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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 of a horse drawn hearse on what appears to be St James Park in the 1920's. This photograph was taken by local photographer Christopher John Durrant (1886-1967), who spent his whole life  as a photographer. He worked from his studio at 106 St James Park, and photographed many events in the town, images which often appeared in the local newspaper and on his postcards. Some of his photos were also used to illustrate local publications. In 1948 he retired to concentrate his time on following the fortunes of the town cricket team and to indulge his other hobby, playing bowls for the Grove Lawn Bowling Club. Details about his life and career can be found in my article ' Christopher John Durrant-A Tunbridge Wells Photographer' dated March 7,2016, an article which appeared on this website in April 2016.

Until the age of  motorized transport, hearses were quite grand, being an elaborate wood/glass carriage, beautifully decorated inside and out with floral arrangements, etc. These modes of conveyance were pulled by one horse or a team of grand horses,cleaned and brushed and  fitted out with plumes and silver tack. The size of the funeral cortage, then as now, depended largely on the stature of the deceased and it was not uncommon in the 19th century to see the hearse as part of a grand procession making its way along the streets of the town to the cemetery, where along the route people assembled with heads bowed and hats removed, to pay their respects. These processions, in addition to the hearse ,consisted of horse drawn carriages in which were family,friends, and aquaintences, followed by  a procession of people on foot. In the early 1900’s motorized hearses began to appear but even today many funeral homes still offer a horse drawn hearse. There is just something about a horse drawn hearse that makes the sad occasion so much more dignified and special than being conveyed in any other way to the cemetery.  I have written two articles relating to funeral services namely 'The Evolution of Funerals' dated November 9,2015 and 'Hickmott-Undertakers of Tunbridge Wells' dated July 9,2014 which may be of interest.

ANNOUNCEMENT

From the time this website was created in 2011, page 5 has been devoted entirely to articles pertaining to my family. For the foreseeable future Page 5 will now be used for articles devoted to the History of Tunbridge Wells. So please ensure that you visit page 5 on a regular basis.

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.

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 Tunbridge Wells Family History 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). I have 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. Most of my relatives 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, born in Tunbridge Wells and her son born in Canada. Since I never got married I am the last of the family with the surname of Gilbert in Canada and I am the self appointed genealogist of my family line. A complete family tree of my family going back five generations can be found on the Ancestry UK website.Although my greatgrandfather of Tunbridge Wells had three sons and four daughters I am the only surviving descendent with the surname of Gilbert.

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 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

In an earlier edition of this website I presented an article entitled “The History Of The High Street Bridge’ dated October 6,2015. Since that time three new images pertaining to the opening of the bridge have been found and are shown here. All three are by the local photographer Harry Gordon Chase (1869-1924)who had taken over the Broadway studio, at No. 1 and 2 The Broadway,from another photographer by 1904. In addition to photographs, Gordon Chase was a miniature painter and also produced a number of postcard views for local hotels. Harry Gordon Chase typically gave his name as simply Gordon Chase, a name which is impressed on the bottom right corner of these images.Details about Harry Gordon Chase can be found in my article ‘ The Life and Photographic Career of Harry Gordon Chase’ dated February 29,2016.

The need to replace the 1846 bridge arose as a result of its deterioration over time and the fact that it was in a part of the town in which the roads over and around it were heavily travelled by pedestrians, horse drawn wagons, and the towns early motor cars and lorries. Work  on the new bridge began in early 1906 with the erection of a temporary bridge to maintain traffic flow while the permanent bridge was under construction. After considerable effort and expense the new bridge was finished and on Thursday May 16,1907 there was a ceremonial opening of the bridge by Mayor Woollan accompanied by Mr Sheath, secretary to the SE&CR. The opening was followed by a luncheon and speeches. As could be expected the ceremony attracted a large crowd. The event was captured in photographs and a souvenir  book produced containing them by local photographer Percy Squire Lancaster who’s studio was at the Great Hall just north of the bridge. With the bridge being close to the studio of Gordon Chase, it is no wonder he was on hand to take the images shown above. Look at how nicely everyone was dressed and note the old motor cars and the people standing on the roof of a shop next to the Bedford Hotel at the corner of Vale Road and the High Street.


JOHN EDGER AND EDGER TERRACE ON THE HIGH STREET

 

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

Date: July 30,2016

 

OVERVIEW

Edger Terrace, located on the south east corner of Grove Hill Road and High Street ,was a range of commercial buildings with accommodation above, built between 1808 and 1828. It was constructed on the west end of a large tract of land owned by John William Edger (1779-1847) who upon his death in East Grinstead, Sussex in the 4th qtr of 1847 bequeathed it along with other extensive parts of his estate to his wife Susanna Ann Edger, nee White (1791-1868) and to his children.

John William Edger had been born in East Grinstead on May 9,1779 and most likely was the same person baptised June 3,1781 at St Luke, Finsbury, Middlesex, the son of Benjamin Edger, a painter, and Jane Edger.

John was married twice; firstly to Ann Ruck on May 11,1807 at St Luke Finsbury, Middlesex, with whom he had a daughter Sarah born in the first year of the marriage. Ann appears to have passed away due to child birth problems soon after the birth of her daughter. John’s second marriage (noted as a widower) was to Susanna Ann White (1787-1868) on October 18,1815 at Christ Church with St Mary and St Stephen in Spitalfields, London.

John and his second wife went on to have eight children between 1816 and 1829. The birth records of the children show that in 1816 the family were living in Spitalfields; between 1818 and 1821 at Fletching,Sussex, and from 1823 to 1847 at East Grinstead,Sussex.

John Edger was a wealthy gentleman. He had initially made his fortune in Spitalfields as a silk manufacturer in partnership with Thomas Gable, a partnership which ended in 1815. The will of John Edger, probated January 26,1848 gives a detailed account of his estate, which in addition to his residence called “Pickstone House” he also had a large farm with livestock and crops in East Grinstead and properties in Forest Row and London and elsewhere. Most significantly, his will refers to leaving all of his freehold estate known as Edger Terrace in Tunbridge Wells to his wife Susanna Ann Edger, which was to pass to his son Ebenezer upon her death.  

As interesting as the life and times of John William Edger is, the history of Edger Terrace itself is worth noting. The terrace consisted initially of ten shops, numbered 1 to 10, but with the arrival of the railway in 1845 and the construction of the SER station on the north west corner of Mount Pleasant Road at the junction with Grove Hill Road and the High Street, the area changed significantly.

Colbrans Guide of 1850 refers to Albert Place and the Christ Church on High Street (built 1835-1836) being “near to the ‘remaining part’ of Edgar Terrace…..and that “Camden Place was the property of John Edger, esq.” A footnote to this entry stated “ The larger portion of Edger Place has been taken down to form the railway”.  This reduction in Edger Terrace is obvious from the comparison of an 1846 map showing Edger Terrace (No. 1 to 11) and the 1851 census, which only lists the existence of No. 1 to 6 Edger Terrace, with No’s 7 to 11 closest to the intersection of High Street and Mount Pleasant Road having been removed.

