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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 Kelsey's Brewery dray taken in the early 1900's decorated for a parade through the town. This brewery, known as the Culverden Brewery, had a long history. Maps dating back to 1740 show a brewery on the site and over the years it came under various ownership. The brothers Edward and Henry Kelsey took over the brewery in 1851 and this company, later known as E & H Kelsey Ltd, continued until brewing ceased there in 1956. The site of the old brewery was redeveloped and came into residential and commercial use. In the 19th and early 20th century it was a common sight to see horse drawn wagons laden with kegs of beer making their rounds to the various pubs, which conveyances were later replaced by motorized transport. For further information about the history of breweries in Tunbridge Wells see my article 'Early Brewing History and the Culverden Brewery St John's Road' dated May 5,2012.

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.

THE FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE ON GROSVENOR PARK

 

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

Date: June 25,2018

 

INTRODUCTION 

The site of The Friends (Quakers) Meeting House  on Grosvenor Park was acquired in 1893 and architects Charles E. Clayton and Ernest Black, of Brighton, Sussex, were hired to prepare the plans for the building. The building cost 1,824 pounds to construct and  opened in 1894.

This building still exists today, with an address of 1a Grosvenor Park ,and is found on the north side of Grosvenor Park next door to the Labour Centre, a building that was originally that of the carriage and coach body firm of Rock, Thorpe & Chatfield located on the north east corner of Grosvenor Park and Grosvenor Road.

From the time that the building was completed it met the needs of local Quakers as a place to hold their meetings and events. Later in its history the building was shared with the larger local community. In 2014 Planning Authority approval was obtained for conversion of the front part of the 2 sty red brick building to ten bedsits for young vulnerable children. The single storey main hall to the rear was refurbished (with a single-storey side extension added) for continued use by the local Quakers as a meeting house.

Although not a listed building , the front elevation displays many interesting architectural features, including a pair of ornate columns on top of which is carved “1894”, marking the year of its construction.

This article presents photographs of the building and a brief account of the building and its history. Also presented is some information about the buildings architects.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION

The site of the Friends Meeting House was located on the north side of Grosvenor Park just east of its intersection with Grosvenor Road.

A map of 1828 shows the future site of the meeting house and its neighbour to the west as a plot of land on which a large home existed with a circular drive off Grosvenor Road. The same map shows what later became Grosvenor Park as a dirt lane running along the south property line of the aforementioned home, a lane which provided access to other lands to the south and east. A map of 1808 shows the same site occupied by a house and a map of 1738 shows a home on the site, occupied by Mr Brett. The Brett family had considerable property holdings in the town as can be seen on Bowras map of Mount Sion dated 1738. A map of 1839 refers to the house on the site as ‘Grosvenor Grange’. Maps of 1840 to 1890 period show that little had changed on the site, although the old home appears to have been englarged at some point in time. This old home was demolished and the site redeveloped in the 1890’s . The site of the present meeting house was acquired by the Quakers in 1893. Shown opposite is a 1907 os map on which is highlighted the location of the meeting house.

With reference to the 1907 os map one can see a large building next door to the meeting house on the north east corner of Grosvenor Park and Grosvenor Road. This building ( now the Labour Centre) was originally the premises of the carriage and coach body company Rock, Thorpe & Chatfield. The name of the company changed over the years as partners in the business came and went. Details about this building were given in my article ‘Rock, Thorpe & Chatfield-Carriage and Motor Car Manufacturers’ dated August 14,2013  in which I gave in part “The year 1892 marked a milestone in the history of the company when they had a new, and very large, multi- storey factory built at the top of Grosvenor Road in Tunbridge Wells, to the design of the architectural firm of H. H. and E Cronk of Tunbridge Wells and it was at that time that the company expanded into the manufacture of motor car bodies. Unfortunatley a devastating fire at their premises in 1915 almost destroyed the building and seriously disrupted their business operations. Fortunately the heroic effects of the fire brigade saved the building and with considerable effort,time and expense was repaired and brought back into operation.

The fire of August 26,1915 referred to above , which was described in more detail in my article ‘ The 1915 Fire on Grosvenor Road’ dated January 8,2017. completely gutted the building and incinerated the roof. The exterior walls of the building however remained standing. After extensive rebuilding the exterior of the building was restored as it appeared originally. Shown below left is a view of the building taken at the time of the 1915 fire and to the right is a modern view of the building. Although the blaze was intense the fire did not spread to the meeting house and apart from relatively minor damage from flames and smoke it was spared destruction, thanks to the heroic efforts of the fire brigade. 











