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Discover the fascinating people and places of Tunbridge Wells.Take a journey back in time to the 19th and early 20th century. See what the town was like in the days of the horse and carriage and what the people did who lived there. See the vintage postcards and photographs.Read the articles about the different trades and professions and the people who worked in them.Learn about the historic buildings and the town's colourful history.

This month I feature a lovely colourized postcard view of St John's Road looking north. This card (No. 32 in a series) was by the firm of L. Levi who produced many postcard views of Tunbridge Wells and other towns in England. In the background one can see St John's Church, and walking towards it are a number of residents dressed in their finery. There was certainly no traffic congestion at that time for the only conveyance on the road was a lone horse drawn waggon. The central object in this image is the magnificent monument in the middle of the intersection, a monument erected in honor of Canon Edward Hoare (1812-1894) who had come to Tunbridge Wells in 1853 and served as vicar of Holy trinity Church for 40 years. Details about Canon Hoare and this monument were given in my article ' Monuments and Memorials of Tunbridge Wells' dated October 12,2012. The gothic memorial was erected in the Jubilee year. Since the time it was installed the area around it has changed significantly. Many ,if not most, of the buildings in this part of St John's Road are gone as the area has undergone significant redevelopment over the years. The monument itself was threatened with demolition due to road improvements but fortunately it proved possible to move the complete structure in one piece a few yards to the north and today stands proudly for all to see. In recent years it was cleaned and made good as new. A maroon commemorative plaque dated 2006 has also been installed at Holy Trinity in honor of Canon Hoare which reads " Canon Edward Hoare (1812-1894) Vicar of Holy Trinity 1853-1894 and Tunbridge Wells leading Victorian churchman".  

ANNOUNCEMENT

The articles on this site are replaced by new ones on the first of the month, so come back and visit this site often. Feel free to copy any text and images of interest to you.Due to the quantity and size of the images in this website users will find that some of them are slow to appear. Please be patient, as they are worth waiting for.Those without high speed internet service will no doubt have to wait longer than others. To move from one page of the website to the next simply click on the page number in the bar at the top of the page-not the "Go To" instruction at the bottom of the page.

Also note that if you attempt to print any pages from this website before the page has fully loaded, some images may not be printed and the layout of the page may be distorted, as the text and images are repositioned during loading. For the best copy wait for the page to fully load.

There is no provision for contacting me from this website. If you wish to contact me I would suggest contacting the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library or the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society who will forward your inquiry to me. Their contact details can be found on their websites.

ABOUT ME


I am a researcher and writer of articles about the history of Tunbridge Wells and was a member of the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society (TWFHS) until its recent demise. I had been a regular contributer to the TWFHS Guestbook and Journal. I assist others with their genealogical inquiries on various websites such as Rootschat and the Kent & Sussex History Forum. I have had many articles published in various society journals, Newsletters and Magazines in England and Canada. I am decended from three generation of Gilberts who lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1881.

Shown here is a photograph of me taken in July 2015 proudly displaying my T-shirt. I was trained and worked as a Civil Engineer and in the late 1980's changed careers and became the owner of two corporations engaged in General Contracting and the supply of building materials. Upon my retirement in 1998 I devoted my spare time to research,writing and gardening. I lived in southern Ontario from 1950 to 1981 but moved to Thunder Bay,Ontario (about 950 miles north of Toronto) to work as a Supervising Engineer in NorthWestern Ontario. My father Douglas Edward Gilbert (1916-2009) came to live with me in 1983. He had been born in Tunbridge Wells but came to Canada with his parents/siblings in the early 1920's. Most of my relatives live in England and some still live in Tunbridge Wells. The only Gilberts from my family line in Canada are me (born in Canada 1950); my dads sister Mabel, born in Tunbridge Wells and her son born in Canada. Since I never got married I am the last of the family with the surname of Gilbert in Canada and 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.

 

REMEMBRANCE DAY 2017
 
In this months edition of the website you will find a collection of articles which make reference to WW I or WW II although these wars are not the central focus of the articles but rather provide information about buildings, people and places in the town with a connection to the wars.

I hope you will participate in this years Remembrance Day Ceremonies in the town, or wherever you happen to be on November 11th. A parade and official ceremonies are scheduled to be conducted, centered upon the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial in front of the Civic Centre on Mount Pleasant Road. No doubt many of you, like me,  lost a relative during the war and although their lives and loss have not been forgotten, please turn out for this important annual event and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

THE VICTORIA ROAD DRILL HALL

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

Date: December 19,2016

OVERVIEW 

Drill Halls were buildings either purpose built structures or buildings that had been converted for use by the military for use by the soldiers where they could meet and train. They were commonly in use in the period leading up to and through WW 1. After their military usage was no longer required they often became public halls used for fetes and dances for local residents.

In Tunbridge Wells, there two drill halls, one at the Corn Exchange, 49 Ye Pantiles and one on Victoria Road, although in the 1860’s there was a drill hall on Castle Street, which was vacated when the hall on Victoria Road became available.  As the history of the Corn Exchange was given in my article ‘The Corn Exchange’ dated March 17,2012 no information about it is given here, although information generic in nature for drill halls ,and for the one on Victoria Road also applies in some measure to the Corn Exchange building.

When the drill hall on Victoria Road was constructed is not known but it is known that it did not exist in 1867 but was there by 1874. Victoria Road, which did not exist in 1839 appears on Gisborne’s map of 1849 with the site of the drill hall shown as vacant land. By 1852 a few buildings on the north side of Victoria Road can be seen west of Camden Road but it is not clear if the drill hall building was among them. Brackets map of 1868 however clearly shows the existence of the building on the north east corner of Victoria Road and Albert Street. From this time forward, until well into the 20th century the building remained unchanged, however the establishment of a car park east of the site involved the demolition of half of the drill hall frontage on Victoria Road, as can be seen on a 1984 site plan. During part of the buildings history in the 20th century it served as a drama club and various entertainments were held there.

The remaining half of the old drill hall  remained  until its demolition circa 1989  when redevelopment of the area took place coincident with the Royal Victoria Place development on the south side of Victoria Road, which opened in 1992.

This article reports on the history of this once important building and provides some maps and photographs of it and the surrounding area.

THE ANATOMY OF A DRILL HALL

The ‘Drill Hall Project’ was started in an attempt to review Drill Halls of the Territorial Army. With a few notable exceptions these buildings are unremarkable, functional and ignored by history, yet they were an important part of our military and social heritage. Shown opposite is an interior view of the4 London Scottish Drill Hall at Buckingham Gate, London.

The drill halls provided a base for the Territorials to meet and train and a practical place for fetes and dances for the local community when not or no longer required by the military. This was the case of the Victoria Drill hall who’s use for military purposes ended upon the conclusion of WW 1 and came into use as a public hall, until it served a useful military function during WW II and then again it reverted back to its more social function. Although there had been several thousand drill halls in the Uk many of these buildings have been demolished or converted into other uses.

A drill hall is best described as a purpose-built military building, providing a space sufficiently large for soldiers to practice marching, drilling and in some cases indoor target practice.

As a large room, heated and well -lit with various facilities to hand, it was often let for dancing, concerts, entertainments and bazaars. This provided the committee-run hall with valuable income, or the local worthy with a sense of civic pride as he allowed the community to enjoy his architectural gift.

The size of this main room varied, some reaching a length of 150 feet. Who designed the Victoria Road drill hall and who built it are not known, nor are its exact dimentions, but a rough estimate, based on scaling from the 1907 os map shows it had measured about feet 6o along Victoria Road and about 35 feet up Albert Street. Later in the 20th century the building was virtually severed in half along its Victoria Road frontage to make way for a car park abutting what was left of the building to the east of it. At the rear of the drill hall along Albert Street was a saw mill that appears on a map of 1984.

The drill hall was usually entered through a pair of doors, generally sufficiently wide to admit the Volunteers in full marching order, four abreast, which was the case with the hall on Victoria Road. Some had entrances wide enough for horse-drawn transport and later, motor vehicles but there is no evidence that the Victoria Road hall made such provisions.

Alongside the main hall, various offices and stores were provided. Most drill halls had a small armoury, which may have had a powder magazine behind a fireproof door.

A drill hall may have been adjoined by areas provided for leisure and self-improvement, such as a reading room, a recreation room or a library. Examples of this are known from an examination of other halls. It is clear that the intention to improve the lives of the men by exercise and education was considered a valuable part of their military training.

Catering facilities were often installed. Winsford's included a large kitchen and scullery with cooking ranges, ready to cater for banquets and tea parties. Bedford and Salford had a canteen attached. Lincoln had a soup kitchen 'fitted with coppers and every appliance for cooking food for large numbers of people, provided with the vision that the drill hall could feed the poor 'in times of great distress in the city'.

Space was allocated where possible for firing practice. Grantham had a narrow rifle range at the side of the drill hall, running its length, Winsford had a practice gallery at its front, Lincoln had an underground Morris tube practice range, Abergavenny's firing range was underneath the drill hall. Congleton used a moveable target for musketry practice with a Morris tube and Somerset House, Westminster, had a Morris tube range fitted with vanishing and running targets.

The Morris tube was a device whereby a standard service rifle of .303" calibre was fitted with an insert that fired a round of smaller diameter and lower charge, allowing the men to become accustomed to the tools of their trade without recourse to a thousand yard range. Annual camp and regular competitions allowed use of the 'real' rifle, and cups and prizes were awarded for rifle skills.

