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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 two interesting postcards by local photographer Christopher John Durrant who was born 1886 in Rusthall. He worked most of his life as a photographer in Tunbridge Wells and operated from his home and studio at 106 St James Park.  Although not as well known as most other photographers of his time the few examples of his work that can be found provide interesting views not captured by other photographers. The image above entitled "The Piper July 1922' shows a group of children at an unidentified location in the town dressed in costumes marching along blowing on pipes, no doubt imitating the Pied Piper. The image opposite it is also by Durrant and shows an undated image of a 'Fancy Dress' local event. Labelled simply as card No. 9, it suggests that it was perhaps one of a series of images of the same event. In my article entitled "Christopher John Durrant-A Tunbridge Wells Photographer' dated March 2,2016 I stated in part " Another local man who spent his whole life as a photographer was Christopher John Durrant. Working from his studio at 106 St James Park, he photographed any events that happened in the town. These he would supply to the local paper or bring them out as 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 Bowling Club. He was eighty-one when he died in 1967".


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.


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.


Work is underway to set up a new website devoted to the photographic career of Harold H. Camburn, a Tunbridge Wells photographer and printer/publisher of thousands of postcard views of Kent,Sussex, Surrey and a few other counties to a lesser degree.

One aspect of this project is the creation of an illustrated catalogue of Camburn's postcards. The backs of his postcards typically show his name or in the absence of his name show his well known Wells Series logo of a bucket and rope suspended from a well, such as in the example below.

Here is where you come in!!!!    If you would like to contribute to this project please provide a list of any Camburn cards you have giving the card number (if any) as well as the complete caption, both of which are shown on the front of his postcards. Of course, if you are able to do so, please send a scan of the front of the postcard so that the image can be included along with the card number and caption in the catalogue. Please send all submissions by email to me at

In the future I will post the status of this project and make an announcement when and where the illustrated catalogue and the rest of the website content can be found on the internet.

As of June 1,2018 work is progressing nicely with the creation of the illustrated catalogue. Mark Collins and I appreciate all of the contributions you have made to this project to date and so far over 3,000 Camburn postcards have been added to the catalogue. Mark's coding for the Camburn website is well underway and while he has been engaged in that work I have been busy making contact with postcard clubs and local history societies and continuing my research regarding  an academic study of the backs of Camburn's postcards for inclusion in the website.


On November 18,2011 I wrote an article entitled ' Saltmarsh's-Artist Supply Shop' which provided a brief history of the Saltmarsh family and their business in Tunbridge Wells, a business that was founded in 1835 by John Saltmarsh in his shop at 7 Edgar Terrace. Among his children was Mark Saltmarsh (1837-1910), who took over the business from his father and when he died the business was carried on by two of his surviving daughters. A guide from 1863 gave " Mark Saltmarsh-Repository of Fine Arts 5 Grove Terrace High Street-carver and gilder, print seller, looking glass manufacturer, drawing stationer and photographer. Examples of his photographic work are scarce. In fact, the only example of a studio CDV by Mark Saltmarsh  since 2011 is the one shown here found May 18,2018 on ebay.

A directory of 1867 gave M. Saltmarsh as a carver, gilder and artist's colourman at 5 South Grove Terrace, High Street. Peltons 1876 advertises " Mark Saltmarsh-Repository of Fine Arts, 39 High Street, carver, gilder and picture frame maker and agent for Winser & Newton's Artist Colours and drawing materials.

Over the following years the business has passed through a number of hands but was still in business under the Saltmarsh name at 32 Monson Road in 2004.



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

Date: April 23,2018



 Army & Navy Stores was a department store group in the UK which originated as a co-operative for military officers in the 19th century. This society became a limited company in the 1930’s and purchased a number of independent stores during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

One of their shores was located in Tunbridge Wells at 5 ways in the former premises of Waymarks on the south east corner of Calverley Road. Waymarks became Chiesmans in the 1940’s and became an Army & Navy store in the 1950s’ which shop was still in business well into the 1980’s.

Before the local shop was opened it was common to see horse drawn vans of the Army & Navy store in London making deliveries in the town, and later the company upgraded their fleet of horse drawn vans with motorized vans.

As a department store they sold a wide range of merchandise and offered competitive prices. Before one of their shops was established in the town it was common to see their delivery vans from London making deliveries in the town. The business produced a catalogue which customers could order from if they were not able to shop at the store directly. Shown above is an advertisement dated 1924 offering reasons whey one should shop there.


