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

Date: November 19,2017

The use of the arch in architecture and engineering as a means of transferring loads around openings dates back to the Roman times and continues in use today. From a structural perspective its use afforded larger window openings in buildings and larger open spans in bridges. In Tunbridge Wells many examples can be found where arches were used in many of its buildings, such as at the Great Hall (photo below left) and the Opera House (photo below right).

The arch also came into use as “Triumphal Arches”, such as the Wellington Arch in London, erected 1825-7 to commemorate the Duke of Wellington . A photograph of this arch from 1870 is shown opposite. Triumphal arches were typically massive structures built of stone, which were lavishly decorated and carved with inscriptions and sometimes included statuary and were intended to be permanent structures. There are no examples of them in Tunbridge Wells.

A cousin to the Triumphal Arch was the “Commemorative Arch”, a much less grand structure erected to mark an important event, such as a Royal Family coronation or funeral; the opening of a railway or some historically significant event, such as the opening of the High Street Bridge in Tunbridge Wells in 1907. These commemorative arches were much simpler structures than Triumphal Arches and were intended to be temporary arches erected before the event by local craftsmen and taken down after the event. They were not built of stone but rather wood finished sometimes in stucco or just painted and decorated with flags, plaques, bunting etc with some slogan marking the event, such as “God Bless the Queen”, “God Bless the Navy” , “Peace and Prosperity”. In some cases a simple banner or an arch made of bunting and other decorations served as an Arch. although technically they are not really arches, although they served the same purpose.

Shown below is a selection of Commemorative arches once installed in Tunbridge Wells. Given in order from left to right,top to bottom are the following (1) Tradesmens Coronation Arch Southborough May 1937 (2) Coronation Arch "Long May their Reign" Camden Road by Harold H. Camburn (3) Coronation Arch Camden Road King George 6th 1932 (4) Coronation Arch Queen Elizabeth 1953 Camden Road (5) Coronation Queen Elizabeth 1953 Camden Rd north of Calverley Road "Long Live the Queen" (6)Coronation of King George V Fountain (Molyneux) Arch from Grosvenor Rd by Harold H. Camburn card 31 (7) The Broadway Arch King George V bottom of Mount Pleasant Road opposite the SER station. (8)Coronation Arc King George V Procession card 13 one of long series of photos taken of the event from the same vantage point by Harold H. Camburn (9) A bunting arch at 5 ways 1911 Coronation looking up Calverley Road(10) Coronation King George V card 30 by Harold H. Camburn junction of St Johns Road and Grosvenor Rd (11)Coronation King George V arch top of Mount Pleasant Hill  card 29 in a series by Harold H. Camburn.



When WW 1 ended communities across the country marked the occasion with a Peace Parade, which typically ,marched along the main streets of the town, passing through a “Victory Arch” that spanned the roadway. Shown below are the following examples (1) Camden Road Peace Arch July 1919 "To Our Gallant Boys"(2) Camden Road Peach Arch 1919 "To Our Fallen Heroes by James Richards(3) Mount Pleasant Arch July 19,1919 top of Mount Pleasant Hill by James Richards  with the word "Peace".(4) Victory Arch July 19,1919 top of Mount Pleasant Hill with the word "Victory".(5) Victory Arch top of Mount Pleasant Hill by Samuel Payne Jenkins(5) Peace Arch Mount Pleasant Road during parade. Card 8, one of a long series by Harold H. Camburn 1919


Another category of arch found in Tunbridge Wells and elsewhere is the “Decorative’ or “Entrance Arch” erected at the entrance to an important part of town. In Tunbridge Wells they were erected at the entrance to the Calverley Grounds off Mount Pleasant Road and The Grove off Grove Hill Road and other examples can be found in the town, including in some cases entrances to grand homes which spanned the drive and most often included equally ornate iron gates. Sadly, during the War Metal Drive, many of these grand iron arches were removed and melted down to make war materials, and never replaced. Shown opposite is the entrance arch to the Priory on Mount Pleasant Road opposite the Civic Centre.

The use of Ceremonial Arches in England dates back to an unrecorded time. One of the early examples of their use was on March 15,1604 when King James I made his royal entry into London. As part of this event huge wooden arches specially made by Stephen Harrison and his team of craftsmen were erected. These arches were funded by London’s multinational merchants, and represented different regions. Some six arches in total were erected with the King stopping at each of them as the procession passed beneath them.

The use of Ceremonial Arches was not of course restricted to England, for they were used worldwide, especially in countries of the Commonwealth, who celebrated their “Royal” connection to the motherland.  Shown sbove for example is one erected on Queen Street in Bristane, Australia in 1920 on the occasion of a visit by the Prince of Wales.

