THE HISTORY OF BEECH HOLM-CALVERLEY PARK GARDENS
Written by; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: January 16,2014
Beech Holm, at 7 Calverley Park Gardens, was one of the grand stone homes constructed circa 1854 on a plot of land originally known as Calverley Plain. Calverley Park Gardens was laid out by Decimus Burton in 1828 at the same time as Calverley Park to the south. John Cunningham, in the book ‘The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells , by the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society (2004) gives the following “ Of the villas on the north side of Calverly Park Gardens No. 3, the Hollies, appears to be the earliest and has been attributed to Burton…No. 5, Sandhurst Lodge made its appearance in the local Rating and Finance Committee om 1855 under the name of Willicombe; No. 7, Beech Holm in 1854;No. 9 Galloway House in 1859. No. 11,Stenton Lodge, is also by William Willicombe”….”A Town Commissioner, William Wiollicombe (1800-1875) was a contemporary of Decimus Burton and worked with him on the development of Calverley Park, before undertaking developments in Tunbridge Wells on his own account. The Willicombe Villas on the north side of the roadway are of red brick with stone quoins and dressings and they have steeply pitched roofs, with some surviving decorative bargeboards”. Beech Home was one of the homes on the north side of the road.
The book continues by stating that the landscape setting of the homes was informal and that the homes constructed on the south side of Calverley Park Gardens were ‘stucco-faced in the classical style”. Shown opposite is a photograph of #7 from the book, a rather grand looking home of red brick with white painted quoins and decorate eaves with a steeply pitched gable style roof. “An indenture of 3rd November 1851 stated that the buildings on the north-east side of the roadway should be detached villas of no less than one thousand pounds and set in grounds of at least three-quarters of an acre.Also, front fences were to be set back seven feet from the footpath, allowing for the planting of hollies and shrubs, a feature that still contributes to the character of the road.
This fine home has seen many residents over the years and this article describes the history of the building and its occupants. Beech Holm remained in private occupancy from the time of its construction in 1854 until well into the 20th century. There is no record of the home being requisitioned during WW II. Sometime in the mid 20th century the residence was divided up into 6 flats and 6 bedsits and in 2008 approval was given for conversion into 14 self contained flats but as of 2011 ,when an extension of time was granted, the work had not been carried out.
LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION insert 1907 map
Shown opposite is a 1907 OS map of the area with #7 Beech Holme highlighted in red. Calverley Park Gardens is a long sweeping road connecting Pembury Road to Calverley Road.In 1907 there were nine homes on the north side and eight on the south, not including lodges which have over the years been converted into single family homes. With the passage of time there has been infilling and many of the large homes have been converted into flats. Beech Holm was quite a large home, described in the 1911 census as having 17 rooms.
Shown below is an elevation and floor plan of the residence that formed part of the documents submitted for Planning Authority Approval in 2008 and shows what the home looked like then. As the floorplans show what was originally a single family home had been converted into flats. Further information about the 20th century is given under the heading of ‘Recent History’ at the end of the article. The main entrance to the residence is on its east elevation where the front door is protected by a decorative covered front porch which protrudes beyond the face of the building and has a gable roof. The home presents itself on the east side as a 2 sty building with a full basement and an additional floor of accommodation in the attic floor. The red brick is accented by stone quoins and decorative eaves that have been painted white. Both the east and west elevations feature three gable ends. Neither the east or west side of the building have many windows and what windows there are tend to be relatively small in size. The most appealing elevation is on the south where to the left side is a large bay which extends from the basement level to the roofline, in which are three widows on each floor for a total of nine plus one in the attic floor below the gable. In this elevation the basement, or lower ground floor as it is referred to on the plan opposite is visible above grade. This elevation also features a bank of three windows in a dormer positioned to the right of the bay. Below the roofline to the right of the bay are two windows per floor. The north elevation is similar to that of the south except it has two small dormers. The exterior appearance of this building in the 21st century remains much as it did when constructed, with the exception of the inclusion of additional exterior door entrances to access the flats.
Shown below is a more detailed map of Calverley Park Gardens showing the shape and location of #7 relative to the adjacent homes.
THE BUILDINGS OCCUPANTS
Given below in separate sections are details about the occupants of the home from 1854 until the period before WW II. In this section I give the following summary.Note that all dates of occupancy are approximate only.
1854-1862…….John Cox Dillman Engleheart(1784-1862)…..a well-known miniature painter who died at Beech Holm in 1862
1862-1878……Mary Engleheart (1789-1878)…the widow of John who died at Beech Holm in 1878
1878-1891…… George Percival Smith( 1820-1903)…..J.P. DL for Herefordshire
1892-1909…….Thomas Rowland Fothergill (1839-1909)…..Ironmaster. Died at Beech Holm 1909
1909-1912……Laura Julia Fothergill (1844-1924)…widow of Thomas
1913-1914……George Reginald Bayliss (1858-1914)…..Civil Engineer. Died at Beech Holm 1914
1914- 1928……Helen Caroline Ker Bayliss (1874-1950)….widow of George
1929-1938……. Arthur Leopold Wise (1871-1963)……Manager of paper manufacturing company
(1)John Cox Dillman Engleheart(1784-1862)
John was born 1784 at Kew, London. He was taught the art of miniature painting by his father John and to a great extent by his uncle George Engleheart. He became very skilled and was a prolific artist, exhibititing some 157 miniatures at the Royal Academy and others at the British Institute. His career as an artist was cut short by failing health and was forced to leave his profession.As part of his recovery he spend several years in Switzerland and Italy and in 1854 moved to Tunbridge Wells, at the age of 70 to live out his remaining years, taking up residence at Beech Holm, where he died October 29,1862 and was buried in the Woodbury Park Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Mary Engleheart (1789-1878) who continued to live at Beech Holm after his death. For further details about the Engleheart family and examples of his work refer to the separate article I have written entitled “ John Cox Dillman Engleheart-Miniature Painter’ dated January 16,2014.
(2)Mary Engleheart (1789-1878)
Mary Engleheart was born Mary Baker 1789 at Birmingham, the daughter of Thomas Baker(1754-1815) and Mary Lander. On August 15,1811 she married John Cox Dillman Engleheart and produced four daughters and one son. She moved into Beech Holm in 1854 with her husband and children and remained in the home after her husband’s death in 1862. She died at Beech Holm on March 18,1878.She joined her husband in the Woodbury Park Cemetery. Upon her death Beech Holm became the residence of George Percival Smith( 1820-1903).
(3)George Percival Smith( 1820-1903)
George was the J.P. and D.L. of Herefordshire and took occupancy of Beech Holm after the estate of its former occupant Mary Engleheart had been settled in 1878.
George had been born 1820 at Oundle, Northamptonshire.Nothing definite is known about his parents and siblings but must have come from a good family of some wealth for he was well educated. In 1846 he married Martha in London. Martha had been born in London in 1823 and was one of six children born to George Capron and Martha Capron, nee Halliley
George and Martha went on to produce seven daughters and one son between the years of 1847 and 1864 and no births to the couple are recorded after 1864.Their children are known to be; Martha Bridget(b1847); Ellen Georgiana(b1850); Alice Hanrietta(b1852); Edith Harriet(b1853); Harry Percival(b1855); Dana Maria ann(b1857); Ethel Francis(b1862) and Eveline Emma(b1864).It is understood that the couple had two other children which did not survive infancy.
In 1851 the couple were living at Oundle, Northamptonsire with three of their children and three servants. By 1857 the family moved to Eaton,Herefordshire and it was while there that the three youngest of their children were born. The 1871 census, taken at 6 Rodney Place, Clifton Goucestershire records George as a magistrate and owner of property and land. Living with him was his wife Martha; their eight children and six servants.
In 1878 the family moved to Tunbridge Wells and took up residence at Beech Holm. The 1881 census, taken at Beech Holm 7 Calverley Park Gardens records George as a J.P. and D.L for Herefordshire. Living with him was his wife Martha ; six of their children and four servants. The 1882 Kelly records George at the same address. On October 25,1884 a patent was awarded to “ George Percival Smith of Beech Holme,Tunbridge Wells for “Improvements in photographic apparatus”, indicating that George was an avid photographer and most likely belonged to the Tunbridge Wells Photographic Society which had been established in 1887 as the Tunbridge Wells Amateur Photographic Association, who’s first president was Francis G., Smart and the patron was Sir David Salomons, who hosted many regular meetings of the organization at his Broomhill residence.Shown opposite is a photograph of the members at Salomons residence. Perhaps George Smith is one of the gentlemen in the photo.
The 1891 census, taken at 7 Calverley Park Gardens records George as a local magistrate. Living with him was his wife Martha and two of their children, Martha,age 44 and Evelyn Emma,age 27. Also in the home were five servants.Soon after the 1891 census the Smith family left Tunbridge Wells and moved to Brighton Sussex, where they are found in the 1901 census. In that census George is a retired barrister/solicitor. Living with him was his wife Martha and two of their spinster daughters. Also in the home were four servants.
Probate records show that George Percival Smith of 42 Sussex Square, Brighton died February 20,1903. Probate was to his wife Martha and the Rev. Harry Percival Smith, clerk, the son of George, and Martha Bridget Smith, spinster daughter of George, and Ellen Georgiana Smith, the spinster daughter of George. George left an estate valued at about 15,000 pounds. His wife Martha did not survive long after him for she died in Brighton,Sussex in 1904.
When the Smith family left Beech Home it became occupied by Thomas Rowland Fothergill (1839-1909) in 1892.
(4)Thomas Rowland Fothergill (1839-1909)
Thomas had been born 1839 at Kendal, Westmorland, one of eleven children born to Richard Fothergill(1789-1851) and Clarlotte Merrick Elderton(1800-1878). He had been baptised October 3,1839 at Selside,Westmorland.The Fothergill family were very wealthy, having made their fortune in the iron business. In may article ‘The Fothergills- From Wales to Tunbridge Wells’ dated November 3,2013 I give full details and pictures pertaining to the life and career of this family and as a consequence I provide here only a brief outline.
In the census of 1841 and 1851 he was living at Low Bridge House at Whitwell & Selside,Westmorland. In 1862 Thomas had married Laura Julia Crawshay (1843-1920) born at Cardiff Wales and with her had the following children; Ida Gertrude Laura(1862-1929); Ernest Rowland(1864-1942); Clifford Douglas(1866-1938); Florence May(1867-1948);Mildred Beatrix(1868-1955); Gordon Montreux(b1870); Nina Clothilde(1872-1961);Claud Francis(1878-1955) and Leslie Adolphe Fothergill(1880-1903).Laura had also come from a wealthy family connected with the iron industry.
Sometime after his 1862 marriage he and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells. The 1871 census, taken at 54 Mount Ephraim records Thomas as a retired ironmaster and landowner. Living with him was his wife Laura; six of their children, his sister in law, and thirteen servants. The whereabout of Thomas and his family were not determined at the time of the 1881 census but the 1891 census finds the family residing at 14 Calverley Park Gardens located on the south side of the road up towards Pembury Road. At the time of the 1891 census, Thomas was away on business. Present in the home was his wife Laura with which is a rather indecipheral reference to “Temperance District” indicating to me that in some way she was active in the Local Temperance Movement. Living with her was three of her daughters and two sons as well as two servants.
By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to 7 Calverley Park Gardens and are found there in the census of that year. Probate records show that Thomas Roland Fothergill of Beech Holm,7 Calverley Park Gardens died at Pontresna,Switzerland on July 21,1909. Probate was to his wife Laura Julia Fothergill, widow, Ida Gertrude Laura Fothergill, spinster, and Ernest Roland Fothergill, surgeon. He left an estate of some 23,000 pounds. As you will note from my more detailed article about the Fothergill family, George took a great interest in observing,collectiong, and exhibiting the plants he found on his frequent trips to Switzerland and it was while on one of his hiking trips in Switzerland that he died. His son Claud Francis Fothergill M.R.C.S.Eng. L.R.C.P. London BA MB JBC Cambridge (1878-1955) did well for himself becoming a respected physician and was with Guy’s Hosptial in London. While living at Beech Holm in 1907 he published a paper entitled ‘Blood Examination and its value in Tropical Disease’.
The 1911 census, taken at 7 Calverley Park Gardens records the presence of Laura Julia fothergill, living on private means. With her were three of her daughters and four servants. The home was decribed as having 17 rooms.
Laura Julia Fothergill died June 2,1924 while a resident of 11 Lansdown Road,Tunbridge Wells. Probate records record her death and that the executors of her 1,241 pound estate were the Rev. Clifford Berney Hall, clerk, and John Beddome Snell, solicitor. The last record for the Fothergill’s at Beech Holm was the 1911 census and the 1913 Kelly records the residence being occupied by George Reginald Bayliss (1858-1914).
(5)George Reginald Bayliss (1858-1914)
George took occupancy of Beech Holm sometime after 1911 but before 1913 for he is found listed there in the 1913 Kelly directory. George was a Civil Engineer, like me, and so I am very familiar with the type of work that George would have been involved in. In North America, and no doubt in England, Civil Engineering is divided into two fields of specialy. The first is Structural Engineering where one is involved in the structural design of buildings and bridges. The second field is Municipal Engineering where a Civil Engineer designs roads, sewer and water piping networks and related water pumping/treatment stations and sewage treatment stations. There are many projects that civil engineers get involved in and it’s a profession that requires the individual to possess strong analytical and technical skills.
George was born march 14,1858 at Derby, Derbyshire. He was the son of Richard Bayliss, born 1824 in Birmingham, and Jane, born 1822 in Derbyshire. In the 1871 census, taken at Moore Street in Spondon,Derbyshire George was living with his parents ; three siblings and three servants. George was attending school and his father was also a Civil Engineer. The records of the Institution of Civil Enginners show that George was proposed for admission May 12,1883 and was accepted May 22 of that year, becoming an Associate Member.
The 1891 census, taken at 56 Albert Road in MossSide, Lancashire records George as single and working as a Civil Engineer. He is living at that time as a lodger with the George Kitchen family where George Kitchen was a wholesale paper merchant.
In the 1st qtr of 1909 George married Helen Caroline Ker Spence.In 1891 Helen was living with her cousins family (William H. Hawjes) at 18 Ashfield Terrace where William was a school house office employee and Helen was a ‘governess pupil’ at Elswick,Northumberland. In 1901 Helen was a visitor of Robert S. Johnston at Elswick,Northumberland. It is not known who her father was but the 1881 census, taken at 27 East Clayton Street, Newcastle on Tyne, Northumberland records Helen born 1875 in Liverpool and living with her widowed mother Anne Marie Spence, born 1847 ay New Castle on Tyne, and her two siblings Guy K, age 5 and Thomas C.K. age 3. Helens birth was registed April 1874 at West Derby,Lancashire.
The 1911 census, taken at Queen Anne’s Mansions St James Park,Westminster reecords George as a retired civil engineer. Living with him in 3 rooms is his wife Helen. The census records that had been married 3 years and had no children. The 1913 Kelly directory records George Reginald Bayliss as a resident of 7 Calverley Park Gardens.
Probate records give George Reginald Bayliss of Beech Holm, Calverley Park Gardens, died June 2,1914. Probate was to Richard Arthur Bayliss L.R.C.P. M.R.C.S. and Thomas William Latham, architect. George left an estate valued at about 43,000 pounds. Richard Arthur Bayliss was his brother, born in 1867. Georges wife continued to live in Tunbridge Wells. Directories of 1914 to 1928 continue to record her as a resident of Beech Holm. Probate records give Helen Caroline Ker Bayliss of 15 Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells, widow, died June 14,1950. Probate was to Maud Elizabeth Hawken, spinster. She left an estate valued at about 14,000 pounds and an additional grant was made March 28,1951.
When Helen left Beech Holme in 1928 it became occupied by Arthur Leopold Wise (1871-1963)
(6)Arthur Leopold Wise (1871-1963)
Arthur took occupancy of Beech Holme in 1928 and directories up to and including 1938 record him still as a resident there. It is possible he lived there beyond 1938 but I ended my research in that year and have left the research of more recent times to those with an interest in 20th century history.
Arthur had been born in the 1st qtr of 1871 at St Leonards On Sea,Sussex. He was one of eight children born to Stanley Leonard Wise(1837-1882) and Augusta Tompsett(1844-1909). In 1871 he was living with his parents;three siblings and other relations at Holy Trinity,Sussex. The 1881 census, taken at 8 Uridge Road in Tonbridge records Stanley L wise, age 44, born at Brede,Sussex and working as a pianoforte tuner. Living with him was his wife Augusta and their eight children, including Arthur, age 10. Stanley’s mother in law Ann Tompsett,age 76 was also living there.
Arthur’s father passed away in 1882 and in the 1891 census, taken at Camberwell, London, Arthur is living with his widowed mother Augusta, who is living on own means, and his six siblings. Also in the home were two boarders. Arthurs sisters Eva and Lilian were both working as dressmakers. His brother Herbert was a solicitors clerk and his brother Harold was an accountants clerk.
