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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 portrait studio image of a baby by the Novelty Portrait Company. This image is somewhat unusual or at least different to the typical CDV's produced in that the image is mounted in an embossed "frame" forming part of the image. Shown opposite left is an image of the back of this photo on which can be seen the three addresses the business operated from including their studio at 56 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells. Each of their studios was run by a manager employed by the company, who's head office was in London. Who ran the studio in Tunbridge Wells was not established. This company was active in the 1890's and although operating from three premises, the rarity of examples of their work suggests that the business was short lived. It is known from directories that they had a studio at 113 Oxford Street in London in the period of 1893-1894 and in 1895 they were are 133 Oxford Street, London.  Regarding their Tunbridge Wells location, it is known that at the time of the 1881 census that 56 Camden Road was occupied by 36 year old ironmonger Joseph Gubbins. It appears that when Mr Gubbins moved out the Novelty Portrait Co. moved in but were gone by the time of the 1891 census. Today 56-64 Camden Road are the premises of the World of Sewing, a shop that my friend Mrs Susan Prince did some shopping in during our visit to Tunbridge Wells in 2015.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Please take note that July 2019 will be the last month in which articles will be posted on this website as a decision has been taken to end the website so that I may concentrate on other research projects including a proposed website dedicated to the photographic career of Tunbridge Wells photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn, a project I have been researching for several years and one that is a massive undertaking.

Since the website began in 2011 over 1,400 articles have written by me on various topics pertaining to the history of Tunbridge Wells with over 90% of them posted to this website, with several having appeared in various magazines, books, newsletters and other publications in England.

Although the website is ending my interest in the history of Tunbridge Wells has not ended and I will continue from time to time to undertake various research projects. I will continue to be available to assist others with their research.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank a long list of people who have assisted me in my work, especially Chris Jones of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society who has from the beginning been a great supporter of my research activities.

I also wish to thank the thousands of loyal readers who have found the articles in this website to be both interesting and useful and who from time to time have contacted me offering their positive feedback, feedback which has been most gratifying.

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.


ARTICLE UPDATE

 

Shown opposite is a recently discovered photograph by Tunbridge Wells photographer Henry Jenkins taken in the early 1900's showing a group of girls dancing around a Maypole. Although the site is not identified, since the event took place on flat ground it is most likely the Neville Ground rather than on the Commons.

Details of Maypole Dancing and other images were given in my article ' May Day and the Maypole ' dated March 26,2019.

Henry Jenkins (1838-1921) came to Tunbridge Wells circa 1882 and established his studio at 40 Grosvenor Road but by 1901 had relocated to the Alpha Studio at 20 Grosvenor Road. When Henry retired circa 1913 his son Samuel Payne Jenkins (1873-1949) took over the studio. Details about Henry Jenkins and his family were given in my article ' Jenkins-A family of Photographers' dated February 28,2012.

ARTICLE UPDATE

In the June 2019 edition of this website and article was posted about Mosaic threshold entrances. One of the examples given showed a mosaic with the overlapping letters in reverse of "CC" which from the referenced source did not identify the name of the business and stated that it was located "near the Pantiles". Since that time further information and the photograph opposite was provided by Chris Jones of the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society which provided clarification that the mosaic was that of the Cadena Café which can be found at the rear entrance of this former café on London Road. The front entrance to the café was located in the Pantiles where the famous Pantiles Clock is located, which clock once had the name of the café below it.

It is not known whether or not there was once an identical mosaic at the front entrance to the café but if there was, there is no evidence of it today.





THE PRINCESS VICTORIA LITHOGRAPH

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

Date: May 10,2019

PREAMBLE

The impetus for this article is the recent discovery of a pair of lithographs from the early 1800’s showing views of Tunbridge Wells. One view shows the ‘Residence of the Duchess of Kent- Mount Pleasant House’ (later known as the Calverley Hotel) with the second view showing the Duchess of Kent and her young daughter Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria) on horseback in front of the premises of local Tunbridge Ware maker/seller Mr Burrows at the corner of London Road and Jordans Lane (later Church Road). Both lithographs were by William Day, later Day & Son, described as “one of the largest and most prominent lithographic firms of the 19th century, who conducted business in London. Mr Burrows (Humphrey Burrows) is identified below the prints as the “publisher” and the printer was given as J.D. Jones from the book “ Nature & On Stone”. In this article I present the two lithographs with information about William Day, J.D. Jones and Mr Burrows.