On September 7,1860 Albert Edward, the 18 year old Prince of Wales and son of Queen Victoria made a tour of Canada. In Toronto, Ontario illuminations  and decorations were installed, as were arches. Communities across Canada erected arches-some modest, some elaborate-in the Prince’s honour. Usually these were merely a few poles, dressed in evergreen boughs and flowers, and draped in flags, regal symbols, and mottoes like “Rule Britannia”. Others designed by leading architects and decorated by well-known artists, could include illumination by gas fixtures. Several major arches for the occasion were erected in Toronto and elsewhere, such as the one shown opposite that was erected in Brockville, Ontario.  From around 1869 to 1946, elaborate and temporary arches were constructed in British Columbia, Canada along main thoroughfares to celebrate special events, or more often, the arrival of important visitors. These arches were built by individuals, organizations, and municipal governments. They represented a variety of architectural traditions, such as Japanese, or Chinese gateways or European City gates. They were typically decorated with evergreen boughs, flags, flowers and lights and located along the route that a royal visitor or dignitary was to travel. The messages that these arches carried would proclaim loyalty, or, on occasion, political protest.

The Chinese community in Victoria built a series of highly decorated arches to welcome governor generals to Victoria, British Columbia from 1876 to 1912. Among them, were some with a Tunbridge Wells connection, for in 1882 an arch was erected as a gateway to traditional Chinatown to welcome the Governor General of Canada. The Marquis of Lorne, and his wife Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria. This arch was decorated with lanterns and artificial flowers (photo opposite). The Marquis of Lorne and Princess Louise once lived in Tunbridge Wells in a grand mansion called “Dornden” on Langton Road, details of which were given in my article ‘ The History of the Dornden Mansion Langton Road’ dated December 19,2013, in which I wrote in part “When Mr Field left the estate in 1874 Dornden was acquired by Princess Louise, the 4th daughter of Queen Victoria and her husband the Marquis of Lorne. This royal couple used Dornden as their ‘Country Home’ and expanded the estate by acquiring neighbouring farm land. In 1880 the Royal couple sold the estate to wealthy ship owner James Harrison of Liverpool who took up residence there in early 1881.” An 1874 image of Dornden is shown above left and above right is the arch in British Columbia erected in their honour.

When Barnardo’s Babies Home in Hawhurst was opened in 1883 a special train was put on to/from Tunbridge Wells. Many others travelled to the big event by horse and carriage and along the route some four grand arches were erected to mark the occasion. One of then shown opposite carried the message “Feed our Lambs”.

The era of erecting Ceremonial Arches has all but passed for few seem to be erected today than in years gone by. As temporary structures, their existence is marked only by a few photogaphs and newspaper accounts.




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

Date: November 20,2017


Following the onset of industrialization and the sustained urban growth of large population centres in England, the buildup of waste in the cities caused a rapid deterioration in levels of sanitation and the general quality of urban life. The streets became choked with filth due to the lack of waste clearance regulations. Calls for the establishment of a municipal authority with waste removal powers were mooted as early as 1751 by Corbyn Morris in London, who proposed that " the preservation of the health of the people is of great importance, it is proposed that the cleaning of this city, should be put under one uniform public management, and all the filth be...conveyed by the Thames to proper distance in the country".

The first occurrence of organised solid waste management system appeared in London in the late 18th century. A waste collection and resource recovery system was established around the 'dust-yards'. Shown left is an image of a dust yard in London dated 1837 showing people sorting through the refuse. The men who collected the “dust” were called Dustmen, a coloured image of one from a drawing dated 1805 is shown opposite right.

Main constituent of municipal waste was the coal ash (‘dust’). Coal at that time was used extensively to heat homes and for industrial purposes. The dust had a market value for brick-making and as a soil improver. Such profitability encouraged dust-contractors to recover effectively 100% of the residual wastes remaining after readily saleable items and materials had been removed by the informal sector in the streets ('rag-and-bone men'). Therefore, this was an early example of organised, municipal-wide solid waste management. The dust-yard system had been working successfully up to middle 1850s, when the market value of ‘dust’ collapsed. It was important in facilitating a relatively smooth transition to an institutionalised, municipally-run solid waste management system in England. Shown below left is a sketch by Vincent Van Gough of two boys beside a dustman’s cart in 1882. Shown beside it is photograph of a rag and bone man making his rounds calling out “Rags and bones…Rags and bone”.

Some could argue that people of the Victorian Era were better at recycling what we collectively call refuse/garbage than those of the modern era for they were more frugal and made use of animal fat and ashes to make soap and candles; rags were collected and used in part to make paper; bones had many uses when processed; and anything that could have a second use was collected and utilized rather than being thrown away and wasted. Those living in less built up areas often had animals (chickens, rabbits, pigs) to which they fed food scraps, and left over vegetative matter was composted and turned back into the land as fertilizer and soil conditioner, but in big towns and cities waste removal was essential for many had no way of disposing of it themselves.

In the mid-19th century, spurred by increasingly devastating cholera outbreaks and the emergence of a public health debate that the first consolidated legislation on the issue emerged. Highly influential in this new focus was the report The Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population in 1842 of the social reformer, Edwin Chadwick (image opposite), in which he argued for the importance of adequate waste removal and management facilities to improve the health and wellbeing of the city's population. Chadwick's proposals were based on the miasmatic theory of disease transmission, which was proven to be false following the turn of the 1900s.

