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

Date: March 26,2019


May Day began as a Pagan Fertility Rite in Britain in the 14th century and was held in the Spring to encourage the fertility of livestock, land and the people living off of the land. It was banned by the British Parliament in 1644 but restored in 1660.

In the past May Day began early in the morning. People would go out before sunrise in order to gather flowers and greenery to decorate their houses and villages with the belief that the vegetation spirits would bring good fortune.

Girls would make a special point of washing their faces in the dew of the early morning. They believed this made them very beautiful for the following year.

The rest of the day was given over to various festivities. There was dancing on the village green, archery contests and exhibitions of strength. The highlight of the day was the crowning of the May Queen, the human replica of Flora. By tradition she took no part in the games or dancing, but sat like a queen in a flower-decked chair to watch her ‘subjects’.

Herrick, a 17th century English poet wrote: “There’s not a budding boy, or girl, this day, But is got up, and gone to bring in May”.

Young girls would make May Garlands. They covered two hoops, one at right angles inside the other, with leaves and flowers, and sometimes they put a doll inside to represent the goddess of Spring. In some parts of Britain, May 1st is called Garland Day.

There was once a tradition in England of ‘lifting’ where a gang of young men would lift a pretty girl in a flower bedecked chair on May Day. Then the girl would choose a boy on May 2nd.

In the North of England, the first of May was a king of late ‘April Fooling’ when all sorts of pranks would take place and ‘May Gosling’ was the shout if you managed to trick someone. The response would be; “ May Goslings past and gone. You’re the fool for making me one!”


The first of the month of May is known as May Day. It is the time of year when warmer weather begins and flowers and trees start to blossom. It is said to be a time of love and romance. It is when people celebrate the coming of summer with lots of different customs that are expressions of joy and hope after a long winter.

Traditional English May Day celebrations include Morris Dancing, crowning a May Queen and dancing around a Maypole.

For the convenience of the public, many May Day activities have now been moved to the new May Day holiday (from 1978) on the first Monday of the month. This Monday is a bank holiday, a day off school and work.

Many of the May Day celebrations take place at the weekend as well as on the May Day Monday. This weekend is known as bank holiday weekend because it comes with the extra day holiday on the Monday.


On May Day people used to cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village to mark the arrival of summer. People danced around the tree poles in celebration of the end of winter and the start of the fine weather that would allow planting to begin. As can be seen from the old painting opposite, showing a Maypole dance, sometimes boys and girls/men and women, danced around a standing tree stripped of its branches. Note in this image the absence of ribbons or streamers attached to the pole, for they were not introduced into the Maypole dance until the 19th century.

Maypoles were once common all over England and were kept from one year to the next. Schools would practice skipping around the pole for weeks before the final show on the village greens. The end results would be either a beautiful plaited pattern of ribbons around the pole or a tangled cat’s cradle, depending on how much rehearsing had been done. Maypole are still a part of some village life and on May Day the villagers dance around it.

In the early days the music would have been played on instruments like the Pipe & Tabor or the English Bagpipes, as can be seen in some early paintings. By the time John Ruskin came along the concertina or the fiddle would have been added and later still the accordion, flutes or other instruments cane into use. Today recorded music is often used.

Originally dancers would have worn their best clothes, both boys and girls. Although boys still participate at times in the Maypole Dance, the majority of the dancers now are little girls dressed in white with floral decorations in their hair.

In some places in England May Day celebrations begin at sunset on April 30th and include lots of floral decorations and processions through the towns and villages.

To do the Maypole dance one needs a tall pole of about 7 feet. At the top of the pole coloured ribbons or streamers are attached, the number of which matches the number of dancers. The dancers are divided into two groups with one group moving clockwise and the other group in the opposite direction while holding the ribbon or streamer. Music is played and the dancers skip about calling out ‘over’ to raise the ribbon and ‘under’ to lower it. For a 7 foot pole the ribbons or streamers are typically 13 feet long so that during the dance there is enough to wrap around the pole.

In the book ‘Tunbridge Wells in 1909’ for example by Chris Jones, the chapter on town activities in May 1909 provides an account of Empire Day, held May 24th on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s birthday. On that day girls of Christ Church School  wearing white dresses with sashes to match the braids that they plaited did a pretty ceremony  of plaiting the Maypole. The children all received a tin of chocolates presented by the Mayor, who attended all the school ceremonies. A photo the Christ Church girls from May 1909 is shown above.

Shown opposite is a postcard of St John’s Recreation Ground in Tunbridge Wells in which girls doing the Maypole dance can be seen. Although Maypole dancing was initially intended to be done on May Day it now can be seen being performed at other times of the year. This postcard is by Tunbridge Wells photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn.

The Maypole dancing that people know today, happened because John Ruskin introduced it at Whitelands College in 1881, and created a series of dances and a May Pageant. Generations of teachers learnt all about them and took them wherever they went to teach and by the middle of the 20th century it had become a major tradition, much if which survives to the present day but for some years had been dying out as fewer teachers knew the dances. Fortunately over the past few years Maypole Dancing has had a bit of a revival for all sorts of reasons to do with a greater awareness of our own culture and sheer enjoyment by dancers and audience alike. The difference now is that there is a far greater degree of creativity with new dances and styles invented all the time.

While Maypoles and Maypole dancing is regarded as something very English they also exist in many other parts of the world, although sometimes in slightly different forms. Certainly the tradition of Maypole dancing spread to Commonwealth Countries and also to America where it is still a popular event with children.

Shown above is a postcard view by Tunbridge Wells photographer Percy Squire Lankester taken at the Pevensey Pagent, one of a long series of postcards he produced for the event. Shown below is a selection on postcards showing maypole dancing in various locations.



