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

Date: August 19,2013


Tunbridge Wells, as a spa town, has since the beginning of time, been a place dominated by hundreds of lodging houses, established to provide accommodation for visitors to the town who came for the most part to enjoy the clean air, the ‘waters’ and the views. While they can be found in all parts of town the high ground, with a great view of the Commons, along Mount Ephraim was a favourite spot and along the entire stretch of that road was row after row of lodging houses and hotels of all sizes and descriptions.

Some of these lodging houses were run by the owners of the building but most were managed by “lodging house keepers’ hired by the building owner to attend to the day to day job of running the establishement. One  of these managers was the Cowper’s who in 1903 gave the advertisement shown above in the 1903 Kelly directory for two buildings they ran, namely” No. 1 Mount Ephraim Mansions” and “Osborne House” both located on Mount Ephraim.

This article provides information about the Cowper family and the two buildings referred to in the 1903 advertisment.


Edwin Cowper was born in the 4th qtr of 1843 at Wighill,Yorkshire, sometimes given as Wigal,Yorkshire in census records but in his birth record as Tadcaster,Yorkshire West Riding.Edwin was one of seven children born to George Cowper(1816-1901, a groom,) and Elizabeth Cowper, nee Crosby (1809-1896).In 1851 Edwin was living with his parents and siblings at York St Giles,Yorkshire. In 1861 Edwin was away at school. His whereabouts in 1871 are unknown to the researcher but most likely still living in Yorkshire for in the 2nd qtr of 1876 he married Mercy Spicer at Ripon,Yorkshire. Mary Spicer is believed to be one of eleven children born to William Spicer(1800-1858)and Mary Spicer,nee Eason(1811-1882) of Kent. She was born 1849 at Lenham (sometimes Sandway) Kent.

Edwin and his wife never had any children and were living in Yorkshire throughout the 1870’s. Their first appearance in Tunbridge Wells in a census record is that of 1881 at Osborn House located at 12 Mount Ephraim.Information about this building are given later.In the 1881 census are found Edwin as a lodging house keeper; his wife Mercy; two domestic servants and 4 lodgers. The 1891 census, taken at the same place, records Edwin as a lodging house keeper with his wife Mercy  along with three servants and one boarder. Considering the size of Osborne House (21 rooms) the lodging house business was not doing well at the time of the census, but of course the census was not taken at the peak of the season and so is not a true representation . As once can appreciate the lodging house business was a seasonal one with significant fluctuations in the number of lodgers depending on the time of year. Business must have been quite slow in the off season and no doubt that was the time of year when most of the cleaning and renovation work was undertaken in preparation for the busy time of the year. It is interesting to note however, that the 1891 census shows four other families at the same address almost suggesting that the building consisted of five units, with the Cowpers occupying one of them. As there are no known images or architectural plans known to exist for this building it is difficult to determine  the layout of the building.

The 1901 census, also taken at Osborne House 12 Mount Ephraim records the presence of Edwin as a boarding house keeper with his wife Mercy . The 1903 Kelly directory, for which I have already given an advertisement from records that the Cowpers were the keepers of two lodging houses, one being No 1 Mount Ephriam Mansions and the other Osborne House.

Probate records for Mercy Cowper record that she was “of #1 Mount Ephraim Mansions (wife of Edwin Cowper) who died November 8,1909 at Osborne House, Mount Ephraim Road,Tunbridge Wells”. Probate was to James Henry Chantler, solicitors clerk and she left an estate valued at about 651 pounds. Mercy was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough cemetery on November 11th.

The 1911 census, taken at Osborne House, #12 Mount Ephraim records the presence of Edwin Cowper, widowed, age 57 and working as a “keeper of apartments”. With him was ten others ( 4 lodgers, 2 boarders and 4 domestic servants). The census states that Edwin had been married 35 years and that he and his wife never had any children. Also mentioned in the census is that Osborne House had 21 rooms.

Probate records give that Edwin Cowper was living as Osborne House on Mount Ephraim when he died there on February 20,1914. Probate was to James henry Chantler,solicitors clerk and Edwin left an estate valued at about 2,169 pounds. Edwin was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough cemetery on February 24th.


Shown opposite is a postcard view of Mount Ephraim and the Common from the early 1900’s, taken near the junction of Mount Ephraim with London Road. The postcard was published by The Photochrom Co. Ltd of London and Tunbridge Wells. The red brick building on the right is the same building shown in the 1903 Kelly directory shown at the top of this article.

Shown opposite is a second postcard of the same area published by Valenitne circa 1906 entitled The Common from Mount Ephraim,Tunbridge Wells. The same red brick building is shown.

The postcard opposite is another Photochrom card with the tilte of “The Common and Marlborough Hotel royal Tunbridge Wells. As can be seen from all three four images the building referred to in the 1903 Kelly as being No 1 Mount Ephraim Mansions is the same building shown in the postcards and therefore the Marlborough Hotel shown in one view is the same  as the building referred to in 1903 as Mount Ephraim Mansions.

Mount Ephraim Mansions was the name given to the building when it was constructed in 1898. Research on the building has shown, based on surviving architectural drawings, and the obituary of the architect who designed it that it Herbert Murkin Caley(1859-1938), who desgined many buildings in the town was the architect hired to prepare the design drawings for the building.  When the building name was changed from Mount Ephraim Mansions to the Marlborough Hotel is not known but the probate record for Mercy Cowper of 1909 still makes reference to the building as being  Mount Ephraim Mansions .

Shown here is a site plan showing the location of the Marlborough Hotel in 2001. The shape of the building, as viewed from above is clearly seen, as being a long building fronting on Mount Ephram with one wing on either end extending to the rear. The building when designed was actually a semi- detached structure consisting of two separate units but designed and built as one building. Planning Authority documents from 2001 described the building this way “ The site occupies a pair of Victorian buildings built in the arts and crafts style” and goes to describe the existing steps to the buildings two front doors asa “existing entrance stair has marble treads and steps and large masonry piers at the bottom of the flight”. These comments were offered with respect to an application for approval to demolish one set of steps (on the left hand side of the building) and to replace them with new ones.This application was approved.This half of the building was later referred to as #57 Mount Ephraim and the right half of the building as #56 Mount Ephraim but during the time the building was known as the Marlborough Hotel it was always referred to in the directories only as #57 Mount Ephraim.

In terms of date of construction the best record is one given in a 1903 advertisment for the building, which at that time was referred to as the Mount Ephraim Mansions with the right half of it being #1.The building at that time was a lodging house and the right half of the building was being managed by lodging house keeper Cowper (Edin Cowper and his wife Mercy).The advertisement states that the building was constructed in 1898.No listing for the name Marlborogh Hotel is found in local directories until 1913.The left half of the building most likely was referred to as No 2 Mount Ephraim Mansions.

The architectural drawings of the building survive and the description of the building below is based in part upon those drawings and the recent photograph of the building by Nigel Chadwick that is shown opposite.It was a three storey red brick building with a steeply pitched slate roof of gable style. The building had a full basement with part of its windows visible above ground level.Above that was  a flight of steps leading up to a landing beyond which was a round top wooden door, of which there was one to each half of the building. This provided access to the building from the ground floor. Above the ground floor were two full floors described on the plans as the first and second floors and above the second floor was a floor within the attic area which received light from several dormer windows. The front of the building was very impressive architecturally consisting of six balconies with railings; six vertical banks of bay windows and six smaller windows facing out over the commons from the balcony. Herbert  Caley took full advantage of the fine view of the commons by designing the building with large windows. Subsequent planning applications make note of the high ceilings and the ornate fireplaces and cornices within. In later years applications for Planning Authority approval resulted in several changes being made to the building, including an extension at the rear(later removed) the installation of a lift; fire escape stairs, new front steps and several changes to the interior but thankfully Herbert Caley’s design of its front exterior remains today much like he had designed it. The entire building measured about  76 feet wide by about 82 feet deep, (based on 2001 architects drawings).

The building remained as the Marlborough Hotel until November 1,1993 when the building, being in “poor condition” was sold at auction. The left side of the building was renovated and became the Summit Hotel, which still exists today with 10 rooms and a restaurant in the basement, and has an address of 57 Mount Ephraim. The right half of the building was converted into 14 flats and exists today at 56 Mount Ephraim as Beaumont House.