The Nuisance Removal and Disease Prevention Act of 1846 began what was to be a steadily evolving process of the provision of regulated waste management in London. The Metropolitan Board of Works was the first citywide authority that centralized sanitation regulation for the rapidly expanding city and the Public Health Act 1875 made it compulsory for every household to deposit their weekly waste in 'moveable receptacles' for disposal - the first concept for a dust-bin. These receptacles were used to store ash from burned waste and were emptied on a weekly basis, and residents were charged even if the bin was empty.

Early dust bins were of wood or woven baskets. These in turn were replaced by more sanitary metal containers which could be washed out. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that plastic bins appeared and in 1968 the wheelie bin was invented and today is the main type of refuse container used.

The dramatic increase in waste for disposal led to the creation of the first incineration plants, or, as they were then called, 'destructors'. In 1874, the first incinerator was built in Nottingham by Manlove, Alliott & Co. Ltd. to the design of Albert Fryer. However, these were met with opposition on account of the large amounts of ash they produced and which wafted over the neighbouring areas.

Similar municipal systems of waste disposal sprung up at the turn of the 20th century in other large cities of Europe and North America. In 1895, New York City became the first U.S. city with public-sector garbage management. Incineration in the USA became a regular practice in 1914. By 1968, about 1/3 of America started sorting their garbage, making the need for more garbage bins, and recycling became a word recognized in the mainstream

In the 19th century cities and towns often became choked with horse manure. While the odor was tolerable to 19th century sensitivities, walking through the streets without boots, resulted in deplorable appearing footwear. In places lacking trash collection, pigs and dogs ran loose, consuming the trash, but excreting dung, which smelled offensively. Dead animals, particularly horses, were left lying in the streets, facilitating disease.

Early garbage removal trucks were simply open bodied dump trucks pulled by a team of horses. Shown below is a selection of images of dustmen with their horse drawn wagons.

insert ‘ London dustman horse and cart’ and ‘Dustman London 1910’  and others from photogallery)

In the early part of the 20th century motorized transport appeared and the horse drawn dustman’s wagon gradually was replaced by lorries. The first close body trucks to eliminate odours with a dumping lever mechanism were introduced in the 1920s in Britain. These were soon equipped with 'hopper mechanisms' where the scooper was loaded at floor level and then hoisted mechanically to deposit the waste in the truck. The Garwood Load Packer was the first truck in 1938, to incorporate a hydraulic compactor.

Today, in many places, the collection of waste has become so mechanized that garbage trucks have no dustmen except for a driver. On a trip to Australia in 2010 for example, I witnessed the collection of waste stored in wheelie bins at my aunt’s home. The bins were all lined up in front of each house at the curb and when the truck arrived it stopped at each bin where a mechanical arm came out from the truck, grabbed onto the bin; lifted it to the top of the truck; dumped out the contents, and replaced the bin back at the curb. The only person on the truck was the driver who never exited the truck and stayed inside to operate the controls.  Where I live in Canada we still have a weekly pickup of garbage by a garbage truck with an opening on the side into which a garbage man (Dustman) empties the wheelie bin, plastic garbage bag or other metal/plastic bin. He then hops back on the running board of the truck and repeats the process at the next home. The driver of the truck always remains inside it.


In the Victorian Era housekeeping was a chore. Advice abounded in the popular literature of the period on how to keep a proper house. It seemed to be important that one’s house be kept clean, neat and pious, filled with warmth and inviting smells. Only then could a woman achieve her ‘highest calling’. It is hard to imagine what a housewifes life was like before the age of vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dryers and other cleaning aids that did not begin to appear until the 20th century. Controlling and collecting dust, which appeared everywhere was a challenge and the storage and disposal of refuse in a manner conducive to good housekeeping was equally challenging. Shown below is a lady sucking up the dust with her Siemens Dust Suction Pump and what a contraption it is !

An article entitled ‘The Victorian Kitchen’(2013) provides a good insight into the design and uses of the kitchen during that era. Located in the basement of the home or on the lowest part of the home it was typically hot and poorly ventilated. “The labor, steam and dirt all centered around the coal fired kitchen range, which came into common use by the 1840’s. By the 1860’s “improved” ranges became available. One of its advantages was that soot no longer fell into the food in the oven. Another common problem in the kitchen was waste. Thrift was a Victorian virtue, and every good housewife made certain that anything which could be reused would be. Many items the housewife bought came unwrapped or wrapped in simple paper, which could be reused or burned if soiled. One reuse was lavatory paper. One system which has vanished in the modern day was the collection of different waste by street traders who would regularly visit the back door of the home to buy various items: paper, metals, wood, even empty bottles. Old textiles were bought by the rag-and-bone man who sold his wares to paper mills and to glue, gelatin, match,toothpick, and fertilizer manufacturers.

Cleaning of the kitchen range was quite a chore. The fender and fire irons were first removed, then damp tea leaves were scattered over the coals to keep the dust down while cleaning was in process. The ashes and cinders were raked out and separated, with the unusable ash saved for the dustman and the cinders reused in the fire. The flues were then cleaned and the grease scraped off the stove. After that there was more work to be done to finish the job.  Many homes at that time were also heated by coal, a rather dirty form of heating that produced unpleasant odours and soot that seemed to get everywhere.

