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

Date: August 21,2014



The Crabb family has its roots in Great Baddow,Essex dating back to 1798 when Mr Crabb founded the  Baddow Brewery there. The brewery remained in control of various members of the Crabb family from one generation to the next . Of them, Richard Hatley Crabb (1863-1899) is of particular interest for after taking an active role in the running of the Brewery he retired from business and took up residence ,by 1891, at 60 York Road in Tunbridge Wells with his sister Laura Jane Crabb.Later they moved to a fine Victorian mansion on Pembury Road, called Heathfield, at the corner of Pembury Road and Sandrock Road. Richard was still a resident there when he died in 1899 and after his death his sister Laura continued to live at Heathfield until her death in 1934.

Religion was an important aspect of Richard’s life and when he died he left an estate valued at over 171,000 pounds, from which a number of bequests were made to various religious societies. While living in Tunbridge Wells he was a regular supporter to the Trinity Church and because of his support the Crabb Institute was built in 1901, a fine brick building on Victoria Road, upon which is a plaque dedicated to him. In the 20th century much of that part of town was demolished to make way for the Royal Victoria Shopping Centre. All that remains today of the Crabb Institute is the front façade which is attached to the shopping complex.  The name of “Crabb” continues today in the form Christ Church’s Crabb Hall on High Street in the Christ Church Centre.

This article provides a historical account of the life and career of Richard Hatley Crabb and information about the Crabb Institute and Crabb Hall. I begin the account with some background information about Great Baddow,Essex, where the Crabb family resided for generations; the Baddow Brewery, from which business the family derived their financial fortunes; and Baddow Place, the ancestral home of the Crabb family. Following these sections are details about Richard Hatley Crabb, his sister Laura, their residences in Tunbridge Wells ;the Crabb Institute  and the Crabb Hall.

GREAT BADDOW,ESSEX                

Great Baddow has a long history of attracting wealthy landowners and businessmen over the centuries. Grand homes such as Baddow Park, Baddow Place, Pitt Place along Church Street and the old Vineyards mansion, which is now the Vineyards shopping centre and flats.

Great Baddow is an urban village in the Chelmsford borough of Essex, England. It is close to the county town, Chelmsford and, with a population of over 13,000, is one of the largest villages in the country.Great Baddow's name is believed to have been derived from the River Beadwan, now known as the River Chelmer, which marks the northern boundary of the village. Beadwan is thought to be a Celtic word of uncertain meaning,possibly "birch stream" or a reference to the goddess Badbh.The centre of Great Baddow is now a Conservation Area and contains over 30 listed buildings, among which is Baddow Place, the former residence of the Crabb family and the Baddow Brewery, once operated by the Crabb family.

THE BADDOW BREWERY               

Shown in this section are two photos of the brewery. The first is an old photo dating to circa 1868; the second is a modern view street scene of the brewery that replaced the old one  located at  47 Church St, Great Baddow, Chelmsford .

The Baddow Brewery was given a Grade II Iisting by English Heritage on June 19,1975. Today it houses several businesses. Details of the English Heritage listing are as follows: GREAT BADDOW CHURCH STREET 5213 (North, East Side) GREAT BADDOW No 47 TL 7304 32/654. A fine late C19 yellow brick building. Built in 1868 as a brewery and now used as a furniture factory. 5 storeys and basement. 9 window range on the south- west front and 5 window range cn the south-east front. Sonic of the windows retain the C19 lights with cast iron glazing bars but mostly they are C20. The ground storey windows have semi-circular heads and are recessed between heavy pilasters with pointed arches the lst and 2nd storey windows are recessed between pilasters, with 2 centred arched heads. The 1st storey windows have stuccoed cills and heads and there is ornamental brickwork between the 1st and 2nd storey. Roof corrugated asbestos.

The building was designed by brewery architect George Scamell. George Scamell founded Scamell & Colyer in London. He had previously worked with Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co, during the 1860s. Scamell & Colyer continued into the early 20th century (source: The Brewing Industry, English Heritage).The building of 1868  underwent additions designed by George Scamell in 1878. Further additions were made in 1902.

According to the book Ale & Hearty, which provides a history of public houses and breweries in Chelmsford, a  brewery was founded in Great Baddow in 1798 by a Mr. Crabb. In 1866 Frederick Veley and Arthur Veley became partners in a company known as Crabb, Veley and Company which had thirty-seven public houses and one beer shop. A new brewery was erected in 1868. The firm was taken over by Seabrook & Sons of Grays in 1927. The name of the Baddow Brewery became the Baddow Brewery Co Ltd.

Today the brewery building is in commercial use and called Countryside House and hosts several businesses including Aqualand Divers, Easyswitch Mortgages, Alexandra Anthony Ltd (accountants). and Objective (an IT firm).Countryside Communications & Automation are also within the Baddow Brewery buildings.


Shown opposite is a modern view of Baddow Place , the ancestral home of the Crabb family in Great Baddow. This fine home was given a Grade II listing by English Heritage June 19,1975. Details of the listing are as follows” GREAT BADDOW CHURCH STREET 5213 (North East Side) GREAT BADDOW No 41 (Baddow Place) TL 7304 32/119. An early C19 gault brick house built on to a C17 timber-framed and plastered house, now at the rear. The front has a stucco parapet and cornice and stucco end pilasters. 2 storeys. 5 window range, double-hung sashes with glazing bars, in stuccoed reveals, with gauged brick flat arches. Roof slate to the front block and tiled on the rear. The interior has exposed timber-framing. There is a tunnel under the house, at the rear.


It is both surprising ,and disappointing, that no photographs of any members of the Crabb family could be located on the internet by the researcher, considering their wealth, stature in the community, and their historical significance. Fortunately and interesting storey about the family can be constructed from various sources, an overview of which is given below.

I begin my coverage of the family with Richard Hatley Crabb (1820-1899), the brother of John Seabrook Crabb (1828-1992), who was the father of Richard Hatley Crabb (1863-1899) the central figure in this article. It is noted that the name Hatley is also sometimes given as “Hadley”, but I have used “Hatley” throughout this article as this is the name given in birth and death records.