Over the years the occupants of Edger Terrace have changed significantly , including such shops as restaurants, upholsters and cabinet makers, grocers,bakers, butchers,boot and shoe shops, Tunbridge Ware shop of the Hollamby family, bakers, plumbers and glaziers, and just about every other kind of shop imaginable. A portion of Edgar Terrace remains today but the use of the name has all but disappeared with the passage of time, and few know anything about its namesake.

This article reports on the life and times of John William Edger and provides images and information about the history of Edger Terrace.

JOHN WILLIAM EDGAR (1779-1847)

John William Edger (image opposite)had been born in East Grinstead on May 9,1779 and most likely was the same person baptised June 3,1781 at St Luke, Finsbury, Middlesex, the son of Benjamin Edger, a painter, and Jane Edger.

John’s first marriage was to  Ann Ruck on May 11,1807 at St Luke Finsbury, Middlesex. Both John and his wife were given “of this parish” at the time of the marriage. The marriage was a brief one for Ann appears to have passed away not long after the birth of their only child Sarah in 1807.

John’s second marriage was to Susanna Ann White (1787-1868)  on October 18,1815 at Christ Church with St Mary and St Stephen in Spitalfields, London. John was given as a widower and Susanna as a spinster “of this parish” in the marriage records. Susanna was one of nineteen children born to Stephen White and Ann White, nee Turner. Susanna was baptised July 15,1787 at Whites Row Independent Church in Spitalfields, London. She had been born June 7,1787.

John and Susanna went on to have eight children between 1816 and 1829. The birth records of the children show that in 1816 the family were living in Spitalfields; between 1818 and 1821 at Fletching,Sussex, and from 1823 to 1847 at East Grinstead,Sussex. Their children were (1) Anne Jane Edger, born November 13,1816 at Spitalfields (2) Susanna Edger, born October 17,1818 at Fletching,Sussex (3) Henry Edger, born January 22,1820 at Fletching,Sussex (4) Emily Edger, born October 18,1821 at Fletching, Sussex and died June 1848 at St Pancras, Middlesex (5) Samuel Edger, born March 22,1823 at East Grinsted, Sussex (6) Fanny Edger, born March 9,1825 at East Grinstead, Sussex (7) Louisa Edger, born August 26,1816 at East Grinstead and died December 6,1862 (8) Ebenezer Rust Edger, born February 23,1829 at East Grinstead and died 1898 at Fulham, London.

John William Edger began his career in the silk trade. He had gone into partnership with Thomas Gable as silk manufacturers, from which business he became wealthy. The Gazette of 1815 announced that the partnership between Thomas Gable and John Edger of Church Street, Spitalfields, Middlesex, silk manufacturers,”had this day fully expired September 23,1815”.

Spitalfields is a former parish in the borough of Tower Hamlets, partly in Central London and partly in the East End of London, near to Liverpool Street station and Brick Lane. The area that is now Spitalfields was mainly fields and nursery gardens until late in the 17th century when streets were laid out for Irish and Huguenot silk weavers. The origin of this important industry in Spitalfields dates from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV in 1685, when the French Protestants, driven by persecution from their own country, took refuge in England in large numbers. From the 1730s Irish weavers arrived there, after a decline in the Irish linen industry to take up work in the silk trade. The 18th century saw periodic crises in the silk industry. Price controls on amounts master weavers could pay journeymen for each piece were established. This removed all incentive to pay higher wages during good times. During bad times workers had no work. As the price was per piece, there was no incentive for using machinery, as the master would have to pay for the machine and still pay the same price per piece to journeymen. By 1822 labour rates were so above market labour rates, that much of the employment in silk manufacture had moved to the country. Remaining manufacture tended to focus on expensive fashion items, which required proximity to court and had higher margins. By the Victorian era, the silk industry had entered a long decline due in large measure to cheap foreign imports. In the evidence taken before a committee of the House of Commons on the silk trade in 1831-2 it was stated that the population of the districts in which the Spitalfields weavers resided could not be less at that time than 100,000, of whom 50,000 were entirely dependent on the silk manufacture, and the remaining moiety more or less dependent indirectly. Shown above is an image of silk weaving in Spitalfields and a sample of the silk made there. Also shown opposite right is a photo circa 1900 of the silk manufactory on Church Street, Spitalfields.

In 1817 the House of Commons sought out comments on a proposed Act to regulate the silk manufacturing trade in Spitalfields. A document entitled ‘An Appeal to the Public, in defence of the Spitalfields Act’ noted in part that John Edger had been in the trade 20 years which would mean he was age 18 when he began in this line of work. However ,one would expect that since the age of 13 he had worked as an apprentice.

From the success Edger’s business, he became wealthy, and invested his money in the purchase of property. How or when Edger took an interest in Tunbridge Wells is not known but sometime after 1808 and before 1828 he acquired several acres of land on the south east corner of  the High Street and Grove Hill Road. On the west end of this property, fronting on the High Street Edger had erected a range of ten shops with accommodation above, which was named Edger Terrace.

The National Archives has in their collection Insurance records, one of which,dated April 7,1829, gave “ Insured-John Edger, Pickstone, East Grinstead-property at 1 to 12 High Street Tunbridge Wells (1 Boncaster; 2,3,4, May Mitchell and Hunt; 5-8 Godfrey Camfield, Friend and Taylor; 9-11 Hart, Baron and Mrs Whitley; 12 Bricc) Taylor, plumber,painter and glazier;Chelwood Gate FletchingSussex (Mrs Cramp, Friend, Chandiard)”. This property description in part  pertains to Edger Terrace and as you will read later the name of Taylor as a plumber,painter, glazier  is shown as the occupant of 4 Edgar Terrace as a plumber and glazier on the 1846 map.

Details of the Edger Terrace development are given in the next section of this article. Edger also invested in land and buildings in other parts of England, and those still in his possession at the time of his death in 1847 are listed in his will, which I present later.

From a review of directories and the birth records of John’s children it is known that he settled in East Grinstead in a find home called ‘Pickstone’  by 1823 where he remained till the end of his life in 1847. His ‘Pickstone’ residence was also referred to in the 1829 insurance record given above. Pickstone, was a large estate consisting of Pickstone House and extensive farmlands on which crops were grown and livestock kept. John was a gentleman farmer at this time and employed a large staff to work the farm and manage the estate. A marriage record in the Gentlemens Magazine for Edger’s daughter Emily noted that she married the Rev. John Ebenezer  Judson of Lindfield July 9,1844 and that she was the 4th daughter of “John Edger, esq., of Pickstone Park, East Grinstead. Emily and John Judson went on to have two sons.

East Grinstead is a market-town and parish, the head of a union, and formerly a representative borough, in the hundred of East Grinstead, rape of Pevensey, E. division of Sussex, 19¾ miles (N.) from Lewes, and 30 (S. by E.) from London; containing 3586 inhabitants. This town, which was once of considerable importance noted for markets regularly held where corn and livestock is sold. A photo of the East Grinstead fair is shown above.

