ALL ABOUT
TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Page 3

 

WILLIAM BURTON JURY THE MOTORCYCLE DEALER

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

Date: April 13,2019

INTRODUCTION 

Since the 19th century, and most noticeably in the first quarter of the 20th century, a number of enterprising businessmen opened motorcycle dealer and repair shops in Tunbridge Wells to capture a growing market for a new and useful means of transportation.

Bicycles and later motorcycles predate the motorcar trade, which was still in its infancy in the early 20th century. Early motorcars were expensive and largely reserved initially for those of significant financial means and therefore beyond the reach of the average man or women. Early 20th century postcard views of Tunbridge Wells show very few motorcars on the streets, but several show the presence of bicycles and motorcycles, like the one above.

Motorcycles, apart from their purpose as a means of delivering goods from shops, particularly those equipped with a sidecars, met the needs of those who wanted a means of speedy transportation for recreational and business purposes and like all things equipped with an engine they were used for racing.

The Tunbridge Wells Motorcycle Club (TWMC) was founded in 1911 and among the early members of this club (which in 1947 became the Tunbridge Wells Motorcar Club) were a number of gentlemen who were motorcycle manufacturers and dealers. One such person was William “Bill” Burton Jury (1896-1969), who is noted in the records of the TWMC.  Apart from selling or servicing motorcycles those who belonged to the TWMC also participated in the shows, trials and races organized by the club. William became a motorcycle agent selling a number of different makes of new and used motorcycles from his premises at 73 Camden Road and later at 73 Calverley Road in the 1930’s and 1940’s and which business went into liquidation as W.B. Jury (Motorcycles) Limited in 1971.

William was born in Tunbridge Wells. His father William Burton Jury (1871-1945) who was also born in Tunbridge Wells, was a sanitary engineer,plumber and hot water engineer who ran his business from premises at 73 Camden Road, a business noted in the local newspaper of 1925 as having been in business for over 30 years.  Going back one more generation was William Burton Jury (1842-1918) who had lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1870 and died in Tunbridge Wells. He was the father of William Burton Jury (1871-1945) and operated a builders business known at William Burton Jury & Sons from premises on Camden Road.

In this article I present information about three generations of the Jury family and their business activities with a particular emphasis on William Burton Jury the motorcycle agent.

THE FIRST GENERATION

William Burton Jury, the grandfather of William Burton Jury (1896-1969) , motorcycle agent, came to Tunbridge Wells in 1870. He had been born 1842 in Maidstone, one of several children born to Stephen Jury (1819-1893)and Ellen Jury, nee Cocks (1819-1858). William was baptised in Maidstone July 3,1842.

Williams parents were married 1840 at Tenterden, Kent where his mother lived up to the time of her marriage. Both of Williams parents died in Kent.

William spent his early years living in Maidstone and took up work as a drapers assistant initially but later became a builder.

In the 3rd qtr of 1863 William married Emily Gray who was born 1844 in Maidstone and with her had the following children (1) Emily Fonsey (born 1864) (2) Minnie Kate (born 1866) (3) Henry Charles (born 1867) (4) Herbert Gray (born 1869) (5) William Burton Jury (1871-1945) (6) Walter Stephen Jury (born 1876) (7) Clara (born 1874). All of the children born before 1871 were born in Maidstone and those in and after 1871 were born in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1871 census, taken on Camden Road gave William Burton Jury as a plumber. With him was his wife Emily and four of their eldest children.

The 1881 census, taken at 91 Camden Road gave William B. Jury as a painter. With him was his wife Emily (a milliner); his daughter Emily Fonsey (a milliner) and five other children including his son William Burton Jury (born 1871). Also there was his mother in law Rachel Gray and one domestic servant.

The 1891 census, taken at 119 and 121 Camden Road gave William as a plumber and painter employing others. With him was his wife Emily (a draper); his daughters Emily and Minnie (both drapers assistants); his son Herbert (a painter) and his son Walter, a clerk. Also there was one boarder and one domestic servant.

A directory for 1891 gave “ William Burton Jury, plumber 109 Camden Road and draper 121 Camden Road and road & builder at Norman Road.

The 1901 census, taken at 44 Beulah Road, Tunbridge Wells gave William Burton Jury as a builder employing others. With him was his wife Emily of no occupation. William and his wife were still living at this address at the time of the 1911 census.

Probate records gave William Burton Jury of 44 Beulah Road, Tunbridge Wells when he died November 14,1918. The executors of his 3.604 pound estate were Emily Jury, widow and his married daughter Minnie Kate Slowgrove (wife of Walter Slowgrove). William was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on November 19th.

During his life William formed the company William Burton Jury & Sons who were still in business in 1930 as builders at 119 Camden Road. His sons Herbert and Walter continued their fathers business.

THE SECOND GENERATION

William Burton Jury (1871-1945) was the son of William Burton Jury (1842-1918) described above. He had been born in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1871 but was baptised in Tunbridge Wells November 28,1875. He  was still living with his parents and siblings at the time of the 1881 census at 91 Camden Road and was attending school.

The 1891 census, taken at Hammersmith, London gave William working as a plumber and living with George W. Willett (and engine fitter) and his family as a boarder.

In the 2nd qtr of 1894 William married Emily Lockyer (1867-1921) who had been born in Maidstone in the 2nd qtr of 1867. She was one of 10 children born to George Henry Lockyer (1829-1893) and Emma Lockyer, nee Baldwin (born 1832). Emily continued to live with her parents in Maidstone up to the time of her marriage. Her father, at the time of the 1891 census, was the licensed victualler of the Nags Head pub at 76 Week Street in Maidstone . The Nag’s Head dates back to the early 19th century. Pub records show that George ran the pub between 1867 and 1893 and then his son Adolphe took over and ran it until 1903. At the time of the 1891 census George was a licensed victualler of the Nags head as well as a grainer and writer.

