THE FIRST TRAFFIC LIGHT IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario, Canada
Date: December 27,2016
During the horse drawn era and up to the first quarter of the 20th century,traffic on the towns roads relied on courtesy to decide who got to proceede first at an intersection. This of course did not always work well and collisions or near misses were commonplace. As traffic conditions worsened a better arrangement was needed and so police constables wearing large white cuffs (image opposite)were assigned to traffic duty and stationed at busy intersections. There they stood in all weather as they rotated in the middle of the intersection with arms raised and lowered and waving about deciding the order and direction in which traffic could flow. Some PC’s turned what might have been a rather boring job into something akin to a ballet, having perfected their motions into movements of purpose and grace.These PC’s were stationed at the busiest intersections, the rest being unmanned.
As expected London had the worse traffic congestion in the country and so it is understandable that the first traffic light was installed there December 10,1868. A plaque to the inventor of it is shown opposite and heralded what promised to be a new age in traffic control. However this gas lit traffic light exploded, killing or injuring its operator only a month after it had been installed. It took another 40 years before the use of traffic lights were reinstated and even then there were few of them even in the largest centres. As improvements were made in their design and operation and as traffic congestion continued to grow more and more traffic lights began to appear in the street scene.
In the years before the First World War car ownership mushroomed from less than 10 in 1895 to over 16,000 registered cars by 1906 and over 150,000 by 1912. These figures reflect swift changes in car ownership.
In Tunbridge Wells traffic flow in the busiest intersections of the town were controlled by a white cuffed traffic PC. motioning this way and that to keep traffic moving in an orderly fashion. Shown opposite is a postcard circa 1920 showing one of these PC’s directing traffic at 5 Ways.This once common sight changed in the town in 1933 when the first traffic light was installed at Five Ways. Today many people I am sure would be amazed to know that this historic event was not much earlier in the town’s history and no doubt many wonder how the drivers of motor cars and horse drawn conveyances managed before the introduction of the traffic lights that we have developed a love-hate relationship with.
Today there are some 25,000 sets of traffic lights in England, and even with them accidents at intersections occur far too often.
THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS STORY
During the time before the start of the 20th century conveyances in the town were all horse driven. On any day of the week could be found fly’s, carriages, wagons and omnibus plying the town streets in what today is viewed as a rather romantic, and much slower paced time in the town’s history.
The 1895 horseless carriage show, the first of its kind in England, was held in the fair grounds of Tunbridge Wells. This event, largely the brainchild of motoring enthusiast David Lionel Salomons, drew much attention and thousands of residents and visitors to the town attended it with much interest in this exciting new means of conveyance. The appearance of motor cars on the towns streets began in the early 1900’s but as can be seen by the postcard opposite of Calverley Road at 5 Ways before WW 1 few motor cars plied the streets and horse drawn conveyances were still in common use. This postcard is by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn being No. 41 in the series.
It really was not until after WW 1 that motor cars began to appear in larger numbers and with them came the need for some measure of traffic control. As a result the local police assigned some of their police constables to “traffic duty” , with some of them stationed at the town’s busiest intersections with the objective of ensuring an orderly and accident free movement of traffic. Initially they wore their regular PC uniforms but to improve upon their effectiveness and visibility they were provided with large white cuffs to make them stand out and more importantly so that motorists and others could better see and follow the movements of their arms as they turned about, raising and lowering their arms and waving traffic to proceed in a certain direction. A newspaper announced August 9,2013 that “some of the world’s most entertaining traffic police have been filmed for TV. Some are as graceful as dancers, some quite comical”. No doubt some PC’s of Tunbridge Wells on traffic duty would have made good candidates for this film.
Shown opposite is the front and back of a postcard dated 1908 manufactured by the Photochrom company of Tunbridge Wells and London. Note the senders comments about traffic.
The Kent & Sussex Courier of August 3,1928 reported ‘Women Driver Fined’-Joan Muriel Ingram Robinson was summoned for failing to stop when signalled by a police constable at Mount Pleasant Road on July 21. P.C. Peacock said he was directing traffic at the junction of Monson and Mount Pleasant Roads when the violation occurred.” She was fined.
The year 1933 goes down in history as the year in which Tunbridge Wells installed its first traffic light, powered by electricity, with its familiar red for stop, green for go, and amber for caution, a colour scheme that had been adopted from the railway system for roads. Shown below is a view of 5 Ways showing Boot's Chemists on the corner with both post mounted stop lights and one hanging across the intersection. Below this image are two more of the same intersection taken from different vantage points
This historic event was announced in the Courier as well as by The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser on August 25,1933. The article entitled ‘Along The Line The Signal Ran-Stop Go!-Stop Go! –Automatic Signs Take Charge of Five Ways’ and read “ The click of a switch…flashes of amber, green and red……a policeman nonchalantly leaving his traffic point…..And that was how the automatic traffic signals came into force at Tunbridge Wells on Monday. For days the staccato barking of the pneumatic drills deadened the roar of the Five Ways traffic as the smooth road surface was ripped in ugly gashes. Then when the operation was finished, passersby became mildly interested, and mothers stopped, until on Monday at 10 o’clock, when the signals were formally put into operation, a crowd had gathered in force, ranging from the Chief Constable,Mr Guy Carlton, and members of the Town Council, to an errand boy, who unconsciously gained the distinction of being the first to break the rule by riding against the red ‘stop’ light. A double decker bus, with its driver almost caught napping by a sudden change to red, jerked to a standstill, and automatically the line behind stopped too. Cars, buses and cyclists streamed across the Five Ways in a well ordered procession, with the confidence of a goods train going over a level crossing. Traffic was galvanised from its customary hesitancy into brisk, purposeful streams, alternately stopping and gliding forward in solid lines. There was none of the little contretemps, such as had been forecast by some doleful souls, and within a few minutes the signals were working as though they had been there for years. And so the new ‘policeman’ stands with his tri-coloured eyes winking in all directions. The cheery smile and happy words of his human predecessor are missing, but he has carried out his job with unimpaired efficiency, which would have entitled his human counterpart to a sergeant’s stripe”.
This first traffic light so rightly installed at Five Ways, as the busiest intersection in the town, was followed over the years by the installation of traffic lights at all major intersections. Added at the pace of a few at a time, in high priority locations, it evolved into the extensive network of traffic lights in the town today, lights which we are glad for from their organized method of moving traffic, and lights we scowl at when stuck there for a long time awaiting our turn to go.
The traffic lights in the town were originally placed on a black and white striped freestanding cast iron pole , anchored into the pavement. Some were also installed on brackets mounted to the side of buildings and many today are suspended over the intersection on wires. Shown opposite is a view of the stoplight mounted on a post on the north east corner of Camden Road and Calverley Road taken at the time of a Royal occasion as noted by the sign strung across the road.
Many improvements in traffic lights have been made over the years to make the light more visible ( higher intensity lamps and shielding from the sun etc) and of course like most things they are computer controlled with their lights changing in a pattern dictated by a data base of traffic patterns for different times of day and night.
MOTOR CAR REGISTRATION- AN EARLY HISTORY
Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Date: January 2,2017
The registration of motor cars throughout England did not begin until 1903 when the Motor Car Act of 1903 came into effect. In 1895 there were only ten motor cars in all of England, one of which was owned by Sir David Lionel Salomons (1851-1925) of Tunbridge Wells, being only the second motor car in the country. Salomons was a great enthusiast of the motor car and a staunch supporter of advancements in this industry. To this end, in part, he had constructed at his Broomhill estate, in 1902 ,a fine motor stables where he kept his collection of motor cars. Tunbridge Wells ,throughout history, has been noted as a place of some affluence. As a result ,it is to be expected that a higher proportion of the population than the average owned motor cars in the town.
Nationally, by 1906, the number of registered motor cars had grown to 16,000 with over 150,000 on the road by 1912. Since then the numbers have increased exponentially for various reasons, most notably due to the rise in population and an increasing proportion of the population who can afford to own one.
Although the National Archives and Centre for Kentish Studies have in their collections records of vehicle registrations I did not have access to them for this article. However some information about vehicle registrations is available online, and it is this information that was used for the purposes of this article. My interest centered on vehicle registrations for motor cars that plied the streets of Tunbridge Wells in the period up to the 1930’s for in my article entitled ‘The First Traffic Light in Tunbridge Wells’ dated December 27,2016 I described the hundreds of people who turned out in 1933 to witness the installation and operation of the first stop light installed in the town at Five Ways, marking a whole new way of controlling the movement of traffic.
In this article I report on both the national and Tunbridge Wells registration of vehicles; the Motor Car Act of 1903; the Roads Act of 1902 and 1920 and to a lesser degree the National Registration System of 1969. I also present national and local population figures and a number of postcard views of Tunbridge Wells dating from the beginning of the 20th century up to the pre-WWII era to give readers a feel for how the number of motor cars on the road has changed.
