeded by the short-lived bulbous S-type, only one example of which found its way into the Farrant fleet, but after the S-type, in turn, had been superseded in 1960 by the TK type, two of these were purchased in 1967, one a flat-bed lorry and the other an articulated unit.

In the mid-fifties the firm had bought a Commer Superpoise normal control lorry, one of the last petrol-engined vehicles to be acquired. Two further Copmmers, fitted with the famous, but noisy, TS3 horizontal diesel power units were added in 1969-70. In 1960 the depot yard was altered and extended by escavating into the hillside at the rear of it, enabling a new maintenance building to be erected. Shown opposite is a photo with the caption “The yard in the 1970’s, with the Commes at the entrance to the workshop and Didges down each flank”. Removing the spoil from this work was one of the last duties of the O-type Bedford tippers. By this date the company was moving decisively into a type of business requiring larger vehicles. At this time one useful connection was the transport of paper rolls from the Reed International works at Aylesford, and it was mainly for this that three AEC Mercury chassis were purchased, two as articulated units, working with York semi-trailers, and the third as a four-wheeled flat lorry. Though reliable and satisfactory these were relatively slow and, moreover, the problems that followed the merger if Leyland and AEC interests were already apparent.

Shown opposite is a  photo of “one of Leyland ‘super mastiffs’. Though no more AEC’s were bought, somewhat later 91976/1977) there was a pair of six-wheeled Leyland Super mastiff 24-tonners, though, as one of the present directors remarked, what prompted Leyland to incorporate ‘super’ into the name baffles the imagination.

Probably the most successful of the bigger tippers run by the firm in those middle post-war years were the Dodge KT 900 six-wheelers of which it had four, a non-turbo four-wheeler, and two K1050 turbo-assisted four-wheelers together with a K3820P articulated unit. The latter were followed by further Dodge four-wheelers (the G16 Commando) seven of which were eventually operated.

It was as these Dodge lorries came to be replaced that the firm turned to Fofden six and eight-wheelers. Successive purchases brought the total of these vehicles to eight, made up of an S39 six-wheeler, an S80 eight-wheeler, three S10 six-wheelers, and three S10 eight-wheelers. All had aluminum alloy insulated tipping bodies. It was one of the S10 six-wheelers (EKR 501 V) that appeared on exhibition at the 1979 Kent Show without the body so as to show the then newly-introduced rubber suspension.

One of these Fodens ( WKO 931 S) remains in the fleet, though in reserve and unlicensed. The present archive vehicles are a Dodge four-wheeler, two ERF eight-wheelers, two Volvo FL7 six-wheelers, and six Volvo FL10 eight-wheelers, the latter plated for 32 tonnes. A marked contrast to the first Bedford and its two-ton payload”.

This ends the article in Bygone Kent.

To close off this section of the article I noted that an article in the Commercial Motor of January 12,1973 made reference to claims that Farrants had been overloading their lorries. In part the article stated that “G.E. Farrant (Transport) Limited of Tunbridge Wells  who appeared before Maj-Gen. A.F.J. Elmslie, the South Eastern Licensing Authority at Maidstone last week. A director of the company blamed vehicle construction, customer default, and weighbridge faculty for overhauling convictions. Mrs D.A. Norton, a director of Farrant, appeared before the licensing authority to defend the accusations.

THE FARRANT FAMILY

The patriarch of the family was George Amos Farrant (1845-1934) who had married Caroline Richardson (1838-1915).George had been born at Framfield, Sussex, one of many Farrants from that area. He had worked most of his life as a carter/ carman. His wife Caroline was born at Sandhurst, Kent. George and Caroline went on to produce nine children between 1862 and 1880. Their eldest son was George Ernest Farrant, born April 7, 1865 at Framsfield, Sussex, who is the central figure in this article.

The 1881 census, taken at New House Cottage in Uckfield, Sussex, records George Ernest Farrant as single, and working as a farm servant carter for George Martin.

The Farrant family remained in Framfield until 1888 when in that year George Ernest Farrant married Bethiah Ann Baldock (1867-1955)at Ticehurst, Sussex. After the marriage George and Bethia moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence at 47 Colebrook (sometimes given as Colebrooke), a road that named after the well-known Colebrooke family who owned the Colebrooke Estate and much of the land in the area.