Some examples of Maypole dancing performed in Tunbridge Wells at times other on May Day are given below from a review of local newspapers.

The Courier of July 18,1873 referred to Maypole and Morris Dancers at the Annual Amalgamated Festival of Friendly Societies.

The Courier of May 11,1883 reported on a Maypole dance by 6 men of B troop that “was cleverly conducted and much admired”.

The Courier of January 11,1884 referred to a Maypole dance performed in connection with the West Kent Hunt Ball.

The Courier of April 21,1893 reported on an event in the town, that although was primarily for sports, also included a Maypole dance.


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

Date: February 9,2019


Harold Hawtrey Camburn was a photographer and postcard printer/ publisher who operated his business in Tunbridge Wells from about 1901 until his retirement in 1950. His photographic work is noted for its high quality and clarity, attributed to his ability and his use of the specialized Elis Graber equipment. Most of his photographic output took the form of scenic views taken mostly in Kent and Sussex but sometimes further afield. To take these photographs he travelled about on a motorcycle with a sidecar in which his photographic equipment and supplies were transported.

On a number of occasions the images he took included in a view of a street with a motorcycle in it,most often his motorcycle, but sometimes a passenger or commercial motorcycle owned by a shop used to make deliveries or one for personal use. In this article I present a selection of Camburn postcards showing motorcyles, although the ones of most interest are those owned and operated by Camburn. It is clear from the images ,and from registration records, that over the years he had several motorcycles, each one no doubt becoming unreliable or worn out from the thousands of miles he travelled each year. Shown above is Camburn's motorcycle on Mount Ephraim. Tunbridge Wells.


The scheme of giving motor vehicles, such as cars, motorbikes and trucks, individual registration numbers began in 1903. This became the responsibility of the county and city councils. Some vehicles had been registered from 1896 but this was not enforced until after the 1903 Motor Act. Each county was allocated an index mark of two letters (ie KE for Kent) which was followed by a unique number up to 9999 (e.g. KE 565).

Registering vehicles in this way allowed the police to enforce speed limits and issue fines. Vehicles could be registered anywhere in the UK, not necessarily with the local council. Separate registers were kept for motorcycles, cars and goods vehicles between 3 and 5 tons. The system was altered slightly in 1921. Vehicles now had to be registered with the local council and only one register was kept for all vehicles.

When councils ran out of unique numbers, they were to add a third letter at the beginning, followed by 3 numbers only . After WWII most plates had three numbers.

Before 1973 plates were black with white numbers and lettering. In Kent the letters KE followed by numbers was used up to 1974.

In some examples of Camburn’s postcards the licence plate is visible. Of those from Kent, which is most likely one of Camburn’s motorcycles, the plate number is either KE465 or KE565. An attempt was made to obtain the registration records of all motorcycles registered by Camburn. Unfortunatley the Kent Archives replied stating that they were missing the records after KE182 and before KE1901. The Tunbridge Wells Borough also replied stating that they had no motorcycle registration records. As a result a list of Camburn’s motorcyles could not be obtained.


The above images are but a small sample of those taken by Harold Calburn throughout Kent and Sussex and even in other counties. Camburn not only had a great interest in motorcyces for his work and for travelling enjoyment but liked to include them in his views as an interesting focal point on a street scene which for the most part was devoid of motorized transport. Images of Camburn himself show him wearing a long black motorcycle coat and goggles.



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

Date: March 19,2019


In this article I report on the Newbold family who took up residence at 7 Broadwater Down, Tunbridge Wells in the late 1870’s and continued to live there until about 1920. No. 7 Broadwater Down was one of several homes that was constructed in the early phase of the Broadwater Down development , which development began in 1862, and which included the construction of St Mark’s Church.

William Newbold (1828-1900) was born in Warwickshire and in 1882. He married Eleanor Isabel Fergusson (1862-1942) in Mexico in 1877 while William was connected with work on the Mexican Railway, of which he became a company director .

William and his wife went on to have eleven children between 1879 and 1895, of which eight were born in Tunbridge Wells. William’s sons Lt Colonel Charles Joseph Newbold (1881-1946) served in ww1 with the Royal Engineers and was awarded the DSO and mentioned 3 times in despatches. William’s  son 2nd Lieut (T) Philip Newbold (1887-1916) was killed while serving with the Queen’s Own RWK Regiment in France. Philip’s name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial in France;on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial; and on the memorial plaque at St Mark’s Church, Broadwater Down.

William’s children received a good education, many of them attending Cambridge University. Among his daughters perhaps the best known was Ethel May Newbold (1882-1933) who became an award winning statistician.


The Broadwater Estate Development was an undertaking of the 4th Earl of Abergavenny,the Rev’d William Nevill ,who set about to transform,what was in 1860, an area that had become a heather covered ridge, but  originally part of the ancient Waterdown Forest, into a residential estate complete with a church (St Marks),church vicarage and church parsonage  and eventually, in the initial development, a residential  subdivision of 45 grand Victorian mansions  on a lovely tree lined road named Broadwater Down. Shown opposite is a map dated 1875 showing the homes and below are some postcard views showing the tree lined road.

Work began on the development in the 1860’s with the construction of the road Broadwater Down between Eridge Road on the West and Frant Road on the East along with St Marks’ Road which ran south off Broadwater Down at the proposed location of St Mark’s Church for some distance upon which was initially constructed St Marks Vicarge and the Parsonage, two lovely Victorian style homes built of locally quarried stone.  The builder of the earliest homes in the development was George Mansfield (1800-1882) and later his son Henry. Although the Mansfield’s were originally from London they settled in Tunbridge Wells. George had an office at the back of the Pantiles and for a time lived in two of the houses he built on Broadwater Down.