The Marlborough Hotel is found in various directories. It is for example listed in Peltons 1912 Guide as the “Marlborough Private Hotel ,Mount Ephraim, An obituary notice for captain Arthur Francis Craig of the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment of 1918 recorded him as the son of John Frances and Ada Georgina Craig of “#1 Mount Ephraim Mansions,Tunbridge Wells”. An Alicia Augusta Edorston (1820-1910) also died at #1 Mount Ephraim Mansions in 1910.The Marlborogh Hotel is listed in Kelly directories of the 1930’s.

The Marlborough Hotel was the property of Marlborough Hotel (Tunbridge Wells) Limited, a private limited company with share capital (#00975202).Records show that the company was dissolved. Its officers in 1990 were Joseph Rickard Hawkins,secretary; Bernice Diana Hawkins,director, and Joseph Richard Hawkins,director. The company had been incorporated March 20,1970.

With respect to Beaumont House at 56 Mount Ephraim, there is a current record that is  under the management of Alexander Boyes, a property management agent in Tunbridge Wells. They state on their website that this building is “a Victorian townhouse converted from offices into 14 apartments in 2004”.


Herbert Murkin Caley was born July 4,1859 at Hombledon,Hampshire, one of six children born to architect Murkin Lawrence Caley(1834-1883) and Ellen Murkin,nee Twitch (1838-1914).The family was originally from  Windsor,Berkshire, and later London, but moved to Tunbridge Wells between 1875 and 1878.In the 1881 census Herbert was still living with his parents and siblings but was working for this father as an architectural draughtsman. He was 21 years of age at that time and had finished whatever formal education he had received. He had attended the Tonbridge School with his brother and describe him as the eldest brother although both born the same day.The Directory of British Architects has very little to say about Herbert except that under the heading of education and training it says that he articled to his father.It also states that he continued his father’s business after his father died and that he was operating from premises at 29 Mount Pleasant Road in 1905 and no doubt earlier than that. In 1891 Herbert was operating his business as an architect and surveyor.He had wed Mary Cranwell Mills (1859-1916) in 1889 in Tunbridge Wells.

In the 1901 census taken at 14 Lower Green Road in Speldhurst is again Mary Mills, age 81 as head of the household.This residence was known as ‘Cranwell House’ and from all accounts was quite substantial (now demolished) which he had designed himself. Living with her is the Caley family consisiting of Herbert, age 41, an architect and surveyor, his wife Mary Constance,age 42; and their children Constance Mary, born 1891; Gertrude Ellen,born 1893; Walter Herbert,born 1895 and Florence Edith, born 1900. All of the children were born in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1899 Kelly directory gives “ Herbert M. Caley, architect, Broadway Chambers, Mount Pleasant Road, Tunbridge Wells”. The 1903 Kelly gives two listings, firstly at 20 Mount Pleasant Road (his office) and secondly his place of residence at Cranwell House, Lower Green Road in Speldhurst.Herbert is also recorded in 1903 as being an alderman.

In 1900 Herbert became a local Councillor. From 1909 to 1910 Herbert served as Mayor of Tunbridge Wells.It was Herbert who successfully petitioned to have the town named “Royal Tunbridge Wells”. He was made a Freeman of the Borough in 1935.He was a prominent nonconformist and lay preacher,belonging to St John’s Free Church (now St Andrew’s United Reformed Church).

The 1918 directory records him as an alderman of the North Ward and a Justice of the Peace living at Cranwell House on Lower Green Road. The 1911 Kelly records his as an alderman of the North Ward and as a J.P. at 53 Queens Road.The same listing is given each year right up to 1938.

Probate records record that Herbert Murkin Caley was residing at 53 Queens Road, Tunbridge Wells when he died December 20,1938. He left an estate valued at 2,210 pounds.The executor of his estate was William Thomas Henry Barriball, a retired schoolmaster.The same announcement was published in the London Gazette of March 17,1939. Herbert was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery December 24,1938 under the name of Herbert “Martin” Caley.An inspection of his headstone would be necessary to determine under what name it has been inscribed .His funeral was held at the St John’s Free Church which he had designed.

The following information about Herbert’s life  was reported upon his death in the Courier December 23,1938. “Father of the Town Council” Dies-The Late Alderman H.M. Caley-Life Dedicated to Service of Others-It is with deep regret that we record the death, which occurred suddenly at his residence, 53 Queen’s Road,Tunbridge Wells, on Tuesday morning of Alderman Herbert Murkin Caley, who for many years has been affectionally known as the “Father of the Town Council”. Alderman Caley who had to all appearances been enjoying his usual good health,collapsed and died while he was dressing.He was 79 years of age. Few men have served their town with diligence,efficiency and loyalty such as he displayed since he was first elected to the Town Council as a representative for the West Ward in 1900.Being the possessor of a deeply sincere sense of civic pride and having risen to a position of eminence in the architectural profession he was singularly suited for the many municipal responsibilities of his subsequent career. The electors of his constituency were, apparently, quick to appreciate these outstanding attributes and to value the zeal with which he undertook his public duties, for they re-elected him unopposed on three occasions, and on the death of Alderman B.M. Woolan he was raised to the Aldermanic Bench, in 1910, from which date he continued in that capacity until his death, gracing the office with courtesousness and sincerity.In his municipal career, as in private life, he was imbued with an insatiable desire to serve others,and one of his last public speeches was that which he made at the meeting of the Town Council a fortnight ago, when he explained, as chairman of the Water Works Committee, steps which had been taken to safeguard the towns water supply from springs near Pembury. For six years he was chairman of the Works Committee, a position which he vacated on being elected Mayor in 1906.At the termination of this office he was elected chairman of the Waterworks Committee, a post which he apprised more than any other public appointment.Re-elected every year to this position.Alderman Caley was justly jealous of the responsibility invested in it, and he frequently referred to the waterworks undertaking as one of the town greatest assets.Such references were always made modestly as far as his own associations were concerned, and he was always ready to avail himself of an opportunity to praise both his colleagues on the Committee and the permanent staff which worked under their supervision.Other committees on which he served were the Works, General pusposes,Health,Library and Museum Committees,and it would indeed be difficult to express adequately the debt which the town owes to a man who has given it such long and devoted service.On May 1931 the Town Council was offered, free of cost, a plot of ground two-thirds of an acre in extent at the junction of Ashley Park-road and Ashley Gardens, Rusthall, as a recreation ground. Owing, however, to the prospective liability attaching to the land for street making charges, the Council was unable to accept the offer,Alderman Caley then generously offered to indemnify the Council against the cost of the works,which was estimated to amount to 526 pounds, and his offer was gratefully accepted by the Council. The land was conveyed to the Corporation on September 18,1931, and was opened in Juiy the following year,being named the Mary Daley Recreation Ground in memory of Alderman Caley’s late wife. Prominent though he was in municipal affairs, it will not be for this alone that Alderman Caley will be remembered.He was a Justice of the Peace for the Borough for nearly 33 years, and for the County of Kent for some 24 years.As an Administrator of the law he possessed the cardinal virtues of impartiality, tolerance and justice, combined with a deep humanitarianism which was appreciated not only by his fellow Justices, but by many of those who appeared before him. Alderman Caley also served as honorary architect to the former Eye and Ear Hospital, to St John’s Free Church, and to the committee of the Aged Pilgrims Friend Society, of which local branch he was chairman.He represented the Borough on the Joint Hospital Board,the Regional Town Planning Committee, and on the Advisory Committee set up by the County Councils of Kent and East Sussex.He will also be remembered for the broadness of his sympathies.For many years he was associated with the Tunbridge Wells Natural History and Philisophical Society,and with the Free Church Council.For a singular period he was Deacon of St John’s Free Church of which he was the architect, and was well known as an eloquent and popular lay preacher. A great deal of his time was devoted to temperance work, a cause which he had close at heart, and he was also connected at various times with the work of the YMCA, the League of Nations Union, and the Anti-Vivisection movement.It was in May, 1935, that the honour, which he treasured above all others, was accorded him. That was when, in the presence of many with whom he had worked for years for the common well of the town, he received the Freedom of the Borough from the Mayor, Alderman (then Councillor) E.B. Weeks. On that occasion many tributes were paid to his service to the town, and once councillor alluded to Alderman Caley thus ‘He is a man on whom we built an absolute trust and panting time tolls him in vain’.An architect by profession, Alderman Caley took over his father’s practice in Tunbridge Wells, which he carried on for 50 years.In addition to St John’s Free Church he also designed the Marlborough Hotel, Mount Ephraim, two very fine blocks of business premises in High Street and at the Five Ways, Culverden Hall for the Plymouth Brethren, and a number of houses in the town and district.Before the ordinary business commenced at the Tunbridge Wells Police Court on Wednesday the Chairman (Mr H. Elwig) paid the following tribute to Alderman Caley. “ It is with deep regret that I refer to the lamented death of Alderman Caley, which took place suddenly yesterday morning. Alderman Caley had been a member of this Bench for over 30 years. He was a most capable and efficient magistrate, and he was most assiduous in the performance of his duties and attendences.We shall miss his level-headed judgement and wisdom. He took an active part in the religious and social societies of the town, and by his passing a very great loss will be felt.He may be said to have actually died in harness, as he doubles would have wished. Our deepest sympathy will be extended to the family in their bereavement”. 