The Army & Navy Co-operative Society Ltd was incorporated September 15,1871, being formed by a group of army and navy officers. The aim of the co-operative was to supply goods to its members (shareholders ticket shown opposite) at the lowest remunerative rates. Their first shop was located on Victoria Street, London and since opening the range of products sold there increased. By 1876 the business had outgrown its premises and took new premises. The business was so successful that they expanded internationally. Further details about the business can be found on such websites as Wikipedia.

Within England the company opened stores in other towns, mostly former independent businesses that they took over. One those stores was Chiesmans that had taken over the former Waymarks shop on the south east corner of Calverley Road at 5 Ways circa 1947. 

Shown below left is a 1918 postcard view of the shop when it was Waymarks and to the right of it is a photo of the building as an Army & Navy shop dressed up for Christmas in 1980.

Before the local shop was opened , customers either travelled to London to shop or made use of the companies illustrated catalogues to place their orders. The orders were filled in London and loaded in the pre WW1 years on horse drawn wagons and later on motorized lorries.

Shown above right is a model of an Army & Navy motorized van and to the left of it is a photograph dated 1906 of a horse drawn van taken in Tunbridge Wells, by local photographer Percy Squire Lankester who had his studio in the north wing of the Great Hall on Mount Pleasant Road. On the side of the van can be seen “Catering Department Army & Navy Company Limited”. The driver of this  pantechnicon lost control while descending Major Yorke’s Road and it crashed through a glass roof into the basement of a caterers, Parker and Hammick’s premises at 44-46 Pantiles. The newspaper reported that the horse had to be shot but that the driver had escaped with his life although shaken up and injured. Lankester turned this photograph into a postcard which he offered for sale at various stationers shops.


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

Date: April 17,2018


In this article is presented information about a fine 2 sty brick home called ‘Greenways’ in Sandhurst Park, Tunbridge Wells and some of its residents. This home , like others in Sandhurst Park was built near the end of the 19th century and demolished circa 1970 to make way for a row of five homes on the site.

Among the residents reported on in this article is Rufus Stevenson (1845-1909) who worked in Tunbridge Wells for most of his career as a collector of poor rates but by 1901, while living at Greenways he was an accountant on own account. He died at Greenways in December 1909. At the time of the 1911 census his widow Fanny was living at Greenways with four of her children but soon after moved away and died 1931 in Croydon, Surrey.

Another resident of Greenways of note was Charles William Nettleton (1871-1962) who had been born in Deptford, one of several children born to brewers clerk William Nettleton and his wife Mary Jane Anne Nettleton.  The family was living in Streatham, London at the time of the 1891 census where both Charles and his father were working as brewers clerks. In 1898 at Streatham, Charles married Louise Dyer, the daughter of Abraham Johnson Dyer, a chemist. Charles and his wife went on to have two children, born in Streastham between 1900 and 1903. At the time of the 1911 census Charles and his wife and two children were living in Streatham where Charles was working as a managing director of a laundry company. By 1918 Charles and his family were living at Greenways, Sandhurst Park. Charles died 1962 at The Beeching Nursing Home in Sidmouth.

Another resident of Greenways was Ivon Llewellyn Owen Gower (1874-1955) who had been born in Lambeth. At the time of the 1901 census he was living as a boarder In Notting Hill, London and attending law school.  At the time of the 1911 census he was living on London and working as a barrister at Law. In April 1911 he married Ursula Margaret Clark in Notting Hill and with her had at least two sons.  His son Derek Ivan Gower is recorded on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial as having been born 1915 in Niarobi, Kenya and died January 6,1944 in France. His parents were still living at Greenways at the time of his death. Derek was the husband of Valerie Vivien Gower (1918-1999) and had a son. The second son of Ivon’s was John Ronald Gower who in 1955 was with the Royal Navy. The probate record for Ivan gave him of Hawthorne, Nevill Court, Tunbridge Wells when he died at the Kent & Sussex Hospital in 1955.


Greenways was one of several homes built in Sandurst Park in the late 19th century. It was constructed of red brick, with a slate roof, and was a 2 sty home. A postcard view of the home taken in 1910 is shown opposite. The census of 1911 described this home as having 9 rooms.

Sandhurst Park was a residential development at the west end of Sandhurst Road,Tunbridge Wells on about 150 acres of land located between Ferndale Road to the east and the railway line from High Brooms. Originally conceived and named as Liptraps Park, as a joint effort between financier and developer Francis Peek and local architect William Barnsley Hughes (1852-1927), in the 1890’s, the project barely got off the ground by the time Francis Peek died in 1899. For details about the early history of this development see the Civic Society book ‘The residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’ published in 2004 or the various other articles I have written about the homes in Sandhurst Park.

Most of the grounds to the residence are located to the right and rear of the house and it is estimate that the grounds were about a ½ acre in area. It is to be expected that the grounds were nicely landscaped. The photograph given above shows some of the landscaping on the site.