The completion of St Mark’s church in 1866 dominated the early development of the estate with the construction of homes slowed as a result. Construction of the homes began at Frant Road and progressed westerly until by 1867 there had been eight houses constructed # 1-7 and #10 but by 1874 all but 10 of the proposed 45 homes had been constructed and occupied with all but one finished by 1899.For some unknown reason house #35 was not constructed until after 1903. The odd numbered homes were constructed on the south side of the road, with No. 7 being a 2 sty rendered red brick home with developed attic space located just a few homes west of Frant Road,which home still exists today. It was described in the 1911 census as a residence of 23 rooms.

Since then, and particularly in the years after WW II, the area has undergone significant redevelopment. Several of the original mansions were demolished to make way for new roads branching off Broadwater Down Road in north and south directions at various points along its route . As a result the  formerly unoccupied lands in the area became developed with large numbers of homes constructed, some grand, and some not so grand. Along Broadwater Down there has been a significant amount of infilling as once large estate grounds were subdivide to make way for new homes, a typical trend in most parts of the town.

During WW II a number of homes in Broadwater were requisitioned by the War Office and used as command posts and administrative buildings, details of which are given in the Civic Society book by Ann Bates entitled ‘Tunbridge Wells in The Second World War’ . Also of interest is that during WW II a network of underground bunkers was constructed in the woods at the south west end of Broadwater. Details about them with many images can be found on the website

The homes that have survived are fine examples of Victorian architecture and they have been occupied since built by the rich and famous.

Given here from my article ‘ The Broadwater Down Estate Development’ dated November 12,2013 is the occupancy record for No. 7 Broadwater Down. “Arthur Farmer(1867)David C. Scott,45,W,Merchant(1871);William Newbold,51,M.Director of Mexican railway(1881);William Henry Newbold(1882);William Newbold,63,M.Company director own means(1891);William Newbold(1899);Eleanor I.Newbold,39,Widow,own means(1901);William Newbold(1903)Eleanor Isabel Newbold,50,Widow,private means(1911);Mrs Newbold(1913);Miss Newbold(1918);David C. Kemp(1922); Jane Horsfield (1923);Lawrence Edwin Green(1938)”. Further details about Broadwater Down and its development were given in the aforementioned article of 2013.

Beginning in the 1920’s the Marquess of Abergavenny began to offer a freehold interest in the land upon which the homes had been built. On February 19,1923 a freehold interest was sold to Mary Jane Horsfield, the previous occupants having a leasehold interest only.

From a review of Planning Applications from 1978 onwards it was established that sometime prior to 1978 a large addition, of about the same footprint in size was added to the back of the home which addition became known as Garth House with an address of 38 Frant Road, which addition is accessed by a long drive off Frant Road. An annex was also added with and address of 38 a Frant Road. A number of Planning Applications were made for tree work from 1997 to 2017. From these applications it was established that Mr & Mrs Mahon owned  No. 7 Broadwater Down from 1995 when they purchased it according to a delegation report of 2005 . In 2009 Mr & Mrs Adrain Mahon received permission to replace as conservatory on the western face of the house with a new orangery. Applications for 2011 and 2017 gave Mr. & Mrs McMann as the owners of the residence. Shown above is a site plan from one of the applications with the location of No. 7 Broadwater Down highlighted in red and to the rear of it can be seen No. 38 Frant Road.  The only photograph of the No. 7 Broadwater Down is shown above taken from the driveway entrance off Broadwater Down. The colour image, which could not be shown here, shows the house in a tan/brown tone, which appears to be render over brick. The entrance to the house is by way of a long tree and shrub lined drive with a wooden gate entrance near the road.

Today No. 7 Broadwater Down is valued as almost 1.2 million pounds and was last sold in 1996 for 936,000 pounds. No. 38 Frant Road has been valued at 305,000 pounds with the annex at No. 38a valued at just over one million pounds.


For the purpose of this article the patriarch of the family was William Newbold (1828-1900). He was born 1828 in Coventry, Warwickshire, the son of William Newbold and Sarah Louisa Pickering. Nothing definitive was found about his early life; his parents or possible siblings but appears to have been the son of a fairly well-to-do merchant family. William was baptised January 30,1828 at St John the Baptist Church in Coventry.

The absence of British census records for William prior to 1881 and his connection with the Mexican Railway suggests that by the 1870’s he was living and working in Mexico.

On April 23,1877, in Mexico, William married Eleanor Isabel Fergusson (1862-1942). Mexican marriage records gave his parents as William Newbold and Sarah Louisa Pikering, with Eleanor’s parents given as David Fergusson and Amelia Emilia Fergusson,nee Walsh (1839-1875) who died in Mexico May 10,1875. Eleanor was born in San Francisco, California, USA but her family emigrated to Mexico. Travel records for 1909 show that David Fergusson was living at that time in Berkeley, California where he later died.

William and Eleanor had, according to the 1911 census, eleven children with ten still living. Their known children were (1) William Newbold, born 1879 at Notting Hill (2) Lt. Col. Charles Joseph Newbold (1881-1946) who was born January 12,1881 at Tunbridge Wells. (3) Ethel May Newbold (1882-1933) was born 1882 in Tunbridge Wells and went on to be a noted statistician (4) Arthur Newbold who was born 1884 in Tunbridge Wells (5) Angela Mildred Newbold (1886-1958) who was born in Tunbridge Wells January 20,1886 .She married aviator Alec Ogilvie.(6) Philip Newbold (1887-1916) who was born in Tunbridge Wells and was killed in action in France July 1916 (7) Geoffrey Newbold (1888-1898) who was born and died in Tunbridge Wells from an illness (8) Marjorie Newbold who was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1892 (9) Eric Newbold who was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1893 (10) Douglas Newbold who was born 1894 in Tunbridge Wells (11) Unknown Newbold child.

