ALL ABOUT
TUNBRIDGE WELLS

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DAVID WILLIAM HENRY LLEWELLYN -A SOUTHBOROUGH SURGEON

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

Date: October 20,2018

 

David William Henry Llewellyn (1861-1928) was born in Southwark, Surrey, the son of Dr William Ponsonby Johns Llewellyn (1831-1875) and Eliza Jane Llewellyn, nee Smith (1838-1910). A photograph of William P. J. Llewellyn is shown opposite.

David’s father had been born in Cork,Ireland and in 1859 he married Eliza in Hastings, Sussex. She had been born in Brenchley,Kent. It appears that David was their only child. William  was a Licentiate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.  Records of the Freemasons show that William was admitted to the Lodge of Tranquility April 15,1861 and that he was a surgeon.

The Medical Register of 1860 listed William as becoming a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1845 and a Licentiate of Apothecary in 1855.

The 1861 census, taken at 71 Blackman Street , St George the Martyr, surrey gave William as a Licentiate of the College of Physicians and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Living with him was his wife Eliza; his “brother in law” Frederick M. Smith, a scholar. Also there were three assistant surgeons and one house servant.

In 1862 William’s partnership with Dr Frederic William Armstrong Rawlins, operating as surgeons and apothecaries in Surrey under the name of Llewellyn and Rawlins, was dissolved.

In 1864 Colbran’s Military Journal listed William as being appointed in December of that year as an M.D to be a surgeon to the 2nd Surrey Artillery Volunteers Corps. Later he set up a practice in Surrey.

The National Archives has in their collection records of two court cases in which William was named as one of the defendants. These were the 1873 case of Crosse vs Boys and the 1874 case of Crosse vs Heatly.

Probate records gave William Ponsonby Johns Llewellyn late of 40 Newington Causeway, Southwark, Surrey, a surgeon who died December 14,1875 at that address. The executors of his under 1,500 pound estate was his widow Eliza Jane Llewellyn of the same address and Frederick Walter Smith, a surgeon of 108 Blackman Street, Surrey.

Like his father before him David went into the medical field. At the time of the 1871 census David was attending a boy’s school called Cavendish House in Cavendish, Oxfordshire.

At the time of the 1881 census David was a medical student and living with his widowed mother Eliza and one domestic servant at 19 Osborne Terrace in Lambeth, London.

In the 1880’s David was at the St Thomas Hospital (image above dated 1860) in London, which was a noted teaching hospital. He was recorded as being there in the British Medical Journal and also the Medical Times and was taking exams in Anatomical Physiology in April 1880 which he passed for entry into the Royal College of Surgeons.

Sometime in the late 1880’s David moved to Tunbridge Wells. He never married and devoted the remainder of his life as a surgeon in private practice in Southborough.  The Lancet of December 17,1887 listed Dr. D. Llewellyn of Southborough regarding correspondence he submitted regarding the treatment of cancer. Shown opposite is a photo of David taken during the time he lived and worked in Southborough.

A 1890 Medical Directory gave the following information about David while a resident of Southborough. “L.R.C.P. London 1883; MRCS 1883 (St Thomas Hospital); Hon Certificate in Midwifery 1882; Medical officer and Pub. Vacc. 8th District Tonbridge Union. Contributed to ‘Cases of Empyema’ Lancet 1888”.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of April 28,1891 and October 30,1891 both referred to David in connection with the Southborough Local Board.

At the time of the 1901 census, taken at a fine 8 room  white rendered brick home at 6 Garling (Garlinge) Road in Southborough he was a surgeon. With him was his widowed mother Eliza, two cousins in the Smith family and three domestic servants.  David and his cousin Medora Jane Smith,age 40 , who was one of the cousins living with him in 1901 along with one domestic servant were residing at 6 Garling Road when the 1911 census was taken where David was listed as a medical practitioner. David’s mother had died in Southborough in the 2nd qtr of 1910.  

No. 6 Garling Road still exists and is found at the eastern end of Garling Road. This large 2 sty home was finished in white rendering with a slate roof and was a fairly typical home of the Victorian Era.  At the time of the 1881 census at this home, it was occupied by Frederick Hardisty, age 75 and his wife Sophia,age 73 along with two of their spinster daughters Emily,age 49 and Jane,age 42.