William and Emily had the following children (1) Emily Dorothy (1895-1949) (2) William Burton (1896-1969) (3) Kenneth George (born 1899). All three children were born in Tunbridge Wells, Emily on March 28; William on November 8 and Kenneth in the 1st qtr of 1899.

The 1901 census, taken at 20 Albion Road, Tunbridge Wells gave William Burton Jury as a plumber employing others in his business. With him was his wife Emily and his sons William Burton Jury and Kenneth George Burton.

The 1911 census, taken at 139 Barden Road, Tunbridge Wells gave William as a sanitary engineer. With him was his wife Emily and their three children, all of whom were in school. Also there in premises of 7 rooms was one domestic servant. The census recorded that William and his wife had six children but only three were still living.

William’s wife Emily died in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough cemetery June 8,1921.

A directory of 1930 gave the listing “ William Burton Jury, plumber, 73 Camden Road. The Courier of July 3,1925 gave “ W.B. Jury Tel 973 Established over 30 years. Plumber, decorator and sanitary and hot water engineer 73 Camden Road. Experienced men sent to any part. All work carried out under personal supervision”.

William Burton Jury left Tunbridge Wells sometime after 1930. He died in the 3rd qtr of 1945 at Ashford, Kent.

THE THIRD GENERATION

William Burton Jury (1896-1969) was the son of William Burton Jury (1871-1945). He was born in Tunbridge Wells on November 8,1896 and baptised in Tunbridge Wells on December 13,1896.

William was living with his parents and siblings at Albion Road and by 1911 at 139 Barden Road and was educated locally.

William and his brother Kenneth both served in WW1. Naval Records record his first service was June 14,1915 on the President II and his last service was March 31,1918 on the Chigford. His service number was F5753. His next of him was given as his father William Burton Jury of Tunbridge Wells. The records of the Royal Air Force gave the same dates of service but given with the service number of 205753. It appears that her served with the Royal Naval Air Service in the war, most likely as a mechanic for by this time he was actively involved in the motorcycle trade, beginning as an engine fitter at one of the local garages.

After his military service William returned to Tunbridge Wells and became one of the early members of the Tunbridge Wells Motorcycle Club, which had been founded in 1911. With the club he participated in motorcycle trials and most likely in races but no newspaper accounts were found referring to him racing motorcycles. He obviously owned a motorcycle and used it for at least transportation. William is referred to in records of this club as “Bill” Jury and that he became a motorcycle dealer in the town. He is found in directories of 1934 and 1938 as “ William Jury, 73 Camden Road, motorcycle agent”. In a 1934 directory his brother Kenneth G. Jury was given as a resident of 3 Springfield Road, Tunbridge Wells with the occupation of “grocer”. What happened to Kenneth after 1934 was not established.

From a review of local newspapers a few examples of articles referring to William are given below.

March 9,1934… It’s my service after sales that counts. W. B. Jury motorcycle agent. Agent for Morgan, Matchless, Norton, New Imperial, James OK, Supreme, Excelsior- 73 Camden Road phone 973.

Courier of September 25,1934 gave W.B. Jury is not the agent in the district for Triumph motorcycles. Call and inspect at 73 Camden Road.” A Triumph part catalogue of 1961 listing their agents gave “ W.B. Jury Ltd 73 Calverley Road’ as the sole Tunbridge Wells agent for Triumph.

May 13,1938….. Note the new address W.B. Jury motorcycle agent 73 Calverley Road phone 973.

April 8,1938….. “W.B. Jury motorcycle agent for Morgan, Rudge, Norton, Triumph, Matchless, Excelsior, Coventry ,A. J. S 73 Camden Road.” The “A.J.S.” referred to was Archibald John Sproston (1885-1924) who’s life and career was given in my article ‘ The Sproston Family-A Tunbridge Wells Saga’ dated November 7,2013. Archibald became a motor engineer, an inventor, and a well- known personality in the field of both motorcycle and motorcar racing in the Isle of Mann, Scotland and other parts of Britain. His racing exploits were widely publicised in Britain and elsewhere and became an accomplished racer.He also served with the Royal Engineers in France in WW 1 as a motorcycle despatch rider and kept a detailed diary of the war which is often quoted in military accounts. If it was not for his untimely death in 1924 in a devastating plane crash, at the age of only 39 who knows what else he would have accomplished in his life. His wife Maria, who he had only married in 1924, was also killed in the crash. Archibald was also an inventor of items relating to motorcycles and had manufacturing premises in Tunbridge Wells.

The Courier of October 21,1938 gave “Jury- The agent for Rudge, Norton, Triumph, A.J.S, Excelsior, Coventy Eagle, Morgan. Before buying your new motor get my price for your old one. When I sell you a new or second hand motor I do not say good-bye”.

Sevenoaks Chronicle March 17,1939… W.D. Jury agent for Norton, Rudge, Triumph, Matchess,Excelsion,Covenrty, Eagle, A.J.S. 73 Calverley Road.

January 14,1949….W.B. Jury local distributer for Corgi Lightweight motorcycle (price 52 pounds plus purchase tax of 14 pounds). Delivery at once from stock 73 Camden Road.