Some of the buildings Herbert Caley designed are mentioned in his obituary. He was known for being the architect involved in the design of homes in the Boyne Park and Molyneux Park developments; The Tunbridge Wells United Reform Church circa 1897;The New Convent Church in High Brooms in 1898;Calverley House at #45-49 Calverley Road  in 1896 and many others.

There is much in town to commemorate the lives and work of the Caley family. Apart from the many fine buildings designed by them there is also a Caley Road located in the residential area off Sandhurst Road north the Pembury Road. It is believed by the researcher that it derives its name from Henry Murkin Caley perhaps more for his political and community accomplishments then his architectural work but none the less a fitting tribute to his life and career. Herbert Murkin Caley is also referred to in a book by B & G. Copus in the chapter entitled Residential Parks. As noted in Herbert’s obiturary a park by the name of the Mary Caley Recreation Ground, the land of which was conveyed to the town, thanks to the generous efforts of Herbert Murkin Caley, on September 18,1931. The Mary Caley Recreational Ground is a small playground located in Rusthall on Ashley Gardens Road. Today it is described by Council  as “well-equipped, attractive and a very popular place for children of all ages and includes a small ball games area”. The grounds were refurbished in 1996 and ongoing maintenance, including the installation of lighting in recent years,  has made it a safe and pleasant place for children.


Very little is known by the researcher about this building. The building was located on the part of Mount Ephraim near the branch of the road, as shown on the 1907 OS map opposite.It is not known when the building was constructed but it was there in the 1860’s and based on the history of the Cowper family was located at #12 Mount Ephraim.

The papers of Elizabeth Jessie Reid (1789-1866) include private correspondence, and in the records are letters written from “Osborne House,Mount Ephraim,dated in the period of February 13,1864 to March 3,1864. There are also records of occupancy for Osbourn House in the years afterwards up to an including the time that the Cowpers managed the property. Osborne House was still there by that name when Edwin Cowper died there in 1914.

There are records of various companies during the 1990’s who give the address “Osborne House, 12 Mount Ephraim.Also  was a company called Kentclong Limited that was founded in the 1970’s and produced a range of sports related card games and who are found at “Osborne House, 12 Mount Ephraim Road” in 1978, but seem to have faded into oblivion since then.



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

Date: August 27,2013


In 1876 Frederick Lindon Hatt(1844-1919) and Walter Luck (1854-1927) entered into a partnership and established a photographic studio in Tunbridge Wells .The two photographers operated from a single studio at #1 Mount Sion from 1876 until about 1881, but then opened a second studio at 18 Parade. In 1882 Walter  and Frederick were operating from two studios, one photographer being at the #1 Mount Sion premises and the other at #18 Parade. The 1882 Kelly directory records the partners with studios at the above two addresses and also records Walter Luck at 1 Princess Street. It is interesting to note, from the backs of the studio cards of Tunbridge Wells that the business is always shown as being established in 1860 although it is known that the partnership was not formed until 1876 and most of the card bakcs refer to them as “a school of photography”, implying that in addition to being portrait photograpers , they also taught lessons in photography. The reference to the business being established comes from the fact the photographer George Henry Lawrence had established his studio at 1 Mount Sion in 1860 and he advertised his studio as The Tunbridge Wells School of Photography. Luck & Hatt took over his studio when Lawrence left Tunbridge Wells and moved to Swansea to establish a studio there.In the 1874 Kelly directory there were only six photographic studios listed in Tunbridge Wells.

By the end of 1882 the partnership ended and Frederick left Tunbridge Wells and moved to Bristol where he set up his own portrait studio at the Triangle in Clifton, a studio he ran for over fifteen years.

Walter was still working as a photographer in Tunbridge Wells in 1891 but not long afterwards  he left Tunbridge Wells,moved to Hastings Sussex, and became an innkeeper, dying in Hastings in 1927

Shown throughout this article are a number of photographs  produced by the studio in Tunbridge Wells.


Frederick came from a family of photographers. He was born November 25,1844 at Islington, North London, the youngest of four sons born to Francis Hatt (born 1796) and Alice Aspland  Hatt, nee Cross(1801-1878).

In 1861, Frederick was recorded as a photographer at 6 Ranelagh Road, Westbourne Square,Paddington, where he was residing with his brother Robert Hatt(1843-1918),who was also a professional photographer.

The 1871 census, taken at 13 London Road,Tunbridge Wells, records 26 year old Frederick Hatt, born 1845 at Islington, as a lodger with the Thomas Waghorn family and working as a photographer.

On April 13,1875 Frederick married Annie Marie Green(1852-1919) at Wednesfield,Stafforshire..She was born 1852 at Wolverhampton,Staffordshire,the daughter of Thomas Green.Shown opposite is a portrait of Annie. The couple went on to produce two children namely Frederick Lindon Hatt junior(1876-1944) who was born in Tunbridge Wells March 8,1876, and Nora Ethel Hatt, born in the 4th qtr of 1879 in Tunbridge Wells.Shown here are portrait photographs of Frederick and Annie Hatt.

Between 1881 and 1882, Frederick Hatt resided at 55 Mount Sion. The 1881 census,taken at that address recorded Frederick as a photographer and living with him was his wife Annie and their two young children.

By the end of 1882 his partnership with Walter Luck ended and  he moved from Tunbridge Wells to Bristol where he set up a portrait studio at 25 Triangel,Queens Road,Clifton,Bristol. He operated the Triangle Studio under the name of “Linton Hatt” for over fifteen years.Between 1888 and 1890,he owned a second studio at 59 Triangel.

The 1891 census, taken at 59 Queens Road,Briston records Frederick as “Lindon Hatt”, a photographer. Living with him was his wife Annie ; their two children Frederick and Nora; his sister in law Ellen Green,age 26; his nephew Harry E Smith,age 16; one boarder and one domestic servant.

Around 1895 his son ,Frederick Lindon Hatt junior joined  the business and by 1908 their Clifton studio went by the name of Lindon Hatt & Son

From 1908 until 1911,the firm of Lindon Hatt & Son operated from a studio at 10 Whiteladies Road,Clifton,Bristol.

In 1908 Frederick Lindon Hatt junior married Edith Gertrude Holmes and after the marriage moved to Hackney London, but Frederick  senior, continued the photography business in Bristol under the name of Lindon Hatt & son.

The 1911 census ,taken at 10 Whiteladies Road, Clifton,Bristol, recorded the presence of Frederick Hatt,age 66, as a portrait photographer. Living with him was his wife Annie Marie Hatt,age 58, and one domestic servant.

Before the outbreak of WW 1 Frederick senior retired from business and  no further listings of the Lindon Hatt studio are found in directories after 1914.

Frederick Hatt later became a Churchwarden at St Michaels Church in Briston.  Frederick died March 1919 at Wandsorth, Greater London,age 74.

His son Frederick went on to have two children but only one survived, his son dying at Hackney.London in 1909.In 1910 he had a daughter (Valerie)and was living at that time in London and his occupation was given as “manager of a photographer”. Valerie Hatt (1910-1970)went on to work as a profession photographer also.During WW 1 Frederick was sent to work at the munitions complex at Chilwell, near Nottingham . On July 1,1918 the munitions plant exploded in one of Britains worst wartime disasters but fortunately Frederick survived. After the war he found it difficult to establishe himself as a self-employed photographer and had to take a position as a camera operator.He later found workd as a photographer for Bobby’s Department Store.In the years leading to  WW II he managed to establish his own photographic portrait studio,first at Tooting Broadway and then in Putney High Street. He died February 2,1944, aged 67.


