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

Date: March 21,2013 (updated 2015)


Nevill Park was and is a grand private park established by Lord Abergavenny in the 1850- 1860’s at a time when private parks with large mansions were fashionable.  Nevill Park (the road) was constructed from Major Yorks Road to Langton Road along a high ridge from which vantage point the residents were afforded  a scenic view of the Common and the countryside beyond in a generally southerly direction. Layed out in a sweeping gentle curve the wide road lined with trees and shrubs was a place where the rich and famous desired to live. Along this road were initially constructed a north and south entrance lodge between which were built 11 grand mansions, one of them being #8 Nevill Park, the subject of this article. An image of Nevill Park from the Commons dated 1863 is shown opposite.

Shown opposite is a map that gives  the location of this mansion on Nevill Park. No. 8 is located below the "L" in Nevill. Construction of homes began in this development at the south end (to the right on the map)  with #1 and #2 being the first constructed in the 1830’s. As time passed further homes were constructed working in a direction towards the north gate lodge. Based on a review of directories, census records and planning authority documents the date in which this building was constructed is inconclusive

A planning application in 2006 stated this building is “believed to date from 1828” which of course is incorrect . A planning application dated 1987 said the house was “built some 160 years ago” which would make it about 1827, which is also incorrect. The earliest census record that makes specific reference to #8 Nevill Park was 1861. This mansion is not listed in the 1858 Melville Directory. There are however two listings of residents in Nevill Park for whom no specific house address is given. These are Thomas Guerney,esq and Adolphus Henry Hinuber,Esq. and it is possible that one of them may have occupied the mansion in 1851. There is also a record of a lease of the land for this address dated 1853.Since nothing conclusive could be determined in this regard I begin my coverage of the occupants of the mansion from the time of the 1861 census.

For general information about Nevill Park and its development please refer to my separate article about  it.


This mansion is located on large grounds between #7 Nevill Park on the east and #9 Nevill Park on the west, both of which are original mansions of the development and not recent infills. At the time of the 1911 census it was described as a home of fifteen rooms.Today #8 Nevill Park is hidden from view from the road by a six foot high wall with solid wooden locked gates but shown opposite is a modern view of it showing its front elevation.

#8 Nevill Park appears to have been constructed , just as #1 and #2 Nevill Park were, as a semi-detached villa. Today the east half is referred to as #8 and the west half as #8B. The original grounds of the mansion have over the course of time been altered. Initially the entire semi-detached mansion shared the entire grounds but by about 1984 approval was given for division of the grounds at the far west side to permit a driveway entrance to a new detached house at the rear of the grounds on its own land which today is called ‘Rylands”.

The driveway access to east half of the mansion was and still is along the east side of the dwelling which leads today to a garage at the rear of the grounds. The same arrangement applied to the west half of the mansion. A second plan shows more of Nevill Park  with the original mansion designated on the map as lot #452,made before ‘Rylands’ was constructed.

From planning applications it is stated that “#8 Nevill Park is the eastern part of a large villa style house” and “#8 comprises a semi- detached late regency property…It is currently (2006) arranged as three apartments with the lower level ground floor a self- contained apartment.We understand that there are no records to indicate planning consent was obtained for the use of the building as three flats from its original single family use”. From this is can be concluded that the original mansion was a semi -detached villa with each side being a single family residence and that over time each half was converted into three flats, essentially one flat on each floor of the three storey building.

Recent planning applications refer to the proposed work matching the original building and so from this it can be stated that the mansion had a slate roof; several chimneys serving fireplaces in the main rooms ;that the interior had high ceilings with wide baseboards and decorative cornice. The outside of the mansion was brick rendered.

Planning applications for the east side of the building state that in 2006 “ Unfortunately there are very few of the original features left in the building”. Since #8 Nevill Park was used during WW I as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, much of the interior of the building would have been lost at that time and since then each half of the mansion have undergone repeated renovation. The front elevation of the mansion will today be much as it was when originally constructed.

Shown below is a set of elevations and floor plans for the building showing what it looked like at the time of a 2006 Planning Authority application and below it is a set of plans pertaining to a building extension application in 2007.

Given below is the sequence of occupancy of the mansion with information about each  known occupant.


Bertha is listed at the mansion in the 1861 census. She was born 1823 at Marylebone,London and was given as married with an occupation of ‘scholar’. Living with her are four of her children,Francis,Anna J,Mabel and Ernest,  and eight servants.She is probably related to Rev. William Thornton given below.She is not found in any other records and therefore I was unable to provide more information about her. It is known she was gone from the mansion by 1864


Reverend William Thornton is recorded at #8 Nevill Park in the directories of 1864,1874 and in 1882 there is a listing for Mrs Thornton.William is also found listed there in the 1871 census.

William was born 1807 at Brookall, Northamtonshire. His wife was Anne Georgina Frances Anson(1822-1911) who was born July 14,1822 at St Marylebone,London.She was baptised at St Marylebone July 30,1822 and was one of seven children born to William Anson (General,Sir) (1772-1847) and Louisa Francis Mary Dickinson(1788-1837).

William and Anne had six children namely Mary Susan,born 1847, Eleanor Louise,born 1850,Thomas William,born 1850,Bertha Anne,born 1853;Anne Latitia,born 1858 and Mabel born 1858. Birth locations for the children show that the Thornton family were living in Northamptonshire in 1850 and in Tunbridge Wells in 1853 when their daughter Berta Anne was born.

He is living at the mansion in the 1871 census with his wife Anne G.F and their children Thomas W. age 20, Mary Susan,age 24, Bertha Anne,age 18, Anne Letitia,age 13 and Mabel,age 13.Also present in the household was a governess and five servants.

Probate records give The Reverend William Thornton late of Kingsthorpe,Northamptonshire, cler, died May 20,1881 at Cannes, France.His will was proved by Anne Georgina Frances Thormton, widow, the relict and Thomas William Thornton,esq,, both of whom were of Kingsthorpe. William left an estate valued at about 55,000 pounds.


The 1871 census records Thomas S. Lightfoot, born 1898 at St James, London who at the time was living on own meas. Living with him was his wife Mary Ellen born 1823 at Rothwell,Yorkshire.There were also seven servants in the household. The 1899 Kelly records ‘Misses Lightfoot 8 Nevill Court.The 1891 census at the mansion records Thomas living on own means with his wife Mary E and seven servants.

The 1901 census taken at #8 Nevill Court records Mary E. Lightfoot,age 78, born 1823 at Bothwell, Yorkshire. Living with her are seven servants. Mrs Lightfood is listed at this address in the 1903 Kelly directory.Mary is given as a widow living on own means.

The Lightfoot family had been living at Ashford Hall in Askham Bryon.Yorkshire in 1871 and in 1861  at Great Brookham,Surrey.In 1861 Thomas was listed as a landed proprietor and a fund holder and in the 1871 census as a landowner.

Probate records give Thomas living at #8 Nevill Park when he died there December 3,1895. Probate was to his wife Mary Ellen,widow, and William Mussenden, a retired major in HM army. Thomas left an estate valued at about 133,000 pounds. His wife Mary Ellen died at #8 Nevill Park on April 19,1910.Her executor was Walter Austin,Esq. and she left an estate valued at about 13,000 pounds. No record of occupants of the mansion could be found in the 1911 census. 


James was born 1844 at Tavistock,Devon and by 1881 was a an American Merchant. The 1881 census taken at the mansion records James with his wife Muriel(Marie Louise Day), born 1852 New Orleans, USA and their two children Cora D. age 6 and Marie A, age 4, who was born 1877 at Wickenham,Middlesex. The couple also had at the time of the census an unnamed baby born 1881 Tunbridge Wells. James 71 year old widowed mother Mary Sanders ,born 1810 Yelverton,Devon. Also in the household as was one visitor and seven servants.

James had been born January 18,1844 at Tavistock,Devon and was one of five children born to Richard Sanders(1810-1878) and Mary Brooking,born 1810. James Was living at Islington,Middlesex in 1851 and at Edgbaston,Worwichshire in 1861. On April 24,1873 James married Marie Louise Day (1852-1922) at New Orleans,Louisiana,USA. By 1881 he and his family were living in Tunbridge Wells at #8 Nevill Park. By 1891 they have moved to Fhenley,Hertforshire and in 1911 are found in Chelsea,London.

Marie Louise Day was one of seven children born to James Ingersoll Day(1812-1895) and Eliza Armitage(1816-1896) and she had come from a wealthy family.

James and Marie had the following children; Cora Brooking(1875-1953), Mary Armitage(born 1876), Nesti Jennie Mona(born 1880), James harris(born 1882), Helen Dorothy(born 1884) Grace Louise Wookham(1888-1931) Mary Ann Dolling(1889-1974) Ricahrd Ingersoll(1891-1915) and Robert Brooking(1894-1907).

It is not known when James Sanders died or when the Sanders family left the mansion but is is expected that they were gone by 1914. It is known that he owned the home in 1914 but the circumstances in which he "gave" the home for use as a VAD hospital during the war are not known.


A postcard view of this building on eBay records on it that the mansion was used during WW I as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital.It is also found in a list of Government records pertaining to the VAD. It became a VAD hospital in 1914 and it is known that the VAD hospital established in Bidborough Court in October 1924 had been transferred to 8 Neville Park by October 1915. No. 8 Nevill Park  was referred to as ‘The Hollands’ and ceased to be a hospital on February 28,1919. The Nevill Park VAD was one of twelve such hospitals operating in Tunbridge Wells during the war as of the autumn of 1917. It had taken some time for the VAD to secure a building in Nevill Park but when they did it was quickly made ready for use and staffed. As the name suggests most of the staff were volunteers. These hospitals were organized by the British Red Cross Society and together with St John Ambulance Voluntary Aid Detachments were formed to train medical reserves. The intention was to release qualified nurses from mundane tasks and the nursing of convalescents.The work carried out by the VAD’s made a significant contribution to medical services in the First World War. The County of Kent was home to almost one hundred such hospitals.

The Nevill Park VAD seems to have expanded to a capacity of about 300 beds, since 300 patients were invited to a Christmas entertainment at the nearby Spa Hotel in 1917, and about the same time there were prizes for the best decorated-for-Christmas ward (or tent), and in 1917 it was won by Tent No. 2.