In 1893 the site of the present meeting house was acquired. Who the property was purchased from was not established. After purchasing the property the Quakers hired the Brighton architectural firm of Charles E. Clayton and Ernest Black to design the building. Further information about the architects is given in the next section of this article.

The building consisted of a two sty red brick building at the front with a large 1sty wing at the back. In a conservation report was given the following “ A handsome late nineteenth-century design in seventeenth-century domestic revival style, untypical of traditional Quaker meeting house architecture built on the site in 1894 from designs by Clayton & Black. It was built of red brick with Bath stone dressings. It consists of two elements, a frontage building of elaborate design and a somewhat plainer rear hall. The frontage building consists of two storeys and an attic and three bays. The windows all have stone surrounds, arched with keystones to the ground floor, eared architraves and bolection mounded cornices to the first. The central bay projects slightly and has an arched ground floor entrance with keystone surround, first floor stone-framed mullion and transom window, and pediment. The remaining windows have timber mullions and transoms, all with small-paned fixed lights and casements. A stone band with cornice separates the two floors. In the attic are four flat-topped dormer windows with timber casements. Square-section downpipes on either side of the front elevation have cast iron hoppers bearing the date 1894. On the flank elevations of the frontage range the stone banding between the storeys is continued; in the attic, shaped parapets rise on each side at the front to a central stack (south side only), the parapet plainer and squared-off on the rear side. There is one tall window, on the northern flank elevation. The single-storey rear range has a lower ridge and is faced in pale brick with red brick dressings. Plain red brick pilasters marking the bay divisions, with flush-framed small-paned paired sash windows under gauged brick segmental arches. The interior consisted of a large classroom over the ground floor cloakroom and lobby in the frontage range, opening onto the meeting house as a loft with roller shutters. Interior photos of the building show a single large space for the meeting room with painted arched braces to the ceiling, wood boarded floor and boarded timber perimeter dado”.  Although quite attractive at the front elevation this purpose built building is not listed by English Heritage  although it was described as” a building of quality of medium historical value…and makes a positive contribution to the conservation area, and is of high aesthetic value.

In 2014 the building was currently unused and in that year Planning Authority approval was obtained to convert the frontage building to affordable accommodation, with the meeting house function continuing and its facilities made more widely available to the community. The approved development provided for the conversion of the front part of the building to ten bedsits for young vulnerable people. The main hall was to be refurbished with a single sty side extension added for continued use by the Quakers as a meeting house. This project was a partnership between the Friends, West Kent YMCA and Habitat for Humanity who were builders of affordable housing.  More than 800,000 pounds has been spent, including a 250,000 grant from the borough council. Shown above is a sketch from Butler (Vol 1 p. 289) showing the front façade and floorplan. Also shown in this section are a few other modern photographs of the building taken between 2005 and 2018.

THE BUILDING ARCHITECTS

The firm of Charles E. Clayton (1853-1923) and Ernest Black(1855-1917) , operating as architects and surveyors of Brighton, Sussex under the name of Clayton & Black were well known architects of the 19th  and early 20th century.

In a career spanning the Victorian, Edwardian and interwar years, they were responsible for designing and constructing an eclectic range of buildings in the growing town of Brighton and its neighbour Hove. Their work encompassed new residential, commercial, industrial and civic buildings, shopping arcades, churches, schools, cinemas and pubs, and alterations to hotels and other buildings. Later reconstituted as Clayton, Black & Daviel, the company designed some churches in the postwar period.

Charles E. Clayton and Ernest Black, their sons Charles L. Clayton (1883-1919) and Kenneth Black, and other architects articled to the firm, worked in a range of styles. The "architectural pantomime" of their Tudor Revival King and Queen pub and the elaborate Classical façade of the First Church of Christ, Scientist contrast with their plain Neo-Georgian Barclays Bank branch and the Gothic Revival St Thomas the Apostle's Church. Elsewhere in Brighton and Hove, they designed buildings in the Flemish Renaissance, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and François Premier Revival styles. Many Clayton & Black buildings have been awarded listed status by English Heritage in view of their architectural importance—including their pink Baroque-style office for the Royal Assurance Society, described as their chef d'œuvre.