Walter Luck was born in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1854 and his birth registered in 1855. Based on the 1861 census, taken at Bath House, Parade in Tunbridge Wells Walter was recorded as one of five children born to Jane Luck. His father was not given in this census. Jane Luck was born 1823 in Burwash.Walters brother Charles, born 1844 at Hove,Sussex was at that time working as a china merchant. His siblings Laura,gae 13,Rosania,age 11,George,age 9 and Frances Charlotte Luck,age 6 had all been born in Tunbridge Wells and were attending school, as was Walter. His brother John was only 3 months old. Walters father must have passed away just after John was born for no record of him appears in any subsequent census records and in the 1871 census Walters mother is recorded as a widow.

The 1851 census, taken in Tunbridge Wells of course does not provide a record for Walter but it does show his parents as John Luck, born 1807 and his mother as Jane Luck,born 1823. It also records the presence of older siblings Charles, age 7; Louisa,age 3 and Maria, age 1. The daughters Louisa and Maria are actually also in the 1861 census, but their names are given as Laura and Rosanna . John Luck is found listed in the 1858 Melville Directory as having a glass and china warehouse in The Parade. It is expected that John Hatt began his business in Tunbridge Wells in the late 1840’s.

The 1871 census, taken at #4 Parade gives Charles Luck, age 27 as a partner with his mother in a glass and china shop.Also present  is Maria Luck,age 21, a housekeeper, who’s year of birth matches that of Rosania in the 1861 census and not doubt are the same person. The  others present were Frances Charlotte Luck,age 15 , Walter Luck,age 16 who’s occupation was given as “artist,photographer”. Their mother was also listed as a widowed china merchant,age 48, and head of the household.

Charles Luck,born 1844 Hove, Sussex went on to become a recognized merchant in Tunbridge Wells. His found in the 1901 census operating his china and glass shop at 136 Upper Grosvenor Road. His wife was Sarah Maria Luck,nee Cripps,born abt 1846 in Tunbridge Wells and by 1911 he and his wife had seven children all born between 1877 and 1887. Sarah Maria  Cripps was the daughter of well- known Tunbridge Wells florist and nurseryman Thomas Cripps of whom I have written about before in a separate article.

John Luck, who had been born 1861 in Tunbridge Wells went on to take a career in the ministry. He is found in the 1901 census at The Rectory in Knill,Hertforshire with his wife Ann Elizabeth,age 43 and two servants.  

In the 1881 census Jane Luck,age 58, widow, and working as a china merchant, was the head of the household. Living with her was Her children Maria,age 31, an assistant merchant; George,age 19, a clerk and one domestic servant.

The 1891 census, taken at #1 South Grove,Tunbridge Wells records Jane Luck as the head of the household “living on own means”.With her were her daughter Maria “living on own means”; her sister Charlotte Smith,age 66, and one boarder.

As noted above Walter Luck left the family home sometime after the 1871 census. By 1881 Walter had married Hannah, who was born 1856 at Stockton,Devon. The couple are found living together without children in the 1881 census at #1 Princess Street,Tunbridge Wells and at that time Walter is working as a photographer.

The 1891 census, taken at #1 Mount Sion records Walter, age 36, as a photographer. Living with him was his wife Hannah,age35; his sister in law Emma Mary Barham,age 19; nephew Reginald Lewis Barham,age 1, and a domestic servant.

Not long after the 1891 census Walter and his wife moved to Hastings Sussex. He us found in a Sussex directory for Hastinngs in 1899 at the Olive Vale Hotel on Old London Road where he is the proprietor of the establishment. His wife Hannah had passed away in Hastings in the 2nd qtr of 1896.

After the death of his first wife, with whom he had no children, Walter married Jessie Margaret. Walter and his wife are found in the 1911 census without children at The Dunn Horse Inn at 29 Albion Road,Halton,Hastings where Walter is the innkeeper. His wife Jessie had been born 1871 at Wateringbury,Kent. Directories of Sussex show Walter at this Inn from at least 1909 to 1918.

Walter died at Hastings,Sussex in the 3rd qtr of 1917 and his wife Jessie Margaret Luck died at Bleen,Kent March 31,1935. The probate record for her shows she was a widow and her estate of about 530 pounds was left in the hands of her executors James Alexander Douglas Luck, a gas fitter, and Mabel Elsie Luck, a spinster.

The “Dunn Horse Inn” sometimes referred to as Dun Horse Inn at 29 Albion Street had been around since at least 1871 but just before WW II  Albion Street was redeveloped and the area became  Halton Terrace and Halton Crescent and since that time has been a residential area.



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

Date: June 11,2013


Chapter 6 of a book entitled “The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells” edited by John Cunningham and published in 2004 by the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society provides a detailed account of the history of this development. The area was identified on the 1838 Stidolph map as “The Grosvenor Estate” with the first development of it being the cemetery.A large part of the estate(60 acres)came under the ownership of the Conservative Land Society in 1856 who turned the land into a residential development called “The Woodbury Park Estate” and offered the building plots for sale The 1867/8 OS map shows Woodbury Park covering plots on the south side of Queens Road down to Upper Grosvenor Road and the current Chilston Road, which at the time was called Woodbury Crescent.In 1863 the final allotment of 37 building plots were offered for sale. By 1897 the whole development was complete except for a few gaps around the north end of Park Road. It was at the north end of Park Road that the subject building of this article was constructed . A reference to its builder, from the aforementined book, states “ Charles Adie, who was responsible for a considerable amount of the residential development of the town in the 1870’s and 1880’s, applied for planning for Nos. 26-40 in 1887/8 and for two houses on plot 5”. The remaining unsold lots were auctioned off in 1895. “Off Woodbury Park is Park Road, which began to be built up in the 1870’s.Charles Adie put in for planning application for Nos. 1-3 in 1876 and these houses match Nos. 47-55 in Upper Grosvenor Road which were built at the same time-large villas with a high degree of ornamentation…It seems that Adie completed these houses and later built others, including Nos. 15/17 and 19/21 Park Road, as his name appears under planning applications in 1887”.



In 1887 a large three storey semi-detached residence was constructed at the north west corner of Woodbury Park Road and Church Road, with an address of 19 and 21 Park Road.  The map opposite shows the location of 19 and 21 marked in red. The date of its construction,made from brick, appears above the window level on the middle gable of the buildings front elevation.  Initially the building had no name, just an address.It was not given the name “Agra House” until it was transformed from residential to institutional use in 1902 when it became a Dr Barnardo’s Home..The residence was constructed by local builder Charles Adie (1834-1916) who had been born in Staffordshire, one of several children born to Francis Adie(1801-1884) and Margaret Adie, nee Birch (1800-1854). In June 1857 Charles married Fanny Dukes(1839-1888) at Staffordshire and they had their first of 11 children there in 1858.Sometime between 1859 and the taking of the 1861 census, Charles and his wife and daughter moved to Tunbridge Wells. Charles was a man of many careers for during the time he lived and worked in Tunbridge Wells his occupations, which often overlapped, were that of solicitors conveyancing clerk,auctioneer, estate agent, brickmaker and builder. It is his connection with building that he is best remembered for . There are many projects credited to him throughout the town and he certainly left his mark, as his obituary states “ in the bricks and mortar of the town”.It was not all smooth sailing for Charles as he faced serious financial setbacks and  bankruptcy in the period of 1877-1879. He however recovered to some extent from these problems and is known to have undertaken several building projects in the years following, including a number of homes on Upper Grosvenor Road  and  #1-3 Park Road, to name just two.

In 1888 Charles wife Fanny passed away and in October 1888 he married Julia Susanna Muller,born 1864, at Southwark,Surrey. With Julia Charles had three more children. The 1891 census, taken at 91 Queens Road records Charles Adie and his family. Queens Road, as well as Park Road ,were two of the roads forming part of the Woodbury Park development and it is believed by the researcher that Charles Adie built his 91 Queens Road residence for he and his family to live in. Soon after the 1891 census, Charles and his wife moved to Brixton,Surrey. Charles died there at Guy’s Hospital in 1906 leaving an estate to his wife valued at only 250 pounds.For anyone interested in more information about Charles Adie I would suggest looking at an article I wrote about him in 2013 entitled ‘The Life and Times of Charles Adie” . If you can’t find it on my website  you should be able to see a copy of it at theTunbridge Wells Library or the Museum who keep a file on my articles.

The exterior of the residence at 19 and 21 Park Road is today much the same as it looked when constructed by Charles Adie,but there have of course been some relatively minor alterations.The interior of the building has been extensively changed and bears little if any resemblance to the way it was finished in 1887. The architect of the residence is not known but the home has many pleasing architectural features common of Victorian architectural style.