All of the Newbold children received a good education, initially at home by a governess; then moving on to High School and some to University. Charles Joseph Newbold(1881-1946) , for example, attended Rose Hill School in Tunbridge Wells and then at Uppingham and finally obtained a BA at Cambridge University. Of the daughters, for example, Ethel May Newbold (1882-1933) was educated at Tunbridge Wells High School and Newnham College, Cambridge and then was a post graduate student in the Galton Laboratory. She went on to obtain a M.Sc degree at the University of London in 1926 and was awarded the degree of D.Sc. in 1929 at Cambridge.

The 1881 census, taken at 7 Broadwater Down gave William Newbold as a company director. With him was his wife Eleanor and their children William and Charles Joseph Newbold, who’s birth records note that he was born at 7 Broadwater Down January 12,1881. Also there were four servants.

The 1891 census, taken at 7 Broadwater Down gave William as a director of the Mexican Railway, a railway which had been constructed by a British company. With him was his wife Eleneanor and their children Ethel, Arthur, Angela, Philip. Geoffrey and Kathleen. Also in the home were four servants.

Probate records gave William Newbold of 7 Broadwater Down when he died February 16,1900. The executors of his 15,310 pound estate were his widow Eleanor; his son William Newbold and John Thomas Denniston, gentleman. William was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery February 19,1900.

The 1901 census, taken at 7 Broadwater Down, gave Eleanor as a widow and living on own means. With her were her children William, an undergraduate at Cambridge University; Charles, Ethel May, Anglea Mildren, Kathleen Agnes, Marjorie, Eric and Douglas. Also there was a governess and five domestic servants.

Travel records for 1909 note that Eleanor Isabel Newbold departed from Liverpool on the BALTIC and arrived at New York, USA February 21,1909. With her on the ship were two of her daughters. Her contacts were given as her son William Newbold of Park Road, Tonbridge and her father David Fergussson of Berkely, California who she was intending to visit.

The 1911 census, taken at 7 Broadwater Down, gave Eleanor as a widow living on private means. With her were her children Ethel May, Angela Mildred, Kathleen Agnes and Marjorie. Also there were five servants. The census recorded that the residence had 23 rooms and that of the eleven children in the family ten were still living.

As noted in the previous section from a review of local directories and other records the Newbold family continued to live at 7 Broadwater Down until at least 1918 and that in 1922 David C. Kemp lived there. By the time WW1 began most if not all of the Newbold children had left the family home to persue their careers. It is known that Eleanor Newbold and her daughter Ethel May Newbold left Tunbridge Wells and took up residence at Imberley Lodge in East Grinstead.

Probate records for Eleanor Isabel Newbold gave her of Imberley Lodge Coombe Hill, East Grinstead, Sussex when she died January 26,1942. The executor of her 56,693 pound estate was her son Charles Joseph Newbold DSO, company director. A further grant of 4,061 pounds was made to Angela Mildred Ogilvie, nee Newbold, her daughter and wife of Alexander Ogilvie.


Charles was the second son of William Newbold (1828-1900). Charles  was born in Tunbridge Wells at 7 Broadwater Down on January 12,1881.

The records of Cambridge University gave the following. “Charles Joseph Newbold; College-Caius; Admin at Caius October 1,1900, 2nd son of William [of east Grinstead], deceased. Born January 12,1881 at 7 Broadwater Down, Tunbridge Wells. Schools-Rose Hill, Tunbridge Wells, and Uppingham. Matric. Michs. 1900; Scholar; BA 1903. Rugby ‘blue’, 1902-3. Played for England, 1904-5. Served in the Great War, 1914-1919 (Lieut. Col., R.E.; DSO; mentioned 3 times in despatches). Managing Director of A. Guiness and Co., London and Dublin. Chairman of the Brewers’ Society, 1942-5. Of Said House, Chiswick Mall, London, W. Died October 26,1946 in London.”

It was noted that Charles was married and had children and became a chemist.

PHILIP NEWBOLD (1887-1916)

Philip was the fourth son of William Newbold (1828-1900) and was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1887. He was living with his parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells at 7 Broadwater Down at the time of the 1891 census but after that was away at school.

Philip was educated at Uppingham School, Rutland before going up to Oriel College, Oxford. At the time of the 1901 census he was living as a boarder at Uppingham School.

After school he emigrated to Kesima, Kenya Colony. Philip was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant(T) in the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment  on January 28,1915, as was published in the London Gazette May 12,1916. His service number was 2517 and served in France where he was killed in 1916. Following his death he was initially reported as ‘Missing’, but the Army Council subsequently made the decision that for official purposes, it was to be assumed that he had died on or after July 13,1916. His official date of death was later given as July 17,1916. His body was never found.

Philip, who was with the 7th Brn RWK at the time of his death is commemorated on Pier and Face 11C on the Thiepval Memorial in France and on the Uppingham School Roll of Honour. His name is also recorded on the plaque of the fallen at St Mark’s Church, Tunbridge Wells and on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial (images above).

Probate records gave Philip Newbold of Kesima British East Africa temporary 2nd Lieut Queen’s Own RWK Regiment who died on or since July 17,1916 in France. The executor of his 127 pound estate was Charles Eric Rudolph Schwartze, broker the attorney of Helmuth Eric Schwartze.

