ALL ABOUT
TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Page 3

 

FOXE’S GLACIER MINTS-A TUNBRIDGE WELLS TREAT

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

Date: February 7,2017

BUSINESS BACKGROUND 

In 1880 Walter Richard Fox began business in a Victorian warehouse in Leicester as a wholesale grocery and confectionary business. By 1897 he was manufacturing over 100 Fox confectionery lines. In 1918 Fox's Glacier Mints were launched, a product that became very popular, providing a cool refreshing taste to those who liked sweets.

In 1922 the polar bear Peppy first appeared on packaging and advertising and ever since that time it has been a recognized symbol of the company. Peppy is typically depicted as though standing on one of the mints. Glacier Mints resemble miniature blocks of ice and are clear and translucent.

In 1929 the company was a listed exhibitor at the British Industrial Fair given as “Manufacturers of Fox's Glacier Mints, Fox's Fruits, Fox's Barley Sugar, Fox's Botanic Throat and Chest Tablets, Fox's Eucalyptus and Menthol Tablets, Fox's Glacier Mints - Chocolate Coated. "The Finest Peppermint in the World". (Stand No. L.10)”. In 1956 Glacier Fruits were launched.Shown below are two photos of women making the mints.











In 1965 the company moved to a purpose-built site in Sunningdale Road, Braunstons,Leicester. In 1969 the company was bought by John Mackintosh and Co which in turn became part of Rowntree's in 1970 - thence Rowntree Mackintosh. Today Fox's Glacier Mints are the leading, branded boiled mint in the UK and are produced by Nestle to the traditional recipe. Today can be found a plaque pertaining to the history of the company on the building in Leicester that they moved from in 1965.

Shown below are some photographs of the nicely decorated lorries the company used to advertise and transport their products. No doubt lorries of this type once could be seen on the streets of Tunbridge Wells. Also shown is a parade vehicle in an unidentified town displaying signage and a large polar bear of Foxe's Glacier Mints. Both the lead motor car and the one behind it have a polar bear on the bonnet. Because of the popularity of Peppy the polar bear several companies produced stuffed polar bears for the children to cuddle up with and even companies producing china made replicas of it. All of these images are from the period of 1922 to 1926.



























FOX’S MINTS IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS
 

Tunbridge Wells had no shortage of sweet shops in the 19th and 20th century and shops selling the ever popular Fox’s mints and related tasty sweets can still be found.- I should know, for on my trip to Tunbridge Wells in the summer of 2015 I bought a bag of them and found them quite refreshing and enjoyable.

Shown opposite is a postcard by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn taken in 1923 on the occasion of the Shopping Week Carnival, an event held annually in the town. This event was sponsored by the Tunbridge Wells Tradesmen’s Association for the purpose of promoting and supporting local business. The shops in the town would present special offers (sales) during the week to draw in customers and boost trade. The event was very successful and everyone in the town looked forwarded to it each year. Note the sign over the rear wheel of the motor car referring to Camden Road and the large Fox's Glacier Mints sign on the door.

As part of the celebration a grand parade was organized, which meandered along the roads of the town’s commercial district including the High Street, Mount Pleasant Road,Camden Road and Calverley Road to name a few. The streets were lined with spectators and in the parade was a band playing rousing songs; various members of Societies and Associations etc. Motor Cars and the occasional horse drawn carriage/waggon were piled on to and they were all nicely decorated.  Shown opposite is an advertisement for the mints in 1936 and an old tin of mints at a price of 6d. If you have not tried these refreshing mints I can recommend them-they will cool down your taste buds on a hot summer day. For further information about Shopping Week see my article ‘ Shopping Week And The Tunbridge Wells Carnival’ dated August 17,2012 for it goes into much more detail and includes many other photographs.

 

A HISTORY OF MILES GARAGE LTD

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

Date: December 17,2016

OVERVIEW

Miles Garage, which is still in business today, was established in 1908 by Edward George Miles (1865-1956). It had begun business as a carriage repair company but with the introduction of the motor car in the early 20th century, the business moved away from carriages into the motor trade.

Edward George Miles had been born in Godmersham, Kent, one of nine known children born to George Miles, a fly proprietor and Emma Miles,nee Cheesman. By 1871 the family had moved to a farm at Patrixbourne, Kent where George Miles was a farm bailiff. By 1881 the family were living in Canterbury, Kent where George Miles was a fly proprietor and his son George became involved with his father in this line of work.

In 1889, at Faversham,Kent Edward George Miles married Esther Newing, who had been born 1864 in Faversham, Dunkirk, Kent. By 1911 he and his wife had six children but only five of them survived infancy.

At the time of the 1891 census Edward and his wife and eldest child William were living at Canterbury, Kent, where Edward worked as a coachman and groom.