Drilling practice took place outside where possible, in yards, fields or specially allocated grounds, which was one advantage for a Company which had its own drill hall rather than using loaned premises such as town halls or farmers' barns, which may have been small and cramped, or unavailable part of the time. However, as drilling often had to take place indoors, purpose-built halls were constructed with solid floors to deaden the sound of marching. Birmingham had a floor made from rolled clinkers. Lincoln is very specific; its floor was 'formed of wooden blocks 10 in by 2 1/2 in by 1 1/2 in, laid in pitch, on a solid foundation of concrete and cement. This deadens the sound of men marching an manoeuvring.'5 A similar floor was recently removed in Southport as the drill hall was demolished. As some drill halls abut adjacent housing, or shops, this must have given a little relief to the neighbours.

Daylight is often admitted by long roof skylights with bars. Frodsham's specification required them to be 50 feet long by 7 feet wide. Gas pendants were used at Lincoln for artificial lighting, while incandescent gas lamps or lanterns were used in other halls. Heating was often by hot air apparatus, steam, hot water, or fireplaces with hearths.

It was common for a drill hall to be cared for by a retired sergeant, who might also carry out some training, in exchange for accommodation. This is often a roomy two storey house adjoining the drill hall. Alternatively, the house may have been the home of the Sergeant Instructor or Sergeant Major.

Offices were invariably provided, in the form of Committee Rooms, offices for secretarial staff and rooms for the Adjutant of the Battalion.

Depending on the size of the drill hall and the requirements of its owners, other features may have included a band room with music stands and lockers for instrument storage, an armourer's workshop, a flag tower with an extensive view from which signalling could be practised, cellars, ladies' cloakrooms, a minor hall perhaps on another floor and sometimes with a stage, lecture rooms, baths, signallers' room, an ambulance room or a hospital, infection ward and mortuary.

Where units used horses, there was often a separate riding school, which in the case of Sheffield's Norfolk Barracks in Clough Road was on the first floor of the drill hall, approached by a wooden ramp!

Externally, the grounds of some drill halls included stabling, garden allotments, accommodation blocks for single men, married quarters, gun sheds, harness rooms, riding schools, storage for gun wagons, tennis courts or even a covered skating rink (for example, Leamington Spa and Reigate.

ABOUT DRILL

A hundred years or so after the heyday of the Volunteer Drill Hall, many people have little idea of what 'drill' actually was, yet it is clear from contemporary sources that drill halls and the training which took place in them were valued by the community. Towns prized their drill halls and encouraged their young men to give up their time, unpaid, regularly and diligently, to participate as Volunteers.

'The Volunteers ... carefully attended to the ordinary routine of drill, with an occasional "camp out", in which very useful work was done,' notes an author writing in Warrington in 1898. He assumes, rightly, that his contemporary readers are familiar with what he meant.

The 'ordinary routine of drill' involved marching and rifle drill (including cleaning and the dis- and re-assembly of their weapons; engineers and gunners and medical professionals would study their own particular skills) relentlessly, week in, week out, to develop unquestioning discipline and proficiency in their role.

The 'camp out' was for many the closest thing to an annual holiday. Each company would join up with the rest of their battalion, and they in turn would join the other units of their division in tented camps. They would then engage in rifle competitions and exercises with hundreds of others to ensure that the division, as a whole, would provide a cohesive fighting force to defend the Empire.

Regular Orders published in the Chatham, Rochester and Brompton Observer give a flavour of the weekly routine. The Local Volunteer Orders published on April 8th, 1905, list the military personnel and the variety of activities from which a Volunteer would select those he was expected to attend.

The Queens Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) comprised: ….Saturday 8th April:Class Firing for Trained Volunteers (A, B, C and K Companies) Monday 10th April:Machine Gun - 7.45 pm Armoury - 7.30 pm - 8.30 pmTuesday 11th April:Recruit Training - 7.45 pm Wednesday 12th April:Signallers - 7.45 p.m. Semaphore instruction, all Companies - 7.45 pm NCO's Class - 7.45 pm Thursday 13th April:Company Training - drill order, with leggings - 7.45 pm Recruit Training - 7.45 pm Morris Tube training for recruits - 7.30 pm Friday 14th April:Signallers - 7.45 pm Saturday 15th April:Class Firing for Trained Volunteers (E, F, G and H Companies)Signallers - 3 pm Company Training (H Company) - drill order with leggings, FS caps - 3 pm

It is clear that the drill halls were well used, often for several training activities at a time; and that almost every evening and Saturday afternoon, something was happening, overseen by 'Officers trained in tactics and the science of war.'  It seems this was to good effect. In 1898, George Venn observed with some pride that the Volunteers had become a serious fighting force, complemented by integral specialist sections such as Signals, Ambulance and enthusiastic Bicycles. Unfortunately, other observers noted a dearth of officers; Colonel Ommanney, speaking to open Congleton Drill hall, recalls seeing many 'fine healthy young men who would have made most suitable officers of the Volunteer corps' but, he reflects in jaundiced surprise, they seem to prefer golf and 'other pastimes'.

Despite this, the opening of a town's drill hall was generally reported with pride and excitement, reflecting the views of local opinion formers that the training activities which would take place therein could only be good for the community and for the country.

Local newspapers record 'the weekly company drills and ... almost nightly training of recruits' , which had an additional benefit for towns, 'because the training and discipline of so many of her young men must have a healthy effect upon the tone of the inhabitants at large'. Indeed, the physical activity of drill was seen by some as beneficial to the health of the nation too; apparently boys and young men in large towns, such as Stockport, 'saw great want of physique in the boys who would be the future men of [the] country'; and some argued that their health and physical development would be improved by drill.  

Preparation and instruction in drill halls developed men physically and taught them organisation and self-reliance, besides training them in the use of arms for the defence of the county against invasion. They had but one thing to do, and that was to do what they were told, and to do their duty to their country, They were brought up to that high state of efficiency which was required by modern warfare,eager to go into camp realising what practical work in camp meant, realising that a fortnight in camp was infinitely more valuable than one week, and realising that 900 good men were better than 1200 who were only partially efficient.

A historian stated “ The day will come when the country will have to depend on its Grand Volunteer Army. When the country is at war, it is probable that the Regular army will be engaged elsewhere, and England will have to depend mainly upon our Volunteers for her very existence.” This was certainly true in Tunbridge Wells during WW 1.

THE SHOCK OF WAR 

In 2014 the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society produced a book entitled ‘The Shock of War’ which I was pleased to contribute to. This book can be purchased from the website of the Civic Society.

The Kent & Sussex Courier published a series of article upon the publication of this book and quoted from it. One of their articles gave the following “The Territorial – part-time volunteer – troops of 4th Battalion of the Royal West Kents, having taken nearly 24 hours longer than scheduled to return from their annual training exercise because of rail congestion, arrived back in Tunbridge Wells at 6am on the day war was declared, only to be told to reassemble six hours later at the drill hall in Victoria Road. The 274 men who were mustered under Captains Cheale and Kelsey, were surrounded by a dense crowd: there were "many affecting farewells outside the fateful red brick building and all up Camden Road, for it was fully expected the Rifles would march to the station at once." In the event, the 4th Battalion did not leave for Dover until the following evening. By then the Yeomanry had also departed a few hours earlier for Maidstone, also from the South East Station, marching from the Corn Exchange drill hall, carrying their kitbags and greeted with salvos of cheering from the large crowd. These, of course, were all men drawn from civilian life, with jobs and families at home. "All classes were mingled. One little chap perched on his father's shoulders in Vale Road pressed a little flag upon one of the Terriers, urging him to take it for luck. "Men and women in motorcars shook the troops by the hand and slapped them on the backs. Every window in the vicinity was full." The paper noted a group of weeping women, "their faces a pathetic mixture of pride and pain." Four hundred local men marched out of town that night.”

Shown above is a photograph from the WW 1 era of the 4th Btn Royal West Kent going off to camp from their drill hall on Victoria Road. This image was taken showing the Victoria Road frontage of the building. Note the sign over the door that reads “ The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Reg” and the lamp on the front of the building beside the door entrance on which is the work “Hall”. Above the arching stone entrance was the carved initials of the Kent County Territorial Force Associastion. This image also shows next door, across from the intersection with Albert Street  a sign of the ‘Volunteers Tavern’ with advertising on its wall for ale and porter. This tavern was run by Frederick Muffatt from 1874 to 1903 and by Mrs Edith Killick from 1918 to 1938.

Also shown in this section is a photo showing the 1st Btn Mid-Kent Volunteers marching up Mount Pleasant on leaving leaving Tunbridge Wells on August 6,1914.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION

Brackett’s map from 1868 shows the location of buildings along Victoria Road. The building shown on the north east corner of Victoria Road and Albert Street is the drill hall.

The  1907 os map on which is labelled “ Drill Hall”, shows the building with approximate dimensions of 60 feet along Victoria Road and 35 feet up Albert Street.

A review of Planning Authority records was undertaken to establish if any of them pertained to the drill hall. The only one found was an application pertaining to No. 42-44 Victoria Road from which the map of 1984 (image opposite) was obtained, on which, in addition to No. 42-44 is the property on the north east corner of Victoria Road and Albert Street with the drill hall labelled as " Hall".  This map shows what remains of the drill hall on the corner, having been reduced to about half of its former size by the construction of a car park to the east of it. Also note the saw mill premises to the rear of the hall.

A map  pertaining to a planning application of 1988 shows the demolition of buildings within the site area and the construction of a new 2 sty brick complex of residences, which development was approved . A map dated  2010  pertaining to the same property shows that the original Victoria Road between Albert Street and Camden Road was removed, along with the buildings on it. The new realigned Victoria Road replaced what in 1988 was shown as Kensington Street  and connected to Camden Road on the east and the former junction of Albert Street and the old Victoria Road. Albert Road no longer connects with Victoria Road and was stopped up and realigned westward north of  Victoria Road. As a result of these changes the drill hall, car park, sawmill and the former Volunteer Tavern at 42 Victorian Road as well as 40 Victoria Road and other buildings within the site of Royal Victoria Place were all demolished.

