ALL ABOUT
TUNBRIDGE WELLS

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MOTORING HISTORY -THE RANDALL FAMILY

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

Date: February 18,2017

OVERVIEW

George Lancaster Randall (1875-1945) was born in St Pancras, London, one of several children born to George Randall, who ran a builders business, and Louise Randall. At an early age George became an enthusiast of motor cars and is recorded as having owned one of only a few motor cars in England in the 19th century.

George lived with his parents and siblings in St Pancras up to the time of his marriage to Annie Harriet Mott (1872-1958) at St Pancras in 1902. Annie was one of several children born to Charles Mott, a wood carver, and Harriet Mott.

George and his wife had the following children (1) Lilian, born 1903 in St Pancras (2) George Lewis, born 1902 in Lamberhurst,Kent (3) Stanley Eric, born 1917 at St Leonards-on-Sea.

George Lancaster Randall had worked as a solicitor’s clerk for Farrers at Lincoln’s Inn Fields before joining his father in a mineral water business, a business which proved to be unsuccessful. He then worked as a motorcar demonstrator at D. Napier & Son and The Motor Manufacturing Company (MMC went out of business in 1905) before returning to Farrers, where he met Lord Camden, a client of the company, who was looking for a private secretary. Ceasing upon this opportunity George took the position and worked as his private secretary from 1904 to 1929.

In 1904 George Sands, the estate builder, constructed a home for George, called Park Cottage, in Hook Green and in that same year George bought the motor car shown opposite from MMC . This photo,taken January 1907 by the village green in Lamberhurst, shows George and his daughter Lilian out for a ride. George still had this motor car at the time of the 1911 census, taken at Park Cottage, Hook Green, Lamberhurst while working for Lord Camden. Living with him at that time in the eight room home was his wife Annie and their two children Lilian and George Lewis Randall. In 1911 George Lancaster Randall bought Lord Camden’s Flying Fifteen Darracq, which he still had in 1925. This was followed by a 1926 Darracq DC Sport 12/32 which is son George Lewis still had in 1940.

In 1929 George Lancaster Randall  retired from the Bayham Estate and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells. At that time the economy was in a depressed state and there were many empty homes in the town for sale. Able to take advantage of this George purchased several of them, including 33 Ferndale Road which he bought from the Nix family in 1929. The Randalls lived on the ground floor of this home and rented out the rest of it. When George Lancaster Randall passed away in 1945 he left this home, and others, to his son George Lewis Randall, who after completing his service in WW II lived there with his wife Elizabeth until he shot himself in the garden of the home in 1946 and the house was sold 1947/1948. The photo opposite, taken at 33 Ferndale right shows George Lancaster Randall with his daughter Lilian with the dogs Bob the Jack Russell Terrier and Helen in the background.

George Lancaster Randall and his two sons, according to Andrew Randall (the son of Stanley Eric Randall)“ were constantly buying and selling cars and motor-bikes…there are dozens of advertisments in this regard throughout the period of 1904 to 1949”.  While living at 33 Ferndale George’s two sons were always tinkering with their motor cars. One of George Lancaster Randall’s was an Austin Martin, which he sold to his son Stanley for 100 pounds in 1940. This car still exists and is now owned by a Dutchman.

Photographs taken at 33 Ferndale in 1940 also show in the courtyard a Morgan and a Darracq 17/75.These were but a few of the motor cars owned by family members. Even Lilian Randall had a 1938 903cc ‘baby Renault’.

Stanley Eric Randall died February 14,2016 but the ownership and interest in motor cars carries on today with Andrew Randall, who rides about in and takes to car shows ,his 1934 Aston Martin MK II long chassis tourer.

This article provides information about the Randall family with a concentration on their time in Tunbridge Wells and provides information and a large selection of photographs of the motor cars they owned.

This article is based largely on information and photographs provided directly to me by Andrew Randall, which I am most grateful for. It has been supplemented by my own independent research and with information obtained from newspaper articles and other sources on the internet and from replies to inquiries made to others with information on the topic.

THE RANDALL FAMILY-THE EARLY YEARS

For the purposes of this article the patriarch of the family is George Lancaster Randall (1875-1945). George was born at St Pancras, London (sometimes given as Gospel Oak, North London). He was baptised at Kentish Town St Martin on April 18,1875. His parents were given as George Randall, a builder, and Louisa Randall.  George Randall senior had  left the home village of Marston Moretaine near Bedford in the mid 1860’s to work as a plumber, general builder/decorator and landlord in the Victorian housing construction boom around St Pancras. Camden and Kentish Town. George Lancaster Randall was also destined to be a plumber, but thanks to the influence of his brother-in-law he started work instead as an articled clerk with solicitors Farrer & Co of Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

George Lancaster Randall was one of at least five children on the family. The 1881 census, taken at 109 Carlton Road in St Pancras gave George Randall senior as born 1845 in Bedfordshire and working as a builder. With him was his wife Louise (Louisa), born 1841 at Bushey, Hertfordshire. Also in the home were (1) Kate, born 1863 (2) William ,born 1865, a clerk (3) Maurice, born 1866, a teacher (4) GEORGE LANCASTER, born 1975,a scholar (5) Selina,born 1877, a scholar. All of the children were recorded as born in St Pancras, London.

The 1891 census, taken at 23 Dale Road in St Pancras gave George senior as born 1845 in Morston, Bedfordshire who at the time was a builder employing others. With him was his wife Louisa; his daughter Lilian, age 16, born 1875 Kentish Town, a clerk and GEORGE LANCASTER RANDALL, born 1875 Kentish Town, St Pancras, who was also working as a clerk.

Andrew Randall stated “ George Lancaster Randall developed an interest in mechanical propulsion at an early age, and in his teens built several substantial model boats powered by electricity and steam. When he was 21, he left Farrer’s and invested some money with his father in a mineral water business in Epsom, which meant he had to do the deliveries using a horse and cart. He didn’t get on well with the horse, and was motivated to get into the world of the internal combustion engine as soon as possible. He was a petrolhead throughout his life. In the later 1890’s, George worked as a motor-demonstrator for D. Napier & Son and later the Motor Manufacturing Company (MMC), where one of his prospects was Charles Rolls but Mr Rolls was unimpressed with the MMC car”. The firm MMC went out of business in 1905.

Andrew states “ George returned to Farrer’s around 1900”. The 1901 census, taken at 23 Dale Road in St Pancras, gave George Randall senior as a builder employing others. With him was his wife Louisa and their son George Lancaster Randall, who was working as a solicitors clerk, and so was still working for  Farrer’s at that time. Also in the home was a grandson by the name of Reginald E. Dexter, age 11 who was born 1890 in London.

In the 3rd qtr pf 1902 George Lancaster Randall’s marriage to Annie Harriet Mott (1872-1958) was registered at St Pancras. Annie was one of several children born to Charles Mott, a wood carver, and Harriet Mott. Annie’s birth was registered in the 1st qtr of 1872 at St. Pancras. A family tree for the Mott family gave Charles Mott born 1846 in St Pancras who died in 1901. Charles had married Harriet, born 1849 at Halywell, Oxfordshire, in 1870. At the time of the 1871 census Charles and his wife were living alone in St Pancras. Charles and his wife went on to have seven children between 1872 and 1888 with Annie Mott being the eldest. At the time of the 1901 census Annie Mott was a 29 year old woman of no occupation. She was living with her parents and four siblings at 30 Southampton Road in St Pancras Kentish Town. Her father at that time was working as a wood carver. Annies sister Pattie,age 25 was a lady clerk in a riding school and her nineteen year old sister Florence was working as a typist.

George Lancaster Randall and his wife Annie had the following children (1) Lilian, born 1903 in St Pancras (2) George Lewis, born 1902 in Lamberhurst,Kent. Died Tunbridge Wells 1946. (3) Stanley Eric, born January 26,1917 at St Leonards-on-Sea,Sussex. Died in Tunbridge Wells 1945.

In the next section I continue the story of the family in Hook Green and Bells Yew Green in Lamberhust during the time that George Lancaster Randall was employed as a private secretary with Lord Camden.

THE LORD CAMDEN YEARS (1904-1929) 

Andrew Randall states “ In 1904 George Lancaster Randall left Farrer’s for good to work for one of their clients, Lord Camden, 4th Marquis, of Bayham Abbey.”. Park Cottage, Hook Green, a tied house, was built for George and his family in 1904 by George Sands the estate builder. A photo of Park Cottage, taken in 1917 is shown opposite. Below is shown a photo of Bayham Abbey.

The 1911 census, taken at Park Cottage, Hook Green, Lamberhurst, gave George L. Randall as a private assistant to the Marquis Camden. With him was his wife Annie; his daughter Lilian and son George Lewis Randall. The census recorded that they were living in premises of 8 rooms and had been married 9 years.

Andrew Randall continues by stating “ When George Lewis Randall was badly effected by whooping cough as a small child, the family bought a property by the sea, at Marazion, 55 West Hill,in St Leonards, and it was there that Stanley Eric Randall was born. The family then divided their time between St Leonard’s and Hook Green. George spent his week days at Park Cottage and the weekends at St Leonards-on-Sea. In about October 1922 the family moved from St Leonards-on-Sea to Hook Green.In 1924 George and his wife and three children moved from Park Cottage,Hook Green to Lowfield, in adjoining Bells Green which he rented until he retired from the Bayham Estate in 1929 and moved to Tunbridge Wells.  


Shown left is a photograph taken in 1919 of Mrs Bach holding Stanley Eric Randall and to the right of it is a photo taken about the same time showing Stanley Eric Randall with the family dog and his sister Lilian.










In addition to wanting a private secretary Lord Camden wanted one who could also drive a motor car as Lord Camden had just bought a 15 HP  Darracq ( known as a ‘Flying Fifteen’), which was first registered on April 8,1904, number D 1117. It was red with blue wheels and had a tonneau body. These cars were of exceptional quality for their time. Lord Camden ended up hiring a dedicated chauffeur (Mr Shepherd) and so George Lancaster Randall focused on his secretarial work. A driving licence was issued to George Lancaster Randall in 1905. According to his grandson he had been driving 9-10 years before this license was issued. Shown opposite is G.L. Randall standing behind Lord Camdens motor car.

George worked for Lord Camden for 25 years. His pay never varied in all that time; 5 pounds a week, plus a tied house ‘Park Cottage’. George had to argue hard to get a bathroom included. There were many cost-reducing perks to the job, including fishing permission in Bayham Lake. During this period George also maintained a portfolio of houses rented out in Gospel Oak inherited by his father, of low quality and in a poor state of repair. George also had a fine house at 55 West Hill in St Leonard’s-on-Sea as noted above and a property in Birling Road, Tunbridge Wells.

As noted in the ‘Overview’ George retired from the Bayham Estate in 1929 and moved to Tunbridge Wells with his wife and three children, taking up residence at 33 Ferndale Road. Details about the family in Tunbridge Wells are given in the next section.

THE RANDALLS IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS

In 1929 George Lancaster Randall and his wife and three children left the Bayham Estate and took up residence in Tunbridge Wells. During this time in the town’s history it was a scene of economic hardship. Many fine homes in the town were empty or put on the market for sale. Sales at auctions were disappointing as many homes put up for auction drew no interest and seller far outnumbered buyers.

In difficult times like those, anyone with some money can take advantage of the situation and pick up some properties at bargain basement prices. George was in such a position and managed to purchase 33 Ferndale Road from the Nix family and several others including ‘Rocklands’ on Ferndale Road; ‘Studley’ in Bishops Down Road; ‘Courtlands’ in Sandrock Road; 30 Broadwater Down; Carlton House and The Ferns in Carlton Road; ‘The Hollies’ at 3 Calverley Park Gardens, and 12 Ferndale Road.

George concentrated on building up and managing his property empire, selling the houses in St Leonards-on-Sea and the one on Birling Road, and concentrating on large Victorian villas in Tunbridge Wells that were in poor repair and which could be converted from single-family occupancy into flats, typically basement, ground floor, first floor and top floor. The higher up you lived the more you paid in rent. During the financial crisis of the early 1930’s these large homes were going cheap. However, there were numerous ‘genteel’ families strapped for cash who wanted to live in the style to which they were accustomed with rooms large enough for their furniture, and didn’t mind the odd damp patch in the ceiling if the price was right.