Bethia Ann Baldock had been born 2nd qtr 1867 in Heathfield, Sussex. She was ,based on the 1871 census at Millhurst, one of four children born to George Baldock, an agricultural worker, born 1840 at Rotherfield, Sussex, and Dorcas ,born 1836 at Horsmonden, Kent. Her siblings had all been born between 1864 and 1870 and it is likely she had other siblings as well.

The 1881 census, recorded George Ernest Farrant with his wife Bethia at 47 Colebrook Road. The 1891 census, taken at the same address recorded George as a dealer in coal, running his own business. Living with him was his wife Bethia, one visitor and Georges mother in law Dorcas Relf, age 57, born at Horsmonden. It would appear from the change in her surname that she remarried after her husband George Baldock passed away. Dorcas was listed in the census as married.

The 1901 census, taken at 47 Colebrook road recorded George as running a coal merchants business. Living with him was his wife Bethia and his two children Gertrude Dorcas Farrant (1892-1980) and Alex George Farrant (1899-1942). George and Bethia had one more child, namely Gwendoline Gladys Farrant (1907-2003). Living next door to this family at No. 49 Colebrook Road was Georges  parents and  his sister Caroline, born 1881, a “builders wash”; his brother Isaac, born 1867, a Corporal in the 1st Royal dragoons, and Isaac’s wife Mary. George’s father was working at that time as a “carman” worker.

The 1911 census, taken at Alexandra House, 28 North Farm Road, Southborough, listed George Ernest Farrant as a “haulage contractor”. Living with him was his wife Bethia who was “assisting in the business” of her husband. The three children of George and Bethia were also present at the time of the census. Gertrude was working as a bookkeeper in the family business; the other children were attending school. There was also one domestic servant. The census recorded that their home consisted of six rooms; that they had been married 23 years and that they had three children who were all still living.

A review of local Kelly directories showed for 1913 “George Farrant, 28 North Farm Road, High Brooms, coal merchant”. ; For 1918 to 1922 “George Ernest Farrant, 28 and 30 North Farm road, coal merchant’; for 1930 “George Ernest Farrant, 28 and 30 North Farm Road, haulage contractor”; and for 1938 “George Ernest Farrant, 28 North Farm Road, haulage contractor”. Telephone directories listed the following; 1923 “ G. Farrant, contractor, North Farm Road”; 1937 “ G. Farrant, Carman, Contractor, North Farm road”; 1954-1969 “ G.E. Farrant (Transport)Limited, North Farm road”. In 1976 three listings were found (1) G.E. Farrant (Transport) Limited, North Farm road (2) Farrants Ltd, Public Works Contractors, 28 North Farm Road (3) Farrant Haulage Ltd 178 Bexhill Road, St Leonards on Sea, Hastings and Lamberhurst Road, Brenchley, Kent.

George Amos Farrant passed away in Tunbridge Wells in April 1934 and was buried in the Southborough Cemetery on April 14th.George Ernest Farrant passed away in Tunbridge Wells on January 16, 1943. Probate records show he was of 28 North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells but died at the Lonsdale Nursing Home in town. The executor of his 4,836 pound estate was his wife Bethia. George was buried in the Southborough Cemetery on January 21st. Bethia Ann Farrant of 28 North Farm Road, High Brooms, Tunbridge Wells died June 19, 1955 at 32 North Farm Road. The executor of her 355 pound estate was her married daughter Gertrude Dorcas Norton and her spinster daughter Gwendoline Gladys Farrant. Bethia was buried in the Southborough Cemetery on June 22, 1955.

Gwendoline never married and lived with her parents most of her life. She died in the 1st qtr of 2003 in Tunbridge Wells. She was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium March 21, 2003 and her ashes buried in the Southborough Cemetery on March 31,2003.