A 1909 os map shows Greenways on the south east side of Sandhurst Park, being the first home past the intersection of Sandurst Road and Sandhurst Park. Next door, to the south west was the Sundal Residence, information and photographs of which were given in my article ‘ The History of Sundal in Sandhurst Park’ dated January 25,2015. The Sundal residence still exits today but its neighbour to the south west of it called Woodcroft was demolished at the same as Greenways and like the Greenways site, it has upon it a row of circa 1970  homes, which appear to have been constructed by the same builder who built the block of five homes on the Greenway site. When these new homes were built was not established by Planning Authority records from 1975 onwards indicate that the home were already there but “built recently”.


The dates of occupancy given in the list below are approximate unless referred to in the text about the occupants. A complete study of all the occupants of the home from the time it was built in the late 19th century up to the time of its demolition circa 1970 was not undertaken. Only a selection of three of its occupants is provided below.

Circa 1903-1912………Rufus Stevenson family

1913- 1920’s……………Charles William Nettleton family

1920’s- at least1944…Ivan Llewellyn Owen Gower family


Rufus Stevenson (1845-1909) was born in Pembury, one of nine children born to Thomas Edwin Stevenson (1828-1896) and Ellen Stevenson, nee Foreman (1820-1878). His birth was registered in the 3rd qtr of 1845 in Tonbridge.  Rufus came from an agricultural family and at the time of his birth his father was as farmer at Brickhurst Farm on Pembury.

Brickhurst Farm is situated along Hastings Road, a minor/concealed left turn off the A21 northbound, the first left-turn past Kippings Cross Roundabout, about 600yds. The Brickhurst Trust was established and the Farm purchased as a result of a court order obtained in 2000.The Trust retains 'the Farm' for posperity and cannot sell it and since the time the trust was created it has served as an important wildlife sanctuary.

At the time of the 1851 census Thomas was a “farmer out of business” a Brickhurst Farm in Pembury he was living with his wife Ellen and five of his children, including Rufus who was attending school. The Stevenson children listed in this census were (1) Selina, born 1842 Mayfield (2) Thomas, born 1844 Pembury (3) Rufus, born 1845 Pembury (4) Ebenezer, born 1849 Pembury (5) Jabez, born 1881 Pembury. Also there was one domestic servant.

The 1861 census, taken at Providence Lodge on Market Street, Tunbridge Wells gave Rufus working as a clerk in a solicitors office and living with his parents and seven siblings.  His father at that time was an assessor and collector of taxes.  The same children listed in the 1851 census were there except for Thomas and in addition were the following children  Sarah Noris (born 1853 Tunbridge Wells ,Eliza (born 1853 Tunbridge Wells;Ellen (born 1855 Tunbridge Wells)and Joseph born 1857 in Tunbridge Wells. Also there was one domestic servant.  Rufus’s mother died in Pembury in 1878 and his father died in Tunbridge Wells September 9,1896.

In the 2nd qtr of 1869 Rufus married Fanny Stedolph (1847-1931), one of several children born to coach maker Thomas Stedolph and his wife Sarah. Fanny had been born in Southborough and she lived there with her parents and siblings up to the time of her marriage.  The 1851 census, taken in Southborough, gave Thomas Stedolph as a coach maker, born 1804 in Chiddingstone. With him was his wife Sarah, born 1807 in Penshurst; his son John born 1841 Southborough; his daughter Fanny, born 1847 Southborough; John Streatfied, brother in law  who was a coach maker born 1815 in Penshurst. Also there was one apprentice coach maker , one journeyman blacksmith and one domestic servant. The 1861 census taken at 2 Ebenezer Place in Tunbridge Wells  (off London Road) gave Thomas Stedolph as a coach builder. With him was his wife Sarah, his son William,age 34, a drapers assistant; Fanny who was in school and one apprentice coach builder.

After the marriage of Rufus and Fanny, they took up residence in Matfield Green, Brenchley, Kent, where Rufus worked as a poor rate collector. They were still living there at the time of the 1871 census, was listed as a relieving officer. The couple had no children at that time.  

In 1878 Rufus and his wife moved to Tunbridge Wells where in 1878 they had a son Rufus H.D. Stevenson who’s birth was registered in the 3rd qtr of 1878 in Tunbridge Wells.

At the time of the 1881 census Rufus and his wife Fanny and son Rufus were living at 25 York Road, Tunbridge Wells. Rufus at that time was working as a poor rate collector. Also there was one general servant. A directory of 1882 listed Rufus at 29 Queens Road. Shown below is a modern view of York Road (left) and a view of Queens Road from the 1930’s.