Edward George Miles who began as a job master in 1892 at Victoria Stables in Southborough, later added a stables at Prospect Mews, Tunbridge Wells to the establishment. The 1901 census recorded Edward and his family at the Prospect Mews near Calverley Park Stables and Prospect Road. At that place Edward worked as a jobber and stable master on own account.

In 1908 Edward moved to new premises at 48 Little Mount Sion where he established Miles Garage. He and his wife and four children are found at that address at the time of the 1911 census, with Edward’s occupation given as ‘cab proprietor’.

Edward George miles passed away in Tunbridge Wells in 1956. Today Miles Garage Ltd is run by his great grandson Peter Miles.

THE MILES FAMILY

Edward George Miles was born 1865 at Godmersham Common, Kent. He was one of nine known children born to George Miles (1839-1920)who had been born 1839 in Blean, Kent. Edward’s mother was Emma Miles,nee Cheesman, who was born 1842 at Langby, Kent.

The 1871 census, taken at Shepherdsden Farm in Patrixbourne, Kent gave George Miles as a farm bailiff. With him was his wife Emma; six of their children, including Edward who was attending school. Also present was one domestic servant and four farm servants.

The 1881 census, taken at 44 Dover Street in Canterbury, Kent gave George Miles as a fly proprietor. With him was his wife Emma and six of their children, including Edward who was working with father.

In the 4th qtr of 1889, at Faversham, Kent, Edward married Esther Newing, who had been born 1865 at Faversham, Dunkirk, Kent.

The 1891 census, taken at 3 Hawthorne Terrace on Prospect Road in Canterbury gave Edward as a coachman and groom. With him was his wife Esther and their son William, born 1890 in Canterbury.

The move from job master to the motor trade was quite common, as most of them hired out horse-drawn carriages and when motor carriages arrived they had to obtain them to keep their customers. One gentleman to do this was Edward George Miles who began as a job master in 1892 at Victoria Stables in Southborough, later adding a stables at Prospect Mews, Tunbridge Wells to the establishment. In the early 1900's he moved both businesses to 48 Little Mount Sion, where he began to work on motor cars and the horses were phased out and the business became E.G. Miles & Son.

The 1901 census, taken at Prospect Mews near Calverley Park Stables and Prospect Road, gave Edward as a “jobber stablemaster own account”. With him was his wife Esther and their children (1) William, born 1891 in Canterbury (2) Florence, born 1892 in Canterbury (3) Marion, born 1900 in Southborough.

The 1911 census, taken at 48 Little Mount Sion gave Edward as a cab proprietor. With him in their premises of seven rooms was his wife Esther who was given as “assisting in business” and their children Florence Ellen (1891-1981), age 19; Sydney Reginald (1894-1960), a sailor with the Royal Navy, born 1894 in Southborough; Marian Charlotte (1900-1993), born 1900 in Southborough who as in school, and Esther Alexandra Miles (1902-1986), born  in Tunbridge Wells. The census recorded that Edward and his wife had six children but just five of them were still living.

The Kelly directory of 1899 gave ‘Edward George Miles, livery stable keeper, Castle Street. The 1903 Kelly gave him as a jobmaster at Prospect Road,Tunbridge Wells. The Kelly directory of 1913 to 1922 gave the listing “ Edward George Miles, jobmaster, 48 Little Mount Sion. Directories of 1937 to 1959 gave the listing “E.G. Miles & Son, motor engineers, Grove Garage, Mount Sion, Tunbridge Wells.

Probate records gave Edward George Miles of 30 Goldsmid Road, Tonbridge and that he died May 27,1956 at Downingbury Farm in Pembury, Kent. The executors of his 359 pound estate was Frank William Roberts, farmer, and Reginald John Smith.

When Edward retired the business was taken over by his son Sydney Reginald Miles. Sydney had been baptised January 28,1894 at St Thomas Church in Southborough. He was still living with his parents and siblings at the time of the 1911 census, at 48 Little Mount Sion.  Navy service records reported him as Sydney Reginald Miles, born December 15,1893 in Southborough; service No. J5697  who began service with the Navy September 30,1909. The first ship he served on was the GANGES and the last ship he served on October 2,1922 was the PEMBROKE 1. His occupation was given as grocers assistant in 1909. He had served on a total of 16 ships during his career. He had begun his service on the GANGES as a “Boy II” signals and remained in signals throughout his naval service working his way up to “signalman”.

Sydney married Elsie Clare (maiden name unknown) in n Tunbridge Wells. Probate records gave Sydney Reginald Miles of Derreen Rodmell Road, Tunbridge Wells died September 17,1960. The executors of his 7,333 pound estate was his widow Elsie Clare Miles and Edward Sydney Miles, garage proprietor. And so it was Edward Sydney Miles that continued the business in Mount Sion. The current proprietor of the business is Peter Miles, the great-grandson of Edward George Miles.

THE MILES GARAGE LTD THEN AND TODAY 

Today the garage operates from premises at 65-69 Mount Sion. In this section is information about the business from the company’s  website and some photographs.