Richard Hatley Crabb senior took over the running of the Baddow Brewery from his father. He had been born 1820 at Sandon,Essex and lived all his life in Great Baddow,Essex.He was baptised February 20,1820 at Sandon,Essex. He was one of eight children born to Richard Crabb (b1792) and Ann Seabrook(b1797). Of particular interest among his siblings was his brother John Seabrook Crabb  who worked with him in running the family brewery. Richard senior never married and died in 1899. His probate record reports he was of Baddow Place, Great Baddow,Essex and that he died there November 15,1899. The executors of his 71,936 pound estate was Henry Crabb Couhams, solicitor, and Henry George Crabb,gentleman, and Frederick William Buss, a retired colonel in H.M. Army. Henry George Crabb was his brother, born in 1832.

John Seabrook Crabb worked most of his life at the Baddow Brewery. He had been born 1828 at Great Baddow,Essex , one of three sons born to Richard and Ann Crabb. He also had four sisters, many of which never married. John lived his life in Great Baddow,Essex.

The 1851 census, taken at Baddow Place in Great Baddow recorded Richard Crabb, born 1792 at Great Baddow as a brewer, malster and wine merchant. Living with him was his wife Ann, born 1797 at Springfied,Essex. Also present were their children Richard Hatley Crabb, age 31, and John Seabrook Crabb,age 23, both with the same occupation as their father. Three other Crabb children, some visitors and three servants were also living there.

By 1861 Richard Crabb had passed away the brewery came under the control of his sons. The 1861 census, taken at Baddow Place recorded Ann Crabb as a widow and head of the household. Living with her was her son Richard Hadley Crabb, age 41,single, a licensed brewer,maltster,wine and spirit merchant and farmer. Richard’s farm was of about 50 acres . He became a noted man in the village as a farmer and breeder of shorthorns as well as a brewer.In later years he was remembered as an eccentric,walking about the village with a spade over his shoulder and an armful of saplings,planting them as he went around his land. Upon his death in 1899 Richard Hatley Crabb left several bequests to various religious societies. The Church Weekly of March 2,1900 reported in this regard “ Mr Hatley Crabb of Great Baddow,Essex, who died November 13,1899 has bequested 2,000 pounds to the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews; 500 pounds to the Evangelical Society; 500 pounds to the Irish Church Missions to Roman Catholics; 500 pounds to the London Missionary Society; 2000 pounds on trust for augmenting by the interest there on, the living of St Mary, Great Baddow, during such time as the service shall be strictly in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England”.

By the time of the 1861 census, John Seabrook Crabb had left the family home and started a family of his own. John Seabrook Crabb married Clara Wigan July 19,1859 at St Mary Islington,London. His father was listed as Richard Crabb, brewer and his wifes father was given as Edward Wigan, a hops merchant. Clara was living at the time of the marriage at Highbury Terrace in Islington and John was living at Great Baddow.

The 1861 census, taken at “Rothmans” in Great Baddow listed John Seabrook Crabb as the head of the household and working as a licenced brewer. Living with him was his wife Clara, born 1826 in Highbury,Middlesex, and their daughter Clara Wigan, born 1857 at Great Baddow. Also in the home were six servants. In 1863 John and his wife had a second child, namely a daughter Laura Jane Crabb, born in 1862 at Great Baddow, who was followed in 1863 by the birth of a son Richard Hatley Crabb. There is no record of any other children born to John and his wife.It is believed that Clara Crabb died in 1863 as a result of child birth difficulties. Her death was registered at Chelmsford,Essex in the 3rd qtr of 1863. Probate records give her as the wife of John Seabrook Crabb late of Great Baddow, Essex and that she died July 29,1863 at Great Baddow. Her estate was valued at under 100 pounds and her executors were John Seabrook Crabb of Great Baddow, brewer; Edward Wigan of Hibernia Chambers London Bridge, Borough of Southwark, county of Surrey, hop merchant, the brother.

The 1871 census, taken at Great Baddow listed only John Seabrook Crabb, a widow, and a retired brewer, and three domestic servants.The same record is found in the 1881 census, but with only two servants. Sometime after the 1881 census John remarried, this time to Emily, but the marriage was a short one for he died a year later.

Probate records give him as John Seabrook Crabb, esq, of 44 York Terrace Regent’s Park, Middlesex who died at that address on October 13,1882. The executor of his 20,218 pound estate was his widow Emily Crabb of the same address.

When the 1871 census was taken in the household of John Seabrook Crabb, his children were away, being raised by relatives or away at school. His son Richard Hadley Crabb is found in the 1871 census  at Baddow Place living with his widowed grandmother Ann Crabb; his uncle Richard Hatley Crabb and his three aunts Charlotte Crabb, Eliza Pugh Crabb and Mary Louisa Crabb. Where his two sisters were was not fully investigated. Also in the home was three domestic servants. Richards sister Laura Jane Crabb is found in the 1881 census, at 23 Adelaide in Hove Sussex living as the niece of James Spurcall,age 65, a clergyman of the Church of England and his wife Helen,age 61.Laura was at this time a student.

Richard Hatley Crabb junior is found in the 1881 census at 97 Western Cottage in Brighton Sussex where he and a large number of boys are pupils in a school run by school master William P. Knight.

Richard Hatley Crabb junior appears to have had limited involvement with the family brewery business and any work he did there was for a brief time after he left school in the 1880’s and before he moved to Tunbridge Wells by the end of the 1880’s. The 1881 census, taken at 60 York Road (photo above) Tunbridge Wells recorded Richard Hatley Crabb as the head of the home and living on own means. Living with him was his spinster sister Laura Jane Crabb, given as age 29,living on own means. There are no servants in the home, just one visitor by the name of Margaret B. Marriott,age 30.

The Crabb siblings did not remain long at their York Road premises for Richard is found in local directories as a resident of a fine Victorian mansion,called Heathfield, on the south west corner of Pembury Road and Sandrock Road, in Tunbridge Wells in 1882 and in subsequent directory listings. Shown opposite is a map giving the location of Heathfield, highlighted in red.