Shown opposite is a photograph of the Victoria Drill Hall of unknown date but taken in the 20th century not long before its demolition circa 1989  when the area underwent redevelopment. Note the entertainment signs posted on the front of the building, confirming that it had come into use as a public hall. In the ‘Overview’ I gave a modern photopraph of Victoria Road showing the former site of the old drill hall.

The building was 2 sty in height and built of red brick located based on maps and other records at 38 Victoria Road. Apart from some stone ornamentation at its door entrance and windows the building was rather plain in appearance.

The website of the Tunbridge Wells Target Shooting Club gave the following reference to the drill hall. “ The club can trace their time in Tunbridge Wells to 1903 and we are sure that the club was shooting in the late 1800’s. We have held the lease on our present site since 1957, prior to 1948 the ranges were privately owned by Abergavenny Estates and the club was originally based in the drill hall in Victoria Road. Today the club is based at Warwich Park a few hundred yards away from the Tunbridge Wells Cricket Club………”

A review of local directories gives the following details. The earliest directory reference to a drill hall in the town was that of 1867 when at that time the drill hall was on Castle  Street.

1867…….17th Kent Rifle Volunteers, Capt. C.J. Fisher; Joseph Bissell, drill instructor, Castle Street.

1874……..Kent (17th) Rifle Volunteers, Capt. C.R.F. Lutwidge; Joseph Bissell, drill instructor, Drill Hall, Victoria Road.

1882…….. Kent (1st) Rifle Volunteers (D Company), Drill Hall, Victoria Road; C. Stanley Williams, captain commandant; Joseph Bissell, drill instructor.

1899………Volunteers- Queens Own Royal West Kent Regt 1st Volunteer Btn (D & E Companies), Drill Hall, Victoria Road; Major Alfred Thomas F. Simpson, commanding D. Co; Hon Major A.J. Ramsden V.D. E. Co; C. Maynard, sergt. Instructor.

1903……..Volunteers- 1st Volunteers Btn Queens Own Royal West Kent Regt (D & E Company) Drill Hall, Victoria Road. Brigade-Major Alfred Thomas F. Simpson, commanding detatachment; Capt Mark Waterlow D. Co. ; Capt Horace A. Beeching, E. Co., C. Maynard, sergt-major instructor.

1913……..Infantry- 4th Btn Queens Own Royal West Kent Regt ( D & E Company) Drill Hall, Victoria Road. Capt. A.R. Cheale (D. Co.); Capt. F. Carlisle (C. Co) Major Vise M.D., R.A.M.C (T.F) medical officer; Sergt-Inst. Frank Johnson, drill instructor.

No listing for the Drill hall on Victoria Road was found after 1913 and for that matter no listing for 38 Victoria Road was found for any usage.

Some related articles that make reference to the drill hall are given here. The Maidstone Journal of July 18,1871 referred to “The Bricklayer’s Arms, most eligibly situate in Victoria Road, Tunbridge Wells and immediately opposite the drill shed and premises of the 17th Kent Rifles..,..”

The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 29,1915 gave “ Tunbridge Wells War Review…….Colonel Sergt. Callagham is making another appeal for woollen comforts for the 100 local men of the Royal West Kent (4th Reserve Btn)…….” The Kent and Sussex Courier of Jan. 12,1915 gave “Tunbridge Wells War Review”….under which heading the article referred to the drill hall on Victoria Road being used as a recruiting office.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of April 18,1924 gave “ Charles Stanley Champion (16) was charged remand with stealing 1 pound 50 shillings from Thomas Callayham at 38 Victoria Road on March 3rd. Thomas Cullingham, the Drill Hall, Victoria Road, said the accused was his step son………..

Moving ahead in time to WW II, a list of drill halls during the war entitled “ British Armed Forces September 3,1939 gave “ 133 Infantry Brigade H.Q. Drill Hall, Victoria Road (H.Q. Western sub-area)”.

I have referred above to a map from the Planning Authority files dated 1984 on which the drill hall is shown. A 1986 Planning Authority application regarding Royal Victoria Place included a map of the area to be affected by the construction of this development and shows that the drill hall on Victoria Road was included in the land for this development and that it was to be demolished.

One interesting reference to the drill hall appeared in ‘The Short Wave Magazine’ of December 1979 in which a section under the heading of ‘Clubs Roundup’ ……..”Now we go to the West Kent Club who had a programme clear through to May, based on the Adult Education Centre, Monson Road,Tunbridge Wells. December 7th see G3XPX giving a talk on modernizing old receivers-a talk  well worth attending. In addition, there are alternate Tuesdays for the information at the Drill Hall, Victoria Road Tunbridge Wells throughout the year”.

I close off this article with one by Jane Bakowski in an article from the Kent & Sussex Courier of March 21,2014 entitled ‘Salute to the Rich History of Drill Halls ; Rousing Send off as Men Marched into Battle 100 Years Ago’… “Some were business-like places built of brick and tile; others echoed fortified castles of old England, all battlements and towering turrets, while a few summoned up visions of Tudor banqueting halls. But one thing all the drill halls scattered across England shared was a common purpose - to train up ordinary men to defend the realm against invaders. The drill hall in Victoria Road, Tunbridge Wells, was a square redbrick building with a single flourish - the arching stone entrance bearing the carved initials of the Kent County Territorial Force Association. Like so many of these old halls, it has disappeared - demolished 25 years ago to make way for the Royal Victoria Place development. …”

 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF REV. BARCLAY FOWELL BUXTON

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

Date: March 13,2017

OVERVIEW 

Barclay Fowell Buxton(1860-1946) was born in Leytonstone, Essex, one of ten children born to Thomas Fowell Buxton (1822-1908) and Rachel Jane Buxton, nee Gurney (1824-1905).  Both the Gurney and Barclay clans were Quakers and the name ‘Barclay’ relates to the family who founded Barckay’s Bank.

Rev. Buxton (photo opposite) came from a wealthy family with interests in brewing and banking and lived a privileged life although he had a productive career in the church and most particularly as a  missionary in Japan.

Barclay lived with his family at Leytonstone House(until 1866), Ham House, West Ham for two years, and at Easneye in Hertfordshire from 1869 until the time of his marriage in 1886.

Like his brothers and father before him he was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College Cambridge which he entered in 1879 . He obtained his BA in 1883 and his MA in 1886. In 1886 he married Margaret Mary Amelia Railton (1862-1947) in London and in 1889 he and his wife had their first child Murray Barclay Buxton (1889-1940) at Stanwix,Carlisle.

After serving with the church in England he and his wife and son went to Japan in 1890 where Barclay was an independent missionary with the British Church Missionary Society. While living in Japan he and his wife had three more children, namely Alfred Barclay Buxton (1891-1940) George Barclay Buxton (1892-1917) and Barclay Godfrey Buxton (1895-1986). His son George was killed in France while serving in WW 1. His two sons Alfred and Murray were both killed in London in the same place on the same night in October 1940 during bombing in WW II. His son Barclay served in WW 1 but an exploding shell severely damaged his legs, an injury which crippled him for the rest of his life ,but who became a missionary himself and took over Harley College and founded the Missionary Training Colony in 1923 based in Upper Norwood in London.  Rev. Buxton and his wife had another children but it did not survive infancy.

In 1896 Barclay Fowell Buxton and the rest of his family returned to England, so that his children could be educated there. In 1905 Barclay and his wife had their last child, Rachel Jane Buxton (1905-1998) who had been born in Ware, Hertfordshire, the only one to live out a full life. Barclay continued to travel back to Japan on missionary work up to 1917 after which he returned permanently to England. At the time of the 1911 census he and his wife and four children  and five servants were living in a grand 18 room home called ‘Widbury House’ in Ware, Hertfordshire where Barclay was given as “clergyman, employer’.

From 1921 to 1935 he served as the Vicar of  Holy Trinity Church on Church Road in Tunbridge Wells and lived at the Holy Trinity Vicarage in Calverley Park Gardens. The year 1933 was the centenary of the Abolition of Slavery. A great celebration of this centenary was held in Tunbridge Wells led by Rev Buxton. In July 1934 an Open Air Anti-Slavery Meeting was held on the Commons near Church Road of which the chairman was Rev Barclay Fowell Buxton.  Quakers in general, and the Buxton clan in particular ,had been strong supporters of the Anti-Slavery movement.

The retirement of Rev Buxton from  Holy Trinity Church was
announced in the newspaper February 22,1935 and soon after he and his wife left Tunbridge Wells.

Rev Buxton died February 5,1946 at Wimbledon,Surrey and his wife died there in 1947. Both of them were buried at the Brookwood Cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey.

THOMAS FOWELL BUXTON AND FAMILY 

I  begin my coverage of the Buxton family with Thomas Fowell Buxton(1822-1908), the father of Rev. Barclay Fowell Buxton.

Thomas (photo opposite( had been born August 29,1822 at Cromer, Norfolk and was one of twelve children born to Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton “the Liberator(1786-1845) and Hannah Buxton, nee Gurney, a Quaker (1783-1872). His father was a brewery owner, a Member of Parliament, a social reformer, a mission advocate and an anti-slavery campaigner. His mother was the sister of Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), the prison reformer, and of Joseph John Gurney (1788-1847), an evangelical Quaker preacher who had great influence on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Thomas grew up in Norfolk (the family moved to nearby Northrepps Hall in 1828) and in 1840 followed his  older brother Edward by going up to Trinity College, Cambridge, from where he graduated with a BA in 1844, eventually receiving an MA.

On February 4,1845 at West Ham, Essex Thomas married one of his cousins namely Rachel Jane Gurney (1824-1905) the daughter of Samuel Gurney (1786-1856) of West Ham and Elizabeth Gurney ,nee Sheppard (1785-1855)and with her had ten children, including their youngest son Barclay Fowell Buxton (1860-1946).Rachel was one of six children in the family.