When the 1891 census was taken at 29 Queens Road, Tunbridge Wells Rufus was working as a collector or poor rates. Living with him was his wife Fanny ; four of his children , all born in Tunbridge Wells between 1879 and 1889.  These children were (1) Harry S, born 1880 (2) Bertram,born 1885 (3) Beatrice, born 1886 (4) Dorothy, born 1889. Also living with the family was one boarder.

The Freemasons Chronicle of March 14,1896 ran an article for the Pantiles Lodge No. 2200 which stated in part “ A goodly number of members met at the Pump Room (image below right) for the purpose of making a presentation  to Bro. Rufus Stevenson, Secretary, in recognition of the valuable services rendered by him in that capacity for the past five years.The presentation took the form of a cheque, a very neat and a artircally rendered scroll by Mr S, Waters, who had certainly performed his task with admirable taste-Masonic columns enclosed the address (which was otherwise ornamented with Masonic emblems) and which ran as follows ..To Bro. Rufus Stevenson P.M. and Secretary 2200 PZ 874 and P.G.A.P.C….We the undersigned, being respectivey members of the Pantiles Lodge No. 2200 desire you to accept the accompanying gift in recognition of the valuable services rendered by you to the lodge as a Founder and Secretary for the past five years-your untiring exertions, assiduous attention, unvarying promptness, and constant study has brought the lodge into one of stability and credit to the Province of Kent, and thereby you have commanded our respect, esteem, and regard-and it is with the greatest possible pleasure we bear testimony in this humble manner to your good deeds, and to show our entire appreciation of the sacrifice and time given for the benefit of the Brethren of the Pantiles Lodge. We trust the Great Architect of the Universe may spare you for many years to still fulfill the office of Secretary, for which you are so well qualified”. Bro Stevenson replied to the address and afterwards the Freemasons had supper at the Pump Room.  Photographs and information about the Pump Room was given in my article ‘Pump Room’ date September 6,2014 and I have written about the Freemasons in Tunbridge Wells in various articles.


Shown below is a letter dated June 28,1898 from A.M. Brookfield to Mr. R.Stevenson of Tunbridge Wells regarding an album of Tunbridge Wells views sent by Stevenson to Brookfield. The letter was written on House of Commons stationary. The sender of the letter was Arthur Montague Brookfield (image opposite) (1853-1940) who in the 1895 general election was elected Conservative MP for Rye, who left his seat in 1903 to become British Consul at Danzig. In 1910 he became British Consul at Savannah, Georgia and was knighted in August 1901. Brookfield had also been a British army officer, diplomat,and author.  Further details about him can be found on the internet. Details about the relationship between Stevenson and Brookfield were not established other than the fact they were both Conservative supporters and had connections to the Freemasons. Also shown below right is the front cover of the album sent to Brookfield, details of which are given in my article, along with similar albums for other towns (some 49 albums in total) in my article ‘Views of Tunbridge Wells Charles, Reynolds and Co’ dated April 14,2018.

The Kent & Sussex Courier at various times in 1891 and 1892 reported on matters pertaining to the Pantiles Lodge with Rufus mentioned in all of them as the Secretary

When the 1901 census was taken Rufus and his wife Fanny and four children (Rufus, a chemist worker; Bertram, a clerk CC; Beatrice; and Dorothy)were living at 29 Queens Road where Rufus was working as an accountant on own account. Also there was one boarder.

In about 1903 Rufus and his wife and his younger children took up residence at Greenways, a 9 room 2 sty brick home in Sandhurst Park. Rufus died at that home on December 30,1909. The executor of his 4,856 pound estate was his son Bertram Thomas Stevenson, an accountant; Rufus Henry Streathfield Stevenson, chemist and Charlotte Helen Stevenson.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of December 3,1909 announced “ Death of Mr. Rufus Stevenson….It is with much regret to announce the death of Mr Rufus Stevenson, which occurred at his residence ‘Greenways’ December 30th. He died at an early hour on Tuesday morning at age 64. He had been confined to his room for six weeks before dying peacefully of a heart attack. For several decades he was identified with the life of the Tunbridge Wells District in many phases. He held many official positions for many years. He was assistant overseer in the parishes of Tunbridge Wells and Broadwater Down. His knowledge of local people was extraordinary. He was a Freemason of the district. He assisted in the inauguration of the Pantiles Lodge. He also fulfilled the duties of treasurer and secretary with distinction and in 1896 was presented with an illuminated address by the members in appreciation of his services. He had also attained to the distinction of being P.L. of the Holmesdale Chapter and also P.G.A.D.C.  One of his chief activities was in connection with the Tradesmen’s Association of which he became secretary in 1888 and retained the office up to the time of his death. He had a splendid career in the old Volunteer Corp having served in the old ‘D’ and ‘E’ companies of the first Volunteer Btn of the RWK Regiment. He had joined as a private but became Quartermaster and Captain, having received his commission in 1894. He retired about five years ago with permission to retain his rank and wear the uniform. His service spread over a period of 34 years”. The obituary goes on to describe his involvement in the Friendly Society, the Oddfellows. For his services with the Friendly Society he was presented with a gold watch and guard. He was also connected with the Druids and was a director of the Freehold Land Society and filled the office of chairman for two years. He was also a member of the Tunbridge Wells Constitutional Club. He was survived by a widow, two sons and two daughters. The service was held at St James Church and was buried in the Woodbury Park Cemetery”.