One inconvenience the housewife had to cope with was the dustman who appeared at her door and walked through the house to collect the dust bin. The Dustman was typically a dirty clumsy man who took no care in removing the dust bin and much to the annoyance of the housewife arrived with dirty boots and scraped the paint and wallpaper on his way out.  

The later invention of the gas cooker and later still, in the early 1900’s of the electric cooker, certainly made part of the housewife’s work much easier.


One interesting book  that provides a good description of the history of dustmen is entitled ‘ Dusty Bob-A Cultural History of Dustmen, 1780-1870’ by Brian Maidment (2007). The cover of his book is shown opposite.

Maidment sifted through piles of images and literary representations of dustmen and has tried in his book to make sense of what dustmen meant to 19th century middle-brow readers. He states that it was not an easy task. “For one thing, the dustman was a ubiquitous, iconic figure who has left a mountain of evidence behind. Most important, the dustman is also a complex and ambiguous figure”. To study dustmen, he states that it is “almost exclusively to study London and its street life”. Maidment argues that the exuberant, grotesque figure of the dustman both fascinated and repulsed bourgeous observers. They were drawn to this liminal character, as they were to other low domains, because he represented their repressed other; dustmen for them were notoriously hard-drinking, lustful and hedonistic. They made their living from waste and therefore served as reminders of the essentially contaminated nature of Victorian capitalism.

Dustmen have been shown in paintings and other works of art; in poetry (image opposite) and in songs such as ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’ first recorded by Lonnie Donegan in 1960 and covered by such artists as the Bee Gees in 1963 and the Irish Rovers in 1966.  Today there is even a musical group called ‘The Dustmen’.

Dustmen have also been portrayed in many theatrical productions such as Pierce Egan’s ‘Life in London’, where Dusty Bob met his match in the form of a black, gin-soaked, prostitute called Black Sal.

The dustman’s body and dress-particularly his trademark fantail hat-made him a highly visible spectator of the metropolitan scene and a favourite subject for caricaturists. He was pictured drinking, smoking, fighting or simply looking  at penny theatres, circuses, fairs or on the street. Literate dustmen were frequently ridiculed as illustrating the absurdity of educational improvement among the lower working classes.

The song ‘ My Old Man’s A Dustman’ became very popular and the words of which give some idea of what dustmen were like. In part the song refers to his Old Man as not earning much money “In fact he’s flippin skint”. Regarding his appearance “He wears a dustman’s hat. He wears cor blimey trousers and he lives in a council flat. He looks a proper narner in his big hob nailed boots. Some folks give tips at Christmas and some of them forget so when he picks their bins up he spills some on the steps.” Donegan concludes the song with “ Next time you see a dustman looking all pale and sad don’t kick him in the dustbin it might be my old dad”.

A second interesting publication from 1877 entitled ‘Street Life in London’ by J. Thompson and Adolph Smith provides further insight into dustmen. In part it stated “ There removal of dust and refuse from the houses of the metropolis is a task which devolves on the officers of the various parishes. Although the duty of collecting dust is not always discharged to the satisfaction of householders, it must be admitted, when the gigantic nature of the work is taken into account, that there is very little ground for complaint”….”In Lambeth alone there are 40,000 houses,each of which is calculated to contribute on average three loads of dust in the course of a year, forming a mound in London of no mean proportions”….”A dust cart in this parish is supposed to pass each door twice a week. A foreman is in charge while the men and carts are hired by the day from a contractor. It is taken in part to the Thames, where it is deposited in boats hired for its removal at one pound sterling per load”.  Moving ahead in time the use of contractors proved costly and unsatisfactory and so the parish took over the work itself. “ In the old system householders were incessantly lodging complaints against the dustman, who was seldom to be found when his services were in demand. The dustman complained about the dust getting into his throat, causing thirst and chocking “which could only be allayed by a copious draught of beer, or by a few pence to purchase the needful stimulant. This sort of black mail is still levied and the dustman still expects to receive his ‘tip” which when not received he becomes both dangerous and disagreeable. Rough at all times and heavy-booted, he calls on a wet day, and brings a trail of mud with him from the outer world. At other times he discovers that the passage from the dust-bin to the door is too contracted to admit of his exit without leaving some trace of his visit on the wall-paper or floor, or he pleads that his cart is too full and that he must call again”.

The author continues by making reference to “Flying Dustmen” unscrupulous men who decent upon the parish and fly from one district to another. They frequently find their way in court for their raids upon the parish. At night they used to leave a trail of dust and trash behind them on the road or shooting the contents of their card into some field or beneath the deep shadow of a railway arch. Old bottles, tins, rags, and bones, are disposed of for about three shillings per hundredweight. The flying dustmen also studied the route of regulars and followed in their wake, in this way picking up customers who have been overlooked, or have failed to catch the husky croak of “dust ho”.

The author continues by commenting on the offensive smell from “the filthy contents of the dust cart and that the ever increasing quantity of refuse discharged from homes “can hardly be conducive to the health of the community”. Even in 1877 the suggestion was made that an “increased utilization” of this waste should be investigated.

