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Discover the fascinating people and places of Tunbridge Wells.Take a journey back in time to the 19th and early 20th century. See what the town was like in the days of the horse and carriage and what the people did who lived there. See the vintage postcards and photographs.Read the articles about the different trades and professions and the people who worked in them.Learn about the historic buildings and the town's colourful history.
This month I feature a photograph dated 1908 looking south along Mount Pleasant Road in which is shown a Lyle's horse drawn wagon in front of Weekes shop opposite the High Street bridge. The wagon is loaded with crates of mineral water and other beverages produced by this local company. The Kent & Sussex Courier of March 14,2014 gave  “ Eliza Lyle, recently widowed, came to Tunbridge Wells in 1884 and, like many small producers, started to sell her homemade ginger beer from her tiny front room in Western Road.However she had her sights set on bigger things and with the help of her sons, soon opened a factory in Newton Road, just behind the bustle of Calverley Road. By the end of the century, with a larger, purpose-built factory on the corner of Garden Street and Calverley Street, business was booming. When the entrepreneurial matriarch died in 1907, the family had at least 15 businesses right across the South East, producing a range which included ginger ale, ginger beers,lemonade, the Tizer-like Lyleora and many others”.

Further information about Lyles and other manufacturers of ginger beer and mineral water in Tunbridge Wells can be found in my article ' The Mineral Water and Ginger Beer Industry of Tunbridge Wells' dated January 5,2013 (updated June 25,2014).

ANNOUNCEMENT

The articles on this site are replaced by new ones on the first of the month, so come back and visit this site often. Feel free to copy any text and images of interest to you.Due to the quantity and size of the images in this website users will find that some of them are slow to appear. Please be patient, as they are worth waiting for.Those without high speed internet service will no doubt have to wait longer than others. To move from one page of the website to the next simply click on the page number in the bar at the top of the page-not the "Go To" instruction at the bottom of the page.

Also note that if you attempt to print any pages from this website before the page has fully loaded, some images may not be printed and the layout of the page may be distorted, as the text and images are repositioned during loading. For the best copy wait for the page to fully load.

There is no provision for contacting me from this website. If you wish to contact me I would suggest contacting the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library or the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society who will forward your inquiry to me. Their contact details can be found on their websites.

ABOUT ME


I am a researcher and writer of articles about the history of Tunbridge Wells and was a member of the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society (TWFHS) until its recent demise. I had been a regular contributer to the TWFHS Guestbook and Journal. I assist others with their genealogical inquiries on various websites such as Rootschat and the Kent & Sussex History Forum. I have had many articles published in various society journals, Newsletters and Magazines in England and Canada. I am decended from three generation of Gilberts who lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1881.

Shown here is a photograph of me taken in July 2015 proudly displaying my T-shirt. I was trained and worked as a Civil Engineer and in the late 1980's changed careers and became the owner of two corporations engaged in General Contracting and the supply of building materials. Upon my retirement in 1998 I devoted my spare time to research,writing and gardening. I lived in southern Ontario from 1950 to 1981 but moved to Thunder Bay,Ontario (about 950 miles north of Toronto) to work as a Supervising Engineer in NorthWestern Ontario. My father Douglas Edward Gilbert (1916-2009) came to live with me in 1983. He had been born in Tunbridge Wells but came to Canada with his parents/siblings in the early 1920's. All but one my relatives (mostly second cousins, none of which have the surname of Gilbert) live in England and some still live in Tunbridge Wells. The only Gilberts from my family line in Canada are me (born in Canada 1950). My dads sister Mabel Joan Gilbert, born in Tunbridge Wells in 1921 died October 2017 in Barrie, Ontario. Her only child Garry Williamson is living in Barrie with his wife and two adopted sons. Since I never got married I am the last of the family with the surname of Gilbert in Canada and England and I am the self appointed genealogist of my family line. Although my greatgrandfather of Tunbridge Wells had three sons and four daughters I am the only surviving descendent with the surname of Gilbert. A complete family tree of my family going back five generations can be found on the Ancestry UK website.

I established this website in 2011. Every month I replace all of the articles with new ones so please come back and visit again. If there are any articles you wish to keep for your records feel free to copy them. There is no archive of older articles on this site but the Tunbridge Wells Library and the Museum retain copies of my articles for their local history files,so please contact them to see them. I am in regular contact with the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society (Chris Jones) who takes an interest in my work and may have some of my articles in his files. Occasionally I republish older articles that have been updated with new information.