The last record for the business appeared in the London Gazette of November 4,1971 for W.D. Jury (Motorcyles) Limited of 73 Calverley Road and described as a retailer and repairer of motorcycles and accessories. The notice reported that a liquidator had been appointed by members October 30,1971.

Probate records gave William Burton Jury of 5 Cornford Close in Pembury when he died May 7,1961 leaving an estate valued at 48,473 pounds. The death of his wife Florence Wood Burton, nee Sawyer (1879-1965) was registered at Tonbridge  with a date of death given as May 4,1965.

 

FRANK TUNBRIDGE THE MOTORCYCLE RACER

 

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


Date: April 14,2019

INTRODUCTION

The history of motorcycle riding and racing in Tunbridge Wells dates back to the 19th century. Details in this regard have been reported on in other articles I have written as noted in a later section of this article. In the early 20th century riding and racing became even more popular and with it sprang up businesses engaged in motorcycle and motorcar manufacturing, servicing and repair. One can find many examples where motorcycles with sidecars cane into common use by businesses in the town to deliver their goods. Harold H. Camburn, a well-known local photographer and postcard printer/publisher travelled thousands of miles a year on his motorcycle with sidecar taking photographs throughout the south of England. Those who were experienced in riding or working on motorcycles put these skills to good use during both wars as motorcyles were an important means of transportation.

The Tunbridge Wells Motorcycle Club (TWMC),which was renamed the Tunbridge Wells Motorcar Club in 1947 ,was formed in 1911 and is reported to be one of the oldest clubs in England.  One of the shining lights in the club was Allan Frank Howard Tunbridge (1905-1980) known most often as Frank Tunbridge with the nickname of ‘Tunny’ Tunbridge. Frank was one of the early members of the club and noted for his success as a dirt track racer and stunt rider.

Frank Tunbridge was one of two sons born to George Ernest Tunbridge (1865-1925) who was born in Charlton, Dover. George married Matilda Jane Davis Cooke (1873-1960) in Rye, Sussex in 1899 and right after the marriage settled in Tunbridge Wells where he became a well-known cycle engineer and cycle and motorcar dealer operating from premises on Vale Road from 1899 until the 1920’s.

In this article I present information about the Tunbridge Family with a particular emphasis on the life and career of George Ernest Tunbridge and his son ‘Frank’.  

GEORGE ERNEST TUNBRIDGE

George Ernest Tunbridge was born in the 3rd qtr of 1865 at Chartlton, Dover. He was one of at least seven children born to John Nicholas Tunbridge (1826-1911) and Ann Tunbridge(1836-1886).

John Nicholas Tunbridge was born in Lydden,Kent and became a builder. He began his building career in Dover at an early age. The 1871 census, taken at 14 Biggen Street in St Mary Dover, Kent gave John as a builder operating his own business. With him was his wife Anne, who was born in Alkham, Kent and is three children Edith Lydia (1860-1931), Oliver Allan (born 1862) and George Ernest born 1865. Both Edith and Oliver were attending a local school. By the time of this census John’s children  Hester E (1850-1918), Rose A (born 18953) and Walter Howard (1857-1943) had left the family home.

The 1881 census, taken at 40 Southgate Road in Hastings, Sussex, gave John as a “speculating builder employing 8 men and 3 boys”. With him was his wife Anne and his children George and Edith and also Sarah (given as his sister) ,age 61. No occupation was given for George in this census.

The 1891 census, taken at ‘Sunnyside’ London Road in Hastings Sussex gave George Ernest Tunbridge working as a watchmaker and living as a boarder with the family of Charles D. Pollard (a coal merchant). Sometime after 1891 George developed an interest, like many young men, in motorcycles, and worked for a time in Hastings in a small motorcycle repair shop and when funds allowed he bought his first motorcycle.

In the 3rd qtr of 1899, at Rye, Sussex, George Ernest Tunbridge married Matilda Jane Davis Cooke (1872-1960) who ‘s birth was registered at Rye, Sussex in the 2nd qtr of 1872  but born at Icklesham, Sussex. Matilda was one of at least nine children born to Albert Cooke (born 1845 Pett, Sussex) and Anne Cooke (born 1841 at St Leonards, Sussex).

The 1881 census, taken at ‘Cranleigh’ in Eastbourne, Sussex gave Albert Cooke working as a shepherd. With him was his wife Anne and six of his children, including Matilda. All of the children were in school.

The 1891 census, taken at Castle Street in Winchelsea,Icklesham, Sussex, gave Albert Cooke as a butcher employing others in his shop. With him was his wife Anne and 9 of his children including Matilda. His 24 year old son Albert  was working for his father as a butcher. assistant. Matilda continued to live with her parents and siblings up to the time of her marriage in 1899.

In 1899, right after the marriage, George Ernest Tunbridge and his wife Matilda moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence above George’s shop on Vale Road.

The 1901 census, taken at 21 Vale Road, Tunbridge Wells gave George Ernest Tubridge as a cycle engineer employing others and working at home. With him was his wife Matilda and his sister in law Edith Cooke, given as born 1881 in Icklesham, Sussex. Shown in the 'Overview' above  is a postcard view of Vale Road looking north from London Road. The large building on the left is the General Post Office and on the right is an antique shop with an address of 43 Vale Road. No. 21 Vale Road would be visible in this postcard view and it is believed by the researcher that the “Garage” sign visible in this image was the premises of George Ernest Tunbridge. This garage sign appears in images of Vale Road both prior to and after 1911 when in that year a third floor was added to the post office.

