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

Date: February 28,2015


The site of what became known as Lloyds House, at 8 Bishops Down, dates back to a time in the 18th century when it and the grounds of the neighbouring house was a large estate (some suggest it was the Rusthall Manor house) on which a large home had been constructed and surrounded by a moat. Although evidence of the moat exists the old house was demolished long ago. On part of the grounds was constructed a 18th century home, typical of the more simple style and method of construction of the times, which in subsequent years was significantly added to and otherwise altered inside and out and for that reason this home, which exists today, under the name of  “White Ladies”, was not listed by English Heritage.

It has been suggested that this home dates back to about 1746 with the large Victorian style bay on the right hand side having been added after 1867, and most likely in the late 19th or early 20th century,which significantly improved the appearance of the home. The home appears today as a brick home painted white with dormers in the attic with a tile roof , and described in the 1911 census as having 19 rooms, quite substantial for that time and even today.

The home began as a single family residence,of much smaller proportions. In 1758 the eminent physician Sir George Kelley bought the Rusthall Manor Estate for 12,000 pounds. Part of the estate included the row of homes along Bishops Down and a plot of land to the south west on Langton Road,on which Kelley built a private residence for himself in 1765, and which after his death came into possession of Major York, and which later became the Spa Hotel. During the time of George Kelley his niece Mary Kelley married Capt. Henry Lloyd(who died 1792) and the Lloyds lived for a time at “Lloyds House”. George Kelly died in 1771 but was survived by his wife Dame Johanna Kelley who drew up her will in 1772 and died about 1774.

Moving ahead to 1830’s and 1840’s Lloyds House was occupied by the wealthy William Wix (1768-1849) who apart from being an attorney was a Fellow of the Royal Society; Provincial Grand Master of Essex, a magistrate, J.P. ; brother of Rev.Samuel Wix (1771-1861) of Bartholomew’s; and uncle of notable clergyman Edward Wix (1802-1866).William Wix died at Lloyds House in 1849.

In the 1850’s and 1860’s Lloyds House was a single family home occupied the Misses Charrington, three independently wealthy spinsters from a good family.

In the late 1860’s and early 1870’s William H. Davies, a hosier running a large business lived there with his family.

From about 1872 until the early 1880’s the Rev. Alfred Suart (1817-1882) ,the 3rd son of Edward Suart of Tunbridge Wells and graduate of Christs College Cambridge, lived at Lloyds House with his wife and daughter.He died at Lloyds House in 1882. His wife and daughter continued to live there until at least 1901.

From about the beginning of the 20th century up to 1914 Lloyds House was the home of Ernest William Thomas Dunn (1867-1955) who at the time of his occupancy was Brazilian Consul-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, a man who held the rank of Post Captain in the Brazilian Navy from 1908. He travelled extensively and put on some grand entertainments for national dignitaries. He died in Australia in 1955 having left Lloyds House in 1914.

Throughout the period of 1915 to 1921 Lloyds House was the home of Harry Holditch Marten, who died there in 1921. Harry  was a wealthy businessman, a partner in the large and prosperous builder’s merchants company of Young & Marten that was based in Stratford.  Harry’s son Captain H.C. Marten served in WW 1 with the South Staffordshire Regiment and was killed at Gallipoli August 9,1915. His name is recorded on the Helles Memorial (no grave) and on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial. Harry’s widow Elizabeth continued to live at Lloyds house and  was still there until about the end of the 1920’s ,after which she move to Holly Mansions on Frant Road where she died in 1948.

During WW II, No. 8 and No. 5 Bishops Down were taken over and occupied by the Ministry of Food for the duration of the war, and were used as  administrative offices to oversee the fair distribution and rationing of food during the war. A 1941 directory gave No. 8 Bishops down as the “Assistance Board Area Office” which  had other premises in the town at that time. During the war Montague Richard Reynolds Vidal O.B.E. (1890-1962) was in charge of the Ministry of Food operations in Tunbridge Wells.

After the war Lloyds House was returned to residential use, when in the early to mid 1950’s it was the home of a Mrs L.M. or I.M. Geake. From the mid to late 1850’s No. 8 Bishops Down was the residence of Leslie Theodore Henry Repard (1909-1956) and his family. He died there in 1956 after which his wife Molly continued to live there . It is interesting to note that his probate record gives the first confirmed change in name of the house from Lloyds House to the “White Ladies House”,but local directories only gave the home by its address and not its name during his time there. It is not known by the researcher whether or not this change in name took place upon its return to residential use after the war or not, when occupied by Mrs Geake, for up to the time of the war it was known as Lloyds House. Further research may establish exactly when the name changed. Since nobody by the name of White lived there it is speculated with some degree of certainty that the house name is derived from a religious connection, namely the “White Ladies” who were Augustinian Canonesses and there is a “White Ladies Church” in Aston.

After the Repart family left “White Ladies” it became a lodging/guest house which is found in directories from 1960 to 1967 as “White Ladies Guest House, 8 Bishops Down”. As you will see later I present a photo of “The White Ladies Guest House” circa 1965, and the text associated with it states “The White Ladies Guest House” was in Bishops Down, and was run by Mrs R. Repard in the 1950’s. Later it became the “White Ladies Residential Hotel, run by Mr C.P. Fox and Mrs H.M. Fox”. Also later a I present an image of the building at the time its proprietors were Mr and Mrs C.P. Fox and the name on the photo is “White Ladies Guest House”.

The researcher has made no attempt to research and report on the history and occupancy of this house after 1967 but it is known that from 1976 to 2015 it is referred to in Planning Authority files ,and elsewhere, simply as “White Ladies” and it is known that today and from at least the beginning of the 21st century it has returned to single family use, despite other homes in the same area being turned into care homes or flats. In 2001 a controversial application for Planning Authority approval for work on this residence created quite a stir among those interested in preserving the town’s historical buildings. Local residents, historians, the Civic Society and others all gave their input before the proposed work was given the final go ahead.

The current owners of the house purchased it in 2005 and have extensively renovated the house creating a modern home ,that fortunately retains many period features. Among the most notable work undertaken was an all -new kitchen/breakfast room installed in 2012 and there is a glass extension that opens onto the rear garden. There is a games room in the basement and a cinema room was fitted in 2013 by Kent Home Cinema. The rear garden was completely landscaped in 2007 by Lamont and Lawrence, an award winning local firm. Finishing off the outside is a heated swimming pool with crown oak pool house. This house, recently listed for sale was offered at a price of 3.25 million pounds, a sum that would buy a lot of tea and crumpets.

Shown in this section is a 2015 photograph of “White Ladies” as given in an estate agents brochure.


A first -hand account from the time of the homes occupancy by William Wix in the 1840’s, as given in the book ‘Family Reflections of Lieut. General Elias Walker Durnford’ published in 1868, which I give in its entirety later ,refers to a Miss Sheppard living on Bishops Down at “The Manor House” and that Mr William Wix lived next door to Miss Sheppard. A 2001 letter from the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, in connection with a Planning Authority application of that year by the owner of”White Ladies”, stated “Although this house is not a listed building, we have discovered from Roger Farthing that it almost certainly dates from the same time as “The Manor House”-the listing of which sets its date as 1746”.Shown opposite is an image of “The Manor House” from Roger Farthings book ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells’ and the text with it reads “ The Manor House on Bishops Down might be expected to be as ancient as Rusthall Manor itself, but this house was used as a lodging house rather than a manor house, and probably dates from the same  late 17th century era as other lodging houses”. The 1868 account I referred to above goes on to mention that Miss Sheppard had people staying with her, suggesting that she was running a lodging house and as you will read later describes the nicely landscaped grounds of Mr Wix’s residence, and the poor flowers in Miss Sheppards garden.

Shown opposite is a partial view of the first edition of the Ordnance Survey of 1867 that provides the location and names of the buildings on Bishops Down, including “Lloyds House”. The homes on Bishops Down were in a pleasant situation, set in lovely landscaped grounds facing the Common.In 1867 Lloyds House was positioned between “Manor Villa” on the left and “Manor Lodge” on the right, with all of them being to the south west of what was referred to above as Miss Sheppard’s “The Manor House” or “Manor House” for short, which is also shown on this map. Of particular interest about the 1867 map is that it establishes the construction of the two sty bay on the right end of the house to sometime after 1867 for its existence is not shown on this map.The circular drive to Lloyds House, shown on this map, is a feature that exists today, although much improved and separated from the road by gate posts and iron gates.

The home is shown on Bowra's map of 1738 and shown below
is the 1808 map pf T.T. Barrow, which gives less detail;names only two homes; but shows fewer homes than does the 1738 map, suggesting that  some had been taken down.

Colbrans Guide of 1843 provides the following interesting information and refers in part to “the erection of some elegant private residences and excellent lodging houses, and a row of neat lodging houses facing the common called Clarence Terrace. Bishops Down Grove, the residence of D.J. Robertson esq., was once the property of Sir George Kelley, knight, an eminent physician, from whose descendents it was purchased by Major York who resided there for upwards of 25 years. George Kelley, esq., resided at Tunbridge Wells and served the office of High Sheriff of Kent in 1767, in which year he was knighted.He died possessed of the Manor of Rusthall in 1777 leaving his three sisters his co-heiresses. The site of the original manor house of Rusthall is lost in obscurity. The residence of Miss Sheppard on Bishops Down called “The Manor House” has but little, if any, pretensions to be so considered,but there is reason to believe that a moated house once stood at the extremity of the pleasure ground of William Wix, esq., who lives at “Lloyds House”, next to Miss Sheppard’s, and which might have been the Manor House of Rusthall.The spot alluded to is at the corner of his land where it adjoins the property of D.J. Robertson, esq. On Mr Wix’s land there are still remaining what is evidently one half of the moat, the other portion of it being on corresponding land on Mr Robertsons’ property, but now dry.The area which this moat enclosed is distinctly marked. It is nearly square, and of ample dimensions for a mansion of some consequence. The width of the moat in the narrowest part is about 20 feet and in the widest part about 30 feet. The generally received opinion is that the original manor house stood upon Rusthall Common.About 50 years since, two ancient of them a stone building, were pulled down.Two of them stood on Mr Robertson’s pleasure grounds, to the right of the turnpike, where there is now an ornamental spire, and the other, some 2 or 3 hundred yards below it, on a spot nearly covered with holly. There was a square built brick house in the corner of the Common on the opposite side (in a field near the poor-house) which was pulled down a few years since, and was thought by many to have been the Manor House”.

Although the mystery about where the Rusthall Manor Mansion was located makes for interesting investigation and debate, the relevant part of Colbrans account is its reference to Mr Wix’s residence (Lloyds House) being on part of the  site of a former moated mansion, and so clearly there was a structure on the site dating back before 1746 when Lloyds house is believed to have been built.