Charles Edward Clayton was born in 1853 in Brighton, and Ernest Black, son of the Brighton coroner, was born there two years later. Clayton entered architectural practice in 1876 with George Holford; both studied under the Brighton architect Thomas Simpson. Black joined six years later, and Holford's involvement ceased the following year. Charles L. Clayton and Kenneth R. Black, sons of the original partners, joined later; the name "Clayton & Black" was maintained, although "Clayton, Black & Partners" was sometimes used as well. Charles E. Clayton, who made his home in Edburton near Brighton and who was mainly responsible for church-related commissions, died in 1923; Ernest Black had died six years earlier. Other partners joined the firm later in the interwar period as its success grew, but the final name change did not occur until John René Francis Daviel joined in the early 1950s and became the main driving force: thereafter the company was known as "Clayton, Black and Daviel". The last record of the company was in 1974. Several other architects were articled to the firm at various times, such as Thomas Handy Bishop (between 1892 and 1893). John Owen Bond (between 1900 and 1903), Bernard Jessop (1908),and George Stanley Hudson. M.G. Alford joined in the 1960s, during the Clayton, Black and Daviel era.

Further information about Clayton & Black can be found on the internet on such sites as Wikepedia.

 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THOMAS HENRY LARMUTH

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

Date: June 17,2018

OVERVIEW 

Thomas Henry Larmuth was an enterprising gentleman. He was  born 1832 in Shoreditch, the son of Alfred William Larmuth who was once a policeman but later a dairyman.

Thomas had been married twice, firstly to Martha in 1852 and then to Maria in 1895 and appears to have had two children.

Thomas came to Tunbridge Wells in the mid 1850’s and took over a booksellers and stationers shop at 8 High Street, a business which according to his advertisments had been established in 1851. In connection with this business Thomas and George Hamaton formed a partnership under the name of Larmuth and Hamaton. The London Gazette of April 7,1860 announced that their partnership, as stationers and printers was dissolved and Thomas continued the business on his own. The Jurist of January 26,1861 reported that Thomas Henry Larmuth had gone bankrupt but he recovered from this financial setback.

By 1862 his business had expanded in scope and a directory of that year recorded that he was a bookseller; news vendor and agent;printseller; stationer; music seller; bookbinder; advertising agent; publisher of the ‘Kent Pioneer’; a picture frame and mouldings seller; print warehouse and a dealer in photographic materials.

In 1865 the publication ‘ Bookseller’ announced that Walter John Spiers (1832-1889) had purchased the bookselling, stationers and printing business of Thomas Henry Larmuth of 8 High Street and that Thomas had removed to other premises to confine his attention to photography. And so Thomas moved to premises at 18 High Street where he established a photographic studio. In this article I present some samples of his photographic work. Shown above is a postcard view of High Street looking south from the High Street Bridge, on the right side of which was Larmuth’s premises just a few doors down from the corner. Thomas’s brother George Henry Larmuth joined his brother in the business by 1868 but his involvement in the business was a short one and he left Tunbridge Wells and returned to London.

Thomas was still listed as a photographer at 18 High Street in 1874 and was still living and working in Tunbridge Wells in 1877 when in that year he took out two patents  on May 16th for ‘Improvements in effervescing beverages and in apparatus for supplying same ‘ and also for ‘ improvements in the manufacture of non-alcoholic beverages’.

Later in 1877 Thomas left Tunbridge Wells and moved with his family to London and went into the beverage manufacturing business.  A directory of 1882 gave the listing ‘Thomas Henry Larmuth, soda water, lemonade and ginger beer manufacturer of Orchard House 18 Dalston Lane, Hackney, London and 1A Pembury Road, Lower Clapton, London’.  By the time of the 1911 census he and his second wife Maria were living at 8 Powell Road in Clapton, London where at those premises his occupation was given as ‘fruit syrup maker own account at home’.

Thomas Henry Larmuth died March 27,1915 at 4 Glenarm Road in Clapton, Middlesex leaving an estate valued at just 126 pounds to his widow Maria.

This article focuses on the life and career of Thomas Henry Larmuth but also presents some information about his former business partner George Hamaton and  Walter John Spiers who had taken over Thomas’s stationers/booksellers business in 1865.

THOMAS HENRY LARMUTH AND FAMILY

Thomas’s early life was a troubled one. He had been born August 5,1831 on Shoreditch, London and baptised September 9,1831 at Saint Leonard, Shoredith,the son of Alfred William Larmuth and Jane Larmuth, nee Wrights.