In the book ‘Walks in and Around London’ (1895) is given the following. “ An altogether different looking person from the policeman is the dustman. Here we have no gloved, clean, neat-as-a-pin individual, but a tall, strong-looking fellow, wearing a large fantail hat, course grey jacket, and trousers tightly drawn in just below the knee with a strap and buckle. The little bit of hair showing below the rim of his hat is full of dust, and his hands and face are begrimed with dirt. But our friend has not made himself so dirty just for fun or fancy, but has become so in doing his duty. For his business is to take away the dust, ashes, and rubbish, that are put into the dust-bins in our back gardens. You perhaps have watched him at work. He draws the high box-cart close alongside the pavement in front of the house, and then he and his fellow-workmen go to the dust-bin, and proceed to empty it with their shovels and baskets. As soon as one basket is filled, the ‘filler’ helps it on to the shoulder of the ‘carrier’, who takes it to the cart, mounting up the sided of the cart by means of a ladder, and then returning for the other basket, which the filler has filled during that time. The process is repeated at different houses till the cart is filled; then the men make the best of their way to the dust-yard, where they shoot the contents of the cart on to the dust-heap, and again proceed on their rounds. Many years ago, when our fathers and mothers were children, people, if they wanted the dust cleared away, had to keep their ears open for the noise of a large hand-bell which he dustman used to ring to give notice to housekeepers of his approach. But such bell-ringing became a nuisance and so was stopped and then the men had to use their voice calling out “Dust-oy-ee! Dust-oy-ee!. Among the heaps at the dust yards are the sifters, old men and women. The women wear coarse, dirty cotton gowns tucked up behind them, their arms bared from above the elbows, their bonnets crushed and battered, and over their gowns a strong leather apron. Furnished with iron sieves, they quickly separate the ‘soil’ from the ‘breeze’ or cinders, which is placed in another large heap at some other part of the yard. It is a scene full of life. The sifted items are sorted out by type and made use of. The old tin pots are re-made into new articles. The old boots go to the London bootmakers, who use them as stuffing. The rags are after a time turned into paper etc. The bones are used to make buttons and various useful articles. The dust is used to make bricks or manure. Old bricks and oyster shells are sold to the builder some of which is used to make roads”.

And so as one can see mantra of “reduce-reuse-recyle’ may be modern but the application of it dates back to the Victorian Era.


Two connected activities in the town involving keeping the town clean are street/sidewalk cleaning and rubbish removal. Shown below right is a dustman on Stone Street and to the right  is a photograph of a dustman at work at the corner of Mount Pleasant Road and Church Road.  The photo shows the dustmans horse drawn card with the dustman climbing up a ladder with a garbage can on his shoulder about to empty it into the cart.

Shown below are photographs of a street cleaner in the Pantiles in 1890; a postcard by James Richards showing street watering on Goods Station Road; and a 20th century view of a woman on Calverley Road cleaning up.

When I visited Tunbridge Wells I was impressed by the number of street side refuse receptacles on the town’s main roads, particularly in the part of Calverley Road open only to pedestrians. In the early morning, before most of the shops were open, a team of men and women decended upon Calverley Road and the surrounding area with brooms, shovels and bags in hand, collecting up all the rubbish, and emptying the bins.

The history of the dustman and refuse collection and disposal in Tunbridge Wells during the Victorian Era was no doubt much the same as it was in London or certainly as it was in towns comparable in size to Tunbridge Wells but since Tunbridge Wells was considered to be more “high class” then perhaps the residents had a “higher class “ of refuse. Unfortunately no good photographs of dustmen in Tunbridge Wells were found during the 19th century and only a few postcards showing street scenes of the town from that period were found in which some evidence of dust-carts and dustmen can be seen but they were not featured in the images.

Like in other towns the dustman made his rounds with his horse-drawn dust cart and with the passage of time when motorized transport became available the horses and carts were replaced by lorries. Today, as elsewhere, the town has a modern system of refuse collection and the ever popular wheelie bin is a common sight, such as shown in the image opposite of wheelie bins in a back alley of Tunbridge Wells. To the left is shown a group of rather scruffy dustmen from the 1940's at an unidentified location. Today dustmen, in some locations, are more smartly dressed in white coveralls.

A review of the 1911 census was made and searched under the occupation of dustman. From this only three were found namely (1)  29 year old William Reed of 84 Napier Road, a single man who was living with his parents and three siblings. (2) William Willard,age 35 living with his wife and one child at 5 Hurstwood Cottage, St John’s Road (3) Jabez Hodges, age 42 with his wife and two children who resided on Goods Station Road. Obviously there must have been more than three dustmen working in the town at that time but they must have given their occupations as “labourers” and therefore were not readily identifiable as dustmen. Dustmen, before the time of unionization and higher pay, were from the lower end of the working class and lived in parts of the town in terraces in line with their meager earnings.

Like elsewhere in England strikes by refuse workers caused a great deal of disruption as garbage soon piled up. Shown below are two photographs dated 1979 showing the effect of the strike in London.

 recent article in Kent News reported that Tunbridge Wells has for many years had a recycling program where refuse is sorted at the home and placed in recycling boxes. The article reported that since these boxes had no lids that some of their contents were being blown away. As a result it was proposed to replace them with a combined waste wheelie bin, the contents of which would be separated at the recycling plant. Like elsewhere, modern refuse trucks are used to empty the wheelie bins into and they make regular runs around the town once a week.