On October 9,2014 I was presented with a Civic Society Community Contribution Award in recognition of the contribution that this website has made to the town, especially in the field of history and family history. In the summer of 2015 I had the pleasure of visiting Tunbridge Wells and seeing first hand all of the places I had written about and those which will be featured in future articles. Shown above (left)is a photo taken during this trip at Hever Castle by Alan Harrison in July 2015 in which I am wearing my "I Love Royal Tunbridge Wells" T-Shirt, a slogan which accurately expresses my great interest in the town and its history. Shown with me is my good friend and neighbour Mrs Susan Prince of Thunder Bay,Ontario, who organized the trip,and the lady in dark blue on the right is my second cousin Mrs Christine Harrison of Tunbridge Wells. Christine's grandfather Robert Herbert Gilbert is my grandfathers eldest brother.Christine and her husband were kind enough to drive us around Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area. It was a memorable holiday, and one that will be reported on in various articles of this website. Also shown above right is a photograph of me that appeared in the Kent & Sussex Courier in August 2015 from an article written about my visit to the town.This photograph was taken by the Courier photographer at the Victorian B&B, 22 Lansdowne Road, where I stayed during my visit. A reception was also held on June 30,2015  to commemorate my visit  and my work in writing about the history of the town by the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society in the garden at the home of John Cunningham,who is a member of the Civic Society.John, Chris Jones and some 30 others came out for the reception and afterwards Susan Prince and I had a lovely meal and evening with John and Chris and their wives at John's home.

I hope you enjoy reading about my family and the articles I have written about the history of Tunbridge Wells.


HOLD TO LIGHT POSTCARDS

 

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

Date: February 1,2019

“Hold to Light” (HTL)postcards are a form of novelty postcard produced in the late 19th century and early 20th century. When held up to a strong light, the moon, water ripples, windows, vehicles and other objects light up brilliantly.

In 1898, Wolf Hagelberg of Berlin produced a new type of picture postcard which became known as ‘Hold to the Light’ or ‘HTL’. Before the outbreak of the Great War the Berlin company produced a number of HTL cards for various publishers in Great Britain too. However, when war came all trade between Germany and Britain ceased and British publishers had to work out how the HTL cards were manufactured and assembled. And they did.

Hold to Light postcards are of three distinct types namely

1.Die Cut Postcards are triple layered cards on which certain parts of the topmost layer have been cut out, a middle layer with thin colored tissue paper and a bottom layer for the Address backing. When held up to a strong light, such as a lamp, the cut out portions appear brightly colored and illuminated. These cards generally highlight windows, the moon, flowers, or other small discrete cut-out areas.

2.Transparency Postcards are more sophisticated. Also made of three or more layers, these have a 'hidden design' which is usually related to the front design. Objects, characters, colors, or scenes appear magically when the postcard is held in front of a strong light. These cards are classified in four groups:

a.Day into night scenes.

b.The color changes (usually from black and white to colors).

c.A new image appears (which may or may not be related to the front image).

d.A partial image appears or changes

3.Slide Transparency Postcards are, as the name implies, a slide transparency sandwiched between two layers of a postcard. These are rare and hard to find.

This type of postcard was initially produced in Germany but later were made in Britain and America (largely) but were also made in France and Germany and a few other European countries.  Compared to regular postcards, manufactured in large quantities the HTL postcards were produced in much smaller quantities and therefore are quite hard to find today but retailers of vintage postcards occasionally have some to offer.

Certainly HTL postcards showing views of Tunbridge Wells are very scarce. The only example of one found to date shows a view of the Rusthall Common being card 3254 by WH Perlis, which was franked in 1907.  The same card was also found franked in 1904 . Both of them were made in Germany. This card is shown at the top of this article. It is impossible to see just how interesting this card is without holding it up to a strong light. An example of one of these cards illuminated by light is shown above, giving a lit view of windows in the buildings along George Street in Hull.


ALFRED PAGET HEDGES LIBERAL MP

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

Date: February 1,2019

Alfred Paget Hedges (1867 –1929), was a British Liberal Party politician and cigarette manufacturer. A photograph of him is shown opposite.