Although the invention of the motor car in its various forms dates well back into the 19th century its introduction in England lagged behind countries such as Germany and France. In 1895 there were only ten motor cars in the whole of England, none of which had been manufactured in England, and had to be imported from France and Germany at great expense. Motor cars were expensive and considered the play things of the wealthy, a novelty to some, with skeptics not taking them too seriously as a reliable means of transportation. The horse and carriage remained the mode of transportation relied upon by the masses well into the 20th century.
The 1895 Horseless Carriage Exhibition in Tunbridge Wells, organized by the wealthy and noteworthy man of science Sir David Lionel Salomons (1851-1925), was the first event of its kind in England. The event was much publicised both before and after and caught people’s attention. Thousands of local citizens and visitors to the town flocked to the show grounds to take in this grand and historical event in motoring history. Salomons was of course there demonstrating his motor car (photo opposite) as were some other owners of these new contraptions, which hissed and chugged and rattled about, much to the amusement of the spectators. Another view of Salomons in a motor car is shown below.
The thought of keeping records of vehicle ownership never crossed anybody’s mind for no records were kept of who owned a horse or carriage. A small number of aristocrats and other members of the landed classes dominated motor car ownership in the 19th century. Some of them got together to organize an Automobile Club and publications about motor cars became popular. One of these gentleman was John Scott Montague, 2nd Baron Montague of Beaulieu (1866-1929), an MP who first became interested in motoring during the passage of the ‘Locomotives on Highways Act 1896’ through Parliament, which increased the speed of motor cars of 2 mph in towns and 4 mph in the rural areas to 14 mph. It was Montague who introduced the Motor Vehicles Registration Bill to Parliament, supported by the Automobile Club, which eventually became law as the “Motor Car Act 1903”. The necessity for such an Act was initially to meet the need of identifying motor cars and their drivers as it related to the policing of speed limits and accidents. The police felt it was necessary ,to facilitate identification, to have a registration/ license plate affixed to the motor car on the front and back, and so it came to pass that this system began and has continued in use ever since.
From the Wikipedia website is the following information about the sections of the 1903 Act.
*Section 1 introduced the crime of reckless driving, and imposed penalties.
*Section 2 introduced the mandatory vehicle registration of all motor cars with the county council or county borough council in which the driver was resident. The council was to issue a unique number to each car, and prescribe the manner in which it was to be displayed on the vehicle. The Act also made it an offence to drive a motor car on a public road without displaying its registration number.
*Section 3 made it compulsory for drivers of motor cars to have a driving licence. No test was required. However, a licence was given by the council on the payment of five shillings. The qualifying age for a car licence was 17 years and for a motor cycle 14 years.
*The speed limit on public highway was raised to 20 mph from 14 mph which had been set by the Locomotives on Highways Act 1896.
*Section 9 allowed for lower speed limits to be implemented after a local inquiry.
*Regulations were introduced regarding the braking ability of vehicles
Also given under the heading of “Legacy” was the following. “The Act was intended to last for only three years but was extended by the Expiring Laws Continuance Act 1900 until a new bill was seriously discussed in 1929 and enacted. Both the Locomotives on Highways Act 1896 and the Motor Car Act 1903 were repealed by the Road Traffic Act 1930. A Royal Commission on Motorcars was established in 1905 which reported in 1907 and recommended that motorcars should be taxed, that the speed limit should be abolished (by a majority vote only) and raised concern about the manner in which speed traps were being used to raise revenue in rural areas rather than being used to protect lives in towns.Amendments were discussed in 1905, 1911, 1913 1914 under the titles Motor Car Act (1903) Amendment bill and Motor Car Act (1903) Amendment (No 2) bill.”
In the absence of precise records for vehicle registrations in Tunbridge Wells I have estimated them based on a comparison of the national registration records by year to the national population. From this one obtains a percentage of vehicle ownership relative to the population, which knowing the population of Tunbridge Wells by year can be used to estimate the number of vehicles registered in the town. In using these figures one, in the researchers view, needs to make allowances for the level of affluence of the town’s residents as it relates to those able to afford motor cars and the presence in the town of any extraordinary people, namely Sir David Lionel Salomons who throughout his live is stated to have owned 64 motor cars, but typically no more than six at any given time.
Given below is a table in which is shown for selected years the population of England and the number of corresponding vehicles registered in the country from various online sources. Also shown are population figures for the town (not the borough) of Tunbridge Wells and the estimated number of vehicles registered in the town using the National Average figures calculated from the National figures in the table. Below this is some discussion about adjustments the researcher suggests are needed for the Tunbridge Wells motor car registration figures from the National Average to better reflect the affluence of the town and the motor car collection of Sir David Lionel Salomons. More exact local figures would require anyone interested in preciseness to make a trip to the National Archives or the Centre for Kentish Studies who have in their collections motor car registration records.
MOTOR CAR REGISTRATIONS
ALL OF ENGLAND TUNBRIDGE WELLS
YR POP # MOTOR CARS POP # MOTOR CARS
1895 10 29,000 (Est) 1
1903 37,957,500 33,000 (Est) 12
1906 39,273,000 16,000 34,000 (Est) 14
1912 41,123,500 150,000 36,000(Est) 131
1920 42,388,400 36,000 (Est)
1930 37,000 (Est)
In my article ‘Motoring History-David Lionel Salomons and his Motor Cars’ dated October 11,2015. It was noted that in 1895 he owned one motor car which he had imported from France and there are no records to suggest that I am aware of that there were any others in the town. Also noted in the article is that over his life he owned 64 motor cars, but not all at the same time. Also noted was that he was the second person in England to own a motor car in 1895 and that in 1906 he was stated by others to have owned 39 motor cars but this figure should be considered to mean that “up to 1906” he had owned 39 motor cars. The motor car stables at his Broomhill Estate consisted initially of a horse and carriage stables (a separate building) which in 1895 housed his motor car and his horses and carriages. In 1902 he had constructed a dedicated motor car stables attached to his house which consisted of five stalls each of which had the capacity to house two vehicles and so it is not likely he had any more than ten motor cars in any given year, and one record for 1903 states he had just three motor cars that year and in 1904 he had six motor cars on his premises. A photo of his motor car stables is shown above.
Given the higher affluence of Tunbridge Wells to many other towns in England and the collection of motor cars belonging to Salomons I suggest that a more realistic estimate of motor cars in the town would be 20 in 1903; 28 in 1906 and no more than 150 in 1912.
THE MOTOR CAR ACT 1903
Vehicle registration began as a consequence of the 1903 Motor Car Act, which introduced measures to help identify both the vehicles and their drivers and also increased the speed limit established in the Locomotives on Highways Act of 1896 from 14 mph to 20 mph. The idea of it was envisaged in the last decades of the 19th century. All motor vehicles had to be registered, and had to display this registration in a prominent place. The responsibility for registration was passed to County and County Borough Councils. The Act came into force January 1,1904 with vehicles required to have attached to them alphanumeric plates, part of which included a letter code identifying the area in which the vehicle was registered. The letter “D” was assigned to the County of Kent and in 1903 there was no other identification on the plate that would identify the vehicle as being owned by a resident in Tunbridge Wells. The County/Council records would have to be consulted to make this determination, for it gave the name and address of the vehicle owner. These plates allowed police to trace the vehicle and its owner in the event of an accident or the contravention of traffic laws.
The registration system applied to motor cars and motorcycles including motor lorries and other motorized conveyances (omnibus etc). The plates had to be attached to the front and rear of each vehicle. From 1904 registers were kept of all motorcars and motorcycles (either in combined or parallel registers) and licenses were issued to drivers although no driving test was required to operate a motor driven conveyance. Shown above is the driver’s license of David Lionel Salomons.
THE ROADS ACT OF 1902 AND 1920
In 1919 vehicle registration in the Uk was placed under the supervision of the newly formed Ministry of Transport, but the administration system was left in the hands of county and borough authorities under the Roads Act of 1920. Separate resisters for motorcycles were abolished. Record keeping changes. In addition to the bound register(s) of cars, motorbikes, and licences issued ,registratiojn authorities were now to keep a record card for each registration mark, and a file on each vehicle. Although this made vehicle identification easier, the triplication of record keeping led to local variation in how records were kept, and in most cases the quality if information entered in bound registers began to deteriorate, as local authorities put most effort into keeping and updating the file and card records.
The Roads Act 1920 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which established the Road Fund, and introduced tax discs.The Act required councils to register all new vehicles and to allocate a separate number to each vehicle.It clarified the situation regarding cars driven by internal combustion engines, replacing complex previous legislation for different types of vehicle. It included a provision for the collection and application of the excise duties on mechanically-propelled vehicles and on carriages and created the Road Fund.
The Road Traffic Act of 1930 abolished speed limits, a move which was heavily criticised. The Road Traffic Act of 1934 reintroduced a speed limit for cars, of 30 mph in built-up areas, reversing the removal of speed limits only 4 years earlier by the Road Traffic Act 1930.The UK driving test was made compulsory for all new drivers and it strengthened legislation relating to insurance for drivers.