In 1899 Arthur married Jean Dochart (maiden name unknown), who had been born 1871 in Edinburgh,Scotland. The couple had two children namely Alan Hay Wise (1899-1945) and Charles Maxwell Wise, born 1901. Both of the children were born at Lewisham,Kent. In the 1901 census, taken at Charlsworth House, Lewisham,London Arthur’s occupation was given as ‘ paper workers cashier’. Living with him was his wife Jean and his two sons.
The 1911 census, taken at 59 Leigg Road Westcliff, South End on Sea, in Essex, records Arthur as a manager of a paper manufacturing company. Living with him was his wife Jean; their two sons and one servant. The census records that the couple had been married 12 years and had two children, both of whom were still living. It also records that their home consisted of 7 rooms.
Probate records give Arthur Reginald Wise of 2 Chichester Close Saldean,Brighton dying December 18,1963.Probate was to Clara Louise Wise,widow, and Charles Maxwell Wise, retired company director. He left an estate valued at almost 27,000 pounds. Charles Maxwell wise was Arthur’s son and Clara Louise Wise was his second wife. What became of his first wife was not determined but there is a records of a Jean Douchart Wise, born 1872 in Edinburgh passing away in 1958 at Battle Sussex who the researcher believes was Arthurs wife as the name ,year and place of her birth match. Clara Louise Wise was of the same address as her husband when she died there July 18,1965. The executors of her 5,775 pound estate were Louise Florence Pamela Plant, spinster, and Jean Coltart, married widow.
Shown opposite (right)is a 2014 photograph of Beech Holm taken by and provided to me by Brian Dobson of the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society. The home today, at least from the exterior looks much the same as it did when constructed although some of the windows have been upgraded.In 2010 this fine building was sold by estate agents for 950,000 pounds.
The home remained as a single family residence well into the second half of the 20th century when at that time it was converted into a number of flats, and has remained in that use since that time, although the residence has undergone a series of interior alterations to accommodate modern living requirements.
Shown opposite(left) is a site plan from the Planning Authority files dated 2008 which gives a good idea of what the site looked like at that time. As you can see the property was accessed on its east side by a long sweeping driveway that extended to the rear of the residence where a block of garages had been erected providing parking for the buildings residents along with parking stalls against the building for visitors and residents.The residence is well screened from the road by a standing of mature trees and shrubs throught the property. Much of the original landscaped grounds have been taken up with driveway ,parking and garage usages. The footprint of the residence very closely resembles that shown on the 1907 OS map but shows a ‘proposed’ extension to the rear, which as of 2011 had not been constructed, although approval for it had been granted.
In 2006 Mr P. Morley from Sussex made application to redevelop the 0.35 hectare site with a proposal for ‘Extension and alteration to existing 6 flats and 6 bedsits to form 12 self contained apartments. Although approval was finally granted, the work was not undertaken. In 2006 an application was approved for the partial but substantial demolition of existing outbuildings and construction of a new playroom. Also approved was repair work to the concervatory. An internal report of February 3,2006 gave the following information. “ The building is unlisted but makes a positive contribution to the conservation.The buildings design has its roots in the Classical Italianade style and is reputed to be by Willicombe. The building together with the large garden have regrettably fallen into disrepair but not to the extent that enforcement action is required. The building has retained much of its original external fabric and detail with the notable exception of the lowered chimney stacks,some of the less important window replacements, slate covered roof (now concrete tiles which may have contributed to the undulation now clearly evident).There are a number of sheds, garages and poorly designed flat entrances which would benefit from being removed. An important aspect is the setting of this building. It is accessed mainly by a driveway which is do designed as to screen the house from the road until you are within the garden,creating a sense of seclusion. The ‘green wall’ along the boundary with Calverley Road has been neglected and as part of any redevelopment this important character should be reinforced. The proposal is to convert into 12 flats which necessitates for an extension to the eastern side of the building. The footprint is modest in scale and is presently occupied by car parking, adjacent to the main entrance….”
In 2008 approval was given for alterations and extensions to the building for conversion from 6 flats and 6 bedsits to 14 self- contained apartments under a revised scheme. Like the one before it this work was also not undertaken.
In 2011 the application was resubmitted requesting an extension of time ,which was granted. The arthcitects drawing of the building which I have shown earlier gives an idea of what the building looked like around that time. A review of the file for 2011 uncovered an internal document that gave in part the following. “ Beech Holm is at present a 3 sty building and has long been divided into 12 flats….there is a substantial garden to the front and rear of the building much of which is screened from the road and neighbouring houses by extensive mature trees and shrubs.The rear garden is in the form of terraced, lawned areas, the upper level seems to be well uses as an amenity and sitting out area…”
A site visit would be required to determine if the proposed addition at the rear of the residence has been constructed. With this I now end my coverage of the history of this fine old residence.
THE FOTHERGILL’S- FROM WALES TO TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Written by: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: November 3,2013
The life and times of Thomas Rowland Fothergill(1839-1909) and his family are the central focus of a storey that begins in Wales where decendents of his established themselves as giants in the iron industry at Abernant and from their success came the wealth that supported subsequent generations.Although Thomas referred to himself as an ‘Iron Master’ in census records, it is doubtful he had much involvement in the business,but whatever his involvement was he was forced to retire from the business at the early age of 24 for health reasons.He continued to derive financial benefit from the business afterwards and had considerable land holdings.Being from a wealthy family he never really needed to work for a living.
Until the time of his marriage to Laura Julia Crawshay(1843-1920), of the wealthy iron industry based Crawshay family of Wales, Thomas lived in Westmorland.Thomas and Laura went on to have fourteen children,several of which were born in Tunbridge Wells after the family move to the town by 1868.
Once in town they settled in a fine home on Mount Ephraim and in the 1871 census Thomas described himself as a retired iron master and a landowner deriving his income from the investments he had made. Thomas and his wife became world travellers having visited for ,extended periods of time, countrys on almost every continent,but perhaps Switzerland was their favourite destination, for they visited it ever year staying for months at a time, taking in the refreshing mountain air and going off on hiking adventures.They travelled so often that the family are often missed in the census records but in 1901 they were found living at 7 Calverley Park Gardens,Tunbridge Wells, an area of fine homes.
The Fothergill’s were Quakers and their strong religious beliefs governed their lives, and it was for this reason the Thomas became a strong supporter of the local Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA) and the Temperance Movement .In the words of Chris Jones of the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, as presented in the book ‘ Tunbridge Wellls in 1909’ Thomas Fothergill “ was an earnest worker for Christianity and had been a friend of Canon Hoare.He conducted services in common lodging houses and the General hospital on Sunday evenings,and was a frequent visitor to the Workhouse.In his work as District Visitor to Golding Street.he was a favourite with the children as he always took them sweets,and was courteous and tactful when distributing tracts to their parents.Mrs Fothergill did her bit too,fund-raising for the Home for Aged Women in Bayhall Road”.
When visiting Switzerland their favourite place was Pontresina, near St Moritz.While there Thomas collected wild Alpine plants, and spent the winters mounting them on cards to be given to hospitals. He invented a new way of pressing flowers which retained more of the colour.For nine years he won first prize at the All Switzerland Amateur Flower show held at the Kutm Hotel in St. Moritz.He would frequently walk up to twenty miles in a day in the mountains-carrying tracts in French,Swiss and Italian, in case the opportunity arose to do some evangelizing. On July 21 1909 he set of on one of his usual walks, despite not feeling well in the morning, and after having gone about a mile died of a heart attack. A memorial service was held for min in Pontresina, buit his body was returned to Tunbridge Wells for burial there. A memorial stone was erected for Thomas in the Roseg Valley, near where he died. This stone ,bearing an inscription in memory of Thomas survived until it split apart in 2008 and was disposed of without being replaced.
This article begins with some background on the involvement of the Fothergill family with the iron industry in Wales; provides some information about Thomas’s ancestors and then concentrates on his life and that of his family.
Abernant ironworks was founded in 1801 when Jeremiah Homfray and James Birch leased land and mineral rights at Abernant y Wenallt. In 1804 Homfray and Birch were joined in the venture by James and Francis Tappenden of Kent. In 1807, by which time three furnaces had been constructed on the site, a disagreement arose amongst the partners over the tramroad the Tappendens had built to the Neath Canal. Homfray and Birch retired from the company over this disagreement leaving the Tappendens in sole control. However, it appears that the Tappendens had overstretched themselves and in 1814 were forced to sue for bankruptcy after losing a legal battle with the Neath Canal. In 1819 the Abernant ironworks were bought by the Aberdare Iron Company, who already owned the Aberdare Ironworks at Llwydcoed.
In 1823 three furnaces were operating at Abernant, but the ironworks had no facilities to refine their iron, which was sent to Merthyr Tydfil to be made into wrought iron bars. However, after Rowland Fothergill and his nephew Richard Fothergill took over the management of the works in 1846 they embarked on a period of modernisation. Abernant was chosen as the site for a forge and mills where the pig iron produced at Abernant and Llwydcoed could be refined.
The original house at Abernant was built by James Birch, cofounder with Jeremiah Homfray of Abernant Ironworks. After the ironworks were sold in 1819 the house passed to Rowland Fothergill and later his nephew Richard Fothergill. Richard Fothergill was responsible for an ambitious scheme of work at the house, which included the construction of extensions to the main building and extensive landscaping of the grounds.
In 1892 St Michael's Theological College was founded at Abernant House by Emma Talbot of Margam. The college opened on St David's Day 1892, with three students in the first term which rose to twelve students in the second term. The first warden was canon H R Johnson. In 1907 the college moved to Llandaff due to an insecurity of tenure at Abernant. Since 1917 Abernant House has been used as the site of Aberdare General Hospital.
On September 27th 1929 a disastrous fire destroyed the main building, the former Abernant House . The fire gutted the interior of the building and all of the interior grandeur of Abernant House was destroyed. The hospital was reopened in April 1933 by HRH The Duchess of York (the later Queen Mother). The hospital continued to expand under patronage from local benefactors, in 1939 W M Llewellyn funded the construction of a new maternity ward.
THE FOTHERGILL ANCESTORS
The following information is largely based on the Dictionary of Welsh Biography but supplemented with additional information.
FOTHERGILL family, iron-masters , etc. The Fothergill family were from Kendal and from Cumberland . The first to travel southwards were two brothers, one of whom established a small iron-works in the Forest of Dean and was later connected with the iron-works at Tredegar and Sirhowy . They were Richard Fothergill I ( 1758 - 1821 ), and JOHN FOTHERGILL ( 1763 - 1828 ), of Bedwellty, Mon. The present note will deal only with Richard and his descendants.
RICHARD FOTHERGILL I ( 1758 - 1821 ), became a builder at Clapham , and was attracted to South Wales by its mineral prospects. In 1794 he became a partner in the Sirhowy iron-works with Matthew Monkhouse and another. In 1800 , he joined Samuel Homfray (see the article on that family) at Tredegar , but retired from the Tredegar management in 1817 . On the termination ( 1818 ) of the Sirhowy works lease (which he had intended to renew, but which was given without his knowledge to Messrs. Harford , Ebbw Vale ), he removed all his plant and severed all connection with Sirhowy . In 1818 he had iron-works at Pont-hir , near Caerleon , and lived for a short time at Back Hall , Caerleon . His knowledge and ability were utilized by Messrs. Tappenden , owners of the Aber-nant iron-works , Aberdare . He witnessed the agreement signed between them and Messrs. Scale of the Aberdare Iron Co. , owners of the Llwydcoed iron-works , in 1804 , for the use of the tramway to connect their works with the Neath canal . In 1807 , he witnessed the deed, and appears to have acted as a mediator , at the dissolution of partnership in the Aber-nant works 1807 , when they were taken over by Messrs. Tappenden from Jeremiah Homfray and James Birch . He soon acquired great influence in the management and welfare of the Aber-nant works in addition to those of Tredegar and Sirhowy , and prepared the way for his son, Rowland Fothergill (below), to acquire the control and later the proprietorship of the works at Llwydcoed and Aber-nant . His second son, THOMAS FOTHERGILL ( 1791 - 1858 ), succeeded at the Pont-hir iron-works . He was high sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1829 .
ROWLAND FOTHERGILL ( 1794 - 1871 ), son of Richard Fothergill ,one of eleven children born to Richard Fothergill(1758-1821) and Elizabeth Rowland(1762-1841). He was an able iron-master and soon, on the withdrawal of the Tappendens , became the chief director of the Aber-nant works and later acquired a controlling influence in the Llwydcoed iron-works , being often at cross purposes with the Scales family. After a costly lawsuit, the whole works were put to auction in 1846 ; Rowland Fothergill acquired them and with his able management soon amassed considerable riches, and retired to Hensol castle(photo opposite) , near Cowbridge . He had bought Hensol castle 9shown opposite)in 1838 and soon remodeled it.In addition to the above works, he had also erected the Taff Vale iron-works in the parish of Llantwit Fardre , near Pontypridd , which was very successful in the manufacture of iron rails .
Rowland Fothergill , who was high sheriff of Glamorgan in 1850 , was born 1794 at Clapham,kerry,Ireland and died 19 Sept. 1871 in Cowbridge,Glamorgan,Wales , and was buried at Pendoylan church, and the Hensol estate , with its castle, descended to his heiress, Isabella , daughter of his sister Ann , who m. 1877 , Sir Rose Lambert Price , bart. In 1927 Sir Francis Carodoc Roser Price, the son of Lady Price Fothergill and Sir rose Lambart Price sole the este of 1,105 acres to Glamorgan County Council for the sum of 36,500 pounds for use as a County mental hospital and part of the estate wad divided up into small holdings. Hensol Hospital was opened in 1930 as a colony for 100 men with learning disabilities. New blocks were built in the grounds in 1935 to accommodate up to 460 men,women and children. It was further expanded with the advent of the national Heath Service in 1948.Later in the 20th century the castle became a conference centre and the patients were moved into the community with the hospital closing in 2003.The castle and grounds were bought in 2003 by a local businessman (Gerald Leeke), chairman of the Leekes group of companies and the castle was converted into a five-star hotel and spa.
RICHARD FOTHERGILL III ( 1822 - 1903 ), iron-master, coal-owner and politician ; was the eldest son of RICHARD FOTHERGILL II , ( 1789 - 1851 ), (the father of Thomas Rowland Fothergill(1839-1909),and eldest son of Richard Fothergill I and succeeded his uncle as manager , and later proprietor , of the Aberdare iron-works , etc. RICHARD FOTHERGILL III was also the eldest brother of the central figure in my story- Thomas Rowland Fothergill (1839-1909).RICHARD FOTHERGILL III had acquired extensive knowledge of all the processes involved in the manufacture of iron and in the production of coal . His ownership of a ‘truck shop’ led to some opposition and a prosecution at the Aberdare police court in 1851 , and to some strictures by H. A. Bruce (later lord Aberdare , q.v.) , the stipendiary magistrate . Aber-nant grew and prospered to a remarkable degree. In 1873 , just previous to the great crash, the wage bill amounted to £200,000 whereas twenty-five years earlier it was £60,000. In 1862 , the whole of the Plymouth works , near Merthyr , had passed into his hands. Up to this time they had been carried on in the old way on the cold blast system, but his enterprise led to the introduction of the hot blast and soon the works were in serious competition with the great concerns at Dowlais and Cyfarthfa . Soon afterwards the Penydarren works passed into his hands, and he thus acquired at Merthyr a prestige and popularity second only to that which he enjoyed at Aberdare . He built a mansion at Aber-nant (later the home of S. Michael's College and the Aberdare hospital ), surrounded by beautiful grounds, still called ‘ Fothergill's Park .’
Fothergill was elected on the first Aberdare board of health in 1854 , and, on Merthyr and Aberdare becoming entitled to two members of Parliament , in 1868 , Henry Richard (q.v.) and he were elected. In Parliament he took an active part in advertising the valuable properties of South Wales coal for the navy as compared with that of the North Country and Scottish coals; he spoke on 29 July 1870 , during the Franco-Prussian war , pointing out its non-smoking qualities as essential for this country in such a crisis. He was ably supported by Sir H. H. Vivian (q.v.) . He was an original member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1869 , and in 1871 was elected a member of its council. He m. in 1848 Elizabeth , sister of James Lewis , Plas-draw , Aberdare , and after her death, m. 31 Dec. 1850 , Mary Roden . He continued to sit in Parliament until 1880 , when he retired to Tenby , where he d. 24 June 1903 .
RICHARD FOTHERGILL III had been born April 12,1789 at Clapham,Surrey and was one of eleven children born to Richard Fothergill (1758-1821) and Elizabeth Rowland(1762-1841). He had been baptised May 10,1789 at Holy Trinity,Clapham,Surrey. On January 24,1822 he married Charlotte Merrick Elderton(1800-1876) at St Mary of Lambeth,London.Charlotte was the daughter of Charles Merrick Elderton of Brixton,Surrey, who was Master in Chancery. Richard and Charlotte had eleven children namely (1) Richard l(1822-1903) (2) Charlotte Elderton(1824-1907) (3) Elizabeth(1825-1859) (4) Mary Anne(1826-1851) (5) Harriet(1828-1873) (6) Matilda Isabella(1830-1834) (7) Emma(1831-1926) (8) George(1833-1915) (9) Agnes(1834-1850) (10) Henry(1836-1914) and Thomas Rowald Fothegill(1939-1909).Richard died April 12,1851 at Selside,Westmorland and was buried at Selside. His wife Charlotte, who had been born in London, died December 12,1876 in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells borough cemetery December 14,1876. Shown above is a photograph of Thomas’s brother Richard Fothergill (1822-1903).