Shown opposite is a photograph recently offered for sale on Ebay, on the back of which is written George Tunbridge, Tunbridge Wells circa 1905, which must be an image of George Ernest Tunbridge with one of his motorcyles.

The records of the Freemasons note that George Ernest Tunbridge was motor engineer when he was admitted to the Holmesdale Lodge November 17,1909.  The Courier of May 18,1917 listed some of the members of the Freemasons among which was “Bro. George Ernest Tunbridge, steward”.

The 1911 census, taken at 2 Vale Road, Tunbridge Wells  gave George Ernest Tunbridge as a cycle and motorcar dealer. With him was his wife Matilda and their two sons [1} Allan Frank Howard Tunbridge (1905-1980) who is most often referred to as “Frank Tunbridge” with the nickname of “Tunny Tunbridge” [2} Herbert Kenneth Tunbridge (1909-1929). The 1911 census recorded that the family were  living in premises of 5 rooms ; that they were married 11 years and that they had just the two children, both of whom were born in Tunbridge Wells. Also there was one domestic servant.

From a review of local directories is the following;

1899-1903…..George Ernest Tunbridge, cycle manufacturer, 21 Vale Road

1913…………….George Ernest Tunbridge, cycle manufacturer, 2 Vale Road

1918-1922…….George Ernest Tunbridge, motorcar dealer.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of September 26,1924 reported on a case before the courts where “The prisoner assaulted George Ernest Tunbridge at 2 Vale Road 8 pm on the same day as another offence was committed by the same man at 8”30 on September 23rd on London Road. The prisoner said he knew nothing about it. George Ernest Tunbridge of Vale Road said that on Tuesday evening the prisoner came into his shop and assaulted him….”

Probate records gave George Ernest Tunbridge of 2 Vale Road when he died September 17,1925 at the General Hospital in Tunbridge Wells (image opposite). The executor of his 4,733 pound estate was his widow Matilda Jane Davis Tunbridge. George was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on September 21,1925. His death was reported on in the Courier of October 16,1925 and described as a motor engineer that died September 17th.

George’s wife Matilda continued to live in Tunbridge Wells after her husband’s death as did her two sons.

Probate records gave Matilda Jane Davis Tunbridge of 7 Claremont Gardens Tunbridge Wells, widow, when she died October 8,1960 . The executors of her 14,720 pound estate was her son Allan Frank Howard Tunbridge , company director and Archibald Tunbridge Dixon, solicitor. Matilda was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium on October 12,1960.

Little information about George and Matilda’s son Herbert Kenneth Tunbridge was found. It was noted that he was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1909 and that he was living with brother and parents at 2 Vale Road, Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1911 census. No marriage record was found for him. He died in the 3rd qtr of 1929 at Colchester, Essex. The Courier of July 19,1929 gave “ Service- Colchester where the accident occurred. Mr Herbert Tunbridge is the youngest son of Mrs Tunbridge and the late G.E. Tunbridge of the well-known motor works on Vale Road.  His elder brother Mr. Frank Tunbridge is the racing and trick motor cyclist. The……..”  No probate record was found for him.

ALLAN FRANK HOWARD TUNBRIDGE

Allan was the eldest son of George Ernest Tunbridge and Matilda Tunbridge and was born August 19,1905 in Tunbridge Wells. At the time of the 1911 census he was living with his brother Herbert and his parents at 2 Vale Road.

Allan who most often is referred to as simply “Frank Tunbridge “ with the nickname of “Tunny Tunbridge” received a basic education at a local school. At a young age he grew up learning about motorcycles and helped out his father in his cycle shop. His interest in motorcycles led him to become a noted dirt track racer and stunt rider.

Frank’s interest in motorcycles led him to become one of the early members of the Tunbridge Wells Motorcycle Club and his exploits while a member of the club were widely reported on in the local media, some examples of which are given later in this section.

No records of Frank every getting married were found and no newspaper accounts make any mention of him having a wife and family.

A review of newspaper accounts referring to Frank show what he was most active in the 1920’s and to a lesser degree in the 1930’s. Shown opposite is a photograph of Frank with his motorcycle taken in the 1920’s. The note in pencil on the back gave “Frank Tunbridge ,Tunbridge Wells 1920s”.  A description of the early days of motorcycle racing is given in the last section of this article. It was a time when motorcyles were unreliable and racers wore little in the way of safety gear to protect themselves from accidents, which occurred frequently. Frank, like many others got injured in races and were required in many instances to obtain medical attention. Frank was so badly injured in one race in 1928 that he was put out of commission for some time and had to recover from his injuries in a nursing home after an operation. Frank was a daredevil, not satisfied with just riding for pleasure or racing for sport, but revelled in the excitement of being a trick rider who’s amazing stunts thrilled crowds who turned out to watch him in action. In the 1930’s , according to a motorbike stunts article, stated “ The 1930’s was a decade when intrepid motorcycle racers stunned spectators with speedway stunts”. Although banked wooden planked speedway racing was popular in America it was dirt track speedway racing that Frank and others competed in throughout England.

From a review of newspapers covering the period of 1920 to 1949 a number of articles about Frank  with the Tunbridge Wells Motorcycle Club were found, a sample of which are given below. Also given below are some generic photographs of speedway racing from the 1920’s and some old 1908 motorcyles. In addition, as one article refers to Frank riding a Panther motorcycle and image of one of them is given.

The Courier of October 6,1922 gave “ Tunbridge Wells Bench- Dangerous Motor Cycling- Ronald Herbert Leavey and Allan Frank Howard Tunbridge , age 17, were summoned for driving motor cycles in a dangerous manner…..”