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

Date: November 23,2017


Following the evident success of the Molyneux Park estate, it became apparent that the development of the neighbouring Boyne Park (a former grand residence) and its grounds of over 13 acres could be a profitable venture. By 1892 the owners of the property decided to sell it. Advertised as “a property that included pleasure gardens, kitchen gardens, outhouses and meadows, containing altogether about 17 acres, situated in unquestionably the choicest position in this fashionable inland Watering Place”.

The whole estate was purchased by Charles John Gallard (1850-1906), a brickmaker and Southborough builder. Upon purchasing the property he demolished the old mansion and layed out the roads creating what he called “Boyne Park”, the main road within this residential development bearing the same name. The land was divided into building lots and Mr Gallard began to erect the first houses in 1893. In 1895 many of the lots were auctioned off on building leases and the estate was largely built up by 1910. Mr Gallard reserved a prime site, No. 12 Boyne Park, for himself and in 1895 archited Herbert Murkin Caley designed for him  the aptly named “Boyne Tower”.

Under the estate covenants, all of the houses were to be detached although a few semi-detached homes were built. The covenants also stated that the homes had to cost not less than 900 pounds and those on Oakdale Road not less than 700 pounds in materials and labour. Another architect by the name of Charles Hilbert Strange designed several attractive homes in this development on Mayfield Road and Somerville Gardens.

Of these many fines homes the one at 6 Boyne Park is of some significance for it was built by Charles John Gallard to the design of Mr Caley. In 1891 Mr Gallard was living at 14 Pennigton Road, Tunbridge Wells but by 1899 had premises at 28 Pennington Road and St John’s Road. The residence at 6 Boyne Park was first occupied by it builder John Gallard, who is found living there with his wife at the time of the 1901 census. By 1903 he had moved on to live in his grand home “Boyne Towers” but also had premises in 1903 at 28 Pennington Road. Mr Gallard was living at Boyne Towers when he died in Bournemouth January 8,1912.

The 1903 Kelly directory did not list any residents at 6 Boyne Park and may have sat empty at that time. It appears that it was built in 1895 and rented out until about 1900 when it became occupied by Mr Gallard who remained there until about 1902, for he is found at Boyne Towers in a 1903 directory and not at No. 6 in directories of 1899.

The reference to the next resident of No. 6 is in the form of a postcard which on one side gave a photograph of the house and on the back the name of the sender (given only as M.D.) and the recipient. This postcard was franked in 1909 in Tunbridge Wells. The front and back of this postcard are given above.

By the time of the 1911 census a widow by the name of Eleanor Haines (1836-1912) resided there. She had been born in Wales and had at least seven children with her husband Henry Haines (born 1819 in Tipton, Stafforshire, who was an iron master. Henry died in the 1870’s,Eleanor was one of several children born to Thomas Jackson (born 1896) a contractor, and Mary Jackson (born 1806). Before taking up residence at 6 Boyne Park Eleanor was living at the time of the 1901 census in Wye, Kent with her two daughters and four servants. Eleanor was living at No. 6 Boyne Park when she died there March 13,1912. It was interesting to note that during Mrs Haines times at No. 6 that the house was referred to in the census record of 1911 at “ St Conon’s, a name derived from a Catholic saint of that name who died in 684 who had been the Bishop of Ireland, possibly from Scotland who eventually went to the I.O.M. where he served as a missionary and was converted bishop. Today the St Conon’s Festival is held January 26th, the date on which he believed to have been born. Named after him is St Conan’s Kirk Church in Scotland. Since Eleanor Haines was from Wales and has not obvious connection to Ireland, Scotland or the I.O.M. it appears that No. 6 Boyne Park was given the name of St Conon’s by the person who sent the 1909 postcard. Details of who this person was could not be established unfortunately. A more detailed search through the directories at the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library would be necessary to find out who “M.D” was.

Local directories for the period of 1913 to 1918 gave a Mrs Kirk as the resident of No. 6 Boyne Park.

In the post WW II era the house was converted from a single family residence into two maisonettes. Planning authority records note that in 1956 approval was given to convert the maisonettes into two flats.

At some point in time before 1976 the a portion of the roof of the home was reconfigured as can be seen by a comparison of the photograph from 1909 to a current view of the home, which is given later in this article.

No significant applications for Planning Authority were found between 1976 and 2004, when in that year the applicant was refused permission for room conversions and balconies for 6A Boyne Park. As you will read in the next section an application was refused in 2005 for renovations from which application a useful site plan and set of architects drawings were found. A Delegation report for this application referred to 6 Boyne Park as a large Victorian detached 3 sty home which had been converted into three flats in 1956,but was described previously as being 2 flats. Also stated was that before being divided up into three flats it was a maisonette (ground and first floor) and a self- contained flat 6A.

This article presents photgraphs of No. 6 dating from 1909 and 2017 as well as site maps from 1907 and 2005. Also given is an architect’s elevation of the home for 2005. Information is provided about the known occupants of the home up to and including 1918.