John’s son Samuel Edger (image opposite), born at Pickstone House, East Grinstead, March 22. 1823 had an interesting live. A biography about him stated he was the son of “ John Edger, a devout Particular Baptist and his Congregationalist wife Sussanna Ann. Samuel preached from his youth and his academic abilities earned him a place at Stepney (later Regent’s Park) Baptist College where his poetic and philosophical approach to doctrine set him apart from other students. He gained a BA from the University of London and was appointed co-pastor and subsequently pastor of the Baptist chapel in Bond Street, Birmingham. On October 6,1846 he married Louisa Hawwood at Birmingham and the couple went on to have five children. In the 1850 he served at minister in other chapels in England. In 1861 organizers of the nonconformist settlement at Albertland, north of Auckland, New Zealand, sought a minister and so Samuel and his family emigrated to New Zealand. On August 5,1866 the family home at Albertland was burnt to the ground and all of his possessions were destroyed. A fund was set up to raise money for the family and they moved to Parnell where he began preaching at Parnell Hall on August 26,1866 and formed a church there. He later moved his activities to the Oddfellows’ Hall, the City hall, and in 1874 to the Lorne Street Hall. An attack of paralysis in June 1867 forced him to write his sermons in full and read them in the pulpit which resulted in them being swiftly published. During the 1870’s he distinguished himself by his advocacy of liberal causes. He became well known in the community and served as vice president of the Auckland Choral Society; a member of the Auckland Institute; and a member of the committee of the Auckland Society of Arts. In later years his health began to fail and his congregation dwindled. His wife died September 21,1880 and in May 1882 he returned to England for surgery but died in south London on September 30,1882 before the operation. He is most often remembered today for his remarkable daughter, Kate (photo opposite), who was the first woman to graduate from a New Zealand university.

The Journals of the House of Commons, dated 1836 gave “ John Edger; Petitition of John Edger of Pickstone House, East Grinstead. Complaining of the conduct of certain magistrates of the county of Sussex, in having prevented a Meeting called by him to consider the alarming state of the country”.

The 1841 census, taken at Pickstone House, East Grinstead,Sussex gave John Edger as living on independent means. With him was his wife Susanna and their children Sarah, Anne, Susanna,Henry,Louisa and Ebenezer. Also there were two domestic servants and three visitors of the Eliza Watson family. Also on the estate was a staff of farm managers and workers.

John William Edger died at Pickstone House, East Grinstead in the 4th qtr of 1847. His will, which can be read in its entirely online, was probated at East Grinstead January 26,1848. It is a long will, too long to give here. John Edger was given in the will as being of Pickstone House, East Grinstead, esq. He left the bulk of his estate to his wife Susanna but also made bequests to his children Ebenezer, Sarah,Benjamin, Henry and Emily Judson,nee Edger. Among his estate was Picksone House and farm ,which along with livestock and crops, furniture, books,plates, linen,china and other household effects he left to his wife. Also of more local significance is that he left “ All my freehold estates in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, called Edger Terrace, to my wife”. Among his estate was a farm adjoining Pickstone in the occupation of Mr Abfort near Forest Row, East Grinstead; farm and lands called Stone House near Forest Row; an estate at Tylers Street, Westminster, Middlesex; an estate at Wood Street, Christchurch called Spitalfields.

Probate records for John’s wife Susannah Ann Edger gave her of Uxbridge, Middlesex, widow, when she died October 10,1868 at Uxbridge. The executor of her 300 pound estate was Ebenezer Rust Edger of Uxbridge,esq., the son and one of the next of kin.  

EDGER TERRACE 

I begin my coverage of the history of Edger Terrace with the map opposite stated to be from 1846 on which can be seen and enlarged view of the intersection of High Street, Grove Hill Road and Mount Pleasant Road. On this map is given details about the location of the shops with accommodation above that formed Edger Terrace beginning at the south end (ref 309) with No. 1 Edger Terrace, and progressing to No. 11 Edger Terrace (ref 299). On the north west corner of this intersection is the SER train station and on the north east corner labelled ‘Langridge’ is the site that later became dominated by Weekes department store. To the south of Edger Terrace is shown Christ Church, which was built 1835-1836 and to the rear of Christ Church is the residence of Richard Corke, esq, which Roger Farthing identified as “North Grove House” in his book ‘A History of Mount Sion’ . Roger gives a detailed account of North Grove House in the book, and notes that it dates back to the early 18th century and after serving as a private residence became a lodging house and school and that when Christ Church was constructed it became a parsonage. An entire chapter in Roger’s book is devoted to “the Grove Houses’ of which there were three side by side, but were demolished many years ago, along with Christ Church itself. The 1846 map shows that Edger Terrace at that time belonged to John Edger and suggests that he also owned the land behind it.

At the time this map was made No. 4 Edger Terrace was the premises of Mr Taylor, the plumber and glazier I referred to earlier in the insurance record for Edger Terrace.  At No. 5 was Mr Starke, a baker; No. 6 was Hollamby’s Tunbridge Ware shop’ No. 7 was the well-known artists repository of Saltmarsh; next door at No. 8 was the upholsterer’s shop of Henry Lancaster; then at No. 9 was Groves shoeshop followed at No.10 by Adams the butcher and No. 11 Hope the grocer.

When exactly Edger Terrace was constructed is not known but a map from 1808 shows that the entire site was vacant, and  a map of 1828 shows its existence.

The 1840 Pigots directory gave the following” No. 9-Groves & Co boots and shoes; No. 7-John Saltmarsh,Protestant Dissenters fire and office agents; No. 8-Henry Lancaster, cabinet maker, upholsterer, fancy Berlin trimming warehouse; No. 5-Saltmarsh & Wicking-carvers and gilders.

The 1841 census began with a listing form Grove Houses 1,2 and 3 of which the Corke residence on the map above was No. 3. No listing, strangely, was found for Christ Church but it was there. The census taken then went on to list the occupants of Edger Terrace as follows; No. 2-Henry David, draper; No. 3-Caroline Foord, grocer; No., 4-Thomas Camfield, watchmaker; No. 5-Felix Staite, confectioner; No. 6-Samuel Field, grocer; No. 7-John Saltmarsh, gilder; No. 8-Henry Lancaster, upholsterer; No. 9-Moses Groves, shoes and boots; No. 10-George Adams, butcher; No. 11 John Hope, grocer.

Colbrans 1850 Guide  refers to Albert Place and the Christ Church on High Street being “near to the ‘remaining part’ of Edgar Terrace…..and that “Camden Place was the property of John Edger, esq.” A footnote to this entry stated “ The larger portion of Edger Place has been taken down to form the railway”.  This reduction in Edger Terrace is obvious from the comparison of an 1846 map showing Edger Terrace (No. 1 to 11) and the 1851 census, which only lists the existence of No. 1 to 6 Edger Terrace, with No’s 7 to 11 closest to the intersection of High Street and Mount Pleasant Road having been removed.

The 1851 census gave at No. 2-Felix Staite, confectioner; No., 4-Williqam Hutchinson, stone monuments; No. 3 and No. 1 unoccupied; No. 5-Elizabeth Heasman, stay maker; No. 6-Robert Jeffery, eating house proprietor. After this the census taker moved on to record the occupants of No. 1 to 7 Edger Cottages, which most likely were also owned by John Edger prior to 1847.

The 1861 census for Edger Terrace gave the following; No. 1-Robert Jeffery, eating house keeper; No. 2-John Manning; No. 3-John Ravenscroft, hair dresser; No. 4-Anne Murray,fundholder; No. 5-Felix Strait (Stait) pastry cook and confectioner. Nothing was given for No. 6, which may have been unoccupied.