Miles Garage is a family-run business that was established in 1908 by Edward George Miles as a carriage repair company. Since then the business has been passed down through the generations and is now operated by Peter Miles, Edward's great grandson. With a mix of skills and age groups in the garage, from senior technicians with many years of experience, to younger technicians well-versed in modern monitoring and the latest technology, Miles Garage are able to tackle jobs successfully and efficiently.Here at Miles Garage we pride ourselves on being a family run business, with traditional and honest values. Offering our years of experience in vehicle services, you can trust us for a high quality and professional service.Not only do Miles Garage offer a flexible service enabling you to leave your vehicle with them for the day while you go to work or visit the shops, they provide a breakdown recovery service within the Tunbridge Wells area and have 3 courtesy cars available for use while your vehicle is being worked on. Replace your vehicles oil, oil filter, air filter, pollen filter, spark plugs with genuine parts Check all-important lubricant levels Check tyre pressures Check all vehicle lights are in full working order Conduct a full brake check Replace your vehicle's oil and oil filter with genuine parts Check all-important lubricant levels Check tyre pressures Check all vehicle lights are in full working orderTreat your car with Forte advanced formula motor flush and fuel treatment.



























One customer of the business stated “Miles Garage is based near the Grove in Tunbridge Wells, up the hill from the High Street, tucked away amongst a warren of back streets. I love the traditional frontage, no plastic signs or ugly facia here. Behind this is a hive of activity. Reception is on the side (not immediately obvious) and gives a glimpse of what goes on in such a small space. On my first visit with a car with ‘squeaky brakes’ they said they would clean, test and check whether the pads/discs had worn. I expected a call back saying that was the case but they came back charging me minimal labour and hoping that the clean had done its job. They are friendly and helpful, offering sensible ways of finding and sorting ‘car’ problems with less worry about being overcharged.”

 

THE MOTOR CAR RALLY AT BROOMHILL

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

Date: February 8,2017

The writing of this article was prompted by the recent discovery of a most interesting postcard shown opposite taken at the stable block of Sir David Lionel Salomons Broomhill estate.

This image, turned into a divided back postcard, bears no information on the back as to the occasion on which this image was captured nor who the photographer or publisher was who produced it. As the postcard was not mailed there is of course no postage stamp or more importantly any franking that would establish the date of mailing and about when this motor car event took place. Some detective work was required to seek out the answers to these questions. Below are two enlargements of the postcard above which helped in the investigation.

The front of the postcard gives several clues ,for on the bottom right is embossed the name “Lankester, Tunbridge Wells”, which mark can only be seen with a magnifying glass. The photographer was of course Percy Squire Lankester (1866-1930), the well- known Tunbridge Wells photographer who had his studios in the north wing of the Great Hall on Mount Pleasant Road. Percy Lankester was an accomplished photographer and although much of his work was studio portraiture, he is best known for his field photograpy producing among his field work such noted examples as souvenir albums for the opening of the High Street Bridge, Fancy Dress Balls, and the Pevensey Pagent to name just three. He seemed to have a knack and interest in photographing special events in town. On this occasion he was invited by Sir David Lionel Salomons to come to his estate and photograph a motor rally/meet sponsored by the great man. As a motor car enthusiast himself  Percy Lankester would have driven there in his motor car. Further details about the life and career of Mr Lankester can be found in my article ‘Percy Squire Lankester-A Tunbridge Wells Photographer’ first written October 23,2015 and updated March 11,2016.

The photograph shows a group of twelve vintage motor cars with their owners, wives and mechanics in and beside them. The gentlemen are  dressed in long coats, caps and riding goggles and the ladies in big hats held in place with a scarf wearing long gowns. If the clock on the top of the stable block is to be relied upon the photograph was taken at 1pm.

To determine the year when the photo was taken one need only examine the registration plates on the motor cars. Firstly the requirement to register vehicles and affix license plates to the front and back of motor cars did not come into effect until the passing of the Motor Car Act of 1903 . Registration of motor cars began in that year in December and so this postcard view dates no earlier than the spring of 1904 since there is no snow on the ground. Also noted is that all of the licence plates begin with the letter “A” denoting that they were all registered in London. Examining the numbers on the plates reveals that the lowest number was A396 and the highest A8606. It is known that by 1905 vehicles with London registration numbers had four numbers up to and including the A8700 series. As noted in my article ‘Motor Car Registrations-An Early History’ dated January 2,2017 there were only 10 motor cars in all of England in 1895 and Sir David Lionel Salomons owned one of them. By 1906 there were 16,000 vehicles registered in England with about 14 owned by residents of Tunbridge Wells. From this one can conclude that the postcard image was made between the spring of 1904 and the fall of 1905.