As a result of great changes in the manufacture of steel through the Bessemer process, and owing to coal strikes , the companies of which Fothergill was chief failed disastrously, as did so many others at this period. Llwydcoed and Abernant iron-works closed down, never to be reopened.
THOMAS ROWLAND FOTHERGILL AND FAMILY
Thomas was born 1839 at Selside.Westmorland, one of eleven children born to Richard Fothergill(1789-1851) and Charlotte Merrick Elderton (1800-1876). At the time of the 1841 census he was living at Ravenstone Dale,Westmorland with his parents and siblings.In 1851 he was living with his parents and siblings at Whitwell and Selside in Westmoreland with several domestic servants. His father is recorded as a county magistrate.In 1861 Thomas was living with relatives at Nateby,Westmoreland. Shown opposite(right) is an image of Thomas Rowland Fothergill.
In the early 1860’s Thomas had the good fortune to meet and fall in love with Laura Julia Crawshay (1843-1920). Laura had been born at 1843 in Panfield,Gloucestershire, one of three daughters born to Francis Crawshay(1811-1878), wealthy man in the iron industry, and Laura Crawshay(1812-1896).Laura (the daughter) had been living in Glamorgan, Wales in the years leading up to her marriage, where her father made a fortune in the iron business. More information is given about Francis Crawshay in the last section of this article as background to the the Crawshay family.
Shown above (left) are images of Francis and Laura Crawshay of Bradbourne Hall (1867-1896). The two paintings were in the possession of Francis Crawshay’s grandson Tudor who lived in Cheltenham with his daughter Sylvia in the 1960’s.
Shown opposite is a photograph of Bradbourne Hall, the family home of the Crawshay family where Laura lived .When Laura’s father died November 6,1878 at Pimlico,London he left an estate valued at under 70,000 pounds of which he left to his wife and two daughters. Laura and her husband’s Financial resources were combined the two of them never had to work a day in their lives but were always kept busy with their philanthropic and charity work and their involvement in local organizations which they were sympathetic to and spent much of their time out of the country travelling the globe.The Fothergill clan were all Quakers and Thomas and his wife were devout Christians who’s religious beliefs played an important role in directing their lifes and interests. The marriage between Thomas and Laura took place April 10,1862 at Llantwit Farde in Glamorgan,Wales. This was a double wedding with his elder brother George (1833-1915) marrying Laura’s sister, Isabel Eliza Crawhay(1845-1876), as his first wife.
Thomas and Laura had thirteen children together between 1862 and 1882 but three of them (all girls)died before reaching the age of 3. All of four surviving daughters never married and lived their lives as spinsters deriving their income from ‘private means’. Their six sons went on to have successful lives working for the most part with the church or in the medical profession. Details on their children are given later in a separate section of this article.
The 1871 census taken at 54 Mount Ephraim,Tunbridge Wells, records Thomas as a retired iron master and a landowner. His funds had been placed in various investments and he was living of the proceeds and from his extensive capital which had been accumulated from his own efforts and those from his wife as well as money passed down to him through the family.Living with him was his wife Laura,whos place of birth was given as Pontypridd,Glamorgan,Wales. Also in the home were their children Ida,age 8; Ernest,age 6; Clifford,age 4; Florence,age 3; Mildred,age 2 and Gordon ,age 1. Details of their places of birth are given later but the youngest child Gordon was the only one born in Tunbridge Wells (in 1870). Also in the home was Helen C. Crawshay,age 19, a sister-in-law, an iron masters daughter,born 1852. Also in the home were ten others, being a combination of visitors and domestic servants and their families. Because of the number of occupants of this residence, it certainly must have been a substantial home, one of many large Victorian mansions on Mount Ephraim which over the years were converted into either lodging houses or hotels.
Although Thomas and Laura travelled extensively (they are missed in the Tunbridge Wells census of 1881 and 1891), they were both heavily involved in local affairs. The Quakers in general, and the Fothergill’s in particular were strong supporters of the Temperance Movement and Thomas was not different, for he was actively involved in the local movement. This movement was popular not only by Quakers and drew support from local residents from all religious persuasions. For those interested in learning more about the Temperance Movement, there has been much written on the subject which I will leave you to investigate further.
Thomas and Laura were obviously out of the country on one of their trips as the 1881 census taken at 64 Church Rd in Hastings,Sussex records as head of the household Thomas’s 18 year old daughter Ida.With her were her siblings Florence,13,MildredB, 12; Nina C,12; Arthur W,5;Claud F,3;Leslie A,1 and three servants. Ida and three other siblings were attending school.
Another cause which Thomas was a strong supporter of was the YMCA. The YMCA ( Young Mens Christian Association) fit into Thomas’s religious beliefs. The YMCA had been founded in London June 6,1844 and its aim was to put Christian principles into practice by developing healthy ‘body,mind and spirit’, the three principles which are reflected in the three sides of the red triangle of the associations logo (shown opposite). Today their headquarters are located in Geneva,Switzerland, a country that Thomas and Laura visited annually for over 10 years in the early 1900’s.This organization grew from humble beginnings into a world-wide organization which today has more than 58 million beneficiaries from 125 national Associations.
In the words of Chris Jones of the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, as presented in the book ‘ Tunbridge Wellls in 1909’ Thomas Fothergill “ was an earnest worker for Christianity and had been a friend of Canon Hoare.He conducted services in common lodging houses and the General hospital on Sunday evenings,and was a frequent visitor to the Workhouse.In his work as District Visitor to Golding Street.he was a favourite with the children as he always took them sweets,and was courteous and tactful when distributing tracts to their parents.Mrs Fothergill did her bit too,fund-raising for the Home for Aged Women in Bayhall Road”.
When visiting Switzerland,every year, their favourite place was Pontresina, near St Moritz.While there Thomas collected wild Alpine plants, and spent the winters mounting them on cards to be given to hospitals. He invented a new way of pressing flowers-using cotton wool instead of blotting paper- which retained more of the colour.For nine years he won first prize at the All Switzerland Amateur Flower show in St. Moritz(photo opposite).He would frequently walk up to twenty miles in a day in the mountains-carrying tracts in French,Swiss and Italian, in case the opportunity arose to do some evangelizing”.
The Annual Flower show at St Moritz was held at the Kulm Hotel (photo opposite),set in a lovely area with a fantastic view of the Alps, a hotel which exists today, in greatly expanded form, and is still a favourite place for visitors as it was throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. This hotel was considered as a top spot to stay in the 19th century and attracted many tourists from Britain and other parts of the world. Apart from its social advantages, the location offered excellent skiing ,mountain climbing and hicking and clean mountain air. The hotel has been in business since it was opened in 1856.
Thomas and his wife became well known in the part of Switzerland they visited and while there Thomas took a keen interest in hiking and adding to his collection of Alfpine Flowers. He would often set off with a few friends for some fresh air and exercise stopping along the trail to gather plants for his collection(photo opposite). He carefully mounted his plants on pages along with a few notes about the plant from his research. Although there has been evidence found that he was a member of a Botanical Society in either Switzerland or England there is no denying that he had learned a great deal about plants and it was something he took a great interest in and enjoyed. His skills as a collector/exhibitor at the annual flower show in St Moritz is proof enough.
The following reference to Thomas and his exhibition of Alpine plants comes from a collection of published diaries of Leonida Krajewska Fundakowska (shown left). Leonida was born March 30,1881 in Paerson, New Jersey, USA, the only child of Thomas and Rose Krajewska. She had grown up in the Brooklyn New York and became a gifted pianist having studied in Vienna.Her family lived in Europe from 1896 through 1906 and from the age of 12 onwards Leonida kept a detailed daily diary of her life and adventures. Her diaries depict a wide range in her life and lifestyle from a wealthy family living in New York and traveling in Europe. In 1918 she married and had two sons. Her diary entry dated St Moritz July 31,1904 gives the following reference to Thomas Rowland Fothergill and the flower show. “ In the afternoon we went to the flower show at the Kulm Hotel,an annual event of some importance.We went at 3:30, saw the exhibits of Alpine flowers as they grow, boutonniers,hand-bouquets,table decorations,fantastic arrangements,some of which were very pretty,had some delicious refreshments and saw the Grand Dutchess of Baden distribute the przes.Music played and some of the gown were beautiful.The pirzes were mostly silver frames,boxes,mirrors and pretty knickknacks. Mr Fothergill who has such splendid speciments of dried flowers stood next to us while we were admiring his exhibit and told us how he prepared them.Some were done in ivory dust and weren’t at all flattened.”
The Boston Evening Transcirpt of September 15,18994 gave an article entitled “ Idling at St Moritz” in which was stated in part “ The annual flower show of wild flowers, which is certainly a treat here, has so many varieties to choose from”.
Having jumped a bit ahead in time I now return to 1891 at 13 White Ladies Road in Clifton,Gloucestershire where Thomas is found in the census. He is found living with his older sister Emma Fothergill (1831-1928) and two servants as well as Emma Elderton, age 80, born 1811 Briston, the aunt of Emma. Thomas is recorded as “single” age 51 born 1840 Selside as a retired iron master. Thomas of course was still married to Laura and so the “single” entry was in error. Why he was living with his sister and not his own family is not known and although the census does not record him as a visitor I expect that he was just visiting his sister.
At the time of the 1901 census, Thomas was back in Tunbridge Wells and residing at 7 Calverley Park Gardens(also known as Beech Holm) and given as a retired iron master. Living with him was his wife Laura ; their two children Mildred B, single, age 32; Nina C,ag 29,single and four servants.
Calverley Park Gardnens was an area of fine homes located on lands that formed part of the Ward estate. The book ‘The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’ by John Cunningham published in 2004 gives the following reference to Calverley Park Gardens. “Closely associated withCalverley Park, and forming adjacent parts of Decimus Burton’s layout, are Calverley Park Crescent and Calverley Park Gardens(image opposite). Origially known as Calverley Plain,Calverley Park Gardens was laid out by Decimus Burton in 1828 at the same time as Calverley Park…..”#7 Beech Holm” was built in 1854
Shown in the article about 7 Calverley Park Gardens is a photo of the residence and a 1907 OS map of Calverley Park Gardens which runs between Pembury Road on the east to Calverley Road on the West. It is believed by the researcher that #7 Calverly Park Gardens is the residence noted on the map at plot “555”. The homes on this road are all large Victorian mansions constructed of various materials but most notaby local stone and brick. Number 7 was in 2011 the subject of a planning authority application and was described at that time as a 3 sty residence of 12 flats on large landscaped grounds located on the north side of Calverley Park Gardens.The conversion of this one time private residence into flats occurred in the 20th century. In 1881 and 1891 it was a single family home occupied by the magistrate George P. Smith JP DL and his family.
By the time of the 1901 census most of Thomas’s children had left home with Thomas and his wife spending their retirement years travelling abroad. In the summer of 1909 Thomas and his wife were again in Switzerland. On July 21,1909 Thomas set off on a hiking trip for a walk to the Tschierva Hutt near the Roseg Glacier with Rev. Dr. Grey.the British chaplain, and another doctor.Thomas had complained of indigestion as breakfast which he blamed on almond cake, and had taken some ginger to settle it. After just over a mile though,he complained again of indigestion and then jus toppled forward and died of a heart attack.A memorial service was held for him at Pontresina.
After the service was held arrangements were made to return his body to his family in Tunbridge Wells and soon after its arrival he was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on July 28,1909.
The Kent & Sussex Courier gave the following announcement “ Sudden Death of Mr Fothergill in Switzerland”- The sad intelligence was received in Tunbridge Wells yesterday (Thursday) of the sudden death of Mr Thomas Fothergill of Beech Holm,Calverley Park Gardens,which occurred suddenly at Switzerland on Wednesday,from heart failure.Mr Fothergill was a keen botanist and in this connection it may be mentioned that he had visited Switzerland regularly for the past thirty years,and it was while on a mountain climb in search of some rare specimens that he breathed his last. The deceased gentleman who was in his seventieth year,came to reside in Tunbridge Wells many years ago,and had been prominently associated with various religious and philanthropic organizations in the town.As a churchman he was identified with Holy Trinity Church having acted as sidesman for some years.He often assisted in the conducting of services in the lodging houses and was a district visitor for the parish. But it was in connection with the temperance movement that Mr Fothergill’s greatest work was accomplished, and its interests he had travelled widely to take part in public meetings ,at which he was always an acceptable and persuasive speaker. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Central Council of the Church of England Temperance Society.,and was a Vice President of the Holy Trinity Branch. The London City Mission and the Young Men’s Christian Association also claimed and received a large share of his energies, and by his demise these and kindred institutions will lose and ardent and valuable supporter ,and many of his poorer neighbours a kind and generous friend.He is survived by a widow and five sons (two of whom have taken Holy Orders),and four daughters,with whom much sympathy will be felt in their sad and sudden bereavement.”
A memorial stone (shown above) was erected for the memory of Thomas in the Roseg Valley.It survived for ninety nine years,but by early July 2008 it had split apart. The pieces were disposed of by a tidy-minded local authority and no replacement was installed in its place. The four faces of the cairn were engraved with 9God so lived the World’(John 3.16)each in a different ‘Swiss language’ (French,German,Italian and Romanche). The local council of Pontresina had mainted it for the local people considered Thomas as a great benefactor for he was known for his generosity in the community, proving funds and his time to benefit them.
After Thomas’s death his wife continued to live in Tunbridge Wells as did many of their children. Probate records for Thomas record him of Beech Holm 7 Calverley Park Gardens,Tunbridge Wells and that he died July 21,1909 at Potresina Switzerland. Probate was in London August 31st to Laura Julia Fothergill,widow, Ida Gertrude Laura Fothergill, spinster and Ernest Roland Fothergill, surgeon. Thomas left an estate valued at over 23,000 pounds.
The 1911 census, taken at Beech Holm, 7 Calverley Park Gardens records as head of the household Laura Julia Fothergill, age 67, living on private means. Living with her were her two children Ida Gertrude Laura,age 48,single, and Mildred Beatrice,age 42,single, all of whom were living on private means.Also in the home was Emid Annesley,age 33, daughter in law born 1878 at Weston Super Mare a doctors wife and four servants. The census records that #7 Calverly Park Gardens was a mansion of 16 rooms and that Laura had been married 47 years and had 13 children of which nine were still living. Laura died in Tunbridge Wells in June 2,1920 while living at 11 Lansdown Road.Probate was to Rev. Clifford Berney Hall, clerk , and John Beddome Snell,solicitor. She left an estate valued at about 1,200 pounds and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on June 7,1920.
Shown above is a recent photograph of a home in Speldhurst named after Thomas Fothergill which is called ‘Fothergill’ on Barden Road. Another building paying tribute to him is ‘The Thomas Fothergill Homes’ in Avenue Road, Clifton which were built in 1935 and comprise ten brick one storey dwellings each with four rooms.The charity which set up these homes restricted them to be used by poor working class people.
My storey about the Fothergill family continues in the next section where information is provided about Thomas and Laura’s children.
THE CHILDREN OF THOMAS AND LAURA FOTHERGILL
1) IDA GERTRUDE LAURA FOTHERGILL (1862-1929).Ida had been born December 4,1862 in Pontypridd,Glamorgan,Wales and died in Tunbridge Wells in 1929 as a spinster.Ida was living with her parents in the 1871 cenus in Tunbridge Wells. In 1881 she was living in Hastings. In 1911 she was living with her mother in Tunbridge Wells She was and executor to her father’s estate in 1909 and was at that time a spinster.
2) DR ERNEST ROWLAND FOTHERGILL(1864-1942) Esq., M.B., B.S.,Major R.A.M.C..Ernest had been born in Isle of Wight, Hampshire in 1864.In 1871 he was living with his parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells. In 1881 he was living in Great Malvern,Worcestershire and in 1901 at Nottingham. In the 1911 census taken at Brighton Sussex, he and his wife were living in a 9 room residence with Ernest given as a registered medical practitioner. Also in the residence was his wife; two patients; two servants and one hospital nurse. The census records that the couple had been married twelve years and that they had no children. Ernest died in Tunbridge Wells in 1942. He had been married in London in the 1st qtr of 1899 to Frances(Fanny) Plues Dexter, the daughter of Alderman F.H. Dexter of Gateshead-on-Tyne,Brunswick Place, Hove,Sussex. He had been one of the executors of his father’s estate in 1909 and was identified as being a surgeon.The Medical Register of 1935 recorded him living at 6 Brunswick Place in Hove.His date of registration was given as May 29,1895 and his qualifications given as MB,BS and the he had attended the University of Durham. .