John Arkell in an article entitled ‘History of the Central Station’ that appeared in the Civic Society newsletter of Winter 2014 stated “ Cutting through to the Grove Hill Tunnel necessitated the destruction of shops at the corner of Grove Hill Road and the High Street. A map at CKS (not reproduced here) identifies them-they include Saltmarsh, ’Artists Repository’, still in business in Tunbridge Wells today after several changes of site and owner. An 1845 picture of them can be seen in Philip Whitbourn’s 2011 booklet about Tattershall Dodd”. More correctly, the partial demolition of Edger Terrace was due to the extension of the SER line southward rather than the Gove Hill Tunnel located further south of Edger Terrace, which tunnel provided a rail link from the SER to the Tunbridge Wells West Station.

Shown in the 'Overview' section of this article is a watercolour dated 1845,referred to by John Arkell, showing a view of Edgar Terrace and the Church to the south of it. This image was one of a group from a booklet on the local artist Charles Tattershall Dodd by Dr. Whilip Whitbourn and published by the Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery in 2011. This image was on the front cover of the booklet.A second image(above)) of the same location by C.T. Dodd dated 1845 shows another view of the same site on High Street looking south from the intersection of High Street with Grove Hill Road. Remains of the southern end of Edgar Terrace are still standing today.

As it to be expected the occupants of Edger Terrace have changed frequently over its long history and most if not all of No.1 to 6 still remain today although significantly altered in appearance. Much has changed over the years in the vicinity of Edger Terrace, a topic which is too extensive to detail in this article ,but below I have provided a photo gallery of the intersection focusing on views of High Street looking south covering  part of the period from about 1890 to 2016, most of which are postcard views. One of the greatest changes at this intersection was the construction of the new High Street bridge in 1907, a project I described in my article ‘The History of the High Street Bridge’ dated October 6,2015. I have also previously written about three former occupants of Edger Terrace, namely Hollamby in connection with the history of Tunbridge Ware, in an article entitled ‘Tunbridge Ware-A Profile of Manufacturers’ dated February 14,2012; Saltmarsh and their business activities in the town in an article entitled ‘Saltmarsh’s-Artist Supply Shop’ dated November 18,2011. An article about  Henry Lancaster,the upholsterer and cabinet maker and the rest of the Lancaster family is found in my article ‘The Lancasters-A Family of Upholsterers and Cabinet Makers’ dated July 15,2016. Shown above is a 1907 os map showing this part of town. Note the location of the SER station and the route of the tracks leading south through part of the former Edger Terrace site.

THE LANCASTERS - A FAMILY OF UPHOLSTERERS AND CABINET MAKERS

 

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

Date: July 15,2016

 

OVERVIEW 

Henry Lancaster (1806-1887) was one of several children born to John Lancaster (1776-1837) and Eleanor Ann Lancaster, nee Beaumont (1778-1851). Henry had been baptised at St Matthew, Bethnal Green,Middlesex but given as born in Hackney, Greater London.

On July 13,1827, at St Lawrence, Reading, Berkshire, Henry married Harriett Robinson.She had been born in Shorditch June 28,1809. The couple’s first child was Henry (1828-1902) who was born in Reading. By 1831 the family took up residence in Tunbridge Wells and in that year their second child Harriett was born, but she died in infancy. In 1836 their third child Charles was born in Tunbridge Wells.

Henry had learned the upholstery trade as a young man and established his upholsterers shop at No. 8 Edger Terrace on the High Street, Tunbridge Wells. Edger Terrace was originally a row of eleven shops with living accommodation above located on the south east corner of Grove Hill Road and High Street. This row of shops as well as other buildings and land in the area was owned by John William Edger (1779-1847), a gentleman from East Grinstead, who had become wealthy in the silk manufacturing business, details of which are given in my article ‘John Edger and Edgar Terrace’ dated July 30,2016. A map from 1846 showing Edger Terrace, on which Lancaster’s shop is labelled is shown above.

At the time of the 1841 census Henry and his wife Harriet and son Charles(born 1836 in Tunbridge Wells) were at his upholsters shop in Edger Terrace. Henry remained at Edger Terrace until he and some other shop owners there were forced to move to other premises when the northern part of Edger Terrace was demolished to make way for the extension of the railway line south from the SER station located on the north west corner of the intersection.

The 1851 census, taken at 6 Camden Place gave Henry as a cabinet maker master employing 3 men and 2 boys as well as his sons Henry and Charles. Also there was one shopwoman and one domestic servant and Henry’s wife Harriet.

Sometime before 1861 Henry’s wife passed away and he married Fanny, who had been born 1821 in Northampton. The 1861 census, taken at 4 Camden Place gave Henry as an auctioneer and upholsterer, employing five men. With him was his wife Fanny and his son Charles, who by this time had given up on cabinet making and was a professor of music, a profession he continued until his death. Henry’s other son Henry junior ,however ,moved to Sussex and established a large and very successful cabinet makers business there and raised a large family, including a son Ernest Clemmans Lancaster who in the 1890’s established an Art Furnishing business in Tunbridge Wells at 1,3 and 5 Nevill Street as well as the Grosvenor Gallery on Grosvenor Road.

In the late 1860’s Henry retired from business and is found at the time of the 1871 census at Mortimer Villa, next to Morton Lodge on Queens Road in the Woodbury Park part of Tunbridge Wells. His wife Fanny passed away in Tunbridge Wells sometime before 1871 for at the time of the 1871 census Henry and his third wife Harriet, born 1825 in Islington, and one servant were together. This family unit were still together at the time of the 1881 census at 2 Mortimer Villa.

Probate records gave Henry Lancaster as formerly of Hastings, Sussex but late of Jersey Lodge in Eastbourne, Sussex when he died January 21,1887 at Jersey Lodge. His wife Harriett and son Henry were the executors of his estate. Probate records for his wife Harriet gave her as a widow formerly of Eastbourne,Sussex but late of 10 Carlisle Villas in Tunbridge Wells when she died at that address on August 21,1887.

This article reports on the life and career of Henry Lancaster; his sons Henry and Charles and his grandson Ernest Clemmans Lancaster, who during their lives lived and worked in Tunbridge Wells.

THE LANCASTER FAMILY AND BUSINESSES

In this section I provide information about Henry Lancaster (1806-1887); his two sons Henry Lancaster (1828-1902)  and Charles Lancaster (1836-1902)  and Henry seniors grandson Ernest Clemmans Lancaster (1866-1943), all of whom lived and worked in Tunbridge Wells at least for part of their lives. Mention is also given of Henry’s grandson Henry William Lankaster (1861-1949), who had an upholsters business in Eastborne,Sussex, but who never lived or worked in Tunbridge Wells. The trades of upholsters and cabinet makers predominated amongst the Lancaster sons, and all of them appear to have been successful in this line of work.

[A] HENRY LANCASTER (1806-1887)

Henry had been born in Hackney, Greater London on September 9,1806 and was baptised January 25,1807 at Saint Matthew, Bethnal Green, London. He was the son of John Lancaster (1776-1837) and Eleanor Ann Lancaster, nee Beaumont (1778-1851). Henry was one of thirteen children in the family.