Thomas’s sons John Henry Buxton (1849-1934) and Alfred Fowell Buxton (1854-1952) followed the family tradition of business activity in either brewing or banking, combined with extensive Christian activity in a wide variety of fields.

For the first two years of their marriage, Thomas and his wife lived, as his father had done, in the Director’s House at 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, attached to the Truman, Hanbury and Buxton Black Eagle Brewery, where their first child, a daughter Rachel Louisa, was born in 1846. He was increasingly involved in the running of the brewery during this time, and continued his involvement for the remainder of his working life, even when he moved away from Spitalfields. When his brother Edward, who had inherited the baroncy from his father,moved to London in 1847, Thomas, with his wife and child, moved into Leytonstone House, where they lived for the next eighteen years. Leytonstone House itself was a large Georgian house built around 1740, which was later classified as a Grade II Listed building. Leytonstone House and its nine acre site was sold for £9500 to the Bethnal Green Poor Law Guardians, and it was opened on August 18th 1868 as "Bethnal Green School for the Juvenile Poor".

Thomas’s gifts lay in organisation, which he exercised both at the brewery and as Chairman of the London Hospital from 1856 till 1866 and as treasurer for a further ten, and his son John Henry later became chairman and then treasurer of the hospital.

Thomas was also involved in many Christian projects , in particular supporting the work of the Abbey Street Sunday Schools in Bethnal Green.

The wealth of the family is measured to some degree by the number of servants in the home. According to the 1851 Census, there were twelve servants, including a butler, two footmen and a groom. There were also two gardeners. In the 1861 Census there were a total of ten, a governess, a cook, a butler, a footman, a groom, a nursery maid, a kitchen maid and three housemaids.

Having sold Leytonstone House, and while waiting for Easneye Mansion to be built, they moved in May 1866 to Ham House in West Ham, where Rachel’s parents Samuel Gurney and his wife had lived and where she had been born.

By 1866 Thomas and Rachel made the decision to move from the outskirts of London to rural Hertfordshire where he  bought 3000 acres of land bordering the eastern edge east of the town of Ware. He commissioned the renowned Quaker architect Alfred Waterhouse(1830-1905) to design a mansion for him and his family on Easneye Hill which he named “Easneye”. Waterhouse was particularly associated with the Victorian Gothic Revival although he also used the Renaissance style and was able to adapt and innovate in his work. The house he designed for Thomas Fowell Buxton was Gothic in style using red brick and terracotta. Various plans dated 1867 and 1868 are in the Buxton archive. The lodges and cottages he planned for the workers on the estate were modelled on traditional Hertfordshire lines and provided comfortable accommodation at a time when rural workers’ cottages were usually small and cramped.The Buxton family moved into their new home in the Spring of 1869. Owning this fine home turned Thomas  from brewery director to landowner and, in a short time, to local magistrate as well. The Buxton family lived at Easneye for forty years. The house was much larger than their previous home in Leytonstone, and the number of servants was greater.

Thomas did not waste any time in getting involved in local benevolent activity. On February 17,1869, even before the dedication service for Easneye, he was involved in the opening of an elementary school in Stanstead Abbotts. He also gave substantial help in solving the problem of the location of the village parish church.

The 1871 census, taken at Easneye in Stanstead, Hertfordshire gave Thomas Buxton as a “magistrate, landowner and brewer”. With him was his wife Rachel, his mother Hannah;seven of his children including BARCLAY FOWELL BUXTON, who was attending school; ten visitors and thirteen servants.

In 1878 Thomas Fowell was appointed High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, an appointment held for a year which involved various administrative and ceremonial duties. Thomas was involved in organising special evangelistic meetings in Stanstead Abbotts from time to time.

The 1881 census, taken at Easneye gave Thomas with his wife Rachel; six children including BARCLAY FOWELL BUXTON, an undergraduate at Cambridge, and thirteen servants.

In 1883 Thomas Fowell Buxton paid for the building of the parish room in the village, which then housed the “British Workman” or village club which had been opened in 1876, and of which he was the President.

Thomas and his wife regularly supported missionary work, especially through the Church Missionary Society, of which his father had been treasurer for several years, on the Committee of which he served as member and as Vice-President, and with which society his youngest son BARCLAY FOWELL BUSTON was later to serve in Japan. They also supported the British and Foreign Bible Society, with which Sir Thomas had also been involved and of which his father-in-law,Samuel Gurney, had been treasurer. They gave lifelong support to the London City Mission and the Church Pastoral Aid Society, and Thomas was president of the London Association for the Moravian Mission Society.

On the estate, Thomas Fowell Buxton had a herd of dairy cows, but far more notable was the flock of Hampshire Down sheep which he purchased in 1874 and judiciously added to over the years, until they numbered around seven hundred ewes, in addition to a number of rams. He did not concentrate only on quantity but also on quality, and over the next several years won many prizes, including 1st prize for ewes at the Smithfield Show four years in succession, as well as several awards at other shows in places like Peterborough, Norwich, Reading, Watford, and more locally in Hertfordshire and Essex.

By 1891 Thomas Fowell Buxton was seventy years old. The census records him as “Justice of the Peace”, and makes no mention of his brewing connections. Presumably he had retired from the brewery a few years before, leaving it to his oldest son, John Henry, to carry on the family tradition. As far as the presence or absence of family members on the night of the census were concerned, Rachel Louisa, the oldest daughter, was staying with the Pellys in Stratford. The census form records her as “Living on own means.” John Henry’s three daughters were staying at Easneye with their grandparents when the census was taken, accompanied by their governess, Alice Yewlett, while John Henry, his wife Emma and their four sons, were all on holiday at Melcombe Regis, Dorset, staying at a small private hotel. Among the Easneye servants listed, a maid, Elizabeth Nash from North Wales, went to Japan in the following year as a missionary, to join Barclay Buxton’s party at Matsuye. The Gamekeeper was a Scotsman, Alexander McDonald, who later established the first Salvation Army Citadel in nearby Ware. It was not only the members of the Buxton family, but others connected with them, who shared in making Easneye a blessing to the church and the wider world, in fulfilment of Lady Hannah’s prayer.

By the turn of the century, Thomas Fowell Buxton and his wife Rachel Jane had over forty grandchildren.The census of 1901 , taken at Easneye shows only Louisa the oldest daughter, and Ethel the youngest, still living at home. Thomas was eighty years old by now and Rachel seventy- seven. Murray Barclay Buxton had come home from Japan and was staying with his grandparents. Presumably he had returned to start at Repton School, as he was now eleven.

On January 6 1905, Rachel Jane Buxton died at the age of eighty-two, followed three years later by her husband, Thomas Fowell Buxton on January 27, 1908. They had enjoyed married life together for nearly sixty years, and Thomas had lived at Easneye for close on forty years. An era had undoubtedly come to an end. The obituary in The Times (January 29, 1908) gave a long list of his Christian activities and added: “and his house and woods were liberally opened for philanthropic purposes.” It concludes: “Mr Buxton leaves four sons and five daughters, 43 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.” Their graves in the St James churchyard in Stanstead Abbotts are side by side, next to that of their son Fowell Arthur and adjacent to their daughter Margaret Jane and her husband Richard Arnold Pelly. On Rachel’s tombstone are the words: “He shall receive me” and on Thomas’s: “We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:2).

Thomas’s  youngest son, BARCLEY FOWELL BUXTON , was with him as he died and records the fact that he was lucid to the last. Barclay had just returned from a mission at the church in Malton, Yorkshire, where his cousin David Barclay was vicar, and was shortly to leave for Japan. His father asked him how the mission had gone and expressed his own strong Christian hope as he passed away.John Henry, the eldest son, inherited Easneye on the death of his father.

REV. BARCLAY FOWELL BUXTON (1860-1946)

Barclay was the youngest son of Thomas Fowell Buxton having been born August 16,1860 at Leytonstone, Essex and devoted his life to church, most notably as a pioneer missionary in Japan. As the census records show for the period of 1861 to 1881 he lived with his parent. Apart from the time he was at school. A photo of him in his younger years is shown opposite.

Records of Cambridge University show he had been at Harrow School, Trinity College Cambridge, having entered June 11,1879. He obtained his BA in 1883 and his MA in 1886. He was ordained as an Anglican deacon in June 1884 and as a presbyter in May 1885. He served his first curacy at St Paul’s Onslow Square in London (1884-7) where the vicar was Prebendary H Webb Peploe, and then a second curacy in Stanwix, Cumberland, just north of Carlisle(1887-9).

In 1886, Barclay Fowell Buxton married Margaret Maria Amelia Railton(1862-1947) in Kensington, London. where their first child, Murray Barclay Buxton(1889-1940) was born in July 1889. Margaret was born February 19,1862 at Kensington and was the daughter of
William Railton (1800-1977) and Amelia Knight Railton, nee Borrow (1821-1898). She was only one of two known children born to her parents.

Barclay offered himself to the Church Missionary Society for service in Japan (offering also to fund the mission there).He first began to consider the possibility of overseas missionary work at the time of his ordination as a presbyter in 1885. He shared the idea with some of his family and his eldest brother John Henry was against it. He wrote to Barclay, saying:“You are one exactly cut out for the real work which is now needed in a home parish, singularly fitted to win young men, and by nature, manner and even appearance (to say nothing about earnestness) cast in a mould precisely as now wanted in England. You feel it your duty to go to the mission field as you are anxious not to be stinting in work and in self-denial, feeling that whatever is most sacrifice is your right course. There is a danger that your enthusiasm be your guide instead of godly wisdom.”Four years later his sister Elizabeth Ellen, who was married to Robert Barclay of High Leigh,was also against his going overseas as a missionary, saying much the same thing as John Henryand adding further reasons” We must use the gifts that have been given us and not expect to be endowed with new ones. Your gifts are for home work and not to teach the heathen. Then your mother-inlaw is not as young as she was. Do not be a rolling stone. Be satisfied to be used in your own little sphere, and do not expect to convert the world. Knowing the Buxton constitution, I should say that was in itself enough to prevent you. With your power to influence young men, you may do more by teaching and preparing others than by going yourself.”