LITHOGRAPHY AND THE LITHOGRAPHER WILLIAM DAY (1796-1845)

Lithography originally used an image drawn with oil, fat, or wax onto the surface of a smooth, level lithographic limestone plate. The stone was treated with a mixture of acid and gum arabic, etching the portions of the stone that were not protected by the grease-based image. When the stone was subsequently moistened, these etched areas retained water; an oil-based ink could then be applied and would be repelled by the water, sticking only to the original drawing. The ink would finally be transferred to a blank paper sheet, producing a printed page. This traditional technique is still used in some fine art printmaking applications.

Below the lithographic image on the right side is the name William Day, identified as the lithographer with an address of 17 Gate Street, London.

Given here is information (from Wikipedia) about the firm of Day & Son, a business founded by William Day senior (1796-1845) and carried on by his sons.

“The firm of William Day, later Day & Son, has been described as one of the largest and most prominent lithographic firms of the second third of the nineteenth century. Company documents record William Day's business starting in 1823 although the first known lithograph was produced the following year. In 1823 William announced “ new plano-graphic process of printing from the lithographic stone was to be developed commercially and stones and presses were imported from Germany” By 1829 the firm had moved from 59 Great Queen Street to 17 Gate Street in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. From the early thirties the company was often referred to as Day & Haghe. This was due to the popularity of the work of Louis Haghe a Belgian draughtsman and water colourist who worked for the company until 1852 when he left to focus on painting. The firm was granted the status of ‘Lithographers to Queen Victoria and to the Queen Dowager, Queen Adelaide’ in 1837 although they were not the only lithographers to be awarded the Royal Warrant. This was confirmed in a letter from St James’s Palace on July 29,1837. William Day Senior died in 1845 leaving the business in the hands of his son William Day Junior. The company now became known as Day & Son. The 1850s started with a prize medal at the Great Exhibition for their display of lithography. In the mid- fifties the premises in Gate Street were enlarged and the Prince of Wales and Prince Alfred visited (probably the completed works) in 1856. In 1851, Day & Son was commissioned by Matthew Digby Wyatt, known for his work as an architect, to produce the book The Industrial Arts of the Nineteenth Century, an imposing imperial folio in two volumes which illustrates a selection of items from the Great Exhibition of 1851. There are 160 chromolithographed plates. Wyatt himself stated that he had used 'the best means of graphic representation available'. Wyatt proudly drew attention to the previously unsurpassed scale and speed of production of the book. But what brought the entire project into being was the desire of Day & Son to demonstrate the potential of chromolithography. The firm was particularly associated with the process. However, as Wyatt himself explained, the proposal was not even formalized until after the Great Exhibition had opened. Such a grandiose production must have called into play a significant proportion of Day's resources, including skilled craftsmen and lithographers such as Francis Bedford, J.A. Vinter and Henry Rafter, as well as significant capital, and management. According to Wyatt, four or five of Day's staff were constantly engaged upon the business details of the operation alone. In 1861 the firm printed a large run of bank notes for Lajos Kossuth, the famous Hungarian patriot and democratic. Kossuth was in exile from his homeland and this attempt at re-establishing a separate Hungarian currency lead to both him and Day & Son to be charged in the courts with having ‘levied war upon the Emperor of Austria’. The affair ended with Day & Son delivering the notes to the Bank of England where they were duly burnt. The firm now started to experience financial difficulties. Many stock auctions were held, the first, of engravings, taking place in 1865. That year Day & Son became a Limited Company. This not only meant that capital could be raised by the sale of shares but also that, in some cases, employees could be paid partly in shares in lieu of real wages. Another auction, this time of illustrated books, was held in 1866. Hodgson & Co. would continue to sell off Day & Son assets up until 1873. Despite their other business worries by 1866 Day & Son Ltd, as well as Gate Street, had premises at 43 Piccadilly and at The German Gallery, New Bond Street.These were show rooms and exhibition spaces for the company's work. They also took on the well-known photographer Vernon Heath to manage the photographic department. Since becoming a limited company, directorship was conditional on holding at least five hundred shares. Just two years after incorporation it was pointed out to William Day Junior that he no longer fulfilled this criterion. He refused to leave the board and after the resulting row he left the company and for a short time started business in Cockspur Street. The firm now faced liquidation and was taken over by Vincent Brooks.” For a continuation of the history of this business by Vincent Brooks see the referenced article in Wikipedia.