On July 13,1827, at St Lawrence, Reading, Berkshire, Henry married Harriett Robinson. She had been born in Shorditch June 28,1809. The couple’s first child was Henry (1828-1902) who was born in Reading.  

By 1836 Henry and his wife and son Henry took up residence in Tunbridge Wells and in that year their second child Charles was born.

Henry established an upholsters shop at No. 8 Edger Terrace on the High Street. Edgar Terrace was located on the south east corner of High Street and Grove Hill Road and itself has an interesting history as described in my article ‘John Edger and Edger Terrace’ dated July 30,2016. This row of eleven shops with living accommodation above had been built sometime after 1808 but before 1828 on land owned by the wealthy silk manufacturer John Edger, who in addition to Edger Terrace and the land behind also owned other property in the town and elsewhere. When he died in 1847 at East Grinstead, where he had a grand mansion and farm, Edgar Terrace was part of his estate bequeathed to his wife, which after her death was to pass to his son Ebenezer. Shown opposite is a painting by local artist Charles Tattershall Dodd dated 1845 of Edger Terrace with Christ Church in the background.  

When the railway arrived in Tunbridge Wells in 1845 the SER station was built on the north west corner of the intersection of High Street Grove Hill Road and Mount Pleasant Road. When the railway line was extended from this train station south No. 7 to 11 Edgar Terrace was demolished, as noted in Colbran’s guide of 1850. This work required Henry and other affected shop owners to find other places in which to conduct their business. Shown opposite is a postcard view of this part of the High Street dated 1890 showing what remained of Edger Terrace with Christ Church in the background.

The 1840 Pigots directory gave the listing “Henry Lancaster, No.  8 Edger Terrace, cabinet maker, upholsterer and fancy Berlin trimming warehouse”.

The 1841 census, taken at No. 8 Edger Terrace recorded the presence of Henry Lancaster with the occupation of upholsterer,. Living with him was his wife Harriet and his son Charles. His elder son Henry was not present and was away at school in Brenchley,Kent.

The 1851 census, taken at 6 Camden Place, Tunbridge Wells, recorded Henry Lancaster as a cabinet maker master, employing three men, two boys and his two sons Henry and Charles .Camden Place,which based on the order in which the census was taken, was located between Grove Terrace and Warwick House. Noakes the draper had his shop at No.2 Camden Place at that time . With Henry. at the time of the 1851 census ,was his wife Harriet, born 1809 in Shoreditch; his son Henry, born 1828 in Reading, a cabinet maker; his son Charles, born 1836 in Tunbridge Wells, a cabinet maker; one shopwoman and one domestic servant. For details about the Noakes family and their drapers businesses see my article ‘ Noakes Family-Drapers of Tunbridge Wells’ dated October 5,2011.

Henry Lancaster junior, in an account about his life and business in Sussex, credited his training as a cabinet maker in Tunbridge Wells with his father as an important part of his life ,which led to him having a successful career in this trade in Sussex. Charles Lancaster, although receiving the same training as his brother Henry decided that cabinet making was not the career for him and became a professor of music.

By the time of the 1861 census, Henry junior left Tunbridge Wells; got married, raised a family, and established a successful business in Sussex, details of which are given in the next part of this article.

The 1861 census, taken at 4 Camden Place,  gave Henry as an auctioneer and upholsterer, employing five men.  Camden Place was located further south on the High Street than Edger Terrace. Living with him was his second wife Fanny, born 1821 at Northampton, and Henry’s son Charles who’s occupation was given as “professor of music”. Also there was one general servant. Henry’s first wife obviously had passed away by 1861, and although she most likely died in Tunbridge Wells, no details about her death were found. Henry did not have much luck with wifes for based on the 1871 census, his second wife Fanny had passed away, without producing any children, sometime after 1861 and before 1871.

The 1871 census, taken at Mortimer Villa which was next to Morton Lodge, on Queens Road in the Woodbury Park part of town, gave Henry as a retired upholsterer. Living with him was his third wife Harriet born 1825 in Islington, Middlesex and one domestic servant.

The 1881 census, taken at 2 Mortimer Villa, Queens Road, gave Henry as a retired upholsterer .With him was just his wife Harriet, age 56, born 1825 in Islington.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of September 18,1889 announced the sale by auction in October, by Messrs Brackett and Son of the freehold in No. 1 and 2 Mortimer Villas  by order of execution and stated the homes had “good gardens”.

Probate records gave Henry Lancaster formerly of Hastings but late of Jersey Lodge, Eastbourne,Sussex, gentleman, who died January 21,1887 at Jersey Lodge. The executors of his estate were Harriet Lancaster of Jersey Lodge, widow, the relict and Henry Lancaster of 42 Robertson Street, Hastings, Sussex, upholsterer, the son, and Sidney Alexander Cheale of Tunbridge Wells, solicitor.

Probate records gave Harriet Lancaster formerly of Eastbourne, Sussex, but late of 10 Carlisle Villas, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, widow, who died August 21,1887 at 10 Carlisle Villas. The executors of her 812 pound estate was her son Henry Lancaster, of 42 Robertson Street, Hastings, Sussex, upholsterer, the sole executor.

[B] HENRY LANCASTER (1828-1902)

Henry was the first of three children born to Henry Lancaster (1806-1887) and his first wife Harriet. Henry was born 1828 in Reading, Berkshire. He came to Tunbridge Wells with his parents by 1831.

The 1841 census, gave Henry in Brenchley, Kent with four other pupils attending a boys school run by Francis Holland.

As noted in the previous section Henry, at the time of the 1851 census was living in Tunbridge Wells with his parents at the 6 Camden Place where his father was a cabinet maker employing three men , two boys and his two sons Henry junior and Charles, who worked for their father as cabinet makers. This is the last census record for Henry junior in Tunbridge Wells.

On October 25,1858 at St Giles, Camberwell, Henry married Harriett Wright (1838-1875) and with her had the following children (1) Constance (1859-1896) (2) Henry William (1861-1949) (3) Louis Charles (1863-1938) (4) Harold George (1864-1949) (5) ERNEST CLEMMANS LANCASTER (1866-1943) (6) Mortimer (1868-1952) (7) Alice E. born 1870 (8) Eleanor(1871-1948) (9) Arthur Warrington (1873-1945) (10) Herbert, born 1875). Henry’s wife Harriett may have died from child birth problems associated with the birth her son Herbert in 1875 for Henry remarried on October 18,1876 at Islington, this time to Hannah Clemmans (1841-1895) with whom he had another five children between 1877 and 1884. All of Henry’s children were born in Hastings,Sussex.

The 1871 census, taken at 5 Linton Terrace, Hastingsd, Sussex gave Henry as an upholsterer e4mployign 8 men and four boys. Living with him was his wife Harriett and seven of his children, including  ERNEST CLEMMANS LANCASTER, age 5 plus three servants.

The 1881 census, taken at Grays Lodge in Hastings gave Henry as a cabinet maker employing 3 clerks, 15 men and 3 boys. With him was his second wife Hannah; thirteen of his children, including his son ERNEST CLELLANS LANCASTER, age 15 and three domestic servants. Henry’s son Henry,age 129, was working as a bookkeeper clerk, and his son Louis,age 18 was working as an upholsterer for his father. The rest of the children were all attending school.