Details about the history of Heathfield is given in my article ‘The Heathfield Estate-Pembury Road’ dated January 29,2012. This article gives the history of the mansion and its occupants and in it is information about the Crabb family, which I have extracted and given again here. The overview of the 2012 article reads “The Heathfield estate was located on the north west corner of Pembury Road and Sandrock Road.It occupied land of about 9 acres with frontage along Pembury Road of about 900 feet and along Shandrock about 1,000 feet. The original estate was built in the early 1860's with the mansion being first occupied in 1862. Along with the mansion was a gate house located at the entrance to the estate on Pembury Road. Elsewhere on the estate was a gardeners cottage.The estate lands were once part of the major land holdings in the area of the Ward family.The estate remained intact as a single family residence for the wealthy until 1955 at which time the property was sold to developers and the estate divided up into four main parts namely an apartment building known today as 'Heathfields'(shown opposite right), and three single family residences built in the 1950's known as Heathfield Lodge and Little Heathfields,both with driveway access to Pembury Road and Heathfield Cottage accessed from Sandrock Road. Heathfield and sometimes Heathfield House ,as the estate was named, is also referred to in directories and census records as #9 Calverley Fairmile Road and #9 Pembury Road and was one of several large mansions on Pembury Road fondly referred to as 'Millionaries Row'.”Shown below  is an early 20th century postcard view of Pembury Road.

Richard Hatley Crabb is found in the local directories at Heathfield from 1892 until his death in 1899.Probate records state Richard was of Heathfield and that he died July 14,1899 at Grimstone,Leicestershire. The executor of his 171,595 pound estate was his spinster sister Laura Jane Crabb.He died a bachelor and his three sisters inherited the wealth from the brewery business.

Religion played an important part in Richard’s life and apart from attending local church services was a great benefactor to the church during his stay in Tunbridge Wells and upon his death, and it was though his generosity and work with the church The Crabb Memorial Institute was erected on Victoria Road in Tunbridge Wells. Information about it is given in the last section of this article.  

The 1903 and 1913  Kelly directories  listed “ Miss Crabb, Heathfield, Pembury Road”. The 1911 census, taken at Heathfield recorded Laura Jane Crabb , a spinster living on private means. Living with her were five servants. Directories record that Laura Jane Crabb continued to live at Heathfield until she died at Heathfield in the 2nd qtr of 1934.Upon her death Heathfield was sold.

It is unknown where John Hatley Crabb and his sister Laura were buried. There is no record of them at the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery. It is likely they were buried in the family ancestral plot in Chelmsford,Essex.



The Crabb Memorial Institute was established in Tunbridge Wells at Market Square , on Victoria Road ,in memory of Richard Hatley Crabb.It was built in 1901 but all of the building (except the facade) was demolished to make way for the Royal Victoria Centre that was built in the 1990's.The old facade of the Institute was preserved and incorporated into the exterior of the new building and upon the facade is a plaque in honor of Mr Crabb. Included with this section are photos of the institute and the plaque upon it.

This building was typical in purpose to many similar “Halls” constructed in the town and elsewhere. It was built as a mulit-purpose facility primarily for the poor who were not regular church goers where a religious service was held Sunday evening and at other times the hall served as a social and educational facility. The objective was to spread the word of god to poorer people who might have been intimidated from attending the main church and so the Crabb Memorial Institute was a sort of outreach facility where normal church goes weren’t allowed to attend. The religious services held there were a stepping stone to get people to gradually move towards the main church. Another supporter of this type of work was Canon Hoare who was keen to reach out to the poorer people who is quoted as saying “it was at times more than he could bear to realise the depths of sin in which many lived”.

The Kent & Sussex Courier gave the following report on the laying of the foundation stone in March 1901. A later article described the opening of the building in October 1901. “ The Crabb Memorial Institute….The Laying of the foundation stone of this building took place in Victoria Road on Monday afternoon last, in the presence of a small company of ladies and gentlemen. Suitable prayers were offered by the Vicar of Holy Trinity Rev. D.J. Stather Hunt, in connection with which parish the Institute is to be erected and the stone was well and truly laid  by Mr. H.G.Crabb uncle to Miss Crabb who is providing for the building and endowment of the Institute in memory of her brother,the late Mr. R.H. Crabb, of Healthfield,Pembury Road. Mr. Crabb used for his masonic work a handsome silver mounted ebony mallet and a silver trowel each of which were suitably engraved.The stone itself is a solid block of red sandstone and bears the following inscription “To the Glory of God.This foundation stone was laid by Henry George Crabb, esq., Febuary 25,1901”. The ceremony closed with a vote of thanks to Mr Crabb for his services, who said a few appropriate words in reply”. The article contined with a list of those in attendance. The article ends with the following description “ It will not be out of place to give here a few particulars concerning he Crabb Memorial Institute. Its object is to provide club rooms etc., for the men and lads of Holy Trinity parish and also to be a centre of Church life and work.The structure,as seens from the plans, will be carried out in red brick with stone dressing, and it may be expected from the fact that the architects are Messrs H.H. and E. Cronk, will have a very handsome appearance, and  be a distinct ornament to that part of the town where it stands. On the ground floor is a spacious entrance chamber leading to a large hall, with a gallery at one end, capable of accommodating about 350 persons on this floor will be, besides a gymnasium forty feet by twenty two, of ample height and fitted with the latest appliances,and also the lads reading room, with the usual offices and lavatories.A stairway of good width leads to the mens reading room,twenty seven feet by twenty, on the first floor,the caretakers room above. In the basement there will be the kitchen and offices and the lad’s games room.A special feature of the arrangement is that a separate entrance has been provided for the gymnasium, and the lad’s games and reading rooms. It is hoped that the Institute will be ready for opening before next winter when it is sure to become popular and a great means of usefulness in the parish.The building operations are being carried out by the firm of Messrs J. Leney and Son”.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of Friday October 25,1901 published a long article about the opening ceremony for the building, portions of which are given here. “On Saturday afternoon the Crabb Memorial Institute, which was erected by Miss Crabb in memory of her brother,the late Mr. Richard Hartley Crabb of “Heathfield”, Tunbridge Wells,was formally opened.The  Institute is situated in Victoria Road,Camden Road;four cottages having been demolished for the purpose, and the site, which is in the centre of the parish, is a most suitable site.The building is of red brick with stone dressings and on the ground floor by an entrance hall paved with derozio pavings is a large hall 58 ft 6 in by 28 ft and is capable of seating 500 persons.There is a platform at one end with vestry, and at the other is a large gallery, and an improved lantern is fixed in the first to illuminate lectures etc. At the rear of the building is a gymnasium 40 ft by 22 ft 3 in, and this is fitted up with all appliances for gymnastic excercises. There is a lads reading room in the front and a games room in the basement, a reading room for men is situated on the first floor.Full lavatory accommodation is provided and in the basement is a large kitchen fitted with gas boilers and appliances for supplying parochial teas.There is a service lift from the kitchen to the Hall.On the top floor are the caretaker’s rooms.The floor of the large hall and gymnasium is of wood block.The entire building is electrically lighted, and heated by hot water. The architects were Messrs H.H. and E. Cronl, and the builders Messrs Leney. It cannot now be said that in Tunbridge Wells there is no place for working men to spend their evenings, except the public house.In different parts of the town are three working men’s Institutes-at Albion road,St John’s, and Victoria Road.The Crabb Inbstitute is essentially for working men and boys, and the membership is open to any person “who is poor enough”, as the generous lady, who has given the Institute expressed it. The opening ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon,when the large hall was crowded.The Rev D.J. Stather Hunt presided and there was also present Miss Crabb,Revs A.t. Scott, C.E. Story,Chas. Courtenag,W.E. Gilliatt.H.W. For,J.Topham,Messrs W.Langton.Cleeve.Cummings,F.Gaskill.H.H. Cronk etc. “ The article continues by stating that Rev Scott offered prayer and Rev Story read a scripture.Miss Crabb spoke saying “I have great pleasure to declare the Crabb Memorial Institute open………” and closed her remarks with a religious message. Rev Hunt then gave his remarks thanking Miss Crabb “for such a beautiful gift” and then others spoke and one stated “They all know Miss Crabb’s heat had been full indeed, and they knew the reason,it was erected to the memory of one who was very dear to her. It was stated that there had not been one single accident in constructing the building and “that between 110 and 120 men had been employed in raising the building.......” Mr H.H. Cronk, as one of the church wardens of the parish, expressed his appreciation to Miss Crabb for her gift. Miss Crabb said “there was one little regret and that was because the site was not larger”. “The singing of the Doxology terminated the proceedings and the visitors then inspected the various rooms.A tea was provided at which 300 sat down and following this a further meeting was held, when the Hall was again crowded.An excellent programme was carried out”. See the full article for more details.