He was the second son of William Hedges of Ealing, the co-founder of Benson & Hedges Ltd. He was educated at Milton, Kent. He married Florence Hicks of Gerrans, Cornwall. They had three sons. He was an ardent Methodist.

He succeeded his father in his tobacco business in 1885 and immediately became the sole proprietor. He had business connections in London, New York and Montreal.

He was Liberal MP for the Tunbridge Division of Kent from 1906 to 1910. He was elected at the first attempt, gaining the seat from the Conservatives at the 1906 General Election. Shown here are the front and back of a postcard produced on the occasion of Hedges winning the 1906 election.

















The photograph, by and unidentified photographer, was taken in front of the old Town Hall on Calverley Road,Tunbridge Wells. Mr Hedges is shown with the Mayor and other dignitaries in front of the grand columns at the Town Hall entrance, the scene of many other similar events. Note the large crowd that had gathered, the majority of whom (both ladies and men) were wearing hats, something one seldom sees today. Note also that most of those in the crowd were men with just a few women visible at the back and side. Note also the presence of a large number of police constables assembled to control the crowd. The back of this postcard also provides an interesting commentary on the event by one of Mr Hedges supporters ( indicating in part that Hedges won the election by 1,283 votes). The hand written note on the front of the postcard is also interesting. Mr Hedges apponent for Tunbridge Wells was the Conservative Arthur Griffith-Boscawen (image opposite) who had been elected in 1892. Bowcawen became a JP for Kent in 1896 and was knighted in 1911.

On February 18,1908, Mr Hedges instituted a debate on local taxation, and after extensive lobbying for the readjustment of taxes in the winter of 1908-9, he still voted against the government over rating reform in February 1909. He was defeated by the Conservatives at the following General Election in January 1910.  In the 1910 election the results were as follows: Conservative Herbert Henry Spender-Clay  9,240 votes and    Liberal  Alfred Paget Hedges  6,030 votes.   

Captain Herbert Henry Spender-Clay, CMG (4 June 1875 — 15 February 1937) was an English soldier and Conservative Party politician. He sat in the House of Commons from 1910 to 1937. A photograph of him from 1917 is shown opposite. He was elected at the January 1910 general election as the Member of Parliament for the Tunbridge division of Kent. He was re-elected in December 1910, and when the division was abolished in boundary changes for the 1918 general election he was returned as a Coalition Conservative for the new Tonbridge division. He held that seat through a further six general elections until his death.

 

THE MUSEUM OF COSTUME

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

Date: February 1,2019

INTRODUCTION 

In 1955 a collection of women’s costumes belonging to Doris Langley Moore” moved from London to the home of the Marquess of Abergavenny at Eridge Castle in Kent, where it was opened by the Queen Mother. The origins of this museum and details about the collection are given in the next section. Shown opposite is a postcard view of the museum by the Tunbridge Wells postcard firm of E.A Sweetman & Son Ltd, which on the back is written in pencil “ 1955”.

Doris Langley Moore OBE (1902-1989) founded the museum. A photograph of her dated 1935 is shown below in the next section.  Doris Langley Moore also known as Doris Langley-Levy Moore, was one of the first important female fashion historians. She founded the Fashion Museum, Bath, (as The Museum of Costume) in 1963. She was also a well-respected Lord Byron scholar, and author of a 1940s ballet, The Quest. As a result of these wide-ranging interests, she had many connections within fashionable, intellectual, artistic and theatrical circles. Further details about her and her life and career can be found on the Wikipedia website.

DORIS LANGLEY MOOR AND THE MUSEUM OF FASHION AT BATH

The following article by Pat Poppy dated February 2,2013 provides background information and details about the origins of “The Museum of Costume” at Eridge Castle, Eridge Green.

“ I spent a pleasant afternoon at the AGM of the West of England Costume Society where Rosemary Harden, curator of the Fashion Museum at Bath spoke about the origins of the Fashion Museum, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in the Assembly Rooms, and the museum’s creator Doris Langley Moore.”

“Doris Langley Moore’s collection started with fashion plates, but in 1928 she took part in a game of charades, and her hostess was so surprised that Doris could get into one of the garments that she had supplied for the protagonists to use, that she gave her the garment. Some months later Doris purchased another vintage gown which she was planning to cut up, however she balked at the idea, and thus her collection began.”