By 1887 Henry had taken up premises at 42 Robertson Street  in Hastings,Sussex from which place he operated his upholsterers business. A photo of Robertson Street is shown below.

Henry’s son Henry William Lancaster (1861-1949) also went into the upholsters business. He is found at the time of the 1891 census, at 1 Havening House in Eastbourne, Sussex as an upholsterer. With him was his wife Louisa M. born 1860 at Stratron,Essex and his two children. Also there was his brother ERNEST CLEMMANS LANCASTER, who was also working as an upholsterer.Four others including two domestic servants were also present. Soon after this census was taken ERNEST moved to Tunbridge Wells and established a business in the town, details of which are given in the  last section of this article.

To conclude with Henry Lancaster (1828-1902)  I noted that at the time of the 1891 census he was living in St Leonards,Sussex and in 1901 at St Matthew,Sussex with his wife and some of his children. He had retired from business by this time. Henry died in the 3rd qtr of 1902 in Hastings,Sussex. His wife Harriett had died July 16,1875 at Gray’s Lodge, Silverhill, Hastings.

Given above  is an article about Henry that appeared in the St Leonard’s Observer on November 9,1901.

[C] CHARLES LANCASTER (1836-1902)

Charles was the youngest of two sons born to Henry Lancaster (1806-1887). He had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1836. He was living with his parents in Tunbridge Wells above his father’s upholsterers shop at No. 8 Edger Terrace at the time of the 1841 census and at an early age he and his older brother Henry learned their father’s trade.

As noted in the census records given earlier Charles was living with his parents and brother Henry at 6 Camden Place,Tunbridge Wells (1851) where Charles and his brother Henry were working for their father as cabinet makers. The 1861 census, taken at 4 Camden Place,Tunbridge Wells gave Charles as a professor of music, and living with his parents and one domestic servant. This was the last census record for Charles in Tunbridge Wells.

On January 19,1871 Charles married Sarah Jane Langley at Scoldwell, Northamptonshire. She was the daughter of William Langley and Elizabeth Langley, nee Barlow. Charles occupation at the time of the marriage was “music professor” and he was a resident of Northamptonshire.

The 1871 census, taken at 4 Royal Terrace in Northamptonshire gave Charles as a professor of music. Living with him was his wife Sarah, born 1850 at Scoldwell, Northamptonshire and two domestic servants.

The 1881 census, taken at 82 Mildmay Park in Islington, London gave Charles as a professor of music. With him was his wife Sarah (given as Jane) and his children Henry,age 8; Charles, age 7; Gertrude,age 6 and Reginald,age 3. Also there was one domestic servant.

The Law Times of 1892 made reference to Charles being a musical instrument dealer.

Moving ahead in time to the 1901 census, taken at Thanet,Kent, Charles was given as a professor of music. With him was just his wife Sarah and two servants. Charles died in Thanet, Kent in 1902.

[D] ERNEST CLEMMANS LANCASTER (1966-1943)

Ernest Clemmans Lancaster (photo opposite)was a son of Henry Lancaster (1828-1902) and the grandson of Henry Lancaster (1806-1887) the patriarch of the Lancaster family of upholsters and cabinet makers in Tunbridge Wells. As a point of clarification his name is given in the 1911 census as Ernest Clement Lancaster and although others who have researched this branch of the family tend to give “Clemmans as his middle name, I am inclined to believe it was “Clements”. However I have used Clemmans in this article for the purposes of consistency.

Ernest had been born February 7,1866 at 42 Robertson Street in Hastings, Sussex, the same address his father was given at in 1877 in the probate records of Ernest’s grandparents.

Ernest grew up in Hastings,Sussex and at an early age took up his father’s trade as an upholsterer and during much of his early life worked at his father’s upholsters shop.

The last census record for him in Sussex was the 1891 census where he was living with his brother and his brothers family at 1 Havening House in Eastbourne, where Ernest was working for his brother as an upholsterer.

On November 8,1893 at Eastbourne,Sussex Ernest married Frances Semple (1868-1963) and in 1895 he and his wife had their first and only known child Leila Louisa Lancaster (1895-1988), who went on to get married and raise four children. She had been born in Eastbourne,Sussex. A photo of Frances Semple as a young woman is shown here. Frances Semple had been born January 8,1868 in Ireland and was one of eight children born to John Semple (1820-1884) and Isabella Jane Semple, nee Buckley (1839-1892).

Later in the 1890’s Ernest moved to Tunbridge Wells where he established an Art Furnishing Establishment. An illustrated booklet from the 1890’s entitled “Pictures of Tunbridge Wells” published by the Lewis Hepworth Company Ltd on Vale Road,Tunbridge Wells, gave the photo opposite of Ernest shop. This photo was taken by the well-known local photogragher George Glanville. Details about this photographer can be found in my article ‘ Glanville, Skinner & Wyles-Photographers’ dated March 21,2012.

The text associated with this photograph states “ The Inexpensive Art Furnishing Establishment, 1,3, and 5, Nevill Street, and Grosvenor Gallery, Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells. Ernest Lancaster is always pleased to give Estimates for Removals, Furnishing or Decorations, and will send Designs Free of Cost. All orders receive his personal attention, and every care is used in carrying out instructions”. Shown below  is an old photograph of Nevill Street circa 1905.  Ernest’s shop can be seen in the background on the right hand side at the intersection.

The 1901 census, taken in Tunbridge Wells at 4 Cumberland Walk, gave
Ernest as a “furnishers manager employer”. With him was his wife Frances ; their daughter Leila and one domestic servant. Cumberland Walk was not far from Nevill Street in the Mount Sion part of town.

The 1911 census, taken at 70 Marlborough Road in Watford, Hertfordshire, gave Ernest Clement Lancaster as a ‘furniture salesman worker”. With him was his wife Frances; their daughter Leila , who was attending school, and one domestic servant. The census recorded that the couple had been married 17 years; that they had just the one child, and that they were living in premises of 8 rooms.  A directory of 1929 listed Ernest still living in Hertfordshire.

 Ernest died March 1,1943 at Watford, Hertfordshire, and was survived by his wife Frances and his daughter Leila. His wife Frances died February 18,1963 at Eastbourne,Sussex.

THE LANCASTER FAMILY WEBSITE

Given here is an account from the Lancaster family website as it relates to the Tunbridge wells branch of Henry Lancaster. There are some errors in it but I have reproduced it as written.

Many of  the various branches of the family lived in and around East Anglia and the South of England. Originally from East Anglia before moving to Wapping and Hackney then gradually moving out to Kent and Sussex they retained strong connections with London and many family members moved back there. There were connections in other areas particularly in the Portsea area of Hampshire as well as Surrey, Essex, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Suffolk. Also in India, South Africa, Canada and Australia.