ETHEL MAY NEWBOLD (1882-1933) 

Of all the daughters of William and Eleanor Newbold perhaps the most notable was Ethel May Newbold  B.A. M.Sc. who was their eldest daughter and who was born in Tunbridge Wells August 38, 1882. She was found living with her parents and siblings at 7 Broadwater Down at the time of the 1891,1901 and 1911 census. Given her notoriety as a statistician much has been written about her and information in that regard can be found on a number of websites. Shown opposite is a photograph of her. The most detailed record of her life and career was given in The Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (Vol 96 No. 2 of 1933 pages 354-357).

Ethel became a noted was epidemiologist and statistician and  was the first woman awarded the Guy Medal in Silver in 1928 by the Royal Statistical Society for her work on the statistics of repeated events. During her short academic career (1921 – 1930) she published 17 papers in statistics and subject matter journals and during that time demonstrated great ability and that “ few investigations have done so much in so short a time”.

She was educated at first by a governess and then won a scholarship offered by the Girls’ Public Day School Company to attend Tunbridge Wells High School

The Kent & Sussex Courier reported the December 1902 Tunbridge Wells High School School Prize Giving in detail.“In geometry the examiner says that of the three candidates taking both parts of the paper one did brilliantly—this girl, we know, was Ethel Newbold, who got full marks, 90 out of 90 on the second part. The Chairman again congratulated the school on its success in the matter of education, and observed that he noticed the name of Ethel Newbold was mentioned very frequently in the report, and he was sure the school was proud of her (applause)”.

Ethel won a mathematics prize and was awarded an open scholarship for three years at University of Cambridge.

“Ethel Newbold carried off an open scholarship to Newnham College this year – the value of it is £50 a year for three years and it is one of the most difficult scholarships to win. It was awarded to her on the results of the Higher Local Examinations in which she got a double first in classics and mathematics, with distinction in Latin and arithmetic. She was also awarded on the same examination a prize of the value of £3 10s; a certain number of these prizes are awarded to the best candidates of the year.”

Her tutor at Cambridge was Mr. G. H. Hardy, Fellow of Trinity College. The London Daily News reported on “The Lady Wrangler” on 14 June 1905. "Miss E. M. Newbold, of Newnham, the only woman student to find a place among the Wranglers, and she is placed equal to 26th … With her latest success Miss Newbold’s career at Newnham concludes, and she is now leaving college for the purpose of entering the teaching profession. Asked her favourite pursuits, Miss Newbold replied " Mathematics and hockey" but she also admits a liking for tennis".

After obtaining her undergraduate degree from Cambridge University, she taught school for two years, and then worked for the Ministry of Munitions from 1919 – 1929, which is where her interest in statistics developed. She obtained her MSc and PhD from the University of London in 1926 and 1929, respectively.

Most of her published work was undertaken when she was a member of the National Institute of Medical Research, as the member of a committee appointed by the Medical Research Council to co-ordinate and supervise medical and industrial statistical inquiries. Newbold’s statistical career at the Medical Research Council spanned little more than 8 years but her Director, M. Greenwood, averred that: “few investigators have done so much in so short a time”. The work of the Medical Research Council School Epidemics Committee—established in 1929 to undertake a study of ‘droplet infections’ in the ‘semi‐isolated’ populations of England's public schools—represents a little‐known chapter in the historical development of applied medical statistics. Drawing on documents in the National Archives, London, it was noted that the original scheme for the Committee is credited to Miss Ethel Newbold (1882–1933), a Fellow and Council member of the Royal Statistical Society. She first taught at Godolphin School, Salisbury. Her move to Statistics was induced by her work during the First World War in the Ministry of Munitions. She studied for a M.Sc. in the University of London, which she received in 1926, and was awarded a Doctorate in 1929. She became a member of the Medical Research Council in 1921, working on medical and industrial studies.

Ethel Newbold published 17 papers within the eight years she conducted research at the Medical Research Council. In his obituary, Major Greenwood describes her as "the best mathematical statistician and I think quite the best logician" of the group at the National Institute of Medical Research.

Ethel was elected a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in 1921 and was the first woman awarded the Guy Medal in Silver in 1928, for the paper “practical Applications of Statistics of Repeated Events, particularly to Industrial Accidents" and for her other contributions to the then novel experimental study of epidemiology. She served on the Council of the Royal Statistical Society between 1928 and 1933.

She died at Woodend House, Hayes End, Middlesex in March 1933 after “a long illness”. Her coffin left her mother’s home of Imberley Lodge, East Grinstead and her funeral “took place quietly at Tunbridge Wells Cemetery in the presence of family and intimate friends on Thursday 30th March".

Probate records gave Ethel May Newbold of Imberley Lodge East Grinstead, Sussex, spinster, died March 25,1933 at Woodend House Hughes End Middlesex. The executor of her 2,920 pound estate was her widowed mother. Ethel was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on March 30th.

Major Greenwood, with whom she had worked at the Medical Research Council wrote a professional obituary for her in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, ending with a touching tribute. “The pages of a scientific journal are no doubt not the place in which to expiate on the personal qualities of a friend and colleague. But I may be permitted to say, and all those who knew her will agree it is no mere obituary rhetoric, that Ethel Newbold had a genius for friendship and all whom she honoured with her friendship will remember her generosity in word and deed. She never said, much less did, an unkind thing and has influenced for good the lives of all her colleagues and assistants.”

Her memorial (image opposite) was cleaned and repaired in 2018 by Burslem memorials at the request of the Friends of Tunbridge Wells Cemetery as part of the exhibition of Exceptional Women of Tunbridge Wells at the Cemetery, put on as part of the centenary commemorations of partial female suffrage.

The Bernoulli Society established the Ethel Newbold Prize for research excellence in statistics. The Ethel Newbold Prize is awarded to an outstanding statistical scientist for a body of work that represents excellence in research in mathematical statistics, and/or excellence in research that links developments in a substantive field to new advances in statistics. The prize is awarded biannually and includes 2500 Euros sponsored by John Wiley & Sons.