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of February 3,1928 reported “ They regretted the absence that evening of one of their star riders Mr Frank Tunbridge who was in a nursing home recovering from the effects of an operation and they all wished him a speedy return to good health”.

The Courier of August 10,1928 reported on a race and that “ Frank Tunbridge had some hard luck when riding for the Tunbridge Wells Motor Club in the Kent Club races at Ashford Monday riding a  250 Dunett.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of August 31,1928 reported “ A party visited the Kent Club’s grass track races on Bank Holiday and were gratified to see Frank Tunbridge win the 250 class in fine style”.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of September 7,1928 gave “ The Tunbridge Wells Club- Members were naturally elated by their success but the success was somewhat dampened by the fact that the club lost their hold on the Green Challenge team trophy. Frank Tunbridge road a ‘Trusty’ P.G. Guest as a member of the Tunbridge Wells Club”. This bike as a Phelon and Moore Panther (image opposite of a P&M Panther of 1923). The Courier of the same date referred to a TT race and that Frank Tunbridge raced in it.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of September 21,1928 reported on the results of a motorcycle race in which Frank Tunridge was 8th on a P&M Panther. There was also mention of a Tunbridge Wells Ladies Cup in connection with a ladies motorcycle trial.

The Courier of March 29,1929 reported “ Motor Club News” in which results of a race were given and that “ Frank Tunbridge was the unlucky rider when a couple of punctures forced him to drop out of the race”.

The Courier of June 21,1929 reported “ Stunts- There were plenty of gasps when Frank Tunbridge started stunting for he included in his tricks a jump over six of the stewards, who laid side by side, while emulating the circus feat of  jumping through a hoop of paper. The well-known trick rider……”

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of July 5,1929 gave “ Frant Hospital Fair- Frank Tunbridge in a baby Triumph held the leading place for some time but eventually gave way to Sir Anthony Lindsay Hogg in a Chrystler  with Miss Frances Duhall as passenger. Later a motorcycle display was given by members of the Tunbridge Wells Motor Club”.

The Courier of July 19,1929, that reported on the death of Frank’s brother Herbert in part referred to Frank Tunbridge as “ a racing and trick motor cyclist”.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of August 23 and 29, 1929 under the heading of ‘Sport Notes’ gave “ Frank Tunbridge the Tunbridge Wells Club representative in the speedway meeting at Folkestone, crashed heavily in the Five Hundred”.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of June 10,1930 reported that the Tunbridge Wells Motor Club held their 6th annual dinner and dance at the Mount Ephraim Hotel and that some 70 members of the club were in attendance. The article stated in part that “ the year would be still more successful when Mr Frank Tunbridge would ride for the club”.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of September 29,1933 reported “Town and District Sports News- Frank Tunbridge brought the name of the club to W.B. Jury to the front by riding in races and trials all over the country”.

The Courier of January 10.1939 referred to “ Mr Frank Tunbridge representing the Tunbridge Wells Motor Club”.

The Courier of February 8,1946 gave “ Tunbridge Wells 8.8A motor-cycle. This week on show one of the ex W.D factory reconditioned BSA motorcycles. These machines are completely rebuilt and refurbished equal to new and sold with 3 mths makers guarantee. G.E. Tunbridge”.

Probate records gave Allen Frank Howard Tunbridge of 15 The Shaw Camden Park, Tunbridge Wells who died December 24,1980. The probate was held in Brighton. He was most likely cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium in the first week of January 1981.

THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS MOTOR CYCLE (CAR) CLUB 

Given here from the website of the Tunbridge Wells Motor Car Club (TWMC) is a portion of the clubs history during the time that the club was known as the Tunbridge Wells Motorcycle Club, which club was founded in 1911 and reportedly one of the oldest motor clubs in England. Motorcycling and racing in Tunbridge Wells predates the formation of this club as reported on in my articles ‘ Motorcycling in Tunbridge Wells’ dated March 28,2012 (updated February 24,2015) and ‘ Motorcycle Racing at the Nevill Ground’ dated October 20,2015. Shown opposite is a photograph from 1904 in which the winner of a race in Tunbridge Wells is on display with his motorcycle.

 

“Although we have always been TWMC originally the initials stood for the Tunbridge Wells Motorcycle Club. It was an era when helmets were only worn by the army and police. Flat cap and goggles were all the early competitor needed. Local Tunbridge Wells lads would tuck their trousers into their socks and were ready for action. The events organised then were Mud Reliability Trials, Night Trials and one Treasure Hunt per year for motorcycle solos and combinations.

“Among the stars of the early days were Bill Jury, Freddie Philpott and ‘Tunny’ Tunbridge, who all owned local motorcycle businesses. BSA, Norton, Panther, Royal Enfield and Rudge were the makes of the day. Testing courses were found at Holmwood, Langton and Home Farm, Groombridge. The pattern of events varied little at this time and membership fell steadily in the years up to the Second World War. Money was scarce and most members who rode their motor cycles in competition on Sundays had, in most cases, to clean them up and use them to go to work on the Monday. The clubs activities were suspended for the second time when hostilities broke out.”

“After the Second World War Freddie Philpott cornered the market in khaki-painted Royal Enfields, many were unused and were ideal trialing machines. But peace was to bring a wave of change to TWMC.”

“A special meeting was convened in 1947 and the club was restarted. Rt. Hon. The Earl Howe CBE, The Earl of Lewes OBE and Lt-Col A.T. Goldie Gardner OBE were three of the Vice Presidents elected and TWMC now became the Tunbridge Wells Motor Club when cars were also represented by their own committee. Eventually the bike boys faded from the scene. The first events for cars started in 1947 with what would become the annual Rally consisting of Concours d’Elegance and driving tests.”