THE NATION REGISTRATION SYSTEM 1969
The 1969 Vehicle and Driving Licenses Act set up the centralised (and conputerised) Drivbing and Vehicle Licensing Centre (DVLC) in Swansea, South Wales. The transition from local record keeping to national registration was supposed to have been completed by 1975, but local record keeping in some areas continued until March 31,1978.
Over the years, due to increases in vehicle registrations the alphanumeric plate identification has undergone a number of changes, details of which can be found on the Wikepedia website under the heading of ‘Vehicle Registration Plates of the UK’ covering the period up to 2001.
EARLY EMBROIDERY IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Date: December 29,2016
Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Today, embroidery is most often seen on caps, hats, coats, blankets, dress shirts, denim, stockings, and golf shirts. Embroidery is available with a wide variety of thread or yarn color.
The basic techniques or stitches on surviving examples of the earliest embroidery—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.
The process used to tailor, patch, mend and reinforce cloth fostered the development of sewing techniques, and the decorative possibilities of sewing led to the art of embroidery. We often find in early works a technical accomplishment and high standard of craftsmanship rarely attained in later times.
The heyday of embroidery work was in the 18th and 19th century. Early work was all done by hand and was the domain of women and ladies of all ages. Elaborately embroidered clothing, religious objects, and household items often were seen as a mark of wealth and status.
The development of machine embroidery and its mass production came about in stages in the Industrial Revolution. The earliest machine embroidery used a combination of machine looms and teams of women embroidering the textiles by hand. Hand embroidery was a slow process and as labour costs rose machine embroidered items for society replaced many women skilled women in this line of work, as did the increasing availability of finely printed fabrics. However there was still a place for women, both engaged in business and at home, from the middle to upper class segments of society ,to produce custom made embroidered items. Embroidery materials were expensive and few others could afford them or the cost of purchasing ready-made embroidered gowns etc.
The fabrics and yarns used in traditional embroidery vary from place to place. Wool, linen, and silk have been in use for thousands of years for both fabric and yarn. Today, embroidery thread is manufactured in cotton, rayon, and novelty yarns as well as in traditional wool, linen, and silk. Ribbon embroidery uses narrow ribbon in silk or silk/organza blend ribbon, most commonly to create floral motifs.
Shown above are some examples of embroidery work including an embroidered dress worn by Queen Victoria shown opposite.
A review of local directories show that some women in Tunbridge Wells ran their own businesses as embroideresses. Although there were a number of them I have confined by coverage of this topic to two women engaged in this work, namely Caroline Hatch and Katherine Smith, however in researching this topic I did find an announcement of insolvency for a Maria Spencer dated 1846 that showed sometime before that date (perhaps the 1830’s) she was an embroideress “of the Parade, Tunbridge Wells”.
The 1840 Pigots directory, gave only one listing relating to embroidery, namely “Catherine Smith, embroideress and pattern drawer, Parade”. In actual fact the proper spelling of this ladies name was “Katherine Smith”.
The 1841 census, taken at Hill Cottage, Frant, Sussex listed as the head of the household Katherine Smith, age 45, born 1796(not of this county) with the occupation of embroideress. Living with her was the second interesting character in this account, namely Caroline Hatch, given as age 25 born 1816 (not of this country). Nothing definitive was found for either of these women for the period prior to 1840, except it is known from later census records, that Caroline Hatch was a spinster born in London and Katherine Smith was a widow. Where and when Katherine was born is a matter of some conjecture as there are conflicting records .
The 1851 census, taken at The Parade in Tunbridge Wells gave Katherine Smith as the proprietor of a shop. With her was her friend and assistant Caroline Hatch. A nice painting of the Parade is shown above left which was turned into a postcard by J. Salmon of Sevenoaks who reproduced paintings by a number of artists. It shows a number of ladies in their fine dresses perhaps on their way to the embroidery shop.
Caroline Hatch must have been a very skilled women for she was the only woman from Tunbridge Wells to exhibit her embroidery at the Great Exhibition of 1851 held at the Crystal Palace.The objective of the Great Exhibition was to increase trade by featuring British made products. Not anyone could exhibit their wares and when it came to embroidery work, only the finest examples of this skillful work were accepted. Caroline Hatch obviously met their stringent requirements for she is listed in the Exhibition Catalogue as “ 202-Caroline Hatch, Tunbridge Wells, specimens of embroidery”. Unfortunately the catalogue did not provide any images of her work and a search for examples of her work on the internet did not turn up any others. This exhibition was opened on May 1,1851 by Queen Victoria.
By the time it closed on October 11th some six million people attended the event, which resulted in a profit of about 186,000 pounds, despite forecasts that it would likely be a losing proposition. Shown above is a view of the exterior of the Crystal Palace and below it one of the interior. In all there were some 100,000 exhibits by over 15,000 exhibitors with Britain occupying half the space. Many of the items exhibited became part of the collection of the V&A Museum.
William Makepeace Thackery (1811-1863), a British novelist of the 19th century and former resident of Tunbridge Wells wrote a poem about the opening of the Great Exhibition after being impressed by it all. A photo of him is shown opposite left along with a view of Thackery House where he resided in Tunbridge Wells.
The 1858 Melville directory gave the listing “ Mrs K. Smith, embroideress and pattern maker, Parade”. The Parade, or the Pantiles as it is also known ,was and is a prime commercial district in the town. Its existence dates back to the 1660’s . Prints of the Pantiles from the 18th and 19th century (image opposite) show ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finery “parading’ about. Many of them were visitors to the town from London and since most of the women were of stature they dressed in beautiful gowns, many of which were elaborately embroidered. Mrs Katherine Smith catered to the ladies who took a keen interest in all things embroidered. In addition to making embroidered items it is to be expected that she sold all of the materials and related supplies one needed to do their own embroidery work. Which shop she ran her business from was not established but most likely it was one on the Upper Walks.
The 1861 census, taken at No. 3 Revensby (or Revensly) Place gave a listing for Katherine Smith, widow, age 74, born 1787 Eton, Buckinghamshire, with the occupation of embroideress. With her was Caroline Hatch, given as single, age 45, born 1816 London. She was given as a lodger with the occupation of embroideress. Also there was one general servant, who no doubt worked in the shop. Both Katherine and Caroline worked together and had lived together for at least twenty one years.
So where exactly was No. 3 Revensby/Revensly Place? Well Chris Jones posted a question about Bath Yard and other similar names in the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society Newsletter. The August 2016 edition of the Newsletter gave the following “ Bath Yard was at the lower end of Vale Road-before there was a Vale Road that is. I haven’t really researched it, but here are some snippets. Benge Burr talked of a cold bath ‘about a furlong from the Walks (Pantles)….neatly fitted up in a pretty retired situation’. And Sprange in 1786 described Mr Skinner’s lodging house as near the Cold Bath. Mr Skinner eventually had three lodging houses; Little, Middle and Great Bath House –where the Post Office Square it. It was later the base for William Cramp ‘riding master’. Bath Yard was a line of 13 cottages behind it, sometimes called Bath Row. They were prone to flooding, particularly when the drains from Calverley Park were fed into the steam which ran down behind them. Vale Road was cut through to the High Street by the late 1860’s. A little more work is needed on this”.
A close examination of the 1861 census shows that No. 3 Revensby/Revenlsy was one of three residences (No. 1 to 3) with the same building name and were listed after the Weslayan Church on London Road, south of what later became Vale Road. The census shows that this residence was in Bath Yard. A map of Bath Yard from the Civic Society newsletter is shown above. It would not have taken Katherine Smith and Caroline Hatch more than 10 minutes to walk from their residence down London Road or the High Street to their shop in the Parade. The 1867 Kelly gave the listing “ Mrs Katherine Smith, embroideress, Parade”. Brackett’s 1866 guide refers to Bath Yard being near the Pantiles.
The 1871 census, taken at 24 Mount Ephraim gave Caroline Hatch, single, age 54, born 1817 Broomsbury, Middlesex with the occupation of embroideress and was living alone. Since no records for Katherine Smith were found, that could be relied upon after the 1861 census, and because of her advanced aged, it is expected that Katherine passed away in Tunbridge Wells sometime after 1867 and before 1871. No definitive record for Caroline Hatch was found after the 1871 census.
I close off this article with an image of a women in an embroidered dress shown in a portrait studio photograph posing with her dog. Also shown is a CDV from the Tunbridge Wells studio of George Granville showing a women in an embroidered dress.
The core of Tunbridge Wells Museum’s costume collection was acquired during the 1950s by its dedicated curator, Edith Bradley and includes dress from the 18thcentury onwards. Now the collection boasts 7,500 pieces including textiles and includes many beautiful evening gowns including a good collection of beaded dresses from the 1920s. Menswear is represented by a good collection of embroidered waistcoats from the Georgian and Regency period, including one unusual black silk example. Children's wear, rural work wear, corsets and other structural wear are all represented in the collection, including 21st century examples. Shown opposite is a photo of one of the embroidered dresses in their collection.