George’s son Alex George Farrant followed his father into the family business but also went into farming. He had been living with his parents and siblings at Alexandra House, 28 North Farm Road at the time of the 1911 census and continued to do so for some time. In the 3rd qtr of 1922 he married Hilda rose Cornwell (1901-1990) at Eastbourne, Sussex. His name in the marriage records was given as “Alick”. He appears to have spent most of his life living in Tunbridge Wells. A second marriage between “Alec G Farrant” and Gertrude E. Swaitland took place in the 2nd qtr of 1924 in Tunbridge Wells and a marriage between “Alec G Farrant” and Edith Maud Sweetman took place in the 4th qtr of 1927 at Hailsham, Sussex. Probate records give Alec George Farrant of 4 North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells died September 7, 1942 at Bread Field Farm, Bidborough, Kent. The executors of his 1,390 pound estate were his wife Edith Maud Farrant and his spinster sister Gwendoline Gladys Farrant. Burial records for “Alec George Farrant” record that he was buried in the Southborough Cemetery September 11, 1942. As noted in the Kent and Sussex Courier article dated January 26, 2007 Alec was killed on the job while hauling timber in a wood near Bidborough.

Details about Gertrude Dorcas Farrant are given in the next section about the Norton Family.

THE NORTON FAMILY

Gertrude Dorcas Farrant, the eldest daughter of George Ernest and Bethia Ann Farrant, Gertrude had been born May 2, 1892 at High Brooms and lived with her parents on North Farm Road until her marriage to Frederick Reginald Norton (1893-1956) in the 2nd qtr of 1920 at Tunbridge Wells. Frederick had been born in Southborough in 1893.He had been baptised December 9, 1894 at Tunbridge Wells with his parents being Charrles Joseph Norton and Charlotte Norton. The 1911 census, taken at 32 North Farm Road, High Brooms, recorded Charles Joseph Norton, age 41, born 1870 Tunbridge Wells and was working as “chief clerk brickworks” which no doubt is a reference to his employment at the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company. Living with Charles was his wife Charlotte, born 1868 in Epson. Also present was their son Frederick Reginald Norton who at the time was working as an apprentice draper. The census recorded that the couple were living in 9 rooms; that they had been married 19 years and had three children, all living.

Probate records for Frederick Reginald Norton record him of 32 North Farm road, High Brooms and that he died April 26, 1956. His estate of 8,157 pounds was left to his wife Gertrude. He was buried in the Southborough Cemetery on May 4, 1956.

Gertrude died in Tunbridge Wells in 1980.She was buried in the Southborough Cemetery on February 14,1980.Gertrude and her Norton family remained active in the Farrant haulage business and she was one of the directors.

Gertrude and Frederick had a number of children, who became involved with the Farrant business. In some cases they worked in the business and in other cases their role was that of company director.

I have referred in the “Overview” of two companies that had been formed in the 20th century during the time of George Ernest Farrant which I recap here. G.E. Farrant (Transport) Limited had been incorporated March 26, 1942 with its registered office at “Cameron House’ 28 North Farm Road. This company (No. 00572988) last filed accounts up to June 30, 2000. The second company was Farrant’s Limtied which began September 27, 1934 and ended August 3, 2004. The business address for Farrant’s Limited was c/o Larkings Cornwallis House, Pudding Lane, Maidstone, Kent.

Nicholas Charles Norton (born 1957) worked as a chartered accountant and director of G. E Farrant (Transport) Limited from June 8, 1991 to December 11, 2001. He was also a chartered accountant and director of Farrant’s Limited from June 1991 until August 2004.

Daphne Ann Norton worked for G.E.Farrant (Transport) Limited as a director and transport manager from June 8, 1991 to December 11, 2001. Her co-workers, who were all directors, were Richard John Norton, Nicholas Charles Norton, Julian Peter Norton and Colin Michael Norton. Julian Peter Norton was born 1965 and his last directorship with G.E, Farrant (Transport) limited was in 1991.

For enthusiasts of model railroading is shown above is a photograph of an HO gauge model railway car decorated to commemorate the firm of G.E. Farrant. The side of the model coal car has upon it printed the name “ G.E. Farrant Coal Merchant & Contractor Southborough”. The advertisement for this model train states “George Farrant set up as a haulage contractor in High Brooms in about 1888. Farrants carried for all the major businesses in Tunbridge Wells and expanded from a main supplier of coal, coke and corn and domestic removals to long haul contracts by steam powered ‘Road Trains’.” 

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….

Relief

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.