Also of interest are the architectural features of “The Manor House” shown in the photo above for its brickwork and style of dormers on the front are the same as those on “Lloyds House”. Recent photos of “White Ladies” taken circa 2001 show the building as red brick, unpainted at the rear, and painted white at the front, and in a bad state of repair inside and out. The wing added to the right side of Lloyds House dates after 1867 and although details about when it was added are lacking it is of a ‘Victorian Era’ style and the consensus of opinion among historians, including myself, is that it was a late 19th or early 20th century addition. Over the years the house has been added to or otherwise altered inside and out to such an extent that from a historical and architectural viewpoint it was not considered worthy of listing by English Heritage, a topic which was heavily debated when an application for Planning Authority approval was sought by the homes owners who wished to undertake work on the house. A letter from the Civic Society dated September 28,2001 stated in part “we do not in principal object to a double garage extension (but) the design incorporating a flat roof with stone balustrading on the front elevation only is quite inappropriate”………..”Similarly, whilst we think that the existing porch (with its felted flat roof) is probably not original or a thing of particular beauty, we consider that the proposed extension, retaining the flat roof but yet with more stone balustrading on its perimeter will be even more inappropriate….” The applicant was requested to reconsider the design of the garage and the porch. Included with the letter was the following input from Roger Farthing. “ White Ladies is the house which used to be called Lloyds House and has considerable historic interest. It was named after George Kelley’s niece Mary who married Capt. Henry Lloyd RN in the late 18th century and continued to be so called for many years until at least 1867….Most of these Bishops Down houses feature on the Bowra map ,so are probably as old as the Manor House.They formed part of George Kelley’s estate because he bought them at about the same time he built the ‘Spa Hotel’.So this is a historical treasure to be preserved and I do hope nothing dreadful will be permitted….” The records pertaining to this application for Planning approval can be found online as can a series of colour photos of the interior and exterior of the house. Shown here is a series of them in black and white, unfortunately of rather poor quality, but non the less give an idea of what the place looked like at the time. In this series is shown an image of an interior staircase; the front of the house in white with the front porch shown and the rear of the house in a combination of unpainted red brick and white painted brick with scaffolding erected. Also shown is a site map with “White Ladies” labelled and highlighted, on which can be seen the ‘Victorian” addition on the right hand side and protruding front porch.

I close off my coverage of the 2001 Planning application with the following quote from the file of a letter dated October 25,2001 from David Prentis, the Development Control Manager to Mrs G. Twells of the Civic Society. “ To be listed most buildings between 1700 and 1840 qualify but selection is necessary and those which have undergone considerable change are not usually considered listable. There is no doubt that there is an historic core to ‘White Ladies’ however on site it was noted that the interior, and in parts the exterior, had been altered significantly. Much of this work appears to date back to when the northernmost bay was added and it seems the opportunity was taken then to update and remodel the interior.Subequent 20th century alterations have further compromised the historic building. My view is that the building has been so altered that it no longer possesses the historic or architectural interest necessary for listing and consequently I will not be recommending that a Building Preservation notice is placed on it……”

To close of this section of the article I show above two  2015 photographs of the front of ‘White Ladies’.The image on the left shows the left driveway gated entrance with the home well hidden from the road by tall hedges and trees. This entrance forms part of a circular drive. The image to the right shows the right hand driveway gated entrance with a little better view of the house. The address “8” is posted on the left side gate post. These posts are white painted brick and the gates are black wrought iron with paving stone in the driveway and parking area. The home has a pleasing appearance and the grounds are nicely landscaped.

Shown opposite is a 1909 OS map on which I have identified by a red arrow the location of “Lloyds House”. This map gives a good indication of what the house and the area looked like at that time. The 1911 census, taken at “Lloyds House” described the home as having 19 rooms, a very large residence in 1911 and even by today’s standards, and from reviewing the records of neighbouring houses at that time, one of the largest on the road.

Given here is a description of ‘White Ladies’ from the Kent and Sussex Courier dated June 13,2014 which is a listing description by a local estate agent who was offering the home for sale. “WHITE Ladies is an outstanding detached period family house over four floors in Tunbridge Wells. It is believed to have been built in the early 1700s with later additions added in the mid 1800s.The present owners purchased it in 2005 and have extensively renovated the house creating a modern home retaining many period features.This includes high ceilings, ornate cornicing, deep skirting boards, solid wooden internal doors, oak flooring, picture rails, dado rails, sash windows with working folding shutters and marble fireplaces in the main reception rooms and master bedroom suite.The property is entered via an entrance lobby opening into a reception hall with solid oak flooring and marble fireplace, leading to the grand drawing room with open fireplace and floor to ceiling sash windows.The kitchen/breakfast room was installed in 2012 by Mark Wilkinson and is fitted with a range of bespoke units with a stone worktop, a central island and four oven Aga.The glass extension offers a contemporary feel with concertina doors opening onto the rear garden.The ground floor also benefits from a dining room and family room both overlooking the garden.The master suite is one of the finest estate agent Alexandre Boyes has ever seen with the study overlooking the rear garden with steps leading up to the bathroom with roll top bath, vanity unit with twin sinks set into granite worktop, dressing room and master bedroom with beautiful sash window to the front.Seven further bedrooms with four further bathrooms are arranged over the first and second floors.The lower ground floor is accessed via a secondary staircase and opens into an open plan games room.The cinema room was fitted in 2013 by Kent Home Cinema and has an HD projector with speakers built into the walls behind the screen. There is also a gym, wine cellar, secondary kitchen and private guest suite.The rear garden was designed and landscaped in 2007 by Lamont and Lawrence, an award winning local design firm, with terraces for entertaining, mature beds and well-manicured formal lawns.The heated swimming pool with crown oak pool house overlook the garden from the rear.PROPERTY: White Ladies, 8 Bishops Down Road, Tunbridge Wells, ACCOMMODATION: Entrance hall, reception hall, drawing room, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, cloakroom, family room, garden room, eight bedrooms, two bathrooms, attic storage, gym, cinema room, games area, wine cellar, store room, gated entrance, sweeping gravel drive, landscaped gardens, heated swimming pool, garage. PRICE: 3.25million AGENT: 01892 525522,

Further information by Alexandre Boyes, the listing agent, stated “ White Ladies Bishops Down Road,Tunbridge Wells, is one of the finest properties in Tunbridge Wells with eight bedrooms and approximately 8,000 sf of accommodation arranged over four floors and situated on the edge of the Tunbridge Wells Common at 8 Bishops Down. White Ladies is an outstanding detached period family home with generous and adaptable space. The house is believed to have been built in the early 1700’s with late additions added in the mid 1800’s and used to be a guest house”. The estimated value of the house was set at 3,186,885 pounds and sold October 15,2014 for 3,165,300 pounds, stated to be “the highest recorded price for a house on Bishops Down to date”.

A review of Planning Authority records indicated that as of 2001 there had been no applications filed since 1976.  The 2001 application for a “single sty detached garage to side ,alterations to front porch and alterations to various windows was eventually approved.An application was made in 2003 for a swimming pool,which was approved, as was an application for “6 foot gates at two entrances” which are the ones shown in the photos given above. The 2013 applicant was the house owner, a Mr. McGregor.


In this section I provide a list of known occupants of the residence covering the period of 1746  up to the 1960’s. As should be expected not all occupants are given, particularly those from the 18th century. The list was compiled based on the census and directory records available to the researcher and other related records, and since these records are not produced annually, it is to be expected that some “short term” residents have been missed. However the most significant occupants have been listed and its quite a mixed bag. From wealthy spinsters and widows to men with religious careers, successful merchants, government officials, corporation directors,eminent physicians, attorneys etc denoting the occupancy of this building by many wealthy and influential people. Although for most of the buildings existence it has been a large detached single family home, it has for part of its history been a guest/ lodging house and used during WW II as an administrative office of the Ministry of Food. Given in subsequent sections are details about each of the building occupants in the list below.

1746- 1757…………..Unknown

1758-1764……………Sir George Kelley (Bought Rusthall manor 1758;moved to new home 1765)

1765- 1792………….. Capt. Henry Lloyd (husband of George Kelley’s niece Mary; died 1792)

1793-1830’s………… Unknown (possibly Mary Lloyd in the early period, the widow of Capt Henry Lloyd)

1830’s-1849………….William Wix, esq. (died at Lloyds House 1849)

1850-1860’s…………Misses Charrington

1860’s-1870’s……… William H. Davies

1872-1882…………Rev Alfred Suart (died at Lloyds House 1882)

1883-1901…………… Louisa Suart (widow of Rev Alfred Suart)

1911-1914……………Ernest William Thomas Dunn

1915-1921…………….Harry Holditch Marten (died at Lloyds House 1921)

1922-1930’s………….Mrs Marten (widow of Harry Holditch Marten; at Holly Mansions 1934)

1939- 1945…………….Ministry of Food ( district administration office)

1953-1954…………… Mrs L.M. or I.M. Geake

1955-1956……………Leslie Theodore Henry Repard (died at White Ladies 1956)

1957-1961……………Mrs Molly B. Repard (widow of L.T.H. Repard) (listed as’White Ladies Guest House’)

1962-1967……………Mr. and Mrs C.P. Fox (listed as ‘White Ladies Guest House 8 Bishops Down’)

THE 1746-1758 ERA

The end date of 1758 relates to year that Sir George Kelley purchased the Rusthall Manor Estate for the huge sum of 12,000 pounds, which included the site of what later became known as Lloyds House. The year 1746 relates to the estimated date of when this house was constructed. Details about the ownership of the Rustall Estate can be found online and in other sources, which I do not provide here, but the person from whom Sir George Kelly purchased the estate, was John O’Connor who had obtained the estate on the death of Maurice Conyer in 1740/1. It is stated by others that John O’Connor decided to dispose of it due to it being in bad repair and did so in 1758 to George Kelley (later Sir George Kelley), whose descendants have held it ever since.

Who occupied the subject house on Bishops Down is not known during this period and although John Bowra’s map of 1738 is useful in showing the strip of homes on Bishops Down ,and in most cases the names of the occupants/owners ,it cannot be clearly established from this map which house is the subject , but those closest to where the house was located were two homes, one with the name of “Mr William Camfield” and the other “ Mr Ben Skinner”.


The story of George Kelley and his family and details about the Spa Hotel, which began as a private home of his when built in 1765, is described in my article “The Bishop Down Grove Spa Hotel” dated September 26,2011. An extract from that article states “In 1765 a fabulous stone manor was built for George Kelly on the edge of the Tunbridge Wells Common in the Rusthall Estate which he named Bishop's Down Grove.George had lived in the Tunbridge Wells area since the 1740's and had been born about 1700.On October 29, 1743 George married Mrs Johanna Cock at Camberwell,Surrey,Borough of Southwark.By the time of his marriage George was an eminent physician and was living in Portsmouth,Southampton.Johanna was a local woman having been born in Tunbridge Wells in about 1715 and was living in Tunbridge Wells at the time of the marriage.In 1758 George paid 12,000 pounds to purchase the Rusthall Estate,properties and manor and became Lord of the Manor.On September 29,1762 George Kelly of Bishops's Down,Speldhurst,Kent  was knighted during his shrievalty and at the same time became the High Sheriff of Kent.The position of High Sheriff was the oldest secular office under the Crown.Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the years the responsibilities of the office had been transferred elsewhere or were rendered defunct resulting in the office becoming just ceremonial. In 1764 he hired an architect to prepare the construction drawings for his new residence and soon after work was begun using local stone for its construction.When completed in 1765 it stood on a parcel of land of about 60 acres and was beautifully landscaped.It stood on a high part of ground with the front of the building facing south.The building had at that time, as it does now, a central entrance with five first-floor windows above between projecting canted bays on either side.His wife Dame Johanna Kelly took personal interest in the landscaping work.During his life in Tunbridge Wells Sir George took a great interest in local horse racing and supported it by awarding a silver cup.Sometime between 1766 and 1770 Dame Kelly passed away.On November 14,1771 Sir George passed away at Bishop's Down Grove leaving his estate to three of his sisters. His Rusthall Manor property remained in the hands of relatives and in 2011 it continues under the ownership of Jeremy and Gerard Menuhin,sons of Lord and Lady Menuhin. Sir George's Bishop's Down Grove manor and grounds however were sold by the family heirs to  Major Martin Yorke who took up residence there.”