Although most men recovered from their injuries there of course were some who did not survive. One of the casualties was Lieut William Charles Brown of #4 Erskine Park Road who was at the Nevill Park VAD when he died on November 7,1915 at age 29.He had been the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Brown of Park Road and was a Rusthall School Boy who had joined the Volunteers on leaving school and later joined the Royal West Kent Regiment.

W. Charrington Wood, M.D., F.R.C.S, who was in general practice at Penshurst,Kent for many years ,had been a medical officer to one of the Kent VAD’s during the war and had helped to run the VAD hospital at Nevill Park. He died May 17,1958.

The Glengow Archives has online a large selection of correspondence pertaining to Sidney Brooks(1871-1957), a Canadian soldier who had been injured in France and was sent to the Nevill Park VAD for treatment and to recover. He wrote letters daily to his wife in Canada and in those letters he provided in part an insight into the hospital. When he signed up for service he had a wife and seven children back in Alberta,Canada. His letter of June 27,1917, written shortly after his arrival at the hospital, said in part “I have enjoyed very much my walk through the principal parts of Tunbridge Wells including Toad Rock and around the hospital which is a very fine residence with walks and drives and stables and grounds and oh yes  a small greenhouse full of tomatoes”. He goes on in other letters to remark on how well he was being treated; the good food being served, and how “fine” all the nurses were.He had nothing but praise for the hospital and the care he was being given. After the war the home was returned to its owner.

Shown above is a closeup view of the home taken during WW 1 and below it is a view of the building by Alec Brook.


Mrs Drew  is recorded at the mansion in the 1922 Kelly  and a Basil Drew is there in the 1930 Kelly.Neither of them are there in the 1918 Kelly.

Basis Drew was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1894. Based on the 1911 census taken at Tormshow,Devin he was one of five children born to John Charles Drew, born 1857 at Polloxhill,Bedfordshire, a J.P. for Sussex. Basils mother was Frances Drew,born 1871 at Oldham,Lancashire. Basisl siblings were Adrian(Adkins) born 1892 Tunbridge Wells, Cedric,born 1897 at Tunbridge Wells,Mary, born 1901 at Wadhurst and Nancy born 1907 at Wadhurst. The 1911 census records that his parents had been born 20 years and had 5 children, all of whom survived. The 1901 census records the family living at Wadhurst Hall in Sussex.Basils father was given in the 1901 census as living on own means and in the 1911 census as the manager of the Imperial Hotel in Torquay.

Basis Drew, having been born in Tunbridge Wells returned to his place of birth after 1918 but before 1922. It is expected that they remained at the mansion until about the beginning of WW II.


I begin with information obtained from Planning Authority Applications for the east half of the building. The first application available online is for 1987 when an application was made for the construction of a post and panel three car garage with a corrugated steel roof. This application was refused on the basis of its poor appearance relative to other buildings in the area.

In 2006 an application was made for a proposed extension and alterations to the east half of the mansion to convert the three flats back into a single family dwelling. This application was withdrawn by the applicants Mr and Mrs R. Macgegor.In this application is stated that this part of the building was currently three apartments with the lower ground floor being a self- contained flat. This application had also called for the demolition of “the substandard garage at the rear of the property” and the construction of a new garage. None of  this work was carried out at the time and the owners had their architect put together a new proposal for consideration. Shown in the previous section  is an architect’s drawing of the east half of the building showing the “existing” floor plan and elevations. In 2007 the proposal was resubmiited and approved but again it appears the work was not carried out.

In 2007 an application was made by the Macgregor’s for a rear extension to the east half of the mansion. A plan of the proposed work was shown in a previous section of this article. The area highlighted at the north east rear corner of the building was the location of the proposed extension. In 2007 an application was approved for the installation of an inground swimming pol.

Two applications for Planning Authority approval are noted for the west half of the building (8B). The first was in 1983 for demolition of a garage.The application made by J.M. Price,esq, was approved. In 1993 P. Bayfield applied for permission to convert the existing dwelling to a dwelling with a basement flat but this was refused.

The only other application of significance was in 1984 for the construction of Rylands with a garage at the rear of 8B Nevill Park. This application was approved and in 1989 an application for a single storey rear extension to this residence was approved and in 2012 applications for 1st floor and roof extensions to it were also approved.

In 2012 ‘Ryland’s was sold for 650,000 pounds. In 2010 #8 Nevill Park sold for 2,219,500 pounds.In 2007 Rylands  sold for 730,000 pounds and #8 Nevill Park for 654,000 pounds.



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

Date: November 25,2013


The Broadwater Estates Development in the south part of Tunbridge Wells was a residential development scheme of the Marquess of Abergavenny in the 1860’s, similar to those of the Marquess in Nevill Court and Hungershall Drive, Warwick Park, to name just three. The Broadwater area was all land owned by the Marquess and with his land agent William Delves decided to turn a large area of unused land into a lovely residential subdivision, initially consisting of St Mark’s Churh and 45 mansions. One of these mansions was 36 Broadwater Down, located on the north side of the road between the church and Eridge Road.

This grand mansion, built in the 1870’s initially sat on large and lovely landscaped grounds on a beautiful avenue lined with lime trees and the beauty of the area proved to be one in demand for a place to live by the rich and famous. The mansion has seen a number of residents over the years and is fortunately one of the survivors of the original development, in which so many others have been demolished to make way for redevelopment. In the period up to and for a while after WW II this mansion remained as a single family residence, but in the 20th century the mansion was converted into flats, a use it retains today.

Later in the 20th century the drive to the mansion became a road, called Kentish Gardens and on that road have been constructed many modern homes. Kentish Gardens has been enlarged over the years and was created on land that formed the rear of the grounds of #36 Broadwater Down as well as land to the east and west of it that had been the rear grounds of other neighbouring mansions.

This article records the history of the mansion up to the 1930’s and provides information about its occupants.


Shown opposite is a portion of the 1907 OS map of Broadwater Down. No. 36 is the home opposite St Mark's Church at the intersection. As one can see all of the mansions were constructed on large grounds and set back a good distance from the road. Initially there was an entrance gate connected to stone pillars with a short connecting wall just back of the road, from where a carriage drive extended to the front and side of the mansion. In addition to the mansion was constructed a coachhouse where the coachman and his family resided and which provided a place for the storage of the owners carriage. There was also a small stable where the groom resided and where the horse(s) were kept. The coachouse was converted in the 20th century into a private residence and remains today at the south east corner of the road entrance with an address of #36b.The 2007 map shown in the "occupants" section later in this article provides a closeup view of the location of the mansion; its former coachhouse; along with the route of the road and a portion of the Kentish Gardens development.The large area bordered in black was a parcel of land which developers were seeking approval to develop. Details of all the planning authority applications pertaining to Kentish Gardens can be found on the Borough website.

Shown below is a recent photograph of the mansion. Although the exterior of the residence looks today much like it did when built the grounds have been significantly changed. Also, in the 20th century the mansion was, like so many others in the area, converted into 8 flats and in 2013 approval was given for conversion of a storage area in the basement into a one bedroom flat, bringing the total to 9 flats.

The mansion was constructed with local yellow tone brick with brown stingcourses between each floor. Its roof space was used as living quarters with light provided by windows in the gables and a few dormers. The roof itself was covered with brown slate tiles. As one  can see, the original chimneys remain and connected to grand fireplaces in each of the rooms. Over the years of course a central heating system was installed , as well as electric lighting and upgrades to plumbing. The interior of the home has been significantly altered to accommodate its division into flats but the flats themselves ,although modern, still include some of the original architectural features such as decorate cornice moulding and some fireplace mantles.

The decorative eaves of the mansion are very pleasing as is the covered front entrance . Most of the front yard and part of the rear of the mansion has been covered in asphalt to provide parking for the tenants. A garden at the rear is still available for enjoyable outdoors living. Originally most of the grounds was covered with a well- manicured lawn and layed out in flower gardens with many species of trees and is not known who the architect was the designed the mansion  nor is it known who the builder was, but it is possible that it was built by the firm of George Mansfield and Son who the Marquess had hired as the principal builder in the development.


No record of the mansion was found in the 1871 census or the 1874 Kelly Directory but it is known that it was occupied at the time of the 1881 census by 71 year old widow Seraphine Moore. The census records her living there from money she derived from dividends. Living with her were here three daughters Frances M,age 40, Emma H,age 35 and Maria C, all spinsters. Also present in the home were three visitors and six servants. Residing in the coachhouse was a coachman and his family. In 1871 Seraphine was living at 13 Buxton Road in Brixton,Susses with her husband Robert William Moore, born 1795 London, a retired stockbroker. Also living with her was their six children and six servants. In the 1861 census, taken at Brighton Rise, Sussex she was living with her stockbroker husband; their eight children; and seven servants. Robert William Moore died March 10,1877 at Brixton Rise leaving an estate valued at under 300,000 pounds, a considerable sum for the  times. He is noted in the probate records as having been with the stock exchange in the City of London. His executors were William Edward Moore of Brixton Rise, of the Royal Exchange buildings, Seraphina Moore,widow, William Isaac Carr of the Royal Exchange Buildings, esq, the nephew, George Tunstall of Worcester Park, esq and Herbet Dalton of Tunbridge Wells, Kent,esq.

Seraphine is found residing at 36 Broadwater Down in the 1891 census and living with her was one of her daughters and seven servants. Probate records give Seraphine Moore of “Wyverstone” Broadwater Down,widow, died May 19,1896. Probate was to Robert Tunstall Moore, esq, Emma Hannah Moore,spinster and the Rev’d Christopher Stewart Watson,clerk. Seraphine left and estate valued at about 35,000 pounds.

The next occupant of #36 was William Dust, a gentleman who made his fortune in the drapers trade.William had been born 1850 at Godmanchester,Huntingdonshire and was one of several children born to Thomas Dust, born 1808 at Blinham,Bedfordshire, a rag merchant, and Sarah Dust, born 1809 at Southill,Bedfordshire. In the 1851 census, taken at Godmanchester, William was living with his parents and two siblings,Thomas, age 8, and Lucy,age 5. In 1871 William is found at St Giles in the Fields, London working as a draper’s assistant.