Life in Kent………..Henry Lancaster came originally from Hackney. There was no shortage of cabinet makers and upholsterers in London. The following passage is taken from "A Working Man's Recollections of America," Knights Penny Magazine 1 (1846), This was written by a cabinet maker who emigrated to America."I was a cabinet-maker by trade, and one of the many who, between the years 1825&1835, expatriated themselves in countless thousands, drawn by the promise of fair wages for faithful work, and driven by the scanty remuneration offered to unceasing toil at home, and overpowering pressure of the burdens immersed by the state, at a time when none of that sympathy which now occupies so large a portion of the public mind was shown to or felt for the working classes. Many an anxious look did poor parents at that day cast on the expectant faces of their little ones when seated round the table, on comparing the demand for bread with the anticipated small and uncertain supply, and with a shudder of horror half anticipated the piteous cry of hunger and misery. Work they did, work unceasingly; but apparently to no good; the wolf would never go away from the door, and was always heard scratching on the outside...."  the piteous cry of hunger and misery. Work they did, work unceasingly; but apparently to no good; the wolf would never go away from the door, and was always heard scratching on the outside...."

Whether or not it was these concerns that made Henry Lancaster Snr decide to leave London we may never know. However he moved to Reading where he married Harriet Robinson on 30th July 1827. Their first son also Henry, was born in 1829. More about Henry and his 15 children later! Shortly after this the family moved to Tunbridge Wells where they had two more children Harriet in 1831 and Charles in 1836.

Henry must have been an enterprising man. He established his own business and supplemented his income by becoming an insurance agent. In 1851 his address was 1, High Street, by 1861 he was living at 4 Campden Place working as a Master Cabinet Maker and Upholster and employing five men. By the time of the 1871 census he had moved to Mortimer Villas in Queens Road.

He also established a much bigger business in Eastbourne this was run by his eldest son Henry. His second son Charles became a musician and ran a business in London where he taught, tuned pianos, ran a piano storage business and sale room. However his father obviously had little faith in him, in his will, although he left money and business interests to other members of the family, the money he left for Charles was tied up in a trust fund to be administered by a solicitor and Henry Jnr!

Lancaster's in Sussex………….Henry Lancaster's eldest son, also Henry trained in the family business and became a Master Upholsterer and Cabinet Maker as well as the head of a large family. He moved to Eastbourne where he ran the family business at 42, Robertson Street with various branches, until his death in 1902. He married twice. Firstly in 1858 to Harriett Wright from Camberwell. They had ten children before Harrietts early death at the age of 37 in 1875. He then married Hannah Clemmans the daughter of a colleague. They married in Islington in 1876 and went on to have another five children before Hannah also died aged 55 in 1895. Her death was partly due to exhaustion, I would guess Harrietts was too!

Henry appeared to inherit his father's entrepreneurial skills as well as running a successful business in his own field, he is at various times also working as an insurance agent, a coal merchant, art designer, ran a removal and storage firm and worked as a funeral director.

THE BEDFORD HOTEL ON HIGH STREET

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

Date: July 29,2016

OVERVIEW 

Today can be found on the west side of the High Street, The Bedford public house, at the junction of High Street and Vale Road. This building is not original to the site, and is believed to have been constructed circa 1930, replacing a much older building on the site, which in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was known as The Bedford Hotel. It’s name was painted on its north facing wall, which can be seen in a number of postcard views of the area, such as the one shown opposite.

A review of maps of 1808 and 1828 show that a relatively small building was on this site at a time when no buildings nearly on the west side of the High Street were present for some distance. During that time, on the opposite side of the High Street was Edgar Terrace, and on the site of what now is the SER station was Friends Brewery.

The map of 1838 shows that the small building referred to above, that later became the Bedford, had been extended towards the south, creating the building that appears in postcard views of the area into the early 1900’s. This building had a number of occupants including a public house/hotel and various shops.

The 1903 Kelly directory did not provide a listing for the Bedford Hotel but at 2 High Street was the restaurant of Charles Frederick Withers. Next door at 4 High Street was a public house owned by Kenward & Court Limited, brewers. These brewers operated from their hops farm and brewery in Hadlow,Kent, a brewery which had been established before 1840 when it was operated by Mrs Mercy Barton. Around 1850 it was acquired by Harrison & Taylor and from 1858 it was known as Kenwood & Barnett. In 1871 the name was changed to Kenward & Court and registered as Kenward & Court Ltd in 1888. This company sold out in 1945 when it was acquired by Hammerton & Co., a well- known London brewer, together with some 46 public houses, which included the pub on the High Street in Tunbridge Wells. A photo of the Kenward brewery in Hadlow is shown opposite.

The Bedford Hotel is found in directories and census records from 1911 onwards at 2 High Street. From at least 1911 until 1929 the publican of the Bedford was Peter Butcher (1846-1929) who died at the Bedford on May 31,1929.

After Mr Butcher the publican was Frank Thomas Moon (1871-1939),who was still there in 1934 but was replaced by Fred Sheldrake by 1938. Who ran the pub after that was not investigated.

This article reports on the history of The Bedford Hotel /The Bedford Public House up to the year 1938.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION

A map of 1832 shows the  Bedford Hotel . This same building appears on a map of 1808 and 1828. What use this building served at that time is not known. The 1824 Pigots directory lists nine taverns and public houses, two commercial inns and two hotels in the town but none of them pertain to the site that is the subject of this article. Sometime after 1832 and before 1838 the building  was extended southward.

The 1840 Pigots directory listed seven inns and hotels in the town and fifteen taverns and public houses, but no mention of the Bedford was among them and none of them were on the High Street. The Bedford was not found in the 1858 Melville directory either.

Shown opposite is a map from 1846 showing details of the site at the intersection of the High Street with Mount Pleasant Road and Grove Hill Road   The row of shops labelled by name on the east side of High Street were located in what was referred to as “Edgar Terrace”. Some of these shops were demolished when the Grove Tunnel to the Tunbridge Wells West Station was constructed in the 1860’s. Christ Church itself was later demolished. The 'Bedford' building can be seen opposite the Edgar Terrace shops above the label  "The Station".

Significant changes at the intersection of Mount Pleasant Road/ High Street/Grove Hill Road occurred in 1845 with the arrival of the SER railway, which is reflected on a map of 1852, which shows for the first time part of what became Vale Road, with the Bedford building shown on the south west corner of Vale Road and the High Street. Bracketts 1868 map shows what became Vale Road as “Bath Yard” with no apparent changes to the Bedford building.

Moving ahead in time, shown opposite is a 1907 os map on which can be seen the location of the Bedford Hotel, a name it went by at that time , and as shown in the various postcard views of the building from about 1903 to 1920 taken before the site was changed in the 1930’s. The Bedford on this map is shown on this map on the south west corner of Grove Hill Road and the High Street just below the label "311". At this time a small music shop had been attached to the Bedford on Vale Road. This music shop can be seen in the photo above left taken in 1907 on the occasion of the opening of the new High Street Bridge, and on his image can be seen a number of men standing on the roof the music shop trying to get a good look at the opening ceremony.

Sometime in the 1930’s , the brick building which I will generally refer to as “The Bedford Hotel building “, which contained more than the hotel/pub, was demolished to make way for another red brick building as shown in the image below . This building exists today together with shops along the High Street frontage.