Since writing the above article I located the last will and testament of Dame Johanna Kelley who is stated in the probate of the will to have died about 1774.  The will was first drawn up by her in 1772, the year after her husband died. The executor was Robert Trevor, the husband of one of her nieces with the main beficiary beign a grand nephew one Matthew Cork who inherited three quarters of her estate with the balance divided up among several others. Details of her will make for fascinating reading and can be seen online.

From an article about the Rusthall Manor is the following “. In addition to the manor, George Kelley also acquired the strip of land with houses now known as Bishops Down: this included the property now called the Manor House, although it was never used as such. In 1765, having acquired his knighthood and the position of Sheriff, he pulled down what is presumed to have been his old residence and replaced it by the more grandiose Bishops Down Grove.On Sir George's death in 1771 the manor and the property at Bishops Down passed to his three sisters, Hannah Tanner, Martha Spragg and Anne Shorey. None of them chose to occupy Bishops Down Grove and it was sold to Major Yorke in the following year. Hannah died in 1780 and after the other two sisters' death in1796 the estated was inherited by Anne's daughter Elizabeth Shorey, who though unmarried was known as Mrs Shorey according to the convention of the period. She lived in a house on Bishops Down no longer surviving and is best known for building the Bath House behind the chalybeate spring at the Pantiles in 1804.”

It is not clear if “Lloyds House” formed part of George Kelley’s estate at the time of his death but it is the opinion of the researcher that it was occupied by George Kelley from 1758 until the time he built his new home in 1765 and that about that time it  became occupied by Capt. Henry Lloyd and named “Lloyd House”.


From the research done by Roger Farthing, which he relayed to the Civic Society in the 2001 letter I referred to earlier, Roger stated “ It (Lloyds House) was named after George Kelley’s niece Mary who married Capt. Henry Lloyd RN in the late 18th century and continued to be so called for many years……”

The statement that the marriage was in “the late 18th century appears too late from my own research. Although a marriage record was not located for Capt. Lloyd it would appear that he wed Mary much earlier and that they had settled at Lloyds House in 1765 after George Kelly vacated the premises and that the Lloyd family continued to live there until his death in 1792.

A review of Capt Lloyds naval records shows that he was a Lieut. October 13,1757; Commander May 26,1768 and commanded the HMS HAWK from July 1769 to March 1771; Captain March 23,1771 commanded the H.M.S. PELICAN May 1771 to 1779, then the H.M.S. DOLPHIN (photo opposite) in 1772, the H.M.S WARWICH September 1772 to February 1775 and then the H.M.S OISEAU from November 1779 to 1783, at which time it appears he retired from the Navy. An account about Sir James Lind (1765-1823) reports on his naval career and that in 1770 he was transferred to “ 20 gun H.M.S. DOLPHIN under Captain Digby Dent and that Dent was succeeded by Captain Henry Lloyd who took the DOLPHIN to the East Indies with Lind still aboard”. The H.M.S DOLPHIN is described elsewhere as a 34 gun sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy launched in 1751; remained in service until 1776 and then broken up in 1777.

The will of Capt. Henry Lloyd is held by the National Archives and indicates that he was of Christchurch,Hampshire and is dated November 22,1792. The will itself,which can be seen online, refers to him leaving part of his estate to his wife Mary Lloyd and “all of my household and real estate situated at christ church,southampton,Hampshire AND AT BISHOPS DOWN in the County of Kent together with all other further assets and real estate”. Mary was the sole executor of his estate. This date in the body of the will is 1785 and the date of November 22,1792 relates to the date of his death or the probate date of his will. From this once can conclude that the property left to Mary Lloyd “at Bishops Down” was ‘Lloyds House’. Mary was still living at the time of her husband’s death and it is possible she continued to live at Lloyds House for some time after his death, although no facts in this regard are known. Capt Henry Lloyd was buried on August 14,1792 in the parish of Christ Church.


William Wix is found as an occupant of Lloyds House in the 1830’s and up to the time of his death there in 1849. Shown opposite is a miniature by the artist Henry Spicer, dated 1800, which is an image of William Wix (1768-1849). The seller of this miniature gave the following “ The miniature on enamel is of William Wix (1868-1849) who was an attorney and Fellow of the Royal Society and held the office of Provincial Grand Master of Essex from 1801-1824 (and of Grand Superintendent from 1801-1846).He was a member of Shakespeare Lodge (now No. 99), Somerset House Lodge No. 2 (now Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No. 4), Chapter of St James (now No. 2) and a Grand Steward in 1800. In 1809 he was elected a member of the special lodge of Promulgation, established to ascertain the landmarks and ceremonies of the Order “ This quotation is from “The Library and Museum of Freemasonry” and the lodges referred to are those of the Freemasons. Shown below is an image showing the back of the miniature of William Wix.

William Wix was born 1768 at St Peters, Cornhill,London, one of five children born to attorney Edward Wix, born 1720, and Mary Wix,born 1725. William was baptised February 19,1769 at St Peter Upon Cornhill,London (photo opposite).William came from a wealthy, influential and very religious family. William and his brother Rev. Samuel Wix (1771-1861) were both educated at Charter-House school where they both received their B.A”s and M.A.’s and who both initially persued a career in law as attorneys. Samuel (M.A.; F.R.S.; F.S.A.) however decided to abandon law and became an ordained deacon in 1798. Samuel was later educated at Christ College Cambridge and became Hospiller of St Bartholomew’s Hospital; vicar of St Bartolomew’s-the –less ,London and rector of Inworth,Essex. He had been born February9, 1771 at St Peters,Cornhill.London; was baptised there Marcch 3,1771 ; married Francis Walford (1781-1851) and with her had 3 children. Samuel lived all his life with his family in London and died September 4,1861 at the vicarage of St Bartholomew-the-less. Samuel’s son Edward Wix (1802-1866) became a Church of England clergyman of some note, details of which can be found online. William and Samuel were the only sons in the family.

William Wix had a successful legal practice in London and became a wealthy man in his own right. It is to be expected that in addition to occupying Lloyds House in Tunbridge Wells, that he also maintained a residence in London with Lloyds House being his “country home”, which for parts of the year was left occupied by family and servants while he attended to business in his legal practice in London. In 1813 William was and Officer of Treasurer for the Society for the Support of the Constitution. Records of the Royal Society for the year 1833 record that William had been a Fellow of the Society 1826-1849.

The Speldhurst Poll’s of 1835 to 1847 give “William Wix, Bishops Down,Speldhurst”. William is listed in the 1840 Pigots directory for Tunbridge Wells as a resident of Lloyds House.

William Wix was a member of “The Club of Nobody’s Friends, and is found in their directory of 1818 as “William Wix. Esq of Bishops Down, Tunbridge Wells”. He is given as the brother of Samuel Wix who is also a member of the club.William was described as being formerly of Islington and a magistrate for the County of Middlesex; a member of the Light Horse Volunteers; F.R.S. London and an associate of the late Rev. Dr Bray and that he died January 23,1849 aged 80, making his date of birth 1769.The “Nobody Club” was founded June 1800 and was called “Nobody” based on its founder the late excellent William Stevens which he described himself in his publications.

At the Old Bailey proceedings of July 8,1830 William Wix was called as a witness in a breaking and entering case at which hearing he said “ I am Steward of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and have been for more than two years. I lived there as a Steward of the Hospital. The London Metropolitan Archives has in their records the Middlesex Sessions of the Justices of the Peace in which is listed “William Wiz of Tunbridge Wells December 13,1834”.

The following first -hand account ,making reference to Bishops Down, a Miss Sheppard, Liet General Elias Walker Durnford  and William Wix comes from a book published in 1868 entitled ‘Family Recollections of Liet. General Elias Walher Durnford’, form which I give but a small part of the publication . “Miss Sheppard had the Manor House on Bishops’ Down, Tunbridge Wells. It was a lovely spot, always in perfect order, though the flowers were not in first-rate style. Its mistress was a city lady, born, as she said, within the sound of “ Bow Bells.” She was rich and High Church,very active, very charitable, and indefatigable in every good work. She gave a handsome font to Trinity Church. Papa took Archdeacon Bridge to call on her, and she gave him £10 for the cathedral at Newfoundland. A lady artist, a miniature painter, whose drawings were exhibited at the Royal Academy, often resided with her, this lady lent me several of her pictures to copy. She was a most religious and amiable character; on my expressing a fear that I might injure the drawings, “ Do not distress yourself,” she said, “ if you were to spill a glass of water over one of them, I should only say, ‘ such is life.’Mr. William Wix, the old bachelor city beau, possessed the scat adjoining Miss Sheppard’s. The turf in front of his house was smooth as velvet; a fine elm tree rose up on one side from a little mound, and at its foot in the early spring, tufts of snow-drops, crocuses, and polyanthuses were the first to attract our eyes. Mr. Wix was brother to the rector of St. Bartholomew’s, who was so anxious to bring about a union with the Roman Catholics, and both brothers were considered very High Church. Mr. Wix was kind, friendly and hospitable. He often told the history of his being, in his youth, one of the city volunteers, in which troop every private possessed £500 a year; it was in 1802, when Bona-parte threatened England with invasion, that this corps was raised, and of his having an opportunity of rendering a service to a gentleman in  Italy, who in return begged leave to order rooms for Mr. Wix at a hotel in Rome, and turned out to be the Duke of Gordon. He used to say, that it was through his exertions an English Chapel was allowed at Rome. When Mr. Wix was no longer able to walk, he used to stop in his brougham at the gate of Clarence Villa, and beg papa or mama to go out and talk to him. He always called papa his general, taking pleasure in saluting him in the military style ; he once told me he was going to town, and required a furlough from papa, asking if that was the proper term, when I said, he should have asked for leave of absence, the term furlough being only used by the soldier. He bequeathed his gold- headed cane to his general.”

William Wix died at Lloyds House in the 1st qtr of 1849. The Gentlemans Magazine of 1849 reported the death of William on January 23rd, age 80 “esq. of Bishops Down,Tunbridge Wells, formerly of Islington and one of the magistrates of the County of Middlesex. His will, with a probate date of February 23,1849 stated he was to be buried in the yard of the Parish Church in Speldhurst; that his father was Edward Wix (deceased) of London; that his brother was Samuel Wix; that his nephew was Charles Porpioor. The will names a large number of people who were left in many cases 1,000 pounds each.The will is full of cousins and other family members that were left substantial sums of money and other assets, but there is no mention of a wife or any children and since no marriage record could be found for him, one must conclude that he lived the life of a bachelor.


The Charrington sisters (3 of them) took occupancy of Lloyds House after the death of William Wix in 1849 and were still there in the early 1860’s.

The 1841 census, taken at Stamfore Hill in Hackney,Middlesex recorded the Charrignton sisters living with their father John Charrington, a merchant, and their mother Elizabeth, as well as two other sisters and one brother.

The 1851 census, taken at Lloyds House recorded the presence of Emily Charrington (1809-1871), a wealthy sprinster and fund Holder, born 1809 in Stepney, East London. With her was her sister Ann Catherine, born 1810 Stepney; her sister Charlotte, born 1812 Stepney and three servants. All three ladies were of independent means and came from a large and wealthy London family.Emily had been baptised on December 5,1809 at St Dunstan and All Saints,Stepney (photo opposite) and was the daughter of John S.Charrignton (1785-1841)  and Caroline Charrington,nee Hindman (1785-1813). Emily died in the 4th qtr of 1871 at Axbridge,Somerset. In addition to having two sisters, she also had six half siblings.