Also found on the internet is a letter dated April 20,1842 from the London lithographer William Day to the architect James Wilson of Bath. It contains many details about the different factors and costs involved in preparing and printing a single lithograph.The first item on the invoice is the cost of lithographing a subject presumably related to architecture, the specific title of which is unfortunately very difficult to read. This primary cost of £7.0.0 is broken down into "preparing use of stone for drawing" and "preparing drawing & proofs." There is a second charge of 10 shillings for "preparing surface of stone for Tint" and "making set of proofs of drawing with Tint." "Writing to Drawing", presumably adding a caption or other details, costs another 7 shillings. Finally "printing 100 with Tint on extra thick plate" (paper) costs £2.5.0. Packing in "milled boards" costs 1 shilling; "Carriage of Parcel" appears to be gratis, leaving a total charge for the lithograph of £10.3.0. In the lower left corner of the invoice William Day has written a personal note to Wilson:"Dear Sir, I shall feel obliged if you shall remit from the above. May the drawing be effaced from the Stone [?].Yours faithfully, Wm Day”. Day needed to know whether he had to retain the stone with Wilson's design for a possible reprint, or whether he could reuse the stone for another purpose. Above Day's note James Wilson wrote on the invoice, "April 29th/ 42 / Rec'd for Wm Day/ James Wilson."

William Day senior (1796-1845) was born in London and died February 13,1845 at Bloomsbury (St Giles) Middlesex. On June 1,1817 he married Caroline Bekkenie (1794-1883)  at St John The Baptist Church in Clerkenwell and with her had the following children (1) Caroline Anne (1819-1917) (2) Mary Bellenie (1821-1891) (3) William (1823-1906) (4) Frederick (1827-1827) (5) Joseph (born 1829) (6) John Bellenie (1830-1914) (7) Emma Anna Maria Kirkwell (1834-1915) (8) Ann or Anna M( born 1841).

The 1841 census, taken at St Giles in The Fields, Middlesex gave William Day, age 45, with his wife Caroline,age 45 and six of his children with the occupation of lithographer. He and his family were still living at Gate Street when his daughter Caroline married in 1843.

William Day was buried February 23,1845 at St Giles in the Fields, London.

Turning now to the two lithographs (shown above) that are the central focus of this article the first is entitled ‘ Mount Pleasant House The Residence of H.R.H. The Duchess of Kent. This image is a view taken from the Commons looking east across London Road. In the background on high ground can be seen “ Mount Pleasant House”, the original or early name of this grand private residence before it became the Calverley Hotel. This residence was also sometimes referred to in records before 1830 as “Calverley House”

In my article ‘ The History of the Calverley Hotel’ dated May 9,2014 I reported in part “The Dutchess of Kent and Princess Victoria stayed there in 1827 and 1834 and Queen Victoria stayed at Calverley House in 1837.Roger Farthing, in his book ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells” published in 1990 shows an image of the building given as plate 89. The text with this image states “ Lord Percival’s old Mount Pleasant House was bought by John Ward, the Calverley developer, in 1825 but remained unaltered while visited by the Duchess of Kent. In 1837 however it was enlarged with two elegant wings and an additional storey (to make 50 bedchambers and 14 sitting-rooms) and in 1839 it was leased to Edward Churchill, landlord of the Kentish Royal”. And so the reference on the lithograph to Mount Pleasant House being the “residence” of the Duchess of Kent refers to her and the Princess Victoria as guests of the home only.

Before commenting on the second lithograph I offer the following information and images of the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria. Shown opposite left is an image of the Duchess of Kent and her daughter Princess Victoria and to the right is an image of Princess Victoria at age 4. Note from the image of Princess Victoria in the second lithograph that she is shown as a little girl which suggests that the lithograph pertains to the visit of 1827 of her and her mother.

Princess Victoria (1819-1901) became Queen Victoria in 1837. She was the only child of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767-1820) and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1786-1861), the Duchess of Kent.  In 1827 when Princess Victoria and her mother visited Tunbridge Wells and stayed at Mount Pleasant House Princess Victoria was 8 years old.