 

“Mrs Langley Moore had a wide collection of friends and acquaintances in the artistic and theatrical world of London, and when she published a book about her collection in 1949 – Women in Fashion - items from her collection where modelled by luminaries of the time such as the ballerinas Margot Forteyn and Beryl Grey, actresses Rachel Kempson and Vivien Leigh, the opera singer Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and many others. The young lady on the title page above is Vanessa Redgrave. Rosemary commented that many of the dresses in the book are no longer in the collection as it was never static. Mrs Langley Moore often sold off items as well as purchasing.”

“Even at this date Mrs Langley Moore was looking to open a museum. She acquired an Arts Council grant and was for a short period based in London, but in 1955 the collection moved to the home of the Marquess of Abergavenny at Eridge Castle in Kent, where it was opened by the Queen Mother. It was while the collection was at Eridge that a series of four, fifteen minute television programmes based on the collection where made. They were unusual in that, although there was no colour television in England at the time, they were made in colour. They can still be seen via the BBC archives.”

“The collection moved again, being based for a short period at the Royal Pavilion Brighton, before finally coming to rest at its current home in the Assembly Rooms in 1963. From that date on the Museum has instituted a “Dress of the Year” where a current fashion is chosen by a fashion journalist as exemplified by an outfit, from Mary Quant in 1963 to Sarah Burton in 2011. This year the museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an exhibition of “50 Fabulous Frocks” which opened today.”

THE BBC BROADCAST

On April 21,1957 the BBC made its first colour broadcast. The programme was called “ Men, Women and Clothes- How Fashions Come and go. The programme was filmed in part at the Museum of Costume at Eridge. The programme can be viewed online.

Here is what the BBC had to say about it. “ In the first programme of this fascinating series, the marvellous Doris Langley Moore looks at fashion evolution and sources of inspiration. Using authentic period costumes modelled by some familiar faces, she addresses issues such as why cloaks resembled lampshades in the 19th century and how bustles evolved from crinolines.”

“Although the series was filmed in colour, the ability to actually transmit programmes in colour was slower to develop and didn't start on the BBC until 1967. As the Queen Mother had opened the Museum of Costume at Eridge Castle in 1955, and to enable her to appreciate the full colour spectacle, she was invited to a private film viewing at the BBC a few days before the programme aired in 1957. The collection was eventually moved to Bath and Doris Langley Moore made sure that every 12 months a new addition was made to represent that year's fashion. Mary Quant designed the dress that was chosen for 1963.”

The Queen showed her appreciation in the letter below sent from Clarence House.

March 28th, 1957.

Dear Mrs Langley Moore,

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother bids me write and tell you how very much she enjoyed seeing the films of the Museum of Costume yesterday afternoon. Her Majesty thought them quite excellent and most interesting, and the commentary delightful. Queen Elizabeth hopes that they will be much appreciated when they are shown to the public, though it is sad to know that at first they will be in black and white, and so will lose a little without the colour of the dresses and the house and gardens.

The films must represent a great deal of hard work on your part, and Queen Elizabeth hopes you are as pleased with them as the audience obviously were.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) Olivia Mulholland

Lady-in-Waiting

QUEEN ALEXANDRA’S DRESS  

Royal Women exhibition leads to exciting discovery of missing Queen Alexandra dress (image opposite) reported and article dated September 7,2018. It continued by stating “An exhibition at the Fashion Museum Bath has led to the exciting discovery of a missing dress worn by Queen Alexandra.” The article reports on an interesting connection to Tunbridge Wells.

“Royal Women, which runs until 28 April 2019 features fashions worn by four successive generations of women in the royal family including Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret. The black silk and velvet evening gown worn by Alexandra, the Danish-born wife of King Edward VII, lay hidden away in a private collection until earlier this year and is to go on show as a stunning new addition to the Royal Women exhibition from today.”

“The dress is a black silk and velvet evening gown embellished with beads and sequins and dates to around 1908-1910. It was designed for Queen Alexandra by Parisian-styled London dressmaker Barolet of Knightsbridge and has Alexandra’s signature black and gold name tag sewn into the waist tape.”

“The Fashion Museum discovered the existence of the dress when its owner, Francesca Counsell Risius, got in touch after reading about the Royal Women exhibition. It is understood Francesca’s great aunt, Mrs Counsell, bought the dress in the 1950s and kept it at her dress shop in Tunbridge Wells as a showpiece and royal curiosity. A prized possession and never for sale, it was once worn by shop assistant Gilly Holiday for a story in the local paper in 1965. Gilly can be seen modelling the dress under a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.”