During WW 1 thousands of troops decended upon Tunbridge Wells before heading off to war. In mid October 1914  some 5,000 Territorials from the north of England and Scotland arrived in nine troop trains. Chief Constable Prior was put in charge of billeting of the new arrivals and 225 of them were put up at the Crabb Memorial Institute. In the same year Mr & Mrs Elliott and hundreds of volunteers arranged for the troops to have a Christmas Dinner, with 250 of the 9th King’s Regiment having their meal at the Crabb Institute. The Crabb Institute, like many other buildings in the town was used throughout the war to assist in the war effort on the home front. Shown opposite is a group of soldiers in Tunbridge Wells from the East Surrey regiment, one of many who came to the town during WW 1 before heading off to war.

Constructed of red brick, with some nice architectural details, it is a shame that the entire building could not be saved but like so many other buildings in that area it fell victim to the wreckers in the name of progress. Fortunatley the front façade of the building was saved from destruction, but it is a poor substitute for the whole building.Although many of the buildings on the proposed site of the shopping centre were not worth saving and had more or less reached the end of their useful life, there were many like The Crabb Memorial Institute which could have had a useful existence for many years to come. Those wishing to keep their buildings in the area had little or no say in the matter ,regarding the fate of their buildings, for local council expropriated them.Shown here is a collection of photos taken by Fred Scales of the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society which show the building just prior to demolition and images of the work being done to save the front façade during the construction of Royal Victoria Place.

Why the front façade of the institute was not taken down with the rest of the building has not been explained but it must have been due to local pressure from those interested in preserving the past.It is known that that the façade of Burton on Calverley Road was also saved and rebuilt a little further along as an entrance to the Royal Victoria Place. The façade of the Crabb Memorial Institute itself provides an entrance to the basement of Royal Victoria Place.

The site of the Royal Victoria Place complex, was bounded by Goods Station Road, Camden road,Calverley Road and Grosvenor Road. Work on demolition began in 1989/90 with construction of its one million square feet of retail space taking three years. The complex was opened by Lady Diana on October 21,1992. A photo opposite shows the entrance to the complex from Calverley Road. The complex is owned by Hermes Real Estate and the developer was MEPC Developments. Shown below right is a view of one of the entrances to the Royal Victoria Place, at 5 ways which was the former site of the Grosvenor Tavern at 1 Calverley Road.

The inclusion of the name “Institute” in the name of the building suggested in my mind that it must have been more than a parish hall, which is what it is referred to in directories, but records indicate that it was just that, a hall, used for religious services in the evening and as a hall in which space was rented out to others wishing to have a place to conduct their meetings. The 1930 Kelly listed the building as “ Crabb Memorial Institute (Holy Trinity Mission) Victoria Road” but interestingly the 1903 and 1913 Kelly directories listed it as “ Crabb Memorial Hall (Holy Trinity Mission) Victoria Road”.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of April 8,1927 referred in part to a “ bright informal service in the Crabb Memorial Institute, and vocal solos were delightfully rendered by Miss Habens, Captain C.R. Pridmore, of the Church Army,gave a short lantern (magic lantern) address on “Were you ever an April Fool”. So obviously in addition to religious ceremonies and meetings there was also at times entertainments.