His father, however, was more positive: “If you believe you are called by God to Missionary work, and decide that is your clear duty, I need not say how heartily we shall acquiesce in your decision, and shall trust that you have been guided to that which is your appointed work according to the will of God.”

Towards the end of 1889, the family moved to Easneye, and Barclay spent a number of months taking evangelistic missions as preparation for the work in Japan. In 1890 they set sail for that country, where they were to spend the next twelve years (with a home furlough in 1894), and where their next three sons were born namely (1) Alfred Barclay Buxton (1891-1940) (2) George Barclay Buxton (1892-1917) (3) BarclayGodfrey Buxton (1895-1986).

They were accompanied to Japan by a party of six (whose travelling expenses and support were paid for by the Buxtons), including at least five of the Easneye workers, among them the estate carpenter, Mr Parrott and his wife, and Jane Head, a children’s nurse, who initially looked after the infant Murray but continued there as a missionary until she eventually retired at the age of seventy. The Parrotts also gave long-term service in Japan, the husband eventually becoming the Bible Society representative in the country.

Barclay(photo opposite) and his wife returned from Japan in 1902, because of the needs of their children’s education. They stayed initially at Easneye, but the following year moved into a new house on the edge of Ware, Widbury House, where they lived for the next ten years. Alfred went off to Repton School, followed the next year by George. Barclay Godfrey, who was only seven when they returned, stayed at home.

Barclay Fowell Buxton and his wife had their final child in 1905 when their only daughter  Rachel Jane Buxton (1905-1998)was born on June 11, and named at her grandfather’s request after her grandmother who had died in January.

On June 8, 1907, Barclay shared in the opening of the Salvation Army Citadel in Baldock Street, Ware, which had been established through the work of Alexander McDonald, the Gamekeeper at Easneye for many years. Although an ordained Anglican, he was a fervent exponent of the kind of “Holiness” teaching to which the Salvation Army was committed.

In 1908 he made a visit to Japan without the rest of the family, in order to consult with Paget Wilkes on the progress of the work. At the Keswick Convention in 1903, he and Alpheus Paget Wilkes (1871-1943), who had joined him in Japan in 1897 as a lay worker, had formed the Japan Evangelistic Band, which they conceived of as an undenominational group committed to evangelism and organising conferences for the ministry of the Word and prayer. Paget Wilkes had returned to Japan in 1903 and by 1905 had started two projects which were aimed at training an indigenous ministry, the Kobe Mission Hall and the Kansai Bible College. He returned to England where he and the family stayed for the next five years.

The 1911 census, taken at Widbury House, Ware, Hertfordshire gave Barclay as a ‘clergyman employer’. With him was his wife Margaret; his four children and five servants. The census recorded that their home had 18 rooms and had been married 24 years and during that time had five children but only four survived.

In 1913, Barclay and his wife made the decision to return to Japan. He had made short visits there in 1905 and 1908, when he had also visited Korea; he had also made a trip in 1910 to the U.S.A to preach to Japanese groups in New York, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco. Shown opposite is a photo of Rev Buxton in Japan.

By 1913, his son Murray had graduated from Cambridge, and his son George had taken up an appointment as assistant manager of the East African Industries agricultural estate at Maseno in British East Africa. Barclay Godfrey went up to Cambridge in the autumn. Murray had felt a call to be a missionary and had worked as a layman in a London parish for a few months. He accompanied his parents and his sister Rachel Jane when they left for Japan. Barclay Godfrey’s entry in the Easneye Visitor’s Book for December 24 to 30 has his address as “Trinity College and Ponsbourne”, staying with his unmarried aunts. His aunt Ethel had promised Barclay long before that she would give all the help she could if the family ever returned to Japan. The young man makes the entry: “A typical Easneye Christmas and shoot. Perfectly ideal fun.” Very soon he would not be shooting pheasants but his fellow human beings, which was not so much fun!

Three of his sons served in WW1. Murray Buxton, Barclay Buxton’s oldest son, was a Captain with the 1/5Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, one of his brothers George Barclay Buxton as a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Flying Corps, and Barclay Godfrey, the youngest son, was a Captain with the 1/6 Duke of Wellingtons Regiment.Georges oldest brother Murray, and his youngest brother Barclay Godfrey were both seriously wounded in the war, both gaining medals for bravery,Murray the Military Cross and Barclay Godfrey the Military Cross and Bar. More about Rev Buxtons children are given in the last section of this article.

Rev Barclay Fowell Buxton, upon completing his work in Japan became the Vicar of Holy Trinity(image above), Tunbridge Wells, a position he held from 1921 until his retirement in 1935. He had moved to Tunbridge Wells with his wife Margaret and daughter Rachel Jane (their sons Murray, Alfred and Barclay Godfrey were married by this time).

The local directories of 1922,1930 and 1934 gave the listing “ Rev. Barclay Fowell Buxton MA, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Holy Trinity Vicarage Calverley Park Gardens”. Shown opposite is a 1907 os map on which is highlighted in red the location of the vicarage. The book ‘The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’ (2005) by the Civic Society provides details about John Ward’s Calverley Park Gardens development. It was laid out by Decimus Burton in 1828. Many of the homes in this development were by William Willicombe (1800-1875) who worked closely with Decimus Burton. The vicarage was built in 1906 on the former site of Baston Lodge.

Barclay was a strong supporter, like many others, of the abolition of slavery, and his support for this cause as a Quaker could not have been stronger. Slavery was abolished in England in 1807 but it was not until 1833 that it was abolished in the colonies. The year 1933 was the centenary of the abolition of slavery and to that end celebrations were held thoughout England, including Tunbridge Wells.

The Kent & Sussex Courier and the Sevenoaks Chronicle of Mary 27,1932 ran an article headed ‘ Abolition of Slaverty’ and that Lord Noel Buxton was to hold a meeting at Byng Hall on St Johns Road  organized under the auspices of the Anti-Slavery and Aboriginal Protection Society. This had followed a similar meeting announced in the Kent & Sussex Courier of February 17,1928 where Mr John H. Harris was to give a talk on slavery. He was the Parliamentary Secretary of the Anti-Slavery and Aboriginal Protection Society. This meeting was held in Tunbridge Wells.

Many other examples of the Anti-Slavery movement in Tunbridge Wells dating back to the 1830’s can be found and may form the subject of a future article on this topic.

Returning to Rev Buxton however the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser and the Kent & Sussex Courier announced that on Sunday July 22,1934 an open-air anti-slavery meeting was to take place on the Commons near Church Road and that the chairman of this event was the Rev. Barclay Fowell Buxton M.A. of Holy Trinity Church. The article mentioned in part that the speakers were to include the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells; Sir John Harris; Richard Wilberforce, esq., and others. Every Religious and Philanthropic group was expected to be in attendance.

The local newspaper dated February 22,1935 announced that Rev Buxton was to retire, which he did and it was not long afterwards that he and his wife left Tunbridge Wells.

He and Margaret retired to Wimbledon, although he undertook one last visit to Japan in 1937. He continued to give Bible readings, or expositions, right through the war and the blitz. He died on February 5 1946, his wife on April 21 1947 in Surrey.

Probate records gave Rev. Barclay Fowell Buxton of Wimbledon and died February 5,1946. He and his wife were buried at the Brookwood Cemetery. A newspaper account about his death read “ On February 5,1946 at 44 Church Road, Wimbledon, London entered radiantly into life, the Rev. Barclay Fowell Buxton for 59 years loved husband of Margaret, aged 85. Missionary to Japan from 1890. Funeral at Brookwood, Surrey”.

THE CHILDREN OF REV. BUXTON

1)Murray Fowell Buxton (1899-1940)

Murray was born July 30,1889 at Stanwix, Carlisle and went on to work as a missionary in Japan.

Murray Barclay Buxton, Barclay Buxton’s oldest son, found that the wounds he had sustained in WW 1 prevented him from returning overseas as a missionary. He went into business at the age of thirty-one with no previous experience, and was soon chairman of a number of structural engineering companies. He was eventually elected as President of the Institute of Structural Engineers. He used his influence to improve the conditions of workers in the industry and also to found a benevolent fund for them. He also formed an alliance of small firms able to compete with the large steel combines and so maintain their employees in work. His Christian business ethics were widely known and respected. He gave generously to many missionary enterprises, including the work of his brother Alfred in Africa. He was vice-president of the Church Army, chairman of the Christian Police Corporation and on the board of the Mildmay Mission Hospital. In 1920 he married Janet [Jean] Mary Muriel Carlile (1884-1942), the daughter of Sir Hildred Carlile and niece of the founder of the Church Army, Wilson Carlile. They had two children, Jean and Ronald.

Murray had returned home from Japan soon after the outbreak of war and was a captain in the 1/5 Royal Norfolk Regiment. He was involved in the battle of Suvla Bay in 1915, part of the disastrous Gallipoli offensive in the Dardanelles against the Turks (His battalion lost twenty-two officers and six hundred men in the first attack.)After the allied evacuation from Gallipoli, the regiment was involved in the Palestine Campaign, also against Turkish forces.