The reference to “Freddie Philpott” is not quite correct for his proper name was Frederick Philpot (one T). Details about him and his family were given in my article ‘ The Philpot Family of Tunbridge Wells’ dated March 25,2017.

The “Bill Jury” referred to was William Burton Jury (1896-1969) who operated his cycle dealership initially at 73 Camden Road in the 1920’s and 1930’s and later at 73 Calverley Road. A number of newspaper articles refer to the various makes of motorcyles he was a dealer for. Details about him, his family and his business were given in my article ‘ William Jury The Motorcycle Dealer’ dated April 13,2019.

 

THE HANCOCK FAMILY OF 2 LINDEN PARK ROAD

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

Date: April 8,2019

OVERVIEW 

The central figure in the Hancock family is Francis William Hancock (1843-1934) who was born in Knightsbridge, Middlesex. He came from a famous, and large, family connected with the manufacture of Gutta Percha.

His father Charles Hancock (1800-1877) began his career as a well –known artist who produced a large number of oil on canvas paintings of animals, particularly dogs and horses. His work was widely exhibited and today can be found in several galleries. His paintings often command good prices at auction. Charles was an inventive man who held patents and who in partnership with Henry Bewley in 1845 founded the Gutta Percha Company.

Francis William Hancock did not follow his father into the Gutta Percha business but had a number of occupations ,among which was hardware dealer, tobacconist and accountant.

In the 1850’s to 1860’s Francis lived with his parents and siblings in Islington where his father was a Gutta Percha manufacturer. By the time of the 1861 census Francis was working as a clerk.

In 1873 Francis married Eliza Cox at the Holy Trinity Church in Chesterfield. Eliza had been born 1851 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and was the daughter of Thomas Cox a cab driver. Francis and his wife had 10 children but two of them had died by 1911.

From a review of birth records for his children it was established that Francis and his wife ,and some of his children, took up residence in Tunbridge Wells in 1878 and in the period of 1879 to 1888  six of their children were born in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1881 census, taken at 79 Calverley Road gave Francis as a hardware dealer employing 3 men. With him was his wife Eliza; three of their children; one visitor and one domestic servant.

The 1891 census taken at 2 Linden Park Road gave Francis as a hardware dealer. With him was his wife Eliza (a lodging house keeper); several of their children; two servants and five lodgers.

No. 2 Linden Park Gardens was a two sty brick house, built in the 1860’s by local builder Louis Beales & Sons, described in the 1911 census as having eleven rooms. This home has been the home of many residents over the years and still exists today. It began as a single family residence but during the years it was occupied by the Hancock family it served as their residence and as a boarding house. After the Hancock family left it reverted back to single family occupancy.

The 1901 census, taken at 2 Linden Park Road gave Francis as an accountant. Living with him was his wife Eliza ( a lodging house keeper), seven of their children; one servant and two lodgers.

The 1911 census, taken at 2 Linden Park Road gave Francis as a retired tobacconist. With him was his wife Eliza; their daughter Margaret and one servant. Also occupying two rooms there was one boarder.

Local directories of 1913 to 1918 gave the Hancock family at 2 Linden Park Road with Mrs Eliza Hancock given as a lodging house keeper.

Sometime before 1922 Francis and his wife left  2 Linden Park Road. Francis died in Sussex in 1934 while on vacation. His body was returned to Tunbridge Wells where he was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery March 1934. He was survived by his wife Eliza who died in Tunbridge Wells a few years later and was buried in the same cemetery.

Shown above is a modern view of 2 Linden Park Road.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION

In this section some background information is provided about the Linden Park Road residential development; three images of 2 Linden Park Road; and some information about the house and its occupants.

Shown opposite is a 1907 OS map on which No. 2 Linden Park Road is highlighted in red. As shown in the overview it was a home of 11 rooms (1911 census) being a 2 sty residence constructed of red brick by local builder Louis Beales & Sons who built several other homes in this development.

Shown below are two early 19th century photographs of the home

The Linden Park Residential Development, located south of the Pantiles east of London Road dates back to 1860 when local builder Beale and Sons submitted a planning application to the Tunbridge Wells Works Committee  for a new Road (Linden Park Road) and alterations to drainage and for four houses. In the following years some ten houses were built in two phases on rising ground behind the Frant Road. By 1899 houses up to No. 15 were found in local directories with Louis Stephen Beale ,the builder,found at No. 15 in the 1922 directory. Details about Beale & Sons were given in my article ‘ Beale & Sons- Tunbridge Wells Builders’ dated January 2,2014.












Shown below is the front and back of a postcard sent by “Daisy” from 2 Linden Park Road to a Miss D. Wainwright of 2 Barton Buildings, Queens Square Bath. The note on the back is dated May 9,1910 and was franked in Tunbridge Wells. Unless the name “Daisy” was a nickname, she was not a member of the Hancock family who resided at this home when the postcard was sent. It is possible that Daisy was a servant living in the home but may have been a boarder.










The early occupancy of 2 Linden Park Road was not investigated. It is known from records of the Hancock family that they resided there from at least the time of the 1891 census and were still there in 1918. A 1922 directory for them at that address was not found. It was noted from 1930 directory that this home was the residence of John Edward Prestwick. The occupancy after 1930 was not investigated and nor were any Planning Authority applications from 1978 onwards that may have provided more recent information about the home.