I mentioned earlier that the Crabb Memorial Institute was located in the Market Place. Another building which survives today, is the Calvary Church. It is described on the Wikipedia website as “part of the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre. It replaced the former Calvery Mission on Victoria road, a chapel whose marriage registration was cancelled in February 1992. It is an Evangelical Church”. Chris Jones of the Civic Society, in reply to my inquiry gave the following information regarding the Market Place. “ As for Market Square (Place) the Royal Victoria Place replaced a number of small streets and buildings-for example Victoria Road. The area between Victoria road and Kensington Street was filled with an open space called Market Square with new buildings around it (and what had been Kensington Street was renamed Victoria Road). There had originally been a market just off the original Victoria Road, so one of the purposes of the new Market Square was to replace that. It lasted a few years but was never really successful and I think it doesn’t operate now. Market Square is an interesting architectural space but it just doesn’t seem to work. On the western side is the basement level entry into the RVP through the Crabb Memorial facade. On the north side is a gym. On the east side is the Camden Centre-a set of halls that are hired out for community activities. The New Calvery Church is in there somewhere as well. On the south side are the backs of the shops in Camden Road.There have been proposals to roof over Market Square and use it for ‘proper’ shops, though they don’t seem to have been implemented. The Drill Hall was in the original Victoria Road-opposite the Crabb Memorial building. It may even be that the market was originally held inside the old Drill Hall”.

With the loss of the Crabb Memorial Institute there was a need for a replacement hall, which took the form of the Christ Church Centre on High Street. This is an Anglican establishment. R. Palmer Browne designed the first church in 1836-41 in a “course” Neo-Norman style using white brick at a cost of 8,500 pounds. By the 1990’s the church was a derelict and was declared redundant in February 1996. As a result it was demolished and replaced by the present combined church and commercial development which retains the Christ Church name. The current website of the Christ Church Centre, from which the photos shown here were obtained, refers to the Crabb Hall, located within this building.The Crabb Hall, which retained the name in memory of Richard Hatley Crabb of Heathfields from the days of the Crabb Memorial Institute, is today a facility measuring 13x20 m is size that can seat about 100. The hall is equipped with tables and chairs and is located on the first floor (upstairs)and for the elderly or physically challenged there is a lift. A “Small Crabb Hall” can be created for those requiring less space by the installation of partitions. A number of local groups hold their meetings there such as the Royal Tunbridge Wells Philatelic Society (founded 1945); The Tunbridge Wells Lodge Air Force Association ; The Royal British Legion of Tunbridge Wells, an a local choir group that holds their rehersals there, just to name four users of this well used hall. Although the halls namesake is long gone and the forerunner building on Victoria Road is but a historical fragment, it is good to see that Richard Hatley Crabb is still remembered, although few will perhaps be aware of the connection of the Crabb Hall to him.

A series of photographs were taken of the Crabb Memorial Institute in the 1940’s by Fred Scales of Tunbridge Wells. Fred is still with us but he did not retain the negatives. He did however give the Tunbridge Wells Reference a “red binder” with his photos in them, which the library is attempting to locate.

For anyone interested in reading more about the Baddow Brewing Company Ltd., there is an extensive collection of records at the National Brewing Centre in Horninglow Street, Burton-on-Trent. There are also several websites that give information on the brewing process and the history of brewing on the internet and for anyone interested in some local brewing history see my article entitled ‘Early Brewing History And The Culverden Brewery St John’s Road’ dated May 5,2012.



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

Date: September 12,2014


Arthur Charles Dodd was an artist who is best known for the oil paintings he produced in the 19th century featuring hunting dogs,many of which were done while living in Tunbridge Wells with his parents and siblings. He had been born 1857 in Shropshire, one of eight known children born to Rev. George William Dodd.

The Dodd family moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1860 and took up residence at a fine home called “Plaisance” at 60 & 61 Mount Ephraim, a Grade II listed building located just north of Boyne Park Road.Today, with the same name, it caters to the tourist trade, providing 6 self- catering apartments rented out by the week. While at this residence Arthur and his brothers attended Tonbridge School, and later Arthur took art training at the Slade School of Art,London University, and at South Kensington. Arthur began to produce his paintings of animals and landscapes in Tunbridge Wells but also later in London and in Essex.He was a prolific artist and frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art and elsewhere .He was married twice but never had children and died in the 1920’s.

Shown above is one Arthur’s paintings entitled ‘Spotting His Reflection”.


The birth of Arthur Dodd was registered in Shifind,Shropshire in the 3rd qtr of 1857 and was baptised on September 13,1857 at Donington,Shropshire with his parents given as George and Mary Dodd. His father was George William Dodd, baptised  May 23,1823 in East Sheen(Morlake(,Surrey, one of nine children born to John Dodd (1791-1846) and Phoebe Hunt (1801-1869).George wed Mary Creswick, born 1819 at Sheffield,Yorkshire , in 1849 at Kensington, Middlesex.At the time of the 1851 census he and his wife and daughter Elizabeth were living at 15 Pehlam Place in Kensington,Middlesex.

Rev. George William Dodd and his wife had the following children (1) Elizabeth (b1850) (2) Henry George (b1852) (3) Marion (1853-1925) (4) Edgar (b1855) (5) Alice (b1857) (6) Arthur (b1857) (7) Herbert F (b1860) (8) Charles Edward (b1862). All of the children born before 1860 were born in Shropshire, with their son Charles Edward Dodd  being born in Tunbridge Wells.

A brief summary of information about the siblings of Arthur Charles Dodd is given below. An extensive review of their records and lives has not been undertaken by the researcher.

(1)    Elizabeth Dodd; born 1850 Shropshire. Her birth was registered at Shifnel,Shropshire in the 2nd qtr of 1850 as Elizabeth Henriette Dodd. She was living with her parents and siblings in Tunbridge Well at the time of the 1861 cenus. No conclusive information for her after that date as she does not appear with parents in census records after 1861.