There are many images of the High Street showing this building at various times in its history, some of which are distributed throughout this article

THE PUBLICANS 

No definitive information was found for the period prior to 1903, except for a postcard view of the Bedford from circa 1890. But from 1911 to 1938 (the end of the study period) the following list was made identifying the publicans. It is known that in 1903 No. 4 High Street was a pub , one of several owned by the brewers Kenward  & Court Limited and they became the owners of The Bedford Hotel next door at No. 2 High Street and appear to have remained as owners of it for many years afterwards, as explained in the ‘Overview’ above. As the only record for Fred Sheldrake was a directory listing for him as the publican of the Bedord in 1938 no other information is given for him.

1911-1929…………Peter Butcher

1929-1936………… Frank Thomas Moon

1936-1938…………. Fred Sheldrake

[A] PETER BUTCHER

Peter is found at 2 High Street as a publican in the 1911 census and in directories of 1903,1913 and 1922. He died at the pub in 1929. Shown opposite is a close-up view of the entrance to the pub taken after the building was reconstructed (see photo above for larger view).  

Peter was born 1846 in Chiddingstone, Kent. He was baptised there on May 3,2816 with his parents given as John Butcher, born 1807 at Banchurst,Kent  and Harriet Butcher, born 1811 at Chiddingstone,Kent.

The 1851 census, taken at Wellers Town in Sevenoaks gave John Butcher as a carpenter. Living with him was his wife Harriet; his son George, age 21, a carpenter; Matilda,age 10; David,age 11; James, age 9; PETER,age 5 and Richard age 1. All of the children had been born at Chiddingstone between 1830 and 1850. Sometime before 1861 Peters father passed away.

The 1861 census, taken at Wellers Town, Sevenoaks gave Harriet Buthcher as a widow and head of the home. With her were her children John, age 28 , a cricket bat maker; David,age 21, a bricklayer; Dames, age 17, an ag. Labourer; PETER,age 15, an ag labourer and Richard,age 12 who was attending school.

The 1871 census, take4n at 1 Wellers Town, Sevenoaks gave Harriet,m age 62. With her was her two sons PETER, a cricket bat maker , and Richard, a wheelwright.

By the time of the 1881 census, taken at Bowbeach,Sevenoaks Peter Butcher married Hannah. They are found in this census with their one year old son Percy. At this time Peter was working as a cricket bat baker.

By 1884 Peter and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells, with Peter found that year as the publican of the Rose & Crown pub at 18 Grosvenor Rd (image opposite).Living with Peter and his wife Hannah were their children Percy, born 1890 at Chiddingstone and  Nellie, born 1884 in Tunbridge Wells . Also in the premises were two lodgers.

The 1901 census, taken at 41 Grosvenor Road was Peter, a publican on own account. With him was his wife Hannah and their two children Percy and Nellie, both of whom were working in the pub as barman and barmaid.

The 1911 census, taken at The Bedford, 2 High Street, gave Peter as a licensed victualler. With him was his wife Hannah; their two children Percy and Nellie, who were both working in the pub; one boarder and one visitor. The census recorded that the couple had been married 36 years; that they had just the two children and that they were living in premises of 10 rooms.

In December 1916 Peters wife Hannah died and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on December 20th. Probate records gave Peter Butcher of the Bedford Hotel, 2 High Street, Tunbridge Wells, when he died May 21,1929. The executor of his estate was his married daughter Nellie Murray, a widow, and left an estate valued at 2,206 pounds. Peter was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on June 4,1929.

After his death the pub was taken over by Frank Thomas Moon.

[B] FRANK THOMAS MOON

Frank took over the Bedford Pub upon the death of Peter Butcher in 1929. Directories of 1930 and 1934 list Frank at the Bedford public house and appears to be there until about 1936 when the pub was taken over by Fred Sheldrake (1938 Kelly).

Frank’s birth  was registered in the 1st qtr of 1871 at Uckfield, Sussex. The 1871 census, taken at Uckfield gave Frank as the only child living with his parents Thomas Moon,. Born 1848 in Mayfield and Frances, born 1847 in Woolwich, Kent.

By 1873 the Moon family took up residence in Tunbridge Wells. The 1881 census, taken at 6 Vernon Road, gave Thomas Moon as a foreman of a sawmill. With him was his wife Frances and their children FRANK, age 10; Gertrude, age 8, who was the first child born in Tunbridge Wells in 1873; Edith,age 7; Alexander,age 3 and Selina, age 1. The older children were attending school at that time.

The 1891 census, taken at 11 Vernon Road, gave Thomas as a foreman of a timber yard. With him was his wife Frances and his children FRANK, a machine moulder worker; Edith,age 17; Alexander,age 12; Selina,age 11; Sidney,age 9 and Thomas,age 6.

The 1901 census, taken at 99  St James Road,Tunbridge Wells. Gave Frank Thomas Moon with the  occupation of “ beer office license pub and wood moulder worker”. With him was his wife Amelia Emma Butcher, who Frank had married in 1897, and who was born 1871 in Tunbridge Wells. Also present in the home were their children Frank Sydney,age 3 and Reginald Leslie, age 1, both born in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1911 census, taken at 99 St James Road gave Frank as a travelle4r for a timber merchant. With him was his wife Amelie Emma and their two children Frank and Reginald who were attending school. The census recorded they had been married 14 years; had two children, and were living in premises of five rooms.

On May 14,1921 Frank married for a second time, after the death of his first wife in Tunbridge Wells. This time he married Frances Grace Rush, a spinster born in 1884at islington, and the daughter of Thomas Roche Rush a solicitors clerk. Franks father, Thomas Moore was given as a timber merchant. The couple were married at St John, Northfields, borough of Ealing. Before the marriage (1911 census) Frances Grace Rush was living with her parents; four siblings and two servants, at 29 Courtney Road in Croydon,Surrey.

Frank Thomas Moon was of The Edinburgh Castle pub on St Georges Road in Hastings,Sussex when he died December 8,1939. The executor of his 329 pound estate was his widow Frances Grace Moon.

THE STEAM ENGINE CALLED “TUNBRIDGE WELLS”

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

Date: August 1,2016

Steam engines with the names of towns displayed on the side of the boiler are not common, as most display the name of the railway line, however as can be seen in the postcard opposite one steam engine was named “Tunbridge Wells”. This view of the engine was from a photograph by local photographer Percy Squire Lancaster who seemed, from a review of his work ,to have a particular interest in trains, for there are a few other photos by him of trains in the town which I have shown in other articles.

This was a D2 class engine of the LB and SCR railway which operated out of the Tunbridge Wells West train station. It was number 279 and built at the Brighton Railway Works  (photo opposite)which was one of the earliest railway-owned locomotive shops. This works  had been founded in 1840 by the London and Brighton Railway in Brighton. The works grew steadily between 1841 and 1900 but efficient operation was always hampered by the restricted site, and there were several plans to close it and move the facility elsewhere, Nevertheless, between 1852 and 1957 more than 1200 steam locomotives as well as prototype diesel electric and electric locomotives were constructed there before the eventual closure of the facility in 1962.

The steam engine “Tunbridge Wells” came into service in 1879. It was later renumbered as B279 and later still as engine 2278. It was withdrawn from service in 1936 and is believed to have been the only steam engine named after the town of Tunbridge Wells.

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