Murray was an Intelligence Officer on a Brigade Staff at the battle of Gaza. Having already done two reconnaisances over open country in full view of the enemy, he asked permission to go and tend the wounded who lay fifty yards in front of the Turkish trenches. He was severely wounded while out on this task and was awarded the Military Cross. He was eventually brought back to England for recovery and convalescence, which took several months. In April 1918 he spent a few days at Easneye while he was still convalescing in the Hall Walker Hospital; his comment in the Visitor’s Book was “A delightful escape from hospital!” There are four other entries, one in May for a nine day visit, when he gives his address as 1/5 Battalion Norfolk Regiment, and then on August 10, when he was back home with his parents, who had returned from Japan the previous November and were now living in Sherborne House, Hoddesdon. A week later he had moved to London, living at the home of his aunt Ethel, who had now left her work with the Y.M.C.A. in France among the troops, and also Ponsbourne Manor House where she had lived with her older sister Louisa before the war, for 10 Eaton Terrace, London. He was awarded the Military Cross for his service.

Murray and his brother Alfred Buxton were killed together on October 14,1940 while meeting in the new Church House, Westminster, where Murray had rooms to be near his business; after a light evening meal they adjourned to the Club Room to continue their talking, which was about the shorter Moffatt Bible in which they were both involved as a means of reaching outsiders. At 7.40 p.m. a German bomb smashed through three floors and exploded just outside the Club Room wall. Murray, Alfred and four others in the room were all killed instantly.

Murray had married Janet Mary Muriel Carlile (1884-1942) and had a daughter Jean Carlile Buxton (1821-1971).

Murray was buried at the Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. A photo of his grave is shown above. His wife Janet is also recorded on his headstone.

Probate records gave Murray Barclay Busxton of Holywell Hook Heath, Woking, Surrey last seen alive October 14,1940 and who’s dead body was found October 15,1940 at Church House, Great Smith Street, Westminster. The executors of his 28,908 pound estate were his wife and his brother Barclay Godfrey Buxton, captain HM. Army and Edward David Bachelor Russell, mechanical engineer.

2)Alfred Barclay Buxton (1891-1940)   

Alfred (photo opposite) was born November 3,1891 in Japan and as you will read later served in WW 1 and was killed with his brother Murray during bombing in London October 14,1940.

Alfred Buxton had spent the war years as a missionary in Africa with C T Studd. In 1914 his brother George had expressed his willingness to stand in for Alfred in his work in the Congo so Alfred planned to return to England and enlist; in fact he had even started out on his journey when the news came that George had changed his mind and had himself enlisted in the King’s African Rifles (as mentioned above, he later joined the R.F.C. and was shot down and killed in 1917.) Alfred felt that he could not leave the work in Africa so cancelled his journey. In his correspondence with his father in 1916 he said he was still willing to come home and enlist but the authorities had introduced a directive that men who had studied medicine for three years were required to complete their studies before enlisting. In 1913 Alfred had left his medical studies at Cambridge before completion in order go out to Africa with C T Studd, so he fell into that category. consequently he decided against returning to England. The following year (1917), C T Studd returned to Africa, bringing his daughter Edith, to whom Alfred had got engaged shortly before he had left England three and a half years before. Alfred and Edith were married . In 1920 they returned home with their little daughter Susan. Lionel was born a yearc later. They returned to Africa for another three years; in 1924 a rare tropical illness caused a partial physical collapse and recurring bouts of ill-health through the rest of his life. Differences between C T Studd and his colleagues caused a breach with his father-in-law in the 1920s, and Alfred and some of his fellow missionaries linked up with the Sudan Interior Mission to open up new work in Abyssinia and British Somaliland (Ethiopia and Somalia) where he went on trek in 1931-1933. He also encouraged the Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society to evangelise in northern Kenya. Alfred and Edith sailed for Abyssinia in 1934 and worked there for two years until the Italian invasion in 1935 forced them to return to England in 1936; they settled in Devon in a home given to them by a friend. He spent much of his time working on the revision of the Amharic Bible translation but also involved himself increasingly as an Evangelical in Anglican church affairs.

Probate records gave Alfred Barclay Buxton of 25 Tufton Court, Westminster, who was last seen alive on October 14,1940 and whos body was found October 15,1940 at Church House, Great Smith Street, Westminster. The executors of his 3,232 pound estate were Edith Mary Crossley Buxton, widow, and the Rev. Gilbert Arthur Barclay, clerk. He had married Edith Mary Crosley Studd June 4,1916 at Christ Church, Norwood.

3) George Barclay Buxton (1892-1917) 

George was born October 16,,1892 in Japan and returned with his family to England where he was educated. When war broke out he enlisted for military service and was killed in France in 1917.  

On Saturday July 28, 1917 George Barclay Buxton, was shot down and killed over the enemy lines beyond Passchendaele, where Barclay Godfrey, his brother was involved in the fighting on the ground. When the war began, he had been in East Africa as assistant manager of an agricultural estate. He had intended to join his brother Alfred as a missionary in the Belgian Congo, but volunteered for service in the King's African Rifles. In late 1915 he returned to England and was commissioned in the 1/5 Norfolk Regiment and sent out to Egypt in 1916. He was appointed ADC to the divisional commander but found this so dull that he volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps, returned to England for further training, and by July had qualified as a pilot of scout aircraft, after training in Lincolnshire and at the School of Aerial Gunnery at Turnberry. He visited Easneye for a weekend’s leave on July 14 -16, and left immediately afterwards for France. He was at once ordered to join 1 Squadron, stationed at Bailleul, on "a very hot part of the line." The reconnaissance activities of the R.F.C. were increasing in importance at that point in the war. On one of his first patrols, he was not wounded although his aircraft was "absolutely riddled with bullets" ( 25 July 1917), but on 28 July he was involved in a dogfight with nine enemy planes and was shot down and killed. His body was never recovered, and he is remembered on the Arras Flying Services Memorial. A photo of the memorial is shown above.

Of the many tributes to George Barclay Buxton , perhaps the one he would have appreciated most came in a letter to his parents (they were still in Japan when the news came) from an officer with whom he had served in Egypt. "When many grew cold and careless about spiritual things under the awful conditions of Army life dear George stood stedfast."

Probate records gave George Barclay Buxton of Pnsbourne Manor House near Hertford, Hertforshire, 2nd Lieut. 5th Btn Norfool Regiment, died January 28,1917 at or near Passchendale, France from active service. The executor of his 761 pound estate was Rev. Barclay Fowell Buxton, clerk.

4)Barclay Godfrey Buxton (1895-1986)

Barclay was born January 7,1895  in Japan and was baptised there January 24,1895. He later returned to England with his family where he was educated. He had served in WW 1 and was badly injured. Two photos of Barclay are shown in this section.

Barclay Godfrey went up to Cambridge in the Autumn of 1913, but left after his first year to join up when war was declared in August 1914. He seems initially to have joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Private, then later at the suggestion of a friend obtained a transfer to the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding).  After two years he was promoted to the rank of Captain and given command of D Company 6th Battalion. They were involved in the Battle of the Somme from July to November 1916 and the Battle of Passchendale from July 31 to November 6, 1917. An entry in the Visitor’s Book for 27 Nov-Dec 10 reads: “B Godfrey Buxton. Passchendaele. 1/6 Duke of Wellingtons B. E. F. Leave!!” In the words of the poet Siegfried Sassoon: “I died in Hell (they called it Passchendaele)...”

Captain Barclay Godfrey led his company forward as part of the main attack on the Passchendaele Ridge: He said “We moved out in artillery diamond formation... There were some horrible sights of wounded men which we passed on the way up...we started going under machine gun fire from across the valley.. The mud was so dreadful, that it was impossible to move in any line formation because it was only possible to walk on the ridges between the shell holes...We were now going under tremendous machine gun fire and we had to go forward in short rushes and then lie flat in the shell holes mostly covered by water, many bullets dropping around you, within a few inches, splashing your face. We naturally lost a number of men there”.

It was here that Barclay Godfrey with his batman captured a German machine gun post armed only with his revolver! For his bravery he was awarded the Military Cross. And all this from a man who was only twenty-two years old! His Christian faith sustained him, but the peace of Easneye must also have helped to restore his jangled nerves after such an ordeal. He was also able to see his parents who had just returned from Japan and stayed at Easneye at the same time as he was there. They would have grieved together over the death of George. Then he had to return to the horrors of war.

In the Spring of 1918 the Germans launched a heavy offensive which they hoped would end the stalemate of the trench warfare. Barclay Godfrey was wounded four times in the space of the twenty-four hour battle, the last time severely. The other three men in the trench with him were literally blown to pieces as a shell made a direct hit. He was buried in mud from the blast and his batman dug him out with his bare hands. He was taken to hospital and it was found that apart from other injuries including leg fractures, his pelvis was broken in several parts. It took a total of fourteen operations and a long, painful period of recovery to “patch him up” before he was able to leave hospital on crutches and return to civilian life.. He was awarded the Bar to the Military Cross he already possessed. He was able to attend the Boxing Day Party at Easneye the following year (1919), although he was still on crutches.

Barclay Godfrey Buxton, the youngest son, returned to Cambridge in 1920 to complete his studies which had been interrupted by the war. He was still on crutches at the time, two years after he had been wounded in the Battle of Messines. Almost immediately he was elected President of the Cambridge Intercollegiate Christian Union (CICCU). Barclay Godfrey led the fight in the battle to uphold the Evangelical view in the Christian union at Cambridge.During an evangelistic mission in Cambridge, Godfrey met Dorothea Reader Harris, the daughter of Richard Reader Harris, a prominent KC and well-known Christian leader.Dorothea was an assistant missioner for the women’s colleges. They got engaged in 1922 and married the 4th qtr of 1922 at Marylebone. Barclay Godfrey desperately longed to go overseas as a missionary but his serious war wounds prevented this. “What can God do with a broken bag of bones?” he asked his family and friends.