(2)    Henry George Dodd. Born 1851 in Shropshire and was the eldest son. Like his father he took up a religious career. His birth was registered in the 3rd qtr 1851 at Dunington,Shropshire. He was living in Tunbridge Wells with his parents in 1871 when in that year he was attending school as an undergraduate. In 1881 he was a lodger at 102 Southwark Park Road in Bermondsey,London and working as a curate in charge of Turner District Bermondsey. He was at that time living with the family of Ambrose Fletcher who was a barge owner. In 1883 Henry married Helen Mary Adams (1857-1932) who had been born in in the 2nd qtr of 1857 at Surbiton,Surrey, one of two children born to Edward Adams (1819-1873) and Helen Aylward (1825-1915). Prior to her marriage she was living with her parents at Mitchum,Surrey. Henry and his wife never had any children. In 1891 Henry and his wife and one servant were living at Church House in Higham,Kent,where Henry was a curate of Highamay.. In 1901 George and his wife were living at the parsonage in Chessington,Surrey where  Henry was a clergyman with the Church of England. In 1911 Henry and his wife are living in 6 rooms at 1 Senga Road in Hackbridge,Corshlton in Wallington,Surrey where Henry is a clergyman in the established church. Probate records show that Henry died at 11 Langdale Avenue, Mitchum.Surrey on July 24,1918. The executor of his 965 pound estate was his wife Mary Dodd.

(3)    Marion Dodd (photo opposite). Born 1st qtr 1853 with birth registered at Shifnel,Shropshire. In 1871 she was living with her parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells. On January 11,1876 she married Percival Huth (1851-1913) (photo opposite)at Paddington St John. The census records for 1881 and 1891 record her living with her husband and six children at Walcot,Somerset. Shown opposite is a family photo showing Marion along with her youngest son Ferdinand Gerard Huth (1889-1984) and her sons Percival Cuthbert Huth (1879-1960) and Major Frederick Lionel Huth (1880-1965) at the family home  “Freshford Manor” in Freshford, Bath,Somerset. In 1911 Marion and her family were living at Pestbury,Cloucestershire. Marion died March 24,1925 at Bath,Somerset.

(4)    Edgar Dodd. Born 1854 Donington,Shropshire. His birth was registered at Shifnal,Shropshire in the 4th qtr of 1854 and he was baptised October 21,1854 at Donington,Shropshire.In 1871 he was living with his parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells and working as a drapers apprentice. On February 26,1881 he married Harriot Frances Anale Harris, the eldest daughter of Clement Mears Harris(1816-1889),MRCS Dec 21st 1838;FRCS (by election Jan 11th 1866; LSA 1888 of Weston-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire. Clement was a general surgeon who studied at King's College and at the Middlesex Hospital. He practised at Whitminster Lodge, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, where he was Medical Officer for the Eastington District of the Wheatenhurst Union and Workhouse. He afterwards moved to Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, and died at The Cedars, Wotton, on April 14th, 1889.Further information about Edgar is inconclusive.

(5)    Alice Dodd. Born 1856 at Donington,Shropshire where she was baptised on March 9,1856. The last conclusive record for her was the 1871 census, where she was living with her parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells.

(6)    Herbert Francis Dodd. Born 1860 Shropshire. He was living with his parents and siblings at the time of the 1861 census, but no record of him with his parents appears after then. The 1871 census, taken at 64 Upper Brunswick in Hove,Sussex gives him living with 18 others as a boarder. He was attending a military school run by Alfred Dounes.age 45, a ,military tutor. On November 12,1889 he married Kate Edith Fowler, the daughter of Matthew Holland Fowler (deceased) who had been an engineer. The marriage took place at St Michael Cornhill in the City of London. Kate had been a resident of London before the marriage. Herbert’s occupation in the marriage records was given as railway fitter. His wife Kate was a spinster, age 25.Thsi was the last conclusive record for the family.

(7)    Charles Edward Dodd. Born 1862 in Tunbridge Wells. As noted before, he like his other brothers attended Tonbridge School. He was there in  1876-1878.His birth was registered in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1862. Tonbridge School records gave him as being in the private drawing office of the Bank of England. The 1881 census, taken at “Keleth” on Hatherley Road in Foots Cray,Kent, recorded him as a bank clerk and living there with his mother Mary, one servant and one boarder.. His mother was given as born 1819 Yorshire, and as “fomerley schoolmistree” which ties in with the census record in Tunbirdge Wells of 1871. Information about  Charles is inconclusive after 1881 but there is a death record for a Charles Edward Dodd, born 1862, who died at St Giles,London un the 3rd qtr of 1905.


The Dodd family moved to Tunbridge Wells after the birth of Herbert F. Dodd in 1860 in Shropshire. The 1861 census, taken at ” Plaisance”, Speldhurst ( 60 & 61 Mount Ephraim) recorded George W. Dodd with his occupation referencing Trinity Church (photo opposite). Living with him was his wife Mary and their children Elizabeth,Hanry,Marion,Edgar,Alice,Arthur and Herbert. Also in the home were two pupils and five servants. The pupils were being given religious instruction by George and his wife, for they were running a small school operation from their place of residence.

The 1871 census, taken at 60 and 61 Mount Ephraim listed George W Dodd as a clerk in holy orders (Chaplain). Living with him was his wife Mary, given as a schoolmistress; their son Henry, an undergraduate; their daughter Marion, a scholar; their son Edgar, an apprentice draper and their daughter Alice, a scholar. Also in the building were seven servants and five boarders attending the Dodd school.

The sons of George Dodd all attended the Tonbridge School. There is a  painting of the Tonbridge School by Charles Tattershall Dodd , a local Tunbridge Wells artist who was not related directly to George Wiliam Dodd’s  branch of the Dodd clan which can be seen at the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery along with many others by C.T. Dodd.Shown below is a postcard view of Tonbridge School..

The 1871 census, taken in the Town of Tonbridge at High Street Grammer School, records Arthur Dodd, age 13, born 1858 Donnington,Shropshire along with 88 other boys ranging in age from 12 to 18 who are all attending the school. The head of the school was given as James T. Welldon,age 59, born 1812 Cambridge. With James was his wife and several other members of his family.The records of Tonbridge School give “Arthur Dodd-1868-72, 3rd son of the Rev George William Dodd.An artist. Studied at the Slade Schools of Art, London University, and at South Kensington. Painter of “The End of a Long Run 1886 and of “In the Peaceful Evening Time (Royal Academy 1880) and “Mutual Distrust (Royal academy 1885)”.

George’s son Charles Edward Dodd was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1862. The records of Tonbridge School list Charles there 1876-8 and being the 5th son of Rev.George William Dodd and that Charles was “In the Private Drawing office of the Bank of England”.