The following obituary was given in the British Medical Journal January 31,1942. “E. ROWLAND FOTHERGILL, M.B., B.S.Vice-President, British Medical Association’Only two members of the 1914 Council of the British Medical Association were still members of the Council a quarter of a century later. One is Sir Henry Brackenbury,and the other was Dr. E. Rowland Fothergill, who died last week. A much earlier date might have been taken to indicate Fothergill's entrance upon the central stage of Association affairs. As far back as 1904, after he had been for two years Division Secretary, he was for a time a member of Council, and he was a member, if not of the first, of the early Annual Representative Meetings. At that time, practising in the Metropolitan area, he represented Wandsworth; later it was as a Representative of Brighton that he was generally known. Mere length of service was the smaller thing that Fothergill gave to the B.M.A. He was from first to last an active and constructive critic, and the author of more ideas that have borne fruit within the Association than anyone except perhaps its founder. When in later years his health did not permit him to attend many meetings he would almost invariably send forward his comments on the agenda, often with a sheaf of suggested amendments. When he rose to speak these were introduced in the rather brusque staccato way which signified his impatience to get things done, or undone. Such a "disturber of the peace" was often a thorn in the side of chairmen and others. When from a familiar corner a voice was raised.:" May I ask .- . . " it meant that that particular business would run no more along its smooth course. A sharp eye had discovered some supposed laxity of phrasing, some possibility of mischief in an apparently innocent document, or perhaps a missed opportunity, while doing well, of doing better. With the object of facilitating business all members of Council and committees rec&ive bulky documents which they are expected to digest before the meeting. It may be that these are lightly skimmed by some, but those that went to Hove were always studied, line by line and word by word. Fothergill by no means always got his own way; his impetuousness sometimes carried him too far, and his sense of proportion was often at fault. But he never showed resentment at rebuffs, and nothing caused him to relax his vigilance. Whatever opposition some of his proposals or objections might arouse, it was acknowledged by all that the single purpose of this critic who made the Brighton area lively on the Association map was to maintain and strengthen the organization in which he so thoroughly believed. Ernest Rowland Fothergill was born at Ryde in the Isle of Wight in August, 1864. He was educated at Malvern College and took his medical degree at Durham in 1895, becoming a member of the Association in the same year. After serving as clinical assistant at Durham County Asylum,he took up general practice, first in Cornwall, later at Wimbledon on the border of London, and, in 1911, at Hove, where he was honorary consulting physician to the general hospital and public vaccinator. For many years he was an insurance practitioner in the Brighton area. He saw war service as a major in the R.A.M.C., and was mentioned in dispatches. His stalwart defence of the rights and privileges of private practice proceeded from an earnest study of medical sociology.He believed that scientific advance in medicine is held back unless it is accompanied by an equivalent medico-political and sociological advance. To the various aspects of medical sociology he made many contributions, and he was honorary secretary, vice-president, and president of the Section of Medical Sociology at the Annual Meetings of 1913, 1921, and 1922 respectively. His lot was cast in a time of change, when private practice, as it was formerly known, was giving place to a combination of State practice and private practice, and he felt that this was a situation which called for vigilance if the interests of medicine and the medical profession were not to be imperilled. He took a conspicuous part in the new field of medico-politiil-:'action which was opened up by the introduction of the National Health Insurance Bill in 1911. He was a member of the special Poor Law Reform Committee set up by the Council under the shadow of coming events in 1909,and of the State Sickness Insurance Committee (afterwards the Insurance Acts Committee) which developed out of it; of this he remained a member until 1932. He may be said to have been the father of the Annual Panel Conference. It was his idea in 1913, the Annual Meeting of the Association being held that year in Brighton, to get together the practitioners who were doing insurance work. The conference was held in the Royal Pavilion. Fothergill himself, with strange selfrepression, does not seem to have spoken more than once at it.This was the forerunner of the annual conferences which have taken place ever since, but it was much more than that: it meant that the Local Medical and Panel Committees chose the British Medical Association as the body to which they looked for central organization, negotiation, and support. They might without such an impetus have created a separate body of their own, thereby severing insurance practitioners from the rest of the profession and emphasizing competitive interests: What followed from Brighton has no doubt greatly increase the influence and prestige of the Association, and equally it has been of immeasurable advantage to insurance practitioners themselves. Later Fothergill served on the special committee set up to prepare the evidence to be given before the Royal Commission on the Insurance Acts in 1924. In his own locality he was a member of the Brighton Local Medical and Panel Committee for twenty years and its chairman for seven. He served on the Brighton Insurance Committee for the whole of that period, and also had short terms of service on the corresponding committees for East Sussex.The B.M.A. Hospital Policy was a parallel field in which he applied his energies. Here again the time was one of rapid change. Voluntary hospital management was shifting from the old charitable basis to one in which all patients paid according to their means or through contributory schemes, and in which pay-beds, pay-wards, Qr pay-blocks figured ever more prominently. He felt that the closest watch was necessary lest the services of visiting medical staffs of hospitals be exploited. He deprecated the overburdening of out-patient specialist departments of voluntary hospitals by patients whose examination and treatment could have been undertaken in their own homes or in private consulting rooms or in clinics staffed by private practitioners. To clinics, apart from the home doctor, he was never reconciled. At their best, he said, they were poor things and makeshifts, used to fill a temporary vacuum. Fothergill was a member of the Hospitals Committee of the Association from 1921 until 1933. Among the committees on which he served at one time or another were the Medico-Political, the special. committees on tests for drunkenness and on the notification of venereal diseases, and the committee which, eleven years ago, brought forward the proposals for a General Medical Service for the Nation. The policies in the shaping of which he had an active share included those concerned with maternity and child welfare, inspection and treatment of school children, duties and salaries of medical officers at public schools, model rules for nursing associations, and the education of the public in health matters.He was also for three years a member of- the Organization Committee and was always interested in the constitution of the Association, especially in its function as an imperial body, and many useful suggestions, slight in themselves,came from him with a view to strengthening the ties between the Association at home and its Federal Councils and Oversea Branches.He was probably the most assiduous letter-writer the Association has ever had, and some of his letters were extremely pointed. His letters, not only those for publication but those addressed to officials at headquarters and others, if collected, would form a commentary on the medico-political issues of a generation. And these frequent essays in penmanship were undertaken by a man who had no real gift for writing. He was inclined to call literary form mere "verbiage"-a word he often used and always with scorn. A breakdown in health in 1932 lessened his active participation in Association affairs. It was a wonder to his friends that he had gone on at full steam until nearly seventy. In 1933 he was elected a Vice-President of the Association, and in 1936 a Fothergill Testimonial Fund was raised, to the amount of nearly £1,700. In a letter signed by the principal Officers of the Association and others well known in the profession it was stated that "his fertility of ideas, his persistence, and his loyalty to principle and to the interests of the Association have justly given him a unique position." In acknowledging the testimonial Fothergill wrote that the services of which it was the recognition had been made possible only because of the patience, sympathy, co-operation, and companionship of a large band of workers. Beneath his stiff manner and challenging air there was genuine kindliness, and his friends knew what a warm heart his abrupt speech concealed. In his later years Dr. Fothergill left Hove and settled at Tunbridge Wells, where he died on January 20. Dr. ALFRED Cox writes: I am grateful for the opportunity to add a personal note to your generous and well-merited tribnte to my old friend. As one who during many years was the recipient of almost daily letters from him bearing on the work of the Association, I am qualified to say that no man in my acquaintance ever more fully and whole-heartedly gave up practically the whole of his working life to the interests of our profession and our Association. Fothergill was quite unique in his hawk-like capacity for spotting a weak point in an agenda, and nothing could drive him off it until he had been convinced or beaten by a vote or a chairman's ruling. I owe much to him for his vigilance and for the example he set me and others of sheer devotion. If ever a man deserved the epithet " incorruptible " it was Fothergill.He sought neither honours nor applause.His kindness of heart and loyalty to his friends and his cause were concealed under a somewhat austere bearing, but there are few men who will be more regretted by the colleagues who knew him in his prime.”
His probate record gives Dr Ernest Rowland Fothergill ,late of 11 Queens Road,Tunbridge Wells formerly of 98 Upper Grosvenor Road,Tunbridge Wells, practitioner, died January 20,1942.Probate was to his widow Frances Plues Fothergill and left an estate valued at only 63 pounds.
His service during WW I is recorded in the London Gazette of July 13,1915 where is he listed as Ernest Rowland Fothergill M.B. ; and in the London Gazette of July 28,1919 where is listed as “ Temp. Major Ernest Rowland Fothergill MB relinquishes his commission June 27,1919 and retains the rank of Major”.
3) REV. CLIFFORD DOUGLAS FOTHERGILL (1866-1938) M.A..Clifford had been born May 16,1866 in Keswick,Cumberland,Kent and died in Tunbridge Wells October 26,1938.Cambridge University records note that he had obtained his BA at Queens College in 1891.He was living with his parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells in 1871.In 1881 he was living in Hove,Suusex and in 1891 at Ravenstone Dale,Westmoreland; in 1901 at Inkberrow,Worcestershire. He had been married May 13,1896,at Birkdale St Peter,Lincolnshire , to Eleanor Amelia Fergie, age 32,the daughter of the Rev. Canon T.f. Fergie and with her Clifford had a son Alan Clifford Fergie Fothergill(1903-1987),gentleman who married Edith Agnes Knibbs in 1924, the daughter of W. Knibbs of Derby. Clifford also had a daughter Doris Eileen (1899-1979).In the 1901 cenus, taken at Inkberrow,Worchestershire is found Clifford, age 234 with his daughter Doris and several others who were living there as visitors. They were visiting John Burton a clergyman of the C of E .The 1911 census, taken at Long Drax,Yorkshire gives Clifford as a clerk in holy orders. Living with him was his sister Nina ,daughter Kathleen Hilda,age 12; daughter Doris Eileen,age 11 and son Alan Clifford,age 7.also in the 30 room building was one servant. His probate record gives Rev. Clifford Douglas Fothergill of 61 London Road,Tunbridge Wells,clerk, died October 26,1938 at the Clarence Nursing Home Tunbridge Wells. Probate was to Rev. Arthur Willoughby Fothergill, clerk, and Eleanor Amelia Fothrgill, wodow. He left an estate valued at just 227 pounds.
4) FLORENCE MAY FOTHERGILL (1867-1948).Florencre was born 1867 at Cumberland,Kent .She never married and live on private means her entire life. She died a spinster in 1948.Her probate records give her of 51 George Street,Tunbridge Wells, a spinster, who died June `12,1948 at Holloway Sanitorum Virging Water,Surrey. Probate was to her spinster sister Nina and she left an estate valued at 618 pounds.
5) MILDRED BEATRICE FOTHERGILL (1868-1945) .Mildren had been born 1868 in Dover,Kent and lived her life as a spinster supported from ‘private means’.She was living in 1871 with her parents and siblings in Tunbridge Wells. She was living with her parents in Tunbridge Wells in 1901 and in the 1911 census, after her father died, she was living with her mother in Tubnridge Wells. She died a spinster at Newton Abbot,Devon in 1945.
6) GORDON MONTREUX FOTHERGILL (1870-1958).Gordon was born in Tunbridge Wells in February 20,1870 .Gordon married in 1901 Anna Otis.He joined the medical profession. A photograph is Gordon is shown opposite as it was presented in the following obituary published March 28,1958 in the ‘Coloradoan newspaper .” Gordon M. Gordon emigrated to the United States and went into real estate ,insurance and ranching on Colorado. He died at Fort Collins,Colorado March 27,1958. He came to Larimer county from England in 1890 for the benefit of his health, died Thursday night at the Larimer County Hospital at the age of 88. He had been in business in Fort Collins for about 65 years, and thus was probably the oldest of the county's residents in active business. His business was in real estate and insurance, and he also operated a northern Colorado travel agency. His home was at 612 South College Avenue. He was a devout member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church here, having been confirmed in the parent church, the Church of England, as a boy. He was for many years a vestryman and junior warden of the church. Gordon Montieux Fothergill was born in Tunbridge Well, County Kent, in southeast England, on Feb. 20, 1870, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Rowland Fothergill. He attended Cambridge House boys' school and was graduated at St. Lawrence College at Ramsgate, Eng. Later he studied engineering. While preparing for the entrance examinations for Oxford University, his health failed under repeated attacks of pneumonia. His physician advised that he leave England for the Rocky Mountain area. He came here with another young Englishman, who took him to a ranch in Poudre Canyon, the Pinehurst Ranch owned by Earl Abbott. He lived there for a year or more, spending much time in riding, hunting and fishing. His health being restored, he took up ranching for a brief period. Mr. Fothergill moved to Fort Collins in 1892, when he began his business career. He and the former Miss Anna Searing Otis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Otis were married here on April 28, 1901. Surviving besides Mrs. Fothergill, are a sister, Miss Nina C. Fothergill, three nieces and three nephews, all living in England. The funeral will take place at 2 p.m. Monday at St. Luke's Church, conducted by the Rev. Edward A. Groves Jr. Burial will be at Grandview cemetery. Arrangements are in charge of the Warren Funeral Chapel.
7) NINA CLOTILDE FOTHERGILL (1871-1961).Nina was born 1871 in Tunbridge Wells.She never married or worked for a living and died in Tunbridge Wells in 1961.Her probate records give her of 77 London Road,Tunbridge Wells, spinster who died August 30,1961. Probate was to Enid Frances Fothergill, spinster, and she left an estate valued at 1,033 pounds.
8) ROSA GABRIELLE FOTHERGILL (1872-1873).Rosa had been born 1872 in Tunbridge Wells and was baptised there. The little girl had a short life for she died at age 1 on April 26,1873 at St Leonards and was buried at St Leonards,Kent on the 28th.
9) ADELE CHRISTINE FOTHERGILL (1873-1874).Adele had been born July 10,1873 in Tunbridge Wells and died there a year later on July 12,1874.She had also been baptised in Tunbridge Wells.
10) REV.ARTHUR WILLOUGHBY FOTHERGILL (1876-1942).Arthur was born February 1,1876 in Tunbridge Wells and died in 1942.In 1891 he was living at St Lawrence,Kent as a boarder, clergyman C of E. In 1901 he was living at Weddstone,Middlesex.He had lived for a time at the Sharnford Rectory in Leicester. The 1911 census, taken at Ealing,Middlesex 129 Cordershaw Road,records Arthur as a single man, living as a boarder with the family of Robert Hayden Fryer, a carpenter. Arthur is given in the census as a clerk in holy orders. Arthur was the author of book in 1917 entitled “ Daily Morsels from the Psalms”. The London Gazette of April 24,1942 dealt with his estate and recorded him as Rev. Arthur Willoughby Fothergill late of Sharnford Rectory,Hinckley,Leicester and that he died February 10,1942. His executor was his spinster sister Nina Clothilde Fothergill and his solicitors were Snell & Co. of 10 Lonsdale Gardens,Tunbridge Wells. He left an estate valued at about 3,100 pounds.
11) DR CLAUD FRANCIS FOTHERGILL (1878-1955) M.B.,B.Ch., M.R.C.S. (Eng), L.R.C.P. (lrnd) .Claud was born February 20,1878 at Godstone,Surrey. He was married January 8, 1908 at Kingsbury St Andrew to Enid Annesley Gell (1878-1963),the daughter of Brig. General Gell . The 1911 census, taken at Chorleywood ,Herts records Claud Francis ,age 33, a physician and surgeon. Living with him was his twin children Leslie Garth and Guy Aherbrook, both born 1909 at Chorleywood. Also in the12 room home were a nurse and two domestic servants.The census records that he had been married three years ( on January 8,1908 at Kinsbury St Andrews) and that he had only two children. In the 1930’s was living in London.He and his wife had four children. He died at Watford,Hertsfordshire May 6,1955. He and his wife had four children. His wife Enid was born 1878 at Weston Super Mare,Somerset and died May 27,1963 at Watford,Hertforshire. She was the daughter of John Sherbrooke Gell (1817-1878) and Sophia Mary Ann Annesley(1850-1905) and had just one sibling and five half siblings. The following account was reprinted form the Ancestry Uk website family tree.