At the time of the 1911 census, taken at Greenways, Sandhurst Park Henry Streathfield Stevenson , the son of Rufus Stevenson was working as a rent collector agent and living as the head of the household. With him was his widowed mother Fanny; three of his siblings (Bertram Thomas, a chartered accountant pupil; Beatrice Eveline, a professor of elocution; Dorothy of no occupation. Also there was an uncle (John, born 1835 Tunbridge Wells, a retired draper) and one boarder. The census recorded that the family was living in a home of 9 rooms.

The Stevenson family left Greenways by 1913. Henry Streathfield Stevenson married in 1912 and had several children. He died in 1943 in Wandsworh, London. Fanny Stevenson died April 4,1931at 20 Lismore Road,South Croydon, Surrey. The executor of her 229 pound estate was her son Bertram Thomas Stevenson.


Charles William Nettleton occupied ‘Greeways’ from 1913 and was still there in the 1920’s.

Charles had been born 1871 at Deptford. He was baptised November 5,1871 at Rotherhithe, Christ Church Southbank and given as the son of William and Mary Ann Jane Nettleton. He lived his early life in Deptford, where he attended school.

The 1881 census, taken at Selsdon Road, Croydon gave William Nettleton as a brewers clerk, With him was his wife Mary; five of their children , including Charles who was attending school, and one domestic servant.

The 1891 census, taken at ‘Hawthorne’ in Streatham, London, gave William Nettleton as born 1846 in Bermondsey and was working as a brewer’s clerk. With him was his wife Mary Anne Jane, born 1842 in Bermondsey; his son Charles William, a brewers clerk and his other children Elinor Kate, born 1874 Deptford; Werlyn Mary, born 1876 Deptford, a scholar, and Alice Gertrude Nettleton, born 1878 in Croydon, a scholar. Also there was the sister in law June Amelia Stall, age 49, single, living on own means and one domestic servant.

On June 4,1898 at Stretham Common Inman and Lambeth Charles married Louise Dyer, a 24 year old spinster and daughter of Abraham Johnson Dyer, a chemist. Charles father was given as William Nettleton, gentleman.

The 1901 census, taken at 17 Thirlmere Road in Steatham, London gave Charles as a confidential commercial clerk. With him was his wife Louise, given as born 1875 in Brixton, Surrey and their son Claude, born 1900 in Streatham. Also there were two domestic servants.

The 1911 census, taken at 17 Thirlmere Road, a residence of 9 rooms, gave Charles as a managing director of a laundry company employing others. With him was his wife Louise ; their two children Claude Stafford Nettleton, age 11, scholar and Gweneth Nettleton, age 8. Also there was one domestic servant. The census recorded that the couple had been married 12 years and had just the two children.

Charles was found in the directories of 1913 and 1918 living at Greenways and it appears that he took occupancy of the home right after the Stevenson family moved out. It appears the family was still living there in the 1920’s but were gone by the 1930’s.

The Climbers Club Journal of 1914 reported that Charles W. Nettleton was a member since 1899 and gave “L 190201908; C. 1904-1907; Greenways, Sandhurst Park, Tunbridge Wells. This club was established to encourage mountaineering and hill walking. New members had to pay 1 guinea with an annual membership fee charged of ½ guinea.

Probate records gave Charles William Nettleton of Gateways, Station Road, Sidmouth, Devon when he died September 13, 1962 at The Beeching Nursing Home Winslade Road, Sidmouth. The executor of his 23,608 pound estate was Gweneth Moxon, widow. Gweneth was his daughter, born in 1903.


Ivon and and his family were found in directories of 1934 and 1938 at Greenways, Sandhurst Park and from the death of one of his sons they were still living at Greenways in 1944.

Ivon’s birth was registered at Lambeth in the 3rd qtr of 1874 as Ivon Llewellen O. Gower.