In the second lithograph entitled ‘ Tunbridge Wells H.R.H. The Princess Victoria Returning From a Morning Ride.  Princess Victoria is shown as a little girl sitting on a donkey led by a gentleman. She is being shaded from the sun by another gentleman holding a parasol. Following behind her on a donkey is the Duchess of Kent. The most prominent part of this image is the premises of Mr Burrows located on the south east corner of London Road and Jordan’s Lane (later Church Road when Holy Trinity Church was consecrated in 1829).  On the building can be seen the signs ‘ Jordans Place’; Burrows Tunbridge Ware Repository’ and ‘ Burrows Original Manufactory of Tunbridge Ware”. Information about Mr Burrows, who is identified at the bottom of both lithographs as “publisher” is given in the next section of this article.

Another interesting item pertaining to the image of Princess Victoria Returning from a Morning Ride is a Romary & Co Ltd bisquit tin that forms part of the collection of the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery. The Romary Company were a Tunbridge Wells business noted for their bisquits and fancy tins. The image on the tin is identical to the lithograph by William Day but at the bottom is the caption “ In Tunbridge Wells 1822”, which caption must be in error as William Day did not begin his business until 1823 and in 1822 Princess Victoria would have been only age 3. This image has been reproduced in various forms over the years. Shown below left is the earliest image believed to date from ther 1920's  (possibly the 100th anniversary of her visit) and below right is a similar image of a tin that appeared in a December 1933 advertisment offered as a Christmas selection of biscuits. This 1933 image is an offset lithography by Edward Bawden based on the earlier work of William Day. The British biscuit tin came about when the Licensed Grocer’s Act of 1861 allowed groceries to be individually packaged and sold. Coinciding with the removal of the duty on paper for printed labels. It was only a short step to the idea of printing directly on to tinplate. The new process of offset lithography, patented in 1877 allowed multicoloured designs to be printed on to exotically shaped tins.  In my article ‘ The Romary Bisquit Factory’ dated June 24,2011 I reported that Alfred Romary began his business in Tunbridge Wells in 1862.

 











BURROWS –THE TUNBRIDGE WARE MAKER

Details about the history of Tunbridge Ware was given in my article ‘Tunbridge Ware-A Profile of Manufacturers’ dated February 14,2012 (updated August 28,2017).  Of the Burrows family I wrote the following.

“As can be seen from the index I have provided there were ten members of the Burrows family active in the Wares business between 1740 and 1901,and possibly there were more. Chris Chaley,a decendent of the family gives the following in 1999 "My family were the founders of Tunbridge Ware.In the will of William Burrows dated May 31,1764 he calls himself Hollow-war Turner.He was born about 1727 and died after May 31,1764.His son Thomas Burrows in his will dated March 14,1808 calls himself Tunbridge Ware Manufacturer.He was born about 1749 and died July 16,1810.In a book I have "Tunbridge Wells and Neighbourhood,edited by Henry Knipe and published by Pelton in 1916 it states" The Tunbridge Wells ware characterized by mosaic work,was brought out in 1830 by Burrows,who had a large factory close to where the Homeopathic Hospital now stand"....."In this same book is an article on Local Industries-Tunbridge Ware.Other names mentioned in this article are Wise,Fenner,Nye,Barton.Burrows and Nye are relatives..."

“An article reproduced from "the Marquetarian 1960" entitled Tunbridge Ware which can be found on the Redbridge Marquetry Group gives the following; "In the late 1820's one James Burrows(whose family had taken over the business of Jordan about 1740) developed the mosaic ware and devised a method whereby a number of identical patterns could be cut from one prepared block which could then be applied to decorate articles of white wood,usually seasoned pine.In 1840 G & J Burrows advertised as follows;"Inventors of the mosaic Inlaid Ware,Manufacturers of Tunbridge Ware,and Inlaid Turnery of the newest inventions". The early patterns were simple and usually consisted of geometrical patterns,and these could be cut and laid side by side to form a strip or square of patterns on a box or similar item.Sometime later one of Burrows apprentices left his employ and passed on his knowledge to George Wise..."The Tunbridge Wells Museum website states that in about 1830 James Burrows invented "the twin techniques of stickware and half-square mosaic"...In the early 1830's James Burrows developed the tessellated mosaic but quickly became adopted by others"....."Jordan House,at the corner of Church Road facing the common, and Gibraltar Cottage,built on a sandstone outcrop on the Common by Mount Ephraim,were both manufactories and repositories of the Burrows family up to about 1845".The Furniture Gazette of 1882 gives "The beginning of the mosaic work is attributed to Mr Burrows of Tonbridge in 1797".James Burrows was reportedly intrigued by the possibilities of making a necklace of patterned and coloured wooden beads and his experiments let him to the discovery of a special mosaic technique.This technique involved the selection of a variety of coloured woods cut into thin strips and arranged into a bundle which was glued together and then cut into very thin slices.”