“Claud Francis Fothergill (1878-1955) Educated at St Lawrence College and Emmanuel College , Cambridge , Claud trained as a doctor at Guy's Hospital, qualifying in 1906. His qualifications were MA, MB Bch (Cantab), MRCS (Eng), LRCP (Lond), CTM (Lond). His first appointment was house surgeon at Gloucester Hospital , where he was the first to set a leg with a steel pin. He had been accepted for the Church Missionary Society, but due to an accidental collision in which a nurse injected him with bacteria, he suffered severe septicemia, losing the finger and nearly dying, and was therefore unable to take the post. Instead he became a general practitioner in 1907 and had a flourishing practice in Chorley Wood, Hertfordshire, where his house was named 'Hensol' reflecting the family links to Hensol Castle . He had the second and car, a De Dion Bouton, in Chorley Wood, and there being no petrol stations, a lorry would deliver a large load of red cans which would line the side of the garage! There were also two nursing homes in Chorley Wood for which he was responsible. In World War 1, he volunteered for service and was sent to the Dardenelles. Being very seasick, he disembarked at Malta , just before the ship was torpedoed with the loss of all hands. In Malta , he had many patients suffering from frostbite, and he gave them strong drinks of lemon which cured them without amputation, the first time such an approach was used. In 1918, he was physician-in-charge of Guys Hospital neurological department, and was also a consultant at the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases. Later for twenty years, he was a specialist in psychiatry in Harley Street London , working with Sir Maurice Craig on nervous diseases. One of his activities was to check the men being demobbed after World War I to see who had genuine cases of shell shock. For a number of years, he founded (1921) and led, voluntarily, the Camps and Tours Union (CTU) , formerly the 'Zermatt Camps' founded in 1913, a Christian organization, which did spiritual work and took parties abroad. In this, he was helped by his two sons. Keen on mountaineering, he was a member of the 'Alpine Club', and from 1950-1953 a vice-president of the Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club. He brought large parties: (one of 163 people, another 127) to Zermatt (1925) and later Saas-Fee (1937) for winter sports holidays, thus putting these two high alpine villages on the map of leading winter sports resorts. Under the auspices of the CTU, 12,000 people visited different parts of the continent. Between the wars, he took nine parties to the Holy Land, and lectured widely throughout the country. His other interests included photography (particularly close-ups of wild flowers), antiques (with a special interest in pewter), botany and stamp collecting. His publications include ,A Doctor in many Countries (Pickering & Ingles 1945) ; Blood examination and its value in tropical disease (Henry Kimpton 1907) ; and a number of pamphlets including Children and Alcohol and The Treatment of Neurasthenia (From 'The Practitioner' May 1914) . He also invented the 'Chelsea' flower press. In 1908, he married Enid Annesley Gill the daughter of Major General John Sherbrooke Gell. General Gell was GOC, Bombay , and the family seat is Hopton Hall, Derbyshire, though General Gell never lived there. The Gells are one of the few families that can trace their descent from Roman times. Claud and Enid had four children, all born at Chorleywood, the two sons being twins and described below. Enid Francis Fothergill (1912-1985) died of cancer in Hillingdon unmarried; Hope Annesley Fotllergill (1915-1936) died at Watford Peace Memorial hospital. Both were educated at Sandycote School , Parkestone, Dorset . The Fothergills a First History By Richard Fothergill (Lockholme ‘A’ Branch)”.
His probate record gives him of Hensol Shire lane, Chorley Wood,Hertforshire and that he died May 6,1955. Probate was to Elaine Annesley Fothergill, widow, and Enid Frances Fothergill, spinster. He left an estate valued at about 18,000 pounds.
12) LESLIE ADOLPHE FOTHERGILL (1880-1903).Leslie was born April 3,1880 at Godstone ,Surrey;baptised May 5,1880. and died in London December 8, 1903. He had been baptised May 5,1880 at Blindley Heath St John .In the 1881 census, taken at 64 Church Road ( a lodging house) at Hastings, were found as head of household, his 18 year old sister Ida. Living with Ida in addition of Leslie were five other siblings and three servants..He was living in 1901 at St Lawrence, Kent. Leslie had been educated at Cambridge.The records of the university give “ Admin pens at Emmanuel October 2,1899,youngest son or Mr Thomas Fothergill of 7 Calverley Park Gardens, Tunbridge Wells. Matrix 1899, BA 1902”. The Times of December 10,1901 recorded that Leslie was at Guys Hospital, London when he died of typhoid fever December 8,1903.
13) HILDA LILLIAN VIOLETTA FOTHERGILL (1882-1885).Hilda had been born December 2,1882 in Ashingdon,Essex but was baptised in Tunbridge Wells and died in the town December 27,1885 at the age of 3 years.
FRANCIS CRAWSHAY (1811-1878)
The following information has been reprinted as it appeared as an article attached to a family tree of Francis Crawshay. I take no credit the information contained in it and I thank the author for letting me use it.
Francis Crawshay (1811-78) was the second son of the ironmaster William Crawshay II, of Cyfarthfa Castle, Merthyr Tydfil. In the early 1830s, Francis was put in charge of Hirwaun Ironworks, which his father had acquired in 1819, and a new tinplate works at Treforest, near Pontypridd. Francis was regarded as a somewhat eccentric character: he refused to reside at Ty Mawr, Hirwaun, preferring instead to live at a cottage to the north of the works called Tir Gwyn Bach. In 1848 he built a round tower to the south-west of the town, which he used during the summer. He was known as 'Mr Frank' by the workers and learned to speak Welsh in order to communicate with them. He later moved from Hirwaun to Treforest, where he lived at Forest House with his wife and eight children. It was during this time that he became friends with Dr William Price, the Chartist and druid. Francis himself erected his own druidic circle at Forest House which was eventually demolished during the 1950s in order to provide space for the expanding college campus at Treforest. Francis was particularly fond of the sea and owned a steam yacht in which he often sailed to France. Following the closure of the Hirwaun and Treforest works, in 1859 and 1867 respectively, Francis retired to Bradbourne Hall, Sevenoaks, where it was said he enjoyed walking around in nautical dress.
Unlike his brother Henry who had inherited his fathers power of quick decision, and who was particularly pains taking and industrious, as well as being capable of handling people, Francis would rather go sailing of shooting. He had become very interested in these sports, and would pursue them whenever he got the chance. He became more extravagant, spending more and more money. William Crawshay II grumbled that Frank was spending his money at the "devil of a pace at Forest." Not only did Francis annoy his father over his extravagances but also because he was completely indifferent to the family motto, PERSEVERANCE. He often took a day off to go and shoot at Barry Island, in the Bristol Channel. He later purchased the island which was called "the Crawshay rabbit shooting box" by one of his descendants. Eventually it was his brother Robert who became known as the Fourth 'Iron King' of Wales, he was also the last to be known by this title. and it was his son William Thompson who eventually sold the works to Guest Keen and Company around the turn of the century. After the 1914-18 war came the final shutting down and dismantlement of the once thriving Cyfathfa Works. Today nothing is left. Cyfathfa Castle remains of course as an eternal monument to this great family, and is now the family museum. While Francis wa s living at Forest House he erected in the grounds what has been called "The Stonehenge of Treforest", a circle of great upright stones in a circular grove of pine trees in the centre of which was placed a stone inscribed with the names of some of the family. These stones were removed in about 1956 to allow for an expansion of the Glamorgan College of Technology.
“Francis Crawshay came to Bradbourne Hall in I867, he was a wealthy, kind-hearted and eccentric man of fifty-five. Francis known as "Frank" to his family, was a newcomer to Kent, having lived all his life in Wales. His great grandfather, Richard Crawshaw, who later changed his name to Crawshay was the first Iron King of Wales. Both Richard's father and grandfather were yeoman farmers in Yorkshire, and Richard yearned for a more exciting career, eventually, as the result of a family quarrel, Richard set off for London on horseback to try his luck there. He soon found a job as an odd job boy at a wharehouse in York Yard, Thames street. The owner of the business was a Mr Bicklewith and so impressed with Richard was he, that Richard found himself promoted to flat-iron salesman. Richard became the owner of the business himself in due course, when Mr Bicklewith retired. He was twenty-four when he married Mary Bourne the daughter of a stonegrate maker, and two years later he moved to new premises in Thames Street trading under the name of Richard Crawshay and Company. Somehow Richard made the acquaintance of Anthony Bacon, a Welsh foundry owner, and in I786 went to South Wales to take over forge, foundry, and other premises (that had been leased to another ironmaster) on a nine year lease. Anthony Bacon died that very year and left his properties to an illegitimate son who was still a minor, Richard exercised virtual control of all the ironworks at Cyfarthfa, and purchased them in 1794. Within the next ten years the Cyfathfa iron works were the largest in Great Britain, and it was here that the guns for the Victory were made. Richard never looked back, he developed the works and was never slow to take advantage of any new ideas. He employed design engineers who were able to institute several new methods of production, including a giant waterwheel which operated four furnaces. The workmen at Cyfathfa were well treated by Richard, and he once said, "If I can do it, every man in my employ shall have a piece of beef and a pint of beer for his dinner every day". Hatred of social injustice was another characteristic of Richard, he had been poor and friendless himself once, when he arrived in London, if he thought he had been unfair or had 'wronged a workman, out of his pocket would come a guinea. He never sought fame, but became one of the most respected men in Wales and London. He was proud of his farming ancestors and so incorporated a plough in the coat of arms that was granted in 1793. The crest comprised a mastiff dog (symbolising the name Cyfathfa) standing over a pyramid of cannon balls, and adopted Perseverance as the family motto. Richard's first son William, known as William I to distinguish him from his son William II. His grandson William III became the second "Iron King of Wales" on his fathers death in 1810. It was another seven years though, before he became the sole owner of the industry (Richard's will had made several beneficiarys) , not only that, but Anthony Bacon junior had inherited all mineral rights from his father, it took the threat of a lawsuit from William I before Anthony Bacon would sell them for £95,000 in 1814. William I's eldest son William was twenty six at this time, and had married Elizabeth Homfray, the daughter of Francis Homfray of The Hyde, Stafford in 1808. The couple lived at Cyfathfa House, the same that Richard had lived in before his death. William, who married three times, had five children by Elizabeth while at Cyfathfa House. Francis was the third child and the second son, he was born on the 29th, December, 1811. His elder brother was William III. William II managed the Cyfathfa Works for his father who had an aversion to Wales and so lived in a beautiful house at Stoke Newington. It was about this time that William II decided to build a larger house for himself, and his father promised to pay for it, not realising what was contemplated and by 1820 William II had purchased land for the project and had already decided on the plans. As soon as William I heard that his son had decided to build a thirty thousand pound castle, with fifteen towers, battlements and seventy two rooms he wrote to him pointing out the error of his ways in indulging in such gross extravagance - but to no avail. William II waited a further four years until his families. finances were in a better state and then went ahead with the building. 1825 saw the completion of Cyfatha Castle, Francis was now fourteen, and in a few years would be employed in his father's firm at Treforest. During Francis' childhood Merthyr was a busy, thriving town. Coal mines had been opened up to support the needs of the iron works and tin mines. Following in the traditions set by Richard the first "Iron King", William I and William II were always very fair and just towards their employees, to give an instance, in those days ironmasters ran company controlled shops which were called "Truck shops". Wages were paid in part with company tokens which could only be spent in these "truck shops", where as much as 10% was added to the price of goods. Such practices were common at this time and it is to the credit of the Crawshay family that Cyfathfa men were never exploited in this way. When William II moved into Cyfathfa Castle he already had five children by his second wife, he was a devoted father and he planned for his private study to be near schoolroom, playroom, and the children's special walled in garden. Francis along with his other brothers learned the art of shooting, riding and billiards, one of their fathers favourite games. It has been said of the Crawshay family that they were distinguished by a strange kind of eccentricity, and also by genius and enterprise, but not all of the family were all of these things at once. Francis was certainly possessed of a strange eccentricity which became more pronounced as he got older, and his father despaired of him more than once. Unlike his great grandfather, Richard, Francis was never to know at first hand what poverty was all about, he was idle and frequently irresponsible, money had no real meaning for him. In 1831 William II purchased tinplate works at Treforest, and by about 1835, when Francis was twenty-four, they were in operation. Francis was put in charge of the Treforest works, and on the 1st, of November, 1837 he married his cousin Laura Crawshay, the daughter of Richard Crawshay II of Honington Hall, Norfolk. The couple went to live at Forest House, near to the tin plate works. Francis was becoming increasingly irresponsible and consequently was a great disappointment to his father. He was the third of five children born to Elizabeth Homfray and William II. Elisa was two years his senior and William III. one year, there was one younger brother Henry, another Edwin, had died in infancy. William III the eldest should have been the heir to the Cyfathfa works when his father died (William I had died in 1834). However this was not to be. On the 1st of September, 1839, in an accident on the Severn, he was drowned. He had been on his way to visit his father at Caversham Park, at Reading, a house that his father had recently rented to be nearer London. The Reverend George Thomas delivered the news to Caversham Park the next day. The body was not recovered straight away and Francis who was told of the news by his step brother Robert offered a reward for the recovery of the body. William's body was recovered the following Sunday about five miles further up the river, and the reward of one hundred pounds was paid to the two boatmen who had brought the body back. Francis and Robert went to identify the body and to arrange for it to be taken to Llandaff. Francis, being the second son expected to claim the inheritance but, in despair his father cut him off from this great prize because of his increasing eccentricity. Unlike his brother Henry who had inherited his fathers power of quick decision, and who was particularly pains taking and industrious, as well as being capable of handling people, Francis would rather go sailing of shooting. He had become very interested in these sports, and would pursue them whenever he got the chance. He became more extravagant, spending more and more money. William Crawshay II grumbled that Frank was spending his money at the "devil of a pace at Forest." Not only did Francis annoy his father over his extravagances but also because he was completely indifferent to the family motto, PERSEVERANCE. He often took a day off to go and shoot at Barry Island, in the Bristol Channel. He later purchased the island which was called "the Crawshay rabbit shooting box" by one of his descendants. Eventually it was his brother Robert who became known as the Fourth 'Iron King' of Wales, he was also the last to be known by this title. and it was his son William Thompson who eventually sold the works to Guest Keen and Company around the turn of the century. After the 1914-18 war came the final shutting down and dismantlement of the once thriving Cyfathfa Works. Today nothing is left. Cyfathfa Castle remains of course as an eternal monument to this great family, and is now the family museum. While Francis wa s living at Forest House he erected in the grounds what has been called "The Stonehenge of Treforest", a circle of great upright stones in a circular grove of pine trees in the centre of which was placed a stone inscribed with the names of some of the family. These stones were removed in about 1956 to allow for an expansion of the Glamorgan College of Technology”.
JOHN COX DILLMAN ENGLEHEART-MINIATURE PAINTER
Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario, Canada
Date: January 16,2014
John Cox Dillman Engleheart(self portrait opposite right) came from a family of well- known artists best known for their work as miniature painters of the 18th and 19th century. John had been born 1784 at Kew,Surrey, one of several children born to John Dillman Engleheart(1735-1810) and Jane Parker (1743-1827). The most authoritive reference for his life and career is in the book ‘George Engleheart 1750-1829 Miniature Painter to George III’ by George C. Williamson and Henry L.D. Engleheart M.A., published in London 1902. An image of John's parents is shown to the left below
Of John’ father, the book states “ John Dillman Engleheart was the eldest son of Francis Engleheart and was born in 1735. He was twice married. His first wife was Mary Webber and the second wife, who he married in 1770 was Jane Parker”. Shown opposite is an image of John and his wife Jane.”He(John) resided at Shepherd’s Street, London.”
“John Cox Dillman Engleheart appears to have gone to his uncle Georges studio in 1798 when he was 14 and was under his care and tuition for a considerable time. George’s studio was at that time at Hertford Street. His first miniature was done on September 7,1799 only a year after he entered his uncles studio.This portrait was of a Mr Morgan. Before that time John only copied his uncles works and drawings which were given him as studies. He also copied works by other miniature painters. It appeas as if on several occasions he was sent out of town to execute some commissions which, perhaps, he had himself obtained or which his uncle was unable to attend to. Examples of his work dated October 7,1799 and October 24 and 25, 1800 prove this by their locations. “
“In 1801 he first exhibited at the Royal Academy and in 1802 he appears to have had a studio at his father’s house, as he gave his address in the Academy List as 13 Shepherd Street,Hanover Square. Six years afterwards (1808) he had a studio of his own at 88 Newman Street, Oxford Street. He resided there until 1821 when he moved to 70 Berners Street. In1825 he moved to 75 Upper Berkeley Street, Portman Square, and in 1828 he was at 7 Mortimer Street,Cavendish Square on the last miniature he exhibited at the Academy. All together he sent to the Royal Academy some 157 works in all exhibiting in some years as many as 8 at a time. He also exhibited twice at the British Institution, when he was residing at Newman Street, sending in 1809 ‘A Study in Miniature’ and in the following year a 12” x 9” miniature called ‘Cheerfulness’.”
On August 15, 1811 John wed Mary Barker(1789-1878)(photo right) at Edgbaston and with her had the following children; Mary Jane Dillman(b1812), Lucy Sophia Dillman (1814-1904), Millicent Catherine Dillman (1815-1897), Jane Helen Dillman(born 1818) and Sir John Gardiner Dillman Engleheart(1823-1923). The book referenced above states “He (John senior)left London for 24 years due to ill health but returned to London afterwards, living at Kew. He had 10 children but only three survived him; two daughters Lucy Sophia Dillman Engleheart (1814-1897),afterwards Mrs W. Farnell Gardner; Mary Jane Dillman Engleheart,born 1812, afterwards Mrs Pyre and his son John Cox Dillman Engleheart who learned the profession of a miniaturist at the hands of his uncle George Engleheart”. At this juncture in my account some correction of information is necessary. Firstly the above referenced book is in error when it refers to Lucy and Mary Jane being the daughters of John Dillman Engleheart for as I have noted they were both born after John Dillman Engleheart died in 1810. These two women were actually the daughters John Cox Dillman Engleheart, the son of John Dillman Engleheart. The family tree given as an appendix in the book does correctly show that John Cox Dillam Engleheart had four daughters and a son Sir John Gardiner Dillaman Engleheart.