George did well until the outbreak of WW II, when his two sons joined up for service and left Tunbridge Wells. Gardeners and builders were in short supply during the war and charged more. Building materials were also rationed and not all tenants ‘played ball’ and then Rent Control kicked in.

George Lancaster Randall died in Tunbridge Wells, age 70, in 1945. Probate records gave George Lancaster Randall of 33 Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Wells and that he died April 27,1945. The executors of his 21,899 pound estate were his widow Annie Harriet Randall and William Warden Peters, solicitors managing clerk.

His daughter Lilian moved to South Africa in 1949. His eldest son George Lewis Randall who had married Elizabeth returned to Tunbridge Wells after the war, taking up residence at 33 Ferndale Road. He had difficulty returning to civilian live and shot himself in the back garden of his residence in 1946. Probate records gave George Lewis Randall of 33 Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Wells when he died November 25,1946. The executors of his estate was his widow Elizabeth Frances Randall and his mother Anne Harriet Randall, widow. Marriage records record that George Lewis Randall married Elizabeth Frances Passmore in the 4th qtr of 1945. As the marriage was so short he and his wife had no children. The Kent & Sussex Courier announce the death of George Lewis Randall and provided some details about the war, the effect it had on him, and his wife-a touching and sad story indeed.

The youngest son Stanley Eric Randall returned to Tunbridge Wells after the war and sold off his father’s property empire, which had been distributed between George seniors three children. He however kept the home ‘Rocklands’ on Ferndale Road and moved his mother from 33 Ferndale into Rocklands Cottage with her two elderly sisters in 1947. When the carriage drive to the cottage became too steep for them to walk up and down in their 80’s , he moved them into the ground floor of the ‘Rocklands’ mansion in 1955.

George Lancaster’s widow Annie died in Tunbridge Wells in 1958. Probate records gave Annie Harriet Randall, otherwise Anne Harriet of Rocklands, 1 Sandrock Road, Tunbridge Wells, widow, died July 26,1958. The executors of her 4,907 pound estate was her son Stanley Eric Randall, engineer.

In 1947 Stanley Eric Randall moved from Tunbridge Wells to Widnes Lancashire to work for ICI. More information about Stanley is given in the next section.

STANLEY ERIC RANDALL

Stanley had been born January 26,1917 at St Leonards-on-Sea,Sussex. In the preceding section I have referred to him during the time he lived with his parents and siblings at St Leonards and then in Hook Green and Bells Yew Green.

Stanley recorded his recollections of his early life in ‘Life in Hook Green and Bells Yew Green- The Recollections of Stanley Randall’ which was last dated April 16,2015. He tells of how Park Cottage had no electricity but a good well and what it was like living there. It’s an interesting and quite detailed account of his early life and that of other family members.

In a related document entitled ‘ Stanley Randall’s Schooldays 1922-1935’ last dated August 18,2016 it is stated that Stanley’s first school, which he attended aged 5 for a few weeks before the Randalls relocated to Park Cottage, Hook Green in about October 1922 was St Leonard’s Collegiate School in St Leonards.

For a while Stanley was taught at home by his mother. In 1923 he started attending a tiny school run by Mr Johns at Guest’s Farm, Hook Green, which was about a 1.25 walk from Park Cottage. He was escorted back and forth to this school by the Randall’s maid.

In September 1924 Stanley started at Rose Hill School in Tunbridge Wells, initially as a weekly boarder because there was no regular daily transport available between Park Cottage and Frant Station. On Monday mornings Stanley was taken from Park Cottage to Frant Station with a bag containing toothbrush, toothpaste, flannel and towel. Boarders in the school were issued with a nightgown instead of pajamas. He caught the train to Tunbridge Wells. On Saturday afternoons his father would collect him by motor car from the school after shopping in Tunbridge Wells and bring him back to Hook Green. Stanley recalls that there were three dormitories at the school, each with about 12 beds and goes on to provide other interesting facts about the school and life there and that boarders were walked to a church in High Brooms for Sunday Service.

In 1925 the Randalls moved from Park Cottage to Lowfield, Bell Yews Green. It was an easy walk to Frant station so Stanley became a dayboy. Train fare at that time was 2d return. During the General strike of 1926 no trains ran and so Stanley peddled his bicycle to school.

In 1929 when the Randalls took up residence at 33 Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Wells, it was an easy walk or bike ride for Stanley to the Rose Hill School.

From 1930 to 1935 Stanley attended the Tonbridge School (image opposite). Staley took the Common Entrance exam at the school and passed. Dayboy fees were 15 guineas a term. Stanley describes in his account details about the school and life there and that his sporting career there was based around rugby. Boys starting at Tonbridge went straight into the School’s Officer Training Corps and issued with full kit including greatcoat, uniform with plus-fours and puttees, webbing, packs and boots. Stanley also played violin in the Tonbridge orchestra.

From 1935 to 1938 Stanley attended school at the City & Guilds, London University, which was a technical college. His father funded his education at this college at a cost of 200 pounds for two years. Although the college was a 3-year course Stanley was able to skip the first year as he got an Intermediate BSc while at the Tonbridge School. Stanley lived at home in Tunbridge Wells and commuted each day to the college getting up at 7:50 am he caught the 8:19 train to Charing Cross and got to the college by 9:45 in time for lectures starting at 10am. To his surprise Stanley got a 1st class degree after his two years at the college but stayed on for a further year doing research.

Stanley accepted a job as a factory engineer with ICI in Widnes, and started work there on August 3,1938. Colleagues at the factory encouraged him to join up in the Royal Artillery, whose drill hall was close to the works. On August 28,1939, just a few days before the declaration of war, he became a full-time soldier in the 3rd West Lancashire Regiment (service No. 86156).

When the war ended Stanley returned to live at 33 Ferndale Road in Tunbridge Wells. In the preceding section I reported that upon his father’s death in 1945 the property investments were distributed among the three children; that his brother had killed himself in 1946 and that in 1947 Stanley left Tunbridge Wells and moved to Widnes Lancashire to work for ICI.

As noted in the previous section his mother died at Rocklands, 1 Sandrock Road, Tunbridge Wells on July 26,1958 and Stanley was named as the executor of her 4,907 pound estate and that Stanley was given in his mother’s probate record as an engineer.

Records for Tudordale Limited Tunbridge Wells (01333816) show it as an active company incorporated October 13,1977 and currently registered at Rocklands Cottage. The company employs three directors namely Stanley Eric Randall (born 1917); Andrew Owen Randall (Stanley’s son) and Jonathan Randall born February 1951(Stanley’s son and Andrews younger brother). All three directors were appointed December 30,1991. The nature of the business is described as “Engineering related scientific and technical consulting activities”. Stanley was listed as “retired” Andrew as “Head of Sales & Marketing” and Jonathan as “ Commercial Manager”.  In an article entitled ‘ Me & My Aston’ which I give more information from later, it was mentioned that Andrew Owen Randall had an older sister Frances and that Andrews parents in 2007 , now in their mid 80’s sold their house in Harpenden and that Andrew and his family had previously lived in Cheshire.

Today Andrew Owen Randall, who provided considerable information to me for this article is a resident of Sevenoaks and devoted much time researching his family history.In an article that appeared in ‘This is Kent’ July 30,2010 he posted the photo shown opposite with his grandfather George Lancaster Randall circled seeking information on the identification of the other people shown in the photo.  In correspondence to me dated January 22,2017 Andrew reported that that he has a son, age 35, who had lived in the USA for the past 11 years and that he visits his son in Atlanta for one week a year and that he visits his parents in Sevenoaks one week at Christmas. Andrews wife has a married cousin living in near Toronto, where I worked as a Civil Engineer for some 13 years before moving north to Thunder Bay, who Andrew visited in 2012, and that Andrews mother sadly passed away in 2009. His father Stanley Eric Randall died February 14,2016.

With this I now end my summarized account of the Randall family and in the next, and last, section I present a photogallery of the Randall family motor cars.

THE RANDALL FAMILY MOTOR CARS

Some images of the Randall family motor cars have been given in previous sections of this article. Below is a large photogallery of other images showing their motor cars. Each image has been numbered and below the images is some text describing each image.  I thank Andrew Owen Randall for providing these photographs to me for use in this article. As I noted in the ‘Overview’ George Lancaster Randall is credited with owning only the 5th motor car in England and throughout his life had many others, as did his two sons and daughter and Andrew Owen Randall has continued the family tradition.

Among the many newspaper advertisement pertaining to motor cars owned by the Randall Family given here are two examples. The first appeared in the Kent & Sussex Courier of June 11,1937 which gave “ 1934 Aston Martin Mark II long chassis 4 seater. Handsome sporting model 20,000 miles only; carefully maintained 250 pounds. G.L. Randall 33 Ferndale,Tunbridge Wells. The second advertisement was dated May 13,1938 in the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Adverister “ 1934 Aston Martin Mark II open four seater. Handsome sporting model carefully maintained 225 pounds, any trial; 1931 Morgan Super Sports quiet cruises 60 price 20 pounds. G.Randall 33 Ferndale, Tunbridge Wells”.

THE RANDALL MOTOR CAR PHOTOGALLERY

[1] ‘Randall 17’ George Lancaster Randall in his Leon Bolee in 1897 taken in Hampstead/ Gospel Oak area of north London. In this view George is driving his future father-in-law Charles Mott. This motor car was the third Leon Bolee that came to England and ran in the first London to Brighton race circa 1896. It was a 3.3 HP single cylinder horizontal belt drive with 3 speed tube ignition





[2]’Randall 20’ Although not a motor car owned by the Randall family the photo shows a De Dion Bouton 15 HP motor car owned by the Fowler family who lived at ‘Rockland’s a home owned by George Lancaster Randall. Driving the motor car is Fowler’s chauffer James McQueen circa 1908 outside the coach-house at Rocklands Cottage. Andrew states that his father referred to this motor car as ‘Ding Dong Button’ in the local vernacular.


[3] ‘Randall 22A’. This photo taken circa 1910 shows George Lancaster Randall in his 1904 MMC with his daughter Lilian at Lamberhurst, Kent.








[4] ‘Randall 22B’. This shows the MMC in Lamberhurst in 1910. Note that the wheels are now metal-spoked rather and wooden as shown in the previous photo.








[5] ‘Randall 21’. This photo shows George Lancaster Randall with his MMC somewhere on the Bayham Estate near Tunbridge Wells. In the car left to right are GLR’s nephew Ted Liddiard, his son George Lewis, age 3 and daughter Lilian, age 7. The dog’s name has not yet been identified.






[6] ‘Randall 23’. This photo dated 1938 is entitled ‘Randall Car Park’ and was taken at 33 Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Wells. Shown left to right is George Lewis and Stanley Eric Randall with the 1926 Morgan (note widened track), the boy’s aunt Flor Mott and their mother Annie Harriet Randall either side of the  1934 Aston Martin Mk II long chassis tourer, the 1926 Darracq 12/32 DC Sport, the boys’ aunt Pattie Liddiard nee Mott and her son Ted and dog Bob alongside a 1935 Morrfis 12, GLR and  his daughter Lilian alongside a 1925 Darracq 17/75.


[7] ‘Randall 34’. This photo was taken in 1907 and shows Park Cottage in the background. The motor car is the same 1904 MMC and shows GLR and with Lilian in the front and his wife in a big hat in the back seat.









[8] ‘Randall 24’. This photo shows the Randall’s 1926 Daracq DC Sport 12/32









[9] ‘Randall 25’. This shows GLR in Lord Camden’s Flying Fifteen Darracq, that GLR bought from Lord Camden in 1911. This photo was taken about 1925 at Bull Lane, Hook Green, Kent







[10] ‘Randall 26’. This photo shows Lewis in his Darracq Special which was a modified saloon and was taken at Christmas 1940 at 33 Ferndale.







[11] ‘Randall 27’. This photo shows George Lewis Randall at the wheel of the 12/32 Darracq DC Sport with GLR standing alongside. In the background is the rear of the Morgan and the Darracq 17/75. This photo was taken circa 1940 at 33 Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Wells.