Crockfords Clerical Directory of 1874 records “George Ashley Dodd,Tonbridge ch ch Ox. BA 1864 MA 1867 Chaplain of Tonbridge Union. It was not established how if at all he was related to George William Dodd, as no listing in Crockfords was found for a George William Dodd.The records of Rochester list “George William Dodd, Chaplain of Tonbridge Union 1871-1873”.

Arthur Dodd left Tunbridge Wells sometime before 1881 and moved to London. Probate records show that Rev. George William Dodd formerly of Plaisance,Mount Ephraim,Tunbridge Wells but late of Sidcup, both in Kent, clerk died March 13,1883 at Sidcup. The executors of his 2,265 pound estate wee Mary Dodd , widow, of Sidcup; Percival Huth of 2 Lansdowne Crescent, Bath,Somerset, esq., and Rev. George Willes of the United Service College Westward Ho, Devon, clerk.


The 1881 census, taken at 10 Plassey (sp) Road, in Lewisham,London recorded Arthur Dodd, born Shropshire 1858, as an” artist in oil and colour (The Branth)”. Living with him was his wife Charlotte Maud Dodd, age 21, born 1857 “Nk. Hampshire). Also in the home was one servant. The marriage between Arthur Dodd and Charlotte Houghton took place just before the 1881 census, and although details are lacking it appears the marriage took place in London in 1880.

Charlotte Maud Houghton had been born 1857 in Durley,Hampshire according to the 1871 census, taken at Durley. In this census the head of the home was Edmund Houghton, age 51, born 1820 in Durley, who at the time was a farmer of 40 acres employing two boys. Living with him was his wife Emily, born 1818 in Bishpstone,Hampshire and their three sons Robert, Alfred and Edmund, and their two daughters Charlotte and Sarah. Charlotte had a short life however for death records give Charlotte Maud Dodd’s death registered in Lingfield in 1884 and that she was buried on April 16,1884 in the parish of Lingfield, St Peter and St Paul.It is possible she died  from childbirth complications. There is no record of any living children from this marriage.

On October 26,1884 Arthur Dodd, age 27, born 1857, an artist of 4 Clifton villas, Camden,Sussex, married Kate Houston, age 18, spinster, of 51 Gloucester Road. The marriage took place at St Paul, Upper Halloway, Islington withnessed by Annette Houston and Walter Encham. The parents of the couple were given as George William Dodd, clerk in holy orders, and Charles Houston, armourer.Little is known about the Houston clan except that Kate was born 1867 in Edinburgh, Scotland and her sister Elizabeth was born in Dublin,Ireland in 1870.

The records of the Royal Academy of Arts refers to five paintings of Arthur’s that were exhibited at their exhibitions in the 1887 to 1889 era,that were executed by Arthur at an address given as 27 King Street, London. Details of these paintings and other by Arthur while in London are given later in this article.

By 1891 Arthur and his wife left London and took up residence in the town of Dedham,Essex, given in the records of the Royal Academy of Arts as “ Dedhanity,Essex”, where Arthur executed the painting “Notes of Defiance” that was exhibited at the RA in 1891.

The 1891 census, taken at Dedham, Essex, on the High Street, recorded Arthur as an” artist painter self -employed”. Living with him was his wife Kate, born 1867 Edinburch,Scotland and his sister in law Elizabeth age 21, born 1870 Dublin,Ireland.Also in the home was one domestic servant.

Although a death record for Arthur Dodd is lacking there is a 1901 census record for a Kate Dodd, widow, age 33, born 1868 Scotland living at 38 Waldemar Road in Fulham,London, with one boarder and one servant. Based on this it appears that Arthur Dodd passed away in either Essex or London sometime between 1891 and 1901. Further research is necessary to establish the actual date and place of death. The only burial record that ties in with these dates is for an Arthur Dodd being buried February 20,1902 at Berrinton,Shropshire .  However, there is a record of a painting by Arthur Charles Dodd being exhibited in 1905 entitled A Tank with grapes,plums etc given in the list of his works later in this article. How reliable this date is, and whether the date pertains to when the painting was executed or whether it  was exhibited after his death has not been established. In researching his artwork I did not find any others after 1905, although there are several undated paintings on the list, which require further research.There is a record from ‘The Boxcar, The Exchange and Mart’ dated May 10,1898 in which an article was  included about The Crystal Palace Picture Gallery at which place was exhibited a painting (lot # 325) by Arthur Dodd.

Of his artistic career others record he was most prolific between 1878 and 1890 and that he was a Tunbridge Wells painter of hunting, animals and landscapes and rustic subjects and exhibited regularly a number of paintings at the Royal Academy  Grosvenor Gallery during 1878-1891. It is also stated by art authorities that “His hunting scenes tend to give prominence to the hounds with the horses being a less significant part of the painting. An engraving of Foxhounds coming through the brambles by Dodd was published in 1887 and based on his painting of 1886.


The location of the family residence at 60 & 61 Mount Ephraim is given on a map by English Heritage that can be seen online. Shown opposite, circled in red, is the location of this building as shown on the 1909 OS map. No. 60 is the larger building on the right and attached to it is a later addition to the left given as No. 61. To the right-rear side of No. 60 was the Royal Hotel. To the left of No. 61, separated by a paved drive was, and still is, an impressive tall red brick residence, which has since been converted into a lodging house.Like all buildings along Mount Ephrain it sat on a high ridge affording a pleasant view of The Common.

English Heritage gave this building a Grade II listing on May 20, 1952 with the listing including all of the buildings numbered consecutively from 58 to 61. Their listing gives “ North West Side. Mid C19. Three stys rendered. Hipped slate roof. Tree sashes with verticals only.The 1st and 2nd floors have 2-5 light bays. Tuscan porch and elliptical fanlight with reeded pilasters”.