The ‘Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records’ dated August 17,1841 recorded the Larmuth family at St Matthew, Bethnal Green, consisting of Jane Larmuth and her five children (including her son Thomas Henry Larmuth) and that “ about February 11,1830 Jane had married Alfred William Larmuth who was now absent from her and her five children and that about 8 years ago her husband abandoned her and took up premises elsewhere leaving her destitute”.

The London Gazette of July 22,1845 reported that Alfred William Larmuth was insolvent and had been sent to debtors prison. He had formerly been of Skinner Street in Bishopsgate. He had formerly been a policeman but then a milkman. He later was a milkman of Primrose Street, Bishopsgate and then a milkman/coal dealer and dealer in chanderley goods and lastly was of No. 10 Leather Sellers Buildings at London Wall in the City of London.

However by the time of the 1851 census the family was reunited and Thomas was living in London with his parents and siblings. The 1851 census taken at All Hallows, London Wall, London gave Alfred W. Larmuth as a dairyman, born 1803 in London. With him was his wife Jane, born 1801 in Norfolk and his children (1) Thomas Henry, age 20, clerks merchant (2) George Henry, age 10 (3) Mary Ann, age 6. All of the children were born in London. Also there were four members of the Woodland family who living there as boarders.

In the 2nd qtr of 1852 Thomas married Martha Monk in London and by 1856 he and Martha moved to Tunbridge Wells where Thomas took over a booksellers and stationers shop at 8 High Street, a business which according to Thomas’s advertisments had been established there in 1851.  Thomas formed a partnership with George Hamaton when the business began and operated under the name of Larmuth and Hamaton. In 1856 Thomas and his wife Martha had a daughter Harriett Larmuth who was born in Tunbridge Wells.

The London Gazette of August 7,1860 reported that the partnership between Thomas Henry Larmuth and George Hamaton at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, stationers and printers, operating under the name of Larmuth and Hamaton was dissolved by mutual agreement. George Hamaton had decided to retire from business and Thomas continued the business on his own.

Little definitive information was found for George Hamaton, but it was established from the 1851 census taken at 13 Thomas Street in Clever Berkshire that George was age 16, single, and working as an apprentice printer for printing master William Willmore, age 47. George was given as being born 1835 at Bray, Berkshire. Baptism records gave him as the son of Francis and Mary Hamaton and that he had been baptised April 9,1835 at Bray, Berkshire. What became of him after 1860 was not established, largely due to discrepencies in the spelling of his surname in records.

The 1861 census, taken at 8 High Street, Tunbridge Wells gave Martha Larmuth as age 36 and living with her was her daughter Harriet, age 5. The 1861 census, taken in 8 High Holborn,London gave Thomas Henry Larmuth, as a bookseller, living as a visitor with his married sister Jane Ann Sacker and her husband Edwin Sacker, an eating house keeper. With Thomas was also his brother Alfred John Larmuth,age 30 who was working as a riding master. Thomas’s occupation was given as “stationer”.

The Jurist of January 26,1861 reported the Thomas Henry Larmuth, a bookseller and stationer of High Street, Tunbridge Wells had gone bankrupt. Meetings of creditors were scheduled in London for January 31st and February 28th. The ‘Bookseller’ dated January 26,1861 gave the listing “ Thomas Henry Larmuth, a bankrupt bookseller and stationer.

Despite this setback Thomas was able to resume business in Tunbridge Wells. The 1862 directory for Tunbridge Wells gave the listing “ Thomas Henry Larmuth, 8 High Street,  bookseller; news vendor and agent;printseller; stationer; music seller; bookbinder; advertising agent; publisher of the ‘Kent Pioneer’; a picture frame and mouldings seller; print warehouse and a dealer in photographic materials”.

In 1865 the publication ‘ Bookseller’ announced that Walter John Spiers (1833-1889) had purchased the bookselling, stationers and printing business of Thomas Henry Larmuth of 8 High Street and that Thomas had removed to other premises to confine his attention to photography. The premises Thomas moved to was 18 High Street, Tunbridge Wells. A postcard view of this part of the High Street is shown opposite. Information about Walter John Spiers is given in the last section of this article. The 1867 directory gave the listing ‘ Thomas Henry Larmuth, photographer, 18 High Street, Tunbridge Wells”.