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

Date: March 15,2019


Gertrude Emma Moseley is noted in Tunbridge Wells for her work with the Women’s Suffrage Movement as co-secretary (with Mrs Tattershall Dodd )of the Tunbridge Wells branch of the National Union Women’s Suffrage Society (NUWSS), operating from premises at 18 Crescent Road.

Gertrude, who was born 1857 in Paddington, Middlesex, came from a Jewish family, originating in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales where her father Zaleg Phillip Mosely (1807-1869) worked as a watchmaker.

Zaleg and his wife Hinda Mosely, nee Levason (1827-1904) were married in Brighton in 1855 and between 1857 and 1868 had eight children, all of whom were born in Paddington.

Gertrude never married and lived with her parents and siblings in Paddington until her father died 1869 in Kensington, London and then she lived with her widowed mother and some of her siblings in Paddington until 1891 where Gertrude was a women living on own means.

At the time of the 1901 census Gertrude was living with her mother at ‘The Pines’ in Hampshire. With them were five members of the Lions family including Gertrude’s sister Emma Lions, nee Moseley, who had married Alexander Lions and with him had three children by that time.

The 1911 census, taken at St Cuthbert on Windsor Road in Boscombe, Bournemouth gave Gertrude as a suffragist living in a 27 room boarding house run by Nellie Wood and her sister.

In about 1912 Gertrude moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence at 60 York Road. In 1913 she became co-secretary of the local branch of the NUWSS with Mrs Tattershall Dodd, the wife of local artist Charles Tattershall Dodd. Gertrude was also a member of the London Society of Women’s Suffrage as well as The Conservative and Unionist Women’s Franchise Association and the Jewish League for Women’s Suffrage. She also took a great interest in the local Dr Barnardo’s Home and did good work in support of the war effort.

Gertrude left Tunbridge Wells in about 1915 and moved into a nursing home at 1 Sandwell Crescent in West Hampshire, where she died at only age 59 on November 13,1916. The Suffrage publication ‘ The Common Ground’ reported on her death stating their regret that Gertrude had passed away and that the executors of her estate had left a legacy to the NUWSS and a quote from Gertrude stating “ To the day of my death I shall be a suffragist”. She was held out by the NUWSS as an inspiration to others for “her influence of such sympathy and enthusiasm that she demonstrated for so many years of her life”.

Gertrude’s activities with the NUWSS were reported on in the Kent & Sussex Courier and some information about her was given in the book ‘Disgusted Ladies’ by Anne Carwardine, details of which are given in this article along with information about her family.


The birth of Gertrude Emma Mosely was registered in the 3rd qtr of 1857 at Kensington, the daughter and eldest child of watchmaker Zaleg Phillip Mosely (1807-1869) and Hinda Levason (1827-1904). Both of her parents were Jewish. An undated image of Zaleg is shown opposite.

Zaleg had been born 1807 in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales, the son of watch and clock maker Jacob Abraham Mosely (1771-1845) and Abigail Mosely, nee Phillips (1781-1844). Zaleg was one of six children in the family who were all born in Swansea between 1807 and 1845. Nathanial Phillips ,a relative of Abigail’s, was one of the first Jews to settle in Swansea

Zaleg’s wife Hinda Levason (1827-1904) was born in Hull, Yorkshire and was one of six children born to Jacob Levason (1798-1874) and Catherine Levason, nee Isaacs (1800-1883).

A website about the history of Swansea noted that the Mosely clan were among the earliest Jewish settlers in Swansea and that many of them including Zaleg and his father and others were watch and clock makers. Shown opposite is a grandfather clock made by Jacob Abraham Mosely circa 1820. Jacob Abraham Mosely was one of the founders the Swansea Philosophical & Literary Institute and for many years was in Calverley Corps. He was also a founder of the Jewish synagogue in Swansea in 1818.

Robert Ellis Mosely who was born in Swanse between 1815 and 1820 was one of the sons of Jacob Mosely and Abigail Mosely, nee Phillips and became a master watch and clock maker. He emigrated to the USA in about 1843 and died on Boston,Mass. May 22,1870.

At the time of the 1851 census,taken at 10 Maida Gate in Kensington, Zaleg Mosely was single and  given as a fundholder. With him was two of his sisters who were annuitants. In the 1841 census Zaleg was given as a watchmaker.  As noted above Zeleg married Hinda Levason in Brighton in the 3rd qtr of 1855 and after the marriage he and his wife settled in Paddington.

The 1861 census, taken at 17 Portsdown  Road in Paddington, gave Zaleg as a fundholder. With him was his wife Hinda and their children Gertrude and Joseph. Also there was Zalegs 42 year old sister Emma and three servants. Zaleg died in Kensignton in 1869 leaving his wife Hinda to raise Gertrude and six of her siblings all of whom were between the ages of 2 to 13 years.

The 1871 census, taken at 34 Portsdown Road in Paddington , gave  Hinda Mosely as a widow and a gentlewoman. With her were seven of her children, including Gertrude, her sister in law Emma Mosely age 53 and four domestic servants.

The 1881 census, taken at 34 Portsdown Road in Paddington gave Hinda a widow living on own income. With her was her daughter Gertrude and four of her children as well as her sister in law Emma,age 64 and three servants. Gertrude at that time was living on own means.

The 1891 census, taken at 34 Portsdown Road in Paddington, gave Hinda as a widow living on own means. With her was her daughter Gertrude who was living on own means and Her son Robert (a general merchant) and her nephew Maurice (a solicitor). Also there was a niece and two servants.