The intersection of Woodbury Park Road and Park Road is at a high point in the ground with Park Road sloping down sharply from Woodbury Park. For this reason, the site of the residence was somewhat difficult to build on for all of its grounds are below the level of Woodbury Park Road. The frontage of the residence on Park Road presents a building elevation at the north east corner as being a two storey home with a third floor in the attic area but due to the downward slope of Park Road from that point, the south elevation of the residence presents itself with its basement level being completely above ground suggesting a 3 sty building plus attic floor. The rear of the building also appears as 3 stys plus attic floor and today is accessed by a driveway off of Woodbury Park Road which is bordered on both sides by a decorative  brown toned brick wall of newer vintage than the original house .This driveway access was not original to the residence.

Photographs of the 1930’s show that the residence was constructed of reddish brick with stone quions and some stone architectural details at the two arched front door entrances. There are also nicely carved brackets surrounding the building below the eaves and several brick chimneys extending upwards from the north and south faces of the building.The roof was finished in slate. The roof floor is lit by four dormers on the west(rear)  side and one on each of the north and south sides as well as the  three dormers clearly seen in the photo opposite on the front elevation.  The front elevation on Park Road shows, as its most distinguishing features, two banks of bay windows above one another on each of the two main floors; a pair of decorative arched entrances between the bays; and nice “gingerbread” (painted white)eaves on the two gable ends,typical Victorian style features.

In the 1930’s, when the building was a Dr. Bernardo’s home called Agra House, the front entrance to the building was guarded by two pairs of stone posts connected to the building by a pair of stone walls, with iron gates between the posts.This detail can be seen in the photo opposite and was most likely an original feature of the building when it was two private but attached residences.Today the gates and posts and the front wall have been removed.The side walls  at the entrance extending from the sidewalk to the building are still there and perhaps are original to the house.Today they are painted white.

A walk by the house today or a virtual walk by way of google maps shows  that the original design and footprint of the building has remained unchanged, although it was converted into flats in the 20st century, a use it retains today and for which use the driveway entrance to the rear yard from Woodbury Park Road was constructed. The rear yard today is a place for parking of residents vehicles but  until the conversion to flats was a nicely landscaped backyard.Today the rear elevation of the building shows that the basement wall above ground has been painted white. The quoins on all corners of the building have also been painted white. Also painted white today is the main floor facing Park Road and both banks of Bay windows. None of the windows in the building have glazing bars, indicating that they are replacements but of the same size as the original windows.The south elevation of the building and the property to the rear is today accessed by a decending flight of steps off of Park Road.The wall of the lower floor at the south elevation is also painted white. A stone slab walkway runs along the south side of the building which matches the same stone slabs leading to the buildings two front doors. 

Originally the building had an elevated long terrace along its rear elevation , which by way of two flights of stone steps led to the rear garden. Photographs provided later in this article show what the terrace looked like in the 1930’s and under the heading “Recent Development” can be seen a photo of what remained of this terrace in 2004.

In 1972 the large grounds immediately to the south of 19& 21 Park Road, that separated it from 15/17 Park Road, was divided off and upon it was constructed a brick three storey terrace of three townhouses that occupies the site today. Initially these grounds were landscaped and used by the residents of 19/21 Park Road.The property line between 19/21 Park Road and this new building is, based on the location of the fence, about 6 feet from the south wall of the 19/21. This fence extends to the rear of the property and then turns to the north following the west property line until it intersects a green wooden picket fence that runs along Woodbury Park Road up to Park Road, except for an opening to accommodate the driveway entrance I referred to earlier. A sign on a post at the entrance to this new building on Park Road identifies it as “ 1,2, & 3 Park Court”.Futher information about this site is given under the heading “Recent Development”.


The 1901 census for Park Road recorded that both 19 and 21 Park Road were unoccupied.A review of census and directories before 1901 did not result in finding any occupants of that address and as a result, considering  the “unoccupied” 1901 entry, it is my opinion that there was no continuous occupancy of the building between 1887 ,when it was built, and 1902 when it became a Barnardo’s Home. It is possible that it was let out on a short term basis but for whatever reason, the occupany of the building could not be determined by the researcher.

AGRA HOUSE 1902-1939

From the Cunningham book referred to above is given the following information. “From 1902-1938, “Agra House”,19 Park Road, was a Barnardo’s Home (see photo above).It is an interesting reflection on the changing nuances in the meaning of the words, that Barnardo’s was known in 1902 as the National Waifs’ Association and No. 19 was a ‘Home for Little Incurables’,both descriptions being entirely acceptable at the time, but subsequently changed to words with less emotionally-charged associations.It is also instructive that at that time, Barnordo’s had ‘already rescued,trained and placed out in life nearly 60,000 Orphan Waifs’;had ‘emigrated to our Colonies 1,266 Boys and Girls during 1904; and Barnardo’s declared that 16 pounds will maintain a child in a Home for one year’ and 10 pounds will cover all cost of emigrating one child’. Times have certainly changed”. As one can see from the caption at the top of the photograph, the premises are referred to only as “Agra House,Park Road”. Cunningham’s reference to #19 being Barnardo’s is only partially correct for the 1911 census and the photographs themselves  show that Barnardo’s occupied 19 and 21 Park Road.

The dates of occupancy by Barnardo’s of the building show a difference in how they are stated. In terms of when Barnardo’s took occupancy of the building, it is known from the 1901 census that they had not moved in then. Barnaro’s website states that they occupied “19 Park Road “ from 1902-1939 and that they also had St Christophers on Pembury Road 1947-1976. The later premises I have written about before in a separate article about the Ravensdale (Willicombe House) Mansion in 2012, a copy of which can be obtained at the Tunbridge Wells Library and the Museum. In a book entitled Memoirs of the Late Dr. Barnardo by Mrs Barnardo and James Marchant, published in 1907 is the following reference “ 1903,December 18, A Home for Incurable Children opened in Tunbridge Wells”. The text associated with the circa 1930 photograph of Barnardo’s Home given above states “Agra House, 19 Park Road,Tunbridge Wells, opened June 1902.A home for disabled children. Closed March 1939”. A website giving a historical timeline of significant events in Tunbridge Wells gives “1902-A Dr. Barnardo’s home,caring for invalid children was established at Agra House in Park Road.The home was demolished in 1939”. The reference to the building being demolished in 1939 is incorrect for as I have pointed out it is still there.The book by Rowlands and Beqavis, published in 1991 and entitled “Tunbridge Wells In Old Photographs gives  the photograph opposite with a caption that also refers to the date Agra House opened.

The front page of the 1911 census gives “Miss Haslam, Dr. Barnardo’s Home for Incurable Children 19 & 21 Park Road”. The census records that the facility housed 20 males and 29 females. It also recorded that the premises had 27 rooms but this was crossed out and replaced in red with 15 rooms.Based on the size of 19 and 21 Park Road, and comparing the number of rooms in other buildings in the area (including 15 & 17 Park Road of similar size) it is my opinion that the total number of rooms was actually 27.Of the 49 people in the home 38 were children between the ages of 2 to 19 and of the 11 remaining 3 were domestics, 6 were sick nurses and two were matrons.

I have not researched in depth the various members of staff at Agra House but here is a list of some of the Matrons of the institution. 1903-1910-Miss C. Haslam; 1911-1924 Miss Edith M. Sutcliffe;1925 to 1939-Miss D Graham –Jones  who was the last matron of Agra House.The Miss Haslam referred to was Caroline Haslam, born 1862 at Calway,Ireland who died November 16,1911 at Agra House,Tunbridge Wells.When the 1911 census was taken at Agra House both Caroline Haslam and Edith Mary Sutcliffe were listed as matrons of the institution.

Shown opposite9right) is a  postcard view of Agra House dated 1909 and is a view of the rear terrace area of the premises with a group of children and nurses.

Another  image from 1909 has in the caption at the bottom “Dr Bernardo’s Homes-Home for Incurable Children,Agra House,Tunbridge Wells.

The image (above left) is from the 1930’s and is a postcard recently offered for sale on eBay and is labelled The National Incorporated Waifs Association Dr Barnardo’s Homes-A Ward in home for cripples,Agra House,Tunbridge Wells. This interior view of the premises closely resembles what a hospital ward looked like at the time. Although typical of the times it is in my view not a very pleasing environment for a child to be brought up in as it is very “clinical” in appearance.The National Incorporated Waifs Association was established in 1866. In 1917 its head office was located at 18 to 26 Stepney Cuaseway,London E. Herbert Fry’s Royal Guide to London Charities for 1917 gives “ Dr Barnardo’s Homes-To rescue,train and place out in life destitute,orphan, and forlorn children, irrespective of age,sex,creed or physical ability.Charter. No destitute child ever refused admission. No red tape.No votes required.No money promise needed”. This association had been located in 1901 at 199 Burdett Rd, London,East.