On October 5,1876 William married Margaret Helena Havard at Brighton Sussex. Margaret was the daughter of James Rogers Havard. In the 1881 census, taken at the Bank Buildings #4 and #6 High Street, St Paul,Bedordshire, William was a draper employing six ladies and one youth in his drapers business. Living with him was his wife Margaret, born 1850 at Brynmar,Wales and their son William Harris H.Dust, age 2.Also on the premises were five drapers assistants, two apprentices and three domestic servants.

After the death of Seraphine Moore in 1896 William Dust moved into #36 Broadwater Down. He is found there in the 1901 census , as a silk mercer, and living with him was his wife , his niece and five servants and a stable boy. In the coachhouse was the coachman and his family. The Dust family had left #36 sometime before the 1911 census and are found in 1911 at 55 Putney Hill in Wandsworth,London where William was a retired draper. Living with him was his wife Margaret and four servants. The census records that the couple had been married 34 years and had two children which both survived and that their residence had 15 rooms.

Margaret Dust died June 1923 at Wandsworth and in March 1925 William married Elva Shute Cubb at Wandsworth,Surrey. William died October 4,1935 at Royston Putney Hill. Probate was to Elva Shute Dust,widow and to his solicitor and accountant. He left an estate valued at about 95,000 pounds. On January 23,1965 Elva Spry Dust,also known as Elva Shute Dust died at Oakfield. She had been a resident of Longhury New Town,Uckfield,Sussex. Probate was to Kenneth Shute Estlin, electrical engineer and Bertram Swindells, chartered accountant. She left an estate valued at about 72,000 pounds.

The next recorded occupant of #36 Broadwater Down was Henry Ramsey. A Lt. Colonel with the Indian Army. He is found in the 1911 census at #36 as a retired Lt. Col. on a pension. Living with him was his wife Sophia, born 1869 in Calcutta, India. Henry was born in Almora, India in 1855 and it was in India that the couple were married and later moved to England. The 1911 census, also records six servants and a coachman and his family in the coachhouse.

Going back in time Henry Ramsey was living with his grandparents in Hertforshire in 1861.His grandfather had something to do with the East India Company. A review of passenger lists records Henry Ramsey departing from Bomby,India and arriving in London on March 9,1892. In the 1901 census he and his wife Sophia and their children Archibald,age 6; Maud,age 5 and Vera age 8 mths and eleven servants were living in Cranbrook, Kent. Henry was at that time a Lt Col. in the army. What happened to Henry after 1911 is not known by the researcher .

The next known occupant of #36 Broadwater Down was Wellington Archibald Williams, a J.P., who is found listed at that address in the 1918 to 1922 Kelly directories. Wellington had been baptised March 21,1881 at Kensington St John the Divine, the son of William Williams and Sarah Emma Williams. On November 27,1923 the Marquess, who had retained ownership of the land, sold #36 as a freehold interest, on November 27,1923 to Miss Agnes Dalrymple and Miss Mary Wallace. These spinster ladies remained in the home throughout the remainder of the 1920’s and then Viola Lewis Navarro, a native of Spain, lived there throughout the 1930 to 1938 period. With this I conclude my coverage of this residence.



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

Date: March 5,2012

Germany has a long history in the printing trade and apart from the invention of the printing press many of its occupants took up this business in a big way and throughout the 19th century produced in my opinion some of the best,and highest quality,printed materials. In 1878 the process of lithography was invented by Alois Jenefelderin in Germany and was introduced to Britian in 1801 and it was from this process that most of Britains early printing was based.The new towns like Manchester,England established flourising printing industries and it is Manchester that is the scene of the beginning of the Hildesheimers printing empire.

Mid Victorian Britain had welcomed political refugees and economic migrants from Europe.Over the period of 1851-1881 some 118,000 Jews arrived in Britian and large concentrations of them settled in places like Leeds and Manchester. Two Jewish brothers by the name of Siegmund and Albert Hildesheimer were among those who left Germany with their families to live in Britian and in January 1869 they took up residence in Manchester leaving their siblings and parents behind in Germany.

The parents of these two gentlemen were Abraham Hildesheimer,born August 24,1797 at Halberstadt,Germany and who died in Germany July 3,1844.Its is not known if Albert worked in the printing trade or not but it is quite possible he did for many Jewish men from the area he lived in worked in the printing trade. Alberts wife was Sarah Meyer,born July 10,1800 and who died June 16,1881 in Gemany.The couple was married September 13,1820  and produced the following children; Albert(1843-1924),Siegmund(1831-1896),Friederike(1822-1863),Meyer Aron(1824-1889),Morita(1826-1901),Jenni Henrietta(1829-1903),Levi(b1835),Hermann(1837-1865),Gustav(1839-1907) and Schine(1841-1880).

For purposes of clarity I have divided up this account into two parts. Part 1 deals with the life and times of Siegmund(1831-1896) and his decendents who set up  a printing business in Manchester and later London.Part 2 deals with his brother Albert(1843-1924) who set up his own printing business in Manchester and later London and who went into partnership with several individuals including Charles William Faulkner,a name well known in Britian in the printing industry.

The Hildesheimer business is not known as a producer of postcard views of Tunbridge Wells although the odd example can be found. They were best known locally for their production of greeting cards which could be purchased in the local shops. Some examples of their postcards and greeting cards are given in this article.


This company was begun by Siegmund Hildesheimer in Manchester.He was born July 24,1831 at Halberstadt,Germany and took up residence in Manchester January 1869 and began working in the printing trade.He first began publishing books and began printing Christmas cards in 1876.In 1879 the company indroduced "The Penny Basket" set of cards.In 1881 they held a design competition and exhibition at St James Hall,London and began reproducing etchings and water colurs by the artist Wilfrid Ball,a member of the Society of Paint Etchers.

By 1881 the company opened premises in London and began to produce advertising cards and then postcards on a variety of subjects.Most of their cards were artist drawn views and issued in sets.Some of these had heraldic designs placed on them.They also published comics,art reproductions,real photo portraits,and black & white postcards from which a series on horses is notable.Many of their earlier postcards were printed with a linen texture.They also contracted the printing of postcards with many local publisheers and through their office in New York City.

The 1881 census taken at 44 Richmond Grove,Manchester,Lancashire records 50 year old Siegmund as a picture importer but trade directories of that date show the company sold gilt mouldings,published oleographs,chromos and Christmas cards.When the business establised premised in London it initially produced advertising cards and then postcards on a variety of subjects,but they were best known for their Christmas cards.Siegmund specialized in silvered,frosted and embossed cards which were printed in France or Germany,as well as more localized printers.Much of the subject matter in these cards would be considered rather "sugary" and sentimental for today's tastes,but the standard of artistry and reproduction was remarkably high and they are an interesting barometer of the times.Siegmund is said to have been among the first to depict black personages,presumably for the American market, on postcards.His postcards are marked with a capital 'H" superimposed on a capital "S" and are easily identifiable.When the 1881 census was taken Siegmund had his wife Pauline and daughter Annie living with him. Pauline was born Pauline Hirsh on April 6,1835 at Berlin,Germany and were married August 15,1858 in Germany.Their daughter Annie or Anna,as she is sometimes called was born August 10,1860.She would go on to marry Hugo Sommerfeld July 3,1882 and raise three children. Their other daughter Margarethe was born September 24,1859.She married Ferdinand Wunderlich December 26,1878 and raised two children.There is also a record of a son by the name of Reginald Wunderlich Hildesheimer being born to the couple on August 18,1882 who died in New York,USA in 1966.

Electoral registers for the period of 1890 to 1896 record Siegmund at Kensington,North,London.Fold out greeting cards were also a company specialty.An advertisment dated 1884 in The Stationary Trades Journal for example boasted of "Valentines,Tasteful in Conception" with offices at that time in Manchester,London and New York.The company produced countless fold-out and other three dimensional Valentines cards but those who collect them say they are not marked with the company name but easily recognizagle by their style and quality.Most of the cards produced by the company were printed in the 1870's to early 1900's under several names and produced many very unusual holiday cards for Christmas,New Years,Valentines,Easter etc.,all very well printed.

The company was reorganized a number of times as can be seen from the announcements in the London Gazette with Siegmund taking on various partners.The business became a Limited company by 1889 based on directory listings.

The company had premises at 63 Miller Street,Manchester initially but in the period of 1889 to 1895 they had premises at 14-16 Silk Street,London.Through the period of 1901 to 1927 the company was listed in the directories as S. Hildesheimer & Co. Ltd "Fine art Printers" at 96 Clerkenwell,London.

In 1894 Siegmund's wife Pauline passed away.Probate records record she was living at the time at 87 Oxford Gardens.Middlesex and died Spetember 14.1894.The executors were Siegmunds brother Albert Hildesheimer "Fine Art Publisher" and August Bierer stock broker.She left an estate valued at 95 pounds.In 1896 Siegmund himself passed away. Probrate records show he was also living at 87 Oxford Gardens,Middlesex but died April 22,1896 at "Smedley's hydropathic establishment" at Matlock Derbyshire.He is recorded at that time as the "director of S. Hildersheimer and Company Limited fine art publishers".The executors of his estate,valued at 7,715 pounds, were his brother Albert "fine art publisher" and August Bierer,stock broker.Both Pauline and Siegmund were buried in the Willesden Jewish Cemetary(United) on Beaconsfield Road.

As noted above the company continued in business after the death of Siegmund in 1896 with the last directory listing found for the company under the name of S. Hildesheimer & Co. Ltd in 1927.It is not known who ran the company after Siegmunds death for his son Reginald born in 1882 would have been only 14 years old.It is likely that Siegmund had a business partner who took over the operation of the business.