BERLIN WOOL –A TUNBRIDGE WELLS PERSPECTIVE
Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Date: December 29,2016
Berlin wool work is a style of embroidery similar to today's needlepoint. It was typically executed with wool yarn on canvas. It is usually worked in a single stitch, such as cross stitch or tent stitch although Beeton's book of Needlework (1870) describes 15 different stitches for use in Berlin work. It was traditionally stitched in many colours and hues, producing intricate three-dimensional looks by careful shading. The design of such embroidery was made possible by the great progresses made in dyeing in the 1830s, especially by the discovery of aniline dyes which produced bright colors.
This kind of work created very durable and long-lived pieces of embroidery that could be used as furniture covers, cushions, bags, or even on clothing.
Berlin wool work patterns were first published in Berlin, Germany, early in the 19th century. The first Berlin wool patterns were printed in black and white on grid paper and then hand-coloured. Previously, the stitcher was expected to draw the outlines on the canvas and then stitch following the colours on the pattern. Counted stitch patterns on charted paper, similar to modern cross-stitch patterns, made it easier to execute the designs, because there was no need for translating the patterns into actual wool colours by the stitchers themselves. They were published mostly as single sheets which made them affordable for the masses.
Soon they were exported to Britain and the United States, where "Berlin work" became all the rage. Indeed, Berlin work became practically synonymous with canvas work.
In Britain, Berlin work received a further boost through the Great Exhibition of 1851, and by the advent of ladies' magazines such as The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine.
The popularity of Berlin work was due largely to the fact that, for the first time in history, a fairly large number of women had leisure time to devote to needlework.
Subjects to be embroidered were influenced by Victorian Romanticism and included floral designs, Victorian paintings, biblical or allegorical motifs, and quotations such as "Home Sweet Home" or "Faith, Hope, Love".
In the late 1880s, the demand for Berlin wool work decreased dramatically, largely because the tastes had changed, but Berlin work publishers failed to accommodate new tastes. Other, less opulent styles of embroidery became more popular, such as the art needlework advocated by William Morris and his Arts and Crafts movement.
Berlin Wool work was just as popular in Tunbridge Wells as elsewhere and to meet the demand for it several shops were opened in the town where the patterns, wool and other supplies could be purchases, under the name of ‘Berlin Wool Repositories’. In the 1850’s there were five of these shops in the town, located in Calverley Promenade, Calverley Place, High Street, Ephraim Terrace and The Parade (Pantiles), four of which were run by women. From the 1860’s until the end of the 19th century the number of shops declined to just two, and by the beginning of the 20th century its popularity had dropped to the point where shops specializing in it had virtually disappeared, although the wool and supplies could still be found on a smaller scale in some fancy repositories.
The patterns from Germany used for Berlin Wool work also came into use as patterns for the production of the well-known local industry of Tunbridge Ware-those elaborately decorated works in wood, employing a variety of wood types, became very popular and are much in demand by collectors today, commanding in some cases very high prices.
For anyone interested in seeing a lovely and large selection of Tunbridge Ware and Berlin Wool work take a trip to the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, who have an impressive collection on display.
The popularity of Berlin Wool work in the town was just as great as elsewhere in England. Of particular interest to ladies this craft was engaged in by those with enough time on their hands to create these works of art, a time when ladies of leisure needed some form of amusement. Women, young ladies and even girls took a great interest in this craft. Although the objects made were very decorative, and were in large made for their decorative merits, seat cushions, pillows and other objects around the home had a practical use and were better enjoyed when embellished by multi-coloured wool. Examples of slippers and handbags and other objects decorated with brightly coloured Berlin Wool were also made and no doubt used on special occasions.
To meet the demand for this craft, shops specializing in the sale of patterns, wool, canvas and related materials were established in the town, mostly, and not surprisingly, by women such as Miss Mary Ann Elliott of 20 High Street and Mount Pleasant Road; Miss Sarah Adams of Calverley Parade; Mrs Ellen Brown of Calverley Place; Mrs Letitia Burrows of EphraimTerrace; Miss Elizabeth Stapley of The Parade (Pantiles); Mrs C.F. Tolson of 24 Ye Pantiles; Mrs Alfred Nicholson of 22 Ye Pantiles and Mrs Elizabeth S.A. Rolfe of 39 Grosvenor Road.
Some men also got into this business such as Friend and Allen who sold Tunbridge Ware and Berlin Wool items from their shop in the Parade in the 1860’s. Before joining with Mr Allen, Mr Friend sold Berlin Wool items and Tunbridge Ware from his shop in the Parade in the mid 1850’s. In the 1870’s Mr G. Jarvis operated as a decorator and had a Berlin Wool repository at 68 Calverley Road. In the 1880’s ,during a time when interest in this craft was waining, James Foach Hillier had a Berlin Wool repository at 100 Calverley Road.
The production of Tunbridge Ware in the town, as described in my article ‘ Tunbridge Ware-A Profile of Manufacturers’ dated February 14,2012, began in the 1700’s and ended about 1939. The Golden Era for its production was the 19th century when intricate examples of this industry were produced employing the patters from Germany that had been created for the Berlin Wool craft, such as the example shown opposite. The names of Burrows, Fenner, Wise,Burton,Friend, Nye, Hollamby and Jordan and several others dominated the Tunbridge Ware industry in the town. Their importance and historical significance are marked by a few plaques erected on buildings in the town and several accounts have been written about them and the industry, many of which can be found on the internet.
Several examples of both Tunbridge Ware and Berlin Wool work were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace. The catalogue of exhibitors lists some objects of Tunbridge Ware by local makers but there were no listings of exhibitors from the town of Berlin Wool work, although item 202 in the catalogue did list Caroline Hatch of Tunbridge Wells showing examples of her embroidery.
Although interest in Berlin Wool work faded quickly by the beginning of the 20th century it has continued ever since its heyday up to present times. A book published in Tunbridge Wells entitled ‘Beginners Guide to Berlin Work’ by Jane Alford in 2002 is testament to this.
The Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery has apart from a fine display of Tunbridge Wells, many examples of Berlin Wool work in their collection. A recent article entitled ‘In Search of Berlin Wool’ showed an example of this craft from the collection of this museum, and stated “ I’ve brought 25 Berlin Woolwork prints from the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery’s collection with me, returning them to their original place of creation –Berlin. The selection includes one print from each of the named printmakers/publishers in the Museum’s collection. The prints come in single sheets containing one design (known as charts). The designs are predominantly floral compositions. There are some repeated patterns for borders, or landscape scenes with animals such as deer and birds, and a selection of purely geometric designs”. It should be noted that although some examples of Tunbridge Ware showed flowers or scenery, most of the items produced were of geometric designs. The article, which can be seen in its entirety online goes on the describe how the patterns were made and gives the names of the makers of the patterns and other related information. One last item of interest in that article is that “ It is thought that the first Berlin Woolwork designs were exported on mass to the UK in the 1820’s…and that Mr Wilks of London estimated that by 1840 there were some 1,500 patterns in circulation…the patterns were so expensive that Mr Wilks bought them back from his rich clients after they had used them and then resold them to less wealthy clients at reduced prices”. One can conclude that the initial customers for Berlin Wool patterns and wool in Tunbridge Wells were from the middle to upper class but as prices dropped due to an increase in supply this craft became more affordable to those not quite so well off financially.
EVELYN ANN STONE -A TUNBRIDGE WELLS AVIATOR
Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Date: January 3,2017
Evelyn Ann Stone (1904-1994) was the daughter of Neville Roper Stone (1874-1943), a solicitor and member of the well-known stone family of solicitors in the town who operated their business from premises at 21-23 Church Road. Her mother was Amy Beatrice Stone, nee Hayne (1872-1954), one of at least seven children born to wealthy landowner Henry Hayne of The Ferns, 5 Carlton Road,Tunbridge Wells and Eliza Hayne. Neville Roper Stone was one of six children born to solicitor Frank William Stone (1841-1921) and Annie Elizabeth Stone, nee Andrews (1852-1894). Frank Willian Stone had also served as Mayor of Tunbridge Wells from 1898 to 1900.
Neville Roper Stone and his wife had two children. The first was Reginald Neville Stone (1899-1966) who was born in Tunbridge Wells and who married Deborah Lyon Gill in Tunbridge Wells in 1924. He later moved to Lamberhurst where he died. The second was Evelyn Ann Stone (1904-1994) who was born in Tunbridge Wells. Both Reginald and Evelyn lived during the time before their respective marriages with their parents in a fine home called ‘Framfield’ at 17 Oakdale Road in the Boyne Park residential development, a development that began in 1893 when local builder/developer Charles John Gallard bought Boyne House, a large home fronting on Mount Ephraim Road situated on large grounds, and who set out to demolish it and begin the construction of roads and homes on the site.