Mary Barker had been born 1789 at Birmingham, Warwickshire. She was baptised march 28,1789 at Birmingham. She was the daughter of Thomas Barker(1754-1815) and Mary Lander (died 1825) and was one of two known children born to the couple.
Returning to the book it is stated “ John Cox Dillman Englehard had four daughters, Mrs John Hennen, Mrs Fulling Turner, and two unmarried ladies who are still living, Miss Lucy and Miss Melicent Englehart, and one son (the present Sir John Gardner Engleheart K.C.B who is the owner of the fee-book and most of the remaining records relating to the family, and who still resides in the family home in Curton Street, Mayfair”. At this juncture in the book the author has provided the correct information regarding the children of John Cox Dillam Engleheart.
The book continues “ When the artist was 44 years of age, his health, never very strong, entirely broke up and he was obliged to relinquish the active persuit of his profession. He went away to the continent and found that his health was thereby improved, he left England for 4 years in 1830 taking with him his family and travelling in Switzerland and South Italy. Two winters he spent on the shores of the Bay of Naples and in 1862 he died at the age of 78. His widow continued to reside in the same house until her death in her 90th years in 1878 and they were both buried in the cemetery of Trinity Church in Tunbridge Wells.”. In actual fact they were both buried in the Woodbury Park Cemetery, details of which I give later. Later I also clarify where he lived before his death.
Continuing with the book “ His work is very similar to that of his uncle George and his father John. His colouring, however, as he advanced in life became far hotter and less refined than his uncles ever was and his drawing was done in a heavier hand and lacks the dainty lightness which George possessed in so remarkable a degree. He always aimed to bring in accessories to his portraits-flowers, trees,landscapes,vases, wood and symbolized objects-and so destroyed the unity of the portrait and prevented its obtaining the success which it deserved. Another fault, one which belonged to most of his contenporaries, was striving to express emotion, to suggest romance and classical allusion in the paintings, and by such means removed from the portrait much of its simplicity. It was in his simplist portraits that he excelled.John was not only a clever, capable painter, but excelled in his pencil drawing. The very lightness and gace which mark them seem to have left him when he took his hand to the brush.
He has left behind very few writings or papers, however a vast quantity of his colours remain in possession of the family”
The will of John’s uncle George makes no mention of John but gives details about the location of the family tomb at Kew, “being a large stone raised about 9 or 10 course of brick” and bearing the names and details of his father Francis and other family members.
For anyone interested in details about all the works undertaken and exhibited by John Cox Dillman Engleheart I would suggest looking at a copy of the book (also available online) for it gives in the appendix a long list of his miniatures. Also many images of his work can be seen online. In this article I have shown above only two examples of his miniatures.
A review of Electoral Registers shows that John was at Acton,Middlesex in the years of 1838, 1848,1849.1851 but in 1861 was a resident of Tunbridge Wells. It is his life in Tunbridge Wells which is the main focus of this article but unfortunately there is not a great deal that can be said of it for he only lived until 1862, during a time when his health was in decline. A review of his work , where their date of production is known, does not produce any examples of paintings he did in Tunbridge Wells however, not all of his works are dated.
The 1861 census,taken at ‘Beech Holme’ , refers to a fine stone residence constructed at #7 Calverley Park Gardens occupied by the Engleheart family. Since John and his family were still living in Acton,Middlesex at the time of the 1851 census, and since #7 Calverley Park Gardens did not make its appearance in the local Rating and Finance Committee until 1854, when the house was belived to have been built, it is believed by the researcher that John moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1854 and that he became the first occupant of #7.
The 1861 census, taken at Beech Holm records the presence of “J.C.Dillman Engleheart”, age 77, a fundholder. Living with him was his wife Mary, age 72 and their children Lucy,age 46; Millicent, age 45; Helen,age 43;and John Gardner,age 38. Also in the home was John Gardner’s wife Emily,age 33 and their son Henry, age 5 months. Also in the home were five domestic servants. Their son John Gardner Engleheart was a barrister-at-law.
Probate records give that John Cox Dillman Engleheart,esq. formerly of East Acton, Middlesex, but late of Tunbridge Wells, died October 29,1861 at Beech Holm,Tunbridge Wells. The executors of his estate,valued at under 16,000 pounds, was Gardner Dillman Engleheart of 1 Eaton Place south, Middlesex, esq., barrister-at-law and the Rev. Henry Engleheart of Bedfont, Middlesex, clerk, two of the executors. Gardener Dillman was Johns son and Henry must have been one of John’s brothers. John was buried in the Woodbury Park Cemetery. A photo of his grave marker is shown opposite.
After John’s death his wife continued to live at Beech Home. The 1871 census for the address “#9 Park Gardens” is actually in error and correctly pertains to #7 Calverley Park Gardens. Present in the home was Mary Engleheart,age 82, annuitant, with her daughters Lucy S.D, and Millicent, both spinsters and living on own means. Also present were four domestic servants.
Probate records for Mary Engleheart record she was late of Beech Holme,Tunbridge Wells, widow and that she died March 18,1878. She left an estate valued at under 3,000 pounds. The executors were John Gardner Dillman Engleheart (note that unlike the probate for John his full name is given) of the Duchy of Lancaster Office Lancaster Place Strand,Middlesex, esq., the son, and the sole executor. Mary joined her husband in the Woodbury Park Cemetery.
Jan Holly of the Friends of Woodbury Park, and the keeper of cemetery records forwarded to me the following information regarding the Engleheat burials in the Woodbury Park Cemetery.
1) John Cox Dillman Engleheart; born 1784,died 5.11.1862,aged 78,Calverley Park Gardens
2) Mary Engleheart; born 1789,died 23.3.1878,aged 89, St James
3) Lucy Sophia Dillman Engleheart;born 1810,died 5.11.1904,aged 90,Eastbourne
4) Melicent Catherine Dillman Engleheart; born 1815,died 18.12.97,aged 82,Eastbourne
The gravestone marker has the following inscription’ "Sacred to the memory of I C Dillman ENGLEHEART Esq. of Kew Surrey, and Beech Holm, Tunbridge Wells.Died 29. Oct. 1862. Aged 78 years.“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out” St John V1. 37 Also Mary, Widow of the above. Died at Beech Holm, March 18th. 1878 Melicent C D Engleheart Died 12 Dec. 1897 in her 83rd. year Also of Lucy S D Engleheart Daughter of I.C.D. Engleheart Died 2. Nov. 1904 aged 90 years
Numerous works of John Cox Dillman Engleheart have been sold at auction over the years, and based on the prices realized there is no doubt his work is highly valued. One of his miniatures for example sold at Christies in 2007 for over 9,000 pounds. Examples of his work can be found in many museums including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Liverpool Museum. His work is found in other important British and foreign public collections. Reproductions of his work are currently being produced and sold as prints and posters
THE HISTORY OF ST ANDREW’S PREP SCHOOL-LONDON ROAD
Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date; November 26,2013
BUILDING HISTORY BEFORE 1919
St Andrew’s School on London Road is shown on the 1897 map above, located on the east side of London Road in Southborough near the intersection with Springfield Road. The building itself was constructed about 1870 and was known at that time as Southborough Hew Hall. The building had an imposing front .flanked by two wings. The photograph of the school, shown on the left , dates to the early 1900’s, and shows the south wing of the building.
In 1891 the building was taken over by Rev. Reginald Alfred Bull(1857-1940) who began St Anfdrew’s Preparatory School for boys there, boys who were intended to go on to Eton or Harrow. The school had its own playing fields, swimming pool, and chapel. The stables had been converted into a gymnasium.
The school has seen many boys go on to achieve fame and fortune. One pupil, who achieved fame in his later life was William Clark-Kennedy, who boarded at the school in 1891-1893, and who won the Victoria Cross in France in August 1918 while serving with the Canadian Infantry.
THE GREAT FIRE
During the night of February 8,1919 the south wing of the school was entirely gutted by fire.A view of the building after the fire is shown opposite. Rev. Bull, the headmaster of the school, was so disheartened by the fire that he moved the school to Hammerwood, near East Grinstead. The north wing of the building had better luck, remaining as housing until being pulled down in 1970.
Brian Dowson of the Tunbridge Wells Family History was king enough to undertake some research for me at the Southborough and Tunbridge Wells library and I thank him for his efforts in assisting me with the research. Brian informed me that today the former site of the school is occupied by a retirement home and the St Andrew’s Medical Centre.
The following article about the fire was published in the Kent & Sussex Courier of Friday, February 14,1919. “DISASTROUS FIRE AT SOUTHBOROUGH. ESTIMATED DAMAGE £15,000. PREPARATORY SCHOOL COMPLETELY GUTTED. RESCUE OF THE BOYS AND INMATES. Comfortably ensconced in their beds, the great majority of the inhabitants of Southborough were blissfully ignorant of the alarming catastrophe in their midst which occurred shortly after midnight on Friday, and which resulted in one the most disastrous fires experienced in the vicinity for many years past. The scene of the outbreak was the well-known preparatory school, St. Andrews, London-road, of which the Principal is the Rev. Reginald A. Bull, and to-day all that remains is the skeleton of what was a valuable building, with the exception of the adjoining chapel and schoolroom, which were fortunately saved, though one of the walls of the latter collapsed. So fierce was the conflagration that there was scarcely a moment during which an attempt could be made to save anything. And a great amount of valuable property was completely demolished by the rapidly spreading flames.
The results, however, might have been much more disastrous, culminating in serious loss of life, had not Mrs. Bull about 11.30 awoke from her sleep and become cognisant of something burning, and immediately taken action, for there were at the time no less than 35 boy boarders and the members of the household and domestic staff quartered in the house. She at once rushed to the room of her son, Captain Kenneth Bull, M.C., and aroused him. He at once realised the situation, and on- going downstairs discovered the billiard room well alight, and the flames quickly spreading, whilst dense volumes of smoke were issuing from the furnace in the basement, which was used for heating the premises. Grasping the seriousness of the situation, the Captain, without a moment's delay, aroused tne whole household and gave the alarm to the Police, who summoned the local Fire Brigade, the members of which, under Captain Stringer, put in an appearance on the scene about 1 a.m.
In the meantime, however, no time was lost in securing the safety of those in the house. Capt. Bull ran to the two dormitories and aroused the thirty-five boys, and they, with the servants, were forced to leave in their night attire. And they were not a moment too soon, for the staircase had by this time become well alight. Captain Bull, however, with fire extinguishers played on the top portion, and the Rev. R. Bull, the bottom, and thus enabled them to descend, whilst Lieut. Arthur Ball, R.F.A., another son of the Principal, who was on leave from Woolwich, assisted them through the thick smoke to the front door. From here they were conveyed as quickly as possible to the houses of neighbours, some being taken by car to Bidborough Court, the residence of Mr. H. J. Wood, J.P., and others were taken in by Mr. Richardson, of Southfields, and Mr. Crowhurst, whilst in the meantime they found refuge in the lodge attached to the grounds. The domestics sought shelter in their homes, which were fortunately near by. Mrs. Bull, who was burnt, though fortunately only slightly, also found accommodation in the house of a friend.
At this juncture the Southborough firemen arrived, but they found their work exceedingly difficult, owing to the frost, there being no less than 22 degrees, whilst their task was made all the more difficult until the full pressure of water was obtained from the pumping station, and it was impossible to deal with the situation with the apparatus at their disposal, for they only possess a manual engine. Nevertheless, they worked splendidly, as also did the police, Constables Wood, Clapson and Harrington, under the able direction of Sergt. Kenward.
The services of the Tunbridge Wells and District Steam Fire Brigade having been requisitioned, the members, under Captain Goddard put in an appearance with their steamer later, being then about 1.55, and although they quickly got into action, the chances of saving the building were very meagre. The fire had by this time extended to the roof, and the difficulties were considerably added to owing to the melting of the lead gas pipes. So intense was the cold, too, that the water almost froze before it reached the burning building, which had now become practically a fiery furnace, and the firemen confined their efforts principally to saving the chapel and schoolroom, and in this direction they fortunately met with success. An attempt was made to remove a valuable stained glass window in the chapel, and also the pipes of the organ, but considerable damage was inevitably done in the process. Ultimately the roof of the house collapsed, and the building had quickly become ruins, leaving practically only the outer walls standing.”
THE REVEREND BULL
The records of Cambridge University give the following information. “Reginald Alfred Bull. Admin at Trinity Oct 11,1876, son of William John Bull(1843) of Harrow,Middlesex.Born April 21,1857.School Harrow. Matrix Michs 1876’Prizeman’ BA 1880;MA 1881.Ordained deacon and priest (Durham) 1883;C of St Andrew’s Bishops Auckland, 1883-6,Lic. Pr. Dio,. Canterbury, 1886-; dio. Rochester 1906-; dio Chichester 1920-1938;dio. Dango 1938-. Joint Head Master of Wellington House Preparatory School Westgate –on-Lee; 1886-9’ of St Andrew’s Preparatory School Southborugh,Tunbridge Wells 1890-1919; removed in consequene of a fire to St. Andrew’s, East Grinstead,Sussex; Joint Head Master, 1919-‘ Resided at llys Andrews Talybent,Merioneth, in 1939.Brother of Herbert A (1873)”.
Reginald John Bull was born April 21,1857 at Harrow,Middlesex and was one of three children born to William John Bull(1825-1890) and Augusta Jane Marshall(1829-1858). He was baptised at harrow on June 10,1857.His siblings were Herbert Arthur Bull(1854-1928), and Ernest William Bull(1855-1875). His father had married Augusta in 1852 but in 1870 he remarried, to Sophia Georgiana Harris(1843-1918) and with her had two more children.
In 1861 Reginald and his two brothers were living with the Frederick P. Bower family in Harrow,Middlesex. The 1871 census, taken at High Street in Harrow,Middlesex records Reginald as a student at a school run by Rev. Frederick Rendall.
The 1891 census, taken at St Andrew’s School in Southborough, records Rev. Bull, as age 33, single, a clergyman of the Church of England and an employer and headmaster of the school. Reginald is found at the school with Elizabeth Rackham,age 46, the matron plus one kitchen maid. At St Andrew’s Lodge, which is shown on the 1897 map at the road beside the entrance drive to the school, was living a gardener and his family. In January 1892 Reginald married Harriet Agnes H. Malden in Tunbridge Wells. Harriet had been born July 1860 at Eton,Buckinghamshire. She was one of eight children born to Clifford Malden (1833-1886) and Jane Eley(1831-1914). Her father Clifford was in 1881 the rector of St Lawrence Church and had graduated from university with a M.A.
The 1901 census, taken at 79 London Road,Southborough, records Rev. Bull as the school master. Living with him was his wife Harriet, born 1861 at Dutchet,Buckinghamshire; and their son Kenneth Reginald Bull,age 4, and son Arthur, age 1. Both of the children were born at Southborough. Also present are seven servants.
In 1910 Rev Bull wrote a letter as a testimonial to the use of the “Kyl-Fyre’ brand of fire extinguishers, which the manufacturer of the product used in a publication to promote the sale of it. Rev .Bull said “ One of my men had occasion to use a Kyl-Fyre extinguisher a few days ago over some petrol gas exploding in a wood shed, which caught fire but was promptly on the spot with the Kyl Fyre which extinguished the fames in an instant, and so saved the situation completely.I have a number of extinguishers in my house, but wish to have a few more as they appear to be very handy and efficacious”.
The 1911 census, taken at St Andrews School, records Rev Bull as the schoolmaster and clerk in holy orders. Living with him was his Harriet (given as Agnes in the census). Also in the home was their son Arthur Clifford Bull,born 1900 Southborough, a school boy. Also present was Edith Harris, a 34 year old school matron and eight domestic servants. A Margaret Munden East,age 22, was also there and was the governess. Including students there was a total of twenty people at the school. Among the servants is reference to a dormitory maid who tended to the quarters where the students lived. The census also records that Rev Bull and his wife had been married for 19 years, making 1892 the year of their marriage, and that of the three children they had, only two had survived.
The school produced a magazine called the St Andrews Southborough School Magazine. A bound collection of these magazines for the years 1890-1903 was recently offered for sale on eBay and sold for 41 pounds.The seller said that this collection was about 400 pages and contained information relating to the school.
A 1919 directory records that at the school was the Rev. Regianald A Bull; his son Captain Kenneth Bull M.C.(military cross0; Reginaklds wife and also their son Lieut. Arthur Bull R.F.A.(Royal Fleet Auxiliary) who was on leave from Woolwich.