Albert Hildesheimer was born October 17,1843 at Halberstadt,Germany and took up residence in Manchester in January 1869 and like his brother Siegmund(1831-1896) started up a printing and publisheing business in Manchester.In 1876 Albert was an importer of fancy and transfer prints with premises at #13 Shudehill but by 1880 moved to London and occupied premises at 41 Jewin Street operating initially under the business name of Albert Hildesheimer.On March 25,1876 an advertisment appeared in the Australian and New Zealand Gazette that read "A;bert Hildesheimer 13 Shudehill,Manchester,manufacturer of bronze powder,publisher of chromo prints and transfer pictures.Albert Hildesheimer begs to call to the attention of manufacturers,shippers and the wholesale trade,to his Transfer Prints,which are superior in quality and design to any in the trade.Subjects can be supplied for any purpose.Sole agent for Mr. C.A.Poncher,Nurnbery.Descriptive price list post free on application".

On October 26,1871 Albert married Emile Cahn.Emile had been born June 20,1849 at Eschwedge,Germany.Together the couple had three children namely Alfred,born September 5,1873 who married Cicely Agliffe Glynn(1888-1909) and had four sons and one daughter; a son Henry,born January 13,1879 who married May Sark and had two daughters and Else born December 5,1873 who married Simon Biheller(1864-1932) and had two daughters and one son.

In 1881 Charles William Faulkner(1856-1915) and Albert Hildesheimer(1843-1924) went into partnership and occupied premises at 41 Jewin Street in London operating under the business name of Hildesheimer & Faulkner (H&F).In 1881 the company held a competitive exhibition of greeting card designs at the galleries in Suffolk Street where the company offered 2,000 pounds as prizes for good designs.The distinguished Royal Academicians, John Everett Millais,Marcus Stone and George Adolphus Storey judged the entries.The best of the designs were reproduced the following year and received a mixed reaction.Some critics considered the designs "hopelessly conventional" but others felt that the higher prices examples in the selection were "rendered more acceptable".The artist Alice Havers took the first prize for her "A Dream of Patience"card which when printed noted on the back in decorative printing that it had won the first prize in the competition.In 1881 Albert was living at 14 St James Square,Kensington and was listed as a "commission merchant" and he was still living there in 1901.In that census he was living with his wife Emilie and children Alfred,age 7,Alice,age 5, and Henry,age 2.His wife Emilie is working as a fancy stationer,no doubt in her husbands business.

Although the company worked initially as lithographers they also began printing in gravure in 1882 and sometime during the partnership established an American agent for their products called Appleton & Co. at 309 Broadway,New York.Most of the products made by the company were Christmas,New Year and other special occasion cards.About 1890 they put out a series of cards about Charles Dickens characters.The company also printed/published several  books such as "Book of Old Ballads" 1890; "Cradle Songs"1892 and other childrens books.Also of note is the well known works of Beatrix Potter (of Peter Rabbit fame).She submitted six drawings to H&F which they published in 1890.The company prospered and expanded their premises and when Faulkner and Hildesheimer dissolved their partnership by mutual agreement on December 13,1892,as advertised in the London Gazette of January 3,1893,the company was at that time operating from premises at #41 Jewin Street;#4 New Zealand Avenue and at #13 Bardican in the city of London.Under the terms of the dissolutionment Albert was to carry on business on his own account at #4 New Zealand Avenue and Charles Faulkner at #41 Jewin Street under the business name of C.W.Faulkner and Co.. The arrangement also called for "all debts owed to and owing by the said firm will be received and paid by Arthur Edward Ayres,the person appointed by the partners,at the premises of #13 Barbican."

Cards produced by Albert after the partnership ended are identified by the marks of "A.Hr" or by "Albert Hildesheimer-Fine Art publisher and colour printer-2 New Zealand Avenue,Barbican,London EC.Albert remained at this address until the end of 1901.In 1898 the company name became Albert Hildesheimer & Co.In the period of 1902-1903 the company perated  as an art publisher and colour printer at 33 & 34 Shoe Lane,London.From 1904 to 1909 the business was located at Coventry House,South Place London and at #9-11 Wilson Street,London.By the time the business moved to Coventry House it was operating under the name of Albert Hildesheimer & Son and it was his youngest son Henry (b1879) who had entered his fathers business.Although his name as "Son" in the company name was not recorgnized until Henry was about 25 he had of course worked in the business earlier. Alberts other son Albert junior had gone to university and become a barrister with an law office in London.It should be pointed out that sometime before 1924 both of Alberts sons had changed their last name to "Hildesley" and I suspect this may have been done before WW I in an attempt to distance themselves from a German sounding name.

In the 1901 census taken at 97 Oxford Gardens,Kensington,London Albert is an art publisher living with his wife "Emeline" and son Henry plus two servants.

The London Gazette of December 23,1904 announced that as of December 15,1904 the partnership betweeen "Albert Hildesheimer and Paul Alfred Baumann,carrying on busines as fine art publishers at 33 and 34 Shoe Lane,London as Albert Hildesheimer had been disolved by mutual consent.This dissolution coincided with the relocation of business premises of Albert to # 44 Coventry House,London.

In 1911 Albert was living at 13 Woodchurch Road NW London and from 1909 to 1914 the business operated from premises at 50 Moor Lane,London.In the 1911 census Albert is living with his wife Emilie and his son Henry,age 32 who's occupation is given as "Fine Art Publisher".

In 1922 the company exhibited their products at the British Industries Fair in Olympia.The fair had begun in 1915 and continued each year until it was suspended in 1939 but resumed in 1949.The company advertesed at the 1922 farir the following "The leading Art Publisheers-Christmas cards,birthday cards,postcards.Also daily tear-off blocks calendars,turnover calendars,novelty calendars,toy and painting books,pictures,posters,showcards(stand No.K72)".In 1929 the company exhibited at the fair again offering all types of calendars,christmas,new year cards,painting books and boxes,motto cards,diaries,story books,picture post cards,advertising novelties and occupied Stand No.R46.Shown is a copy of the companies advertisment for the 1922 fair.

On May 2,1922 Albert's wife Emilie passed away and was buried in the Willesden Jewish Cemetary(United) on Beaconsfied Road.Albert Hildesheimer passed away on April 10,1924 at Hampstead and was buried in the same cemetary.The probate record for Albert records that at the time of his death he was living at Millbrook Woodchurch Road West Hampstead,Middlesex.His executors were his sons Alfred "Hildesley",barrister and Henry "Hildesley",colour printer and Simon Biheller,merchant. He left an estate valued at 27,740 pounds.

With the death of his father in 1924 Henry Hildesley took over the business and the company name became Henry Hildesley Ltd who in the period of 1925 to 1927 were advertised as Lithographic printers at 124 Shacklewell Lane and 45 Beford Row,both in London.In fact the first directory listing for this company at 124 Shacklewell Lane is in 1916 indicating that his father had retired from business by then.From 1928to 1949 the company was located at 124 Shacklewell Lane.A 1950 directory records the business as colour printers at The Old House,Knaresborough.In 1955 two listings for the company are found namely Shacklewell Lane and #8 Bond End,Knaresborough.

Henry Hildesley died September 1944 at Barnet,Middlesex. but this did not end the company for there are directory listings for the company Henry Hildesley Ltd from 1963 to 1970 at Shacklewell Lane "Albert Works" advertising as designers and colour printers. There are also drectory listings for the period of 1966 to 1971 for a company of the same name as showcard manufacturers at 73 a Middle Street in Brighton,Sussex.Although I have not traced the history of the company beyond 1971 it is likely it continued for at least a few more years and was no doubt run by a son of Henry's.



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

Date: March 3,2012

The central figure in this story is Charles William Faulkner born in the second quarter of 1855 at Huddersfield,Yorkshire.His father was William Failkner,born 1818 at Daventry,Norhampshire,who worked morst of his life as a commercial traveller in the drapery trade.Charles mother was Mary,born 1823 in Whitchurch,Buckinghamsire.In the 1861 census taken at #15 Cook Street in Hulme,Lancashire Charles is just beginning school and living at that address with his parents and siblings Eleanor Mary,age 13;James Henry,age 19;Ernest Arthur,age 7;Percy Sinclair,age 3 and sister Eveline Gurtrude,6 mths old.All of the children in the family were born at Huddersfiled except for Evelaine who was born at Hulme.There is also a record of another son born 1863 called Septimus Henry Faulkner but it seems he died as an infant.

When Charles finished his schooling he took an interest in the printing and publishing trade and learned the business as an apprentice from a local printing company,something which normally takes 6 to 7 years.Appretices normally start around the age of 13 so if Charles career was like most others he would have finished his apprentiship about 1875. The 1881 census,taken at #2 Wellesley Terrace,Heaton Norris,Lancashire is a small suburb of Manchester and during this time Manchester is a manufacturing town with a well established printing industry.In this census Charles is working as a "Fine Art Publisher" and living with his parents and siblings Eleanor,James,Ernest and Percy.His little sister Eveline had a short life and passed away by this time.Charles's father is still working as a commercial traveller.His brother James Henry is in the same profession as his father. Ernest Arthur Faulkner is working as a commercial traveller in fine arts and his younger brother Percy is a salesman fine arts.Both Ernest and Percy are working with their brother Charles in his business.Also operating a printing/publishing business in Manchester at this time are brothers Siegmund and Albert Hildesheimer who had left Germany to live in England and who had taken up residence in Manchester January 1869. In 1876 Siegmund ,a book publisher,began printing Chirstmas Cards in Manchester.In the same year his brother was an importer of fancy and transfer prints with premises at #13 Shudehill but by 1880 moved to London and occupied premises at 41 Jewin Street operating initially under the business name of Albert Hildesheimer.The two Hidesheimer brothers did not work in partnership but instead each ran their own printing and publishing businesses in London.

In 1881 Charles William Faulkner and Albert Hildesheimer(1843-1924) went into partnership and occupied premises at 41 Jewin Street in London operating under the business name of Hildesheimer & Faulkner (H&F).In 1881 the company held a competitive exhibition of greeting card designs at the galleries in Suffolk Street where the company offered 2,000 pounds as prizes for good designs.The distinguished Royal Academicians, John Everett Millais,Marcus Stone and George Adolphus Storey judged the entries.The best of the designs were reproduced the following year and received a mixed reaction.Some critics considered the designs "hopelessly conventional" but others felt that the higher prices examples in the selection were "rendered more acceptable".The artist Alice Havers took the first prize for her "A Dream of Patience"card which when printed noted on the back in decorative printing that it had won the first prize in the competition.