His brother Alfred, who was home briefly from Africa and was soon to return, mentioned the need for practical missionary training for men who would go to pioneer situations. The Rev Gilbert Barclay, their cousin who had recently been appointed Home Overseer of the Heart of Africa Mission (soon changed to Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade,W.E.C.), agreed. A large field in Norwood, South London, at the back of the house where Gilbert Barclay and his wife Dorothy (née Studd) lived, was purchased and some old army huts erected. The living accommodation was basic and the training rigorous. There was Bible teaching from BarclayGodfrey Buxton and possibly others including Gilbert Barclay and Barclay Buxton, and plenty of experience of open-air preaching and practical evangelism. Barclay Godfrey Buxton had obviously found his niche. From 1921 till 1939 nearly three hundred men were trained at what was known as the Missionary Training Colony.17 In his vacations Barclay Godfrey was in demand as a speaker for the Inter Varsity Fellowship, and travelled extensively in the U.S.A, Scandinavia, Germany and Hungary, accompanied by Dorothea who had a speaking and counselling ministry. They also managed to bring up their two children, Christopher and Joanna!

Barclay Godfrey Buxton donned his uniform again, but this time as a travelling secretary of the Officers’ Christian Union. Dorothea was also appointed in a similar role, and they were great demand as speakers by all three of the armed services. Barclay Godfrey had closed the Missionary Training Colony at the outbreak of hostilities, and they moved to Woodend in Camberley, near the British Army Staff College there and also just a few miles from Sandhurst, the site of the Royal Military Academy. Their “At Homes” were the means of reaching future officers, not only from Britain but from many other nations, with the Gospel.

Barclay Godfrey Buxton died June 1,1986 in Surrey. He and his wife were buried in the Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. His wife had died in 1967 having been born in 1888.  The probate record for Barclay gave him of Woodend, Crowley Ridge, Camberley Square and left an estate valued at 144,770 pounds. Shown above is a photo of his headstone which also has the name of his wife on it.

5) Rachel Jane Buxton (1905-1998)

Rachel Jane Buxton (1905-1998) was sixteen in 1921 when her parents moved to Tunbridge Wells. She had been born June 11,1905 at Ware, Hertfordshire. At the time of the 1911 she was living with her parents and siblings in Ware, Hertfordshire. In 1917 was in Japan with her family and in the same year made a trip to Niagara Falls, Canada.

At some point in the 1940s (she was still living at home in Wimbledon in November 1940), although she was unmarried she fell pregnant and had a son, David. She left home and moved into a large house at Stanway, near Colchester, which the family bought for her, where she lived for the rest of her life. For decades she was ostracised by her family, although in later years they relented and re-established contact with her. She took in boarders and bred kittens; she died in 1998. For the whole of her life she refused to name the father of her child. The reaction of the Buxtons, especially the family of Barclay Buxton, to her pregnancy, and their subsequent shunning of her and her illegitimate son for many years, do them no credit whatsoever. To preach the Gospel of God’s forgiveness to the greatest of sinners and then to refuse it to their own flesh and blood could be seen as pure hypocrisy, itself unforgivable. From what Rachel Jane confided to David Morris and his wife Trenna in later years after Barclay Godfrey’s rapprochement with her, the only contacts she had for many years were with friends of the family who sought to aggressively evangelise her, scaring her rather than befriending her.

Rachel died June 1998 at Colchester, Essex.

 

STEPHEN GUARD-THE PROFESSIONAL GOLFER

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

Date: October 5,2017

OVERVIEW

The game of golf has been played in Tunbridge Wells for some 128 years. The Tunbridge Wells Golf Club, the oldest in the town, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1989 and for this event published a book by Eric Carter entitled “The First 100 Years-The Story of The Tunbridge Wells Golf Club”. The book is a fascinating account, with many photographs chronicling the history of this club with mention also made of the other two clubs in the town namely the Nevill Golf Club and the Culverden Golf Club.

The Nevill GC, founded in 1914, was the youngest of three active at this period. At the outbreak of WW 1, the construction of the course was interrupted with only nine holes completed, but subsequently the number was brought up to 18 holes. The Tunbridge Wells Golf Club began as a private course connected to the Spa Hotel. The third club, the Culverden GC ,was founded in 1896 and had a course off Culverden Road. It closed about 1950 and the site of the course was redeveloped into housing.

Each course had a “Professional Golfer” who provided instruction to club members on the game and who competed on behalf of the club in various matches and championships. Stephen Guard (1888-1953) was one of these Professionals. He had been born in Appledore, Devon, the son of a master mariner, and came to Tunbridge Wells as a single man in about 1905. At the time of the 1911 census he was just age 23 , still single, and living as a boarder, with the occupation of “Professional Golfer” with the William Rumary family at Swiss Cottage in Culverden Down. Stephen had taken up golf as an amateur at an early age and showed great promise, turning professional at the turn of the century.

Newspaper accounts about him as a golf professional in Kent and Sussex appeared in golf publications and newspapers in England, Scotland, and elsewhere throughout the 1910-1932 period. After he retired he continued to play golf for recreation to almost the end of his life. He was often centered out in world of professional golf because of his short stature, being described in 1919, in connection with the Culverden GC as “ one of the smallest professionals playing -standing just a fraction over five feet”.

Stephen married Fanny Elizabeth Tate (1888-1960) in Tunbridge Wells in 1912 but the couple had no children. By 1914 he and his wife were living at 50 Culverden Park Road. During WW 1 Stephen served with the Royal Flying Corps, and after he completed his service he returned to Tunbridge Wells. At various times, in the period of 1910 to 1920 Stephen was the professional at both the Culverden and Nevill Clubs. In 1920 he left Tunbridge Wells and moved to Sussex but he still appeared in golf matches in Tunbridge Wells until at least 1932. The local newspaper has many references to him during his career.

In this article I present information about Stephen Guard the person with a concentration on his work as a professional golfer in Tunbridge Wells. Recently a few hickory shafted golf clubs have appeared for sale at auction bearing Stephen’s name, with the sellers suggesting that he was the maker of them. Stephen however never made golf clubs but had them made for him (some made in Scotland) and sold them in the shop of the local golf club he worked at. Details about the various golf clubs in Tunbridge Wells can be found in my article ‘ The History of Golf in Tunbridge Wells’ dated July 10,2012.

THE GUARD FAMILY  

Stephen Guard was born in the 2nd qtr of 1888 at Appledore, Devon (image opposite). Appledore is a village at the mouth of the River Torridge, about 6 miles (10 km) west of Barnstaple and about 3 miles (5 km) north of Bideford in the county of Devon, England. It is home to Appledore Shipbuilders, a lifeboat slipway and Hocking's Ice Cream, a brand of ice cream only sold in North Devon. The local football club is Appledore F.C. The ward population at the 2011 census increased to 2,814.

Stephen was one of 10 children born to master mariner Stephen James Guard (1847-1902) and Phillis Ellen Guard, nee Ross (1847-1924). His siblings had all been born in the period of 1870 to 1888, making Stephen the youngest child in the family. All of the children were born in Appledore. Being on the sea it is no wonder that Stephen’s father was a mariner.

The 1891 census, taken at 113 Insha Street in Appledore, gave Stephen James Guard as a master mariner born in 1847 in Appledore. With him was his wife Phillis, born 1847 in Appledore; his son James, age 18, an able seaman; Phillis Elizabeth, age 16, a collar factory machine worker; Albert,age 13; Samuel,age 9; Mary,age 5; John,age 5 and STEPHEN age 3. All five of the younger children were attending school in Appledore.

The 1901 census, taken at 113 Insha Street, Appledore listed Phillis as the head of the home. She was given as married, indicating that her husband was away at sea. With her was her widowed daughter Phillis Elizabeth Nicholls; her son Albert, a sailor; her daughter Mary,age 17, a domestic servant; STEPHEN (no occupation given) and John, with no occupation. It is around this time that Stephen was introduced to the game of golf. Electoral records for 1902 show that Stephen was still living in Appledore at that time.

Stephen left the family home by 1905 and moved to Tunbridge Wells and by this time he was an accomplished golfer.

The 1911 census, taken at Swiss Cottage, Culverden Down, Tunbridge Wells, gave STEPHEN as age 25, with the occupation “ Golf Professional Culverden G.C”. A website in which a golf club bearing his name was offered for sale stated “ Stephen Guard was the professional club maker at the Culverden G.C. from 1910 to 1920, but his is not quite accurate, and I clarify his golf career in a later section of this article. As you will read later, he began as the “Professional” at the Culverden Club but later was the “Professional” of the Nevill G.C.

Returning to the 1911 census STEPHEN was living as a boarder with the family of William Rumary. William, born 1880 in Hellingly, Sussex was a farm labourer, working no doubt at the Culverden Farm. With him was his wife Caroline A. Rumary, born 1881 in Eastbourne, Sussex, and who married William in 1901 and had two children by 1911, namely Reginald,age 9 and Caroline,age 8, both born in Vines Cross, Sussex, and living with their parents at Swiss Cottage. William’s parents Ellen and William Rumary, a butcher on own account,age 58 and 59 respectively were also living there and had been married 38 years and had nine children. The census recorded that they were all living in premises of just four rooms.