[12] ‘Randall 28’. This photo shows the 12 32 Darracq Special at Rocklands Cottage, Tunbridge Wells in 1946. It shows Andrews father Stanley and Kathleen Randall. Alongside is a 1938 903 cc ‘baby Renault’ that belonged to Stanley’s sister Lilian Ketley, nee Randall.





[13] ‘Randall 29’. This photo was taken in 1940 at 33 Ferndale Road. It shows the 1934 Mk II Aston with Stanley Randall at the wheel. His elder brother George Lewis is in the front passenger seat. In the doorway is GLR with an evacuee boy. Also featured is Bob the Jack Russell.





[14] ‘Randall 9’. Although not a Randall motor car this photo dated circa 1908 shows a motor car owned by the Fowler family who rented premises from the Randall family from 1904 to 1912. The Fowlers never had horses & carriages. This motor car was a blue 1905 De Dion Bouton  five seater brougham of 15 Hp registered D1947 on May 23,1905. The photo shows the servants at play; the cook is standing with her hand on the door; Florence Davies is at the wheel, chauffer James McQueen is standing idly by and there are at least two people in the rear sear. In her final year, Mrs Fowler traded up to an Austin limousine.

[15] ‘Randall 50’. This photo taken at a motor show in Kent is a view of Andrew Randall driving his 1934 Aston Martin long chassis  with his father sitting in the passenger seat.









[16] ‘Courtlands 2’. This photo shows George Lancaster Randall with a Ford 8 and his 1934 Aston Martin Mk II outside ‘Courtlands Coachouse. Courtlands was one of the homes in Tunbridge Wells that he purchased along with several others.

 

 

 

THE HISTORY OF THE TOWER HOUSE 33 FERNDALE ROAD

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

Date: February 19,2017

OVERVIEW 

No. 33 Ferndale Road is a fine large home, known as The Tower House, built in 1877 in the Ferndale residential development east of St James Church on St James Road eastward to what became Sandhurst Road and lying north of the homes on Sandrock Road. This land once formed part of John Ward’s Calverley Estate. Located on the north side of Ferndale Road towards the eastern end of the development the site has been redeveloped but the original home still exists, although it is no longer a single family residence, having been converted into flats. It is a survivor and one of the few original homes left in Ferndale.

Over the years No. 33 has had a number of owners and an even larger number of tenants. The most owners of the building was the Nix family from at least 1882 up to 1929 when in that year George Lancaster Randall bought it. The Randall family lived on the ground floor and rented out to various tenants the basement and upper two floors. The Randall family sold the home in 1946. Since then the home has been in use as flats and still exists today in this use.

This article presents information about the location, design and occupancy of the building up to about 2016, with its more recent history found in the records of the Planning Authority.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION 

No. 33 Ferndale Road is a fine large home (described in the 1911 census has having 21 rooms),and consisting of a basement, ground fllor, main floor and upper floor, known as The Tower House. It was built in 1877 in the Ferndale residential development east of St James Church on St James Road eastward to what became Sandhurst Road and lying north of the homes on Sandrock Road. This land once formed part of John Ward’s Calverley Estate. Located on the north side of Ferndale Road towards the eastern end of the development the site has been redeveloped but the original home still exists, although it is no longer a single family residence, having been converted into flats. It is a survivor and one of the few original homes left in Ferndale.Shown opposite is a 1907 os map showing its location highlighted in red.

Chris Jones of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society was kind enough to send me a copy his thesis about Ferndale (2011) from which I present the following information given by him about Ferndale and more particularly No. 33 Ferndale. Once owned by John Ward his land holdings, including the future site of No. 33 was passed to his two sons at the time of his death in 1851. John Smith who lived at Ferndale House (No. 3) for many years and who founded the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company, is a man I have reported on in a number of articles before. Chris Jones noted that Mr Weare had acquired land in Ferndale and developed it in three phases and among those lands was the site of No. 33. It is known that Mr Weare had No. 31 built and may well have had No. 33 built for him as well as a speculative venture. There is no concrete evidence about who designed the built No. 33 although one could speculate given information about other homes in this development. It is known that Mr Weare acted as developer/ builder and that on other homes of his the architect he used was Henry Hickman Cronk. Details about Henry Hickmon Cronk can be found in my article ‘Henry Hickman Cronk Architect’ dated March 23,2012 (updated April 7,2013). Details about Mr Weare can be found in several articles including ‘ The History of Ferndale House’ dated March 22,2014. Chris stated “No. 33 had even more ornate architecture than other homes. It had a steeply pitched section of roof (since removed) over the pillared main entrance, and a sturdy roof windows with ball finials. It has perhaps a Second Empire feel to it in the Italiante without towers style. In Ferndale the larger homes had stables/coachouses and No. 33 did as well. In 1909, 160 people came to a garden party for the Girls Friendly Society at No. 33, with tea on the terrace and dancing on the lawn, which event was described in the Kent & Sussex Courier of July 30,1909. Chris refers to the depression years and that many of the homes in Ferndale were empty and difficult to sell. They were also considered to be old fashioned in style. As you will read later George Lancaster Randall who bought No. 33 in 1929 also bought No. 12 Ferndale and several other homes in the town and rented them out but that GAL lived with his family on the ground floor of No. 33 while renting the rest of the building out to other tenants. Chris found from his research that in 1912 No. 33 was valued at 7,000 pounds.

The Times of March 28,1885 gave an announcement about the sale of homes by auction that was to be held April 14,1885. Among the list of 20 homes were 6 on George Avenue, Ferndale Road (6 homes) and eight homes on Oakdale Road with  No. 33 Ferndale on the list.

Andrew Owen Randall, the grandson of George Lawrence Randall ( who bought 33 Ferndale in 1929), was kind enough to provide a whole series of photographs of the home, which are presented in this article, one of which is shown opposite showing the front of the house.

Shown below are six more photos of the home and in some cases members of the Randall family taken during the years that the Randall family resided there. In order from top to bottom moving left to right is (1) A view of the rear of the house (2) another view of the rear of the house (3) Another view of the front lawn and house with George Lancaster Randall and his wife Annie seated (4) a view of the rear of the house showing George Lancaster Randall below the steps leading to the garden. (5) a view of the front of the house with George and his daughter  and the dogs.

























The home sat on nicely landscaped grounds but by the time the Randalls purchased it this home and many others in the town were up for sale during hard economic times. House prices were greatly depressed and could be picked up at bargain prices. Many of those that were put up for sale by auction did not sell. Andrew Lawrence stated that the home sat on grounds of seven acres that stretched up to the Ferndale/Sandhurst junction. In about 1932 George Lancester Randall (GAL)sold three acres of it to Mr Colquhoun ,who lived next door at 31 Ferndale Road, for the sum of 200 pounds. Mr Colquhoun wanted it to stop GAL developing the land with more houses and was annoyed with the Randalls who felt they had lowered the tone of the road by taking in tenants and filling the drive with noisy motor cars and motorbikes, which GAL and his two sons enjoyed collecting/ driving and working on. Details about the Randalls and their interest in motor cars can be found in my article ‘Motoring History-The Randall Family’ dated February 18,2017.  As a side note, the book ‘Tunbridge Wells in the Second World War’ by Ann Bates of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society noted that No. 31 Ferndale was requisitioned October 25,1939 and became a hostel for evacuees. One of these children is shown in one of the photos in this article standing with the Randalls’ at No. 33.

Andrew Randall stated in an email to me that “ Originally there was a massive oak staircase in the middle of the hall that served all the flats. This meant that all the tenants came and went through the Randall’s part of the house (they lived on the ground floor), which was unsatisfactory. In 1932 GAL’s son George Lewis Randall constructed an external concrete staircase to serve the two upper flats, a structure that their neighbour Mr Colquhoun despised the look of. Outside the home was a garage for two cars, one for the spinsters Miss MacSorley and Miss Cobb (both retired school teachers) and one for Major Rigg, a widower who’s wife had been killed in a car accident and lived on the 1st floor of the house. There was a stable complex with harness room, dry earth closet, hayloft, loosebox, two stalls and a garage for one car. In the garden were two roomy greenhouses”.

Further information about the home from the period 1974 onwards is given in the last section of this article.

OCCUPANCY RECORD

Given in this section is a list of known residents/owners of this home covering the period of 1877 up to and including the 20th century. This list was compiled from a review of local directories, census and related records and from a review of Planning Authority records and newspaper accounts. Other sources were also studied from various websites on the internet. This list is by no means complete as records for each year of the study period were not available and in particular information about tenants of the building are lacking. All dates should be considered approximate unless specifically referred to in the text given for those listed.

1877-1880…….Unknown

1881-1882…….The Misses Nix (Laura and her sister Catherine)

1899-1920……. Edward Winkelmann Nix

1921-1929……..The Nix family

1929-1945 …….George Lawrence Randall (owner-bought the home in 1929). Occupied by the Randall family on the main floor with the basement and other two floors rented out.

1945-1948……. George Lewis Randall and wife

1964……………...Mr & Mrs Albion and John A. Harmons

1968……………….Bernard Page

1974-1978……….Mr J. C. Rofe

[1]THE NIX FAMILY

The earliest census record found for them was that of 1881 in which Laura D Nix, a single lady age 48, born in Sydenham, Kent was an annuitant. With her at No. 33 Ferndale was her 39 year old spinster sister Catherine A. Nix born in Sydenham. Also there were three visitors and six servants, including a nurse, cook, maid, two housemaids and one male domestic who was probably the coachman. These two women were the sisters of Edward Winkelmann Nix. The Misses Mix were listed at No. 33 in the 1882 Kelly directory but no trace of them was found after that time. As reported earlier No. 33 was put up for sale by auction in 1885 but it appears to not have been sold for the Nix family is found there in records up to the time of Edward Winkemanns death there in 1920.

Edward Winkelmann Nix is decended from the Nix family of the banking firm of Fuller, Banbury,Nix & Co (1737-1891) that was established in London and was a past constituent of NatWest. It had been established as Atkins, Honeywood & Fuller. In 1859 it merged with Sapte, Muspratt, Banbury &Co and in 1881 it became Fuller, Banbury, Nix & Co. In 1891 it was acquired by Parr’s Banking Co. Ltd of Warrington. The firm also sent by a series of twelve different names in the period of 1737 to 1881.

The 1911 census, taken at No. 33 Ferndale gave Edward Winkelmann Nix, age 76, born 1835 in Beckenham, Kent, with the occupation of “retired banker”. With him was his wife Julia Mary Nix, born 1846 in Worth Sussex. Also there was their daughter Margaret Isabel Nix, born in Manchester, age 35 . Also there was a married sister in law Edith Georgiana Stephens there as well as six servants. The census recorded that the home had 21 rooms; that Edward and his wife had been married 40 years (1871) and that they had four children who were all still living. Also there was a brother in law Norman Henry Bethune, age 49, single born 1862 in Betchworth, Surrey who was living on private means.

Edward Winkemann Nix was one of six children born to John Nix, born 1791 in Baming, London and Caroline Nix, born 1799 at St Dunstans, London. John Nix was living at the time of the 1851 census at ‘Rockhills’ in Beckenham, Kent when at that time he was a corn factor . At the time of the 1861 he and his wife were living at The Hall  in Worth, Sussex, with the occupation of “landed proprietor”. When he died was not established. An image of Beckenham, Kent is shown above.

In the years leading up to 1840 Edward was living at Beckenham, Kent. At the time of the 1851 census he was living with his parents and siblings at ‘Rockhills’ Bechenham, Kent. In 1852 he was a student at Cambridge University. In 1861 he was living with his parents in Worth, Sussex.

In 1871 Edward married Julia Mary Bethune (1846-1919). The 1871 census taken at Pall Mall, Manchester gave Edward as a bank agent. Living with him was his wife and first child Edward. The couple went on to have the following children (1) Edward, born 1871 (2) Agnes Laura, born 1873 (34) Margaret Isabel, born 1876 (4) Barbara E, born 1878. All of the children were born in Manchester.