So how did Agra House get its name? Well it is surmised by the researcher that it derives its roots from Agra, India, which is both a district and city in India, a place in which many destitute children could be seen. Dr. Bernardo was a well- travelled man who had  been to India early in his life and it was from trips to China and other places that he became sensitive to the plight of children who found themselves in unfortunate circumstances. There were certainly many of them to be seen in India. In 2000 Agra, India had a population of some 1.4 million.It is most famous perhaps for being the site of the wonderful Taj Mahal, but one does not have to stray far from this landmark to see the sad state of many people’s lives.


A considerable about of information is available online and recorded in various books about this remarkable man. Given here is a brief summary of pertinent information about the man for those who are unfamiliar with him.

Thomas John Barnardo(photo opposite)  was a philanthropist and founder and director of homes for poor children.From the foundation of the first Barnardo’s home in 1870 to the date of his death nearly 100,000 children had been rescued,trained and given a better life.

Thomas was born in Dublin Ireland  July 4,1845 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church. He was the fourth of five children of John Michaelis Barnardo (1800-before1885), a furrier, and his second wife Abilgail Amelia Drinkwater(1820-1900) who were married June 23,1837 at German Church,London. The Barnardo family was of Spanish origin.At the beginning of the 19th century the family moved to Hamburg,Germany under pressure of religious difficulties. John Michaelis Barnardo was born at Hamburg in 1800 who spent many years there before emigrating to Dublin,Ireland where he became a naturalized British citizen and established his business. Thomas’s mother belonged to an old Quaker family who had settled in Ireland. Thomas’s father had been married twice and had fathered 17 children.

With the intention of qualifying for medical missionary work in China Thomas studied medicine at the London Hospital, and later at Paris and Edinburgh, where he became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. However, he never earned a doctorate, and in later life was prosecuted for falsely claiming he was a doctor. The evangelical work he carried on alongside his medical studies in London served to make him aware of the great number of homeless and destitute children adrift in the cities of England.He decided to give up his early ambition to lead a missionary’s life in China and began what was to be his lifes work in England. The first of Dr Barnardo’s Homes was opened in 1870 at Stepney.The  cause spread and over the years many homes were established.At the time of his death in 1905 there had been 112 district homes established,besides mission branches, throughout the whole of Britain.The object for which these institutions were started was to search for and to receive waifs and strays, to feed,clothe and educate them.

On June 17,1873 Thomas married Syrie Louise Barnard(1842-1944) who was the daughter of an underwriter for Lloyd’s of London.He and his wife were given a 15 year lease on a home in Barkingside as a wedding gift.There he created a 60 acre rural retreat with the vision of creating a way of life for destitute children that resembled growing up in a village.On July 9,1876 The Girls Village Home was officially opened.The facility was expanded and by 1906 it had 66 cottages housing some 1,300 girls.In 1899 the various institutions and organizations were incorporated under the title of “The National Association for the Reclamation of Destitute Waif Children but the institution was always known as “Dr Barnardo’s Homes”.

Thomas’s wife shared her husband’s interests in evangelism and social work.The couple settled at Mossford Lodge,Essex where they had seven children,three of whom died in early childhood.Thomas.

Thomas died of heart problems in London on September 19,1905 and was buried in front of Cairns House,Barkinside, east London.The house is now the head office of the children’s charity he founded.

Shown opposite (left)is the monument of Thomas John Barnardo at Tanners Lane,Barkingside and given  right  is another image showing in better detail the plaque on the monument. From the foundation of the homes in 1867 to the date of his death, nearly 60,000 children had been rescued,trained and placed out in life.At the time of his death the charity was caring for over 8,500 children in 96 homes. The charity continues today but they disposed of all of the homes in the 1970’s.Although much credit can be given to Thomas for the role he played in helping children  his views and practices sometimes came under scrutiny and were often criticized. He was for example accused of falsifying the ‘before and after’ photographs of the children to overstate the condition the children were in before his charity took them in.Also it was claimed that some of the children in care were abused and not properl;y cared for and there are many stories told of children sent to Canada and other places who were put in private homes where they were both unloved and overworked. One can expect both good and bad reports for such an organization but in balance it would be safe to conclude that his charity was of great benefit to children.


As mentioned above, the side garden of 19/21 Park Road was severed off and redeveloped. A planning application in 2004 referred to the grounds being “used for various open land uses before the townhouses were built”. The townhouses referred to were a terrace of three –three sty townhouses constructed in 1972(ref SW1/72/7) more or less in line with the rear walls of the residences on either side. This structure had two drive accesses off of Park Road with garages built into the first floor. The building was constructed of red brick but was later repainted white. The architectural style of this building was not complementary to the Victorian architecture of the area.In 2004 an application was made for Planning Authority approval to demolish this block of townhouses and replace it with a 3-4 sty 8 unit apartment building and even though the architects came up with a pleasing design the application was refused on the grounds that it was an overdevelopment of the site .

Shown at the top of this article marked in red and blue  is a site map from 2004 that accompanied the redevelopment application of the 3 townhouses known at 1,2, & 3 Park Court located between 17 and 19 Park Road. This map gives a good idea of the size and shape of the original grounds of 19/21 Park Road as it included all of the land now occupied by the townhouses.

The application also include four photographs showing 19/21 Park Road. The first gave  a side view of 19/21 Park Road looking into 1-3 Park Court. The Park Court building is  just to the left of 19/21.

No applications for Planning Authority approval pertaining specifically to 19/21 Park Road are given online before 1980 .It is known from a planning application by Mr A. Hoppen (Mr J.R. Douche of Ephraim Lodge) in September 1980 that approval was given for “ Conversion of 19 and 21 Park road into 16 self- contained flats but a review of records for the building before  1980 shows that the building was already flats. From the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library I was informed, from a search of directories, that in 1939 #19 Park road had three flats numbered 19A,B,C and this continued throughout the 1940’s-1960’s era with the same numbering given in a 1969 directory. At #21 Park Road only two flats are listed over the same period. For a time in the 1940’s-1950’s the directories, for some strange reason lumped together all of the flats at 19 and 21 and report them at the #19 address only. In 1961 the flats at #21 are reported as #21A and #21B. The 1974 directory lists only #19 with 19A given with two occupants with different surnames; 19B and 19C with one and 19D with three occupants with different surnames. This confusing record appears to lump together the flats at #21 with those at #19 for it obviously makes no sense to have more than one set of surnames in each flat. The 1974 listing would indicate therefore that the total number of flats at 19/21 are seven suggesting that some changes to the building took place in the 1970’s to accommodate more flats. A closeup picture of the front of the building shows in modern times that just inside the two stone arches at the front entrance are at least two doors providng access to each half of the building. There may also be other entrances to the flats at other sides of the  building for which I have no details.

What was actually proposed in the 1980 application was to undertake extensive interior renovations to increase the number of flats. This building today, and probably since 1980 at least, became known as Park House, a name it retains today.The flats in the building are numbered 1-4A; 1-4B;1-4C and 1-4D and occupy the entire building at 19 and 21 Park Road.Apart from two applications pertaining to trees the 1980 application was the only one involving the building except for a January 2007 application by the occupant of flat B1 to replace windows and a door with PVC units, which application was approved.

The occupants of the flats have a leasehold interest and a review of recent sales of the flats indicate that they have  been selling in the range of 100,000 -130,000 pounds.There was a  recent sale of one of the flats by the estate agents Andrews , and Stuart Castle of Andrews was kind enough to send me a copy of the sales brochure. The flat offered for sale was a 1st floor one bedroom flat “in this mature building, offering hallway,living room,kitchen and double bedroom, residents parking”. It states that there are communal grounds around the property with meter cupboards under the front porch and to the rear is a car park for residents use on a first come first served basis”. The brochure included a photograph of the front of the building (shown opposite); an interior view of one of the rooms and a floor plan. The flat is quite small and of course the heating of the building was converted from fireplaces (now blocked up) to a modern heating  system. All of the plumbing and electrical systems of the building were upgraded and modernized many years ago. The interior photo of the building shows wide but plain baseboards and nothing special about the ceiling and walls, indicating that much of the period architectural features of the building have  been lost. The exterior view of the building shows just below the middle front gable of the building the date “1887” denoting and proving its date of construction. A close-up view of this date shows that it is made of bricks and extends out from the field brick of the front wall. Quite a nice feature and very well executed, based on a close-up view of it sent to me by a volunteer who sometimes assists me with obtaining current photographs. The name “Park House” appears on a green plaque mounted on the wall between the two entrance doors and also on a freestanding sign located in the front courtyard, both of which can be seen in the “Andrews” photo of the front elevation of the building,given above.