“An article with the title of 'Famous Makers" gives the following"The Burrows are one of the earliest specialists in the art.It was James Burrows who invented the tesssellated mosaic technique in 1820 and the family was most active in the first half of the 18th century enjoying patronage of the young Princess Victoria.Most of the brothers had either died or retired by 1850".

'The Tradesman Volume 4' dated May 1,1810 reported that the partnership between Thomas Burrows and Humphrey Burrows "of Jordan's Lane,Tunbridge Wells,Tunbridge Ware manufacturers" had been disolved.An 1826 directory records Humphrey Burrows at Jordan Place.”

“Humphrey Burrows was born about 1785 in Kent.The 1841 census records him living at #1 Jordan Place with 67 year old Betsy and his son Humphrey(junior) born 1811 and 25 year old Elizabeth. Both George's are recorded as Tunbridge Ware manufacturers. Humphry had married his wife Betsey October 16,1807 at Speldhurst. An 1840 directory records Humphrey Burrows junior at Parade and George & James Burrows at Parade and Rock Villa Road(Jordan Place).There is a record of Humphrey Burrows passing away in the first quarter of 1854 at Sevenoaks,Kent.”

“An 1851 census taken at 2 Vale Road gives William Burrows,born 1819 in Tunbridge Wells as a Tunbridge Ware maker,Living with him is his wife Emma and his children Alfred,Emma and George W.,Born July 1848 at  Tunbridge Wells, who also became a Tunbridge Ware manufacturer but died April 8, 1938 in Tonbridge.When George died he was living at 9 Culverton Down and left an estate valued at just over 1,500 pounds.His wife was Emma,Born 1847 and together they had between the years of 1872 and 1891 a total of six children.In the 1871 to 1901 census he was listed as a Tunbridge Ware maker.William Burrows and his wife Emma for the years 1844 to 1859 had a total of seven children.William died about March 1869.”

“Directory listings for the Burrows in 1851 record George Burrows,Tunbridge Ware manufacturer,Parade and Hanover Lodge;Humphrey Burrows,Lodging house,Alpha Cottage;Mrs Letita Burrows,Berlin repository,Ephraim Terrace and William Burrows,Lodging house,Vale Royal.”

“A directory of 1847 records Humphrey Burrows,gent.Alpha Cottage.An 1840 Pigots records Humphrey Burrows junior at Parade and George and James Burrows at Parade and Rock Villa Road(Jordan Place).”

J.D. JONES

On the bottom left corner of both lithographs is “ Nature & On Stone, J.D. Jones” who was the printer of the book by this name giving scenic views in the form of lithographs. The reference to “ on stone” pertains to the process of lithography on stone.

No definitive information was found about the publication of this book nor J.D. Jones himself, although several references to a multi-generational family of printers in Wales dating back to the early 1800’s was found with references to both a Joseph David Jones and a John David Jones and it is speculated by me that the lithograph publication was by this family.

 

LOVE’S FRUIT & VEG SHOP GROVE HILL ROAD

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

Date: May 12,2019

INTRODUCTION 

William Thomas Love (born 1870) and his wife Emily Love, nee King (1872-1938) were both born in Tunbridge Wells and from 1894 to 1899 they had three children born in Tunbridge Wells, including a son William Love (1894-1976).

By 1918 up to at least 1934 William Love and his son William Love junior ran a fruiterers and greengrocers shop at 13 Grove Hill Road, a brightly decorated shop located on the west side of Grove Hill Road between the Kent & Sussex Courier building (21-23) and Weekes Department Store (1-7). It was one of several shops (which no longer exist) between these two landmark buildings. Fortunately postcard views of Grove Hill Road produced in the early 1900’s provide a view of these shops, which views are presented in this article, including the one above by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn.

Richard Cobb in his 1983 book ‘Still Life-Sketches from a Tunbridge Wells Childhood’ gave his personal observations and experiences in Tunbridge Wells from the 1920’s to 1940’s , among which are several pages devoted to the Love family and Kate Louise Love, nee Scurrell (1895-1981) who had once been Richards nanny and who in 1926 at Tendring, Essex married William Love junior and raised a family with him in Tunbridge Wells.