A publication of Manchester Bankers (1878) states for the Bank of
England branch in Manchester (image opposite) that when George Archer Shea retired October 1873  “he was succeeded by Edward Winkelmann Nix who had been sub-agent since December 1868. Mr Nix was born in Sydenham, Kent. He took his BA degree at Cambridge in January 1856 and became MA in 1860 on quitting university he was connected for six years with his brothers bank in London, Messrs Fuller, Banbury, Nix and Mathieson of Lombard Street and subsequently for five years with the firm of Australian merchants. It is to Mr Nix tghat the Manchester bankers are specially indebted for the establishment of the useful ‘Clearing House’. Mr Nix is the present chairman of the committee of management”.

At the time of the 1881 census Edward was a banker living with his wife and children at Sunny Hill, Worth, Sussex. Census records for him in 1891 and 1901 were not located .

Julia Mary Nix, nee Bethune was one of nine children born to George Caddington Bethune (1807-1898) who was a graduate of Oxford University Trinity College, and Julia Bethune, nee Hope (1823-1915). Julia’s mother died in Tunbridge Wells at 19 Queens Road and her father died in Exmouth, Devon. At the time of Julia’s marriage she was living in Manchester, Lancashire.

The Handbook of London Banks (1891) listed “ Edward Winkelmann Nix, Edward Banbury, John Hennings Nix, William Banbury and George Arthur Fuller are partners in the firm of Fuller, Banbury and Co. In 1859 by amalgamation the company became Fuller, Banbury, Nix and Mathieson and in in 1891 this company still occupies 77 Lombard Street, London.

A record of 1894-1895 of charities in London gave for the City Orthopaedic Hostital “ Treasurer-Edward Winkelmann Nix, esq., Bankers, Parr’s Banking Company Limited 77 Lombard Street, London”.

A website about Tilgate Park in Crowley refers to it as the largest and most popular park in the area of some 2,185 acres and part of the Worth forest. In 1862 the manor of Tilgate was purchased by a wealthy businessman from India, George Ashburn, His daughter Sarah in 1865 at St Nicholas Church in Worth, married John Flemmings Nix, partners with his brother Edward Winkelmann Nix in the London bank of Fuller, Banbury,Nix & Co who together took over the estate from their father who died in 1869. It was Nix who built a large French style mansion in the 1860’s called Tilgate House, and by 1900 had demolished the old mansion. On Sarah’s death in 1904 the estate went to her son John Ashburn Nix who died in 1921 and then to his brother Charles George Ashburn Nix who in 1939 put it up for sale and it was split up into separate lots which were sold off individually”.

Julia Mary Nix died in Tunbridge Wells at 33 Ferndale on October 22,1919. The executor of her 560 pound estate was her husband. Probate records for Edward Winkelmann Nix gave his of Tower House, 33 Ferndale Road when he died on November 28,1920. The executor of his 69,734 pound estate was Edward Bethune Nix, his son, esq., and his spinster daughter Agnes Laura Nix. The Kent & Sussex Courier gave a brief announcement of his death stating in part that he was “the third son of the late John Nix of Worth Sussex and that no flowers were to be send by his request”.

Upon his death 33 Ferndale remained in the Nix family with Edward Nix and his sister residing there, until they sold the house in 1929 to George Lancaster Randall.

[2]GEORGE LANCASTER RANDALL AND FAMILY

George Lancaster Randall (GLR) purchased 33 Ferndale Road from the Nix family in 1929 and when he died in 1945 it was occupied by his son George Lewis Randall and his wife Elizabeth. George Lewis Randall, who had served in WW II suffered from the war and shot himself in the rear garden of the home in 1946. After his death his wife continued to live there. In 1948 the Randall family sold the house. Details about the Randall family were given in my article ‘Motoring History-The Randall Family’ dated February 18,2017. In that article I provided information about the family and their motor cars, of which George Lancaster Randall and his sons owned several over the course of their lives, many of them during the time the family lived at 33 Ferndale Road. Shown opposite is a photo taken at 33 Ferndale Road in 1940 which shows their 1934 Mk II Aston Martin with Stanley Eric Randall at the wheel and his brother George Lewis Randall in the passenger seat. Also shown is GLR in the doorway with an evacuee boy as well as Bob the Jack Russel Terrier. The boy lived next door at 31 Ferndale which was requisitioned during WW II as a home for evacuees.

Given in this section is a brief overview of the family and a few family photos provided to me by Andrew Owen Randall, the grandson of GLR.

George Lancaster Randall (1875-1945) was born in Gospel Oak, north London. His father George Randall was a plumber, general builder/decorator by trade, and his mother Louise was a housewife. George began his working career as an articled clerk with solicitors Farrer & Co of Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

When he was age 21 he left Farrer’s and invested some money with his father in a mineral water business in Epson,which meant he had to make deliveries by horse and cart. George developed an interest at an early age in mechanical propulsion and in the 1890’s worked as a motor car demonstrator for D. Napier & Son and later with the Motor Manufacturing Company (MMC) which business ended in 1905.

George returned to Farrers around 1900 but in 1904 he left the firm for good and worked for one of their clients, Lord Camden, at the Batham Estate near Tunbridge Wells, as his personal secretary, a position he held until 1926. A photo of George with Lord Camden's motor car is shown opposite.

George married Annie Harriet Mott (born 1872 in St Pancras, London) at St Pancras in the 3rd qtr of 1902 and with his wife had the following children. (1) Lilian was born 1903 at St Pancras.She married and moved to South Africa in 1949 (2) George Lewis Randall was born 1902 in Lamberhurst, Kent.He served in WW II. In the 4th qtr of 1945 he married Elizabeth F. Passmore in Tunbridge Well. He suffered from his time in the war and on  November 25,1946 he shot himself in the rear garden of No. 33 Ferndale Road. (3) Stanley Eric Randall, born January 26,1917 at St Leonards-on-Sea.He became an engineer and served in WW II.He lived at 33 Ferndale until 1947 when he moved to Widnes, Lancs to work for ICI. He died February 14,2016. Andrew Own Stanley, who provided information and family photos to me is one of Stanley’s children.

When George began work for Lord Camden he and his family lived at Park Cottage in Hook Green, that had been built for him in 1904.George also maintained a home in St Leonards-on-Sea and owned a home in Tunbridge Wells on Birling Road. Shown opposite is a photo of Park Cottage in 1907 with GAL and his daughter Lilian in their MMC motor car.

In 1924 he left Park Cottage and the family moved (wife and 3 children) to Lowfield, Bells Yew Green which he rented until he retired from the Bayham Estate in 1929 and took up l residency in Tunbridge Wells at 33 Ferndale where he remained until his death there in 1945.

While living at 33 Ferndale Road, he and his family lived on the ground floor and rented out the basement; the main floor and the upper floor.Major Rigg, who you will read more about later, with two daughters rented the top flat. Miss McSorley and Miss Cobb, two spinster former teachers, who you will read more about later,rented the first floor. The basement was rented out to various tenants from time to time.

When GLR died April 27,1945 his property empire which included several homes in Tunbridge Wells was passed along to his three children. When his son George Lewis Randall died in 1946 Stanley Eric Randall took over the portfolio of homes and sold them off in 1948 except for Rocklands at 1 Sandrock Road. He moved his mother to Rocklands Cottage with her two elderly sisters in 1947 and later moved them into the ground floor of the main Rocklands house in 1955. His mother Annie died while living at Rocklands on July 26, 1958.

THE TENANTS OF THE RANDALL FAMILY

During the time the George Lancaster Randall owned 33 Ferdale (1929-1945) Major Rigg and his two daughter, who occupied the top flat and two spinsters (former school teacher) Miss McSorley and Miss Cobb who rented the first floor. The names of the tenants who occupied the basement from time to time are not known. Given below is information about these tenants. Shown opposite is a partial view of the house in which can be seen a view of the exterior concrete staircase erected by George Randall to give the tenants private access to their flat.

[1] THE RIGG FAMILY 

William Trevor Rigg was born 1874 in Sevenoaks and was one of four children born to William Thomas Rigg (1841-1897) , a merchant, and Mary Selina Rigg, nee Davyz (1843-1918). William was baptised October 18,1874 at Wrotham, Kent

At the time of the 1881 census he was living with his mother Mary and sister Mary at 40 Stratford Road ,St Mary Abbott, Kensington, London.

The London Gazette of July 7,1899 gave the listing “ Civil Service Commission, after limited competition William Trevor Rigg appointed Cadet in the Royal Irish Constabulary”.

In the 3rd qtr of 1906 he married Lilian Mary Rouche (1882-1926) at Anglesey and with her had the following children (1) Marjorie Gweneth Mary Rigg (1908-1993) who was born January 23,1908 at 23 Ailesbury Road,Dublin, Ireland. She married in September 26,1936  to John Fitzroy Evelyn Coningham (1912-1973)and died July 22,1993 at Castel, Guernsey, Channel Islands. (2) Vivienne Beatrice Rigg (1914-2001) who was born April 14,1914. Shown opposite is wedding photo for Marjorie.

Lilian Mary Rigg, nee Rouche had been born in Dublin, Ireland in 1882. She was one of four children born to William Rouche and Mary Rouche, nee Knight. Lilian died January 12,1926 at Bolney Gross Road, Sussex.

The 1911 census, taken at Clonbealy, District of Newport, County of Tipperary gave William Trevor Rigg with his wife Lilian and daughter Marjorie and two servants.

The London Gazette of February 1,1916 announced “ William Trevor Rigg to be Temporary Major, Royal Irish Rifles”.

The London Gazette of July 14,1917 reported “Croix de Guerre-Temporary Major William Trevor Rigg, Royal Irish Rifles”. He served in WW I and his name appears in the records of the Royal Irish Fusiliers in a list of wounded as “ Major William Trevor Rigg, October 14,1919-October 20,1918”. In a list of Royal Irish Rifles officer honours and rewards was given “ Temporary Major William Trevor Rigg 6th Btn French Croix de Guerre July 14,1917 then 7th Brtn mentioned in despatches December 21,1917”.  The National Archives holds records for him in WO 339 with the Royal Irish Rifles.

William Trevor was a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary before and after WW 1. . From the Royal Irish Constabulary Forum is a photograph shown opposite taken in 1921 of the Royal Irish Constabulary and presumably William is in this photo. This same forum gave the following “ County Inspector William Trevor Rigg (59037) held the rank of Major, 6th Royal Irish Rifles and Captain in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was seconded to the army June 20,1916. Awarded the 1915 star, British Medal and the Victory medal and Crois de Guerre with palms March29,1919 for gallantry in action during the Battle of the Somme and was wounded in WW 1. During the War of Independence Royal Irish Constabulary sergeant Daniel Maunsell was shot in the head and William Trevor Rigg was also wounded”. Daniel is shown in the photo opposite in the back row.

In 1929 Major Rigg and his two daughters took up residence at 33 Ferndale Road, renting premises from George Lancaster Randall.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of March 20,1936 gave an announcement of the marriage of Marjorie Gwyneth Rigg, the elder daughter of Major W. T. Rigg, and the late Mrs Rigg of 33 Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Well to Mr Coningham, son of Mr and Mrs Coningham of Cooper’s Nook, Hadlow Road, Tonbridge.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 20,1939 gave a report on the Borough of Royal Tunbridge Wells Mayors Christmas Dinner and within this article was a list of subscribers, among which was the name of Major William Trevor Rigg.

Probate records gave William Trevor Rigg of ‘Oakdene” Camden Park, Tunbridge Wells who died January 2,1962. The executor of his 131,595 pound estate was his married daughter Marjorie Gweneth Coningham.

[2] MISS GERTRUDE MCSORLEY

Gertrude was born in the 4th qtr of 1868 at Tottenham,Middlesex one of seven known children of Hugh McSorley, a clergyman C of E, who was born 1820 in Ireland and Gertrude McSorley who was born 1831 a Camberwell, Surrey.

At the time of the 1881 census, taken at 87 Park Lane Pauls Vicarage in Tottenham, Gertrude was a student and living with her parents and six siblings.

The 1891 census, taken  in London gave Gertrude living as the niece of Melville Richard,age 58. Also there was her sister Edith born 1867 and two servants.

The 1901 census, taken at 20 Rammscroft Park in the town of Barnet, Hertfordshire, gave Gertrude McSorley, a 70 year old widow living on own means as the head of the houseshold. With her was her two daughters Edith,age 35 and Gertrude, age 32. No occupations were given for either of the sisters. Also there was a 9mth old granddaughter and three domestic servants. Where Gertrude was at the time of the 1911 census was not established.