Details about the life and career of Charles John Gallard and Herbert Murkin Caley can be found in my article “ The History of Boyne House’ dated February 21,2013 and in various other articles about the homes in Boyne Park and for that reason no further information is given about them in this article.


No. 6 Boyne Park was a grand Victorian 3 sty red brick home, in a tudor style, of similar design to most of the homes built in the Boyne Park Development. It appears that this home was constructed in 1895, originally as a single family home. The 1911 census recorded that it was a residence of eleven rooms.

Shown above is a 1907 os map on which the location of the home is highlighted in red and below is a site map from 2005 in which the location of the home is highlighted in black. The home sat on nicely landscaped grounds on the east side of Boyne Park Road not far from the roads intersection with Mount Ephraim.

The residence was still a single family home before the end of WW 1 and perhaps even afterwards. Planning Authority files indicate that it like many other large homes in Boyne Park was divided up into flats.

A Delegation report of 2005 indicated that the home had been subdivided in 1956 into three flats, having previously been a maisonette (ground and first floor) and a self -contained flat known as 6A, with No. 6A being the2nd floor flat. It is clear from looking at the 1907 map that sometime before that year a rear addition had been made to the building and of course over the years there have been several interior and exterior alterations to the building. The most obvious change is to the roof over the left side of the building for it is quite different than the way it was originally constructed. This difference is best described by comparing the photograph of the house from 1909 in the ‘Overview’ above to the two images below from 2017.

No significant Planning Authority applications were found for this building after 1906 until 2004 when an application was made for room conversions and balconies for 6A , for which permission was refused. Also refused was an application in 2005 for  a room in the roof and window replacements. Shown below are two modern photos of 6 Boyne Park.


Given below is a table showing the known occupants of the home up to and including 1918.  The information in this table may not be complete and all dates are approximate unless specifically referred to in the text below the table.  No definitive information for “M.D” or Mrs Kirk was found and information about Mr Gallard can be found in my article ‘The History of Boyne House’ dated February 21,2013. It was noted from a review of the 1911 census that there was no servant or visitor with Eleanor Haines with the initials M.D.

1895…………….House built, first occupant unknown

1900-1902……Charles John Gallard


1911-1912………Eleanor Haines

1913-1918………Mrs Kirk


Eleanor Haines was born as Eleanor Jackson 1835 at Carmarthen,Wales and was one of at least four children born to Thomas Jackson, a contractor born 1896 and Mary Jackson. Born 1806.

The 1841 census, taken at Aston Park in Warwickshire gave Thomas Jackson as a contractor, born 1808 at Worcestershire Living with him was his wife Mary, born 1778 at Cheshire and two sons John age 7 and Thomas age 3 and two daughters Eleanor,age 6 and Mary age 1.

On June 17,1858 Eleanor Jackson married Henry Haines, an iron master who had been born 1819 in Tipton, Staffordhire. The marriage took place at Greenwich Saint John The Baptist church in Eltham. Among those witnessing the marriage was Thomas Jackson, esq., and Richard Haines, iron merchant, who was Henry’s father.

The 1861 census, taken at Pool House in Astley, Worcertershire gave Henry Hainea as an iron master. With him was his wife Eleanor and their children Henry,age 2; Eleanor M,age 8 mths and a 19 year old visitor by the name of Elizabeth Haines who had been born 1842 in Tipton,Staffordshie. Also there were five domestic servants, indicating that the Haines family were quite well off financially.

Henry Haines was some 17 years older than Eleanor and sometime after 1861 and before 1881 he passed away.

The 1871 census, taken at Eltham House in Eltham gave Thomas Jackson as age 66, a contractor. With him was his wife Mary and his widowed daughter Eleanor and his two children Mary and Alfred Jackson. Also there were six servants, indicating that Thomas Jackson was financially well off.

The 1881 census, taken at Eltham Park House in Eltham gave Eleanor as a widow who along with her son Henry were living with Eleanor’s parents.

The 1891 census, taken at Beuchamp Road in East Molesey, Surrey gave Eleanor as a widow living on own means. Withher was five of her children, aged 19 to 28.

The 1901 census, taken at Greenburn House in Wye, Kent gave Eleanor as a widow living on own means. With her was two of her daughters age 38 and 40 ; one grandson and four servants.

The 1911 census, taken at St Conan’s (6 Boyne Park) gave Eleanor living on own means. With her were three visitors and four servants in what was described as a residence of eleven rooms.

Probate records gave Eleanor Haines of St Conan’s, Boyne Park, Tunbridge Wells, a widow, who died March 13,1912. The executors of her 1,577 pound estate were Ernest Alfred Haines and Cecil Evered Haines, stockbrokers, the sons, and Gerald Crowfoot Fitzgerald, M.D. and David Hale, solicitor.



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

Date: November 20,2017

Thomas Brownrigg Howe, who’s birth was registered as HOWES on May 7,1847, but appears in other records and on his photographs as HOWE began his early career as a portrait studio photographer in the 1860’s.