Shown opposite is a modern photograph of “Plaisance”, a name it still retains today. No. 60 is on the right being finished in a cream colour with white trim, with No. 61 on the left finished in white throughout. It is clear from examining the architectural details of this building that No. 61 is different to that of No. 60 and it is the opinion of the researcher that No. 61 was a late 19th century addition. Along the Mount Ephraim frontage and extending down each side for a short distance is a low white wall in which a black wrought iron gate is provided to the entrance of each side of this building and on this wall in black letters is the street address. On the porch entrance to No. 60 is the sign “Plaisance” and on the lawn is a sign post with the same name and on which is given “Self-Catering Apartments. This home today is advertised in travel guides regularly and described as having six self-catering apartments  “registered at 4 stars”. The building today is managed by Itaris Properties Limited. A travel guide ,dated 2014,states that Plaisance has 4 one bedroom apartments renting in the range of 295 to 448 pounds a week and 2 two bedroom apartments renting for 326 to 463 pounds a week. The same travel guide states that this building was converted into apartments in 1972. It is to be expected that although it had been built as a single family home , and used for that purpose throughout the 19th century, it was in the 20th century converted into a lodging house and then into apartments.

This article does not report on the occupancy history of Plaisance but does note that the Dodd family were residents there at the time of the 1861 and 1871 census, and the Poll of Knights of 1865 gave “ Rev George William Dodd,Plaisance, Mount Ephraim,Tunbridge Wells”. The name Plaisance comes from Plaisance ,France, where today there is a national park. Plaisance is a French word, meaning pleasantness, derived from the Latin placentia 'acceptable things'.There is also a Plaisance in Guernsey,Channel Islands and the name has been used elsewhere. It is to be expected that the building on Mount Ephraim was given this name due to its location with its pleasant view of the Commons.


Arthur was a prolific painter, particularly in the period of 1878 to 1891, but examples of his work can be found before and after that period. A complete catalogue of his work has not been compiled but below is a list of those known to the researcher. Arthur normally signed his work as “Arthur Dodd” and not all of his work is dated.The paintings dated before 1881 were executed at “Plaisance”in Tunbridge Wells; those from 1881 to 1890 in London ,and from 1891 onwards  in Deaham,Essex.The dates of some of his work were not established by the researcher and further research is required by the art community to complete the record of his work. Some of his paintings were produced as engravings and some posters  and reproductions have been made at a later date of his images.

As noted before ,Arthur’s birth was registered as “Arthur Dodd” and he  was christened as “Arthur Dodd” .Examples of his work are signed “Arthur Dodd”. In census ,school,,marriage,death and directory records he is given as “Arthur Dodd”.Bohams Auction House refers to him as Arthur Charles Dodd. The Royal Academy of Art refers to him variously as “Arthur Dodd” and as “Arthur C. Dodd”.Records of other art exhibitions,such as the Crystal Palace Picture Gallery in 1898 refer to him as “Arthur Dodd”. For the purpose of consistency I have referred to him throughout this article as “Arthur Charles Dodd”.

His work has been sold regularly at Christies ,where for example “Waiting For Master “sold for 2,185 pounds. Sales were also noted at Bonhams such as “Bobby”. At Southerby’s in 1990 “A Playmate” sold for 4,000 pounds. As noted on the list below Arthur was not consistent in the way he signed his work. Examples exist for “Arthur Dodd”, “A.C. Dodd” and “A. Dodd”.

Images of his work can be found on the internet, and I have included as many of them as limited space permits throughout this article.His work is most often oil on canvas but paintings were also done oil on panel. Ian Beavis reported to me that the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery does not have any of his work in their collections.


  1. Scramble
  2. Might is Right –oil on canvas dated 1898 signed Arthur Dodd
  3. Coming Through the Brambles-an oil painting dated 1886
  4. Coming Through the Brambles- an engraving of Foxhounds dated 1887 (based on 1886 painting)
  5. The Stable Yard (exhibited RA)
  6. Felonious Intention (exhibited 1889 RA) painted at 27 King Street
  7. The First Fence (exhibited RA)
  8. Carrying Hay (exhibited RA)
  9. In The Peaceful Evening Time (RA 1880)
  10. Mutual Distrust (RA 1885)
  11. The End of A Long Run (exhibited 1886), signed “A.C. Dodd”
  12. Primrose Day At The Zoo (RA 1887) painted at 27 King Street
  13. Bothered (RA 1889 painted at 27 King Street
  14. A Bone of Contention (exhibited RA) painted at 27 King Street
  15. An Apparition (exhibited RA 1889) painted at 27 King Street
  16. Notes of Defiance (exhibited RA 1891) painted at Dedham,Essex
  17. Having Fun –dated 1886
  18. The Demise Of A Master
  19. On The Scene
  20. Fox Hunting Scene-dated 1889
  21. The Afternoon Ride-dated 1889
  22. Natura Morta di Frutta- a still life of fruit
  23. Friday
  24. The Comforts of Home,Pointer Puppies –dated 1897
  25. Acorn To The Side-a still life
  26. Gone To Ground
  27. Bobby,signed “A.C. Dodd”
  28. Run to Ground-dated 1883
  29. On The Scent
  30. A Playmate
  31. On The Scent-an engraving
  32. On the Scene-an engraving
  33. A Tank With Grapes,Plums,Apples,Melon & Hazelnuts –dated 1905
  34. In Full Cry-dated 1886,signed “A. Dodd”
  35. 3 To 1 On A Rat –dated 1889
  36. Red Setters-dated 1889
  37. Restful Puppies-dated 1897
  38. Waiting For Master, signed “Arthur Dodd”
  39. Girl With Dog –dated 1889
  40. Study of Foxhounds-dated 1890
  41. Poachers-dated 1891
  42. Trust-small girl with dog dated 1888
  43. Three Pupplies
  44. On The Scent
  45. Through the Fence
  46. Unexpected Visitor Scene-dated 1886
  47. The Old Covert Hack
  48. A Jersey Cow and Colt
  49. On the Scent
  50. Hide And Seek
  51. Hunt Scene
  52. Setting Out For A Drive
  53. Hound Breaking Cover
  54. On wrong side of The Fence
  55. Old Covert Hack
  56. Club Hunting-drawing Covert
  57. The Stolen Bone
  58. Autumn Horses
  59. Confrontation-Geese hissing at a pig
  60. Child Offering A Treat to Stg Bernard
  61.  Bull And Cows in Meadow
  62. Huntsman with Hounds by Kennel
  63. Barn Interior With Calves
  64. In For the Kill
  65. Lush Pastures
  66. Uninvited Guest
  67. Spotting His Reflection


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