The 1871 census, taken at 18 High Street gave Thomas Henry Larmuth as a photographer. With him was his wife Martha, given as born 1816 in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, and their daughter Harriett, born 1856 in Tunbridge Wells who was working for her father as a photographic assistant. Also there was one domestic servant. Thomas’s bother George Henry Larmuth had also come to Tunbridge Wells to assist his brother and was found listed in a 1868 Tunbridge Wells directory at the High Street. George did not stay with the business for long and was back in London by the time of the 1871 census.

The 1871 census, taken at 112 Downham Road in Hackney London gave Alfred W.Larmuth as age 68 and working as an agent. With him was his wife Jane, age 70. Also there was his son George Henry Larmuth, age 26, an agent, along with George’s wife Anneta, born 1847 in Bloomsbury, Middlesex, and their five children born between 1866 and 1870 in London.  

Shown here and below are some examples of  photographs taken by Thomas at his portrait studio.

Thomas was still listed as a photographer at 18 High Street in 1874 and was still living and working in Tunbridge Wells in 1877 when in that year he took out two patents  on May 16th for ‘Improvements in effervescing beverages and in apparatus for supplying same ‘ and also for ‘ improvements in the manufacture of non-alcoholic beverages’. Information about these patents were given in ‘The Chemical Review of 1877 and ‘The Engineer’ 1877.

Later in 1877 Thomas left Tunbridge Wells and moved with his family to London and went into the beverage manufacturing business. Directories of 1877-1878 gave Thomas at Boston Road in Brentford, London.

A directory of 1882 gave the listing ‘Thomas Henry Larmuth, soda water, lemonade and ginger beer manufacturer of Orchard House 18 Dalston Lane, Hackney, London and 1A Pembury Road, Lower Clapton, London’. 

Directories of 1890-1892 gave Thomas at 183 Dalston Lane in Hackney, London. His wife Martha was still alive at that time. His daughter Harriett married October 25,1879 William Watson Robinson, the youngest son of Mr Richard Robinson of 31 Great Western Terrace in Westbourn Park. Harriett was given as the only daughter of Thomas Henry Larmuth of Haverstock Hill, late of Tunbridge Wells. The couple were married at the Congregational Chapel at Haverstock Hill.

As noted above Thomas’s wife Martha had been born in 1816 and therefore was 15 years his senior. She passed away in London sometime before 1895 for marriage records show that Thomas remarried in the 1st qtr of 1895 Maria Garland at Islington. Maria had been born in 1847 and at the time of the 1901 census Thomas and Maria were living in Battersea.

The 1911 census, taken at 8 Powell Road in Clapton St John Hackney gave Thomas as a fruit syrup maker on own account at home. With him was his second wife Maria, born 1847 in Clerkenwe4ll. They were living in an apartment of 4 rooms. The census recorded that they had been married 16 years and had no children.

Probate records gave Thomas Henry Larmuth of 4 Glenarm Road, Clapton, Middlesex, when he died March 27,1915. The executor of his 126 pound estate was his widow Maria.

WALTER JOHN SPIERS (1832-1889)

As noted above Walter John Spiers took over the booksellers/stationers business of Thomas Henry Larmuth at 8 High Street in 1865.

Walter was born July 8,1832 in Westminster and baptised October 14,1832 at Craven Chapel Marshall Street Independent Westminster, London, and given as the son of Walter Spiers and Ann Elizabeth Spiers, nee Yates.

The 1851 census, taken at 42 Prescott Street in Whitechapel gave Walter Spiers as born 1806 in London with the occupation of ‘printer, compositor’. With him was his wife Anne Elizabeth, born 1805 in Hertfordshire, one domestic servant and their children (1) Walter John, a printer/compositor (2) Ann Elizabeth, scholar, born 1840 in Paddington (3) Louis Ellen, scholar, born 1843 in Westminster.

On June 6,1866 Walter married Kezia Elizabeth Jones, age 24, spinster of South Hackney and the daughter of William Charles Jones, a clerk in law. Walter was given as a bachelor of Whitechapel, a bookseller and son of Walter Spiers, a printer. The marriage took place at St Pauls Church in Whitechapel.