Although the company worked initially as lithographers they also began printing in gravure in 1882 and sometime during the partnership established an American agent for their products called Appleton & Co. at 309 Broadway,New York.Most of the products made by the company were Christmas,New Year and other special occasion cards.About 1890 they put out a series of cards about Charles Dickens characters.The company also printed/published several  books such as "Book of Old Ballads" 1890; "Cradle Songs"1892 and other childrens books.Also of note is the well known works of Beatrix Potter (of Peter Rabbit fame).She submitted six drawings to H&F which they published in 1890.The company prospered and expanded their premises and when Faulkner and Hildesheimer dissolved their partnership by mutual agreement on December 13,1892,as advertised in the London Gazette of January 3,1893,the company was at that time operating from premises at #41 Jewin Street;#4 New Zealand Avenue and at #13 Bardican in the city of London.Under the terms of the dissolutionment Albert was to carry on business on his own account at #4 New Zealand Avenue and Charles Faulkner at #41 Jewin Street under the business name of C.W.Faulkner and Co.. The arrangement also called for "all debts owed to and owing by the said firm will be received and paid by Arthur Edward Ayres,the person appointed by the partners,at the premises of #13 Barbican."

Charles William Faulkner is found in an 1890 directory at 84 Brendesbury Villas at Kilburn NW Willesden,Middlesex in 1890 and in the 1891 census taken at the same address Charles is listed as an art publisher living with his wife Minnie and their daughter Essie May. born 1890 at Willesden plus two servants.Charles wife was Minnie Margaret Storniman,born November 4,1866 at Stockwell,London.They were married April 20,1889 at Camden,Middlesex.His daughter Essie passed away in 1977.

Although some say that the company name was changed in the 1890's and that it became a limited company in 1905 the directories of the time do not support this claim and show the company being listed only as C.W.Faulkner & Co.for the period of 1893 to 1927 and that through the period of 1901 top 1927 the companies premises were at 79 Golden Lane,London EC. The directory of 1902 records the company as "artistic colour printers "and as"showcard and tablet manufacturers".Other directories during this period generally describe the company as "Art publishers".

The 1911 census taken at 234 Willesden Lane,Cricklewood NW,Willesden,Middlesex record Charles as an art publisher and printer.He is living at that address with his wife Minnie Margaret and three daughters namely Essie May,age 21; Amy Sylvia,age 13 and Margaret Amy,age 11.Also in the household are two visitors and two servants.

On November 18,1915 Charles William Faulkner passed away at Sylvadene Royston Park Road,Hatch End,Middlesex.The executors to his estate were Walter Charles Stephenson,solicitor,and Minnie Margaret Faulkner,widow (Charles wife).He left an estate valued at just over 27,000 pounds.The death of Charles however did not mean the end of the company despite the fact that Charles had no sons to take over the business. The only logical conclusion one can reach is that the business was either taken over by a partner in the business or by one of his brothers.

After Charles death in 1915 the company continued under the name of C.W.Faulkner & Co until the end of 1927.In 1928 it became a limited company under the name of C.W.Faulkner & Co. Ltd. with premises still at 79 Golden Lane,London EC.In 1932 the company was at 81 Golden Lane,London.For the period of 1944 to 1952 the company was listed in the directories as C.W.Faulkner & Co. Ltd. "Fine art publishers" 28 City Road,London EC.The company ended its business in 1952 for that is the last year that a directory listing for it can be found.

C.W.Faulkner & Co.Ltd is well known for its production of post cards and produced a wide range of types.They perhaps are best known for their early black and white view-cards paired with a coat of arms,real photo cards of actresses,artist signed cards by Louis Wain to name only one, and propoganda cards issued during WW I.Many of their postcards were printed in Germany and Austria.A brief list of the different products made by by company are as follows and are offered only a sample of their work and should not be considered a complete list of their production. Shown at the top of this acticle is a Faulker postcard showing the coat of arms of Tunbridge Wells and the towns slogan " Do Well Doubt Not". Although it is known from other accounts that Faulkner produced a small range of other postcards of the town to date the one shown in this article was the only one located.

1)A series of marine and coastal view post cards based on the watercolour paintings of Garmon Morris circa 1907

2)Shakespeare playing card set circa 1906 based on paintings by John H. Bacon.The chromolithographic cards were done in Germany by B. Dondorf,

3) A large series of childrens game,that were very popular

4)Postcards on the topic of dance,music,theatre signed by artist Ethel Parkinson

5)"Happy Families" card game also "AH the Winners","Misfits","Can You Solve" and a series of parlour ganes,jig saw puzzles etc

6)Art postcards on the topic of puppies by artist Cecil Aldin

7)Card series entitled "Coats of Arms of UK Towns and Cities"1905.

8)A series of postcars on the topic of Windmills.Colour printed signed by E. Andersson

9)Postcard series entitled "Accidents will Happen" by C.E. Sheheard.Divided back type designed in England and printed in Germany

10)Postcards from watercolours by Garman Morris.Subjects mostly boats.Printed in France and Holland

11)WWI propoganda and enlistment cards.One example reads "Your country wants you and 300,000 more men like you.Dont wait but join now".

12)A series of children on postcards

13)Vintage series of "glamour" cards,real photo postcards of beautiful women

14)A series of religious cards based on artwork of Rob Leinweber

15)A series of "Monster" cards divided backs

16)A series of cards about Princess Alexandra 1910.

17)A series of cards about cats based on artwork of Louis Wain

18)A series of postcards on the topic of British topography in settings of Hastings,Sussex,Somerset etc.

19) World wide postcard views of places like Australia and New Zealand

20) A series of postcards on the topic of Halloween

21)Lipton Tea postcards circa 1910.Divided back artists drawn printed in England

22)A series of postcards on the topic of horses and horse riders

23) Postcards depicting various Scottish coast scenes

24)A postcard series on the topic of dogs

25) A postcard series depicting the views of Wales

Although the above list mainly deals with the companies post card production it should be noted that they produced a wide range of products which in general are greeting cards,postcards,childrens games and books and the printing and sale of posters,prints and all manner of commercial printing as they were very diversified in the products offered. As a postcard collector myself I know that cards by the Faulkner company are much sought after and in some cases can command high prices.



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

Date; January 30, 2014


John Westall Pearson came from Scotland and initially settled in London . In the early 1900’s he and his wife Agnes and their two daughters Matilda and Dorothy would come to Tunbridge Wells for a month or two every summer staying at the Wellington Hotel and playing golf at the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club. In 1912 the family moved into Manor House in Bishops’s Down Park and John continued to live there until his death in 1959. John was an avid golfer and apart from playing golf at the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club, he was a member of the committee formed to run the club and for a time its secretary. John also enjoyed the game of bridge and in 1937 he founded the Kent County Bridge Association and in 1950 was chairman of the EBU.He was a wealthy businessman, being the director of the British Oil and Cake Mills Company of London.

John’s daughter Matilda married Eric Blake Harvey in 1928 in London and had two sons John & Michael who played bridge at the West Kent Bridge Club.In 1949 Matilda married Reginald Harvey Corbett and the family purchased #12 Boyne Park which became the venue for the West Kent Bridge Club. Matilda and her husband ran the club until the early 1960’s and she was still involved locally with the game of bridge until 1968.She was also ladies secretary at the golf club for some years after 1919

John’s daughter Dorothy never married and devoted much of her life to playing golf and played at the Tunbridge Wells golf club along with her mother and father. By 1919 Dorothy was living in Hove and joined the West Hove Golf Club. In the 1920’s and 1930’s she established quite a reputation for herself as an accomplished golfer and became the ladies English champion in 1933.  Shown above is a photo of Dorothy.

This article outlines the lives of the Pearson family with a particular emphasis on their activities in Tunbridge Wells. 

John Westall Pearson was born January 1873 at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire  and was one of eight children born to Isaac Pearson (1841-1907) and Ellen Pearson, born 1844. Sometime after his birth his family moved to Scotland. The 1881 census, taken at 18 Wetbourne Gardens, Scotland reoords Isaac Pearson, age 40, born 1841 at Yorkshire and was a seed crusher. Living with him was his wife Ellen, born 1844 in London and seven of their children, including their son John Westall Pearson. Also in the home were four servants. In the 1891 census, John was still living with his parents and siblings in Scotland.

In 1900 John married Agnes Alice Erskine Mitchell (1878-1959) in Scotland.Agnes had been born in Hull,Glasgow,Scotland. John and Agnes went on to have two daughters, the first was Matilda Agnes Alice Pearson, born November 14,1901 in Goven,Scotland; and the second was Dorothy Marion Westall Pearson, born May 2,1908 at Hampstead,London.

The 1901 census, taken at 7 Kinsborough Church in Govan,Scotland  records John W. Pearson as a seed crusher and living with him was his wife Agnes and two servants.

Sometime between 1902 and the end of 1910 the Pearson family moved to London. The 1911 census,taken at 7 Wedham Gardens, Hampstead,London records John Westall Pearson as he managing director of the British Oil and Cake Mills Company of London.Also known as BOCM, of 29 Great St. Helens, London, the company was registered July 8,1899 to take over the business of several companies and firms of oil and cake manufacturers and oil refiners [the Stock Exchange Yearbook 1908]. The Whitakers Red Book of  1914 listed the company as ‘crushers, refiners and manufacturers of linseed, cottonsee,rapeseed and other oils; manufacturers of linseed oil, cottonseed and feed cakes”. In 1925 Lever Brothers bought British Oil and Cake Mills, one of its major competitors and the manufacturer of New Pin Soap. Despite the acquisition by Lever Brothers the company continued to operate as BOCM. Shown opposite is a 1955 photo of BOCM’s facilities.

The 1911 census,referred to above, also records with John Pearson, his wife Agnes Alice Erskine Pearson, age 33; their daughter Dorothy Marion Westhall Pearson, born May 2,1908, London; one visitor and five servants. The census records that John and Agnes had been married 10 years (1901); had only two children, both of whom were still living and that their residence had thirteen rooms.