Today 6 Garling Road is called the Garlinge Lodge Care House owned by Sira Care Homes Ltd and is an old age home accommodating 14 residents.

In the early 1920’s David moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence in a fine 5 bedroom brick home at 8 Chilston Road (image above). A recent sales brochure by estate agents Bracketts gave the following information about the building. “ An imposing detached double fronted Victorian building, currently used as a medical health centre, with Planning Permission for change of use to a single residential dwelling house of five bedrooms. The property occupies an enviable corner position. Constructed of mellow brickwork with red brick detailing around the windows and doors under a pitched slate roof. The building has been home to a number of successful medical and health clinics over the past 25 years. It has many attractive Victorian decorative features including stained glass and cornicing whilst offering modern, well equipped and prestigious accommodation. The external windows and doors are being redecorated during Autumn 2017. Ground floor is currently consulting rooms, offices, staff,stores and WC. The first floor is of the same use . The building has a guide price of one million pounds”.

Probate records gave David William Henry Llewellyn of 8 Chilston Road when he died September 13,1928. The executors of his 14,226 pound estate were Frederick Henry Stapley, solicitor and Charles Henry West Smith, esq. and his cousin Medora Jane Smith, spinster. Upon his death his furniture, paintings, jewellery and other items including his Chrysler Saloon car were auctioned off October 29,1928. Given above are details of the auction.



THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS TRADESMEN’S ASSOCIATION

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

Date: October 19,2018

OVERVIEW

The Tunbridge Wells Tradesmens Association was founded in 1858 by tradesmen of the town who with a like mind banded together to promote business in the town. Members paid an annual fee to join the Association and an executive was elected by members.

The Association conducted monthly meetings to discuss the state of business and the state of the town and proposed measures that should be taken to promote the town and their business ventures. This Association was an active one and took an interest in and direct action in town affairs. The Association also held grand annual dinners at various hotels and venues where in addition to fine dining they discussed important matters. Their annual dinners were suspended for a time during WW1.

Some of the events the association were involved in included promoting tourism, the planting of trees, the general beautification of the town, organizing the annual Shopping Week parade and events, promoting and participation in special events and parades, foundation laying ceremonies (such as the Pump Room), involvement is legislation affecting business (such as the Shop Early Closing Bill of 1902) and many others. They were actively involved in business matters affected by both wars and during WW1 promoted such things as the sale of war bonds and the provision of food parcels for prisoners

In 1884  the Tradesmen’s Association joined with the Chamber of Commerce and from that time up to 1925 this union of associations went by the name of the Tradesmen’s Association and Chamber of Commmerce. During the period of 1926 to 1882 it was known as the Chamber of Trade. From 1983 to 1989 it was called the Royal Tunbridge Wells Chamber of Commerce and from 1990 to 1997 the Weald & West Kent Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Its last name change was in 1998 when it became the West Kent Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a name is retains today and is the leading support organization for business in the area bounded by Sevenoaks, Edenbridge, Westerham, Tonbridge, Hadlow, Paddock Wood, Cranbrook, Staplehurst, Hawkhurst and Tunbridge Wells.

The mission statement of this organization  is “ To stimulate the success and development of members and their businesses and provide a forum to influence developments in the local community”. Their objectives are “To build the Chamber’s position as a unique, totally comprehensive resource for the benefit of our membership, providing a wide range of high quality services and expert advice to meet their changing needs. The membership is extensive and it is their objective to continue to grow year on year.

The National Chamber of Trade (NCT) was founded in 1897 by the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association and thirteen other similar associations and the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association (and its name variations) were still part of the NCT in 2007 and may well still be members of it.

In this article I present a brief history of the association with examples of their initiatives in the town and a selection of images pertaining to certain events in the town that the association was involved in.

Shown above is a photograph of the Tradesmen’s Association and Chamber of Commerce from 1925. Shown in the photo are the following members of the executive  J.B. Holman, W.F. Hobbs, L.P. Barnes, L.W. Passmore, J.T. Missenden, W.H. Kent, R.S. Harrison. These gentlemen are shown left to right seated. Other members of the Association are shown standing behind them.