“Mrs Counsell subsequently passed the dress to her great niece who carefully stored it in a box in her attic. It remained hidden away until Francesca saw there was an exhibition opening at the Fashion Museum featuring dresses worn by Queen Alexandra. “My great aunt gave me the dress in the late 1960s and I’ve kept it in a box ever since. I’ve carefully tried it on a couple of times, so has my daughter and occasionally we’ve taken it out of its tissue paper to show interested friends and family. I can’t wait to see it on display alongside other pieces from Queen Alexandra’s wardrobe.”

“Dr Kate Strasdin, dress historian and one of the leading experts on Queen Alexandra, has examined the dress and verified its authenticity. The size, style and signature waistband are near identical to other known items worn by Queen Alexandra, and Dr Strasdin’s research into the Royal Wardrobe accounts held in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle confirm that Alexandra was indeed a client of Barolet around the time the dress was designed.”

“Dr Strasdin, who acted as historical consultant to the Fashion Museum during the development of Royal Women, is delighted a new dress worn by Queen Alexandra has come to light. “Queen Alexandra was a style icon and this dress is a fabulous find, not just because of its beauty, but because of what the dress reveals about Alexandra’s fashion choices. Placing orders with smaller, less well-known dressmakers such as Barolet as opposed to always favouring big couture houses like Worth shows a measure of Alexandra’s determination to dress apart from her peers and indicates a degree of sartorial independence.”

“Interestingly, the dress has a prior connection to the Fashion Museum (previously known as the Museum of Costume). Founder Doris Langley Moore borrowed the dress from Mrs Counsell to display in the very first Fashion Museum exhibition at Eridge Castle in Kent in 1955. Elly Summers, Curator of Royal Women, said “we are thrilled to have rediscovered this spectacular dress and to be putting it on public display this autumn. It was on show at Eridge Castle alongside another dress on display in Royal Women, a 1954 oyster silk satin ball gown by Norman Hartnell worn by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and it’s wonderful that they are sharing an exhibition space once again. It feels full circle to reunite it with the many other treasures collected by Doris Langley Moore that form the basis of the Fashion Museum collection.”

“Following Queen Alexandra’s death in 1925, many of her dresses were dispersed and even today the whereabouts of many remain a mystery. The evening gown is just one of the missing pieces from Alexandra’s wardrobe that have been uncovered over the years and feature in the Royal Women exhibition. An 1870 tartan silk dress was discovered at a high end vintage shop in London called Baroque in the 1960s before it made its way into the Fashion Museum collection.”

“The black silk and velvet evening gown will also become a treasured part of the Museum collection, thanks to its generous donation by Francesca Counsell Risius. The dress will appear on display in Royal Women from 7 September alongside other known items worn by Queen Alexandra including a croquet jacket from 1863 and coronation glove from 1902, as well as royal fashions worn by Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret.”

“Councillor Paul Myers, Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “We are very excited that, thanks to Francesca Counsell Risius’s generosity, this missing piece of fashion history is coming to the Fashion Museum, where local residents will be able to see it for free with a Discovery Card. We hope it will attract visitors from all over the country to the world-class Royal Women exhibition.” 

“Footage of models at the shop Baroque wearing Queen Alexandra’s dresses in 1951 can be seen on the British Pathé website. The black dress featured in the footage is almost identical to the one recently donated to the Museum.”

 

THE KNOWLES DAIRY ON ST JOHNS ROAD

 

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

Date: January 28,2019

INTRODUCTION 

At the turn of the 19th century there were many small dairies, producing milk, cream and butter. The milk was sold from the churn and delivered by bowler hatted roundsmen carrying the old yoke and pails or by horse-drawn carts and push carts.

The bottling of milk did not begin until the 1920’s although cream could be bought in small pottery jugs during the Victorian era. Cream jugs made good collections for they are small and are to be found in many different shapes and colours. Most have attractive under glazed printed trade marks of cows, milk maids and monograms.

Milk bottles on the other hand are not so well collected but they are an inherent part of local history. All the bottles were embossed or screen printed with the names of the dairy, the farm or farmers, bearing witness to the small dairy man.