In 1912 the Pearson family moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence at Manor House in Bishops’s Down Park. For anyone interested in reading about the history of Bishop’s Down Park I would recommend reading the book ‘The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’ edited by John Cunningham and published by the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society in 2004. Thomas Montague Martin Weller ,Lieutenant Colonel in the West Kent Militia, was Lord of the Manor of Rusthall from 1853 until his death in 1888 and it was he that came up with the idea of developing his lands into Bishop’s Down Park. The first sale of lots in the development began in 1864 with more to follow in 1865 but the sale of lots was slow.  Bishop’s Down Park remained very much of a backwater for many years, and it was not until the period between the two World Wars that building began again. By 1938 the land to the west of the development had been incorporated into the Spa Golf Course ,which became known as the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club. Shown opposite is a postcard by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn showing the golf links at the Spa Hotel. John Pearson’s decision to move into Bishop’s Down Park was a good one for as I outline in more detail later he became active as a player, committee member and secretary of the club for many years and so did not have far to travel to enjoy the sport. Manor House was given a Grade II listing by English Heritage on May 20,1952  and although I was unable to obtain a photograph of the home here is their description “ C18 in American Colonial Style. Two sty and attics fronted with tiles, at one time painted. Steeply pitched hipped roof having three dormers with C19 gables. Eaves cornice, 3 sashes with glazing bars intact. Modern glass verandah at the ground floor in front of the house and conservatory at the north end”. A review of estate agents records describes the house as being a detached 8 bedroom home valued at over 2 million pounds and is located at 6 Bishop’s Down Park Road, according to National Archives records.

In addition to golf, John also enjoyed the game of bridge. Shown at the top of this section of the article is the front cover of publication called ‘Contract Bridge’ by J.W. Pearson ,chairman of the English Bridge Union (EBU), dated November 1950. In 1937 the Kent County Bridge Association(KCBA) was founded by John Westall Pearson and his daughter Matilda, often referred to as Maud, ran the KCBA as honorary secretary. More about her life and association with the bridge club are given later.

Probate records give Agnes Alice Erskine Pearson of Manor House, Tunbridge Wells, died February 17,1959. Probate was to her two daughters Matilda Agnes Alice Corbett,married woman, and Dorothy Marion Westall Pearson,spinster. She left an estate valued at about 16,000 pounds and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on February 21,1959.

Probate records give John Westall Pearson of Manor House, Tunbridge Wells, died April 17,1959. Probate was to his two daughters and left and estate valued at about 130,000 pounds. He was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery April 21,1959.


Matilda had been born November 14,1901 at Govan,Scotland and lived with her parents until the time of her marriage. Her first marriage was to Eric Blake Harvey(1893-1963) on April 18,1928 at St George, Hanover Square and with her husband had two sons John and Michael who in the 1950’s played bridge at the West Kent Bridge Club. Eric was one of four children born to Joseph Luck Harvey (1862-1954), who in 1911 was working as a bank clerk. Eric’s mother was Laura Blake, born 1866. A photo of Eric during his service in WW I is shown opposite.  Eric had been born September 19,1893 at Camberwell,Surrey and is found in 1901 census living at Camberwell with his parents and siblings. In the 1911 census, taken at 85 Park Road, Camberwelll, Eric was working as a clerk  with an oil cake traders company and most likely the company referred to was BOCM, the same company that John Pearson was as director of. Eric died April 9,1963 in Brighton,Susses.

Matilda married for a second time to Reginald Harvey Corbett (1892-1967) December 1949. Reginald was one of three children born to Thalbert Corbett(1864-1947) and Edna Harvey, born 1864. Reginald had been born June 1892 at Malden,Surrey and in 1901 was living with his parents and siblings at Surbiton,Surrey. At the time of the 1911 census, Reginald was away from the family home and living at a boarding school at Park House in Crofton,Hampshire. There is no indication that Matilda and Reginald had any children.

About the same time as Matilda’s marriage to Reginald, who is most often referred to as Rex, the couple  purchased 12 Boyne Park (photo opposite).This home became at that time the venue for the West Kent Bridge Club. Reginald and Matilda ran the this club together until the early 1960’s when they moved to live just outside Crowborough. In 1958 Matilda organized the first Kent Congress at the Grand Hotel in Folkestone.

John Cunningham, in the book “The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells” states “Mr Gallard reserved a prime site, No. 12 Boyne Park, for himself, and Caley designed for him in 1895 the eccentric and aptly named Boyne Tower-the gabled tower itself rising to a height of some fifty feet.The façade has an unusual broad breeze of decorative plasterwork with gilded mythical beasts which have an Elizabethan feeling”. Charles John Gallard was the man behind the creation of Boyne Park. He had bought Boyne House on Mount Ephraim Road and had it demolished to make way for the new development, which by 1910 had been largely built up. For further details about Boyne House and the Boyne Park development see also my article entitled ‘ The History of Boyne House’ dated  February 21,2013.

Reginald died December 1967 at Uckfield, Sussex and upon his death #12 Boyne Park was sold by his executors although the West Kent club continued to play there for a few more years. In 1968 she resigned as KCBA secretary.Matilda continued her ties with the bridge club and she retired as the honorary secretary in 1974 at which time she was elected as life president.The Corbett Cup still in use today by the bridge club was named after Matilda and Reginald Corbett. Matilda died in Tunbridge Wells in January 1990.

Shown opposite is a photograph of the 40 London Road, where the Bridge Club holds their meetings. A summary of the clubs history from their website is given below, but to see a more complete history of the building ; the bridge club and the Tunbridge Wells and Counties see the separate article I wrote about it entitled ‘ The Tunbridge Wells and Counties Club’ dated December 4,2013.

“Some 50 years before the game of contract bridge was invented the Tunbridge Wells and Counties Club was founded in order to provide a meeting place for the business men of the town.Initially, in 1872, the club was housed in the Great Hall opposite the central station but early in the new century it was decided to build their own clubhouse on the present site, which was opened in 1909. Only the finest materials were used in the construction, which is why 100 years later it is still in very good condition and Grade II listed. Today it is hard to visualise a hedged front garden, but if you look closely you can see the rings embedded in the front wall to which members' horses could be tethered! It was exclusively a "gentlemans" club and the first lady did not cross the threshold until after the second world war and that was by the back door!!Since becoming solely a bridge club the only changes have been to interior usage. The room, which previously housed two full sized billiard tables, now normally contains 18 bridge tables, whilst the former library/reading room and two upstairs committee rooms each have 8 tables. By utilising every available space, 48 tables of bridge can be accommodated for such events as the KCBA congress. The Club is fully licensed and dispenses drinks to members in the bar lounge. Whilst the Chalybeate river still trickles through the cellars, the Club has decided not to offer the spa waters for sale as we are not convinced of their healing qualities!On the first of May 2004 there was a merger between Tunbridge Wells & Counties, West Kent and Wellington Bridge Clubs to create the Tunbridge Wells Bridge Club.”


Dorothy was born May 2,1908 at Hampstead,London  and died November 1994 at Eastbourne,Sussex. She had moved to Tunbridge Wells with her parents in 1912 and resided at Manor House in Bishops’s Down Park. Shown in this section are a series of photogaphs and the captions related to each of them. All of the photographs in this series were taken at her residence at manor House.

Dorothy, apart from being a ladies golfer at the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club, went on to be an accomplished golfer. A review of the records of ‘Past Amateurs and Golf Greats’ of England shows that Dorothy was “ English Champion 1933; Finalist 1928; Finalist British Championship 1927; Kent Champion 1929’ British International 1934; English International 1928 to 1934”

Shown above is a photo of1927 Ladies British Open Championship isMlle Simone de la Chaume (winner and Miss Dorothy Pearson (runner up). This image can be found on the website of The Royal County Down Golf Club. The other images in this series show Dorothy playing the piano and relaxing at her Manor House home.


A secretary who for many years stamped his personality on the club was John W.Pearson. John was an avid golfer as were his  children .John became the clubs secretary sometime during WW1 and continued for many years despite being the director of the family firm of British Oil and Cake Mills.John became the clubs president in 1955. Johns daughter Matilda had been the ladies secretary for some years from 1919. His daughter Dorothy was runner up in the British Ladies Championships in 1927,finally winning the English Ladies title at the Royal North Devon, at Westward Ho! in 1933.J.W.Pearson is listed in a 1918 directory as the hon. secretary of the club. He is also listed in this capacity in the directories of 1922, 1930,1934 and 1938. In the 1938 directory there are two listings for the club namely The Tunbridge Wells Golf Club and The Tunbridge Wells Ladies Golf Club having each a 9 hole course.

The Tunbridge Wells Golf Club was formed circa 1889 but only used  a few holes that had been created on the grounds of the Spa Hotel for guests and the amusement of its owner. The Golfing Annual of 1896.1897 described it at that time as a course of 9 holes located in the Spa grounds with a membership of about 210. The ladies club had lady Henry Nevill of Eridge Castle as the honorary president. A brochure of 1920 reported that there were comfortable ladies and men’s clubhouses adjacent to but separate from the Spa Hotel. For a complete history of this this club and the others that have operated in Tunbridge Wells see my article entitled ‘ The History of Golf in Tunbidge Wells’ dated July 10,2012. Also there is a book entitled The First 100 Years –the Story of the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club’ by Eric Carter . From Chapter 5,which was devoted to the Pearson family, I give the following;

“ Older members can still remember the name of John Westall Pearson, known to family and friends as Jonathan Pearson, say he ran the club very much according to the rule book. They also add that he wrote the book…In the first years that John came to Tunbridge Wells his name first appears in the committee lists. When the family took up golf is not known, but it is thought their move to Tunbridge Wells may have had something to do with the fact that the club was just along the road from their new home in Bishops’s Down Park. Mrs. Pearson, a Scot, was the first to play and John followed soon after. They visited St Andrew’s every year, and there, at the Royal and Ancient, daughter Dorothy first learned to swing a club at the tender age of three. She wasn’t all that keen, she now admits, and would rather have gone riding but her mother made a bargain with her- for every hour spent riding, she would have to spend an hour learning to play golf. John Pearson himself was never to become a great golfer, according to daughter Maud, but he was ‘ an excellent putter’.  He remaibed a golf enthusiast all his life, as his service to the club testifies. He continued his yearly pilgramages to St Andrews, and he and Agnes played a round of golf there on their golden wedding anniversary. For the last ten years of his life he was proud of the honour of having a locker ‘downstairs’ at the Royal and Ancient. Sometime during the 1914-1918 war he became secretary at Tunbridge Wells, probably because there was a shortage of suitable males ready and willing to take over. This role he carried on for many years, despite holding down a demanding job as director of the family firm of British Oil and Cake Mills. When this was taken over by Unilever he became a director of the merged company. In the evening, after arriving back in Tunbridge Wells from London, he would go to the golf club where, so the stories go, he would make sure that things were being run his way. If they weren’t there were likely to be fireworks.”