THE PRE WW1 ERA

The Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association was founded in Tunbridge Wells by local businessmen in 1858 and since that time its membership has grown, and as noted in the Overview its name has changed, most significantly in 1884 when it united with the local Chamber of Commerce and became the Tradesmen’s Association and Chamber of Commerce.

In 1867 the Freeholders of the Tunbridge Wells Commons agreed to collaborate with the Tradesmen’s Association in planting trees on various parts of the Tunbridge Wells Common, whose open healthy landscape appeared to many to be somewhat barren. Interested in promoting the interests of the town the Association approached the Freeholders in 1874 with a scheme to create a turf walk or Promenade on top of the Common along Mount Ephraim. This was finally put into effect in 1881, providing a pleasant stroll for fashionable visitors, from which they could obtain panoramic views of the town. Shown above is a post card view of Mount Ephraim and the commons.

The Courier of May 8,1885 reported on the Associations annual meeting at the Swan Hotel (image opposite) in the Pantiles.

Where the proposed Skinner’s School (photo opposite left) was to be built was marked by the competition by the Tradesmens’s Associations of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, as each wanted the school constructed in their locality. Tunbridge Wells won out when in 1886 the school was built on St John’s Road. It opened its doors September 1887 with 53 pupils and the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association “were satisfied as they had lobbied for the school to be in Tunbridge Wells and not Tonbridge” according to the Courier article about the opening of the school.

On July 15, 1891 the Association went on an excursion to Hastings. Details of this excursion are given below right  and a photo of them is shown below left.  The cards were sent out to members by the Associations secretary at that time ( Mr. E. Skillen) and members were asked to return the completed cards to the secretary so arrangements could be made based on members preferences.














From the time the Association was founded they held monthly meeting with one of the members of the executive taking the chair. They also began to hold an annual dinner, something which has continued since 1858 apart for a temporary cessation during WW1.

In 1895 the Tradesmen’s Association, who with their interest in promoting tourism maintained a keen interest in the Commons, organised a scheme whereby individuals and organisations could contribute one or more trees, and about 150 were planted over the course of a week in November. The new and outgoing mayors, Major Fletcher Ludwidge and Sir David Salomons, ceremonially performed the first plantings beside Major York’s Road. What was not anticipated was that as these trees matured and grazing declined they would begin to see themselves all over the Commons, beginning a process of uncontrolled transformation of heathland to woodland.

Shown below are two images pertaining to the Associations annual dinner for November 24,1896 at the Pump Room. These annual dinners were typically held in either late November or December of the year and were large events with many of the membership being in attendance. In the images below one can see that the secretary of the Association at that time was Mr R. Stevenson of 29 Queen’s Road.  One of the members ,sent the card below, was even bold enough to indicate who he wished to be seated near.  A review of newspaper articles covering the period of 1859 to 1949 provided many detailed accounts the annual dinners held, details beyond the scope of this article.
















In 1897 the Association was one of fourteen similar associations that founded The National Chamber of Trade (NCT) and remained part of the NCT well into the 21st century. Banding together in this manner gave the individual associations a larger and united voice.

The Courier of December 5,1900 reported on the Associations annual dinner held at the Great Hall (image opposite) Monday evening.

From Hansard in 1902 was coverage of the Shops Early Closing Bill of February 18,1902. This took the form of a petition in favour of the Bill that included hundreds of names including that of the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association.

The Courier of April 16,1902 reported on a meeting of the Association regarding the Nevill Ground and the coming band season. The Association was the driving force behind a bands committee being formed to organize musical entertainments at the towns various bandstands ( the commons, the pantiles, Grosvenor Rec. Ground, Calverley Gardens, the Grove, etc). The Association was also a promoter of various sporting events (such as Cricket Week )in the town, for they drew large numbers of visitors to the area, many of which were held at the Nevill Ground (image below right). Shown below left is a postcard view of one of the towns bandstands and to the right a view of the Nevill Ground.












The Kent & Sussex Courier of September 20,1907 reported in a meeting where the topic “ Ineffective Lighting of the Town” was discussed at the first meeting of the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association after their summer vacation. This meeting was held at the Clarenden Hotel (image opposite).  The Courier of May 27,1906 noted that the same hotel was the site of their monthly meeting.