One of the big names in dairy products in Tunbridge Wells was John Brown who began his business in the town in 1870 but by 1906 amalgamated with Mr Steel calling themselves The South of England Dairies Limited managed by Mr T. Francis. Later the business moved to 87 St John’s Road and named John Brown’s Dairies until the early 1960’s when it became Home County Dairies and then Unigate. Details about John Brown’s dairy can be found in my article ‘ John Browns Dairy’ dated March 19,2012.

Although John Brown is perhaps the best known of all the dairies the Knowles family from Ilford Essex came to Tunbridge Wells after WW1 and established their dairy at 111 St John’s Road in a shop on the west side of St John’s Road north of the Skinner’s School. Three generations of the family were engaged in the dairy business and in this article I present information about the family and their dairy business. Shown above is a pint milk bottle bearing the name “ T. Knowles & Son Tunbridge Wells” recently found for sale on ebay and stated by the seller to be from the 1950’s. Marked on the bottle is the manufacturer “ Canning Town Glass Bottles at Queenborough, Kent”.

THE KNOWLES FAMILY –THE FIRST GENERATION

For the purposes of this article I begin with the patriarch of the branch of the Knowles clan that eventually made their way to Tunbridge Wells and established their dairy. In this clan the name “Thomas Du Rose Knowles runs for three generations.

The elder of the clan was Thomas Du Rose Knowles (1850-1929) who’s wife was Ann Knowles, nee Taylor, born 1851. Thomas and Ann lived most of their lives in Ilford, Essex (image opposite) and he was employed as a tin plate worker. Thomas and his wife Ann had ten children including a son Thomas De Rose Knowles (1879-1940).

Thomas Du Rose Knowles(born 1850) and his son of the same name born 1879 are the T. Knowles & Son of Tunbridge Wells marked on the milk bottle given in the Introduction but this business name continued well into the 1960’s in Tunbridge Wells even though Thomas Du Rose Knowles born in 1850 died in Tunbridge Wells in 1929.

Probate records for Thomas Du Rose Knowles (born 1850) gave him of 31 Dickenson Road, Crouch Hill, Middlesex, when he died June 30,1929 at 111 St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells. The executors of his 616 pound estate was Rosamond Agnes Hanson (his married daughter and wife of Ralph James Hanson).

The Courier of July 5,1929 reported on the death and funeral of Thomas Du Rose Knowles and in part stated the mourners were “Mr Knowles (eldest son) and Mrs Knowles, Miss R.A. Knowles (eldest daughter), Mr Knowles (grandson) who was Thomas Arthur Du Rose Knowles, Mr. W. Knowles and Mrs Penn. There were a number of beautiful floral tributes, including those from Mr and Mrs Knowles; Mrs Penn and the staff of the dairy.

In the next section I continue the story of Thomas Du Rose Knowles (1879-1940)

THE KNOWLES FAMILY- THE SECOND GENERATION

The head of the Knowles family connected with the dairy business was Thomas Du Rose Knowles (1879-1940).

Thomas had been born January 21,1879 in Islington, Middlesex the son of Thomas and Ann given in the previous section.  All of his siblings born between 1875 and 1893 were born in Islington and during that time Thomas lived with his parents.

In the 2nd qtr of 1898 at West Ham, Essex Thomas married Jane Elizabeth Watts who was born 1879 in Poplar, Essex. By 1911 the couple had just two children but only their son Thomas Arthur Du Rose (1899-1977) survived and it appears the couple had no other children.  Thomas and his son Thomas Arthur continued the dairy business under the name of T. Knowles & Son Tunbridge Wells.

Going back in time to the 1901 census, taken at 9 Avondale Terrace, Ley Street in Ilford, Essex is listed Thomas Du Rose Knowles, born 1878(actually 1879) as a milk carrier. With him was his wife Jane Elizabeth Knowles born 1878 in Poplar, Essex and their son Thomas Arthur Du Rose born in Manor Park, Essex.

The 1911 census, taken at 172 Richmond Road in Ilford, Essex gave Thomas Du Rose Knowles as a dairyman. With him was his wife Jane Elizabeth Knowles (assisting in business) and his son Thomas Arthur Du Rose Knowles who was also assisting in the business. The census recorded that the family were in premises of five rooms, that the couple had been married 13 years and of their two children only their son Thomas Arthur was still living.