In 1929 Gertrude and her friend Miss Nellie Cobb moved in together as tenants of George Lancaster Randall at 33 Ferndale Road. The Kent & Sussex Courier of November 8,1935 refers to both of them at the same address.

Probate records gave Gertrude McSorley of the Norfolk Hotel on Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, a spinster, when she died February 23,1949 at the Ferndale Point Nursing Home, Ferndale, Tunbridge Wells. The executor of her 5,076 pound estate was her friend Nellie Cobb, spinster and Alexander Richard Burnet Fuller, schoolmaster.

[3] MISS NELLIE COBB 

No definitive information was found for Nellie. All this is known is that she was a spinster and had once been a school teacher. She was a close friend of Gertrude McSorley and they moved in together at 33 Ferndale in 1929. She was still living with Gertrude there in November 1935 and was named as one of the executors of Gertrude when she died in 1949. It is presumed with some confidence that Nellie was also living with Gertrude at the Norfolk Hotel.

Information about the Norfolk Hotel(photo opposite) can be found in my article ‘ History of the Norfolk Hotel’ dated August 7,2012.

BERNARD PAGE

The only definitive information about Bernard Page is that from the London Gazette of February 20,1968 which gave the following information in their bankruptcy listings. “ Bernard Page, of 33 Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Wells lately residing at Kent Water Cottage, Cowden, Kent, commercial artist. Filed petition February 15,1968. Receiving order dated February 15,1968.

RECENT HISTORY 

On May 16,1984 ’33 Ferndale Management Limited was incorporated (01816859) with their registered office at 33 Ferndale Road. The company records show some 17 directors and 3 secretaries according to their latest return of March 31,2016. This company is a property management firm and looks after the affairs of the building as flats.

From a review of Planning Authority records from 1974 to 2016 a number of references to No. 33 were found. The more significant of these are given below. Shown opposite is a map from these files dated 1983 which shown No. 33 and how much redevelopment of the area has taken place since it was first constructed.

In 1974 an application was made by Mr J.C. Rofe of Tenterden, Kent for one dwelling at the rear of No.33 but it was refused.

In 1975 an application was made for a residential development at No. 33 for ten one bedroom two person flats and two two bedroom three person flats and a 2 sty house with twelve garages but this was refused.

In 1975 Mr J.C. Rofe applied for but was refused permission for a detached bungalow at the rear of No. 33

In 1975 Mr J.C. Rofe obtained permission for conversion of the top floor of No,. 33  from one flat to two flats.

In 1976 an application by Mr J. Williams (the owners representative) was refused for a bungalow at the rear of No. 33. A report in the file stated that No. 33 was a large 2 sty mansard roofed Victorian house standing on a well wooded plot having frontage on the north side of Ferndale Road some 80m deep and that the house had been divided into seven dwellings; and that there were lockup garages on the site which the applicant proposed to demolish (2 of them).

In 1978 Mr C. Rofe made another application pertaining to the land of No. 33 but was refused.

In 1980 approval was given for conversion of the lower ground floor into two flats.

In 1981 an application for two flats at the rear was refused. A report stated ‘No. 33 is one of the few remaining large Victorian houses in this part of Tunbridge Wells. At present it is divided into seven flats on four floors, five of the flats being sold on long leases and there is permission to divide the lower ground floor into two flats. There are at present ten people living in this building. The main house faces west and to the north, where the extension is proposed, the ground falls away to a rather neglected formal garden with trees, shrubs, some overgrown, close to the house. On the west side the driveway leads to a gravelled sweep in front of the house and on to serve 33A the former coach house”.

In 1983 approval was given for the construction of a garage

In 1993 an application was made for the demolition of the workshop/store and the erection of a precast concrete garage/store for 33A which application was approved.

From 2000 to 2016 three applications were made and approved for work pertaining to sheds.

Shown above is a selection of modern photos from an estate agents listing of the exterior and interior of this building.

 

 

THE HISTORY OF 12 FERNDALE ROAD

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

Date: February 22,2017

OVERVIEW 

No. 12 Ferndale Road was a 14 room grand home built in 1873 on part of lands owned by John Smith Weare,who acted as builder/developer, in the Ferndale residential development. Designed in the Italianate style by local architect Henry Hickman Cronk it sat on large nicely landscaped grounds.

The home was first occupied by Rev. Shadwell Morley Barkworth (1820-1881) and his family, who remained there until about 1890. By 1891 William John Mather (1843-1912), a gentleman of private means, lived there with his sisters. He died at the home in 1912 and upon his death his spinster sister Sarah Frances Mather (1846-1925) lived there until her death with a large number of servants. From 1926 to 1934 the home was the residence of Lieut Col. Rowland Sydney Goward (1858-1934).By 1938 it was the home of Rev. Richard Wood-Samuel who married into the wealthy Stanning family of Leyland who made their fortune in the Leyland Bleachworks. Unlike many large homes in the town No. 12 Ferndale was not requisitioned for use in WW II and who occupied it was not established.

In the post WW II years, particularly in the 1950’s-1960’s there was need for housing. Developers took a great interest in the old homes on Ferndale Road that sat on large grounds as targets for redevelopment. Today few of the original homes on Ferndale Road exist and No. 12 Ferndale is among those that were demolished, their grounds turned into roads and new homes. A review of Planning Authority records and maps show that the site of No. 12 was redeveloped in 1976 when Bebaff Developments Ltd obtained approval for the construction of a road and eight detached homes on the site.

One of the few surviving homes in Ferndale is No. 33 located almost across the street from No. 12. In 1929 George Lancaster Randall moved to Tunbridge Wells and began buying up several homes in the town during difficult economic times, including No. 12 ,which he purchased in 1938 for the sum of 1,000 pounds and  rented it out. Andrew Randall, the grandson of George Lancaster Randall found the purchase information given above. He also stated that No. 12 Ferndale was called “Ferndale Grange”; that there was a bungalow in the garden referred to as 12a Ferndale that was also rented out. He believes that the sale information for the property and details about the people the home was rented out to may be contained in his father’s old diary.

Many of the old homes in Ferndale were considered old fashioned, Many were vacant and run down. George Lancaster Randall ceased upon this situation and built up a property portfolio of large homes which he rented out, while he and his family lived on the ground floor of No. 33 and rented out the other floors of the home. When George Lancaster Randall passed away in Tunbridge Wells in 1945 his portfolio of homes, including No. 12 Ferndale passed to his three children. In 1947 the last of their homes were sold off.

Shown above is one of two photographs of No. 12 Ferndale that I was grateful to receive from Andrew Owen Randall, the grandson of George Lancaster Randall. This photo shows a view of the rear of the home. Unfortunately no photo of the front of the home was found.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION 

Shown opposite in a 1907 os map of Ferndale which Chris Jones of the
Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society has superimposed the house numbers. As can be seen from this map No. 12 was set well back off the road in a central location on the plot. The main entrance to the home was on the west elevation which was reached by a long sweeping carriage drive which extended to the rear of the land to a coachhouse. When the property was redeveloped in 1976 when Bebaff Devolopments Ltd were given approval to construct a road and eight detached homes on the sie. This coachouse , located to the rear of the property was saved from demolition, and although significantly altered from the way it was built it serves as a single family residence today referred to on a 1982 map (shown below ) as “The Bungalow”.

Chris Jones ,in his 2011 Thesis about Ferndale, noted that John Smith Weare who lived at No. 3 Ferndale for several years, and who was responsible for the establishment of the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company and the construction of several homes in High Brooms decided as part of his ambitious undertakings to purchase a large block of land in Ferdale. Initially owned by the John Ward and then his two sons this land had originally been part of John Wards Calverley Estate. Chris notes that John Smith Weare undertook to develop his land in Ferndale in three phases. The first phase included the site of No. 12 and its neighbours on the south side of Ferndale Road.  The Haward Brothers who had begun the development of Ferndale sold this block of land to John Smith Weare and in 1873 Weare made an application for Planning approval for development of this block with the construction of four homes of 8-9 bedrooms being three sty homes on plots of about one acre. No. 12 Ferndale was one of these homes. Chris notes, which my research supports, that by 1875 No. 12 and the others were occupied. It was also noted that John Smith Weare acted as both the developer and builder and that he employed the local architect Henry Hickman Cronk to design the homes. Chris described No. 12 as being of the “Italiante without Towers” style and was built of local sandstone. Shown above is a photograph of the rear of the home and its lovely greenhouse and gardens, a photo provided to me by Andrew Owen Randall, and one that was taken in the 1940’s, while owned by the Randall family.

Once a single family home No. 12 during the time of its ownership by the Randall family and afterwards was rented out and no doubt by the 1950’s had been converted into flats.

In 1976 No. 12 Ferndale was demolished and the site redeveloped, looking then much like it did in the 1982 map shown above.

OCCUPANTS/OWNERS

As noted above No. 12 Ferndale was built no earlier than 1874 and no later than 1875 for it is not found in a 1874 directory but listed in a 1875 street guide in the Courier. In that record the home was listed as “ Holmhurst” on Ferndale Road and occupied by Rev. Shadwell Morley Barkworth, who is found at No. 12 Ferndale at the time of the 1881 census. It is believed by the researcher that Holmhust and No. 12 Ferndale are one and the same house.

Given below is a list of occupants and owners of the home based on a review of local directories, census and related genealogical records, newspaper and other articles and various online sources. Since records for each year of the study period (1875-1948) were not available for review this list is by no means complete, but it does list the major occupants and owners of the home. All dates are approximate unless referred to in the text following the list.

Andrew Owen Randall who has researched his family history provided information to me about his grandfather George Lancaster Randall GLR), who retired in 1926 having been the personal secretary of Lord Nevill. In 1929 his grandfather bought a number of homes in Tunbridge Wells and rented them out. One of these homes was No. 12 Ferndale. Although his acquisition of homes began in 1929 it was noted that Lieut. Col. Rowland Sydney Goward had been a resident there throughout the years of 1926 to 1934 suggesting that Mr Randall did not purchase it until the death of Mr Goward in 1934 at No. 12 Ferndale. When George Lancaster Randall he died in 1945 his portfolio of homes were inherited by his three children. His daughter Lilian got married and moved to South Africa in the 1940’s; his son George Lewis Randall served in WW II; married Elizabeth in 1945 and due to the shock of war decided to shoot and kill himself in the rear garden of their residence at 33 Ferndale Road in 1946. The surviving son of GLR was Stanley Randall ,who was and engineer and also served in WW II sold off his father’s properties (including No. 12 )except for Rocklands at 1 Sandrock Road, and left Tunbridge Wells in 1947. As I have reported on the Randall family in several articles, and since they did not occupy No. 12 Ferndale I have not provided details of the Randall family in this article. For further information about them and a large number of photographs see my articles ‘ The History of The Tower House-33 Ferndale Road’ dated February 20,2017 and ‘Motoring History-The Randall Family’ dated February 18,2017.

1875-1890……….Rev Shadwell Morley Barkworth

1891-1912……….William John Mather

1912-1925………..Sarah Frances Mather

1926-1934…………Lieut. Col. Rowland Sydney Goward

1938………………….Rev. Richard Wood Samuel

[1] REVERAND SHADWELL MORLEY BARKWORTH

The first record of Rev. Barkworth on Ferndale Road is a 1875 street directory in the Courier which gave “ Rev. S.M. Morley, ‘Holmhurst’, Ferndale Road. He is found at No. 12 Ferndale Road in the 1881 census and it is believed by the researcher that Holmhurst was the name he gave No. 12 Ferndale. In 1881 there was a home called ‘Holmhurst” but it was located in Bishops Down and no home called Holmhust was found in the 1881 census for Ferndale.

Shadwell Morley Barkworth was born 1819 at Kingston on Hull, Yorkshire. He was one of eleven children born to John Barkworth (1791-1846) and Emma Barkworth, nee Boulderson (1796-1876). He was baptised November 6,1819 at Sculcoates, Yorkshire, his parents given as John and Emma Barkworth.