CHARLES HANCOCK AND FAMILY  

Charles Hancock (1800-1877) was the father of Francis William Hancock (1843-1934) and at least 10 other children.

Charles wife was Rebecca Hancock who was born 1809 in Buckinghamshire. Charles had been born December 16,1800 at Marlborough, Middlesexn and was one of twelve children born to James Hancock (1753-1821) and his wife Betty Hancock, nee Coleman. A family tree can be found on the website of Graces Guide for further details.

Charles began his career as an artist, noted for his oil on canvas paintings of animals, particularly dogs and horses. One example of his work is shown above. His work has been featured in a number of exhibitions and many examples of his work can be found in various art galleries. His work often comes up for auction with prices realized from $283 to 5,772 USD depending on size and medium of the artwork . One his works, entitled ‘A Favourite Hunter’ sold at Christies South Kensington in 2013 for $5,772 which was a record for his work up to that time. Much of artwork dates from the 1830’s to the 1850’s

At the time of the 1841 census Charles was living at 21 High Row, Westminster with his wife Rebecca and six of his children and given as an artist.

In 1841 his brother Thomas showed him a sample of Gutta Percha, who at the time was trying to develop a stopper for bottles, for which he found gutta percha to be ideal. As a result in 1841 he patented a stopper made of resin for bottles.

In 1845 Charles went into partnership with Henry Bewley and others and formed the Gutta Percha Company. In the following years Charles and his brother Walter (image opposite by Charles) established a manufactory in Stratford and several patents were taken out for various products made from Gutta Percha. The history of this business and references to the Hancock family in it makes for fascinating reading, details of which can be found in the website of ‘Graces Guide’ and ‘Wikipedia’.

On June 1,1850 Charles, with the support of his family established the West Ham Gutta Percha Company at Stratford as a competitor to the Gutta Percha Company with which he had previously been engaged.

The 1851 census, taken at 48 Milner Square in Islington gave Charles as an artist painter and Gutta Percha Manufacturer employing 1933 persons. With him was his wife Rebecca and four children and one servant. His son Walter (1799-1852) was a Gutta Percha manufacturer. At the time of the 1851 census Francis William Hancock was living as the nephew of Thomas Hancock  at Stoke Newington.

The 1861 census, taken at Islington gave Charles as a Gutta Percha manufacturer. With him was his wife Rebecca and six of his children (including Francis William Hancock) who was working as a clerk. Also there was one domestic servant.

The 1871 census taken at 2 Quadrant Road in Islington gave Charles as a retired Gutta Percha manufacturer. With him was his wife Rebecca and four of his children including his son Francis William Hancock. Some other family members were also living there.

On September 14,1873 Francis William Hancock married Eliza Cox, a spinster of St Helens Street in Chesterfield. The marriage took place at the Holy Trinity Church in Chesterfield (image opposite). The parents of the couple were given as Charles Hancock (artist) and Thomas Cox (cab driver).

On July 30,1877 Charles died at Blackheath and on August 3,1877 he was buried at the Brompton Cemetery.

THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS YEARS

In the years leading up to and including 1876 Francis and his wife lived in Islington where in 1876 they had a daughter Alice Laura Hancock.

From a review of birth records it was established that Francis and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells sometime after 1876 but before 1879

From the 1911 census it was noted that Francis and his wife had ten children but two of them had died before 1911. The following is a list of known children (1) Alice Laura (born 1876 Islington) (2) Rebecca,born 1879 Tunbridge Wells (3) Katherine E, born 1881 Tunbridge Wells (4) Beatrice N, born 1882 Tunbridge Wells (5) Margaret Mary , born 1883 Tunbridge Wells (6) Robert H, born 1887 Tunbridge Wells (7) Maia, born 1888 Tunbridge Wells (8) Frances E, born 1880 Tunbridge Wells

The 1881 census, taken at 79 Calverley Road gave Francis as a hardware dealer employing 3 men. With him was his wife Eliza and their children Frances, Rebecca and Katherine. Also there was one servant and one visitor. A postcard view of Calverley Road is shown opposite.

The 1891 census, taken at 2 Linden Park Road gave Francis as a hardware dealer. With him was his wife Eliza (a lodging house keeper); several of their children; two servants and five lodgers.

The 1901 census, taken at 2 Linden Park Road gave Francis as an accountant. Living with him was his wife Eliza ( a lodging house keeper), seven of their children; one servant and two lodgers.

The 1911 census, taken at 2 Linden Park Road gave Francis as a retired tobacconist. With him was his wife Eliza; their daughter Margaret and one servant. Also occupying two rooms there was one boarder. The census recorded that the family were living in premises of 11 rooms; that they had been married 34 years and of their 10 children 8 were still living.

Local directories of 1913 to 1918 gave the Hancock family at 2 Linden Park Road with Mrs Eliza Hancock given as a lodging house keeper.

Sometime before 1922 Francis and his wife left  2 Linden Park Road. Francis died in Sussex in 1934 while on vacation. His body was returned to Tunbridge Wells where he was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery March 1934. He was survived by his wife Eliza who died in Tunbridge Wells a few years later and was buried in the same cemetery.