In this article I present information about the Love family and their business in Tunbridge Wells. Also included is information about the Love family and Kate Louise Love, nee Scurrell and her family and life largely from the book of Richard Cobb but supplemented by my own research.

WILLIAM THOMAS LOVE SENIOR

William Love, senior, was born 1870 in Tunbridge Wells. He was baptised in Tunbridge Wells on February 26,1871.He was one of at least seven children born to Thomas and Frances Love. From a review of birth records of the Love children it was noted that prior to 1864 the family lived in Speldhurst, where Frances had been born in 1839. Thomas Love had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1840.

The 1871 census, taken at 25 Baltic Road, Tunbridge Wells gave Thomas Love working as a fly driver. With him was his wife Frances and four of the Love children including William Thomas Love .

The 1881 census, taken at 1 Spring Cottages, in the vicinity of 68 Goods Station Road, gave Thomas Love as a fly driver. With him was his wife Frances, their son William Thomas Love, who was in school, and three other Love children born after William.

The 1891 census, taken at 30 Baltic Road, Tunbridge Wells gave Thomas King, a greengrocer born 1836 in Wadhurst, Sussex. He was at that time a widower and living with him was his children Emily King born 1872 in Tunbridge Wells who was the future wife of William Thomas Love who at the time of this census was living with the King family and working as a greengrocers assistant. Also there was Minnie King,age 12 and George King age 10.

The marriage between William Thomas Love and Emily King took place in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1893. William and Emily had the following children (1) William, born November 19,1894 (2)Frederick Thomas (1895-1967)(3) Emily (1898-1984).

The 1901 census, taken at 36 Norman Road, Tunbridge Wells, gave Thomas King as a widower and working as a greengrocer on own account. With him was his son George King born 1880 in Tunbridge Wells who was working for his father as a greengrocer. Also there was Thomas’s son Calbeb King who was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1857 and who was working for his father as a greengrocer. Also there was Thomas’s son in law William Thomas Love and his married daughter Emily Love and her children William, Frederick and Emily Love. William Thomas Love was at that time working for Thomas Kings as a greengrocers assistant.

The 1911 census, taken at 7 Edward Street in Southborough, gave William Thomas Love as greengrocer on own account. With him was his wife Emily (a laundress); his son William (a builders labourer); his son Frederick( a telegraph messenger) and his daughter Emily who was in school. The census recorded that the family were living in premises of 5 rooms; that the couple had been married 18 years and that all three of their children were still living. Also present was Emily Love’s widowed father Thomas King who was working as a greengrocer on own account.

Sometime after 1911 but by 1918 William Thomas Love and some of his children, including his son William moved to Tunbridge Wells where William senior opened a shop at 13 Grove Hill Road. Directories of 1918 to 1934 record “ William Love, fruiterers & greengrocers, 13 Grove Hill Road.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of June 3,1927 gave in part “ Tunbridge Wells Borough Bench-Separation Order Granted- William Love was summoned by his wife Emily Love to show cause why an order should not be made against him to maintain her (his wife alleged that he had not properly supported her). William Love , the son, deposed that his father was drunk every day, and had made disturbances outside his greengrocery shop on Grove Hill Road. His wife stated that the business and the house were…..”

In the last section of this article I present information about this shop and the Love family from Richard Cobb’s book ‘ Still Life’.

The death of William Thomas Love was registered the 1st qtr of 1947 at Bridge Kent. His wife Emily died in the 3rd qtr of 1938 in Maidstone.

WILLIAM LOVE JUNIOR (1894-1976)

As noted in the previous section William Love junior was the son of William Thomas Love and Emily Love, nee King. He was born in Tunbridge Wells November 19,1894.

William lived with his parents up to and including the time when the 1911 census was taken at 7 Edward Street in Southborough, when in that year William junior was working as a builders labourer.

Sometime after 1911 but before 1918 William junior moved to Tunbridge Wells with his parents and by 1918 he was working at his father’s fruiterers and greengrocers shop at 13 Grove Hill Road.

In the 4th qtr of 1926 William Married Kate Louise Scurrell  who was born in Essex January 12,1895. She was one of 10 children born to farm labourer Benjamin James Scurrell (born 1850 at Tendring, Essex) and his wife Hannah Scurrell, nee Peachey(1853-1934) who was born at Peldon, Essex and died in the 4th qtr of 1939 at Colchester, Essex.