Rev Bulls two sons made names for themselves. As I have already noted his son Kenneth Bull was a captain in 1919 and had been awarded the Military Cross. The records of The Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment record ‘Second Kieutenant Kenneth Reginald Bull, Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment, awarded the MC. The London Gazette of September 14,1915 under the heading of Infantry gave ‘The under mentioned Cadets and ex-Cadets of the Officers Training Corps, to be Second Lieutenants (on probation).Date September 15,1915-Kenneth Reginald Bull. The London Gazette of May 21,1917 records “ Royal West Kent Regiment-2nd Lieutenant K.E. Bull is seconded, for duty with Royal West Surrey Regiment-January 23,1917”. The London Gazette of September 13,1917 gave “ Home Service Battalions,-Royal West Surrey Regim,ent-2nd Lieutenant K.R. Bull (Royal West Kent Regiment.Special Reserve) to be temporary Lieutenant march 6,1917. The London Gazette of September 17,1917 gave “ His majesty the King has been graciously pleased to confer the Military Cross on the undermentioned officers and Warrant Officers in recognition of their gallentry and devotion to duty in the Field: -2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Reginald Bull, Royal West Kent Regiment., Special Reserve. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, although wounded in the hand, he assisted to defend a position for seventeen hours, and crawled from shell-hole to shell-hole to bring in food,water and ammunition for the garrison. He was one of six, two of whom were wounded, and it was largely due to his cheerfulness and determination that the subsequent attack was successful”. The London Gazette of February 20,1918 gave “special reserve of officers. Reserve units.Infantry-Royal West Kent Regiment. The under mentioned 2nd Lieutenants to be Lieutenants-July 1,1917-K.R. Bull, MC., and to remain seconded. The London Gazette of March 26,1918 gave “Royal West Kent Regiment-Lieutenant K.R. Bull.,(special Reserve)to be acting Captain(additional) December 5,1917.Home Service Battalions-Royal West Surrey Regiment-2nd Lieutenant (now Lieutenant) K.R. Bull, MC., (Royal West Kent Regiment,special Reserve),relinquishes the temporary rank of Lieutenant on ceasing to be employed with a Battalion.June 13,1917”.
Military records (Medal Index Card) record Kenneth R. Bull, 6th Royal West Kent Reigiment with ranks of 2nd Lieut ,acting captain and captain and that he was demobilized March 1919. He had served in France from June 18,1917 and that he had applied for his medals November 14,1919 and was a resident of St Andrews, East Grinstead,Sussex. where his father had reclocated to after the 1919 fire are the school in Southborough. His had been in the artillery and given service # 159083.
Kenneth Reginald Bull married Mary Duprine Drayson (1900-1981)in the 4th qtr of 1922 and with her had two daughters.Mary as born September 13,1900 and died July 5,1981 at Surrey. Mary Drayson was one of four children born to,brewer, Charles Duprin Drayson(1869-1948) and Victoria Maria Ash(1871-1937). Kenneth Reginald Bull, who had been baptised January 19,1896 died December 1969 in Surrey.
Rev. Bulls second son Lieut Arthur Bull R.F.A. who in 1919 was on leave from Woolwich had served during WWI with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. This was a civilian manned fleet of ships owned by the Ministry of Defence, which supported the Royal Navy ships and would supply the war ships with fuel,ammunition and other supplies.The men wore merchant navy rank insignias with naval uniforms and were under naval discipline.The FRA vessels were commanded by these civilians augmented with regular navy personnel.The RFA was first established in 1905 to supply, to a large degree, coal for fuel.
Arthur’s full name was Arthur Clifford Howie Bull. He had been born June 28,1899. Arthur married Alice Angela Beit, daughter of Sir Otto John Beit, 1st Bt. and Lilian Carter on June2,1927 at Hanover Swuare, London. Alice was born September 30,1899 and died in the 2nd qtr of 1982 at Pontypool,Wales.Arthur held the office of J.P..He was invested as a Member Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.). He lived in 1970 at Bruynderwen,Usk, Monmouthshire,Wales.He and his wife had a son. He died September 17,1982.He had played cricket with Harrow School (1916-1917) and also when he was at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in 1918.
Rev’d Reginald Alfred Bull was living at Llys Andrews Tal-y-Bont Mermonthshire Wales when he died October 11,1940. Probate was to Kenneth Reginald Bull, retired schoolmaster, and Arthur Clifford Howie Bull, stockbroker. Reginald left an estate valued at about 13,200 pounds. With respect Arthur’s work as a stockbroker is the following announcement that appeared in the London Gazette of June 26,1945. “ Notice given that Arthur Clifford Howie Bull, Victor Spencer Butler, Sylvester Bendixson and Reginald Bede, carrying on business as stockbrokers at 10 Old Broad Street, London under the name of Messrs. Cruickshank & Co. was dissolved as of May 4,1945 by mutual consent”.
THE SITE AFTER 1919
The following information was provided by Brian Dobson of the Tunbridge Wells family History Society.“In the 1919 edition of Kelly’s Directory, the entry shows the address as 79 London Road, Southborough, Rev. Reginald A. Bull MA, preparatory school St. Andrews. In the schools section only Public Elementary Schools are listed.From then on listings for the site, after fire destroyed the school, are: 1922 and 1926: St. Andrews Preserve Company-1927: St. Andrews Preserve Company and Speedwell Filling Station1929, 1931, 1932 and 1934: Clack & Warren (sectional building manufacturers), LLoyd’s Garage (motor engineers) and Speedwell Filling Station-1936 and 1937: Clack & Warren, Ward’s Service Garage (motor engineers) and Speedwell Filling Station-1939: Ward’s Service Garage and Speedwell Filling Station-1940: Patrick Grainger & Hutleys Ltd. (provision merchants)-1948: Southborough Service Station-1950: Royford Engineering-1953, 1955 and 1957: Electrical Trades Union (office) and Royford Engineering Ltd.(I’m guessing that the ETU rented one room as an office at Royford Engineering)-1959: Electrical Trades Union and Southborough Service Station-1961 and 1963: Electrical Trades Union, Southborough Service Station and Stevenson Clarke Engineering (precision engineers) -1965, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970: Electrical Trades Union and Caffyns Ltd. (petrol filling station)-1972, 1973 and 1974: Southborough Self Service Station.
Where there are gaps in the years, I cannot be sure whether there are directories missing, or they are years when they were not published. I believe the British Library has a full set. In the index for the Kent & Sussex Courier, I was hoping to find an article on the opening of the St. Andrews Medical Centre, but it is not there. In the Library index there is no reference to the St. Andres Medical Centre. For sure there appears to have been a filling station on the site for many years. The last one closed around the turn of the century. The filling station area has since been a Tesco Metro. The filling station covered an area, which, looking at the map, appears to have been the grounds of the school. St. Andrews Medical Centre and the retirement home are built where the school building stood. Did part of that land remain derelict for around fifty years?.
In 1922 a private house is listed on the site in the name of Basil Seymour Savidge. Maybe this was the house of the principal. Over the years a few more private persons lived at number 79, so perhaps a few more houses were added. The Electoral rolls would be interesting, but these are at the County Archive in Maidstone.
THE STATION MASTERS OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: November 10,2013
This article describes the duties and dress of station masters employed at Tunbridge Wells two railway stations namely the West Station operated by the London,Brighton and South Coast Railway and the Central Station on Mount Pleasant Road operated by the South East Railway. In addition I identify the names and details of each of the known station masters at both railway stations during the 19th century.
The station master was a well -respected gentleman in the community and had the overall responsibility of ensuring the smooth operation of the station. His role was largely administrative and supervised a staff that carried out specific parts of the stations operations. Safety and the efficient running of the station was his mandate.In many cases he was provided with a substantial house, which he paid rent on, but in the case of Tunbridge Wells, the station masters were provided with quarters for themselves and their families in the station building itself. As time passed many small stations were closed and the station masters house and railway property was sold off.Typically these buildings retained their original name and in many communities the ‘Station Masters House’ can still be found as a private dwelling unit or converted into a restaurant or other commercial use.
The records consulted in the production of this article come from various internet sources ; local newspaper articles and in some cases input from decendents of the station masters. Geneological information was largely obtained from Ancestry.co.uk and added to by the employment records of the railways, also from the same website. The details about the two railway stations came largely ,but not exclusively, from the Wikepedia website. The section dealing with the duties if a station master comes from a review of the railway companies rule books and other online sources.
THE DUTIES OF A STATION MASTER
For much of British Railway history, the station master occupied a special place in the interweaving melee of railway company operations. They were responsible for the companies’ key units of operation, the station. It was to their stations that the traders came to send their wares, where holiday adventures began and to where people returned after an evening out, happy in the knowledge that they were near to home. Therefore, because they were central to the smooth operation of the railway industry, the activities that they were tasked with are worthy of study.From the 19th century right up to until recently. the station master was the key authority figure in the railway station, with responsibility for all station staff.Large terminus stations and small county branch line stations were both managed by station masters. He was a well-respected figure with significant social standing in the local community.He was usually provided with a station house to live in although in Tunbridge Wells the station master and his family were housed in premises within the station building itself. It was also common,especially in rural areas, for the station master to be running a sideline or two to supplement his railway pay packet. There is no evidence to this in Tunbridge Wells however. Today’s station managers don’t’t have the same visible presence on the platform that they used to and some split their time between managing several large stations. Station masters were kept busy as trains like the one shown opposite in a 1960 photo of the Tunbridge Wells West Station for trains came and went on a regular basis.
Of course, the duties of station masters changed through the years. What may have been of concern to station masters in 1840, may have been outside their remit in 1940. For this part of the article I have decided to look at the duties of station masters in 1933, as in this year Britain’s railway companies produced a new rule book for the staff, the content of which all had agreed to through the Railway Clearing House. Therefore, the basic duties of a station master in Penzance on the Great Western Railway were very similar, if not identical, to those of his compatriot in Edinburgh on the London and North Eastern Railway. The rules given here are based upon the London and North Eastern Railway’s rule book (although it wouldn’t really matter which one I used) to describe some of the key duties of the British station master in 1933. The numbers in brackets are the rule numbers from the book.
Naturally, station masters were to be responsible for everything that went on at the station. Interestingly, the first rule specifically directed at station masters specifies that the ‘security and protection of the buildings and property at the station’ were their concern (17i). Could it be that the authors of the rule book, buy putting this rule first, were subconsciously channelling their desire to protect the companies’ property and its revenue? Further, they were to undertake a daily inspection of the station to inspect its ‘cleanliness and neatness of all premises (including closets and urinals), signboards &c,’ such was the emphasis in this period on maintaining a good outwards appearance of the station (17vi).
But the property of the station wasn’t the only thing they had to look after, and the station master had to marshal all the employees at stations (18). Therefore, it was the station master’s duty to oversee that all operations, whether it be the sorting of wagons, the coupling of carriages, the painting the white line along the platform’s edge, or tending to the flower beds, were done in a safe and efficient manner by staff (17iii/19). Prevention of accidents was also achieved by making sure that all staff had the rule book on them at all times and that they were aware of any additional notices that may have altered its content (17iv). They were also responsible for curtailing wastage at the station, and all stores were to be ‘properly and economically used (17x). Lastly, the station masters were to ‘make himself acquainted’ with all the signal boxes and signalmen that he was in charge of, evidently to make sure they weren’t asleep (17v).
Safety was to be ensured in other ways. Because station masters must have seen a lot of rolling stock pass through their stations, they played a role in reporting any defects that they found within the trains. When a carriage or wagon examiner had to inspect a train for defects, the station master had to ensure that this work had been completed before the train was allowed to leave. (28a) However, if an examiner was not present, the station master, if his staff could not fix a defect, was to have the offending vehicle removed from a train, hopefully not with any passengers inside (28b). Further, if any signals, points or any other aspect of the line was found to be defective, these were to be reported as soon as was possible (61)
However, apart from these outdoor jobs, which could have been good or bad depending on the station at which he was posted, the station masters’ main duties were being chained to a desk doing paperwork. All new orders and instructions coming into the station, of which there were multitudes, were to be noted. Further, all books that recorded everything from passenger numbers, wages paid, wagons moved, gas consumption and most importantly, income, were to be written up and sent to the central headquarters (17vii). Indeed, a large part of the station master’s duties was not just ensuring the smooth flow of traffic, but also enduring the smooth flow of information up the organisation so that senior managers could analyse it.
Another large part of the station master’s day would be dealing the great unwashed. Naturally, they had to make sure that passengers were not unruly and that the Bylaws of the company were displayed clearly so that the customers knew what they could and couldn’t do. Further, they were to ensure that all the fares, notices, the Carrier’s Act and all other public declarations were clearly displayed (17viii). If, for whatever reason, the customers were unhappy, the station masters were to promptly send all complaints to head office (17ix).
Of course, these weren’t all the duties of the station masters on Britain’s railways in 1933, but it is the core selection. Clearly, this evidence shows that station masters had huge responsibilities and kept Britain’s railways running.
The following information, from the period before 1933, comes from the regulations in force during that time and as you will note the main responsibilites of the station master then and after 1933 were not that different.This information comes from a railway rule book in Chapter V entitled “Control and Working of Stations”, for which the exact date is unknown to the researcher .
5.01 Responsibility of the Station Master for working :-
(1) The Station Master shall be responsible for the efficient discharge of the duties devolving upon the staff employed, either permanently or temporarily, under his orders at the station or within the station limits and such staff shall be subject to his authority and direction in the working of the station.
(2) The Station Master shall see that all signals, points, gates and level crossings and the whole machinery of his station are in proper working order and shall immediately report all defects therein to the proper authority.
(3) The Station Master shall also be responsible to see that the working of the station is carried out in strict accordance with the rules and regulations for the time being in force.
(4) No person other than the Station Master shall ask for or give Line Clear, or give authority to proceed.
5.02 Supply of copies of the rules and distribution or exhibition of other documents - The Station Master shall see -(a) that every railway servant subordinate to him who should be supplied a copy of authorized translation of these rules under Rule 2.01 duly receives the same ;(b) that the Working Time Table in force together with all correction slips and appendices, if any, working rules and instructions, and other notices having reference to the working of the line, are properly distributed or exhibited in such manner as may be prescribed under special instructions ; (c) that both the sheet time tables and fare lists are correctly exhibited at the station if it is open for the booking of traffic ; and (d) that copies of the Act, and the Goods and Coaching Tariffs are available for inspection by the public.
5.03 Obedience to orders and keeping of books and returns - The Station Master shall see that all orders and instructions are duly conveyed to the staff concerned and are properly carried out, and that all books and returns are regularly written up and neatly kept.
5.04 Special Cabins -
(1) The Station Master shall make himself thoroughly acquainted with the duties of the staff employed in the signal cabins, if any, at his station and shall satisfy himself that they perform their duties correctly, and in order to maintain an effective supervision over the said staff, frequently visit the signal cabins.
(2) The Station Master shall ensure that the prescribed equipment is readily available in signal cabins and maintained in good working order.
(3) Signal cabins shall be kept neat and clean and no unauthorized person shall be permitted to enter such cabins.
5.05 Report of neglect of duty - The Station Master shall report, without delay, to his superior, all neglect of duty on the part of any railway servant who is under his orders.
5.06 Station Working Rules -
(1) In addition to the General Rules for Indian Railways and Subsidiary Rules of a Railway, each station shall be provided with Station Working Rules applicable to the station, issued under special instructions.
(2) A copy of the Station Working Rules or relevant extracts thereof shall be kept at cabins and level crossings concerned.
5. 07 Forms -
(1) All massages and written authorities mentioned in these rules shall be prepared on prescribed forms laid down in these rules or prescribed under special instructions and shall be stamped with the station stamp.
(2) If the authorized printed form is not available for any reason or in exceptional circumstances a manuscript form containing all the particulars as contained in the prescribed form is issued as an emergency measure, reasons therefor shall be recorded in the station diary.
5.08 Access to and operation of equipment - No unauthorized person shall be permitted to have access to or operate signals.
THE LIFE OF A STATION MASTER
The following account,given as published, comes from The Railway and Travel Monthley dated July 1912. “"The Man With A Gold Cap" - The Life of a Stationmaster - 1912 In July 1912 the Railway & Travel Monthly printed an article entitled ‘The man with the gold cap.’ The article discussed the nature of the daily work of the stationmaster. Written by J. Thornton Burge, a stationmaster on the London and South Western Railway, he stated that he had ‘often been struck by the apparent ignorance of the general public as to the duties and responsibilities of a stationmaster.’ Burge worked at Templecombe Station, a station of considerable size where there was a ‘very large transfer of traffic’ and ‘marshalling of trains.’ Burge, while working for one company, clearly felt that the experiences he was describing applied to most station masters throughout Britain.
Burge’s day started at 7.45am, where on arrival he would find between 50 and 100 letters. Some were from Head Offices which had ‘arrived by trains during the night,’ some were from his own staff, and others came from other station masters. The details of the letters were very varied, including requests for ‘special attention to be given to some old person or child changing trains,’ the quick transit of goods and complaints from traders. There were also enquiries from headquarters as to suggested timetable changes, derailments, operating irregularities, staff changes or pay rises. All of these had to be read, and responded to.
After dealing with the correspondence he next received the night inspector’s report that detailed any irregularities as to the running of the trains, followed by the yard foreman’s report that showed how many wagons were in the yard. From this, he would be able to determine whether there were more wagons waiting to be sent from the station, than the goods trains that were due to arrive were able to convey. Thus, he would have to arrange special trains. Lastly he read the signalmen’s report which explained any delays, most of which he could account for to head office without the further need for investigation.