At the turn of the century, one of the greatest figures in British automotive history was Sir David Salomons (1851-1925). In 1895 he founded the Self-Propelled Traffic Association, of which he became President, and was an important founding member of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) in 1897, and of the Automobile Club of France. On  October 15,1895, he organised the first ever “Horseless Carriage Show”, in Tunbridge Wells, where four vehicles were entered. He became the most influential and energetic campaigner for the Locomotive and Highways Act (1896), which permitted cars to travel without the red flag, and with a raised speed limit. He was a distinguished engineer with many patents to his name. He constructed the first properly equipped ‘motor house’ (i.e. garage) in England, and he had the second petrol-driven car in England. His ‘motor house’ or ‘motor stables’ was built in 1902; attached to his house; and had space for six motor cars. Details about Sir David Lionel Salomons and his interest in motor cars can be found in my article ‘ Motoring History and the Automobile Association’ dated December 12,2015; ‘Motoring History- David Salomons and His Motor Cars’ dated October 11,2015.

It is suggested by the researcher that the gentlemen shown with their motor cars in the photograph were members of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) based in London and that they had travelled to Tunbridge Wells, a distance of some 45 miles, to meet with Sir David Salomons. As no definitive information was found for this event it is surmised that they met to discuss RAC business, motoring in general and to tour about the area in their motor cars. No doubt business and motoring was combined with a fine meal and social event at Salomons estate.

It would have taken quite some time for the motor cars to make their way from London to Broomhill for road conditions were not the best and motor car breakdowns were common. The Locomotives on Highways Act of 1896 increased speed limits from 2 mph city and 4mph country to 14 mph and when the Motor Car Act of 1903 was passed speed limits were increased from 14mph to 20mph. Based on a distance of 45 miles at a speed of 20 mph it would have taken the drivers of these motor cars no less than 2 ½ hours, and more likely 3-1/2 hours,chugging and rattling along provided they did not stop along the way for a rest or repairs. Shown above  right is a photo of Sir David Salomons in one his motor cars just passing though the grand entrance to his stable block, a photo, due to the absence of a registration plate on the motor car, must have been taken prior to December 1903. This vehicle may have been the one he had at the time of the 1895 Horseless Carriage Show. Shown to the left of it is Mr Salomons in a different motor car in front of the same stable block.  This photo dates from after 1903 as the motor car has a registration plate on the front partially obscured by the front tire.

The building they were photographed in front of was the very grand stable block that was constructed in 1894 at a cost of 27,000 pounds. It was built to accommodate 21 horses and 12 carriages with the upper floors used to store grain and hay and to provide accommodation for the coachmen, grooms, stable men  and their families. When the motor car photo was taken Salomons still had horses and carriages as well as a dedicated motor car stable attached to his mansion, but due to his interest in motor cars the horse/carriage stables became used more and more for motor cars as time passed and it was not long before he dispensed with the horses and carriages, using the building to store his motor cars. Over his lifetime he owned some 32 motor cars but of course not all at the same time. More than a hundred years later the stable block is still visited by old motor cars-this time by a wedding party.

In the summer of 2015 I had the pleasure of visiting Tunbridge Wells and during the trip Chris Jones of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society gave me and my friend and travelling companion Mrs Susan Prince a ride out to Broomhill. While there we took several photographs, including about six of the stable block, including the one shown above. Although the building has come into other uses now the exterior of it from the 2015 photo is much like it appears in the postcard all those years ago.

For anyone with lots of time on their hands and access to the all the issues of the Kent & Sussex Courier for 1904 and 1905, one might be able to find mention of the event shown in the postcard.

 

THE STATIONERS SHOP OF JOHN WILLIAM FREAR

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

Date: August 15,2016

OVERVIEW 

John William Frear was born at Kirkby, Nottinghamshire in 1881 and was one of at least two sons born to Eliza Ann Frear. Both John William Frear and his brother William went into the stationers business and by 1913 took premises at 43 Calverley Road in Tunbridge Wells.

In 1911 this shop was occupied by James Henry Pullen who operated a hairdressers shop there. Directories of 1913 to 1938 list James William Frear operating his stationers shop there. For a time ,in at least 1918, his brother William worked in the shop as a stationer with his brother, but no further listings for him in Tunbridge Wells were found after 1918 indicating that from about 1919 onward just John William Frear ran the shop.

Typically stationer’s shops sold a selection of writing paper, envelopes, cards, writing materials and supplies and various other related items. It was common practice for stationer’s shops to also offer for sale a selection of postcard views of the town, and there are several examples of them for  Tunbridge Wells bearing the name on the back of J. Frear as the publisher. The photographs themselves were taken by a local photographer and Mr Frear hired him to produce postcards for him bearing his name as the publisher. Examples of these postcards are shown in this article.

John William Frear retired from business by 1940, and died in Tunbridge Wells April 26,1950 while residing at 6 Cadogan Gardens.

The shop at 43 Calverley Road has been the business premises of many shops over the years . In the period of 1948 to 1952 it was occupied by S. Wymans who had a stationers shop, which he had taken over from Mr Frear. From 1959 to 1970 it was the premises of Baxters (Butchers) Ltd and by 1982 it was the shop of Collingwood County Jewellers.