The 1871 census, taken at 8 High Street, Tunbridge Wells gave Walter J. Spiers as a bootseller etc employing 2 men and 2 boys. With him was his wife Kezia, given as born 1842 in Shorditch, London and their two children Walter W. Spiers, born 1868 in Tunbridge Wells, and Arthur E.Spiers, born 1869 in Tunbridge Wells. Also there was one domestic servant.

The 1881 census, taken at 8 High Street, Tunbridge Wells gave Walter as a bookseller, printer, stationer and postmaster employing 1 man and 3 boys. With him was his wife Kezia and their children (1) Walter W, age 13 (2) Arthur E, age 11 (3) Rupert E.A, age 9 (4) Roland F, age 8 (5) Arthurstance,age 5 (5) Katherine,age 3. All of the children were born in Tunbridge Wells.

Directories of 1867 to 1882 gave Walter John Spiers, 8 High Street, Tunbridge Wells, bookseller, stationer, circulating library, post office and agent to Westminster Fire.

Walter John Spiers died in Tunbridge Wells in the 1st qtrof 1889 at age 56. He was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery March 2,1889. His wife Kezia died in the 1st q     tr of 1924 in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the same cemetery as her husband on March 14th. Walters father had died August 1873 in Elham, Kent and was buried there August 20th.

 

DR CHARLES TRUSTRAM OF 1 BEDFORD PLACE

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

Date: June 20,2018

OVERVIEW

Charles Trustram was born 1809at Shellington, Bedfordshire, one of 12 children born to John Trustram (1762-bef 1851) and Ann Bell,born 1774.  He lived and received his early education in Bedfordshire and entered the medical field as a surgeon and general practitioner (M.R.C.S. and L.S.A).

On July 4,1833 in Tunbridge Wells, Charles married Harriet Julia Prince (1803-1871). She had been born in Tunbridge Wells and was one of several children born to John and Sarah Prince.

Dr Charles Trustram came to Tunbridge Wells by 1833 and lived and operated his medical practice from premises at 1 Bedford Place in Mount Sion.  He is found there in electoral and census records at 1 Bedford Place up to his death there on June 25,1871, leaving an estate of just under 25,000 pounds. Charles and his wife had five children between 1835 and 1843, all of whom were born in Tunbridge Wells. His only son William Prince Trustram (1838-1875) went to be a successful solicitor and in 1864 he married Lydia Jones at Croydon, Surrey and with her had six children. Most of Charles daughters remained as spinsters and lived on independent means. 

Charles regularly attended and actively participated in the meetings of the South Eastern branch of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association in Tunbridge Wells and elsewhere during his career.

In 1866 he became embroiled in the big stink over the town’s sewers, complained about by fellow surgeon William Webber. Dr Webber, a rather outspoken and disliked medical practitioner seemed to have a grudge against several of the town’s citizens, particularly those who participated in a riot at his house in 1864. Dr Webber filed a law suit against Dr Trustram whom he accused of making improper use of his position on the Town Board. Dr Trustam countersued Webber for libel and won his case. When Dr. Webber refused, or could not pay the fines imposed he ended up serving the last half of 1866 in debtors prison and not long after left Tunbridge Wells in a huff.

Dr Charles Trustram died in Tunbridge Wells at 1 Bedford Place June 15,1872 and was buried in the Woodbury Park Cemetery beside his wife who had died the year before him.

This article reports on the family, life and career of Dr Charles Trustram and provides information about 1 Bedford Place. Shown above is a painting showing what is stated by others to be of Dr Charles Trustram by an unidentified artist.

THE PRE-TUNBRIDGE WELLS YEARS

Charles Trustram was born 1809 at Shellington, Bedfordshire and was baptised there June 7,1809. He was one of twelve children born to John Trustram (1762-bef 1851), a farmer,  and Ann Trustram, nee Bell  who was born July 4,1774 at Mepershall, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. Ann was one of eight children born to John Bell (1750-1818) and Ann Bell,nee Pestell (1753-1804). The marriage between John and Ann took place August 8,1792 at Mepershall, Biggleswade, Bedforshire.

When Ann died was not established but she was still living (as a widow)at the time of the 1851 census taken in Hertfordshire.

Charles lived his early life and received his initial education in Bedfordshire but later went on to obtain training in the medical profession and became a surgeon and general practitioner, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (M.R.C.S) and L.S.A. Charles parents and siblings  lived in Bedfordshire for most of their lives. Charles moved to Tunbridge Wells and started up his medical practice there sometime before his marriage in Tunbridge Wells in 1833. Charles was not listed in Pigots 1827 directory of Tunbridge Wells.