Charlotte Charrington was baptised October 29,1812 at St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney and died 1877 at Cheltenham. Ann Catherine Charrigton was baptised December 20,1810 at St Dunstan and All Saints. She died in the 4th qtr of 1890 at Axbridge,Somerset.

The 1861 census, taken at Lloyds House,Bishops Down recorded Emily Charrington along with her sister Ann Catherine Charrington as ladies of independent means. With there were three servants. The 1862 Kelly directory gave the listing “Misses Charrington, Lloyds House,Bishops Down”.

Sometime in the 1860’s the Charrington sisters left Lloyds House. They are not listed in the 1867 Kelly directory on Bishops Down. The 1871 census, taken at 2 Edgar Buildings in Bath,Walcot,Somerset recorded the sisters Emily and Ann Catherine living as boarders with the Watson family, with both of them given as annuitants. Apart from the information given above no further research was undertaken about them or their family. He moved into Lloyds House after their departure was not established but by the next occupant known to the researcher was Rev Alfred Suart.


William  was born 1825 at Llannneur,Montgomeryshire.Wales and is found at Lloyds house in the 1871 census with the occupation of hosier, in which business he was employing five males and twelve females. Living with him was his wife Jane, born 1833 in Brighton, Sussex; five of his children, and three servants. William was one of nine children born to Abel Jeramiach Davies (1788-1867) and Martha Eliza Davies,nee Woodbah,born 1793. The 1874 Kelly directory for Tunbridge Wells did not list William at Lloyds House or in any other private residence that year, but he is found in the 1874 trade directory as “ William Henry Davies, hosier & glover & hat & cap manufacturer, 2 Parade and Shropshire House, Chapel Place. No further information was obtained for him. The shop at 2 Parade is now and has for many years been the location of Barkleys Bank right at the corner of the entrance to the Pantiles. The 1867 Kelly directory gave “William Henry Davies, hosier and glover, Parade”. There is no 1867 directory listing for him under “private residences” and no listing for Lloyds House under any occupants name.


Records of his occupancy date to the early (after 1871)  and he died at Lloyds house in 1882 with his wife Louisa still recorded there at the time of the 1901 census. There is no listing for Mr Suart in Bishops Down in the directories of 1867 or 1874.

Alfred was born July 28,1817 at Vevey,Switzerland, one of three children born to Edward Suart and Emma Suart,nee Hodgson. His father had been born 1770 at Heaton Norris Lancashire, the son of Thomas Suart. Alfreds mother Emma had been born 1781 at St Stephens Coleman St., London, the daughter of William Hodgson and Mary Sheppey(1748-1837), Alfreds parents were married August 28,1811 at Chigwell,Essex.Vevey,Switzerland (image above)is a town in Switzerland in the canton Vaud, on the north shore of Lake Geneva, near Lausanne. It is home to the food giant Hestle founded there in 1867. Alfred was the only child in the family born there, and some sources claim he was born on the above date at Chigwell,Essex but my research indicates he was born at Vevey ( this matches the records of Cambridge University given below) and that he was born at Vevey while the family was vacationing there, and that he was baptised at Chigwell. The baptism record for him dates December 8,1819 at Chigwell with parents of Edward and Emma Suart.

Alfred was educated at Cambridge University. The records of the University Alumni gave the following “ Admin. Pens. at Christ;s Nov. 9,1835 (3rd son of Edward, esq, of Tunbridge Wells; born July 28,1817 at Vevey,Switzerland.Schools. Westbury (Mr Field),Brimsfied (Mr Moore) and Tonbridge). Did not reside. Adm. At Sidney, Oct. 18,1836.Matric. Michs. 1836; B.A. 1840.Ord. deacon (Chichester) 1842; priest, 1843; C of Bepton, Sussex, 1842-5. C. of Thornham,Kent, 1846-7. R. of Waldringfield,Suffold, 1848-62. Latterly of Loyds House,Tunbridge Wells, and Brighton.Died October 5,1882”.

In the 4th qtr of 1845 Alfred married Emma Rosamond Mary Ann Weller at Lewisham,London. It is not known how many children he had in total but he did have a daughter from this marriage by the name of Emma Rosamond Mary Suart who was one of the executors of his estate. Upon the death of his first wife he soon after married again, this time to Louise Jennings Bramley in the 2nd qtr of 1875.

The 1851 census, taken at the rectory in Waldringfield,Suffolk gave Alfred as the rector of the Waldringfield church. With him was his wife Rosanna(Rosamond), born 1806 in Saunton,Somerset and their daughter Enna,age 4.Also present were six servants and brother in law Francis Welles,born 1801 in Speldhurst.

The 1871 census,taken at Eastbourne,Sussex gave Alfred as clergyman with care of souls. With him was his wife Rosamund and daughter Emmna,age 23 and four servants.

The 1874 Kelly directory gave the listing “Rev. A. Suart, Lloyds House,Bishops Down,Tunbridge Wells”. The 1881 census, taken at Lloyds House gave Alfred as a clerk in holy orders. With him was was wife Louise, born 1827 in Enfield,Middlesex; his daughter Emma D.M. born 1848 at Thurnham,Kent,of private means, and four domestic servants. The 1882 Kelly directory listed Rev Suart at Lloyds House,Bishops Down.

Alfred died October 5,1882 at Lloyds House,Bishops Down. Probate records gave Rev. Alfred Suart late of Tunbridge Wells,Kent, clerk, died October 5,1882 at Tunbridge Wells. Proved by Emma Rosamond Mary Suart, spinster, the daughter, and Thomas Fuller Walker, gentleman, both of Tunbridge Wells, and Henry James Powell of Whitefriars, London. Alfred left an estate valued at 4,526 pounds.

After his death his widow Louisa continued to live at Lloyds House,until at least the time of the 1901 census which gave Louisa there, living on own means. With her was her step daughter Rosamond, age 54,spinster, and four servants.


It is expected that Mr Dunn moved into Lloyds House when Louisa Suart left the home and is found there at the time of the 1911 census and was still there in 1914.Shown opposite is a caricature drawing of him as published in the ‘Sydny As We See Them 1913-24-15’ by the Newspaper Cartoonist’s Association. The text associated with this image states “ Ernest W.t. Dunn-Brazilian Consul-General of Commonwealth of Australia. Born Sydney NSW 1867. Son of T.J. Dunn and M.R. Dunn of Sydney .Mr Dunn was Vice-Consul for Brazil in NSW 1901.Consul for Brazil in Australia 1906,Consul-General in the Commonwealth 1908. He is a member if the Sociele Academique Paris D’Historie international.Held the rank of Post Captain in the Brazilian Navy from 1908. Recreations-reading,writing,music (piano),golf. Home address-Kirribilli Point,Sydney; Lloyds House,Tunbridge Wells,Kent”.

Ernest was born June 9,1867 at Derwent Street, Glebe NSW,Australia. His father was Thomas John Dunn, born June 24,1839 .Balmain NSW and died September 7,1922 at 41 Bradleys Head Road,Mosman,NSW,age 83 years. Ernest’s mother was Martha Rose Dunn, nee Pawley, born June 20,1842 at Surry Hills NSW and died July 3,1880 at Hereford Street, Glebe NSW. Ernest’s parents were married October 19,1865 at St Michael’s Church of England in Sydney,Australia.

Ernest married Louisa Mary Jennings Bramley on August 3,1892 at St Johns Congregational Church at Glebe,NSW but they were divorced February 26,1924. Louise had been born July 19,1869 at Strawberry Hills,Sydney NSW and died March 30,1931 at Clapton Place ,Sydney.

Ernest and his wife Louisa had two sons and two daughters born in Glebe, NSW during the years spanning 1893 and 1903. After his divorce from Louisa Ernest married Annie Myrtle Cumberland in 1924 in Melbourne.NSW and there was no record found of any children from this marriage.

The 1911 census, taken at Lloyds House listed Ernest Dunn as a Brazilian Consul General of Australia. With him in the 19 room residence was his wife Louisa and three domestic servants. He remained at Lloyds House until 1914.

Ernest died July 23,1955 at Bairnsdale, VIC,Australia and was cremated at Springvale,VIC.Australia on July 27,1955.


Harry and his family took occupancy of Lloyds House in 1915 and he died there in 1921. His wife continued to live there after his death until the early 1930’s.

Harry was born in the 4th qtr of 1852 at Camberwell,London, one of five children born to George Frederick William Marten (1829-1866), a merchant,  and Catherin Marten, nee Edmunds, born December 7,1830 at Bermondsey. She was one of four children born to Robert Edmunds and Catherine Edmunds, nee Howell. Harry’s father had been born at Hillingden,Middlsex, the son of Thomas Marten. He had married Catherine July 22,1848 at BermondseymSurrey and died September 20,1866 at Camberwell,London.

In the 1st qtr of 1873 Harry married Elizabeth Hughes, who had been born 1854 at Hackney,Middlsex. The marriage took place at St John,Hackney. At the time of the marriage Harry was a commercial clerk and Elizabeth was a spinster. Elizabeth was the daughter of Edward Hughes, a vellum binder.

In 1872 William Young established a business as a building and decorating merchant at 5 Romford Road,Stratford, in East London. He was later joined by Harry Holditch Marten to form the company of Young & Marten. As well as selling building and decorating materials, Young & Marten manufactured joinery and leaded light windows. The company had railway sidings at Stratford for the transport of building materials to its warehouse in Grove Crescent Road. In 1885 Henry Aldridge Marten and Harry Holditch Marten (1852-1921) were partners in the business of Young & Marten advertising the business as lead and glass merchants. In the 1881 census Harry was given as a lead and glass merchant and in the 1911 census as a chairman of the business.

The business became Young & Marten Ltd in 1900. A trade catalogue from the 1940’s shows that Young & Marten Ltd sold lead pipes, glass, tiles, iron railings,ligh-fittings and timber, as well as a wide range of hardware products. The business had expanded to include branches in Brentford, Leytonstone, Walthamstow, and Southend. This company traded until at least the early 1970’s.In 1995 the business ,trading then as Y & M Realisations Ltd  was put into receivershiop.At some point the Stratford store was demolished and the site became that of the Ibis Hotel and Stratford Library. The firms warehouse in Grove Crescent Road was converted into an apartment block. For those interested in the hobby of stamp collecting shown above is a precancelled (for security purposed) stamp used by the company. Shown elsewhere in this section are photos of the company store at 5 Romford Road in Stratford.

The 1881 census, taken at 10 Blurton Road in Hackney London gave Harry as a lead and glass merchant. With him was his wife Elizabeth and his children Frank William,age 7; Ernest,age 4; Ethel,age 9 mths and one domestic servant. Moving ahead to the 1911 census, Harry was at the Grand Hotel Grand Parade in Eastbourne,Sussex as chairman of a lead and glass merchants company. With him at the hotel was his wife Elizabeth and his son Frank,age 37. Harry had another son Harold Charles Marten who had been born in the 1st qtr of 1890  at Snaresbrook,Essex. He was the youngest son in the family.In the 1911 census he was at Staffordshire with a large group of soldiers at the Regimental District Whittington Barracks in Lichfield. He was at that time with the 2nd South Straffordshire Regiment.