The book ‘Tunbridge Wells in 1909’ by Chris Jones of the Civic Society contained a number of references to the Tradesmen’s Association. In the section entitled ‘How We Became Royal’ was written “ The traders (of the town) had their own lobbying organisation-the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association, formed in 1858. At a meeting of the Association in May 1908 the possibility of advertising the town was raised. There was a general feeling that it was not getting the number of visitors that it deserved. As individual traders most of them understood the importance of advertising, so why not advertise the town itself? There was some opposition to this. One member thought that if the facilities of the town were improved, it would advertise itself…Mr Stone who voices the concern of many in the town that “that they must consider the class of visitors they wished to attract”.

From the same reference for February 1909 was given “ The Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association held its annual dinner for 400 old people on 3rd February. This was reported by the Courier in its patronising way: “ they gathered in the two halls, a happy family party, wrinkled faces lit up with smiles”. The meal started with an entrée of stewed rabbit and pork which was apparently the most enjoyable course, being particularly suited to toothless gums”.

The same reference for June 1909 gave the following in connection with the June 16th visit by 290 members of the Southend Chamber of Commerce who charted a steamer to Strood and came from there to Tunbridge Wells by train. “ On arrival they were met by the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association. They walked across the Common to the Spa Hotel (image opposite by Harold H. Camburn) for a formal lunch, and were taken by char-a-banc on tour and them back to the Spa Hotel for a strawberry tea. They then walked back across the Common to Ye-Pantiles and a glass of chalybeate water before catching the 7 o’clock train”.

The same reference for August 1909 gave “ What did visitors to the town do?-At a Tradesmen’s Association meeting in June, Mr. H.J. Wilmott, criticising the Council’s meagre allowance for the Band, said “ Afternoon meetings, magic lanterns by night, and meditative walks on the Pantiles are pastimes too mild to give general satisfaction”. And yet they seemed to satisfy the visitors.

The same source in the section entitled ‘ The Common’  reported on stone throwing incidents on the commons and that there had been many complaints including those of the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association back in 1908. Another complaint was the Tradesmen’s Association project of installing shelters on the commons, like the one shown opposite in a postcard by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn, which “seemed to infuriate the Ratepayer’s League. A letter in August spoke of ‘absurd follies such as the hideous, useless shelters on our beautiful Common” , while another complained of it being used by ‘lazy young urchins”.

The Courier of December 17,1909 reported on the death of Mr. R. Stevenson who had been the Associations secretary for many years.

The Courier of June 21,1912 reported that the Tradesmen’s Association suggested family bathing at indoor swimming baths at their meeting Tuesday night at the Great Hall.

The Journal of Gas Lighting, Water Supply, etc of July 23,1912 gave an article entitled “ An Award for Gas” which stated “ An the annual Cricket Festival at Tunbridge Wells the week before last, the illumination of the town was carried out, as in the past for years, on a fairly extensive scale. Electricity was largely utilized for festoons, etc, in the streets, and for the public buildings; but the utility of gas for decorative and illumination purposes was effectively demonstrated by the Tunbridge Wells Gas Company, as a result of which Company was awarded the handsome solid silver challenge shield given to the Tradesmen’s Association for annual competition, by Mr. D. Elliot Alves”. A detailed description of the shield followed.

The Courier of November 21,1913 reported on the improvements to the town recommended by the Tradesmen’s Association.

The Courier of March 20,1914 reported that the Association discussed regulating advertisments and that another shopping week was to be held. Details of shopping week were presented in my article ‘ Shopping Week and the Tunbridge Wells Carnival’ dated August 17,2012. Shown above is a postcard by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn showing one of the Shopping Week floats in the annual parade through the town.

THE GREAT WAR

The outbreak of war for businesses was a double edged sword. On one hand many businesses did well supplying the goods needed to support the war effort, while on the other hand local tradesmen were faced with an uneasy population somewhat reluctant to part with their money during a time of uncertainty. Certainly shortages of goods to sell and the rationing of food and other goods from which they derived their income had a detrimental effect on trade. As more and more men were called up for service, growing numbers from the ranks of tradesmen found themselves having to try and sell their shops or get a family member to run it in their absence. Some shops even closed in the town during the war.