When and where John Trustram died was not established. The 1851 census, taken at North Crescent in Hertforshire however listed John’s wife Ann as a widow , fundholder. With her was her spinster daughters Sarah, age 33; Eliza,age 45 and Jane, age 37, all of whom were fundholders. Also there was one domestic servant. Ann died in Hertfordshire not long after this census was taken.

DR TRUSTRAM IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Dr Trustram came to Tunbridge Wells sometime after 1827 but before 1833 and established his medical practice at 1 Bedford Place in Mount Sion. Details about this building is given in the last section of this article.

On July 4,1833 in Tunbridge Wells Charles Trustram married Harriet Julia Prince who was born in Tunbridge Wells October 21,1803. Harriet was baptised May 3,1803 in Tunbridge Wells and given as the daughter of John and Sarah Prince.

Pigots 1840 directory gave the following listing under the heading of surgeons “ Charles Trustram, Bedford Place. Directories, electoral and census records of 1840 up to the time of his death in 1871 gave Dr Charles Trustram of 1 Bedford Place.

On February 6,1844 a meeting took place at the old town hall (image opposite) of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association, details of which appeared in their journal of 1844, which can be read online. At that meeting it was proposed by Charles Trustram, esq, of Tunbridge Wells, and seconded by Edward Wallace, esq. of Carshalton that the medical practitioners of Kent be constituted a branch of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association under the title of the South Eastern Branch. The motion passed and from that time forward Dr Trustram is referred to in the minutes of the association at their various meetings, among which was a meeting in York on late 1855.

Charles and his wife Harriet went on to have a total of five children (4 daughters and one son), all of whom were born in Tunbridge Wells between 1835 and 1843. Their only son was William Prince Trustram who by 1861 had become a solicitor. William had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1838 and was baptised there. On November 8,1864 at Croydon, Surrey, William married Lydia Jones who had been born December 31,1834 at Newington, Surrey and was the daughter of Edward Jones, esq. William and his wife went on to have six children. He died at Kensington Park, Middlesex March 26,1875.

The 1841 census, taken at 1 Bedford Place gave Charles as a surgeon. With him was his wife Harriet and his children (1) Fanny,age 7 (2) Mary,age 5 (3) William Prince,age 4 (4) Agnes,age 1.

The 1851 census, taken at 1 Bedford Place gave Charles Trustram as a general practitioner M.R.C.S. and L.S.A. With him was his wife Harriet their daughter Ellen,age 8; one surgeon assistant, a cook, a general servant and one groom.

The 1861 census, taken at 1 Bedford Place gave Charles as a general practitioner M.R.C.S and L.S.A. With him was his wife Harriet and his children (1) Fanny,age 26 (2) Mary,age 25 (3) William Prince, age 23, a solicitor (4) Ellen,age 18. Also there was one visitor, one medical assistant and four servants.

The Medical Journal of 1863 reported in part that Charles Trustram of Tunbridge Wells moved that an appointment of an impartial inspector of vaccination be made. His motion was seconded and passed. At the same meeting his proposed that 10 pounds be provide to the Medical Benevolent Fund, which proposal was accepted.

The 1871 census, taken at 1 Bedford Place, Mount Sion gave Charles Trustram as a general practitioner M.R.C.S and L.S.A. With him was his wife Harriet; his daughters Fanny and Mary, one medical assistant, one sick nurse and three general house servants.

The Medical Times and Gazette of 1871 reported that Charles wife Harriet had passed away at 1 Bedford Place Tunbridge Wells on April 6,1871 after a short illness. She was buried in the Woodbury Park Cemetery.

Probate records gave Charles Trustram late of Tunbridge Wells, surgeon, who died at 1 Bedford Place June 15,1872. The executors of his under 25,000 pound estate were his son William Prince Trustram of Tunbridge Wells and 61 Cheapside, London, gentleman, and William Eve of London, city surveyor. Charles was buried in the Woodbury Park Cemetery.

WEBBER vs TRUSTRAM 1866 

Dr William Webber was less successful in his dispute (with certain town residents) with Dr. Charles Trustram, another surgeon living in Tunbridge Wells, whom he accused of making improper use of his position on the Town Board. Trustram responded by suing Webber for libel. This case was decided in Trustram’s favour and Webber was ordered to pay damages of £25, plus £168 in costs. Unable, or unwilling, to pay Trustram the money he owed him Webber spent five months in a debtors’ prison in the second half of 1866. He applied repeatedly to the court to be released, complaining of unfair treatment and claiming that imprisonment was endangering his health and might end his life. He was finally released in December 1866.