At the time of the 1901 census he was living as a boarder with the Leys family at St Marks Notting Hill, at 102 Clarendon Road ,and was a law student. He was still living in London in 1905.

The 1911 census, taken at 17 Ladbroke Gardens, London, gave Ivon as single, and living as a visitor and working as a barrister at law.

On April 11,1911 at All Saints Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea he married Ursula Margaret Clark.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s passenger records show that he travelled on at least three occasions between England and Africa (Nairobi, Kenya, Mozambique and also Cape Town). It was while living in Nairobi that his son Derek Ivon Gower was born in 1915.

Records of the Freemasons show that Ivon was initiated into the Brethren March 10,1915 at the Progress Lodge in Nairobi.

Directories of 1934 and 1938 list Ivon living at Greenways in Sandhurst Park  and he and his wife were still living there up to at least 1944 for in that year as noted on the transcriptions I did a few years ago for the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial (photo opposite)  Derek Ivon Gower Captain(#165460) with the Royal Artillery, 33 Field Regt. who at the age of 29 died in France in Normandy on D Day June 6,1944. He is recorded at the Bayeux Memorial (Panel 11,Column ?). He is also recorded on the plaque at St James church,Tunbridge Wells.

Derek  had been born September 5,1915 in Nairobi ,Kenya and was the son of Ivan Llewellyn Gower and Ursula Margaret Gower who were residing at Greenways, Sandhurst Parl. Derek’s wife was Valerie Vivien Gower (1918-1999) and he had a son. He had married Valerie on June 21,1939.

Ivon died in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1955,age 80. The second son of Ivon’s was John Ronald Gower who in 1955 was with the Royal Navy. The probate record for Ivan gave him of Hawthorne, Nevill Court, Tunbridge Wells when he died at the Kent & Sussex Hospital in 1955.




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

Date: April 23,2018


Ernest Dudley Yarnold Grasby (1903-1995) had been born in Teignmouth, Devon. He was the son of Ernest Albert Grasby(1878-1914), a mariner with the Royal Navy, and the grandson of William H. Grasby, who in the 1880’s was a butcher in Salford, Lancashire. Like his father Ernest D.Y. Grasby wanted a career in the Royal Navy but couldn’t pass the fitness test.

Ernest became  a distinguished doctor who is best noted locally for his service as the Resident Medical Officer at the Workhouse infirmary at Pembury, where he was posted in 1928,although he had started there only for a period of six months.

In about 1930-1931 he practiced at the Royal Naval Hospital in Chatham.  After this he returned to the Pembury Hospital and became the driving force for change when the workhouse changed to the Pembury County Hospital in 1930.

He oversaw a massive expansion programme; introduction of operating Theatres and radiography. He became Medical Superintendent for the duration of the WW II, working to lead the response to the Dunkirk Evacuation when Pembury nursed hundreds of injured from the evacuation.

He developed the relationship between Pembury and Guy’s hospital, where he had received his initial medical training, where Guy’s patients were evacuated to Pembury, which resulted in patients benefitting from care only seen in London before.

Ernest became a Consultant Gynaecologist after the NHS and worked with Matron Taubie Fagelman to set up the League of Friends of Pembury.

In the 3rd qtr of 1930 Ernest married Margaret Elizabeth Coldicott (1904-1982), one of several children born to William T. Coldicott, who worked as a Civil Engineer with the Admiralty Works Department.

In the early 1930’s Dr Grasby lived at ‘Overton House’ at 4 Ferndale Road in Tunbridge Wells. During the period of 1935-1940 he lived at ‘Stanmore’ 38 St James Road, Tunbridge Wells.  In the early 1950’s he lived at ‘Kingsmead’ Matfield, Tonbridge, Pembury. From about 1956 to 1968 he lived at 25 Lansdowne Road, Tunbridge Wells. When he retired from the medical profession in 1968 he moved to Fethersby West Hawkhurst, Kent. His wife Margaret died at Fethersby April 30,1982. Ernest died there October 30,1995. Both of them were cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium.

At the new Pembury Hospital can be found two images pertaining to Dr Grasby, namely a portrait painting of him that is presented later in this article and the plaque shown above. Both of these photographs were provided to me by Brian Dobson of the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society in 2017 while visiting the hospital in response to my request for information and I am most grateful for his assistance.


Provided in this section is some brief information about Ernest’s grandparents, parents and othe relatives.

His grandfather was William H. Grasby who was born 1846 in Lancashire, Liverpool. Ernest’s grandmother was Frances Ann Grasby who was born 1847 at Halton Heath, Cheshire.