Harold Charles Marten had been gazetted to the 2nd Btn South Staffordshire Regt in 1909. He served with his regiment for a year in South Africa. In 1914 he went to West Africa for about three months, returning to England three days before war was declared. He reported himself at the War Office, but was too late to go on active service with the 2nd Staffordshires, who were badly cut up in the early part of the war. He was then attached to the 7th Staffordshires and was sent with them to the Dardanelles on July 1.1915. He was killed in action at Gallipoli on August 9,1915. Major Yool, of the Staffordshires , wrote that he died leading his men on to avenge the death of his brother-officers who were nearly all killed in this action. Shown opposite is a photo of Captain Harold Charles Marten, which was one of several published in The Illustrated London News September 18,1915. A photo of the cap badge of the 7th Staffordshires is shown in this section.

Harry is recorded on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial (photo opposite) as “H.C. Marten” and is also recorded on the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli (panel 134 to 136(photo opposite) There is no grave for him on this 30 meter high memorial and his name appears with about 21,000 others. As a former student of the Harrow County School For Boys ,he is recorded on the memorial at the school (photo opposite). The records of the Commonweath War Graves Commission state that Harry was the son of “Elizabeth Marten of 2 Holly Mansions, Frant Road,Tunbridge Wells and the late H.H. Marten”. This reference obviously dates to the period after the death of Harrys father in 1921 . A similar record for 1915 gave his mother and father at Lloyds House,Bishops Down. Kelly directories of 1913 and 1918 gave Harold Holditch Marten of Lloyds House,Bishops Down. 
The probate record for Harry gave him of Lloyds House, Bishops Down and that he died March 16,1921 at the Hotel Splendide at 31 Boulevard D’ Athenes Marseilels,France. The executors of his 32,547 pound estate was his wife Elizabeth, Frant Ernest Rayner, builder and Percy Begent Wood, Commercial traveller and Herbert John Clark, company director. Where he was buried was not determined, but there is no record of him at the Tunbridge Wells borough cemetery.

The directory of 1922 gave the listing “Mrs Marten, Lloyds House,Bishops Down. The directory of 1930 gave the same listing and this was the last one for her at this address. Sometime after 1930 she took up residence at the Holly Mansions on Frant Road and is found there in a 1934 Kelly Directory. Probate records gave Elizabeth Marten of 2 Holly Mansions, Frant Road, widow, died April 30,1948.The executor of her 12,361 pound estate was Rawdon John Isker Wood Horketh, retired colonel H.M. Army.


From 1939 to 1945 No. 8 and No. 5 Bishops Down were taken over by the Ministry of Food, as noted in the book by Ann Bates entitled ‘Tunbridge Wells In The Second World War……” published in 2009 by the Civic Society. The Ministry of Food was set up in 1937 with the task of overseeing the fair distribution and rationing of food . District offices were established across the country for this purpose. A large campaign to grow food and save food was undertaken and shown opposite is just one example of many posters produced for this purpose.

The telephone directory of 1941 gave the listing “Assistance Board Area Office, 8 Bishops Down” and that they had a district office at 18 Molyneux Park and an Emergency Offuice at 8 Upper Grosvenor Road, all in Tunbridge Wells, as well as at 34/5 Wellington Square in Hastings.

Government records show that Montague Richard Reynolds Vidal (photo opposite), born March 12,1890 in India and who died July 25,1962.was during 1939 to 1949 with the Ministry of Food, initially in London but later was in charge of operations in Tunbridge Wells. He had been educated at St Peter’s College, Radley,Berkshire. He entered his cousins, Revd F.J,. Stone’s Social House in September 1904; was a prefect and a good cricketer, being in the 1st XI 1907-09, and was in the Football XI in 1908. He left at the end of the summer term in 1909. From 1909 to 1912 he attended Oriel College,Oxford from which university he obtained his BA in 1912. From 1912 to 1937 he was in Kenya where he joined the Colonial Civil Service and served in Kenya Colony, reaching the rank of Senior District Commissioner in 1935. He and his family returned to England on his retirement in 1937 after 25 years service and after some househunting ended up in Sevenoaks in 1938 and then joined the Ministry of Food. While in Tunbridge Wells he became minister for South East of England, managing its food production during the war, work that earned him an O.B.E. in 1945. He retired again in 1949 and the family moved to North Devon. Due to the failing health of his mother he returned to Kent taking up residence in his mothers house at Claphatch. For many years in London he was a Director of the family business F.P. Baker & Co. he married Doris Felicite Gaisford (photo opposite), the daughter of Lt Col. Gilbert Gaisford BSc, and Laura Felicity Lewis Hutchinson, in 1925 in Kenya. Doris had been  born December 19,1893 and died in Tunbridge Wells on July 3,1977 at age 83. The couple had one child namely Andrew Richard Gaisford Vidal.


This lady is recorded in the 1953 phone directory as “Mrs I. M. Geake, 8 Bishops Down” and in the 1954 directory as “Mrs L.M. Geake, 8 Bishops Down.

Mrs Geake took occupancy of this home sometime after it had  been vacated by the Ministry of Food. It is believed by the researcher that after the war the house became a guest house/ lodging house but it is not clear if this was during the time Mrs Geake lived there. No other information about Mrs Geake was found. It is known that in 1955 No. 8 Bishops down became the residence of Leslie Theodore Henry Repard.


Leslie was known to have been an occupant of the house in 1955 and 1956 and he died at the home in 1956.Shown opposite is a photo of “The White Ladies Guest House” circa 1965. The text associated with this image states “ The White Ladies Guest House was in Bishops Down, and was run by Mrs R. Repart in the 1950’s. Later it became the “White Ladies Residential Hotel” run by Mr C.P. Fox and Mrs H.M. Fox”. I wish to thank Brian Dobson from providing this image from the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library.

Leslie was born in the 4th qtr of 1909 at St Albans ,Hertfordshire, the son of William John Repard who was born in Speldhurst in 1883 and who was still living in 1911. Leslie’s mother was Grace Madeline Repard born 1872 in Sputhborough, who was also still alive in 1911.

The 1911 census, taken at 4 Hatgerley Road, Kew Gardens,Surrey recorded William John Repart as a cinematographer. With him was his wife Grace; their son Leslie and three servants. The census indicates that the house had nineteen rooms; that the couple had been married two years(1909) and that they had only the one child,namely Leslie Theodore Henry Repard.

Marriage records show that Leslie married Nancy L Green (1910-1959) in the 2nd qtr of 1933 at Marylebone,London. Leslie and Nancy had a daughter and one son. The marriage ended in divorce. Records for Nancy show she had been born in the 3rd qtr of 1910 in Hastings,Sussex; and that in June 1948 she married Reginald (Rex) Austin Binning (1908-1988) at Hove,Sussex, and that she died in the 3rd qtr of 1959 at Hove,Sussex.

A review of passenger lists show that Leslie and his wife Nancy departed from Southampton April 22,1933 with a destination of Madiera.Portugal. The address given for Leslie in this record was “c.o. Brook Flowers Co. Ltd,Station Buildings, Cross Roads” and that Leslie was an professional engineer with the company.

Patent records show that Leslie held two patents. The first was “Improvements in and relating to locks (GB493617-A) dated October 10,1936. The second was for “Improvements in a relating to thermally operated control devices (GB390216A). There is also a notice in the London Gazette dated July 8,1941 regarding the assignment of a patent by Leslie (193108) of a patent dated October 3,1931 for “Improvements relating to thermally operated controls”.

Electoral records for 1934-1935 give Leslie at Speedwell,London; from 1935-1939 at Hendon and also a listing for him at Howlands,Marden 1938-1939.

Marriage records show that Leslie’s second marriage was to Molly B Ward  in 1953 and that the marriage was registered in the 2nd qtr of 1953 in Tunbridge Wells. There were no children from this marriage. Molly B Ward is found in records as being a resident of Wothing from 1948 to 1953. She had been born in the 4th qtr of 1917 at Melton Mobray,Leicestershire and her mother’s maiden name was Saunders

Probate records gave Leslie Theodore Henry Repard  “of White Ladies, Bishops Down,Tunbridge Wells” when he died February 3,1956 at St Thomas Hospital in Lambeth,London. The executor of his 1,652 pound estate was his widow Molly Repard.

After his death his widow Molly continued to live at White Ladies until 1961.Shown above is the photo of “White Ladies Guest House” dated 1965 from the Frith Collection. It is not known by the researcher when exactly the name “White  Ladies” replaced the name of “Lloyds House” nor when exactly the residence became a guest/lodging house, but obviously the name change took place no later than 1956  and it may well have been Molly Repard who ran the home as a guest house after the death of her husband. Further research is required to answer this question.


Directories for 1960 to 1967 give the listing “ White Ladies Guest House, 8 Bishops Down”. With this I end my coverage of this historic residence, except to conclude with another image of The White Ladies Guest House that appeared in a directory that can be found at the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library. I wish to thank Brian Dobson for his assistance and for providing this image to me. The image of circa 1967 which I gave earlier made reference to the building being run in the 1950s’ by Mrs R. Reppard and that later it became the “White Ladies Residential Home” run by Mr. C.P. Fox and Mrs H.M. Fox. The image I present here is entitled “ White Ladies Guest House” Bishops Down, Tunbridge Wells and that the “resident proprietors are Mr and Mrs C.P. Fox”. The text associated with this image reads “ First-class accommodation in charming Regency house, ideally situated facing Common,. Two minutes from Spa bus stop. Central heating H & C wash basins in all rooms. Excellent cuisine. Personal comfort assured for temporary or permanent guests”.



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

Date: September 2,2014


There has been a silk mercers shop on the Pantiles since at least the end of the 17th century, when a Miss Celia Fiennes, who was travelling around Kent on horseback, came to Tunbridge Wells and noted the shops in the Pantiles, and found among them a silk mercers shop on the Upper Walk.

James Booty (1826-1898), originally from Suffolk,came to Tunbridge Wells in March 1864 and acquired the silk mercers and haberdashers business of Robert Elliott who with Mr Crispe operated their shop at No. 60 The Pantiles under the name of Crispe & Elliott, who advertised that their business was a continuation of the business of Mr Lashmar. Details about these two forerunners to the business of Mr Botty are given in separate articles.

Mr Booty’s business was a success and soon expanded his shop to include 60, 62,64 and 66 The Pantiles where he advertised himself as a silk mercer and  haberdasher by appointment to Her Majestry, and that he was also a linen draper, hosier,glover,costumer. With the passage of time he expanded his business to include cabinet making and general house furnishings and by the early 1880’s he also operated as an undertaker with premises at 40 Pantiles. In 1889 William Dust opened a silk mercers shop at 1-5 The Pantiles, in competition to James Booty, which continued well into the mid 20th century and its presence may be one reason why Mr Booty’s business was not continued by his sons for very long after his death in 1898.

James Booty was married in 1850 to Eliza Matthews(1825-1901) and with her had six sons and four daughters, although one of his sons (Stanley Herbert) died at birth.His other children went on to have successful careers in various professions with two of his sons ,James Ernest Booty (1855-1923) and Edward Horace booty (1860-1927)carrying on his undertakers and silk mercers business upon his retired and death. The Booty family continued to have a business presence on the Pantiles until about 1922.

This article provides a description of the business and life of James Booty.A photo of Mr Booty is shown above.

THE EARLY YEARS           

James Booty was born June 25,1826 Langham(near Ixworth),Suffolk , one of seven children born to John Booty, a farmer, born about 1786 at Ixworth,Suffolk, and Charlotte Matthew, born at the same place about 1791. James was baptised July 16,1826 at Langham,Suffook.James siblings included John Booty (1820-1884) who by 1861 was a farmer and wine merchant; William booty (1821-1871), who in 1851 was living with his brother Robert Booty (1822-1857) at 37 Piccadilly where William was a cabinet maker and Robert was running a drapers business. This business was a prosperous one for the census of 1851 recorded that Robert booty was employing 6 men. Robert was joined in this business for a time by his younger brother James Booty. James brother Charles Booty (1825-1860) was in 1851 a farmer. His sisters were Maria booty, born 1823 and Elizabeth Booty, born 1827.