Swiss Cottage  was an interesting building. It and Culverden Castle were built as follies in connection with the Great Culverden mansion,a grand 21 room mansion (ref 1911 census) that had been designed by Decimus Burton (1800-1881) for Jacob Jeddere Fisher (1766-1833) in the period of 1828-1830. Details about the Fisher family and these buildings was given in my article ‘ Great Culverden-A History of the Mansion and its Occupants’ dated January 13,2013. From that article is the following reference to Swiss Cottage. Colbran’s Tunbridge Wells of 1840 gives the following “ As you approach the Wells, on the right is the Culverden property, which formerly belonged to the Countess of Huntingdon, who resided there.The present elegant mansion, built for the late J. Jeddere Fisher, Esq., and now the residence of Mrs Fisher, is not seen from the road,but we may with truth apply the same terms in speaking of it now as were used of “The Culverden” upwards of seventy years since, “It is as happily situated as almost any house in the place”. In one part of the grounds there is a unique building, having its lower apartments hewn out of the sand rock.It is called the Swiss Cottage, and both the exterior and interior well merit the name,as may be judged from the annexed wood-cut. In another part of the grounds, and in a most romantic situation, is a tower(Culverden Castle), built also by Mr Fisher, which overlooks an extensive tract of country, and looks down immediately on a wild glen,which with the necessary adjuncts of moustachioed faces and high crowned hats, would have formed a capital study for Salvador Rosa…..”. Shown above is an etching of Swiss Cottage and a stereographic view of it.

In the 2nd qtr of 1912 Stephen Guard married Fanny Elizabeth Tate (1888-1960) in Tunbridge Wells. The marriage took place at St John’s Church on St John’s Road (photo opposite). No birth records for any children from this marriage were found. Fanny had been born (based on death records) in 1882.

Stephen Guard was living with his wife in 1914 at 50 Culverden Park Road and were still living there when Stephen enlisted for service in WW 1.

A review of military records gave Stephen Guard (103184) born 1888 in Devon who enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) June 14,1917. His spouse and next of kin was given as his wife “Fanny Elizabeth Guard” of Tunbridge Wells. In July 1914 the RFC’s naval wing was detached to form the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). On 1 April 1918 the two services were merged again to form the Royal Air Force (RAF). As no record for Stephen was found as an officer then his role with the RFC and later the RAF is not known. What is known from his attestation records is that his occupation was given as “golfer”. Since pilots of aircraft were officers it is most likely he was an observer who operated on scouting missions in France. A photograph of a group of RAF scouting planes is shown below left and a photo to the right shows members of the RAF at an airfield. Details of his service records are available online by subscripton to the findmypast website, but I am not a subscriber.














Stephens departure from Tunbridge Wells was referred to in the Kent & Sussex Courier of October 1,1920 which in part stated “ Stephen Guard of the golf club was the winner last year but owing to his now living in Sussex he was unable to compete at the Culverden Golf Club.” Newspaper articles after 1920 refer to him as a golf professional in Sussex, but also competed in golf matches in Tunbridge Wells well into the 1930’s.

An electoral record was found for a Stephen Guard at Dartford, Kent for the years 1937-1939 .Death records gave Stephen Guard born  1888  and died March qtr of 1953 at Dartford,Kent. Probate records gave Stephen Guard of 173 Princess Road, Dartford, Kent when he died January 14,1953. The executors of his 2,109 pound estate were James Kenneth Abbott, engine fitter, and Bertha Grace Abbott (wife of J.K. Abbott). Death records for Fanny Elizabeth Guard gave her born 1882 and that she died age 79  in the 4th qtr of 1960 at Bucklow, Cheshire. Probate records gave Fanny Elizabeth Guard as a widow of 77 Flat Sandy Lane, Lymm, Cheshire, when she died November 14,1960. The executor of her 1,672 pound estate was Margaret Goodier, solicitor, and Marion Mackie, spinster.

HIS GOLFING CAREER

Stephen took an active interest in the game of golf while a young man living in Appledore,Devon. At the time of the 1901 census, taken in Appleton, no occupation was entered by the census taker but at that time he was only age 13 and most likely had just finished school. Unlike his father and older brother Albert, he decided to remain on dry land, rather than spending his life at sea.

By the time Stephen moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1905 at age 17 he was an accomplished golfer having begun as an amateur.

By 1910 he was working as a professional golfer at the Culverden Golf Club and as noted in the 1911 census, taken at Swiss Cottage in Culverden, he lived quite close to the Culverden GC, walking there every day from his residence. As noted in the ‘Overview’ the Culverden GC was founded in 1896 and had a course off Culverden Road. It closed about 1950 and the site of the course was redeveloped into housing. Shown below are some photographs of the Culverden GC. The one on the left is dated 1923 and was produced by Photochrom of Tunbridge Wells.The one on the right is dated 1931.









The golfing career of Stephen Guard is not well documented as no reference was found for him in any books on golf, however much of what is known about him is derived from a large number of newspaper reports in England and Scotland and elsewhere. Some of the newspapers found that refer to him are given below, listed in chronological order. These by no means represent a complete list of articles about him. 

1)    Kent & Sussex Courier September 10,1915 refers to the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club and Stephen Guard as a local golf professional, but not with the club mentioned.

2)    The Aberdeen Press Journal of September 9,1915 referred to a Professional Golf Tournament in aid of the Marquess,Tunbridge Wells Red Cross Fund “which was arranged for yesterday by the Nevill Golf Club on their course in Frant where the players were Jack Forest Row, the professional internationalist; Stephen Guard of the Culverden GC…and others”

3)    The London Standard of September 9,1915 referred to a golf event won by Stephen Guard of the Culverden GC.

4)    The Kent & Sussex Courier of May 30,1919 gave in part “ Nevill Golf Club (formed 1914)….Stephen Guard took up his duties as Professional at the club Monday last, and received good wishes from the members. Guard, who was with the Culverden Club, needs no introduction to local golfers, as he is one of the smallerst Professionals playing……..”. From this article once can state that Stephen began as a Professional with the Culverden GC circa 1905 (some say 1909) and left there in May 1919 to be the Professional at the Nevill GC, in which capacity her served until 1932, having left Tunbridge Wells in 1920 and moved to Sussex. Shown opposite is a photo from the 1920's of the Nevill GC by the local postcard company Photochrom.

5)    The Kent & Sussex Courier of September 5,1919 and November 7,1919 both refer to Stephen Guard “of the Nevill GC”.

6)    The Sheffield Evening Telegraph of October 31,1919 reported in part “ Stephen Guard, the winner of the Kent Golf Championship, is said to be the smallest professional playing. He stands just a fraction over five feet….”

7)    The Kent & Sussex Courier of April 16,1920 referred to a golf tournament sponsored by the Daily Mail which included Stephen Guard with a reference to the tournament being played at the Nevill GC.

8)    The Kent & Sussex Courier of September 17,1920 referred to The Sussex Amateur and Professional match played on the Rye Clubs Course on Wednesday. The article presented the results of the golfers scores including that of Stephen Guard.

9)    The Kent & Sussex Courier of October 1, 1920 and the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser of the same date reported “ Stephen Guard of the golf club was the winner last year but owing to his now living in Sussex he was unable to compete at the Culverden Golf Club”.

10)    The Kent & Sussex Courier of April 15,1921 gave scores of a match in the town, which in part gave “ Stephen Guard of the Nevill Club got round with 156; Sam Humphrey (Tunbridge Wells GC) 162 and B.F. Jones (Culverden GC) 163”.

11)    The Kent & Sussex Courier of July 15,1921 referred in part to “Stephen Guard (Nevill Club) led the way…..”

12)    The Kent & Sussex Courier of November 4,1921 reported in part “ Stephen Guard was a finalist in the Sussex Professional Golfers Championship”.

13)     The Kent & Sussex Courier of July 7,1922  and November 26,1926 referred to Stephen Guard as a professional in connection with the Nevill GC.

14)     The Houston Post of Houston, Texas, USA reported November 25,1923 in part “ Stephen Guard of the Nevill Club, Tunbridge Wells, is diminutive” referring to his short stature.

15)     The Kent & Sussex Courier and the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser of December 3,1926 reported that two golf matches were to “take place tomorrow at the Nevill GC” in which Stephen Guard competed.

16)     The Kent & Sussex Courier of June 17,1927 reported “Tribute to Mr Guard…containing cigarettes and bearing the inscription ‘To Stephen Guard in appreciation of unfailing patience, tact, and skillful tuition, from Miss Dorothy Pearson, finalist, British Ladies Open Golf Championship 1927. The Mayor on behalf of Mr Guard accepted the tribute…..”. Miss Dorothy Pearson, was connected for most of her career with the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club. Details about her can be found in the book reference I gave earlier and in the article I wrote about the history of golf in Tunbridge Wells. Shown opposite is a photo of Dorothy Pearson.

17)   The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser of March 7,1930 reported “Exhibition Golf Match played at the Nevill Course on Saturday between Abe Mitchell, Mark Seymour, Arthur Mitchell and Stephen Guard”.

Last but not least, the Kent & Sussex Courier of July 20,1932 reported “ Harry Amos, one of the most promising young golfers in the county has been appointed “Professional” to the Nevill GC in succession to Stephen Guard. From this one can conclude that Stephen Guard was the professional of the Nevll GC from May 1919 to July 1932.

Recently some gold clubs bearing the name of Stephen Guard appeared on the internet on the websites of auction houses. Shown opposite left is a 43 degree wide flanged Machie Niblick with a length of 36.5” on which appears his name and that of the Culverden Golf Club. The seller of this club stated that Stephen was “a professional club maker at the Culverden Club from 1910 to 1920 but this statement is incorrect as to his club affiliation and years with the club and there is no proof that Stephen “made” golf clubs. It is to be expected that he had golf clubs made for him with his name on them and that they were sold in the tuck shop of the golf club where he worked. The photo shown to the right is a second example of a club on which his name appears but as can be seen the club itself was made in Scotland as “The Mitre Model” for Stephen while he was a professional at the Nevill GC. No doubt other examples of golf clubs bearing his name can be found from time to time on the internet and perhaps lurking in the basement of a Tunbridge Wells resident is a set of clubs with his name on them. Take a look! They might command a good price.

 

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