The 1901 census, taken at Thorpe Road in Little Clacton, Essex gave Benjamin Scurrell as a gardener domestic. With him was his wife Hannah and five of their children including Kate Louise Scurrell.

The 1911 census, taken at Camerton Villa at Hadleigh Road. Frinton on Sea gave Benjamin Scurrell as a gardener. With him was his wife Hannah and one son. They were living in premises of 5 rooms; had been married 37 years and of his 10 children nine were still living. Benjamin’s daughter Kate Louise Scurrell was found in the 1911 census at ‘Hurstyn’ Frinton on Sea, Essex working as a general servant for Mrs and Miss Thorgood, both living on own means in premises of 7 rooms.

The enumeration of 1939 gave William Love as a farmworker, having given up his fruiterers and greengrocers shop on Grove Hill Road. With him was his wife Kate Louise Love (unpaid domestic duties) and their children Maurice W.G. Love (born May 27,1927 Tunbridge Wells) who was in school; and their son Richard John Love (born March 6,1929 in Tunbridge Wells) who was also in school.  Maurice died in the 2nd qtr of 1989 in East Sussex and Richard died in Tunbridge Wells in 1977.  In the 4th qtr of 1932 in Tunbridge Wells William and his wife Kate had a daughter Kathleen M. Love.

William Love died February 1976 in Tunbridge Wells and was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium on February 20,1976.  His widow Kate Louise Love died in Bournemouth in 1981.

THE LOVE FAMILY AND BUSINESS

In this section I provide the information about Kate Love, nee Scurrell, the shop of William Love on Grove Hill Road and members of the Love family according to Richard Cobb in his book Still Life.

Richard Cobb (photo opposite at age 17) became a Professor of Modern History at Oxford University and is the author of several books. He reported in the aforementioned book that he spent his early years living in Tunbridge Wells in the 1920 to 1940 era and in the book he recorded his recollections of the people and places in Tunbridge Wells, among which is information he recalled that related to the Love and Scurrell families (pgs 39-43)

On pg 38 Richard reported on the taxidermist shop of R. Septimus Gardiner at 15 Grove Hill Road. Details about him and his business can be found in my article ‘ Richard Septimus Gardiner The Tunbridge Taxidermist’ dated May 8,2016. This shop was locate next door (east of) the shop of William Love at 13 Grove Hill Road. The shops of William Love and Richard Gardiner were but two of a row of shops (now gone) that occupied the space on the west side of Grove Hill Road between Weekes department store ( No. 1-7 Grove Hill Road) and the Kent & Sussex Courier building at 21-23 Grove Hill Road. The shops had been added onto the front of a two sty building set back off the road,

Details about the Weekes shop can be found in my article ‘ The Weekes Store-Tunbridge Wells’ dated September 6,2011. Information about the Kent & Sussex Courier business can be found in my article ‘ A History of the Kent & Sussex Courier’ date September 25,2016. As you will read later William Love senior and junior frequently quenched their thirst at the Kentish Yeoman pub  (image opposite) on the east side of Grove Hill Road, opposite their shop. Details about the history of that pub were given in my article ‘ The Kentish Yeoman Pub Grove Hill Road’ dated February 17,2015. The Kentish Yeoman pub began from at least 1839 and operated under that name in 1991 when it became the Orson Wells and then in 2007 the Black Pig, which pub is still in operation today. Charles Busby ran the pub from 1901 to 1924. By 1930 Henry G. Rollinson ran it and by 1938 it was run by Percy Richards. All three licensed victuallers would have known William Love and his son.

Richard recalls “ One down from the taxidermist’s was another wooden shack-shop, equally shallow, and painted, like a gypsy caravan, in bright green and scarlet, picked out with yellow piping, with the name ‘Love, Fruit & Vegetables’m in flowing yellow letters with black edges on one side to give them relief. The likeness was probably not entirely fortuitous, for old Mr Love and his son had blue-black hair and very bright dark eyes. Young Mr Love had married my many, Kate Scurrell, after courting her for some time, standing up in his wooden cart and talking to her at night through her bedroom window, invitingly open, and which faced onto a lane that ran behind the house in Cumberland Gardens. My mother had declared herself distressed at the mesalliance, saying that Kate, a very literate girl, had deserved something better. Kate was a typical hybrid nanny, wrenched out of her native Essex”.