The 1841 census, taken at Wood Street in Ixworth,Suffolk recorded John Booty, a farmer,as head of the household. Living with him was his wife Charlotte;three sons, including James, and two daughters. Also present were two servants. All of the Booty children were either working on the farm or attending school.

In the 2nd qtr of 1850 James Booty married Eliza Matthews (1825-1901)in London.Eliza had been born in Devenport, Devonshire on September 8,1825 and was baptised at Devenport on November 7,1825. Eliza was from a large family of about 8 children. She is found in the 1841 census in Devon living with her parents John Matthews, a shipwright, born in Devon in 1786, and Sarah Matthews, born in Devon 1792. Also present in the home was four of her siblings. The christening records for Eliza record that she was of the Weslayan faith.

James and Eliza had the following children (1) Laura Mary Booty (1851-1924) (2) James Ernest Booty (1855-1923) (3) Ada Elizabeth Booty (1858-1910) (4) Edward Horace Booty (1860-1927) (5) Frances Carl Booty (1862-1933) (6) Alfred George Booty (1864-1938) (7) Alice Ellen Booty (1866-1943) (8) Frederick Charles booty (1868-1944) (9) Stanley Herbert Booty (1868-1868) (10) Mabel Agnes booty (1872-1938). The first six children were born in Marylebone,Middlesex and the last four were born in Tunbridge Wells. Further details about the children are given later.

It was during his time in London, up to 1864,  that James worked in his brothers business as a draper and raised his children. The 1851 census, taken at 6 Canning Place in Kensington,London recorded James as a silk mercer. Living with him was his wife Eliza, their daughter Laura and one domestic servant.

The 1861 census, taken at 30 Edgware Road in St Marylebone,Middlesex recorded James as a laceman, draper and glover. Living with him was his wife Eliza; four of their children and seven others, five of which were lacemakers and glovers and two were domestic servants.


James Booty and his family left the business in London and moved to Tunbridge Wells in March 1864. In that year James took over the silk mercers and haberdashers business of Robert Elliott who with Mr Crispe operated their shop at No. 60 The Pantiles under the name of Crispe & Elliott, who advertised that their business was a continuation of the business of Mr Lashmar. Shown opposite is an advertisement for the Crispe & Elliott business at No. 62 Pantiles.

Shown below is an early 19th century of the Pantiles showing a partial view of the shops with the bandstand taking up a spot of prominence in the middle of the walk. The Pantiles has always been a favourite place to shop and a tourist destination. Shoppers and tourists alike could take a leasurely stroll through the Pantiles without the annoyance of vehicular traffic and enjoy the tree lined tranquility of the place. There were benches where people could sit and rest and listen to the band music played at the bandstand. As noted in the obituary of James Booty “ he was an active member and vice-chairman of the Pantiles Band Committee from the time he came to Tunbridge Wells until the dissolution of the committee at the formation of the Municipal Band”.

The 1871 census, taken at 66 the Parade gave James Booty as a silk mercer and draper. Living with him was his wife Eliza and seven of their children. His wife Eliza and daughters Laura and Ada also worked in the shop as silk mercers and drapers. The other children were attending school. Also present in the census were nineteen others including fifteen people working in the shop and four domestic servants. The amount of staff is a good indication of how busy his shop was and it was not long before he expanded his premises to accommodate the increase in trade.The 1871 Handbook of Provincial Traders listed  “James Booty, Parade,Tunbridge Wells”. The papers of the Sussex Archaelogical Society at this time also listed James Booty as a member of the Society.

The Law Times of December 26,1874 reported on a case before the Lewes County Court in which a lawsuit for recovery of monies owned to certain creditors had been filed by Tunbridge Wells solicitors Stone and Simpson. Among the list of creditors was” James Booty of Tunbridge Wells”.

Another item for 1874 pertained to the Gas Works hearings that were reported on in the Gas Journal dated May 5,1874. As you will read later in the obituary of James Booty, he played an important role in the Gas Works. The full text of the hearing can be found online but in brief Mr Booty was called as a witness and gave testimony and responded to questions about the Gas Works in the town with the discussion centering around the proposed change in location of the gas works and whether or not its present and proposed locations posed any problems or concerns to Mr Booty and others. Mr Booty said at the beginning of his statement that “I am a sill mercer and draper in extensive business on the Parade,Tunbridge Wells, the centre of the town for business purposes……I should say that the gas works ought not to be retained for gas works purposes”. He goes to say in part that he was on the Tunbridge Wells board for five years.

Peltons 1876 guide gave the advertisement “James Booty’s carpets and general furnishing warehouse.Brass and Iron Bedsteads,Hairs, Wool and Spring Mattresses. Bedsteads and Bedding. Sent to any part, at an hour’s notice. 60,62,64 & 66 Parade,Tunbridge Wells”.

The Anglo American Times of October 10,1879 provided a directory of Tunbridge Wells businesses and among the listings under silk mercers, general house furnishers etc was “James Booty solicits an inspection of his large and varied assortment of silks, mantles,jackets,shawls,dresses,costumes and ladies out-outfittings, general house furnishers,undertakers, etc, 60,62,64 and 66 Royal Parade”.

The 1881 census showed him operating from premises as 60,62 and 64 the Parade. James Booty was given as a draper and with him was his wife Eliza; five of his children; one visitor; four domestic servants and twelve others working in the shop as assistants in various capacities. In this census his son Francis was given as an architect,and his son Alfred as a clerk general.

Shown opposite is an image of Booty’s shop with Pelton’s shop next door, as given in Peltons 1883 guide, along with an advertisement for the business. The name “J. Booty” is given on the façade over the front entrance. It’s a romantic scene showing a long row of shops and out front are several men and women dressed in their finery taking a stroll and doing some shopping.

The booklet entitled ‘The Pantiles Royal Tunbridge Wells’ by Philip Whitbourn states “Prominent at the southern end of The Pantiles was James Booty’s silk mercer’s and millinery shop. This extended over four numbers: 60 to 66 The Pantiles, and was on the site of Upton’s 18th century coffee house. The entrance to the shop at No. 62 is flanked by curved windows, and the ceiling to the colonnade is enriched with decorative ironwork.Next door, at No. 68, were the premises of Robert Pelton, publisher of well-known guides, and of Mathieson’s Directory. Booty’s shop stretched through to that part of Eridge Road known as Back Parade,where another important publisher of guides, J. Clifford, had his premises”.

Shown below from the same booklet is a map of the Pantiles on which is shown bottom left the location of No. 62 ,64 and 66 the Pantiles. Also shown is 1-5 The Pantiles which in 1889 was the premises of silk mercer William Dust, who operated in competition with James Booty.

A review of directories up to 1882 gave a listing in 1868 for “James Booty, Parade”; in 1874 as “James Booty, silk mercer,linen draper & haberdasher, 60,62,64 & 66 the Parade”; in 1882 “James Booty, silk mercer, linen draper,haberdasher,cabinet maker,general house furnisher & undertaker, 40,60,62,64 & 66 the Parade. From the 1882 directory three noteworthy points can be made. Firstly, that James Booty had significantly increased his silk mercers premises by 1874, only 10 years after arriving in town. That secondly he had expanded his business to include cabinet making and the sale of furniture, and as noted earlier his brother William was by 1851 working as a cabinet maker. Thirdly James had expanded his business into a non-traditional direction by opening an undertakers shop at No. 40 The Pantiles. In researching other drapers businesses in town ,such as that of Weeks on Mount Pleasant Road, it is always surprising to me how many of them also branched out to be undertakers. With respect to Mr Booty’s sale of furniture there was a Christies auction in November 1995 ,in London, in which 8 Regency Mahogany brass mounted dining chairs  were sold with an estimated value of 7,000 to 10,000 pounds which beneath the webbing  of the chairs was stamped “James Booty, Furnisher,Tunbridge Wells”.

The Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act of 1890 gave a list of tenants of the Commons and in the list of properties excluded from the Commons was on plan 15 ordnance plan 1016 “Booty’s warehouse, occupied by James Booty”.

The 1891 census, taken at 60,62,64 and 66 The Pantiles recorded James Booty as a draper and house furnisher. Also present was his wife Eliza; their children Alice, Mabel and Edward. Edward was at this time working as a draper in his father’s shop and it was he who would later take over his fathers business. Also present was Seline M parrott,age 28, the niece of James and who was also working in the shop as a dressmaker. Also present were three domestic servants and twelve others who working in the shop ad dapers, dressmakers, mantle makers,milliners,shopmen etc. James son ,James Ernest Booty(1855-1923), left the family home sometime before 1871 and got married and operated his own silk mercers business,but later became an undertaker and took over his father’s undertakers business. More about him is given later.

Probate records give that James Booty was of 40,60,62,64 and 66 Ye Pantiles when he died February 10,1898.The executor of his 17,781 pound estate was his son Edward Horace Booty, draper, and Richad Pelton, stationer.

The Kent & Sussex Courier gave a log article about the life and death of James Booty and the susbsequent funeral. The funeral details report that “On Monday afternoon the interment of the late James Booty of the Pantiles took place at St Paul’s Churchyard,Rusthall. The arrangements were gvery quietly executed in deference to the wishes of the deceased. The Rev. F.F. Wairond (sp), vicar, officiated. The coffin, which was borne on a Washington car, was of polished oak and brass furniture, and the plate bore the inscription ‘James booty born 25th June 1826 Died 10th February 1898’. The deceased was intered in the family grave, being borne there from the church by his employees. A detailed list of mourners was given and mention was made of “floral emblems, of very beautiful description were laid and that the Booty family laid a large cross of violets on the grave”.

The Courier also gave the following details about James Booty’s death and life. To paraphrase part of it the newspaper stated that Jemes Boot’s health had been failing due to heart desease and that on the day of his death he had taken a walk in the Pantiles and later that evening took to his bed for a rest. At around 12 pm he was found in a state of collapse by his son Edward Horace Booty who went for medical assistance. By the time he returned to his father’s premises above the shop, his father had passed away of heart failure while watched over by James wife and two daughters. “ In the death of Mr Booty, the town has lost one of its oldest residents and tradesmen and in fact he was the last of the old drapers of the town and could boast of Royal Patronage for which he possessed letters of authority. The Princess Victoria when at Tunbridge Wells was a regular customer of the well-known establishment on the Pantiles. Mr Booty was a native of Ixworth in Suffolk and singularly enough Mr Booty and the late Mr Fox Simpson, on coming to Tunbridge Wells, found that they both came from the same place, where their fathers own neighbouring farms.Mr Booty, after being in business with his brother in Piccadilluy,came to Tunbridge Wells in March 1864, having acquired the business of the late Mr. Robert Elliott, draper of the Pantiles. This business Mr Booty greatly extended and enlarged his premises, and he has for nearly forty years enjoyed a large and fashionable circle of patrons. Apart from a successful and respected business career, the deceased gentleman was a director of the Gas Company; a director of the Public Rooms Company; a director of the Corn Exchange; a director, and for some years chairman, of the Pump Room Company, as well as an active member and vice-chairman of the Pantiles Band Committee from the time he came to Tunbridge Wells till the dissolution of the Committee at the formation of the Municipal Band. Mr Booty was one of the original members of the Tradesmens Association, when the meetings were held in private, and he passed the chair of that Association. For upwards of 30 years he was a governor of the General Hospital, and for some years he was on the committee of the Ear Hosptial, which he only resigned this year on account of failing health. Soon after he came to Tunbridge Wells Mr Booty was paid the great compliment, as it was then considered, of being nominated for the old local board, but he only served on this body for 3 years as he found that increasing demands of his  business prevented him from continuing to assist in the government of the town, although every movement for the welfare and prosperity of the place found in Mr Booty the liberal supporter. In the loss of Mr Booty the borough loses a very old townsman and the Lady of the Manor one of her oldest tenants. At the last annual dinner of the freeholders tenants a feeling reference was made to the absence through Illness of the deceased, who celebrated his 71st birthday last June.He is survived by his widow and four sons and five daughters”.