The 1901 census, taken at ‘The Pines’ Bournemouth, Hampshire gave Hinda living on own account. With her was her daughter Gertrude and five members of the Lions family and one governess. Gertrude’s sister Kate Mosely (1861-1952) had married Alexander Lions (1854-1928) in the 4th qtr of 1885 at Paddington and with her had by 1891 three daughters born in Middlesex between 1887 and 1891. The Lions family , in about 1911, emigrated to Sydney Australia where Kate died September 20,1952 and Alexander on October 14,1928. Alexander was a merchant and was found in passenger records of 1911 travelling to Australia,Canada,and the USA. From a family album is a undated photograph of Gertrude (on the left) and her sister Kate (on the right).

In 1904, at Hampshire, Gertrude’s mother Hinda Mosely passed away. A photograph of her late in life is shown opposite. The probate record gave “ Hinda Mosely of 7 Lymington Mansions, West End Lane, Middlesex, widow, died December 29,1904. The executors of her 6,266 pound estate were Michael Samuel Mosely (1865-1949) the son and cigar importer; Robert Spurzheim Mosely (1868-1939) the son and boot factor; and Gertrude Emma Moseley, spinster daughter and Hinda’s solicitor. Directories show that Hinda had been living at the place of her death  since at least 1903.

The 1911 census, taken at a 27 room boarding house on Windsor Road, Boscombe, Bournemoth, run by Nellie Wood and her sister, gave Gertrude as a “Suffragist”.

Sometime after 1911 but before 1913 Gertrude moved to Tunbridge Wells


In the previous section it was recorded that Gertrude Emma Mosely was living  at a boarding house is Bornemouth and had declared her occupation as “Suffragist”. It is known that Gertrude was in Tunbridge Wells in 1913 when at that time she was the co-secretary of the NUWSS with Mrs Tattershall Dodd, the wife of local artist Charles Tattershall Dodd. Details about Mrs Tattershall Dodd were given in my article ‘ The Life and Times of Mrs Edith Tattershall Dodd’ dated February 22,2019, which article appeared on my website in April 2019.

While living in Tunbridge Wells Gertrude took up residence at 60 York Road. Shown opposite is a modern photograph of this residence taken in 2017. No plaque in memory of Gertrude has been installed on this building yet.

Given below are extracts from various articles in the Kent & Sussex Courier that make reference to Gertrude.

May 16,1913…. Suffragist Controversy-To the Editor. Sir-May I through your medium remind Miss Mosely that the reduplication of members in Crescent Road and WSPU Pantiles is an existing fact, not an invention of mine. Miss Mosely as acknowledged this fact and said that it had been remedied.

Shown opposite is a photograph by local photographer Harold H. Camburn of the NUWSS headquarters at 18 Crescent Road located opposite the stables of the Calverley Hotel, which premises opened in November 1910, and at which place literature was sold and information provided as well as serving as a meeting place. In this image can be seen two women. The woman on the left bears a striking resemblance to Amelia Scott the vice president of the NUWSS, which was founded in Tunbridge Wells in 1908. Who the younger woman is was not established. On the back of the postcard view of 18 Crescent Road was a note which reads “ With Miss Mosely’s compliments 18 Crescent Road Tunbridge Wells”.

June 20,1913……….At Clair Lodge Madam Sarah Grand (president of the local NUWSS) occupied the chair and Lady Matthews, Miss Amelia Scott and Miss Mosely also spoke”. The article referred to members who had not yet given their names who were willing to take part in the pilgrimage to London and encouraged them to do so. Miss Mosely was one of the women who participated in the pilgrimage.

April 23,1915……..War Notes……..Clothing is urgently needed and would be gratefully received by Miss Mosely of 60 York Road, Tunbridge Wells. Another parcel of 121 garments was sent off last week through the Tunbridge Wells Women’s Liberal Association for the Belgians in Holland”…..

June 18,1915…….National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies…President Madam Sarah Grand, and the committee of the society, in the gardens of East Court, kindly lent by Miss Coulson Jones. Miss Mosely gave a short account of the relief work now being performed by the Society. There have been rumours, she said, …..”

January 28,1916……Miss Burk’s Address on the Women’s Scottish Hospital which referred to nursing the wounded said in part “ Miss Mosely seconded a proposition and referred to the fact that the Kent Suffrage Federation has for several months been supporting ( this work)”.

April 7,1916……….Article in French which refers to Miss Mosely in connection with or perhaps visiting Le Havre France.

September 22,1916…….A brief mention that “Miss Gertrude Mosely is leaving “(Tunbridge Wells)

November 17,1916……Deaths- Mosely-On November 13th at a nursing home at Hampstead in her 60th year Miss Gertrude Emma Mosely, secretary of Tunbridge Wells”….”The Movement who regretted the recent departure of Miss Gertrude Mosely from Tunbridge Wells will learn with the greatest regret the death of that lady on Monday last in a nursing home at Hampstead. Miss Mosely was the daughter of the late Mr. E.P.Mosely of West London. During the latter part of her residence in Tunbridge Wells her activities in connection with war work, under the auspices of the National Union, were of the greatest value, and at the last annual meeting the report which Miss Mosely was able to present of work accomplished was most gratifying to all friends of the movement. Miss Mosely also took an active interest in Dr Barnardo’s Home at which she was a constant visitor. The funeral took place on Wednesday at Willesden Jewish Cemetery.

December 16,1916….Tunbridge Wells Women’s Suffrage Society- The report of the Society was closed by affectionate reference to Miss Mosely who passed away last week, and a letter received from her was read. In it she said…….”