The longer Kate stayed with us, the posher and the more ladylike became her accent. She was a nanny-cum-general maid and taught me my letters and numerals. She read to me a great deal. By the time she got married in 1924 or 1925, it must have seemed to her that her opportunities were running out. She had come to us when my sisters nanny Rose died of the Spanish influenza in 1919.

Kate was an ambivalent being in every way, not part of the family, yet very much of the family. Her affection for myself was genuine. Kate was ambitious as well as deferential. Had she held on, she might have been promoted to the rank of ‘companion’ or of ‘governess’, her purely domestic duties being relegated to a daily. Kate was unhappy to leave us and she endeavoured in every way to cling on to us, enquiring of our health, out schooling, our achievements. She tried to live through us perhaps as an escape from what turned out to be the rather sordid realities of greengrocery at the Love level.

What I remember most about Kate is the worry and anxiety that always seemed to be in her eyes, also the fragile bones that stood out in her very thin neck. Kate never had meals with us (saving during picnics on the beach). My mother felt that Kate was making a big mistake marrying Mr Love by not making the best of herself and that her family would not have approved of Mr Love and would have been aghast at the thought of her marrying a gypsy. Kate always denied that her husband was a gypsy to save face. My mother never liked Kate from the moment she first set eyes on her, though Frank (my father) found her charming with her red hair and blue eyes.

Poor Kate went down fast after her marriage, soon moving from the rented rooms crammed with new furniture, off the Grove (Meadow Hill Road, I think) to a slum cottage, in a small line of slum cottages, all of them sharing a single pump, all very dark and damp, and all discreetly hidden from view by the big Kent & Sussex Courier building and Weekes’ untra-respectable emporium. Old Mr Weekes owned the row of cottages.

Mr Love Junior used to take me for rides in his cart-also painted in red and green, with yellow piping and with a heart-shaped board at the back announcing the name and trade. He was a friendly chap,always laughing and whistling and I loved bowling along beside him, sitting on the low green bench, and holding on with my hands, behind his little piebald horse, as we careered down the steep incline of Grove Hill, sparks flying from the iron-lined wheels, like Ben Hur, Indeed , Love senior and junior both had something in common with Mills, my grandfather’s groom in Colchester; they had drank a great deal, both in the pubs of Monson Road, after they had attended the vegetable market, in those days on the Pembury Road, including a big one called, I think, the Gun, and then the Kentish Yeoman, conveniently located opposite Mr Love’s shop. Customers who knew the habits of the pair and who wanted to buy something, would seek them out in the public bar there; but their frequent absences lost them a great deal of female middle-class trade. I could hardly imagine my mother and her friends looking for them in the noisy, smoky Kentish Yeoman pub. My mother, at least, after one or two experiences, transferred her custom to the respectable Garling & Scott’s.very deferential people further up the hill. She had, she claimed, given the Loves a try in order to help Kate. Loves fruit and vegetables however were both fresher and cheaper than Garling and Scott’s.

Sometimes, both Loves failed to make it even to the Kentish Yeoman, the driverless cart hurtling down Grove Hill signalling to the more experienced observers that father and son had got stuck, not together, for they had their own individual ports of call and were nor in the habit of drinking together (save at the Kentish Yeoman) at earlier stages of their progress from the market. But the piebald horse always managed to stop exactly at the level of the shop. Much later on, Love senior or Love junior would appear at the top of Grove Hill-never walking together-zig-zagging and guiding themselves down, like mountaineers on ropes, from lamp-post to lamp-post. Old Mr Love fell out of his cart a number of times; his son had a firmer grasp, and I have seen them going down the hill, in every widening curves, driving standing up, the whip in his hand, and letting out loud whoops. They certainly lent a bit of colour-literally and morally- to the rather drab respectability of Grove Hill. In the end they had to sell out. The old man lingered on, in the tiny house behind the Courier. Kate’s husband took to the road-so perhaps he really was a romary-leaving Kate with three small children, one named after me (Richard) and one after my cousin Marjorie. I often wondered what happened to Kate’s sons Richard and Maurice. Kate herself looked 50 at 35; 60 at 40. To make ends meet, she had to take up odd jobs as a cleaner, a char, or an occasional cook; a sad and humiliating social decline for one so genuinely ladylike, so intelligent and so literate. When my mother died  Kate was then living on a new Council estate. I visited Kate for tea on occasion and by then she was looking increasingly haggard and grey, her hair thinning on the top, and was quite thin and frail…”

 

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