Details about Dr Webber with a reference to Dr Trustram can be found in my article ‘

A cartoon image of Dr Webber being hauled away in a cart in 1864 is shown above. Among the gentlemen standing nearby is believed by the researcher to be Dr Trustram.

1 BEDFORD PLACE 

No. 1 Bedford Place no longer exists. It was replaced by Bedford Terrace,a two sty red brick residence and one of a row of similar homes in the development. A photo of Bedford Terrace is shown opposite.

Roger Farthing in his book ‘ A History of Mount Sion’ (2003) makes reference to Dr Trustram and Bedford Place and should be consulted for details. Charles Trustram is referred to in that book on pages 231,306,388,389 and 410. On March 18,1857 fire broke out in the Pantiles and was reported by Mary Agnes Strange and her husband Edward Hilder Strange. The fire engine arrived and pumped water on the blaze from the Kentish Hotel yard and other places but the fire had advanced to such a state that all attempts to put it out were futile. Fortunately nobody was injured and the furnishings and other items in the residence were safely removed to the White Bear Inn. The fire spread to other buildings and furniture was placed on the lawn in front of Dr Trustrans residence, who was instrumental in stopping the spread of the fire into Sion Terrace. When Thomas Delves dieed in 1846 at age 77 he directed his trustees (his son Joseph and Charles Trustram, the surgeon who lived at Bedford Place) to sell all his land and houses for the benefit of the family. In 1834 a few old houses had been taken down and a row of houses built called Bedford Terrace. A map from 1897 is shown opposite on which can be seen Bedford House and Bedford Terrace.

 











The name for Bedford Terrace came from the name Bedford Place which was already in use in 1817. Farthing reports “ One of the most interesting and longer-resident occupants of Bedford Place was Dr Trustram who after apprentiship to a local surgeon studied at St Thomas’s and Guy’s hospital and who commenced practice at Tunbridge Wells in 1832. He died on the evening of June 24,1872 when, having visited a patient near the Parade, he returned home at 10 o’clock, went to bed as usual and died of angina  pectoris early the next morning despite the presence of two colleauges including Dr Fred Manser, who in 1874 was living in William Webber’s old place in Sion Terrace just across the road. In 1833, shortly after his arrival in the town, he Charles married one of the two only daughters of John Prince, Esquire, formerly of Emmanual College, Cambridge, and (in the words of the obituary) was the leading surgeon among the fashionable society which resorted to Tunbridge Wells in the days of Beau Nash. His career was further enhanced by his success in restoring the use of her arm to a young lady from one of the county families of Cornwall whose father handed him a cheque for 100 guineas with which to buy a watch. During his forty years on Mount Sion it was difficult to escape him, whether in the course of his professional work as GP and Honorary Surgeon to the Infirmary (image opposite) and Dispensary or as Town Commissioner, Chairman of the Tunbridge Wells , Tunbridge and Weald of Kent and Sussex Permanent Benefit Building Society or Trustee of the will of Thomas Delves or President of the South-Eastern branch of the British Medical Association, to name but a few of his activities. I have indeed seen him named as the inspiration behind the digging of the Brighton Lake (image opposite), a work of charity attributed to the Rev. Pope. Charles was one of those behind the foundation of the Building Society and having presided at its first annual meeting in 1851 was chairman until 1872. The first offices of the Building Society were at No. 2 Bedford Place.” Farthing goes on to provide an account of Dr Trustram’s involvement with Dr Webber.

Farthing refers to Bedford Place on pages 302,387,388,393 and 394. Joseph Delves and his brother William Delves obtained in 1833 a lease of Bedford Place and the old Little Grove House at the bottom of Mount Sion from their uncle Henry Delves. Bedford Place was listed ion Spranges Guide of 1817 under the name of Richard Delves. Evidence of the leasing of Bedford Place is found in the will of Henry Delves who died in 1869 and the result of his death was the construction of Bedford Terrace. The 1817 guide shows Bedford Place No1 under the name of Mr R. Delves with three sitting rooms, six bedrooms and stables for seven.

 

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