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

Date: June 25,2013


Rev. Walter Thomas Turpin was born in 1834 at Diddleton. He was educated at Elphin School and matriculated T.C.D. July 1,1852. He obtained his BA in 1857 and his MA in 1857. He  was the curate of Lynally 1859, and of Tullamore 1860-2 and became Chaplain to Tullimore Prison from whence he contracted a serious fever.

In 1862 he became Missionary of the Irish Church Missions in Dublin, and then chaplain of the Albert Chapel (Molyneux Church) 1863-4. Her later left the Church of Ireland and became associated with the Plymouth Brethren movement in which he became prominent. He wrote extensively, edited a number of monthly magzaines and lived in Tunbridge Wells. After some twenty years he left the Brethren and founded the Emmanual Chapel in Eastbourne,Sussex (Church of England) of whioch he remained minister for some years. He doed December 20,1914 and buried in Eastbourne cemetery. He had been married twice. His first marriage was on February 15,1858 at Kildare,Tullamore to Margaret. Margaret was the eldest daughter of George Peirce, M.D., F.R.C.S.I. and Superintendent of the King’s County Infirmary and Ellen Acres. Mary died September 4,1863 and Walter remarried.Shown above is a photograph of Rev. Turpin.


Walter was born 1834 at Middleton,Dublin,Ireland and was one  of six children born to Thomas Dawson Turpin(1802-1843) and Charlotte Alicia Conyngham (1808-1843.Thomas Dawson Turpin had been born January 8,1892, matric T.C.D. 1820 but there is no record of him having obtained a degree. In 1832 he married Charlotte Alicia Coneygham, the daughter of the Rev. Launcelot King Conyngham, Rector of Ratoath, Co. Meath and his wife Leticia, daughter of Archibald Richardson of Dublin, a surgeon. Thomas Dawson Turpin lived at Kileen House outside Tullamore and later at Middleton, near Dublion.

Walter and his wife Margaret produced three children, namely Georgina Ellen(1859-1943) who married Benjamin Glenny and had a daughter who died in infancy; Elizabeth Charlotte(1862-1944) who married Arthur J.H. Brown, of Bexhill, a schoolmaster; Margaret Alicia (1863-1952) who married William Penson.

Walter Turpin remarried October 28,1864 Ellen Wade Thompson, the daughter of Thomas T. Thompson of Lesson St.,Dublin and with her had the following children, Mary (1865-1940), Annie Katerine Wade(1867-1940) Ellen Mary(born 1876), Walter Bowke(1880-1954)) Meliora Mary A Conyngham(1883-1967) and Mehora M born in 1884.

Walter Thomas Turpin died December 20,1914 at 30 Upperton-gardens, Eastbourne,Sussex ‘Incumbent of Emmanuel Church,Eastbourne,age 80 years’.

The Cavan Observer,County Cavan, Ireland of March 5,1859 announced that ‘The Rev Walter T. Turpin having resigned the curacy of Templehamy, diocese of Killaloe, has been appointed to that of Lynally,diocese of Meath by the Rev. Ralph Coote”.

Shown opposite is a photograph of St Silas Church in Glasgow. The caption with the photo states that this church opened for Divine Worship November 20,1864 by Rev. Canon Savage, vicar of Nunecton and an Honorary Canon of Wecester.”The first incumbent was Rev. Walter T. Turpin of Dublin”.

Records of the 1870’s show that Walter was a resident of 2 Clarenden Villa in Brompton and during that time had extensive land holdings in Ireland including 607 acres at King’s County.

As noted in the overview Rev. Turpin wrote extensively and edited a number of monthly magazines. A good list of his literary works can be found on the website which gives the following (summary only) 91) The great Servant-prophet being part 1 giving nine addresses on the Gospel of Mark (2) The Man Christ Jesus-addresses on the Gospel of Luke (3) Occasional Papers Volume 1 (4) Occasional Papers Volume 2 (5) Practical Truths (6) Christ; His People’s Portion and Object (7) The Christian; What is he-Heavenly of Earthly? (8) Light for the Pilgrim Path (9) Our Pilgramage and His Rest (10) Remnant Times; as illustrated in the History of Enoch,David, and Daniel (11) Gospel Papers,61 messages and 17 poems and over 20 booklets and pamphlets.


In the census of 1871 Walter Turpin was living with his wife Ellen in Inveresk,Midlothan,Scotland. In the 1881 census they were living in Brighton,Sussex . Sometime between 1881 and 1891 the family moved to Tunbridge Wells. The 1891 census, taken at 47 Upper Grosvenor Road records Walter ,age 55, a teacher, and in fact was operating a school. Living with him was his wife Ellen, age 50 who was a school mistress in her husband’s school. His daughters Georgina E,age 32; ElizabethC,age 30 and Margaret A,age 29  were all spinsters living with their parents and working as teachers in the school. Also on the premises was his sister-in-law Louise O. Sol De Jesech, born 1843 in Ireland who was living on own means. In addition there was Walters daughter Anne Catherine,age 34,sinlge working as a school teacher; a daughter Ellen Mary, age 15; a son Walter Bowle,age 11 and a daughter Mehora M,age 7. Also there was a 52 year old governess; 5 domestic servants and 6 girls who were pupils in the school.

A review of local directories turns up some interesting and contradictory results, much of which was discovered by me in association with my research about Agra House at 17-19 Park Road in Tunbridge Wells, a name given to this Victorian mansion when it became a Dr Barnaodos Home in 1904. For those interested in the history of that building and its occupants I would recommend that you consult a separate article I wrote about it in 2013. Local builder Charles Adie was responsible for the construction of this semi-detadched residence in the 1880’s and also a similar residence at 15-17 Park Road.It is as the later residence that a connection of Rev. Turpin is found in the directories and for that matter also to Agra House. Shown opposite is a map that shows the location of Agra House(in red) at 19 and 21 Park Road, and marked in blue is 15 and 17 Park road.

The Tunbridge Wells Reference Library checked  local directories on my behalf and reported  that #17 Park Road appears in the 1889 directory and that in the directories of 1893-94 is the entry “15,17 Agra House, Turpin,Walter T.Turpin, Mrs ,Ladies school. The same entry appears in the directory of 1894-5 and in 1896-7 is given “15 and 17 Turpin Walter T. 15 and 17 Turpin Mrs. Ladies School.In directories of 1898-99 there is no mention of the school  and in 1902-3 #17 is referred to as ‘Felixholme’. Shown opposite is a recent image of 15-17 Park Road  and this residence will be the subject of a future article about its history and occupancy. For those not familiar with the streets of Tunbridge Wells it should be noted that Park Road connects of Upper Grosvenor road so the addresses of 47 Upper Grosvenor Road where Turpin had his school (as listed in the 1891 census) is not far from the location of the Park Road building. Directories indicate that the last date of the Turpins school is 1900 when it is listed simply as Mr & Mrs Walter T. Turpin.

By 1901 the Turpins had moved to Eastbourne,Sussex


The 1901 census, taken at 17 Selwyn Rd, Eastbourne Susses records the presence of Walter T. Turpin who is given as a clergyman with the Church of England. Living with him was his wife Ellen; their children Georgina,Annie and Melora; one boarder and three domestic servants.

The 1911 census, taken at 30 Upperton Gardens, Eastbourne Sussex, records the presence of Walter Thomas Turpin, a clergyman established church, With him was his two daughters Annie,age44 and Ellen Mary,age 35.There was also one boarder and two servants present. The census records that their residence had 16 rooms and that of the seven children born all had survived.

Probate records give “Walter Thomas Turpin of 30 Upperton Gardens,Eastbourne,Susses, died December 10,1914.His wife was the executor of his estate valued at 2,314 pounds. His wife Ellen was living at 26 Westby Road in Boscombe,Hampshire when she died January 30,1919. Her son Walter Boule Turpin, a bank clerk, was the executor of her estate valued at 791 pounds.

Walters connection to the Emnanuel Anglican Church in Eastbourne was mentioned in the overview. This church (shown opposite) was constructed in 1880 and was a modest prefabricated building put up in a central location in town.Its final closing came in WW II when the building was damaged by bombs and demolition of the building came soon afterwards. Directory records throughout the period of 1901 to 1914 confirm his continued association with this church and was always given as ‘the incumbent of Emmanuel Church”.