The 1881 census, the only one consulted gave William H. Grasby as a butcher at 21 Woden Street in Salford, Lancashire. With him was his wife Frances who was working as a dressmaker. Also there were their children (1) William H., born 1870 at Chester, Cheshire, who was in school (2) Arthur Grasby, born 1873 in Salford,also in school (3) Frances Ann Grasby, born in Salford, also in school (4) ERNEST ALBERT GRASBY (1877-1914), born in Salford,also in school (5) Fred Grasby, born 1880 in Salford.

The Ernest Albert Grasby, referred to above was the father of Ernest D.Y. Grasby, the central figure in this article.

Ernest Albert Grasby had been born April 17,1877 in Salford, Lancashire. He had been living with his parents and siblings in Salford at the time of the 1881 census.

The 1891 census, taken at Heaton Norris, Lancashire gave Ernest Albert Grasby as a scholar at the “Barnes Home Industrial School, a large school at which many other boys (age 14 and less) were being trained at the time Ernest was there.

The Barnes Home Industrial School, Didsbury Road, Heaton Norris was erected by the late Robert Barnes Esq., in 1871 for the education and training of neglected and destitute children under the provisions of the industrial schools act of 1866.   The school was managed by a committee of 17 persons and there were also 10 trustees of the charity. Originally intended as a mixed school, it soon became a boys only school after it was certified 24th June,1871 for the reception of 275 boys. Further information about this school can be found on the internet.

The records of the Royal Navy and the Navy List record that Ernest Albert Grasby joined the Royal Navy August 15,1898. His first ship was the VICTORY II with the rank of acting engine room artificer. He served with the same rank on three other ships after that until January 21,1900, the last one being the VERNON. He was then promoted to Engine Room Artificer on the VERNON and served in that rank on eight other ships. His last ship was the LEANDER (photo opposite) with his last service date given as March 31,1909.  Details about the LEANDER and other ship she served on can be found on the internet. While serving on the VULCAN in Malta in 1904 he joined the Freemasons. He resigned from the Freemasons December 30,1911.

The 1901 census, taken at 14 Hay Street,Portsmouth Devonshire, gave Ernest living as a boarder with the Charles Tribe family (a farrier) and working as an engine room artificer with the Royal Navy. Also living there as boarders was a retired army pensioner and another engine room artificer with the Royal Navy.

In the 1st qtr of 1903 Ernest married Minnie Ellen Bryant at Portsmouth. Minnie had been born 1880 at Tiegnmouth, Devonshire .Her birth was registered in the 2nd qtr of 1880 at Newton Abbot. Ernest and Minnie had just the one child, namely Ernest D.Y. Grasby, born November 11,1903  at Newton Abbot, Devon with his birth registered in the 4th qtr of 1903 at Newton Abbot (image opposite).

Minnie Ellen Bryant was one of several children born to James Bryant (born 1837 in New Town, Devon) and Mary Ann Bryant (born 1842 at Keston, Devon). At the time of the 1881 census, taken at 7 Commercial Road in Newton Abbot, Devon, Jame3s Bryant was a mariner. Living with him was his wife Mary and six children including their daughter Minnie. The 1891 census, taken at Teignmouth, Devon gave Mary Ann Bryant as the head of the family. Her husband was away at sea. With her was four of her children including her daughter Minnie. The 1901 census, taken at Teignmouth, Devon gave James Bryant as a master mariner on own account. With him was his wife Mary; their daughter Minnie (a dressmaker worker) and their son James, a blacksmith worker.

The 1911 census taken at 164 Manners Road, Southsea, Hants (image opposite) gave Minnie Grasby  as the head of the family. She was listed as married and that she had been married 8 years and had just one child. Her husband was not with her at the time of the census, but her son Ernest D.Y. Grasby was. No one else was present in the home. The home itself was a typical 2 sty terrace.

Probate records gave Ernest Albert Grasby of 164 Manners Road, Southsea, an artificer engineer of the Royal Navy, when he died January 19,1914 at the Naval Hospital Haslar Alverstoke, Hampshire. The executor of his 232 pound estate was his widow Minnie Grasby. A photograph of this hospital is shown opposite. When Minnie died was not established.


As referred to in the ‘OVERVIEW’ shown opposite is a portrait painting of Dr Grasby that hangs along with a plaque in the new Pembury Hospital.

To recap, Ernest was born November 11,1903 at Newton Abbot, Devon, the son of Ernest Albert Grasby (1877-1914), an engine room artificer with the Royal Navy and Minnie Grasby, born 1881.

Like his father Ernest had wanted to serve in the Royal Navy but he was unable to pass the fitness test. Instead he persued a medical career.