Recently the firm of C.D.M. Contractors Ltd announced that they had been engaged to convert 41 and 43 Calverley Road into one large shop requiring extensive alteration to the shop front, the shop interior and work on the roof.  Images before and after this work are presented in this article as well as a number of postcard views of Calverley Road showing this shop. In the foreground to the left is Mr Frear's shop.

Shown above is a modern image of Calverley Road showing 41 and 43 Calverley Road. No. 43 is the one on the right hand side of this building. To the right hand side of it, with the large bay windows, is 45-49 Calverley Road, known as Calverley House, and to the left of 41-43 is the shop of Spencers. A postcard view showing Calverley House is shown above, once the premises of F.E. Noakes the draper.

JOHN WILLIAM FREAR

John was one of at least two sons born to Eliza Ann Frear. He was baptised July 17,1881 at Weldon, Northamptonshire. His birth was registered in the 2nd qtr of 1881 in the district of Basford in the county of Nottinghamshire. He place of birth in census records was given as Kirkby. Nottinghamshire. John’s brother was William Frear.

The 1901 census, taken at 18 Alaton Road in Barnet, Hertfordshire gave John W. Frear as born 1881 in Kirkby and living as a single man (a boarder) with the family of Sidney George Grace who was an apprentice printer.John at that time was working as a grocers assistant.

By the time of the 1911 census John had moved to Tunbridge Wells. He is found as John William Frear at “16 Garden Street” born 1881 Kirkby, and still single. He was living as a boarder with the William Albert Scott family. Mr Scott was a police constable residing with his family in premises of four rooms. The occupation of John William Frear was given as “stationer employer” indicating that he was operating a stationers shop in the town. Where that shop was is not known, but what is known from the 1911 census is that No. 43 Calverley Road, where John later established his stationer shop, was the hairdressers shop of James Henry Pullen, born 1887 in Worthing,Sussex, who was there with his wife and two children in four rooms above the shop.

From an earlier time (1881) it was noted that No. 43 and 43 Calverley Road was the tailors shop of James Allen where he employed three men and one boy. His son Frank W. Allen who lived with his parents there was a hosier by trade.

Directories of 1913 to 1938 list “J. Frear, stationer, 43 Calverley Road”. A directory of 1918 gave both John and his brother William as stationers at this address. No other listings for William were found suggesting that he had left the business and that John then ran the shop on his own. John retired from business in about 1940 and sold his business to S. Wymans, who are listed in directories as stationers at 43 Calverley Road from 1948 to 1952.

Probate records gave John William Frear of 6 Cadogan Gardens, Tunbridge Wells when he died on April 26,1950. The executor of his 3,895 pound estate was Eden Gladys Philpott, spinster. No records were found indicating that John ever married. No record of him being buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery nor  any cremation record was found for him in the town. His death was registered in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1950.

Shown above are two examples of postcards ,which on the back are identified as “published by J. Frear 43 Calverley Road,Tunbridge Wells”. All three pertain to views of the Commons.  John of course was not the photographer who captured these images. He had hired a local photographer to provide him with an assortment of local views for sale in his shop. Many stationers shops in the town did the same thing.

THE SHOP AT 43 CALVERLEY ROAD

Shown opposite is the 1907 OS map on which is highlighted in red the location of No. 41-43 Calverley Road. In the previous section I described its current position relative to the shop of Spencers and Calverly House.

Calverley Road has always been a thriving commercial district and no doubt Mr Frear did a good trade from this location. In the previous section I noted that No. 43 had been a tailors shop in 1881 and a hairdressers shop in1911; that John William Frear had his stationers shop there from at least 1913 until his retirement, at which time he sold his stationers business to S. Wymans.

Directories of  1948 to 1952 list “S. Wymans, stationers, 43 Calverley Road”. By 1982 this shop was the premises of Collingwood County Jewellers.

Recently the firm of C.D.M. Contractors Ltd announced that they had been engaged to convert 41 and 43 Calverley Road into one large shop requiring extensive alteration to the shop front, the shop interior and work on the roof.  An image from the plans is shown above left.

 

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AUGUSTUS PEMBERTON GIPPS

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

Date: August 11,2016

OVERVIEW

Augustus Pemberton Gipps (1828-1920) had been born in Hereford December 20,1828  and was one of seven children born to Rev Henry Gipps (1786-1832) and Emma Maria Plumptree (1793-1875).

At the time of the 1841 census he was living with his widowed mother and some of his younger siblings in Hove,Sussex. At the time of the 1851 census he was living with his brother’s family at a grand home called Hollingbourne House in Hollingbourne. He then became an accountant with the Civil Service, working in the Patent Office.