Shadwell lived in Anlay, Yorkshire with his parents and siblings from 1820 throughout the 1830’s . He was educated at Oxford. The records of Oxford University gave the following “ Shadwell Morley Barkworth 2nd son of John Barkworth of Hull, Yorkshire. University College matric December 6,1838, aged 19; BA 1842; MQA 1845 B. & DD 1866. Vicar of Grey Friars Reading 1863-1875”.  A family tree gave him in 1841 at Worcester College, Oxford, and on December 6,1868 at Oxford, Oxfordshire.

The 1851 census, taken in the town of Tonbridge, gave Shadwell Morley Barkworth as the “official curate at Tonbridge”. With him was his mother Emma, a 55 year old widow and his eight year old brother Thomas. Also there were three servants. Where Shadwell was at the time of the 1861 census was not established.

On June 8,1854 Shadwell married Ellen Janson (1831-1895) at West Ham, Essex. The couple had the following children (1) Alfred William (1855-1932) (2) Walter Theodore (1859-1936) (3) Emma Louisa (1861-1934) (4) Edith Marion (1862-1896) (5) Constance Helena (1866-1957) (6) Adela Catherine Frances (1868-1907). Alfred was born in Wathanstow, Essex; Walter at Chelsea, Middlesex; Emma and Edith at Southwold, Suffolk;and Constance and Adela at Reading, Berkshire.

The 1871 census, taken in the town of Reading, Berkshire at Trinity Place/Trinity Lodge, gave Shadwell as the vicar of Grey Friars, Reading. With him was his wife Ellen; four of his children; two visitors and four servants.

In 1875 Shadwell and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells. He is listed in the 1875 street guide as being at ‘Holmhurst,Ferndale Road’, a name he had given his residence at No. 12 Ferndale Road.

The 1881 census, taken at “12 Ferndale Road” gave Shadwell  as a “clergyman without souls”. With him was his wife Ellen, who was born 1831 at Torquary, Devon and their children Emma, Edith,Constance and Adela. Also there were four servants. The 1882 Kelly directory listed Shadwell as “Rev Shadwell Morley Barkworth DD, 14 Ferndale Road”.

The 1891 census, taken at 14 Ferndale Road gave Shadwell as a retired clerk in holy orders. With him was his wife Ellen; their children Emma, Constance, Edith and Adela; two governesses; one visitor and seven servants.

Probate records for The Rev. Shadwell Morley Barkworth DD gave him formerly of Ferndale Bank but late of Larchwood, Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Wells, clerk who died July 2,1891 at Larchwood. The executors of his 12,136 pound estate were Harold Barkworth of Bayswater Middlesex; Henry Barkworth of Trinity House, Hessle Yorkshire, esquires, the brothers. It was noted that the name “Larchwood” was the home at No. 14 Ferndale Road. From the order in which the 1901 census was taken ‘Ferndale Bank’ was the name of No. 12 Ferndale Road, located between Larchwood (No. 14) and No 8 Ferndale.

Probate records gave Ellen Barkworth of Holmrook, Tunbridge Wells, widow, and that she died February 6,1895. The executor of her 18,271 pound estate was Walter Thomas Barkworth, esq.

[2] WILLIAM JOHN MATHER

When Rev Shadwell Morley Barkworth died in 1891 No. 12 Ferndale became the residence of William John Mather, who is first found at this home in the 1881 census.

William was born 1843 in Liverpool. He was baptised April 6,1843 at St Peters Church in Liverpool, the son of Thomas Mather and Jane Mather, nee Johnston. His father passed away sometime after 1847.

The 1861 census, taken at West Derby, Lancashire gave Jane Mather as a 27 year old spinster and a landed proprietor. With her was her siblings Thomas C. Mather, age 26, a corn merchant; William John Mather, a scholar and Sarah Frances Mather age 14, a scholar. Also there were two servants. All three of them were born in Lancashire.

The 1881 census, taken at Oak Hill House on the Turnpike Road in Lancashire gave Jane Mater, age 47, deriving income from dividends. With her was her siblings Thomas, age 46, a corn merchant; William John, deriving income from dividends, and Sarah Frances Mather with no occupation. Also there were two visitors and three servants.

The 1891 census, taken at “12 Ferndale” gave Jane Mather age 57, living on own means. With her were her siblings William John Mather, living on own means, and Sarah Frances Mather, living on own means. Also there were three servants. The 1899 Kelly directory gave the listing William Mather, 12 Ferndale Road.

The 1901 census, taken at “Ferndale Bank” 12 Ferndale Road gave Jane Mather, age 67 living on own means. With her was her siblings William John; Sarah Frances and Thomas, a corn merchant. William and his sister were living on own means. Also there were four servants.

The 1911 census, taken at 12 Ferndale Road gave the home as having fourteen rooms. Living there was William John Mather, age 68, living on private means. With him was his spinster sister Sarah Frances Mather, living on private means. Also there was a nephew, one nurse and three domestic servants. Wiliam John Mather never married and nor did his sister. His sister Jane Mather had passed away while living at 12 Ferndale Road.

Probate records gave William John Mather of 12 Ferndale Road, Tunbridge Wells when he died August 15,1912. The executor of his 14,113 pound estate was his spinster sister Sarah Frances Mather. William was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on August 19th.  His older sister Jane was buried there January 4,1907.

[3] SARAH FRANCES MATHER

As noted above Sarah was the spinster sister of William John Mather who passed away at 12 Ferndale Road in 1912. Upon his death she continued to live at this home until her death there.

Directories of 1913,1918 and 1922 gave the listing “ Miss Mather, 12 Ferndale Road”.

Probate records gave Sarah Frances Mather of 12 Ferndale Road, spinster, died July 9,1925. The Public Trustee was the executor of her 22,087 pound estate. She was buried near her siblings Jane and William in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on July 14th.

[4] LIEUT. COL. ROWLAND SYDNEY GOWARD

Rowland is found at 12 Ferndale Road from 1926 to 1934.

Rowland was born in the 4th qtr of 1858 at Market Harborough, Leicestershire. He was one of several children born to Rowland Goward, born 1826 at Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, a wine and spirits merchant, and Mary Scott Goward, born 1828 in Market Harborough.

The 1861 census, taken at Market Harborough gave Rowland living with his parents and four siblings and two servants. The 1871 census gave the family at the same location where Rowland was in school and living with his parents and four siblings and two servants.The 1881 census taken at Ashfield House, Market Harborough gave his father as a wine and spirit merchant. Rowland, a bank clerk, was living there with his parents and one brother and two servants.

The 1891 census, taken at Ashfield House, Market Harborough gave Rowland senior as a wine merchant. With him was his wife Mary Scott Goward and the children Sharman, age 34, a wine merchant; Rowland Sydney, a bank cashier and Ethel. Age 30 of no occupation. Also there was one governess and three domestic servants.

In 1899 Rowland married Kathleen who was born 1874 in Leicestershire. The 1901 census, taken at 61 ½ Regent Street in Leicester gave Rowland as a bank manager. With him was his wife Kathleen and their daughter Gladys who had been born 1900 at Seaford. Also there were three servants.

The London Gazette of January 23,1906 announced “1st Volunteer Btn The Leicestershire Regiment-Richard Sydney Goward, esq., (formerly Captain 2nd Volunteer Btn, The Lincolnshire Regiment) to be Captain January 14,1906. The London Gazette of September 25,1908 gave “ 5th Btn. Leicester Regiment 1st Volunteer Btn, appointed to the battalion Captain Richard Sydney Goward”.

The 1911 census, taken at Melton Mobray, Leicestershire gave Rowland as a bank manager. With him was his wife Kathleen M.A. Goward and their daughter Gladys Mary Goward, age 11. Also there was one governess and two domestic servants. The census recorded that Rowland and Kathleen had been married 12 years (1899) and had just the one child. The census also recorded that they were living in premises of 10 rooms.

By 1926 Rowand and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up occupancy at 12 Ferndale Road, no doubt after Rowland had retired from banking.

Probate records for Rowland Sydney Goward gave him of Ferndale Bank (12 Ferndale Road) when he died March 26,1934 at Trinity House Nursing Home, Torquay. The executor of his 9,598 pound estate was his widow Kathleen Mary Goward. It is expected that his wife remained at No. 12 Ferndale for some time after her husband’s death but left the home sometime before 1938. No burial record was found for Rowland in Tunbridge Wells.

[5] REVEREND RICHARD WOOD-SAMUEL

The 1938 Kelly directory listed Rev. Richard Wood-Samuel at 12 Ferndale Road. He took occupancy of this home after the wife of Rowland Sydney Goward left the residence sometime after the death of her husband there in 1934.

Richard was born in the 2nd qtr of 1860 at Islington, London and was one of eight children born to Joseph Samuel, born 1817 at Hornsey, Middlesex, and Jemima Samuel, nee Wood born 1819 at St Lukes, Middlesex.

The 1861 census, taken at 9 Park Place in Islington, Middlesex, gave Joseph Samuel as a cooper. With him was his wife Jemima, an embroiderer; nine of their children including Richard, age 1 and one domestic servant. All of the children, who were born 1843-1860 had been born in Islington.

Crockfords Clerical Directory gave the following : Richard Wood-Samuel-St Alb. Hall (now Merton College) Oxford 1882.; Deacon 1885; priest 1886 Liv. CF. of St Paul,Warrington, 1885-87; Prec. of St Anne, Soho, 1887-91; Vicar of Ravensden, Beds, 1892-98; I of all SS. Bathg, and Chap. To Ld Molesworth 1898-1903; Par. Missr. 1903-06; R. of Melton Constable and Chap. to Ld Hastings 1906-10; Asst. Chap. Chap. R. Savoy, 1910-1919; Hon. Reader and Prec. of Savoy Chap. from 19089; Hon Chap. Ch. Bible Study U. from 1914, Now 63,St James Street S.W. London”.

The 1881 census, taken at 11 Cromwell Terrace in London gave John Samuel, age 32, single, as a curate. With him was his brother Richard Wood-Samuel, age 20, a tutor in theology. Also there was his widowed sister Jemima Wimperis; one visitor; a nephew and one servant.

Moving ahead to the 1911 census, taken at Holly House, Belle Grove, Welling, Kent, Richard Wood-Sydney is still single and is clerk in holy orders and reader to the Cahpel Royal, Savoy, London. With him is his widowed sister Jemima Wimperis, age 60 and three servants. They are living in premises of six rooms.

The Leyland Historical Society website provided an interesting article about the Stanning family and noted that on January 14,1917 Rev. Richard Wood-Samuel married Frances Helan Stanning who had been born January 12,1892 at Corley, Leyland. The couple were married at St Wilfred’s, Harrogate. The website stated “ the couple had no children and they retired to Tunbridge Wells where Richard died November 9,1939 and Frances lived until December 28,1963. Frances was one of six children born to John Stanning (1940-1904), a graduate of Cambridge University who died in Egypt, and Harriet Sarah Stanning,nee Ainsworth, (1850-1916). John Stanning junior and Harriet had been married October 7,1974 at Lytham St Cothbert. The Stannings were well known in Leyland and owned and operated ‘Leyland Bleachery, who were bleachers and dyers of Leyland. At the time of the marriage between Rev Richard Wood-Samuel and Frances, both of her parents were deceased. Shown above is an aerial photograph of the Leyland Bleachery and below are two carnival floats the images of which are annotated on the reverse as John Stanning & Sons Bleachers & Dyers of Leyland”.

The Kent & Sussex Chronicle of November 10,1939 announced “Death-Wood-Samuel-on November 3,1939 at Ferndale, Tunbridge Wells the Rev. Richard Wood-Samuel of the King’s chapel of the Savoy and Hon. Editor of the Daily Message”.

Probate records gave Rev. Richard Wood-Samuel of Ferndale Grange, Tunbridge Wells, clerk, died November 3,1939. The executors of his 25,756 pound estate was Frances Helen Wood-Samuel, widow, and Harry Egerton Wimperis, consulting engineer.

Probate records gave Frances Helen Wood-Samuel of 2 Queens Road, Tunbridge Wells, died December 28,1963. The executor of her 33,310 pound estate was Eric Christopher Pemberton, solicitor.