When James Booty retired from business late in his life and certainly upon his death his son Edward Horace Booty (1860-1927) took over the running of the family business at 60,62,64 and 66 the Pantiles and James eldest son James Ernest Booty(1855-1923) took over the undertakers business at 40 Pantiles.

AFTER JAMES BOOTY             

The 1901 census, taken at 60,62,64 and 66 Pantiles recorded Eliza Botty, widow as head of the household, but there is no indication in the census that she was working. She,like her husband had retired from business several years before. Also present was her 43 year old spinster daughter Ada; her single son Edward Horace Booty,age 41, a “draper employer at home” and her spinster daughter Alice,age 35. Also present were three dometic servants and six dressmakers and drapers assistants who worked in the shop run by Edward Horace Booty. Eliza Booty died at home in 1901 and was buried in the family plot at St Paul’s Church Rusthall. A painting of the church is shown opposite.

Details about the continuation of James Booty’s business are given below ; 

1)      JAMES ERNEST BOOTY (1855-1923)…….James was born in the 4th qtr of 1855 at St George Hanover,London and was baptised there soon after his birth. James was living with his parents and siblings at 30 Edgeware Road in St Marylebone Middlesex at the time of the 1861 census, but was not found with his parents in any subsequent census records and remained in Marylebone when his parents moved to Tunbridge Wells. On September 30,1879 he married Ann Louisa Amelia Austen (1856-1903) at Wadhurst,Sussex. The 1881 census, taken at Westow Lodge in Tonbridge recorded James E. Booty as a silk mercer and living with him was his wife Anne, born 1856 in Norwood,Surrey and one servant. The 1891 census, taken at 4 vale Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, gave James E. Booty as a draper worker. Living with him was his wife Anne and one servant. The 1901 census, taken at the same address listed James E. Booty as a draper employer and with him was his wife Anne and his only child Geoffrey Vernon Booty (1896-1941)(photo opposite).Geoffrey was baptised June 18,1896 in Tunbridge Wells. Geoffrey had been born in Tunbridge Wells and died in Ashburton Down but had married twice and with his second wife had a son. Also in the home was one servant. The 1911 census, taken at 40 Pantiles recorded the presence of James Ernest Booty,an undertaker and valuer. Living with him was his wife Stephanie, born 1884 at Ingatestone,Essex and one domestic servant. They were living in seven rooms.His son was not present in the census as he is found in 1911 at St John the Baptist in Margate Kent as a boarder in a boys school. The directory of 1903 gave “James Ernest Booty ,4 Vale Avenue,London Road “. The Kent and Sussex Courier of August 14,1914 reported on the death of Rear Admiral Charles Davis Lucas on August 7,1914 in Tunbridge Wells,and amongst the details was the news that the funeral arrangements were carried out by “Mr James Booty, of Tunbridge Wells”. The directories of 1913 to 1922 (the last year of the business) gave “James Ernest Booty, undertaker, 40 Ye Pantiles”. A 1930 Kelly directory listed a Madame Marjorie Jendon’s linen warehouse at 40 The Pantiles. Probate records gave James Ernest Booty of 40 the Pantiles,Tunbridge Wells who died June 21,1927 at Klinik Schoeme Charlottenburg Berlin,Germany. The executor of his  4,212 pound estate was his son Geoffrey Vernon Booty, sales manager. Probate records for James wife gave Anna Louis Amelia Booty of 4 Vale Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, (wife of James Ernest Booty) died August 19,1903. The executors of her 3,131 pound estatge was Charles Cowper Austen, stockbroker, and Georgiana Marion Dawson (wife of Rev. Frederick Rowland Dawson).

(2) EDWARD HORACE BOOTY (1860-1927)……….Edward  took over his father’s drapers etc business when his father retired and the business continued under the name of James Booty .A 1903 directory listing,for example, gave “James Booty 40,60,62,64 & 66 Ye Pantiles”. As noted above Edward was living with his widowed mother in the Pantiles at the time of the 1901 cenus, with the occupation of ” draper employer at home”.Edward had been baptised April 5,1861 at Bryanston Square St Mary, where most of his siblings had been baptised. Birth records record his birth was registered at Marylebone,London in the 2nd qtr of 1860.

The drapers business of James Booty did not last long for the 1913 directory records under the heading of house furnishers a John Butcher at 60 and 62 Pantiles.Perhaps it was the presence in 1913, and for some time before that,  of Dust & Company Ltd ,silk mercers, drapers, costumers, mantle makers and general furnishers at 1 Ye Pantiles and 2 Nevill Street that proved to be too competitive for two businesses to survive in the same area, or perhaps Edward Horace Booty had decided to give the business up after working in it all his life.It was also noted from a 1930 Kelly that the Orange Tea Rooms,run by Miss Dean, was at No. 60 Pantiles and in the same year at No. 66 was Jupp & Heasman,tobacconists.

Probate records give Edward Horace Booty of Maycot Torcross Kingsbridge Derbyshire ,died August 25,1927 at the Buckingham Buxton Derbyshire. The executors of his 11,419 pound estate were Mabel Agnes Booty,spinster (his sister) and Herbert George Rastall,solicitor. Edward never married.


(1)    LAURA MAY BOOTY (1851-1924)……..In 1871 she was living with her parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells and working in her father’s shop She left the family home sometime after and married at St Mary Magdalene St Leonards-on-sea Edwin Godsmith of Eastorne, the son of George Goldsmith of Sapiston,Suffolk and raised a family.

(2)    ADA ELIZABETH BOOTY (1858-1910) (photo opposite)……..She had been baptised August 20,1858 at Bryanston Square St Mary.In 1871 she was living with her parents in Tunbridge Wells and working in her father’s shop and was still there at the time of the 1881 census as well as the 1891 census. Details about her life afterwards are inconclusive. She is found however in the 1911 census living as a visitor with her siblings Alice Ellen Booty and Edward Horace Booty at the residence of Amelia Charlotte Wagstaff at 6 Hayes Lane, Bromley Common. She was still single and it is known she never married.

(3)    FRANCIS CARL BOOTY (1862-1933)…….Francis was living in Tunbridge Wells with his parents in 1881 and working as an architect. He was baptised November 14,1862 at Bryanston Square St Mary. He left Tunbridge Wells and took up residence in Paddington,London  and in the 2nd qtr of 1908 he married Jean Clarke in London. The 1911 census,taken at 57b Sutherland Avenue,Paddington recorded Francis as an architect and living with him was his wife Jean(1865-1932), born in Newport,Monmouthshire,Wales. Also in the 9 room home were five visitors and one servant.The census recorded that they had no children. Electoral records show that Francis was living in Paddington 1914 to 1932. Architect records of October 24,1890 refer to the firm of Coulthurst & Booty, architects at 4 Albert Street,Belper and a 1895 Derbyshire record gave Francis Carl Booty at 100 London Road, Derbyshire, architect (see Coulthurst & Booty) with a F.C. Coulthurst listed in Derbyshire. Probate records gave Francis Carl Booty, otherwise Francis Karl Booty of south View Nursing Home 1 the Terrace Camden Square,Middlesex died March 24,1933. The executor of his 1,229 pound estate was his spinster sister Alice Allen Booty.

(4)    ALFRED GEORGE BOOTY(1863-1938)……Alfred was living with his parents in Tunbridge Wells in 1881 and working as a clerk general and left the home sometime afterwards. His birth was registered in the 3rd qtr of 1863 at Marylebone, London and had been baptised at Bryanston Square St Mary. On April 17,1885 he married a widow by the name of Hannah Maria Barrows at St Clement Danes Westminster,London. The 1891 census, taken at 33 Landsdowne Road in Lambeth.London recorded Alfred as running a fruitier and greengrocers shop. Living with him was his wife Hannah, born 1847 at Washington,London; one visitor; one servant; stepson (perhaps more likely step father) Ivor M. Burrows, age 76.Alfred continued his business for many years and died in 1938.

(5)    ALICE ELLEN BOOTY (1866-1943)…….Alice was living with her widowed mother at the time of the 1901 census in Tunbridge Wells. Her birth was registered in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1865. The 1911 census, taken at 6 Hayes Lane, Bromley Common recorded Alice a single and a visitor with Amelia Charlotte Wagstaff. With her was her spinster sister Ada Elizabeth Booty and her brother Edward Horace Booty. All three of the Booty’s were listed as living on private means. Probate records give Alice Ellen Booty of Fairlawn Yew Lane East Grimstead,Sussex,spinster, died December 13,1943 at Charters Towers Nursing Home East Grimstead. The executors of her 15,712 pound estate were David Edwin Goldsmith, retired bank manager and Herbert George Rastall,solicitor.

(6)    FREDERICK CHARLES BOOTY (1868-1944)…...Frederick was living with his parents in Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1871 census. In the 3rd qtr of 1899 he married Alice Elizabeth Ayling at Bethnal Green,London. His birth had been registered in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1868.He is found in electoral lists in the London area from 1905 to 1933. It is known that he emigrated late in life to western Australia. Passenger records show that he departed from Liverpool November 15,1939 and arrived at Freemantle, Austalia on the steamship “Ulysses” age 71. He was travelling alone, 1st class and gave his address as Fairlawn Ye Lane, East Grimstead and that his permanent address was Australia. Probate records give Frederick Charles Booty of Perth,Western Australia, died May 16,1944 at Mount Hospital St Georges Terrace,Perth. The executors of his 2,849 pound estate were The Perpetual Executors Trustee and Agency Company (W.A) Limited.

(7)    STANLEY HERBERT BOOTY (1868-1868)…….Stanley was born in Tunbridge Wells but died at or soon after birth.

(8)    MABEL AGNES BOOTY (1872-1938)…….Mabel was the youngest of all the Booty children and had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1872,with her birth being registed that year in the 1st qtr. She was last living with her parents in Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1891 census. The 1901 census, taken at 9 St John Wakefield,Yorkshire recorded Mabel as a single woman, living as a boarder with 9 others and working as a high school mistress assistant. The 1911 census, taken at Selby,Yorkshire recorded Mabel as single and living as a boarder at Bryton Road,Selby, Yorkshire and working as a head mistress of the High School. Probate records give Mabel Agnes Booty of Selbie,Marldon Road, Paignton,Devonshire,spinster, died April 12,19438. The executor of her 11,436 pound estate was Barclays Bank Limited. With this I end my coverage of the life and times of James Booty and his family.



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

Date: August 20,2014


A number of companies operated in Tunbridge Wells during the 20th century as motor body builders. Many of them began business in the 19th century by making horse drawn carriages. John Henry Gibson came to Tunbridge Wells from Lincolnshire in about 1890 and after working for a time for others in the motor coach trade he started a coach building business of his own. Initially he built carriage bodies for the horse and carriage trade, but as mechanical transport progressed the firm moved from premises on Albert street to Camden Road where bodies for motor cars were built instead. In addition to this work the company was also engaged in the business of painting, upholstering and repairing motor cars. Frederick James Henry Brown,Gibson’s nephew, later joined with Gibson to form the partnership Gibson & Brown.