Women aviators in the pre WW II era in England were few and far between, but like local celebrity Pauline Gower, the daughter of well-known William Gower, one time Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, she dismissed her parent’s concerns about flying. The records of the Royal Aero Club show that she was of 17 Oakdale Road, Tunbridge Wells, and working as a secretary on the Hospital Committee, when on November 30,1935 she obtained certificate 13428 from the Royal Aero Club after passing her test on a De Havilland Gipsy Moth biplane at the Redhill Flying Club in Redhill, Surrey. From that time forward she, and later her husband, enjoyed flying whenever she could. Unlike Pauline Gower she was not involved in any aviation activities during WW II and would best be described as an accomplished recreational aviator.
Evelyn enjoyed travelling. Two of several trips she took included one to Quebec, Canada in 1932 and one to Kingston Jamaica in 1935 while still living in Tunbridge Wells at 17 Oakdale Road.
In June 1938 Evelyn Ann Stone married Harold Roy Warlow Roberts (1908-1942) at a grand ceremony at St Paul’s Church, Rusthall. Her marriage was announced in several newspapers as “ A wedding of considerable local interest”. Harold Roy Warlow Roberts had been born in Ormskirk, Lancashire and was one of two known children born to Harold Heineky Roberts, a manager of a milling company who had been born 1861 in Walton, Lancashire, and Amy Roberts, born 1873 in Ormskirk, Lancashire. At the time of the 1911 census Harold and his sister Margaret were living with their parents in a fine home named ‘Ethandene’ on St Helens Road in Ormskirk. Harold, like his future wife also developed an interest in flying and obtained his certificate (14421) from the Royal Aero Club on September 20,1936 on a Tiger Moth Gipsy Major at the Liverpool & District Aero Club. After his marriage to Evelyn both of them would pile into their two seater aircraft and take off for a great aerial view of the countryside, spending many hours of their lives together in the air. At the time of his flying test in 1936 Harold was working as a sales manager.
Harold Roy Warlow Roberts had a rather short life, for he passed away March 27,1942 at Wirral,Cheshire. Evelyn Ann Roberts passed away January 5,1994 at Ashurst Park , Fordcumbe Road in Forcumbe, Tunbridge Wells at the ripe old age of 90.
THE STONE FAMILY
Several members of the Stone family took up the legal profession, details of which are given in my article ‘ The Life and Times of Mayor Frank William Stone’. One of them was Neville Roper Stone (1874-1943) who had been born in Tunbridge Wells , being one of six children born to solicitor Frank William Stone (1841-1921) and Annie Elizabeth Stone, nee Andrews (1852-1894).
The 1899 Kelly directory gave the listing “ Nevill Roper Stone, (Firm of Stone,Simpson & Stone) Solicitors, 21 and 23 Church Road, Tunbridge Wells. Like most legal firms the partners in it change often. The 1918 and 1922 Kelly for example gave “ Neville Roper Stone B.A (Firm of Stone, Simpson & Maston) Solicitors 21 & 13 Church Road,Tunbridge Wells.
On June 3,1899 , in Tunbridge Wells, Neville Roper Stone married Amy Beatrice Hayne (1872-1954). Amy had been born at Islington, London. She was baptised June 28,1872 at Highbury St Augustine Church. She was one of eight known children born to wealthy landowner Henry Hayne who was born 1833 in London, and Eliza Hayne born 1842 in London. The Hayne family had been residents of Tunbridge Wells since 1881 and in the census for that year Amy and her siblings and parents, along with a governess and five servants, were living in a fine home called ‘The Ferns’ at 5 Carlton Road where Amy at that time was a scholar. The 1891 census, taken at 4 Carlton Road have Henry Hayne as a “gentleman landowner farming”. Living with him was his wife Eliza and their eight children and six servants. Among the children there was Amy Beatrice Hayne. Her brother Henry,age 24 was a solicitor and her brother Lois, age 21, was an undergraduate at Cambridge.
Neville Roper Stone and his wife Amy Beatrice Stone had just two children. The first was Reginald Neville Stone (1899-1966) who was born in Tunbridge Wells and baptised July 4,1900. He lived in Tunbridge Wells with his parents and sister Evelyn at the family home ‘Framfield’ 17 Oakdale Road until he married Deborah Lyon Gill in Tunbridge Wells in 1924. He later moved to Lamberhurst where he died. The second was the central figure in this article, namely Evelyn Ann Stone (1904-1994) who is featured in the next section.
Neville Roper Stone died March 19,1943 in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on March 23rd. His probate record gave him of Framfield, 17 Oakdale Road and of 21-23 Church Road at the time of his death. He had died at 17 Oakdale Road. The executor of his 17,988 pound estate was his wife Amy Beatrice Stone and his daughter Evelyn Ann Roberts, widow. Probate records for Amy Beatrice Stone gave her of Framfield, 17 Oakdale Road when she died as a widow, July 27,1954 at 39 Molyneux Park, Tunbridge Wells. The executors of her 21,599 pound estate was Lloyds Bank Limited and Geoffrey Nicholas Stone, solicitor. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on July 30,1954.
For further information about the Stone family and their legal career see my article ‘ The Life and Times of Mayor Frank William Stone’ dated February 20,2014.
EVELYN ANN ROBERTS/STONE
Evelyn Ann Stone had been born in Tunbridge Wells July 24,1904, the only daughter of William Roper Stone and Amy Beatrice Stone. She was baptised at St Paul’s Church on Langton Road July 28,1904 (image opposite).
Evelyn and her brother Reginald, who had been baptised at the same church on July 4,1900, lived with their parents at ‘Framfield’, 17 Oakdale Road in the Boyne Park residential development. Details of this development are given in my article ‘The History of Boyne House’ dated February 21,2013 but below is some very brief information about it and the home that the Stone family occupied.
In 1891 Charles John Gillard bought Boyne House, a large and once grand home fronting on Mount Ephraim. This home was located on extensive and nicely landscaped grounds, making it a target for redevelopment. Soon after purchasing the property Gillard demolished Boyne House; had a plan of subdivision prepared, which called for the construction of three roads, being Boyne Park that branched off of Mount Ephraim and two internal intersection road with Boyan Park, namely Mayfiled Road and Oakdale Road. In 1893 the first homes in the development were constructed. Many of the homes were designed buy Herbert Murkin Caley (1859-1939). It is expected that Caley designed No. 17 Oakdale Road and that Gillard built it circa 1895. It is known from the 1901 census, taken at 17 Oakdale Road that the family of Neville Roper Stone were living there. Shown above is a 1907 os map showing Boyne Park on which is highlighted in red the location of No. 17 Oakdale Road.
No. 17 Oakdale Road still exists, as can be seen by the modern photograph opposite. It is a two sty red brick detached home , identified in the 1911 census, when occupied by the Stone family, as being eleven rooms. At the time of the 1911 census Evelyn Ann Stone and her brother Reginald were living there with their parents along with three servants. The home is located right near the intersection of Oakdale and Boyne Park on the north-west side of the road. Today the house is divided into flats.
The Stone family and the Gower family were well known to one another and apart from business interests they socialized. Frank William Stone, apart from being a solicitor had served as Mayor of Tunbridge Wells 1898-1900. Robert Vaughan Gower had served as Mayor of the town 1918-1919 and as Sir Robert Gower from 1919-1920. In my article ‘The Early Aviation History of Tunbridge Wells’ dated February 6,2014, I included a section about the Gower family with a particular emphasis on the aviation exploits of Pauline Gower. The Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery had a nice display pertaining to Pauline that I looked at during my visit in 2015. Regarding Pauline Gower she decided to take up aviation much to the dismay of her father and took an active role in ferrying aircraft during WW II. Pauline Mary De Peauly Gower had been born in Tunbridge Wells July 22,1910 six years after Evelyn Ann Stone, but got to know one another well and both shared an interest in aviation. Pauline got her Royal Aero Club certificate (No. 9442) September 4,1930 (photo oppoiste) while a resident of Sandown Court, Tunbridge Wells at Phillips & Powis School of Flying on a De Havaland Moth Cirrus II.
Pauline’s father was Sir Robert Vaughan Gower (1880-1953 who is mentioned in connection with the 1927 Air Show, joined the town council in 1909, was an alderman from 1915 until 1934 and mayor from 1917 to 1919.On July 3,1919 Sir Robert Vaughan Gower read the Proclamation of Peace from an armoured car outside the Town Hall. On July 30,1919 he officially received the Presentation Tank awarded to Tunbridge Wells by the National War Savings Committee. He served on Kent County Council from 1910 to 1926. In 1919 he was knighted for promoting a scheme for maintaining the business of tradesmen serving in the First World War. He was MP for Hackney from 1924, and for Gillingham from 1929 to 1945. Greatly interested in animal welfare, he was chairman of the RSPCA from 1928 and introduced legislation on preventing cruelty and on the protection of wild birds.
Returning to Evelyn Ann Stone, she was educated locally and until her marriage in 1938 lived with her parents and brother at 17 Oakdale Road. Evelyn enjoyed, and could afford to travel. She made a number of trips out of the country in the 1930’s including for example at trip from Southampton to Quebec Canada August 24,1932 on the ship EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA (image opposite), and on April 12,1933 she left England on the CAMITS for a vacation in Kingston, Jamaica. On both occasions here home address was given as 17 Oakdale Road, Tunbridge Wells.