 

THE HISTORY OF ‘COURTLANDS’- 4 SANDROCK ROAD

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

Date: February 20,2017

OVERVIEW 

Courtlands ,at 4 Sandrock Road, was a large 18 room three sty brick home located on the south side of Sandrock Road just to the east of a large home called ‘Shrublands’. To the rear of the home, which sat on large lovely landscaped grounds ,was the coachmans cottage lived in by a coachman and his family. There was of course provision on the site for a carriage house where the horses and carriages were kept and later motor cars.

Built in the late 1860’s or early 1870’s its first known resident in 1871 was R.W. Clarke and his family who were still there in 1875. By 1879 the home was occupied by Frederick William Tooth and his family. Richard Wheen, a wealthy gentleman ,who made his fortune as a soap manufacture, moved in by 1881 with his wife and four children ; five grandchildren and his son in law and his family. At the coachmans cottage lived the coachman and his family. Richard Wheen died in Picadilly in 1885 having vacated Courtlands by 1882.

From 1882 to 1918 Edward Weldon and his large family lived at Courtlands but also had a residence in London. Edward had made his fortune as a merchant. When he was absent from Courtlands he rented it out. One of the tenants in 1887 was Mr Briggs and in 1903 a Miss Childers lived there. Also Reverend David Barclay was of Courtlands in 1891 and died there January 1898.

During WW 1 the home appears to have been vacant and certainly by the 1920’s was in a run -down state. No information was found about its use, if any, during either WW 1 or WW II.

In 1929 George Lancaster Randall, who had retired as the personal secretary of Lord Camden in 1926 ,took up residence in Tunbridge Wells at 33 Ferndale Road, where he occupied the ground floor and rented out the rest of the home to tenants, details of which are given in my articles ‘The History of 33 Ferndale’ date January 20,2017 and ‘Motoring History-The Randall Family’ dated February 18,2017. In addition to 33 Ferndale he purchased, during a depressed economy in the town, several other homes, including Courtlands, which he rented out up to the time the home and his other properties were sold off in or by 1948. During that time, at least in the 1930’s ,one of the tenants of Courtlands was Miss Elsie Margaret Feltham who in July 1933 had the misfortune of coming into collision in her motor car with that of William Francis Newman of Smallbrook Farm. Both cars were damaged but both drivers were unharmed. Miss Feltham was the daughter of Frederick Joseph Feltham, a Baptist minister and his wife Mercy. Miss Feltham had been born in 1898 and died in Tunbridge Wells at the ripe old age of 102.

A review of Planning Authority documents from the period of 1949 onwards showed that developers had their sights on the large grounds occupied by Courtlands and its neighbour Shrublands as a good site for a new housing development and so made application to have both homes demolished ; a new road built into the site and several blocks of residences built. The timing of this development coincides with a planning application that was approved in 1959. Both Courtlands and Shrublands were as a result demolished, perhaps as early as 1958. This development became known as Shrublands Court and exists today.

Shown above is a photograph of Courtlands that I gratefully received from Andrew Owen Randall, the grandson of George Lancaster Randall who once owned Courtlands. This image dates from about 1940.

Courtlands has been written about before by me in the article ‘Richard Wheen –Soap Manufacturer of Sandrock Road’ dated July 10,2014 and although it provided a detailed account of the Wheen family and their business operations it provided only a partial history of Courtlands, and because of that this new article has been written to provide a more complete history of the home.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION.  

Courtlands ,at 4 Sandrock Road, was a large 18 room three sty brick home located on the south side of Sandrock Road just to the east of a large home called ‘Shrublands’. To the rear of the home, which sat on large lovely landscaped grounds ,was the coachmans cottage lived in by a coachman and his family. There was of course provision on the site for a carriage house where the horses and carriages were kept and later motor cars. The home was built in the late 1860’s or early 1870’s and was occupied no later than 1875. Shown opposite is a photo taken circa 1940 outside the Courtlands Coachhouse in which the owner of Courtlands, George Lancaster Randall,is shown with his Ford 8 and his 1934 Aston Martin Mk II. This image as well as the photo of Courtland presented in the overview were sent to me by Mr Randall’s grandson Andrew Owen Randall.

Who designed or built the home was not established but was typical in style and construction to other homes in the area. It had a basement, the domain of a large number of servants with the two floors above occupied by the owner and his family. Most likely the top floor served as living quarters for the servants. The exterior of the home is best described by the photograph of it given in the ‘Overview’. It had stone quoins on the corners and a slate roof and had other nice and interesting architectural features. Shown above is a 1907 os map on which I have highlighted in red the location of Courtlands.

The aerial photo opposite, supplied to me by Chris Jones of the Civic Society provides a view of the home, It is the tall house in the foreground on the right. Shrubands is shown on the left.

This grand home became somewhat obsolete given the economic conditions in the town in the late 1920 and early 1930’s and the style of architecture employed had fallen out of favour. It went into a state of decline , not being well-maintained and after WW II the site of this residence and other similar properties on large grounds became targets for redevelopment.

When George Lancaster Randall bought Courtlands in 1929 he rented the house out. It remained in his name until his death in 1945 and then it along with his other property holdings were passed along to his three children. By 1948 all of the homes had been sold off. Who bought Courtlands from the Randall family is not known but it soon came into the hands of a developer.

A review of Planning Authority records shows that in 1958 approval was given for the creation of what became known as Shrublands Court , which development required the demolition of both Courtlands and its neighbour Shrublands and it is believed that both homes were demolished in 1958 for the application of 1959 makes no mention of demolition work but called for the creation of the road into the site and the construction of 26 Maissonettes in two four sty blocks with garages. In 1960 aproval was also given for the construction of 26 houses and 35 flats in two blocks with garages. Shown opposite is a map from these files dated 2003 which shows Shrublands Court much as it appears today.

The Coachmans cottage of Courtlands can be seen on the above maps at the rear property line. The coachmans cottage of its neighbour Shrublands is attached to it, and today both of these cottages are private residences by the name of Shrublands Cottage and Courtlands Cottage. 

THE OWNERS AND OCCUPANTS.

In this section is a list of known owners/occupants of the home created from a review of local directories, newspaper reports, census and related records and input from Andrew Owen Randall who’s grandfather once owned the home. This list is not complete, particularly as it applies to tenants of the home. Information about some of the known occupants was inconclusive or lacking and for that reason information is not given for everyone on the list. All dates are approximate unless specifically referred to in the text that follows the list.

1871-1875………R.W. Clarke and Family (1875 list from the Courier as “Court Lands”)

1879……………….Frederick William Tooth

1881……………….Richard Wheen

1882-1918…….. Edward Weldon

1887………………..Mr Briggs

1891-1898……….Rev David Barclay Beven

1901……………….Owner/occupant not given in census (servants there only)

1903………………. Mrs Childers

1929-1948……….The Randall Family (owners)

1930………………..Fraser Henderson

1933………………. Elsie Margaret Feltham

[1] R.W. CLARKE/RICHARD CLARKE

A reference to Richard Clarke at 4 Sandrockl Road was given in a directory but no listing for him was found in the 1871 census. The 1874 Kelly directory gave the listing “ Richard G. Clarke, 4 Sandrock Road and the 1875 street guide gave “ R.W. Clarke & family, Court Lands,Sandrock Road. Despite the misspelling of his name, these two men are one and the same. Unfortunatley no other information about him or his family is known to the researcher and he had left the residence by 1879.The 1871 census did not record the name of the mansions occupant for at that time the home was occupied only by the estates gardener and his family.

[2] FREDERICK WILLIAM TOOTH

Little definitive information is known about Mr Tooth. He was listed in the proceedings of the Royal Colonial Institute of 1875 as “Fred W. Tooth, Courtlands, Sandrock Road, Tunbridge Wells”.

The Archaeological Journal of 1879 listed F. W. Tooth, esq, Courtlands, Sandrock Road, Tunbridge Wells. 

[3] RICHARD WHEEN (1809-1886)

The earliest record of occupancy for the Wheen family at this home is the 1881 census which listed them at 4 Sandrock Road. Richard Wheen made his fortune as a soapmaker and is listed as such in the 1881 census.

Richard was born March 4,1809 at Barnsley, Yorkshire. He was baptised August 6,1809 at Clayton-with-Frickley and was one of three children born to Charles Wheen (18771818) and Elizabeth Wheen, nee Moate (1782-1816) who died at Barnsley January 16,1816.

On June 28,1837 Richard married Anna Maria Moate (1819-1881) in London and with her had thirteen children born between 1838 and 1860. The first nine children were born in London. In 1853 their daughter Emma (1853-1929) was born in Lewisham. In 1855 their daughter Louise was born in Blackheath, Kent. Edward Wheen (1856-1879) was born in Lewisham and the last child Charles was born 1860 in Blackheath. Anna Maria Moate was born February 11,1819 at Chelsea and died April 6,1891 at Hastings, Sussex. Ann was the daughter of Joseph Moate from  who Richard Wheen purchased the soap manufactory.

The 1841 census, taken in Middlesex gave Richard, a soap maker,  with his wife Anna and two children and four servants.

The 1851 census, taken at 44 York Terrace in Middlesex gave Richard as a soap maker. With him was his wife, six children and four servants.

The 1861 census, taken at Colonnade House in Blackheath, Kent gave Richard as a soap maker. With him was his wife and eleven children, one visitor and twelve servants.

The 1871 census, taken at 104 Lancaster Gate in Paddington, London gave Richard as a soap maker. With him was his wife, six children, one visitor and eight servants.

Sometime after 1875 Richard and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells. The 1881 census, taken at 4 Sandrock Road gave Richard as a soap maker, age 72. With him was his wife Anna, born 1819 at Chelsea, Middlesex; four of his children and  five granddaughters. Also there was his son in law Frederick Silver, age 40, a portugese merchant and his wife Ann (nee Wheen) and two children of Frederick and Ann Silver. An impressive list of 10 servants were also there, butler, footman etc etc. At the Coachman’s Cottage was a coachman and his wife and five children.

Probate records gave Anna Maria Wheen, wife of Richard Wheen, late of Courtlands, Tunbridge Wells died November 4,1881 at St Leonards, Sussex. Her under 150 pound estate was left to her husband.

Probate records gave Richard Wheen late of Tunbridge Wells and of Deptford, Kent, soap manufacturer, who died November 27,1885 at 31 Picadilly, Middlesex. The executors of his 46,470 pound estate werfe Richard Wheen, Francis Wheen, Charles Wheen all of Deptford, the sons and soap manufacturers.

Given here is an article about the Wheen soap making company dated July 16,2011 as well as two photos from that article. “Richard Wheen & Sons …..Richard Wheen was a soap manufacturer of Deptford, who lived at Colonnade House, No. 7 South Row, Blackheath, from 1853-1863.Wheen had been in partnership with brother John from the 1830s, with a soap factory on Ratcliffe Highway, Finsbury. The factory had been founded in 1769 and was eventually owned by Joseph Moate. Moate was Richard Wheen's uncle and the boy married Moate's daughter (also his cousin) Anna-Maria, eventually siring 13 children. He encouraged his brother John Frith Wheen (1816-1903) to join the business. By 1837 they were manufacturing 645 tons of soap. In 1838 the figure had risen to 715 tons, worth then over £10,000. But, after a few years, they decided it was not profitable enough to support two families and they parted company. Richard moved to Creek Road, Deptford taking over a pin factory on the water's edge and once the Ravensbourne Wood Mill. He pioneered a number of techniques in soap manufacture, including the first use of soap coppers boiled by steam and not direct heat.Before taking Colonnade House, Richard Wheen had lived at York Terrace, Regent's Park. The move was clearly necessary: Over the ten years the Wheens lived in Blackheath, the family grew and Richard and Maria Wheen were blessed with 11 children at Blackheath, and employed no less than 11 resident servants, including a butler, footman and coachman - the largest number in any house in the district. The Wheens moved in 1863 to Hayes Place, Keston, then to Lancaster Gate. Mr. & Mrs. Wheen finally retired to Courtlands, at Tunbridge Wells, where Richard died in November 1885. He left £50,000 as well as property and a prosperous business. Maria Wheen had died in 1881, aged 63.The business passed to the control of three of the sons; Richard (1838-1910), Francis (l850-1925), and Charles Wheen. It was floated as a public company in 1898 but remained with the Wheen descendants until competition from the big names led to an agreement with Lever Bros. and its closure.”