In 1851 he married Helen Etough Crookshank (1830-1877), who had been born in France in 1830 and was the only daughter of Rev George Crookshank, the vicar of Chigwell, Essex. At the time of the marriage Augustus was the secretary of the patent department of the Kensington Museum. The couple had a son Alexander George Penberton Gipps who was born in France in 1854 and a daughter Clara Fitzroy Gibbs 1852 in London, but the marriage did not go well. At various times Augustus and Helen lived apart and in the 1860’s Augustus sought dissolution of the marriage on the grounds of an adulterous relationship between his wife and the millionaire William Wentworth Fitzwilliam Hume (Hume Dick) with whom Helen had twin daughters. A financial arrangement for compensation was worked out between Augustus Gibbs and William Hume but not all the payments were received and the matter ended up back in court. It was a messy affair, details of which were widely publicised in the media. Although Augustus and Helen were never divorced and Mr Hume ended up marrying one of Augustus’s sisters, Augustus married for a second time in 1878 to Mary Jane Clapham (1833-1923), with whom he had no children.

His first wife went on to be the author of several books, using various pen names to hide her true identity. Her life and work as an author was described as “one of the minor mysteries of Victorian authorship”. None of her novels made much mark with the public or critics.

Moving ahead in time to 1901 Augustus and his second wife Jane were living in Dover, Kent ,where he was given as a retired civil servant. Sometime before 1911 he and his wife moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence at 29 Woodbury Park. Augustus became active in a religious way with the Brethren and attended their Exclusive Assemblies. The Brethren archive reported that the families of Augustus P. Gibbs, Walter T. Turpin and John Ashton Savage, and others held their meetings at the Salem Chapel on St Johns Road where this branch of the Brethren remained until 1934 before moving to a room in Hill Street, which has only just closed.

At the time of the 1911 census, Augustus and his wife Mary Jane and 38 year old spinster daughter Clara were living in their 9 room home at 29 Woodbury Park (photo above). Augustus was still living there when he died June 7,1920. His wife died April 9,1923 at Bexhill-on-sea. Both of them were buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery.

HIS EARLY LIFE UP TO 1851 

Augustus Pemberton Gipps (1828-1920) had been born in Hereford December 20,1828  and was one of seven children born to Rev Henry Gipps (1786-1832) and Emma Maria Plumptree (1793-1875). Augustus was baptised March 8,1829 at Saint Owen, Hereford (photo opposite). He was the third son of Henry who was the  Rector of St Peter's Hereford.

Details about his early life are lacking but it is known that he came from a highly religious and well-to-do family. His father unfortunately died December 18,1832 when Augustus was just four years old. He and his siblings were thereafter raised by their widowed mother.

The 1841 census, taken at Hove, Sussex gave his mother Emma as living on independent means. He was the eldest child in the home and attending school. With him were four other Gibbs children, ages 3 to 19 and seven others. Emma may have been running a lodging house or perhaps the seven individuals were a combination of domestic servants and visitors.

What form of education Augustus received is not clear but there is a  possible connection of him with the Middle Temple. In any event, at an early age he entered the Civil Service as an accountant. At the time of his marriage in 1851 he was a resident of Kensington, London, and working as the secretary of the patent department of the Kensington Museum. The 1851 census gave him living with his brother Harry Plumtree Gipps, age 37, and his family at Hollingbourne House in Hollingbourne. His occupation was given as “esquire”.

His mother died August 4,1875 at Nottinghamshire.

HIS UNHAPPY MARRIAGE

On October 15,1851, at Holy Trinity Church in Bromton, London Augustus married Helen Etough Crookshank (1830-1877). Helen had been born in Calais, France in 1830 and was the only daughter of the Rev. George Crookshank, the vicar of Chigwell, Essex, and Amelia Rosa Kelly. At the time of the marriage Augustus and Helen were residents of Kensington, London. He was given as a bachelor, and she was a spinster. His father was given as Henry Gipps, deceased, clerk in holy orders, and her father was given as George Crookshank, clerk in holy orders.

Through her mother, Ellen was the niece of attorney-general Sir Fitzroy Kelly (1796–1880) and grand-daughter of novelist Isabella Kelly (1759–1857). After her father's death in 1833, her mother married Edwin Taynton, a captain in the Indian service who died in action in 1845.

Although the marriage started off well problems soon arose and at various times Helen left her husband to live with her mother. Correspondence between Helen and Augustus states that the separation from her husband was in her opinion due to a lack of love and affection from her husband, but despite this the couple managed to have two children.

Their first child was Clara Fitzroy Gipps (1852-1934)who was born in London in July 1852. After the birth of Clara Helen left her husband for a time but reunited with him again, and traveled on the continent where their son Alexander George Pemberton Gipps(1854-1936) was born in September 1854 at Dunkirk, France. After the birth of Alexander the marriage was back on the rocks and Augustus discovered that his wife had been having an affair with the millionaire William Wentworth Fitzwilliam Hume, who later changed his name to Hume Dick.