The records of the Royal Aero Club, unfortunately don’t provide a photograph of Evelyn but on certificate No. 13428 gave her born July 24,1904 in Tunbridge Wells and that she was a “Sec. Hospital Committee” and a resident of 17 Oakdale Road,Tunbridge Wells. She took her test on a De HaviIland 60G Gipsy I, 85 h.p. on November 30,1935 at the Redhill Flying Club . A photograph of her with this plane is shown opposite. Why Evelyn took an interest in learning how to fly is not known but it is suspected by the researcher that since she knew Pauline Gower, who you will read about later, that a mutual interest in flying resulted from this friendship. Unlike Pauline, who used her flying knowledge and experience during WW II ,there is no indication that Evelyn did likewise and it appears that her interest in flying was purely recreational.
The plane she trained on was a two seater biplane with a plywood fuselage and fabric covered wings.This plane was developed in the 1920’s as a touring and training aircraft. It had folding wings which allowed its owners to hanger it in much smaller space. It was powered by a Gipsy I engine. The price of a new one in 1930 was 650 pounds.
There was no airfield in Tunbridge Wells in the 1930’s In the pre WW 1 era there was a patch of grass or farmers field called Liptraps airfield, named after Liptraps farm off Pembury Road in what later became the residential development on Sandhurst Road. The closest airfield to the town was at Penshurst, the history of which is given in my Early Aviation History article.
The Redhill Flying Club still exists and is located in Redhill,Surrey.The aerodrome (photo opposite dated 1934 of hanger 9-the first hanger to be erected )commenced operations in 1934 to accommodate the original Redhill Flying Club. Imperial Airways started to use it as an alternate the then London Airport at Croydon In 1937 No. 15 Elementary Flight Training School was formed at RAF Redhill,Surrey on July 3,1937. In 1940 a course was organized there for the training of Polish airmen and during the war Spitfires flew from this airfield. Shown below on the left is a photo of the airfield in 1939 and to the right are some spitfires at the airfield between 1941 and 1944.
The Kent & Sussex Courier and the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser of June 3,1938 announced her wedding to Harold Roy Warlow Roberts. In part it stated under the heading ‘Wedding of Miss Evelyn Stone’……..” A wedding of considerable local interest took place at St Paul’s Church, Rushall, Saturday, when Miss Evelyn Ann Stone, daughter of Mr and Mrs Neville R. Stone of Framfield, Oakdale Road married Harold Roy Warlow Roberts, son of Mr & Mrs Roberts of Lancashire. The article occupies almost the entire page of the newspaper providing in great details what everyone wore, who attended the wedding and an exhaustive list of hundreds of gifts presented to the bride and groom. Their wedding photo from the newspaper is shown opposite.
Harold R. W. Roberts was Harold Roy Warlow Roberts, born in the 2nd qtr of 1908 at Ormskirk, Landashire. He was, based on the 1911 census, one of two children born to Harold Heineky Roberts, a manager of a rice milling Company in Lancashire, who was born 1861 at Walton, Lancashire. Harold’s mother was Amy Roberts, born 1873 at Ormskirk. Harold’s sister was Margaret Ethelwynne Roberts, born 1907 at Ormskirk. At the time of the 1911 census, taken at ‘Ethandene’ on St Helens Road in Ormskirk, Harold was living with his sister and parents in a home of 9 rooms, along with two servants. His parents had been married in 1903.
Harold also took an interest in flying. The Royal Aero Club records show that he held certificate 14421 and that when issued he was of Ethandene, Ormskirk and had been born there on March 2,1908. At that time he was working as a sales manager. He had taken his test on a Tiger Moth Gipsy Major at the Liverpool & District Aero Club September 30,1936. A photograph of him flying in this place is shown above along with an advertisement for the engine in it.
Evelyn and her husband used to fly often together, soaring over the countryside of Kent and elsewhere.
Probate records for Harold Roy Warlow Roberts gave him of Teviot Bank Gayton, Cheshire when he died March 27,1942. The executors of his 19,549 pound estate was Lloyds Bank Limited. His death was registered in the 2nd qtr of 1942 at Wirral, Cheshire.
Evelyn managed to live much longer than her husband and the researcher did not determine if the couple had any children. As noted in the probate record for her father in 1943 Evelyn was given as a widow. Her probate record gave her of Ashurst Park Fordcumbe Road, Fordcumbe, Tunbridge Wells when she died January 5, 1994. She had managed to live for 90 years and 52 years longer than her husband. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery January 19,1994.
CHARLES TATTERSHALL DODD –THE FLYING DENTIST
Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Date: January 3,2017
The name of “Dodd” will be familiar to anyone who takes and interest in the history of artwork in Tunbridge Wells. Details of this family of artists, extending some three generations in the town ,was given in my article ‘The Dodd’s –A Tunbridge Wells Family of Artists’ dated October 4,2011. The name of Charles Tattershall Dodd is a common one in the family extending for three generations beginning with Charles Tattershall Dodd (1815-1878) then his son Charles Tattershall Dodd (1861-1947) and lastly with the central figure in this article Charles Tattershall Dodd, born in Tunbridge Wells on June 5,1898 who was the son of John Fletcher Dodd (1862-1952) and the nephew of Charles Tattershall Dodd (1861-1947).
John Fletcher Dodd had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1862, one of a seven children born to Charles Tattershall Dodd (1858-1878). John had lived in Tunbridge Wells up to the time of his marriage to Edith Lindley Stephenson (1859-1944) at Guildford, Surrey in 1889. By the time of the 1891 census he and his wife were living in Southampton where John was the proprietor of a grocers shop. He and his wife had three children namely (1) John Fletcher Dodd (1893-1972) (2) Edith Violet Dodd (1897-1906) (3) Charles Tattershall Dodd (1898-1976).
John and his family returned to live and work in Tunbridge Wells in 1896 and it was there that his two youngest children were born. By the time of the 1901 census, taken at 17 Upper Grosvenor Road, John was living on own means with his wife Edith ; his three children and two servants. In the 1940’s John and his wife were living in Norfolk and it was there that his wife passed away in 1944. John returned once again to Tunbridge Wells where he died in 1952.
Johns son Charles Tattershall Dodd lived with his parents at 17 Upper Grosvenor Road at the time of the 1901 census, but when the 1911 census was taken he was living with his uncle Charles Tattershall Dodd(1861-1947) and his uncle’s wife Edith Dodd and one servant at Hillgarth, Powder Mill Lane in Southborough. Charles junior was at that time attending school.
On November 21,1917 Charles (photo opposite), born June 5,1898 in Tunbridge Wells, obtained certificate 5737 from the Royal Aero Club. At the time he took his flying test he was living at Caister-on-sea Great Yarmouth and had the rank of Flight Sub-Lieut in the Royal Navy. He obtained his flying certificate on November 21,1917 and served in WW1 with the Royal Navy Air Service . He survived the war and returned to civilian life after the hostilities ended. His life after the war is somewhat uncertain but it is known that in 1929 he married Ethel Ridyard Breakell (1901-1997) but appears not to have had any children.
A UK Dental Registry recorded that Charles Tattershall Dodd was registered as a dentist July 19,1927 with the designation L.D.S. (License in Dental Surgery)and R.C.S. (Royal College of Surgeons) (Eng. 1927) and appeared in this directory in 1940 when residing at Holy Close, Ormesby St Margaret, Norfolk.
Probate records gave him of Gosfield Hall, Gosfield Halstead, Essex when he died January 5,1976 leaving an estate valued at 9,100 pounds. His death was registered in the 1st qtr of 1976 at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. His wife passed away at Cambridge in the 3rd qtr of 1997.
CHARLES TATTERSHALL DODD (1861-1949)
Roger Farthing, in his 1990 book entitled ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells’ states “ Anyone walking up Grosvenor Road can see Grosvenor Lodge, just below the fishmonger’s.Part of the Grosvenor Estate bought by Richard Delves on George Weller’s death in 1785 and descending by inheritance to son-in-law James Hockett Fry and his son,Ref. James Fry,who sold up, it was the home of the artist C.T. Dodd junior, seen here with his family”(photo opposite)
Charles was born in the 3rd qtr of 1861 at Tunbridge Wells and was one of eight children born to Charles Tattershall Dodd(1815-1878) and Jane.He was the eldest son in the family and like his father he received a good education in art and made the creation of artwork and the teaching of art his lifelong career. Unlike his father he was also a sculptor and his paintings were more diverse in subject matter creating not only landscapes but also portraits and still life. There are many examples of his paintings to be found at the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery as well as in private and public collections throughout Britain. One of his works is a painting entitled "The Cricket Match,Tunbridge School,lithograph by W.L.Walton and published by Charl which was sold at auction in 2010 for a good sum. Among the portraits he produced are paintings of Thomas Sims(circa 1900); Isabelle Rebecca Dodd and Henrietta Jane Sadd(1902)J.C.M.Given MD and Dr. George Abbott.Among his paintings are Tunbridge Wells subjects as well as paintings done in France and Switzerland.