The local Tradesmen’s Association met frequently to assess the situation and try to assist their members in any way possible.  While the Associations main mandate was to help it member it also took an active role in the war effort by promoting the sale of War Bonds and the provision of food packages for war prisoners, just to name two activities. The Courier of October 22,1915 referred to the gratitude of war prisoners for the food parcels provided by the Tradesmen’s Association. The Courier of December 14,1917 made reference to the War Bonds Campaign by the Association.

One generous businessman of the town by the name of Duncan Elliott Alves (image opposite)organized a grand dinner for troops . The Courier commented ‘most minds would have shrunk from the colossal task of carrying it out but Mr Alves is not a man to be appalled by the magnitude of the undertaking’. At only two week’s notice detailed arrangements were delegated to the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association, who recruited around 1,000 men and women to act as stewards, carvers, waiters and entertainers. The catering was carried out by Messrs Parker and Hammick of the Pantiles, whose manager Mr Coles had to call on all his experience of providing colossal dinners for 3,000 or more. Under his direction cookers were installed at each end of the venues and huge volumes of food prepared. At 5;45 that day the troops marched through the town and a group drove round town visiting the various venues where they were greeted with great enthusiasm by the troops who drank to their health. After dinner entertainment was provided by the leading lights of the local musical world who performed various songs.

With the outbreak of war came the end of the Association’s lavish annual dinners at a grand hotel. As noted in the Courier December 13,1918 “After a lapse of years the annual dinner was held Wednesday night, being its 57th function. Shown below are two images pertaining to this event.




















The Courier of March 21,1919 reported on the Association’s meeting at the Great Hall where early closing was one of the topics discussed. Mr. O. Raiswell , the president occupied the chair.

The Courier of November 28,1919 reported on the annual dinner of the Association held at the Spa Hotel “ being the 2nd post war dinner of the Association”. A postcard view of this hotel by Harold H. Camburn is shown opposite.

The following references to the Tradesemen’s Association are from the Civic Society book ‘The Shock of War’ that I had the pleasure of contributed to.

1)    The Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association objected in March 1916 to a Kent County Council plan to open a tuberculosis hospital in the town. Mr T.H. Steddall said;” Was Tunbridge Wells a health resort, or was it going to be a place of reception of persons suffering from tuberculosis” which would scare people away from the town. Alderman R. Vaughan Gower and A.A. Foster shared the same view. As a result the TB hospital was not built.

2)    Regarding food shortages and rationing the Courier reported on an appeal by the Tradesmen’s Association for shoppers to limit their demands to avoid pushing prices us.

3)    In 1915 the Tradesmen’s Association deplored the decline of Tunbridge Wells as a Spa, and emphasised the importance of improving the appearance of the Pantiles.

4)    In 1915 with costs to the town on the rise , the grant to the Band Committee was cut after the band was hired for the summer season, causing protests from the Tradesmen’s Association and their allies on Council.

5)    In 1916 the Finance Committee forecasted and unforeseen surplus of some 10,000 pounds for the year. They proposed to invest the money in war bonds which would produce a dividend. The Council agreed but the Tradesmen’s Association protested at the failure to hand the money back. The strength of the Tradesmen’s Association was possibly also illustrated by the response of the Council  to the District Auditor who questioned the practice of having named local traders as suppliers to the Council , in place of competitive tendering.

6)    Shopkeepers were required to register with the Council, and householders with retailers. Food tickets (later ration books) were issued.

7)    The Tradesmen’s Association appealed for funds to pay for a submarine; this was so successful  that they eventually bought a destroyer.

8)    As early as 1916  the Tradesmen’s Association  demanded the Council identify a home for the Band as soon as peace was declared and discussions continued intermittently  about the provision of a winter garden.

9)    The Tradesmen’s Association decided to celebrate the end of the war by reviving it’s annual dinner at the Spa Hotel on Wednesday December 11th at 5:45pm. Its President was Reginald Arthur Ashby, who owned butchers shops at 54 Calverley Road, 45 Church Road and 9 Ye Pantiles. Shortly before it was to take place , the secretary Mr. H.O. Gilliam became aware of a potential embarrassment and issued a dire warning to all its members stating that members would have to present their ration book at the dinner.

THE INTERWAR YEARS

The Courier of February 20,1920 announced “ the first meeting of the newly amalgamated Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association with the Chamber of Commerce held October 14th at the Great Hall on Tuesday evening, after which was an extraordinary meeting of the Association.