Detailed accounts of the court proceedings can be found online in court records, and an excellent summary of events over a period of years can be found online in The Empire, Sydney dated March 26,1863.

A summary of events is given in the following account by the Circulating Library, with regards to their interest in the book authored by Hellen Gipps.

“Author: Mrs. Pemberton (1830–1877)…….Alternate Name(s): (pseudonym); H. Pemberton (pseudonym); Helen Etough Crookshank (maiden name); Gipps (married name); Hume (alternate name); Dick (alternate name)……..Biography: One of the minor mysteries of Victorian authorship. Helen Etough Gipps was born in 1830 in France, the only daughter of the Rev. George Crookshank, the vicar of Chigwell, Essex, and Amel Rosa Kelly. Through her mother, she was the niece of attorney-general Sir Fitzroy Kelly (1796–1880) and grand-daughter of novelist Isabella Kelly (1759–1857). After her father's death in 1833, her mother married Edwin Taynton, a captain in the Indian service who died in action in 1845. In 1851, Gipps married Augustus Pemberton Gipps, the secretary of the patent department of the Kensington Museum. Though the marriage began with affection, the couple briefly separated after the birth of a daughter Clara Fitzroy Gipps in July 1852. They reunited and traveled on the continent where their son Alexander George Pemberton Gipps was born in September 1854. Thereafter, husband and wife separated for good and Helen lived alternately with her mother in London and her brother in the country. During this period, she met the Right Honorable William Wentworth Fitzwilliam Hume (1806–1892): he was a widower (since 1837), hugely wealthy (having inherited two million pounds from his uncle), and the conservative M.P. of Wicklow. (In 1864, Hume legally changed his name to "Hume Dick."). See here three images of Mr Hume.  The two began an affair which her husband discovered in November 1860 and he petitioned for divorce the following spring. During the trial, Hume offered Gipps £3000 to quash the case and a further £4000 to be paid later. Gipps accepted and the divorce case was found in favor of Helen. When the second payment failed to materialize, Gipps sued Hume in court (which failed) and petitioned again for divorce in 1862. In the meantime, Helen gave birth to twin daughters, Helen Amelrosa and Williamina Emily Hume Dick (thereby confirming her adultery). The judge in the second divorce proceeding ruled adultery had occurred but Gipps connived with the adultery by accepting the money in the first trial and by failing to take back his wife. Gipps appealed to the House of Lords who affirmed the decision in 1864. (There is no evidence if Augustus and Helen ever legally divorced.) In the 1860s, supported no doubt by Hume, Helen divided her time between London, Thames Ditton, and Combe Royal (in Devon) and she began writing novels with The World's Furniture (1861). She followed with a further six triple-deckers, the last, Will is the Cause of Woe (1878), was published posthumously. None of her novels made much mark with the public or critics. In addition, she wrote one travel book, A Winter Tour in Spain (1868). Helen, due to the scandal perhaps, went by various surnames: Pemberton (her pseudonym), Hume, and Dick (though she never married Hume). She died June 13,1877 in Kensington,London. Her twin daughters survived their mother's scandal: both were presented at court and both married well. [Note on the identification: Wolff owned presentation copies of the novels from the author to her daughter Williamina Hume Dick (these copies are located at the Harry Ransom Center). Presentation copies from the author to her daughter Helen Hume Dick are located at the Baillieu Library……References: British Census (1871); Turtle Bunbury, "Humewood Castle," (http://www.turtlebunbury.com/history/history_houses/hist_hse_humewood.html); pers inf (Turtle Bunbury); "Court for Divorce," Times (22 January 1863); Wolff.

Titles:

1.The World's Furniture: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: Skeet, 1861.

2.Altogether Wrong.  3 vol.  London: Tinsley Brothers, 1863.

3.Dacia Singleton.  3 vol.  London: Tinsley Brothers, 1866.

4.What Money Can't Do: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: Tinsley Brothers, 1866.

5.Madame la Marquise: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: Tinsley Brothers, 1871.

6.The Only One of her Mother: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: Tinsley Brothers, 1874.

7.Will is the Cause of Woe.  3 vol.  London: Samuel Tinsley, 1878.

Continuing with my research William Wentworth Fitzwilliam Hume was the hugely wealthy Conservative MP for Wicklow. Shown above are three images of him. The top photo is a CDV taken in 1890 by Lafayette at his studio on 30 Westmorland, Dublin. The second image was taken in 1853 and bears a caption that states he was the eldest son of William Hoare Hume of Homewood. The last image of him states he was born 1805; that he was MP for the county of Wicklow and that he died in 1891.  

The 1861 census, taken at 45 Brompton Square in Kensington gave Augustus as married and working at the patent office. At this time he was living as a lodger at a lodging house run by Ann E. Northam.

The 1871 census, taken at 52 Beresford Road in Islington, London gave Augustus as married and working as an accountant in the patent office. With him were his two children Clara and Alexander, who was a clerk in a stock brokers office. Also there was one visitor and two domestic servants.