As noted in the ‘Overview’ my article ‘Richard Wheen-Soap Manufacturer of Sandrock Road’ dated July 10,2014 provides a more detailed coverage of the family and their business operations.

[4] EDWARD WELDON (1854-1932)

Edward Weldon is found in records at Courtlands, 4 Sandrock Road in directories of 1882 to 1918.

Edward was born May 4,1860 in Morden Hill,Lewisham, one of several children born to Charles Weldon(1818-1884) and Sarah Ann Weldon, nee Hodgkin (1827-1899). He was baptised May 25,1860 at Lewisham St Mary.

The 1861 census, taken at 7 Granvill Park in Lewisham gave Edward as the youngest child living with his parents and four servants. His father Charles was a warehouseman.

The 1881 census, taken at Lewisham,London recorded Charles Weldon, born 1817 London, a Manchester warehouseman. Living with him was his wife Sarah Ann ; their six children (including Edward) and six servants.

On July 29,1884 Edward married Emily Margaret Burton (1855-1929) at the Assension Church in  Blackheath ,London, and with her had four children between 1887 and 1892. Emily had been born 1855 at Camberwell,Surrey, one of six children born to John Burton Jr (1821-1899) and Marian Petch (1827-1863). Her father had been married again and with his other wife had three children.

The 1891 census, taken at Woodville in Eltham,London recorded Edward as a merchant. Living with him was his wife Emily ; three of their children and six servants.

The 1901 census, taken at Beach Mansions Hotel South Parade, Portsmouth Hampshire gave Edward and his wife and four children living as boarders at the hotel. A 1903 Tunbridge Wells directory gave a Edward Weldon at 57 Frant Road.

Moving ahead in time to 1911 Edward is found in that census at Courtlands, Sandrock Road,Tunbridge Wells as a gentleman. Living with him was his wife Emily, born in Lewisham; three of their children and five servants. The census records that their home had 18 rooms;that they had been married 27 years and had four children, all living.

Edward is still found at Courtlands in the 1918.1922 and 1928 directories.

Edward died February 6,1932 at Bishopswood,Bexhill-0n-Sea,Sussex February 6,1932 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on February 10th.  His wife Emily died November 27,1929 at Worsham Manor, Behill-on-Sea,Sussex. The executor of her 4,607 pound estate was her husband . She and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on November 30,1929.

Probate records gave Edward Weldon of Bishopswood Penland Rd, Bexhill-on-Sea,Sussex and of 130 and 131 Cheapside,London, and confirmed his death on February 6,1932 at Bishopswood. He left an estate valued at 129,665 pounds and his executors were his son Edward Jack Weldon(1892-1956), a warehouseman, and his solicitors. Emily Margret Weldon left  her 4,607 pound estate to her husband.

The Courier of February 12,1932 gave an announcement of the death of “Mr E. Weldon-A Great Hospital Benefactor” which stated that he was a former member of the Tunbridge Wells Town Council and a great hospital benefactor. He had been elected as a Councillor for the West Ward in February 1910 and was returned unopposed November 1912 and took an active part in public life. He did not run for re-election. A keen hospital worker he was a Trustee of the Ear and Eye Hospital and was on  the committee. He was also a member of the Advertising Association ,of which he was elected vice-president  and took a prominent part in local charitable organizations. He was also connected with the Provident Dispensary in Upper Grosvenor Road. Mr Weldon took up residence at Bexhill-on-sea about 12 years ago ,residing at Worsham Manor prior to moving to Bishopswood.The funeral took place at the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery after a short service at the Cemetery Chapel conducted by the Vicar of St Marks.There was no mourning of wreaths at the request of Mr Weldon…”

[5] MR BRIGGS

The only reference to Mr Briggs at Courtlands was from the Gardeners Chronicle & New Horticulturalist of 1887 which was in the form of the following advertisement “ Propogator (Second) in good establishment, age 20, well set up in Rhododendron, conifers, roses etc. 4-1/2 years reference from old established firm-Mr Briggs, Courtlands, Sandrock Road, Tunbridge Wells.”

[6] REV DAVID BARCLAY BEVAN (1813-1898)

This gentleman is sometimes given simply as David B. Bevan or “Beven”. He is found at 4 Sandrock Road in the 1881 census and he died there in 1898.

David was born March 9,1813 at Hale end, Walthamstow,Essex, one of nine children born to David Beven(1774-1846) and Favell Bourke Lee (1780-1841). He was baptised July 8,1813 at Walthamstow.

Crockfords Clerical Directory gives the following; Rev David Barclay Beven MA Univ. Coll. Oxford. Ordained 1837, priest 1838 (Cheshire); curtate of Whittington W. Casterton,Lancashire 1837-40; Rector of Brede,Sussexs 1840; Perpetual curate of Skirton,Lancashire 1840-7; Rector of Burton latimer, Northants 1843-57: Vicar of Little Amwell, Hertsfordshire 1864-81,Courtlands .Tunbridge Wells”.

On July 27,1837 David married July 27,1837 Agnes Carus Wilson, the daughter of William Carus Wilson. The couple were married at Castleton,Westmoreland.

The 1851 census, taken at Burton Latimer,Northamptonshire, recorded David as a rector. Living with him was his wife Agnes; three of his children; two visitors and six servants.

The 1861 census, taken at Hertford,Brickenden,Hertfordshire recorded Davis as the minister of Little Amwell. Living with him was his wife Rachel (his second wife), born 1820 East Indies. Also present was seven of his children and thirteen servants. It goes without saying that he was a wealthy man, and no doubt inherited a large sum form his father who was a banker.

The 1871 census, taken at Great Amwell,Hertforshire recorded David as M.A. Clergyman. Living with him was his third wife Annie N, born 1836 in Hampshire; four of his children and fifteen servants.

Moving ahead in time to the 1891 census, taken at 4 Sandrock Road,Tunbridge Wells we find the home occupied by David, a clerk in holy orders, now age 78, and retired. He was given as a widower and living with him was two of his daughters and seven servants. At the homes Coachmans Cottage was a coachman with his wife and daughter.

David died January 31,1898 at Courtlands Tunbridge Wells. Probate records show his estate was valued at 23,919 pounds and his executors were Arthur Talbot Beven, gentleman and the Rev. Gustavus Basanquet,clerk. There are no burial records for him at either Woodbury Park Cemetery or the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery.

[7] MRS CHILDERS

No conclusive information was found for her except that she is listed at 4 Sandrock Road in the 1903 Kelly directory.She would have been a widow living on private means.

[8] THE RANDALL FAMILY

In 1929 George Lancaster Randall, who had previously worked as the personal secretary to Lord Nevill came to Tunbridge Wells and purchased a number of Victorian homes in the town as a source of income. He and his family took up occupancy of the ground floor of No. 33 Ferndale Road and rented out the rest to tenants. He also owned No. 12 Ferndale Road; Courtlands at 4 Sandrock Road as well as Rocklands at 1 Sandrock Road that was across the street from Courtlands. For further information about the Randall family and the homes he owned and rented out and the families interest in motor cars see my article ‘Motoring History-The Randall Family’ dated February 18,2017 and ‘The History of the Tower House, 33 Ferndale Road’ dated February 20,2017. From the last article referred to above is a brief account of the family.

George Lancaster Randall (1875-1945) was born in Gospel Oak, north London. His father George Randall was a plumber, general builder/decorator by trade, and his mother Louise was a housewife. George began his working career as an articled clerk with solicitors Farrer & Co of Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

When he was age 21 he left Farrer’s and invested some money with his father in a mineral water business in Epson,which meant he had to make deliveries by horse and cart. George developed an interest at an early age in mechanical propulsion and in the 1890’s worked as a motor car demonstrator for D. Napier & Son and later with the Motor Manufacturing Company (MMC) which business ended in 1905.

George returned to Farrers around 1900 but in 1904 he left the firm for good and worked for one of their clients, Lord Camden, at the Batham Estate near Tunbridge Wells, as his personal secretary, a position he held until 1926.

George married Annie Harriet Mott (born 1872 in St Pancras, London) at St Pancras in the 3rd qtr of 1902 and with his wife had the following children. (1) Lilian was born 1903 at St Pancras.She married and moved to South Africa in 1949 (2) George Lewis Randall was born 1902 in Lamberhurst, Kent.He served in WW II. In the 4th qtr of 1945 he married Elizabeth F. Passmore in Tunbridge Well. He suffered from his time in the war and on  November 25,1946 he shot himself in the rear garden of No. 33 Ferndale Road. (3) Stanley Eric Randall, born January 26,1917 at St Leonards-on-Sea.He became an engineer and served in WW II.He lived at 33 Ferndale until 1947 when he moved to Widnes, Lancs to work for ICI. He died February 14,2016. Andrew Own Stanley, who provided information and family photos to me is one of Stanley’s children.

When George began work for Lord Camden he and his family lived at Park Cottage in Hook Green, that had been built for him in 1904.George also maintained a home in St Leonards-on-Sea and owned a home in Tunbridge Wells on Birling Road.

In 1924 he left Park Cottage and the family moved (wife and 3 children) to Lowfield, Bells Yew Green which he rented until he retired from the Bayham Estate in 1929 and took up l residency in Tunbridge Wells at 33 Ferndale where he remained until his death there in 1945.

While living at 33 Ferndale Road, he and his family lived on the ground floor and rented out the basement; the main floor and the upper floor.Major Rigg, who you will read more about later, with two daughters rented the top flat. Miss McSorley and Miss Cobb, two spinster former teachers, who you will read more about later,rented the first floor. The basement was rented out to various tenants from time to time. Shown opposite is a photo taken at 33 Ferndale Road in 1940 which shows their 1934 Mk II Aston Martin with Stanley Eric Randall at the wheel and his brother George Lewis Randall in the passenger seat. Also shown is GLR in the doorway with an evacuee boy as well as Bob the Jack Russel Terrier.

When GLR died April 27,1945 his property empire which included several homes in Tunbridge Wells was passed along to his three children. When his son George Lewis Randall died in 1946 Stanley Eric Randall took over the portfolio of homes and sold them off in 1948 except for Rocklands at 1 Sandrock Road. He moved his mother to Rocklands Cottage with her two elderly sisters in 1947 and later moved them into the ground floor of the main Rocklands house in 1955. His mother Annie died while living at Rocklands on July 26, 1958.

[9]FRASER HENDERSON

He is found at 4 Sandrock Road,Tunbridge Wells in the 1930 Kelly directory. No conclusive information was found by the researcher. There is a reference to a Fraser Henderson in 1928-1929 as a “Mntl Manufacturer” in London but it may not be the same person.

[10] ELSIE MARGARET FELTHAM

The only reference to Elsie at Courtlands is from an article in the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser dated July 14,1933 which reported on a motor car collision between Elsie Margaret Feltham of Courtlands, Sandrock Road, Tunbridge Wells and that of William Francis Newman of Smallbrook Farm, Speldhust. Both cars were damaged but there were not personal injuries.

Elise Margaret Feltham was born in the 2nd qtr of 1898 at Hickton, Durham. She was in 1911 one of six children born to Frederick Joseph Feltham, who had been born 1854 at Islington London and was a Baptist minister, and Mercy Feltham who was born 1858 at Lowestoft, Suffolk. Elsie never married.

The 1901 census, taken at Landford House in Bognor, Sussex Elsie was living with her parents and three siblings and one boarder. Her father at that time was a Baptist minister; her brother Joseph Boys Feltham,age 19 was an auctioneers clerk.

The 1911 census, taken at 12 Madeira Park, Tunbridge Wells gave Frederick Joseph Peltham as a Baptist minister. With him in their residence of 9 rooms was his wife Mercy; their daughter Elsie,a scholor; one niece; one visitor and one servant. The census recorded that her parents had been married 32 years (1879) and that all six of their children were still living.

Elsie Margaret Feltham died in Tunbridge Wells at the ripe old age of 102 October 22,2000. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on October 31st.

Her father passed away in Tunbridge Wells in 1931 and was buried at the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on September 3,1931. Her mother Marcy died in Tunbridge Wells in 1931 and was buried beside her husband July 20,1931.

 

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