Thomas’s birth was registered at Maidstone in the 2nd qtr of 1847 and was the son of Thomas Brownrigg Howes and Mary Adelaide Howes of Wheeler Street, Maidstone. It is interesting to note that in a number of census records Thomas’s birth is given “at sea”.It was also curious to note that only his mother’s name appeared on his birth certificate, suggesting that perhaps they were not married at the time of Thomas’s birth. Thomas is also sometimes given as Thomas Branning Howe, as a result of errors in the records.

No records were found of Thomas living with his parents and it was not established if he had any siblings. No census records were found for him for 1851 or 1861.

The earliest census was that of 1871, taken at 42 Northbrook Street in Newbury, Berkshire where Thomas was a photographer. With him was his first wife Elizabeth,age 28, born 1843 at Gravesend,Kent and their daughter Tilly, born 1868 in Tunbridge Wells. Also there was their son Thomas Brice Howe born 1870 at Newbury.

The couple also had a daughter Gertrude B. Howe that was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1869 but was missing from the 1871 census.

It can be determined that Thomas and his wife had taken up residence in Tunbridge Wells by 1868 and that by 1871 they had left the town and moved to Newbury. No marriage record was found for Thomas to Elizabeth Sophy Bickworth (Beckworth) but from the birth records of their children it appears that the marriage took place in 1867. Shown above and opposite are two CDV’s taken by Thomas in his Tunbridge Wells studio. One is marked clearly on the front, the other on the back.Thomas was not found in any local directory in 1858 or 1862 or for that matter in any year for which a directory was available to the research. The reference library in Tunbridge Wells may have a record of him in their collection of directories. Tunbridge Wells was awash in photographers and no doubt Thomas found the competition to be too much for his business to survive and for that reason his stay in the town was a brief one.

The 1881 census taken at 42 Northbrook Street in Newbury, Berkshire   gave Thomas as a photographer. With him was his wife Elizabeth S. Howe and their children Gertrude B. Howe,age 12; Alice M,age 9; Jessie B,age 8; Minnie,age 7; Winifred,age 6 and Sidney,age 1. Also there was a niece, one assistant and two domestic servants. Sometime before 1891 Thomas’s wife Elizabeth passed away, leaving him with some young children to care for on his own.

The 1891 census, taken at 42 Northbrook Street, Newbury, Berkshire gave Thomas as a widower and working as a photographer and employing others in his studio. With him were his children Jessie, Minnie, Wilfred and Sidney, all born in Newbury between 1873 and 1880. Also there was one domestic servants and two fancy shop assistants, one of whom was his future wife Sarah Rose Clifford (1864-1946).

Sarah Rose Clifford became Thomas’ second wife on December 6,1899 at St Aplhege Church in Greewock, London (photo opposite). The marriage records noted that Thomas’s father was a deceased doctor of medicine, and perhaps this suggests that his father Thomas Brownrigg Howe was at the time of Thomas’s juniors birth at sea a ships doctor. Sarah was given as a spinster, age 34 of 9 Croords Hall and the daughter of Caleb Clifford (1832-1903), a timber dealer. At the time of the marriage Thomas junior was given as a photographer of 25 King George Street and Sarah was given as being born 864 at Woodbury, Hampshire, with her mother given as Hannah Clifford, nee Harmsworth (1821-1885). It is known that she had one brother and that at the time of the 1871 census she was living with her parents in Thathcham,Berkshire; that in the 1881 census she was  a servant at Newbury, Berkshire. As noted above from the 1891 census she was living in the premises of Thomas Brownrigg Howe and working as an apprentice in a fancy shop. Obviously it was during that time that Thomas and Sarah fell in love and decided to get married.

The 1901 census, taken at 20 Shoplesbury Avenue, Weston, Somerset gave Thomas B. Howe as a photographer on own account, born 1850 at sea. With him was his second wife Sarah R. Howe, given as born 1865 at Woodhay, Hampshire. Also there were the children Winnifred G. Howe, age 25 and Muriel Howe, age 4.

The 1911 census taken at 9 Newbridge Road in Bath,Somerset gave Thomas as an unemployed photographer on own accout and that he was born 1848 at sea. With him was his 2nd wife Sarah Rose Howe along with two children; one visitor and one boarder. The4 census recorded that they were living in premises of 9 rooms; that they had been married 16 years and that Thomas had fourteen children of which ten were still living.

Probate records gave Thomas Howe of the Station Hotel in Hellingley, Sussex when he died March 30,1920. The executor of his 290 pound estate was his widow Sarah Howe. His death was registered at Steyning, Sussex in the 4th qtr of 1920. His wife Sarah died in the 1st qtr of 1946 at Newbury, Berkshire.

The photo by  Thomas of  an elderly seated gentleman (opposite) was Benjamin Freeman who lived at Newbury Almshouses and was likely taken on the occasion of his 100th birthday. At that time Thomas had a studio at Newbury and one at Hungerford. The Hungerford Museum have a small collection of Thomas’s photographs and other examples of his work can be found elsewhere, including the internet. Records for Thomas at Bath, Somerset list him as “Thomas Brownrigg Howe, The Milson Photographic Co., 44 Milson Street, Bath, Somerset.

An interesting man with an interesting and long career as a photographer but who’s stay and work in Tunbridge Wells was a brief one.




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