In 1930 Gibson retired but the company continued as Gibson & Brown under the direction of Mr Brown from premises on Camden Road. The company was still operating in 1938 but appears to have ended about the beginning of WW II. This article provides a review of the history of this company and its partners.Shown above is a postcard view of the High Street,Tunbridge Wells.


The first motor show in England was held in Tunbridge Wells at the Agricultural Show Ground in October 1895 , an event largely credited to the efforts of Sir David Lionel Salomons, a local man of varied scientific interests, but one with a particular interest in motor cars. The event was a great success,having been attended by thousands. Although the number of motor cars demonstrated was small, the crowds were large, and the event sparked a local interest in the motor car trade. Prior to this time there were a number of companies in the town making horse drawn carriages and although some felt that the motor car would never catch on, others embraced the new technology and expanded their business from being solely carriage makers to makers of motor cars.It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that motor cars started to be made in Tunbridge Wells, and although there were several businesses in the trade perhaps the best known and the largest of them all was the firm of Rock & Sons, later Rock Hawkins and Thorpe ,who having begun business in Hastings in 1822 established a large manufactory on Grosvenor Road in 1892. Other similar firms sprang up with John Henry Gibson arriving rather late in the industry about the turn of the century.


John Henry Gibson was born 1866 at Winterton,Lincolnshire and was the only child born to John William Gibson (1835-1868) and Emma Gibson. John William Gibson was one of six children born to Joseph Gibson(1794-1881) and Jane Gibson (1805-1877). The 1841 census, taken at Newport in St Mary Barton Upon Humber,Lincolnshire records Joseph Gibson as a grocer and living with him was his wife Jane and their six children, among which is their son John William Gibson, born 1835 at Barton Upon Humber,Lincolnshire. Winterton (postcard view opposite), was a small town in north Lincolnshire, 5 miles N.E. of Scunthorpe. Today it has a population of about 4,700 an is located near to the banks of the Humber River.

John William Gibson is found in the 1851 census at Market Street in Barton Upon Humber where he is working as a drapers apprentice and living with his brother Joseph who is a draper and grocer. Also present was Josephs wife Sarah,age 21 and john William Gibsons sister Elizabeth,age 31 who was working as a draper and shop woman for her brother Joseph.

Sometime before 1861 John William Gibson married Emma, who was born 1833 in Retford,Notinghamshire and the family took up residence in Winterton,Lincolnshire. John William Gibson had a short life, and passed away in Grantham.Lincolnshire in the first qtr of 1868. In 1866 John and Emma had their first and last child, namely John Henry Gibson in 1866.

The 1871 census, taken at 1 Queen Street in Winterton recorded Emma Gibson as a widow and head of the home, and working as a grocer and provision dealer, Living with her was her son John Henry Gibson,age 5; Frederick A. Brown, age 17, born in Barrow on Humber,Lincolnshire, an assistant shopman; and one domestic servant. This census record provides the first connection between the Gibson and Brown families, a connection which will become clearer later in this account.

John Henry Gibson decided not to take a career in the grocers trade, although it is likely during his school years in Winterton that he worked for a while assisting his mother in her shop.He would have left school at about age 13 and decided to take up residence with his uncle Samuel Gibson (1829-1900).

The 1881 census, taken at Barton St Peter,Lincolnshire recorded Samuel Gibson as the head of the home. He was born 1829 at Barton on Humber,Lincolshire. He is recorded in the census as a master engineer employing 9 men and 6 boys. Living with him was his wife Ann Susannah Gibson,nee Tharratt (1840-1900) and their three children Joseph Tarratt Gibson born 1877; Mabel Gibson (1879-1958) and Thomas William Gibson, born in 1879. Also present was his widowed mother in law Susannah Wallis,age77; his nephew John William Sharratt,age 16 , an apprentice moulder,and his nephew John Henry Gibson,age 15 who was working as an “apprentice moulder (E & M).

Sometime before 1891 John Henry Gibson moved to Tunbridge Wells. He is found in the 1891 census at 144 Camden Road where he is given as age 25 and living as a boarder with the Brown George family. Brown George was working as an employee as a coach builder/body maker and living with him was his wife Sarah and his two children. John Henry Gibson is also working as a coach builder/body maker. As no motor trade business operated by a Brown George is known it is believed by the researcher that both Brown George and John Henry Gibson are working together with one of the other established companies in the town and it is from this experience that John Henry Gibson later formed his own business.

In the 4th qtr of 1893 John Henry Gibson married Charlotte Amelia Malpass, at Ticehurst,Sussex. Charlotte had been baptised November 3,1866 at Etchingham,Sussex and was the daughter of Daniel and Frances Malpass. Based on the 1881 census, taken at Burwash,Sussex Charlotte was one of six children born to her parents. Her father had been born 1828 in Gloucestershire and in 1881 was working as a blacksmith. Her mother Frances had been born 1832 in Etchingham,Sussex.A family tree for the Malpass family record Daniel Elijah Malpass (1828-1907) with his wife Frances Tester(1832-1886) and that they had 11 children including Charlotte Amelia Malpass.Before her marriage to John Henry Gibson Charlotte was living with her parents and siblings in Burwash,Sussex. Her father Daniel died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1907.Research on the Malpass family shows that they are an extension of the Brown family who married into the Shearwood family of Lincolnshire.

The 1901 census, taken at 84 St James Road, recorded John Henry Gibson and his wife Charlotte with no children. John is listed as a “coach builder employer” confirming that by this date John had started his own business.An advertisement for his company in the Kent & Sussex Courier of April 25,1930 states that his business was established in 1900.

The 1911 census, taken at 6 Whitefield Road,Tunbridge Wells, recorded John Henry Gibson as a ‘coach body maker employer”. Living with him was his wife Charlottre Amelia and his nephew Frederick Brown,age 13, born at Wellingborough,Northamptonshire, who is attending school. It is this boy that later goes into partnership with John Henry Gibson. The census records that the couple had been married 17 years and that they had no children, and in fact the couple never had children throughout the marriage. The census also records that they were living in premises of 6 rooms, indicating that their residence was a modest one.

Directories of 1913 to 1918 give “ John Henry Gibson, coach builder, 23a Albert Street. Shown above is a 1909 OS map showing Albert Street marked in Yellow, located just west of Camden Road, running between Dale Street on the north and Victoria Road on the south. It was on Albert Street that John Henry Gibson was operating his business circa 1911.

Shown opposite is an advertisement that appeared in the Kent & Sussex Courier January 3,1913 under the name of Gibsons Coach Works with premises at Albert Street.

Frederick James Henry Brown enlisted for service in WW 1. Military records for him, indicating that he had been born October 23,1897 at Wellingborough,Northamptonshire and that he had joined the Royal Navy as afitter. He had enlisted on May 11,1916 and at the time of his enlistment he had been living with John Henry Gibson and his wife in Tunbridge Wells. Frederick survived the war and returned to Tunbridge Wells at the end of it and it was at that time that he joined his uncle in the business, which thereafter operated under the name of Gibson& Brown.

The 1922 Kelly directory gave “ Gibson & Brown, coach builders, 23 and 23a Albert Street,Tunbridge Wells”. Directory listings for this business by that name continued to 1938 and it is believed that the company did not continue beyond 1938.

Advertisments for the business of Gibson & Brown can be found in local directories in the early 20th century as well as in the Kent & Sussex Courier ,such as the one shown (opposite right ) published May 25,1923 and there was also an advertisement in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer of May 10,1924.  Of particular interest about the advertisement opposite is that by 1923 Gibson & Brown had their office on Albert Street “near the Drill Hall” and that they had begun to offer “Warren Trailers”.

The advertisement above left  appeared in the Kent & Sussex Courier on April 25,1930 . Of interest is that most of the advertisement presents a letter of appreciation from a customer regarding the wreck and repair of his Chrysler motor car; that the company was on Camden Road and that the advertisement states the company was established in 1900.

Shown opposite (right) is an advertisement from the Kent & Sussex Courier of January 23,1931 .In 1931 John Henry Gibson retired from the business and from that time forward it was operated by Frederick James Henry Brown under the style of “Gibson & Brown”, with premises at 134 ½ Camden Road.Next door to Gibson & Brown in 1930 at 132 Camden Road was the cooked meat purveyor Ernest E. Doust. Other nearby businesses in 1930 was William Arthur Phillips, pharmacist at No. 125; upholster Dobell & Marchant at No. 123 and the music shop of Harace C. Gough at No. 120. Directories of 1930 to 1938 record Gibson & Brown at 134 ½ Camden Road.

In January 1945 John’s wife Charlotte Amelia Gibson passed away and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery. Not long after her death John remarried with his 2nd wife being Emily Annie Gibson.

John Henry Gibson continued to live in Tunbridge Wells for the rest of his life. Probate records shown he was of “Winthurst”, 52 Wilman Road,Tunbridge Wells (photo above left) when he died June 6,1951. The executors of his 9,277 pound estate was Emily Annie Gibson,widow, and Frederick James Henry Brown, company director. As noted previously Mr Brown was John’s nephew. John was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on January 10,1951.

Probate records for Emily Annie Gibson record her of 52 Wilman Road,Tunbridge Wells, widow, when she died June 22,1959 at 52 Belton Grove Rednal Birmingham. The executor of her 7,758 pound estate was Helen May Walker (wife of Sydney Howard Walker).Emily Annie Gibson was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on January 27,1959.

Returning to Frederick James Henry Brown and his family, as noted earlier he was born October 23,1897 at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. The 1901 census, taken at 19 Allen Road in Northamptonshire records Frederick living with his parents and five siblings. His parents were Henry James Brown, born 1869 at Northants,Northamptonshire , who in 1901 was a shoe last worker, and Charlotte Brown, born 1867 at Northamptonshire. As noted earlier Frederick was living with John Henry Gibson and Charlotte Gibson at 6 Whitefield Road,Tunbridge Wells in 1911 and after serving in the Navy during WW 1 returned to Tunbridge Wells.

In the 3rd qtr of 1925 Frederick married Helena Myra Worden Luxton in Tunbridge Wells.Helena had been born in Devon May 26,1900 and was the daughter of William Luxton and Helena Mary Worden.It is recorded that the couple had two children.

Directories of 1942 to 1959 give “F.J.H. Brown, “Meldon” Chestnut Avenue,Southborough”. The homes on Chestnut Avenue appear to be post WW II vintage ,being mostly 2 sty of brick/stucco construction and many of them have attached garages. A generic photo of the homes on Chestnut Avenue is shown opposite left .

Directories of 1964 to 1981 give “ Frederick J.H. Brown, 159a St John’s Road,Tunbridge Wells.A photo of 159a (house on the left) St John’s Road is shown opposite right . This home is described in sales agents literature as being a 3Br semi-detached residence with a driveway for 2 cars which in the interior has an entrance hall, sitting room,dining room,kitchen, 3 Br’s and a master bedroom with ensuite shower room and a family bathroom.

Frederick James Henry Brown died at age 87 in the 1st of 1985 in Tunbridge Wells. Frederick was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium on April 13,1985. His wife Helena died in Tunbridge Wells in October 1985 and was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium on October 8,1985.She had died at the Hellingly Hospital in Eastbourne,Sussex while visiting friends and her body was returned to Tunbridge Wells.


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