In the previous section I noted that at the time of the 1911 census he was living with his mother Minnie at 164 Manners Road (a 2 sty terrace) in Southsea, Hants. He received his early schooling there. He was only age 10 when his father passed away and was raised until adulthood by his widowed mother.

A Medical Directory of 1921 gave Ernest Dudley Yarnold Grasby “London Matric Sept 1920; date of registration October 14th. Commenced medical study at Guy’s Hosptial London October 1st”.

Medical Directories of 1930 and 1931 gave Ernest at “No. 9 Residence, Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham’.

From a Medical Directory of 1942  is the following information. “ Ernest Dudley Yarnold Grasby…. County Hospital, Pembury, Kent, M.D. London 1938; M.B., B.S. 1928; M.R.C.S. England; L.R.C.P London 1926; (Guy’s Hospital); Member Gray’s Inn; Med. Supt. County Hospital Pembury; Medical Officer David Salomon’s Convalescent Home, Southborough; Late out- patient off., Clinical Assistant and House Surgenb Guy’s Hosptital. Author (jointly) ‘Investigation of the end results of Colles’s fractures’(British Med. Journal 1929). Shown below left is a view of Guys Hospital in London and to the right of it is a view of the Royal Naval Hospital in Chatham. In the second row left is a view of the Convalescent Home in David Salomons former resident “Broomhill’ in Southborough and to the right of it is a view of the old Pembury Hospital.



In the 3rd qtr of 1930 Ernsest D.Y. Grasby married Margaret Elizabeth Coldicott (1904-1982) at Medway, Kent. Margaret was the one of four children born to William Thomas Coldicott (1869-1950 ) a Civil Engineer with the Works Department Armiralty, and Mary Alberta Coldicott, nee Strettell (1868-1953).  William Thomas Coldicott had been born at Temple Grafton, Warwichshire and married Mary Alberta Strettell  1897 at Stoke Damerel, Plymouth, Devon. Margaret was born November 18,1904 at Gillingham, Kent.  Mary Alberts Strettell had been born January 20,1868 at Wavertree and was one of six children born to Alfred Strettell (1829-1893) and Mary Strettell, nee Hampson (1834-1923).  Mary Strettell died March 5,1953 at Kings Mead, Matfield with her spinster daughter Ellen Alberta Coldicott the executor of her 2,762 pound estate.

At the time of the 1911 census Margaret was living with her parents and sister Ellen at 9 Twydale Lane, Rainham, Gillingham in a residence of 7 rooms.  Her father was at that time a Civil Engineer with the Admiralty. Also there was one domestic servant.

Margaret’s father died September 19,1950 at the Ferndale Nursing Home in Tunbridge Wells.  Probate records gave him of 25a Landsdowne, Road, Tunbridge Wells when he died at the nursing home. The executors of his 19,308 pound estate was Catherine Marjorie (wife of Ronald Gordon Murray) and Ernest Dudley Yarnold Grasby, Consultant Gynaecological Surgeon.

Margaret’s  sister Ellen (born 1905)died at the London Hospital as a spinster June 1,1963. Margaret’s eldest sister Dorothy Mary Caodicott , born 1899 died in 1899. Margaret’s second sister Catherine Marjorie Coldicott born 1900 died in 1993.

Ernest and his wife moved a number of times.  A Medical Directory of 1930 gave Ernest at No. 9 Residence, Royal Naval Hospital in Chatham. Local directories of 1932 And 1933 gave them at ‘Overton House’ 4 Ferndale, Tunbridge Wells (next door to Helton Lodge at 6 Ferndale in census records). Directories of 1934 to 1940 gave them at ‘Stanmore’ 38 St James Road, Tunbridge Wells. Directories of 1953 and 1955 gave him at ‘Kingsmead’ in Pembury. Directories of 1956 to 1967 gave him at 25 Lansdowne Road. Directories of 1968 to 1981 gave Ernest at Fothessby West Hawkhurst.

No. 25 Lansdowne Road (image below left ) is located on the west side of Lansdowne Road near Garden Road. It is a large 3 sty building, now called ‘Fitzroy Court’ and contains ten flats.  No. 38 St James Road is a large 2 sty white rendered semi-detached residence located on the east side of St James Road just south of St James Park (image below right).


Margaret Elizabeth Grasby died April 30,1982 at Tunbridge Wells and was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium  May 7,1982(image opposite). Probate records gave Margaret of Fothessby West Hawkhurst, Kent when she died leaving an estate valued at 28,551 pounds. Her death was announced in The Times May 5,1982.  How many children Margaret and Ernest had was not determined but it is known that they had a daughter.

Ernest retired from his medical profession in 1968 and lived at Fothessby West Hawkaurst where he remained until his death on October 30,1995. He was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium November 7,1995.

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