Charles was an art master at the Tonbridge School for 23 years, continuing a family tradition begun by his father who had taught there for 40 years.Charles lived almost his entire life in Tunbridge Wells but travelled extensively.After his father’s death in 1878 Charles continued to live with his mother and siblings at 31 Grosvenor Road
The 1881 census, taken at Grosvenor Lodge, 31 Grosvenor Road, gave Jane Dodd as a widow, born 1832 at Dolgelley Wales. With her were her children Charles Tattershall Dodd, an artist; Sarah Jane, age 24; Catherine J, age 23; Laura E,age 20 and Frederick Lawson Dodd, age 12, a scholar. Also in the home were three art master teachers and one domestic servant.
In 1891 Census, taken at the Grosvenor Lodge,Charles Tattershall Dodd was recorded in the census as an artist and art master.His mother Jane Dodd passed away in Tunbridge Wells on January 11,1897and he remained at the same address living with his siblings Frederick,Sarah and Catherine.All four of them were still single. Charles executed and presented two copper panels which were installed in the vestibule of the Tunbridge Wells Technical Institute,the institute being constructed on Monson Road in 1902.
Shown above is a headstone in the Woodbury Park Cemetery which records the death of Charles Tattershall Dodd(1815-1878) November 27,1878 and his eldest son Charles March 11,1880, age 10 mths. Also recorded on the headstone is Laura Eleanor Dodd ,his daughter who died at age 22 on December 12,1882; his wife Jane Dodd who died January 11,1897; Sarah Dodd who died November 15,1885 and his son Joseph Josiah Dodd who died December 31,1889 and also his daughter Catherine Frances Dodd who’s date of death is not clear.
Charles had begun to exhibit his work at an early age and continued to do so late in life. A record dated 1910 from an exhibition catalogue of the Royal Academy of Arts lists C.T. Dodd, Howard Lodge,Tunbridge Wells.
In 1913 he is recorded as Charles Tattershall Dodd; A.R.C.A. Hillgarth,Powder Mill Lane,Tunbridge Wells and in 1922 at 50 Grosvenor Road.By 1930 he is found at Glengowan Station Road,Emberbrook,London but later returned to Tunbridge Wells.In the 4th qtr of 1949 Charles passed away in Tunbridge Wells and was cremated at the Kent and Sussex Crematorium,leaving behind quite an extensive body of work.
Hillgarth was a fine home built in 1910 at the corner of London Road and Powder Mill Lane. The home no longer exists and the site redeveloped into a short road called Hillgarth with a few homes on it. In 1910 when the foundation was being dug for this home by workmen Mercer and Crittenden they discovered about 2-3 feet below grade two pots, one containing human remains, which the owner kept, and a second one containing a fossil of a sea urchin and a broken flint axe, which were turned over to George Abbot for inclusion in the museum’s collection.
JOHN FLETCHER DODD (1862-1952)
John was the brother of Charles Tattershall Dodd (1861-1949) and one of seven children born to Charles Tattershall Dodd (1815-1878) and Jane Dodd. John was born in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1862
The 1871 census, taken at 31 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells gave Charles Tattershall Dodd as an artist, born in Tunbridge Wells. With him was his wife Jane, given as born 1831 in North Wales. Dal Jalley. Also in the home were eight Dodd children including John Fletcher and his brother Charles. Also in the home was one visitor and three domestic servants. All of the children except the youngest Frederick, age 2, were attending a local school. As noted in the previous section his father passed away in Tunbridge Wells on November 27,1878 and his mother Jane Dodd on January 11,1897.
By the time of the 1881 census John Fletcher Dodd had left Tunbridge Wells. He is found in the 1881 census at a grocers shop on Station Road in Reigate, Surrey, where he was working as a grocers assistant, along with two other grocers assistants, for Thomas Lee, the 29 year old proprietor of the shop.
It is perhaps of some interest to note that John was not the only member of the Dodd family to make the grocers trade his line of work. John’s brother Joseph Josiah, born in the 4th qtr of 1863 in Tunbridge Wells left the family home in Tunbridge Wells sometime after the 1871 census and is found in the 1881 census at Isleworth, Middlesex where he was working as a grocers assistant. The 1891 census, taken at the Grosvenor Lodge, 31 Grosvenor Road gave Joseph Josiah Dodd as a merchant clerk and living with his widowed mother Jane and three of his siblings namely (1) Charles Tattershall dodd, age 29, an artist and art master (2) Isabella R Dodd,age 25 (3) Frederick Lawson Dodd, age 22, a dental assistant. As you will read later the central figure in this article Charles Tattershall Dodd (1898-1976) also went into dentistry. The records of Tonbridge School (image opposite)listed Frederick Lawson Dodd as attending this school 1884-1884 and noted that he was “preparing for the profession of a dentist”.
In the 4th qtr of 1889, at Guildord, Surrey, John Fletcher Dodd married Edith Lindley Stephenson (1859-1944). Edith had been born at Banbury, Oxfordshire and was one of five children born to Thomas Stephenson, born 1819, and Elizabeth Stephenson, born 1814. Edith was the youngest of the children in the family. At the time of the 1861 census Edith was living with her parents and siblings in Banbury,Oxfordshire. At the time of the 1871 census she and her family were living in Guildford, Surrey and continued to live in Guildford with them up to the time of her marriage.
The 1891 census, taken at 1 College Terrace in Southampton gave John Fletcher Dodd as the proprietor of a grocers shop. With him was his wife Edith; one domestic servant and a cousin who was working for him as an apprentice grocer.
John and Edith had the following children (1) John Fletcher Dodd (1893-1972) (2) Edith Violet Dodd (1897-1906) (3) Charles Tattershall Dodd (1898-1976). His son John had been born in Southampton with Edith and her brother Charles born in Tunbridge Wells. From this information one can determine that John Fletcher Dodd and his family returned to live in Tunbridge Wells sometime after 1893 and before 1897.
Probate records for Joseph Josiah Dodd gave him of Grosvenor Lodge in Tunbridge Wells when he died October 31.1899. As noted earlier his name appears on the Dodd family headstone in the Woodbury Park Cemetery. The executors of his 2,153 pound estate were his brother John Fletcher Dodd, retired grocer, and Frederick Lawson Dodd, dentist.
The 1901 census, taken at 17 Upper Grosvenor Road (image opposite), Tunbridge Wells gave John Fletcher Dodd as retired and living on own means. With him was his wife Edith ; his three children and two domestic servants.
The 1911 census, taken at 113 Hempstead Way in Hendon, Middlesex gave John Fletcher Dodd living as a visitor with Catherine Florence Dodd, age 53. She was his spinster sister born 1858 in Tunbridge Wells, who was living on private means. John was also given as living on private means and noted that of his four children, only two were living. One of his children who predeceased him was Edith Violet Dodd who died in 1906 in Bedfordshire . The second one is not known to the researcher and must have died in infancy. In addition to Catherine and John there was one boarder staying with Catherine, all of whom were living in premises of seven rooms. Where his wife and son John Fletcher Dodd(1893-1972) were at the time of the 1911 was not determined but as you will read more about later his son Charles Tattershall Dodd was living in Tunbridge Wells with his uncle Charles Tattershall Dodd(1861-1949).
No Tunbridge Wells directory listings for John Fletcher Dodd were found in 1913 or beyond were found. Where he moved to was not established but the first indication of where he was living was from the probate record of his wife Edith Lindley Dodd which gave her of Holly-close, Ormesby St Margaret, Norfolk, but temporarily of Windsor House Marine Parade Barmouth Merionethshire (wife of John Fletcher Dodd) who died January 11,1944 at Trem-den Barmouth. The executor of her 3,895 pound estate was the Public Trustee.
Death records note that John Fletcher Dodd died in Tunbridge Wells November 21,1952. His probate record gave him of 73 London Road,Tunbridge Wells when he died. The executors of his 30,075 pound estate were Ethel Ridyard Dodd, married woman, Herbert Edward Witard, of no occupation, and The Public Trustee. No record of him being buried in Tunbridge Wells was found. He was perhaps buried in Norfolk with his wife.
John’s son, also named John Fletcher Dodd (photo above), had been born 1901 in Tunbridge Wells. He went on to marry Hazel Madge Ensor Ingram (1911-1999) and with her had a son. He died in 1972
CHARLES TATTERSHALL DODD (1898-1976)
At long last I come to the central figure in this article Charles Tattershall Dodd, who was born in Tunbridge Wells on June 5,1895, one of three children born to John Fletcher Dodd (1862-1952) and Edith Lindley Dodd, nee Stephenson (1859-1944).
To recap information about him in the previous sections, he was living with his parents and two siblings at the time of the 1901 census at 17 Upper Grosvenor Road where his father was living on own means after having retired from the grocery shop business. Also in the home were two domestic servants.