Directories from 1908 to 1915 list “ Thomas Du Rose Knowles, dairyman 172 Richmond Road, Ilford, Essex. Just after WW1 Thomas and his wife Jane and son Thomas Arthur Knowles moved to Tunbridge Wells and established their dairy in a shop at 111 St John’s Road (west side) just of the Skinners School. Shown opposite is a modern view of the shop identified as “Corlander” between the pizza shop and St Johns Launderette.

The Courier reported on a case involving cruelty to a horse by an employee of Thomas Knowles and Thomas had to appear in court as the owner of the horse as it was determined that the horse was unfit to work.

The Courier of January 5,1923 reported from the courts that Mr. Arthur Smallcombe was charged on remand with embezzling and stealing 2s 4d received by him on behalf of his employer Thomas Knowles at Tunbridge Wells on November 14th. There was also a second charge by his employer of embezzling 2s 8d. Detective Sgt Hilton stated that at 8;20 pm he had seen the prisoner in Southborough. It seems the money pertained to money collected by Mr Smallcombe for milk delivered on his rounds which he did not turn over to Mr Knowles.

Shown opposite is a 1933 advertisment for the dairy at 111 St John’s Road which in part states “ over forty years reputation”; “No home is complete without a bottle of Knowles clean milk”; “ clean milk free from dirt and impurities”; “delivery twice daily to all parts of the town”.

A listing for 1939 gave Thomas Du Rose Knowles born January 21,1879 at 111 St John’s Road,Tunbridge Wells as a dairyman. He was given as married but his wife was not listed with him and by this time his son had left the family home.

The Courier and Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser of February 2,1940 announced the death of Thomas Du Rose Knowles, “dairyman of St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, age 66 at the Brighton Hospital and that he was cremated in Brighton.

THE KNOWLES FAMILY –THIRD GENERATION

Thomas Arthur Du Rose Knowles (1899-1977) was the son of Thomas Du Rose Knowles and Jane Elizabeth Knowles referred to in the previous section.

He had been born January 24,1899 at Manor Park Essex. As given in the census records for 1901 and 1911 in the previous section he was living with his parents in Ilford, Essex and at the time of the 1911 census he was assisting his father in the dairy.

The records of the Royal Navy list Thomas Arthur Du Rose Knowles as having entered service February 19,1917 on the ship Pembroke 1 and that his occupation was given as dairyman and that he was single. He was assigned service number J67051 at the Chatham docks. The last ship she sailed on was the Agamemnon with the date of his last service given at April 25,1919. After the war ended he returned to live and work in Tunbridge Wells with his father at the dairy.

In the 4th qtr of 1920 Thomas Arthur Du Rose Knowles married Alice M. Wiseman in Tunbridge Wells. Alice had been born March 10,1900.

Thomas appeared before the bench on at least two occasions in connection with infractions associated with the operation of  a motor car. The Courier of December 8,1922 when it was reported “ Lights Out-Thomas Arthur Knowles of 98 London Road,Southborough, was summoned for driving a motor car without an off-side light or rear light…”  The Courier of January 22,1943 reported “Tunbridge Wells Court- Unlucky Dairyman- Thomas Arthur Knowles of St John’s Road pled guilty to driving a motor vehicle at a speed exceeding 30 miles an hour in St John’s Road…..”

A listing of 1939 gave Thomas Arthur Du Rose Knowles ,dairyman on own account born January 24,1899 and with him was his wife Alice M. Knowles, born March 10,1900 (unpaid domestic duties) Thomas E. Du Rose Knowles born March 27,1922 (insurance clerk) and Sybil V. Du Rose Knowles, born January 5,1924 (scholar). They were listed as living at  1 Beltring Road, Tunbridge Wells. Shown above  is a postcard view of Beltring Road showing the houses and a Hillman Fourteen park on the road circa 1929.

The Courier of July 26,1940 reported “ The Pricing of Goods- Thomas Du Rose Knowles of 111 St John’s Road was stated to have not placed in a conspicuous place the maximum pricing for goods namely tinned salmon , eggs and butter.

Probate records for Thomas Arthur Du Rose Knowles gave him of 7 The Fairways, Powder Mill Lane, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells when he died November 16,1977 leaving an estate valued at 72,263 pounds. Shown opposite is a modern photograph of this house located at the far end of the Fairways. He was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium November 21,1977.  Shown above is a modern image of 7 The Fairways.

 

 

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