 

W&R.FLETCHER LTD-BUTCHERS

Written by; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: February 15,2014

W&R. Fletcher Ltd was a company founded by William and Robert Fletcher in New Zealand.Their business was the exportation of frozen mutton and lamb to the British Isles.From the companies beginnings as exporters they expanded the business by establishing butcher shops throughout Britian.By 1917 they had 417 shops mainly in the north and south of England.The company had been started in 1888 by the two brothers and in 1912 they sold controlling interests to the Vestey brothers Union Cold Storage Company.This was the start of a decade of aquisitions for the Vestey brothers,with the Argenta meat,British & Argentina,Eastmans and J.H. Dewhurst.These aquisitions gave them 2,356 shops by 1923.The firm of British & Argentina were a previous merger of James Nelson and the River Plate fresh meat company.The Argenta Meat Company was started in Lancashire by Messrs Rushworth and Ward selling imported meat to the working classes.The Ward and Vestey families were friendly and so Vestey bought them out in 1915 to go with the W.R. Fletcher shops.Later all of these companies came together under the Eastman/Dewhurst banner dropping the Argenta name and its foreign image. Initially there was a great deal of resentment in Britain and resistance towards their so called importation of "inferior" foreign meat and so wanting to expand their business into Britain led to the establishment of some 400 buther shops under British management to sell direct and it was for this reason and an interest in expanding the business that the above meat companies engaged in so many mergers.Fletcher's also had cold stores and wholesale facilities in the main ports.Vesley owned many butchery firms including Eastmans Ltd.In 1914 Eastmans had 1700 shops and during the war they had to sut over 500 of them due to men serving in the War and the lack of meat to sell.Vesley also owned Dewhurst and after the second war,with television and other media available.the company wanted a national image.To this end they as shops needed refitting they called them J.H. Dewhurst and in the 1980's Dewhurst the master butcher.Sadly the company went into receivershio in 1996.

Although the head office of the W&R. Fletcher was in 1915 at 315 Victoria Arcade in Aukland,New Zealand their head office in Britain was at Smith Field,London. Their butcher shops sprang up in ever increasing numbers as the business grew and in Tunbridge Wells one of their shops was at 121 Camden Road.Later in this article I will be referring to the other shops they had in the town.As can be seen from the photograph the shop was of the "open front" type where their meat products were hung out in the open,a method of display for obvious reasons, not used today.The staff must have been kept busy trying to keep the flies away! This shop on Camden Road operated in the early 1900's and first appears in the directories in 1913 but closed along wth their other shops in the town sometime between 1935 and 1938. One of the butchers working in the shop at that time was Frank Albert Brotherhood.From a collection family documents there is a postcard and written on the back in his hand is a summary of the wages paid to the staff in 1910. The manager of the shop then was Fred Chandler who was paid 1 pound 12s  a week. One of the butchers ,Cyril Boleman was paid 21s and Frank Brotherhood 16s/week. The shops boy,who no doubt made deliveries on his bicycle, was H. Robinson and was paid 5s/week.Meat at that time was sold in the shop for 4-6p/pound so they had to sell alot of meat to just pay the wages and the shop was kept open 10-12 hours/day.

Frank Brotherhood(1889-1961) continued to work at the Camden Road shop until 1929.He had moved that year from High Brooms to #6 Shelldale Road in Portslade with a promise of work in a butcher shop there owned by Mr A.C.Pearson. Among the Brotherhood family momentos is a business card bearing the words "F.A.Brotherhood Family Butcher 43 Great Brooms,Tunbridge Wells". This card is circa 1928 and shows on the front of it a herd of cows.Mr Pearson was opening a butcher shop in Boundary Road,Portslade but decided to retire in  and sold his business to a man named Locke who told Frank he had no work for him. Frank was therefore forced to find work elsewhere and for a time found a job doing road construction.Later,when Pearson opened another shop,a corn merchant's selling animal feeds,he employed Frank again for awhile until Frank got another job as a butcher which lasted him until his retirement.

I have included with this article two photos made availble by Leslie Brotherhood the son of Frank Brotherhood.One shows the front of the Camden Road store in Tunbridge Wells and the other a photo taken of Frank Brotherhood and his family at Portslade in 1930.Franks son Leslie also has among the family momentos a poster bearing the following information " A.C. Pearson Cash Butcher The West Hove Meat Market 94 Boundary Rod,Hove" and on the back of this poster in the writing of Leslie Brotherhood is a note that reads "My father in 1929 in the depression had the offer of a job with a previous employer and a move from Tunbridge Wells to Brighton.The wage was about 2 pounds 5 shillings for a basic 58.5 hour work week.Extra time had to be worked on holidays and Christmas at no extra pay. A wage schedule in the hand of Leslie Brotherhood is also shown as is the back of the shop postcard for the Camden Road premises which also gives the salaries.

Flether's first appear in the Tunbridge Wells directory in 1899 when they had one store located at 41 Calverley Road.This store they kept going until closing it in 1938. In the 1903 directory they had two stores,one at 41 Calverley and another at 8 Grove Hill Road.The Grove Hill store was not in operation for many years for it is not found in the directory of 1913. In 1913 Fletchers had three stores,the first was at 41 Calverley Road,the second at 121 Camden Road and the third at 56 St John's Road.The St John's Road store was not open long for it disappears from the directoires by 1918.Throughout the period of 1918 to 1938 when the company closed all their stores in the town Fletcher's operated two shops namely 41 Calverley Road and 121 Camden Road.

The Southland Sheep Farmers Co. of New Zealand combined with the British owned Hawle's Bay Freezing Co,W.R.Fletcher(NZ),to form the Alliance Freezing Company (Southland) in 1948.Hugh Peterson McIntyre (1888-1982) became in 1947 the chairman of the Southland Sheep Farmers Co.On February 28,1969 he retired from Alliance. The firms of W.R. Fletcher(New Zealand) was still in business in 1978 but has long since disappeared in Britain.

 

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