Shown below photo with caption from this book in which John Pearson is shown. “ One anecdote concerns his attendance at committee meetings where, when talk seemed to be getting the better of business, he would announce firmly: ‘Well, gentlemen, that’s quite enough. I dine at 7.30.’ At which point he would get to his feet and walk home to the Manor House, certain that his wishes would be written into the minute book. Daughter Maude confirms that he was a man who liked to have things done as he wanted. ‘Never would a rule be slightly waived’, she says. ‘You could say he was something of a martinet. He did so enjoy running things. ‘That he ran things well is borne out by the fact that during WW II he was a top official in the Ministry of Food in the North of England. That Ministry also took over the family home during the war for use as its local headquarters”. The book entitled ‘Tunbridge Wells in the Second Wold War…’ by Ann Bates, published by the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society in 2009 gives on pg 193 a list of requisitioned properties for Civil Defence and on this list is 5 and 8 Bishops’ Down by the  Ministry Food Offices.

“Alistair McNab became acting secretary during the war years, but when hostilities were over the Pearsons’ moved back into Manor House and John went back to running the club. He remained secretary until he was appointed president in 1955-a span of 41 years! He and Mrs Pearson died within weeks of each other in 1959. Their daughters too, had been much involved in the club.Maud, now Mrs Maud Corbett, was ladies’ secretary for some years from 1919. Dorothy, now living at Hove, put her early training to good use and was runner-up in the British Ladies’ Championships in 1927, finally winning the English Ladies; title at the Royal North Devon, at Wesward Ho! In 1933. Mrs Corbett has many memories of those early years at Tunbridge Wells, including some of club benefactor Sir Henry Seymour King. He was a wealthy man who came to stay at the Spa every year, became very fond of the club and was made vice-president. He had served for many years in India, and was a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire. He insisted on putting up expensive prizes, such as cocktail cabinets and canteens of cutlery. ‘Eventually’, says Mrs Corbett, ‘Father had to ask him to stop. It was getting to be a bit of an embarrassment, since nobody else could match his generosity’. The Seymour King Challenge Cup is named after him.


The following information about the family came from another researcher. Also see my article about the Manor House and my article The History of Golf in Tunbridge Wells’ dated July 10,2012

Dorothy Marion Westall Pearson was born 2 May 1908 in Hampstead. Her father was John Westall Pearson & her sister Maud (Corbett after marriage).While at school Dorothy met Dimmie Hill, who became Dimmie Fleming after she married, and they become friends. When she left school Dorothy helped her mother run the bulldog kennels. She also exhibited some of them at dog shows. After the closure of the bulldog kennels Dorothy took up a job in London, she was working in London by 1948.Dorothy took up golf at an early age & was a member  of the Nevill Golf Club in Tunbridge Wells. In September 1924 she reached the final of the Girls Golf Championship at Stoke Poges but was defeated by 4 and 2 in the final by the French champion, Simone de la Chaume. In 1927 Dorothy reached the final of the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship where she lost 5 and 4 to the same French lady. She was made an honorary life member of the Neville for this performance. Subsequently in October 1928 Dorothy reached the final of the English Ladies Championship where she lost to Miss Enid Wilson. She did win the Kent County Championship in that year though. In 1929 she played in all the home international matches. A few years later in October 1933 she reached the final of the English Ladies Golf Championship at Westward Ho & won the final by the score of 5 and 3 over 36 holes. Dorothy continued playing at the Neville for many years. The club still has an annual competition for the Dorothy Pearson cup.She started playing duplicate bridge in the 1930s, one of the first events in which she played was a league in Tunbridge Wells run by George Scott Page. Dorothy formed a partnership with Dimmie Fleming & they played together for many years mainly in ladies competitions. As well as playing in English competitions they played for England in the Lady Milne, the home internationals and in 1948 they were part of the ladies team in the European championships. Dorothy also sometimes played with Leslie Fleming, Dimmie's husband. A list of the cups won by Dorothy is listed below.Outside golf & bridge Dorothy was also a keen tennis player & she played in many local competitions.  Dorothy did not marry. She died 2 November 1994 while living at Carlisle Road in Eastbourne. She was buried at Tunbridge Wells Cemetery.Major competition won by Dorothy include the following:-

Whitelaw Cup                                                                                    1947, 1951, 1953, 1959

Lady Milne                                                                                          1951, 1953

Birkle Bowl (KCBA teams)                                                                1953                                      

Buck Cup (KCBA pairs)                                                                      1938                                                      

John Westall Pearson was born 13 November 1872 in Gainsborough, eldest son of Isaac Pearson & Ellen Westall. The family moved to Scotland soon after John’s birth as in 1881 Isaac & Ellen with seven children were living in Partick in Lanarkshire with Isaac recorded as a seed crusher. John was educated at Repton school. John married Agnes Alice Erskine (surname unknown) on 18 September 1900 in Glasgow. In the 1901 census John & Agnes were living in Partick with John recorded as a seed crusher, so following his father. However by the 1911 census John & Agnes were living in Hampstead with John now a managing director. John was employed by British Oil & Cake Mills Limited which crushed oilseeds to produce vegetable oil. He was chairman & managing director for 32 years. In later years he was a director of Lever Bros, Unilever Ltd & various other companies. He was also founder & chairman of the National Seedcrushers Association. In World War two he was director of the Oils & Fats division of the Ministry of Food.By 1921 John & his family had moved to Manor House, Bishops Down in Tunbridge Wells. Agnes by then was breeding pedigree bulldogs & by 1939 she had the largest bulldog breeding kennels in England. They lived at Manor House for over 40 years & during their residence restored some of the lost beauties of the house. At one time he kept seven cows, forty pigs & over two thousand head of poultry on the estate.In 1921 John was elected as a member of the Tunbridge Wells & Counties Club. He was honorary secretary of the club for over 35 years. His wife Agnes also played bridge.John & Agnes had two daughters, Matilda (known as Maud) & Dorothy, who both learned to play bridge as teenagers. There are separate articles about Maud under her married name of Corbett & Dorothy.John with the help of his daughter Maud founded the Kent Contract Bridge Association ( KCBA) in 1937, he had only just retired. He was elected the president which position he held until his death.

In 1950 John was elected as chairman of the English Bridge Union (EBU) which post he held for a year. Then in 1952 he elected chairman again & this time he served until 1955. Around this time he presided over the annual EBU congress held at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne. Once his term as chairman was over he was the first vice president of the EBU, a position he held until 1958.Agnes died 17 February 1959 & John two months later on 17 April 1959. Both were buried at the Kent & Sussex Cemetery in Tunbridge Wells.Outside of bridge John was a keen golfer, although not as accomplished as his daughter Dorothy. John was a member of both Tunbridge Wells & Nevill golf clubs, he served as secretary of the former. Agnes was also a member of both clubs & was on the committee of Tunbridge Wells club for many years.

Matilda Agnes Alice Pearson was born 14 November 1901, it is thought in Scotland & known as Maud. Her father was John Westall Pearson & her sister Dorothy Pearson.Maud married Eric Blake Harvey on 18 April 1928 at St George, Hanover Square. They had two sons John & Michael who played bridge at the West Kent bridge club in the 1950s. Eric also played bridge & was in the winning Arnold Cup teams in 1949, 1951 & 1954 partnering Leslie Fleming.In 1937 KCBA was founded by John Westall Pearson, Maud’s father, and Maud ran the KCBA as honorary secretary from a room in 12 Boyne Park in Tunbridge Wells. In September 1939 when the National Register was compiled Eric & Maud were living in Molyneux Park Road in Tunbridge Wells. Maud subsequently in 1949 married Reginald Harvey Corbett, who was known as Rex. Rex was born 1892 in Farnham in Surrey.At about the same as the marriage Rex purchased 12 Boyne Park, which was the venue for West Kent bridge club. Rex & Maud then run the West Kent club together until the early 1960s when they moved to live just outside Crowborough. Rex died 16 November 1967 & 12 Boyne Park formed part of his estate so was ordered to be sold by his executors although the West Kent club continued to play there for a few more years. Maud continued her ties with the West Kent & she retired as honorary secretary in 1974 at which time she was elected as life president.

Maud continued to run the KCBA as honorary secretary and in 1958 she organised the first post war Kent Congress at the Grand Hotel in Folkestone. In 1968 she resigned as KCBA secretary but continued to run the congress.Maud won various KCBA cups over the years including the Fleming Femina in 1959, Brook Cup in 1963, Dyer Smith in 1966 & the Pearson Cup in 1953 and 1963.Maud died 28 July 1990 while living at Boarshead just outside Crowborough.The Corbett Cup was presented to KCBA by Rex & Maud in 1958.



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

Date: January 13,2014


If there was ever a classic case of a family name being passed down from father to son,generation after generation the unusual (at least to me ) name of Theophilus Dymond Field has to rank high up on the list. I have not traced this family any further back than about 1770 but I suspect it goes bank several generations before that and even today the name continues in the same family line.

For my purposes I begin with Theophilus Dymond Field, who from this point on I will simply refer to as “Theo” plus the year of birth, to keep everything straight in the minds of my readers. Theo born circa 1770 lived in London and was married to Sarah Field. Their eldest son was Theo #2 born August 9,1793 in London and baptised September 28,1793 at St Magnus the Martyr, London. He no doubt had siblings but I have not researched them. It is known from baptism records that he had an older brother also called Theophilus Dymond Field born September 28,1791 and baptised October 26,1791 at St Magnus the Martyr London but he died in infancy so technically Theo (1793) was the ‘eldest surving son’.