Probate records gave Gertrude Emma Mosely of 60 York Road Tunbridge Wells, spinster, died November 13,1916 at 1 Sandwell Crescent West End Lane,West Hampstead, Middlesex. The executors of her 3,449 pound estate were Laurence Benjamin Joseph, clerk; {hilip Frederick Phillips, sergeant H.M. Army and Ernest Philip Moses Mosely, Lieut. H.M. Army. Shown opposite is a photograph of 1 Sandwell Crescent.

‘The Common Ground’ , which was a weekly publication and an organ of the NUWSS gave the following on September 28,1917. “ The Treasurers Note- The late Miss Gertrude E. Mosely -Some ten months ago we referred with regret to the death of Miss G.W. Mosely, who for many years was an active member of the Tunbridge Wells Society of the National Union. Our readers will learn with sympathetic interest that this week  a legacy of 25 pounds was paid to the National Union by Miss Moseley’s executors. “To the day of my death I shall be a Suffragist” she wrote to the secretary of the National Union, and this legacy comes to remind us that although she herself has passed away, the influence of such sympathy and enthusiasm as she showed cannot die. We therefore take her words and her life as the test of the cause to which Miss Mosely devoted so many years of her life is not yet won, and that the organization for which she worked with such unflagging zeal still needs the loyal and generous support of members”.

Anne Carwardine in her recent book about the Women’s Suffrage Movement entitled “ Disgusted Ladies” gave the following references to Gertrude Emma Mosely.

In Chapter 2  Anne reports that that the NUWSS was a peaceful organisation and did not support ‘the breaking of windows or the setting anything on fire. In 1913 the radical suffragists were believed to have set fire to the Cricket Pavilion at the Nevill Ground (image opposite by Percy Squire Lankester). The Advertiser of April 18,1913 gave the following information after a reporter was sent to the NUWSS office at 18 Crescent Road, which was decorated in their colours of red, green and white. “ Gertrude Mosely, the fifty-five year old joint secretary, told him that she disapproved strongly of militant tactics and did not consider that destroying property served any useful purpose. The only way in which women can really get their end, she said, is by educating public opinion, and showing the inherent injustice of the matter”. She agreed women had been exasperated when the latest Votes for Women bill failed, but believed violent methods could do nothing to advance the cause. On the contrary, they might do a great deal of harm. However Gertrude also said she knew Olive and other local suffragettes personally and thought it unlikely they were responsible for the fire”.

In 1913 Mary Backhouse wrote a letter to the Courier soon after the fire of 1913 stating that there was a close connection between the militants and non-militants in Tunbridge Wells, despite what the latter (the NUWSS) claimed to the contrary. NUWSS secretary Gertrude Mosely wrote to the paper denying this allegation. She emphasised that hers (the NUWSS) was a non-militant organisation, which had always condemned violent methods and that support should not be withheld from them, because people disapproved of the WSPU (the militant group).

In 1913 the NUWSS decided to organize a huge pilgrimage, starting from seventeen different cities and following eight main routes. Local women joined them for short distances, as well as holding their own events. The marchers and other supporters would converge on London towards the end of July, where there would be a huge celebration. This event was intended to demonstrate a peaceful means of getting their message out. ‘The Common Ground’ reported that some 400 local societies would take part in the pilgrimage. It seems that no Tunbridge Wells suffragists took part in the whole pilgrimage but some joined the march of women as it went through Tunbridge Wells. Shown opposite is a photograph of the pilgrimage as it made its way along Grosvenor Road in Tunbridge Wells.  The NUWSS members offered their support to the pilgrimage by providing hospitality for the walkers and to advertise the event by putting up posters, such as the one shown below. The Tunbridge Wells procession took place on July 21, the day the pilgrimage was due to arrive in Tonbridge. At mid-day about 100 women gathered outside their Crescent Road office who were joined by others who had come by train or travelled by road from surrounding villages. Among the local ladies at this event was Gertrude Mosely. “ At around 2pm, Gertrude Mosely brought the procession to order and the marchers set off, walking in pairs. They turned onto Calverley Road, passed the town hall and headed up Grosvenor Hill. When the procession reached St John’s Road five carriages and a motor car joined them to act as transport for some of the less mobile marchers. Continuing on their way to Southborough they were joined by other ladies and upon arriving in Southborough they were joined by contingents from Tonbridge and Langton Green. The Gazette observed that all South borough turned out. The marchers stopped at the Royal Victoria Hall where they held their meeting. It must have been quite a walk for the older ladies in the procession. Gertrude Mosely herself was no spring chicken, being age 56 at the time.

After the meeting in Southborough Gertrude Mosely and about twenty five women walked down the road to Tonbridge, where the local suffrage society held and open air meeting. Other Tunbridge Wells women carried on to London, some staying in London overnight.

In 1914 the local NUWSS offered their premises on Crescent Road to the town for use us a clothing depot in support of the Belgians in Holland. Clothing was donated by residents, which clothing was cleaned and repaired before being sent off. In late October 1914 this depot also assisted the Belgian refugees who had begun arriving in Tunbridge Wells on December 11th. The depot closed in 1917 as the demand for clothing diminished and was returned to the NWUSS for their use. Their assistance was much appreciated. In April 1916 the Courier published a letter to suffragist Gertrude Mosely, who was acting as clothing depot secretary, from a Monsieur Raes, whose wife had been helped by them during their stay in Tunbridge Wells. He wrote (in French) “ I take this opportunity to thank you, as well as the other ‘Misses’ and ladies of the depot, for all you did for my wife during her exile in England, and am also grateful for your kindness which greatly reassured her during those unhappy times”.

On December 14,1918 women had the opportunity to vote in the general election for the first time. Unfortunately many women, including Gertrude Mosely, who campaigned so hard for the right to vote, did not live long enough to see the fruits of their labours.


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