The Courier of October 22,1920  gave “ Tunbridge Wells Chamber of Commerce- The Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association and Chamber of Commerce lectured to a crowded audience of members and their wives at King Charles Hall Tuesday evening on their recent tour of America. Mr Weekes (of the Weekes department store) was one of the party of businessmen representing the drapers who went on the tour. Other prominent businessmen were part of the delegation.

The Courier of September 21,1923 reported that the meeting of the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association and Chamber of Commerce was held at the Kentish Mansions Tuesday with the President Mr Linday Hermitage presiding.

One can  find several pubs bearing the name Tradesmen’s Arms such as the one in the photo above of the Tradesmen’s Arms in Southborough.

In 1931 C.H. Strange gave a lecture to the Tunbridge Wells Natural History Society in which he related the history of commemorative tree planting in the Commons. Among other things at that meeting the Chamber of Trade (incorporating the old Tradesmen’s Association) had also notices that all was not well on the Commons. In a report presented to Conservators they pointed out that an excessive number of young trees, in particular birches, were springing up, that ponds were silting up (such as Fir Tree Pond and Brighton Lake), and that the traditional heathland vegetation was diminishing. No action was taken at that time, and in fact not until after the war due to a shortage of manpower and also because of the various military and civil defence activities on the Commons themselves.

Coronation arches and arches erected after the end of WW 1 and WWII were a common sight in the town during these events. Shown here are two photographs of the 1937 Coronation Arches which were erected on London Road, Southborough, by the Tradesmen’s Association.











DURING AND AFTER WWII

Many experiencing life during WWII well remembered the hardships they faced from the last war and local traders steeled themselves for tough times.

The source for the following information is from the Civic Society book ‘ Tunbridge Wells in the Second World War and the years of Austerity’ by Ann Bates.

Shortages of goods and the consequent need for rationing of food, clothes, petrol and even furniture were inevitable, a hardship felt by both tradesmen and residents alike. Blackout and even curfew restrictions were put in place and travel was greatly restricted. Conscription resulted in many tradesmen in the town signing up for service in the war, and some of them made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

As was the case in WW 1 many individuals and organizations, including the Tradesmen’s Association became involved in fundraising campaigns to support the war effort.

Food rationing began with sugar January 8,1940 and was followed soon after with rationing of tea, margarine, cooking fats, cheese, eggs, milk, chocolate and sweets. At the same time as meat was controlled, controls on the slaughter of fatstock were also very sensibly introduced. In the post war austerity years other staple foods such as bread and potatoes, which were not rationed during the war, had to be rationed in the post war austerity years.

Every household had to ‘register’ with specific retailers and Ration Books could only be used at retailers who were listed in the individuals Ration Book. The number of registered customers controlled the supplies which the retailers received.

The rationing of petrol was introduced September 3,1939, allowing a notional 200 miles a month, a restriction that continued until May 1950. It was then applied progressively to other products such as soap, coal, clothing, footwear and furniture.

Eating out in restaurants came under restrictions in terms of the number of courses served and the quantity/price of food eaten. These restrictions led to the formation of British Restaurants run on a non-profit basis.

Inflation was also another factor which was encouraged by rationing. The overall cost of living index between September 1,1939 and the end of the war in 1945 rose by 31%. As a result people had less money to spend at local businesses.

Blackout restrictions for businesses meant that all business premise owners had to ensure that no light could be seen from any building at dusk. Blackout curtains were installed on the windows and no outdoor shop signs could be lit after dusk. Street lighting was all but shut off making evening shopping difficult.

In 1947 the ambition of the Tunbridge Wells Chamber of Trade was to make the Borough a ‘Front Line Town’ with a first class shopping centre, and in the Autumn it was chosen by the National Chambers of Trade for their annual conference.

In 1949 traders in the town were hoping for a better year with fewer controls and the easing of difficulties in the coming months.

A surge in conferences in the town after the war brought an increasing number of visitors to the town with money to spend.

Although during the war various forms of entertainment were available, after the war they increased significantly much to the delight of the Tradesmen’s Association/Chamber of Commerce, who throughout the war and afterwards campaigned to encourage visitors to the town and boost trade.

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