Theo(1793) was the first of the family to take up residence in Tunbridge Wells. A review of the 1824 local directory shows that he was still in London but by the time of the 1840 directory he was living in Tunbridge Wells and running a repository selling “artises & foreign curiosities” at #2 Bedord Terrace in Mount Sion.. A modern photograph is shown here of 2 to 10 Bedford Terrace which to me looks to be entirely residential but there is on the right hand corner commercial premises which might be #2. In any event Theo was as this address for all of his career.

Marriage records show that Theo (1793) married Eliza Dunn March 20,1836 at St Peter and St Paul Parish Church ,Tonbridge, Kent. Eliza had been born abt 1810 in Tunbridge Wells and was the sister of Mary Dunn, born 1802 in Wadhurst. Who her parents were has not been determined.

Theo (1793) and Eliza had three children namely “Theo” born 1837 in Tunbridge Wells who was baptised April 26,1837; Charles Field, born 1839 Tunbridge Wells and baptised May29,1839, and Eliza Mary Field, born 1842 in Tunbridge Wells and baptised there on October 19,1842.Charles Field later left Tunbridge Wells and appears to have married twice. There is a marriage record for a Charles Field dated September 10,1883, a widower, age 39, a clerk, with a father Theophilus Dymond Field, gent. This record shows that Charles married Alice Fairbrother, a spinster of 16 Cottage Grove, Stockwell S.W. who was the daughter of Rowland Fiarbroth3er, a timber merchant. Witnesses to the marriage were James John Fairbrother and Georgina Fairbrother.

Theo (1793) is found in the 1841 census at 2 Bedford Terrace where he is a dealer in curiosities. Living with him was his wife Eliza and his two sons Theo and Charles. The 1851 census finds Theo and his wife and three children still at #2 Bedord Terrace with Theo 1793 running his own business as a dealer in tea and fancy goods. The 1858 Melville directory records Theo (1793) as a fancy good repository at Bedford Terrace. The 1861 census, taken at the same place records Theo (1793) with his wife Elia and their children Theo(1837), Eliza Mary, and his sister in law Mary Dann. Theo (1793) is at that time a dealer in fancy goods. His son Theo (1837) is a musical professor. The 1871 census, at 2 Bedord Place records Theo (1793) as a tea and fancy goods dealer. Living with him was his wife Eliza and their daughter Eliza Mary, a spinster. Directories of 1867 and 1868 record Theo (1793) at 2 Bedord Terrace as a tea and fancy goods dealer. Probate records give that Theophilus Dymond Field late of Tunbridge Wells died June 19,1872 in Tunbridge Wells and that he was an “artist”.His will was proved by his son Theophilus Dymond Field of Tunbridge Wells, music master . Theo (1793) left an estate valued at under 300 pounds. It is indeed a surprise that Theo was referred to as an artist rather than as a fancy good dealer but  given the artistic nature of the Field family, perhaps I should not have been surprised at all. It would be interesting to find an example of his art work.

I now turn my attention to the next generation, his son Theo (1837) who in about 1860 married Sarah Ann Brown Landfer, the daughter of William Lankfer, an engineer. . Sarah had been born 1840 at Wisbeach, Cambridgeshire. At the time of the marriage Theo (1837) was recorded as a professor of music . and his father was given with the profession of “artist”, matching that given in his probate records.

The 1871 census, taken at 11 Calverley Park Cresent records the presence of Theo(1837), an organist and professor of music. Living with him was his wife Sarah and their daughter Ellen S, born 1870 in Tunbridge Wells and one servant. Theo and Sarah had  three other children namely Jessie M in 1872; Alice E. in 1879 and their only son Theophilus Dymond Field in the 4th qtr of 1873. The 1874 directory incorrectly gives Theo’s  (1837) name incorrectly as Theophilus Frederick Field but gives his address correctly at 11 Calverley Park  Crescent. As everyone will know Calverley Park crescent was a very historic building in the town and quite attractive, as the image opposite shows.

The following advertisments give some insight into his occupation. The first is from the Sussex Advertiser ,Tunbridge Wells dated May 24,1859 where it states "The Royal Parade Band Committee held its annual meeting ............Mr Theophilus Field of Bedford was reelected treasurer".The Sussex Advertiser of May 8,1866 gave "A concert was given in the Christ Church Girls School Room......Miss Haoward sang "The Bird & the Maiden" and was accompanied by Mr Theophilus Field with his English concertina.......... Mr Theophilus Field accompanied by Miss Field was vociferously redemanded in his English Concertina Solo "Reminiscences of Somnambula"........ Mr Theophilus Field organist of Christ Church officiated as Conductor"

The 1881 census, taken at 43 Crescent Road, records Theo (1837 as an organist. Living with him was his wife Sarah ; their four children,a lodger, governess and one domestic servant. Directories of that time record Theo (1837) as the organist at Christ Church on High Street. Shown opposite is a postcard view of the High Street with the steeple of the church visible in the background.  Details about Thoe’s career as an organist are lacking. Obviously he could not earn a living solely as the organist at the church and must have given organ lessons, written music for the organ or performed professionally. A review of local newspapers might shed some light on the full nature of his career.

Probate records give Theophilus Dymond Field, late of Tunbridge Wells, professor of music, died March 9,1882. His executor was his wife Sarah  Ann Brown Field of 9 Calverley Park Crescent. Theo left an estate valued at  1,424 pounds. When her husband died Sarah continued to live at 9 Calverley Park Crescent.

The 1891 census, taken at 9 Calverley Park Crescent records Sarah Field there but working as a lodging house keeper. Living with her was her daughter Ellen, a governess; her son Theo (1873) who was working as a stationers assistant, and her daughter Alice a scholar. Also in the home were two visitors, one servant and her aunt Eliza Lankfer, born 1822 at Kingsland, Middlesex.

The 1901 census, taken at 29 St James Road records Sarah as head of the home and now living on own means. Living with her was her son Theo(1873), a professional music singer and her daughter Alice, a governess. Also in the home was one domestic servant. Sarah remained in Tunbridge Wells the rest of her life. Probate records give Sarah Ann Brown Field of 30 Earls Road, Molyneux Park ,widow, died September 9,1921. Her daughter Jessie Mary Field, spinster, was the executor of her 897 pound estate.


Theo (1873) did not remain in England . His last appearance in the town was from the 1901 census when he as 27 years old living with his mother and his sister Alice. He and Alice packed their bags and boarded a steamer destined for Cape town South Africa sometime after 1901. Neither of them are found in Tunbridge Wells in the 1911 census. In 1901 Theo as listed as a professional music singer. Whether he sang at the local Opera House,which opened in 1902, or not was not determined by the researcher and a review of local newspaper would be necessary to see if there is any mention of him. I suggest the opera house because accounts from sources in South Africa state that he arrived in Cape Town (image opposite) and performed for a time as an opera singer. Why he and his sister decided to leave England to make a new life in South Africa is a question that  will unfortunately have to be left unanswered.

The first clue to his life in South Africa comes from the website of South Africa History Online where they give the following. “ Theophilus Dymond Field, born 1874 in Tunbridge Wells trained at the Brighton School of Art. He was a watercolour painter. He came to South Africa as an opera singer and settled in Fish Hoek. In 1917/18 he saw active service in South West Africa and Namibia and in the main theatre of war in Europe. Before going to war in 1917 he showed six paintings in the 1917 SASA exhibition including views of Old Simon;s Town, several in Natal. He exhibited only four times at the SASA. He also sent his work to Durban and Port Elizabeth. He held solo exhibitions at Riebeek Gallery, Cape Town and also at the Herbert Evans and Lezard Galleries in Johannesburg. He was a member of the K Club that had its headquarters at the Martin Meick House on Strand Street. He did a painting called The Bell Tower, Genadenal which was stolen in 1947. He died in Kenilworth,Cape Town about 1934”.

Shown opposite is Theo’s headstone , located in the same cemetery as the two give below. It reads “ Theophilus Dymond Field born 1873 died 19th Sept. 1936’. This photo was taken January 1,2007 and is provided courtesy of the South Africa Library.

Kenilwoth is a suburb of Cape town. Fish Hoek is a coastal suburb of Cape Town. Shown above is a postcard view of Cape Town. The SASA referred to was the South African Society of Arts which began in 1902 and today has over 450 members. Their meetings are held in Cape Town and they put on four art exhibitions annually.

The Brighton School of Art in Brighton, England opened its doors January 17,1859 to more than 50 pupils.They moved to a new purpose built building in Grand Parade Brighton in 1877 which opened on February 3,1877. The school taught art and music. A photo of the school is shown below.

The Australian Arts Sales Digest does record four paintings by him exhibited in the 1920’s. The South African Society of Artists, in their reference book of listed artists record him by name only as being a local watercolour artist.


Researching anyone in South Africa is a challenge and such was the case with Theo(1873). I made contacts both with ‘South Africa History Online’ and with the ‘National Library of South Africa’ in persuit of further information about his life, family and career but at the time of writing no information was obtained.

The South Africa Magazine of July 3,1909 gave the following marriage announcement of Theo’s sister.  “Mundy-Field- On June 7,1909 at  Wynberg, Hugh Godfrey Mundy, youngest son of Cyril Mundy, to Alice Edith Field, younger daughter of Theophilus Dymond Field of Tunbridge Wells”. She married well for Hugh Godfrey Mundy was given in the London Gazette of June 9,1938 as the Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Lands in Southern Rhodesia.

Two headstones in Cape Town give evidence of the longevity of the name Theophilus Dymond Field in that country. The first is Theophilus Dymond Field  born December 30,1933 and who died January 10,1880 with the inscription reading in part “to the dear memory our beloved husband, father,son and brother”. The second headstone,physically located right beside the first one gives.” Theophilus Dymond Field beloved husband of “K” and father of Theo and Anne called to rest March 28,1970. K widow of Theophilus Dymond Field May 3,1988 a very special mother”. The mention of “Theo” in this last inscription will be anther continuation of the name Theophilus. Both of these headstones ,with more research, will no doubt  be traceable  to Theo (1873).

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