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

Date: August 28,2013

The patriarch of the family was John Luck who established a china and glass shop in the Pantiles in the late 1840’s. Shown opposite is a photograph of their shop at #4 Ye Pantiles,upon which is their sign, which was taken in the early 1900’s .Their shop was located at the north east end of the Pantiles, at its entrance from Nevill Street, opposite King Charles the Martyr Church.Once the Bath House, it had seen many occupants over the years and after the Luck family vacated the premises it  became one of the Boots Cash Chemists shops in town. The shop was in a good location, for there were always lots of people shopping in this popular area, and for that reason, combined with good management, the business was a success. There has been a chemist at this location ever since Boot’s moved in and in 2011 the Imperial Pharmacy was operating there.

China and glass shops were always a place of wonder for in them was a wide range of merchandise from the lower priced practical items for every- day use to the elaborate and expensive high end ornate items for the well off, items which today are much in demand by antique collectors. Some would say that the Victorian era was the golden age of glass and china and the Luck family would have had no difficulty finding customers for their goods in a town as affluent as Tunbridge Wells. Two common phrases namely “ Bull in a china shop” and “you break it you buy it” owe their existence to shops like the one owned by the Luck’s for breakage of goods in shops of this type by careless customers was commonplace and the shopkeeper could not afford to take the loss. Tunbridge Wells had several china and glass shops so the Luck family were not without competition in the marketplace.In 1840 for example, the china and glass dealers then operating in the town were John Carr on Calverley road, Thomas George Mattews on London Road, Robert Mercer on at Chapel Yard, Jeffery Seamer on Mount Ephraim Sawyer & Seamer on The Parade and Joseph Delves at Bath Square.

The Luck family had its roots in Sussex and in 1840 there were no members of the Luck clan operating businesses in Tunbridge Wells. The Delves family on the other hand were well established by the 1840’s in Tunbridge Wells and as noted above Joseph Delves (1805-1862) occupied in 1840 a glass and china shop that later would become the premises of John Luck’s shop. Joseph was one of seven children born to Richard Delves(1777-1842 and Eleanor Delves,nee Buckland(1776-1836).Joseph Delves, apart from selling glass and china was also listed in the 1840 directory at Bath Square as a grocer and tea dealer. At some point in time in the late 1840’s John Luck and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells and took over the premises of Joseph Delves.

The first record of the Luck family in Tunbridge Wells I refer to is the 1851 census in which John Luck, born 1807 Sussex is found as a china and glass dealer operating his shop from the Pantiles. Living with him was his wife Jane, born 1823 in Burwash,Sussex; their son Charles, born 1844 in Hove,Sussex; Louisa born 1848,Tunbridge Wells and Maria born 1850 Tunbridge Wells. Given the birth dates and places of birth of the children one can conclude that the family moved to Tunbridge Wells from Hove,Sussex sometime between 1845 and 1848. John and Sarah Luck were married in Sussex no later than 1843, based on the year of birth of their eldest known child, Charles.

By the time that the 1861 census had been taken John Luck had passed away, and his wife Sarah took it over. Her son Charles, who in 1861 was age 17, was also actively involved in the business at that time and shortly thereafter the two of them became partners in the business. The date of John’s passing is not precisely known by the researcher but based on the year of birth of the couples last child is considered to be 1860 for the 1861 census records that John Luck,age 3 months, was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1861. The 1861 census , taken at” Bath House, Parade” records Jane Luck,age 38, as head of the family with the occupation of “china merchant”.  Also present was her son Charles, age 17, a china merchant; daughter Laura,age 13; Maria ,age 11; George,age 9; Walter,age 6;Frances Charlotte,age 5 and John,age 3 mths. Also present was a boarder and two domestic servants.  Although no attempt has been made by the researcher to study the lives of all of the children it is known, from my study of photographers in Tunbridge Wells, that Walter Luck, born 1854, who’s birth was registered in 1855, became a well- known photographer in town who in 1876 formed a partnership with photographer Frederick Luck and for several years afterwards ran two studios in town under the name of Hatt & Luck.

The 1871 census, taken at #4 Parade, is the same building the business started in in the late 1840’s. Found there was Jane Luck as head of the family ,a widow, and a china merchant. Also present was her son Charles, age 27, a “partner” in the china and glass business; her son Walter,age 16, an artist photographer ; her daughter Frances Charlotte, age 15 and daughter Maria, age 21 who’s occupation was given as “housekeeper”.

Sometime after the 1871 census Charles Luck left the household of his mother, and I continue his story later. His mother Jane is found in the 1881 census at #4 The Parade, widower, age 58, a glass and china merchant. Living with her washer children Maria and George and one domestic servant. The 1891 census, taken at #1 South Grove,Tunbridge Wells records Jane, age 68 as a retired lady living on own means. With her was her children Maria and Charlotte and one domestic servant. The 1911 census,taken at 1 South Grove, High Street, Tunbridge Wells records Jane, age 88 and with her was aa 76 year old widowed nurse attendant by the name of Sarah Palmer. Jane passed away a few years after this census was taken.

When Jane Luck retired from business her son Charles took over the business. On May 25,1874 Charles Luck married Sarah Maria Cripps at South Hackney, St John of Jerusalem. Sarah had been baptised January 7,1846 in Tunbridge Wells. The marriage records actually records Maria’s surname as Crepps and that her father was Thomas Crepps but this is record is in error for her surname was actually Cripps and she was the daughter of Thomas Cripps, well known in town as a nurseryman,seedsman and florist. I have written extensively about the business and family of Thomas Cripps before and would suggest you consult that article for details about them. In brief , Thomas Cripps established his nursery business in the town in 1837.He had married Sarah Russell on January 30,1837 at St Martin in the Fields, Westminster,London  and the couple had four children namely Ellen Hephziba,William Thomas,Henry Hairs and Sarah Maria Cripps who was born 1846 in Tunbridge Wells. As a young lady Sarah worked in the nursery and florist shop of her father and did so for many years leading up to her marriage to Charles Luck. Sarah’s  mother died early as did her two brothers and with no male heir the continuation of Cripps business fell on Ellen Hephzibah Cripps when her father passed away in 1888. Ellen made a great success of the business . Shown above is a photo of Thomas Cripps.

Returning now to Charles Luck and his wife Sarah Maria, they are found in the 1881 census at 18 Claremont Road with their children Annie G,age 4; Charles T,age 2; Reginald G,age 1 and newborn Ethel L. Also in the home were one visitor and one servant. Charles is listed in this census as a partner in a glass and china business. Shown opposite is a postcard view of Claremont Road. The 1882 Kelly directory records Charles at the same address. Claremont Road was the private residence of the family and their shop was still in the Pantiles.

The 1891 census, taken a 136 Upper Grosvenor Road records Charles Luck as the proprietor of china dealer business. Living with him was his wife Sarah and their children Anne G, Charles Thomas,Percy George,Ethel Louisa, Herbert William,Lilian Margaret, Henry (Harry) George and Arthur Stanley Luck. The home at 136 Upper Grosvenor (shown below) was quite a nice two storey Victorian style residence in a neighbourhood of fine homes. The area has remained little changed over the years but many of these homes have been converted into flats. Thankfully the exterior appearance the buildings has been little altered and the area retains its original Victorian charm.

The 1901 census was also taken at 136 Upper Grosvenor Road and records the family as it did in 1891 with the exception that their son Percy George Luck, who had  been born in 1881 was no longer in the home. This census records that their son Charles Thomas, age 23 was working as a manager of a lumber yard; their daughter Annie,age 24, was a secretary typist and their daughter Ethel Louisa,age 20 was working in the family business as a “shop assistant glass and china”.

The 1903 Kelly directory gives two listings for Charles Luck, the first was for his residence at 136 Upper Grosvenor Road and the second was for his business at 4 Ye Pantiles which was described as a china and glass warehouse. Charles Luck passed away in November 1903 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on November 11th. Upon his death the shop was sold and it became occupied by Boots Cash Chemists.

Sarah Maria Luck remained in Tunbridge Wells and is found in the 1911 census summary are Mrs Luck at 13 Somerset Road. In the home were four females and three males, most of whom would have been her children. Death and probate records show that Sarah was a resident of 13 Somerset Road, a widow, when she died February 13,1926. The executor of her  332 pound estate was her son Charles Thomas Luck, a manager. Sara was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on February 16th.













































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