At the time of the 1911 census the rest of his family was away from Tunbridge Wells and so the 1911 census recorded Charles living with his uncle Charles Tattershall Dodd and his wife Edith at Hillgarth, Powder Mill Lane in Southborough, Tunbridge Wells. Charles was given in this census as a nephew and was attending school. The family were living in premises of seven rooms along with one domestic servant. It is expected that like other boys in the Dodd family that Charles attended Tonbridge School(image opposite) to receive his initial education.
The records of the Royal Aero Club record Charles Tattershall Dodd, born June 5,1898 Tunbridge Wells (card ref 5738) as being of Caister-on-sea Great Yarmouth with the rank of Flight Sub-Lieut with the Royal Navy when he passed his flying test November 17,1917. A photograph of him from the files of the Royal Aero Club is shown above. Each person who was certified was issued a pocket booklet bearing a photograph of the certificate holder on one side and information regarding is accreditation on the other, an example of which for another aviator is shown opposite. Charles would have had one like it but sadly it has not survived.
The Aero Club of Great Britain was founded in 1901 and was granted the title of the "Royal Aero Club" in 1909. The Aero Club was founded in by Frank Hedges Butler, his daughter Vera and the Hon Charles Rolls (one of the founders of Rolls-Royce), partly inspired by the Aero Club of France. It was initially concerned more with ballooning but after the demonstrations of heavier-than air flight made by the Wright Brothers in France in 1908, it embraced the aeroplane. The original club constitution declared that it was dedicated to 'the encouragement of aero auto-mobilism and ballooning as a sport.' As originally founded, it was primarily a London gentlemen's club, but gradually moved on to a more regulatory role. It had a clubhouse at 119 Piccadilly, which it retained until 1961.
From 1910 the Royal Aero Club issued Aviators Certificates, which were internationally recognised under the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (the FAI) to which the club was the UK representative. The Club is responsible for control in the UK of all private and sporting flying, as well as for records and competitions.The Club established its first flying ground on a stretch of marshland at Shellbeach near Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey in early 1909. A nearby farmhouse, Mussell Manor (now called Muswell Manor)(photo opposite) became the flying ground clubhouse, and club members could construct their own sheds to accommodate their aircraft. Among the first occupants of the ground were Short Brothers. Two of the brothers, Eustace and Oswald had previously made balloons for Aero Club members, and been appointed the official engineers of the Aero Club: they had enlisted their eldest brother, Horace, when they decided to begin constructing heavier-than air aircraft. They acquired a license to build copies of the Wright aircraft, and set up the first aircraft production line in the world at Leysdown. Until 1911 the British Military did not have any pilot training facilities. As a result, most early military pilots were trained by members of the club and many became members. By the end of the First World War, more than 6,300 military pilots had taken Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificates.Today the Royal Aero Club continues to be the national governing and coordinating body of air sport and recreational flying. The governing bodies of the various forms of sporting aviation are all members of the Royal Aero Club, which is the UK governing body for international sporting purposes. The Royal Aero Club also acts to support and protect the rights of recreational pilots in the context of national and international regulation.
Regarding Charle’s military service as an aviator with the Royal Navy, the following information was found. Firstly the Navy List of 1917, under the heading of “Probationary Flight Officers –Royal Flying Corp Naval Wing” listed Charles Tattershall Dodd effective April 29,1917. The National Archives also has a record of him which can be purchased online for about 4 pounds, which I did not order.
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was the air arm of the British Army before and during the First World War, until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on April 1,1918 to form the Royal Air Force. During the early part of the war, the RFC supported the British Army by artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance. This work gradually led RFC pilots into aerial battles with German pilots and later in the war included the strafing of enemy infantry and emplacements, the bombing of German military airfields and later the strategic bombing of German industrial and transportation facilities.
On July 26, 1912 the Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps was approved with Commander C R Samson at the head. The Royal Navy had different priorities to that of the Army and wished greater control over its aircraft. Both wings trained at a combined Central Flying School maintained by the War Department. Shown below is a photo dated 1914 showing Winston Churchill with the Naval Wing of the RFC. Some ships of the Royal Navy in WW 1 were equipped with one or more aircraft fitted with pontoons. They were launched from the ship off a power assisted ramp. The planes had to land in the water near the ship on its return and was lifted back onboard by a crane. Some Naval aeroplances were also land based and used to carry out reconnaissance missions.
At the start of World War I the RFC, commanded by Brigadier-General Sir David Henderson, consisted of five squadrons – one observation balloon squadron (RFC No 1 Squadron) and four aeroplane squadrons. These were first used for aerial spotting on September 13,1914, but only became efficient when they perfected the use of wireless communication at Aubers Ridge on May 9,1915. Aerial photography was attempted during 1914, but again only became effective the next year. By 1918, photographic images could be taken from 15,000 feet, and interpreted by over 3,000 personnel. Parachutes were not available to pilots of the RFC's heavier than air craft – nor were they used by the RAF during the First World War – although the Calthrop Guardian Angel parachute (1916 model) was officially adopted just as the war ended. By this time parachutes had been used by balloonists for three years.
On August 17,1917, South African General Jan Smuts presented a report to the War Council on the future of air power. Because of its potential for the 'devastation of enemy lands and the destruction of industrial and populous centres on a vast scale', he recommended a new air service be formed that would be on a level with the Army and Royal Navy. The formation of the new service would, moreover, make the under-utilised men and machines of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) available for action across the Western Front, as well as ending the inter service rivalries that at times had adversely affected aircraft procurement. On April 1,1918, the RFC and the RNAS were amalgamated to form a new service, the Royal Air Force (RAF). The RAF was under the control of the new Air Ministry. After starting in 1914 with some 2,073 personnel, by the start of 1919 the RAF had 4,000 combat aircraft and 114,000 personnel in some 150 squadrons.
Charles Tattershall served out the war with the Naval Wing of the RFC and upon the end of hostilities returned to civilian life.
Like his uncle Frederick Lawson Dodd (born 1869) before him who went on after attending Tonbridge School to become a dentist, Charles decided that he would also persue this line of work. A UK Dental Registry recorded that Charles Tattershall Dodd was registered as a dentist July 19,1927 with the designation L.D.S. (License in Dental Surgery)and R.C.S. (Royal College of Surgeons) (Eng. 1927) and appeared in this directory in 1940 when residing at Holy Close, Ormesby St Margaret, Norfolk. A photo of a dental surgery dated 1920 is shown opposite.
On January 3,1929 Charles married Ethel Ridyard Breakell (1901-1997) at Preston, Lancashire. She had been born July 28,1901 at Preston,Lancashire and was one of three children (all girls) born to Robert Breakell(1870-1947) and Annie Ridyard (1869-1944), the daughter of Mary Ridyard. The 1911 census, taken at 1 Fishwick View in Preston, Lancashire gave Robert Breakell as born in Preston, Lancashire and the proprietor of a tailors shop. With him was his wife Annie,born 1870 at Walkden, Lancashire and their three daughters Ethel age 9; Mary Louise,age 8 and Anne Elizabeth,age 6. Also in the home of seven rooms was Mary Ridyard, a 69 year old mother in law and one servant. Robert and his wife had been married for eleven years and had just the three children by 1911. It is not known by the researcher if Charles and his wife had any children. Any family trees listed them do not record any children but this is not conclusive proof that they did not have children.
Probate records gave Charles Tattershall Dodd of Gosfield Hall, Gosfield Halstead, Essex when he died January 5,1976 leaving an estate valued at 9,100 pounds. His death was registered in the 1st qtr of 1976 at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. His wife passed away at Cambridge in the 3rd qtr of 1997.
Gosfield Hall is a country house in Gosfield, near Braintree in Essex, England and is a Grade I listed building. The house was built in 1545 by Sir John Wentworth, a member of Cardinal Wolsey’s household, and hosted Royal visits by Queen Elizabeth I and her grand retinue throughout the middle of the 16th century.Sir Thomas Millington was in residence by 1691. He reconstructed The Grand Salon which remained the state banqueting hall for a long time. During the same period he had guest rooms built above The Salon. His crest - a double-headed eagle - may be seen above the central doors on the courtyard side.The mansion was built round a central courtyard and the west front still has a fine Tudor facade. The east front was remodelled by John Knight after he came into possession in 1715 and again later in the 18th century for Earl Nugent (1702–1788) who also remodelled the south front and created the mile long lake. The magnificent Ballroom was added and the deer park landscaped to become a family home for his son the Marquis of Buckingham (1753–1813).Later during the French Revolution, Gosfield Hall became the home of King Louis XVIII and his Queen Marie-Josephine-Louise of Savoy who had fled France and the guillotine to live in grand style with more than 350 courtiers and staff in attendance from 1807 to 1809.Much restoration work was done by Samuel Courtauld who owned the house between 1854 and 1881. In the early 20th century the house was virtually abandoned but did good service as a base for troops stationed in Essex during the Second World War. More recently, the Hall was owned by the Country Houses Association until it went into liquidation in 2003. It is now run by Country House Weddings Ltd. A colour postcard view of Gosfield Hall and the lake in Essex is shown above.
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