Augustus wrote, regarding his marriage breakup “In due time though I was converted, and found my way amongst the Brethren”.

THE MIDDLE PERIOD OF HIS LIFE

Although no records of any divorce between Augustus and his first wife Helen were found ,Augustus married for a second time,in 1878,  to Mary Jane Clapham (1833-1923) at Martley, Worcestershire. Mary Jane had been born in Quebec, Canada in 1833 (possibly 1832).  The couple had no children.

By 1878 Augustus and his wife were living at 14 Lonsdale square, the same square as Mr Darby and Mr Stoney. W.G. Turner wrote that
Augustus  was "a firm adherent of the London Park Street Fellowship in 1881", and as such he took the opposite side to his  brother-in-law, William Kelly”. Augustus wrote a hymn "Lord Jesus Come", and an accompanying tune "Even So", which have been included in every Taylor hymn book since 1932. Augustus was still at 14 Lonsdale Square in 1880.

The 1881 census, taken at ‘Conservative Land’ at Homer, Hereford, gave Augustus as “formerly civic servant patent office”. With him was his wife Mary Jane; his daughter Clara from his first marriage, and one domestic servant.

The 1891 census, taken at Coalalton Villa, Sidmouth, Devon gave Augustus as living on own means. With him was his wife Mary Jane; his daughter Clara, and one servant.

The 1901 census, taken at Menastra House, Salisbury Road, Dover, gave Augustus as a retired civil servant. With him was his wife Mary Jane; his daughter Clara and a Josephine Gipps, his 54 year old niece.Two servants were also present.

HIS LIFE IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Sometime after 1903 but before 1911 Augustus and his wife and daughter Clara moved to Tunbridge Wells where they took up residence at 29 Woodbury Park (photo opposite). His decision in this part of the town is no doubt connected to his Brethren religious affiliation. A map showing the location of this residence in 1986 is shown opposite.

The Brethren Archive makes reference to him in Tunbridge Wells and that other members of the Brethren, such as John Ashton Savage (1819-1900), who died in Tunbridge Wells had been a resident of 37 Queens Road. Another member was Walter Thomas Turpin (1834-1914) who had lived at three homes in the Woodbury Park area at Medwyn Villa on Queens Road; 47 Upper Grosvenor Road, and 15-17 Park Road. Other members of the Brethren can be found there also. The same source reported on the ‘Exclusive Brethren” in Tunbridge Wells, of which Augustus was a member and attended meetings at the Salem Chapel on St Johns Road .Shown below are two photographs dated on the front "July 4 and 5,1924"by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn.












Details about Savage and Turpin can be found in my articles ‘The Life and Times of John Ashton Savage’ dated August 9,2016, and ‘’The Life And Times of Walter Thomas Turpin’ dated August 10,2016.

The homes on Woodbury Park Road were part of the Woodbury Park development described in the Civic Society book ‘The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’ by John Cunningham. This development was by the Conservative Land Society who purchased the land (some 60 acres) in 1856 and divided it into lots, on which homes were constructed. Woodbury Park Road is first found listed in the 1871 census but at that time only no’s 1-3 had been built.Woodbury Park Road exhibits a variety of architectural styles and was not developed in a uniform way. Who built the home at 29 Woodbury Park is not known for there were several builders active in this development.

The 1911 census, taken at 29 Woodbury Park Road, gave Augustus as living on own means. With him in this 9 room residence was his wife Mary Jane; his daughter Clara, and two servants. The census recorded that the couple had been married 32 years and had no children.

Kelly directories for 1913 to 1918 record Augustus and his family still at 29 Woodbury Park Road.

Probate records gave Augustus Pemberton Gipps of 29 Woodbury Park Road and that he died June 1,1920. The executors of his 642 pound estate were Edward Joseph Burton, retired bank manager, and Herbert James Harris, solicitor. Augustus was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on June 10th

His wife Mary Jane Gipps was still living in Tunbridge Wells at 29 Woodbury Park Road when she died on April 5,1923 but her death was registered at Bexhill-On-Sea, Sussex. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on April 10th

Both of their names along with their daughter Clara Fitzroy Gipps, who died in Tunbridge Wells February 34,1934, are recorded on one headstone as can be seen on the images above of the headstone and cemetery. Clara was buried on February 27th.

A review of Planning Applications show that nothing since 1974 had been done to the property. Before that time a single garage had been built to the right rear side of the residence. In 1986 an application was made to convert the home into five flats but was denied, as was the following appeal by the applicant. In 2014 an application was made for the demolition of this garage and replacing it with structure containing a washroom and space for various uses including yoga, pilates and osteotherapy. The applicants were carrying on this type of business in the Pantiles and in Groombridge and wished to consolidate their business at the place of their residence. A site map showing the home is given above. The new building was to be constructed on the former site of the old garage. The application was approved.

 

 

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