Stationmasters in the period were also responsible for the station’s accounts and returns. Therefore, he had to check and sign many returns, accounts had to be settled and claims by traders investigated. He also had to make sure all trains were ‘cleaned and birthed’ for the morning services and every delay in the train service had to be reported to headquarters.
By now many trains were passing through the station, it being the busiest part of the day. Being the man in charge he had to make sure that their movements were completed efficiently. On the one hand, he was not to delay the fast trains considerably, lest he ‘incur the censure of his chiefs.’ Yet because his station was a junction, if he let trains go that were due to connect with others that were late, meaning passengers missed their connections, he may also ‘upset plans’ and ‘greatly annoy passengers.’ However, the telegraph and telephone was utilised to regulate the service and plan for irregularities.
After all the correspondence had been completed and the rush in traffic was over, the stationmaster had to do his early morning inspection of the station to check that all was in order. This encompassed every part of the station from the waiting rooms to the lavatories, to the goods shed and yard. Additionally, once or twice a month he made surprise visits to the outlying signal boxes to make sure that nothing was out of order.
The rest of the day seemed to be filled up in attending to the range of other issues that arose at the station. Burge laid stress on frequency with which ‘blockages’ occurred on the main lines to which he had to attend. They occurred for multiple reasons, for example flooding on the line, the slippage of an embankment, a derailment, or an accident. It was the stationmaster’s duty to make sure that safety was ensured, but that, if possible, trains could continue to run. With a group of gangers and platelayers he would proceed to the blockage and put signalmen on either side of it to warn oncoming trains. He would then marshal the employee’s efforts to restore the free movement of trains. Interestingly, he commented that on such occasions it would be useful to not wear a uniform, as when hurrying around the station in times of urgency, he would be continually accosted by passengers or traders wanting information or trying to make a complaint.
Burge made the point that unlike other grades of employees, his responsibilities for looking after the station meant that he was never off duty and was ‘supposed to be always within reasonable call for cases of urgency day and night, Sunday and weekday, and from the time he becomes stationmaster he practically gives himself wholly to the company’s business.’ Thus, on many occasions, after he had left his post, he was called back to the station to attend to some matter. This was particularly the case for Burge as trains ran all through the night. He remembered a number of cases when he was called on at such times to attend to a disabled man, to make a decision about some injured cattle and when fog and snow storms slowed operations on the line.
While this was only a cursory view of stationmaster’s activities, and I could not do the entire article justice here (peppered as it is with very detailed, quite boring, information), what has been shown is that the stationmasters before the First World War were a dedicated group of individuals who were under consistent pressure to keep the railways of Britain moving. Their jobs while relatively clean and free from risk of physical harm, were far from easy and on occasions were very arduous.
THE STATION MASTERS UNIFORM insert 'Railway Station Master'
Shown opposite is a 19th century image of a typical station master. He wore a peaked cap with the words ‘Station Master’ either embroidered on the front or affixed to the cap in the form of label or metal badge. The basic colour of the uniforms in the 19th century did not change are although sometimes referred to as very dark blue they were more of a black. The fabric employed was lambswool for the coat and most uniforms were manufactured in South Wales. The station master wore a white shirt with a dark tie over which he wore a waistcoat with pockets to house his large railway pocket watch attached to the waistcoat by a metal fob. He wore black pants and black leather boots polished to a shine. Over the waistcoat he wore a long coat and was provided with a heavy great coat for the winter. The buttons on the waistcoat and overcoat were metal (brass or silver) and were embossed with the name of the railway the gentleman worked for.
The station master was expected to keep his boots clean and polished and his uniform clean and pressed. He was provided with a small sum of money as a cleaning allowance.He was a man of authority at the station and was expected to be well groomed and present an image of authority and one that commanded respect.
THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS WEST STATION
Much information has been written about the history of railway service to and from Tunbridge Wells and the two railway stations in the town. Because of this I have provided only a brief overview of the topic and a few photographs as an introduction to the topic and to set the stage for a more detailed coverage of the station masters who managed them which is given in a later sections of this article.
Tunbridge Wells West Station opened in 1866 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR), as the eastern terminus of the East Grinstead, Groombridge and Tunbridge Wells Railway (EGGTWR), itself an extension to the Three Bridges to East Grinstead Railway, which had been completed in 1855.The station was closed to mainline passenger services in 1985, but part of it still remains as a heritage railway line. Opened in 1996, it stands next to the original engine shed (still in use). The line is called the Spa Valley Railway.
The imposing two-storey main station building was composed of a central block flanked on the western side by a gable-fronted wing, and on the eastern side by a three-storey clocktower with a pyramidal slate roof surrounded by a louvred cupola with a weathervane. The facade of the building was constructed of red brick with ashlar and black brick dressings; on the ground floor level are a series of nine round-arched windows and an arched doorway, with a decorated ashlar impost band connecting the windows. The eaves are serrated with an ashlar cornice. Inside the building was a gas-lit booking hall with four ticket windows and a panelled ceiling supported by arches springing from stone columns.
The station's facilities were much larger than those at Tunbridge Wells Central. The passenger station originally had five platform roads: three serving long platforms (two of which were island platforms) and two other shorter bay platforms. The original two-road locomotive shed was capable of accommodating six engines and situated to the south of the station. It was opened in 1866 and replaced in 1891 by a larger four-road shed located to the north-west of the station. Following bomb damage on 20 November 1940 during the Second World War, the slate roof of the engine shed was replaced with corrugated asbestos. It was closed to steam locos in June 1965 but the tracks were used for storage of engineers rolling stock until the late 1970s when they were removed.
Although initially conceived as a terminus station, an agreement between the SER and the LBSCR saw Tunbridge Wells West linked by a short spur to the Hastings Line thereby connecting it with the Central station. This short single-track spur was opened from Tunbridge Wells West through Grove Tunnel after which the track curved north to join the main Hastings Line towards Tunbridge Wells Central, enabling through-running to the Hastings Line and the Brighton Main Line from the West station.An LBSCR goods service first used the spur from about 1867, but the introduction of a passenger service was delayed until 1 February 1876. Even by 1894, only 5 passenger services and 1 goods train were using the spur in a down direction from the Central station. Usage did however increase when the Southern Railway took over the line following the grouping and in 1924, 9 down passenger services used it. By 1952, this had increased to 13, and in 1958, to 29 plus one goods service each way, which made the spur one of the busiest single-track sections anywhere in the country.Through-running on the Cuckoo Line had been possible since 5 April 1880 when the LBSCR extended the line from Hailsham to Eridge which enabled services to run through to Tunbridge Wells West.
With the introduction of the 1955 summer timetables, the services between London and Tunbridge Wells were entirely revised and the number of stopping passenger trains increased. On a normal weekday 136 trains called at Tunbridge Wells West: 66 departures and 70 arrivals; there were also nine goods trains (five in and four out) daily. In an 18-hour period between 6am and midnight, on average one passenger train departed or arrived every eight minutes.
As the popularity of the motorcar increased, train services were severely cut back due to the lack of patronage, and the number of services passing through Tunbridge Wells West declined as one line after another was closed from the 1950s onwards. Tunbridge Wells West was itself listed for closure in 1966, only to be subsequently reprieved.The line to Tunbridge Wells West remained open, although in its latter years passenger services were mainly confined to a shuttle service between Tonbridge (via the single line connection to Tunbridge Wells Central - now plain Tunbridge Wells) and Eridge with a few through trains to Uckfield; however there was a depot at the station which housed rolling stock for services on the Uckfield and East Grinstead - London (via East Croydon) lines, and there were plenty of empty stock moves early and late in the day.The Secretary of State for Transport agreed to the withdrawal of passenger services which took effect from 6 July 1985, although the section between Tunbridge Wells West and Birchden Jn remained open for rolling stock movements until 10 August, when the depot at the West station was shut. At the time of closure Tunbridge Wells West station had gas lighting, which was in operation in the ticket office and under the canopy.
More than twenty years after its closure, Tunbridge Wells West is once again a busy railway station and depot. Passenger services using heritage trains now run on the Spa Valley Railway (SVR) between Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge, via High Rocks and Groombridge. After an 11 year struggle, during which Tunbridge Wells Borough Council gave planning permission for the construction of a Sainsburys supermarket complex on the site of the derelict goods yard.In 1996 the Society acquired the trackbed of the former line as far as Birchden Junction. Alongside the former LB&SCR loco shed a new platform was built, from where services began running to Cold Bath Bridge (about 0.75 mile away) in December 1996. Services were extended to Groombridge in August 1997,and Birchden Junction in 2005. After the successful "Return to Eridge" appeal to raise £500,000 for the extension to the Uckfield main line at Eridge, railway re-connected the line to Eridge on 25 March 2011
Following closure of the station, the main building was converted into a Beefeater restaurant named "The Old West Station", before being purchased by Herald Inns and Bars which operate it under the same name as a pub-cum-restaurant. It is now a Smith & Western. The building was Grade II listed on 27 March 1986.The former goods yard and stabling sidings are lost under a Sainsbury's supermarket and a Homebase, and the trackbed has made into a car park and the frontage to the supermarket. An agreed corridor was left alongside Linden Park Road to enable any reinstated line to run through the site and a formal agreement was concluded between Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Lord Sainsbury whereby the company agreed that, if required, they will remove at their own cost any buildings obstructing the path of the railway. A recent photo of the old station building is shown opposite.
The spur to Grove Junction remains in an overgrown state; it was sold for £1 in 2001 to Railway Paths Ltd (a subsidiary of Sustrans), but is protected by covenants ensuring that it can only be used for railway purposes.
As noted above the station looming over the platform was the station structure resembling to some degree a Gothic manor house. The building had three parts. The largest section in terms of area was two storeys topped with a pitched roof and constructed of red brick.This formed the ticket office and waiting rooms on the ground floor, with the station masters accommodation being provided upstairs,which the station master had to pay rent on.Attached to the western end was a two storey extension with a pitched roof.The third section was the four storey clock tower.A magnificent building indeed!
THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS CENTRAL STATION
This station was that of the London and Central Railway who in 1845 had been given to establish a line from Tunbridge Wells to Hastings. Constuction of the line was completed in stages with the station in Tunbridge Wells opening November 25,1846. The station building itself,although accessable from street level was constricted in an open pit with tunnels at both ends of the station. The station building exists to- day and continues to be used as a railway station. The clock tower on the station, a familiar feature, was in later years rebuilt.The building has been given a Grade II listing by British Heritage.The image above is an artist’s sketch of the station made in the mid 19th century.Shown below is a postcard view of the station in the ‘cut’ and the last image of the station is an early 1900’s postcard view of the station , located near the intersection of Mount Pleasant Road and Vale Road.
The station was not of the economical timber construction associated with many intermediate SER stops - quite the opposite. On the ''up'' side was provided an impressive two-storey station building of stone and red brick construction, certainly worthy of this spa town. The town had seen an influx of both new businesses and wealthy residents since the beginning of the century, and the SER station certainly reflected this. With a couple of goods sidings on the ''up'' side and a goods shed on the ''down'' side, many of the wagons were marshalled in to place by manpower during the station's early existence. Unusual this would seem, but in retrospect, not uncommon, particularly with the presence of individual wagon turntables at the time. When first opened, this station was provided with no ''down'' side for passengers, but the SER later reversed this situation by building an additional platform and more imposing buildings here. These most probably came into use with the extension to Hastings in 1852. This development more or less obliterated station goods facilities, although a clapboard signal box had been provided at the Hastings end of the ''up'' side by this time.
The original station building survives in a virtually unchanged state since its opening.The large canopy on the building was a later addition.The building originally served one platform face, despite the branch being double-track from the outset.A second platform was installed in the late 1880’s. As noted above it was later connected to the West Station by way of a spur in the Grove tunnel, which is no longer in use.
This station was first named the Tunbridge Wells S.E . & C Railway Station ,later changed to the Tunbridge Wells Central Station and later still simply the Tunbridge Wells Station. The station masters quarters was provided within the station building and accommodated him and his family, the use of which he paid a rent for.
STATIONS MASTERS OF THE WEST STATION
1) FREDERICK GEORGE FRANCIS- Frederick is found listed as the station master in an 1874 directory but was gone by the time the 1881 directory had been published . Frederick had been born 1824 at Carlstrulton,Surrey.He began working for the LB and SC railway when he was about age 14, starting as a clerk. On September 28,1851 .at Croydon St John, he married Elizabeth Rodbard, born 1825 at Cheshunt,Herefordshire, the daughter of Frederick Rodbard, a professor languages. Fredericks father was James Walter, Francis, a timber merchant and his mother Charlotte. Based on the 1841 census, Frederick was one of six children born to the couple. In 1861 Frederick, his wife Elizabeth and their four children were at 23 Clifton Road in Brighton Sussex where Frederick worked as a railway clerk. Although it is not known exactly when Frederick and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells he is found as a railway station clerk at the station and living with him was his wife Elizabeth and their twelve year old daughter Alice.
The records of the railway for 1871 show that at the station was a staff of 24 people, including Station Master Frederick George Francis who was being paid a salary of 200 pounds a year and had to pay house rent of 20 pounds per year. No clothing was supplied to him by the railway.
Frederick died in Tunbridge Wells September 20,1878. Probate records give him formerly of 23 Clifton St, Brighton,Sussex but late of the Limes,St John Road,Tunbridge Wells,gengleman. His wife Elizabeth was the executor of his estate valued at under 3,000 pounds. Frederick was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery September 26th.His wife later moved to Brighton and is found in the 1911 census there with her two spinster daughters Elizabeth and Alice, age 57 and 566 respectively. Elizabeth died in Brighton in the first qtr of 1912, age 58.
2) FREDERICK GRAHAM-Frederick is found as the station master in the 1882 Kelly. Frederick was born in Brighton Sussex in 1844.He had been baptised May 26,1844 at Brighton and was the son of Henry and Sarah Ann Graham. In 1871 he was working for the B.L. and SC railway as a chief clerk in the General Managers Office in the Traffic Departent, and being paid 200 pounds a year.The 1871 census records him living as a visitor with the Fowls family in Croydon,Surrey,age 26. In September 1871 he married Ellen Kenwwod(1844-1914)at Hailsham,Sussex, who was born at Salehurst,Sussex. Railway records give that he began service with the railway at agre 17 in May 1861 and in 1861 he was being paid 35 pounds a year. Railway records for 1877 show that there were 26 people working at the station that year. His salary was about the same as it was in 1871 but he had to pay 20 pounds a year for his accommodation at the station. Frederick resigned from the railway February 28,1890 and upon his retirement he received 20 guineas. On September 9,1880 he had received 20 pounds in sick benefits and in April 1881 he was presented with 200 pounds “by inhabitants”. The 1881 census, taken at the train station records Frederick as the station superintendant (station master). Living with him was his wife Ellen and their five children.
After working for the railway he became an insurance manager, a profession he held at the time of the 1891 census when living at 5 London Road in Tunbridge Wells, where he is found with his wife Ellen and their six children. In the 1901 census, taken at 26 Warwick Road,Tunbridge Wells Frederick is an insurance manager. Living with him was his wife Ellen and four of their children. Frederick died in June 1905 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on June 21. He was joined there by his wife Ellen September 27,1907.
3) FREDERICK JOHN MORRISON-Frederick is found as the station manager in the directories of 1899 and 1903. Records indicate that he began service with the railway in July 1858. He had been born in the 2nd qtr of 1843 at Lower Norwood,Surrey.He was one of seven children born to Christopher Morrison(1805-1869),a gardener, and Keturah Brechley,born 1808. In 1851 he was living with his parents and siblings in Lambeth,Surrey. In 1861 he was still living there with his parents, with his father at the time being a foreman of roads and Frederick was working as a railway booking clerk. On March 12,1867 Frederick married Sarah Stevens Crawford (1837-1915) at St Pancras,Middlesex.At the time of the marriage his father was a labourer and Sarah’s father George Crawford was a tailor. Frederick was at that time still a railway clerk. In the 1871 cenus, taken at Lewisham,Kent Frederick was a railway clerk and living with him was his wife Sarah and a servant.The Surrey Mirror of February 1,1880 reported “ Ive heard it rumoured that Mr Morrison is likely to make his departure from the London,Brighton and South Coast Railway station and that Dorking will soon know him no more. My feelings on receiving confirmation of the announcement will be pretty equally divided between pleasure at hearing of a well- deserved promotion and regret at loosing a friend. But Tunbridge Wells will receive a capital station master, so that my congratulations to the inhabitants of that town may be very complete”. In the 1881 census Frederick is the station master of the Penge Surrey station and only his wife Sarah was living with him. The 1891 census, taken at the Tunbridge Wells train station records Frederick as the station master. Living with him was his wife Sarah and one servant. In 1891 there were 26 employs at the station. The Hastings & St Leonards Observer dated April 2,1892 gave the following announcement “ Wanted by Aroil 8th, a quiet respectable girl as general servant,age about 17-apply to Mrs Morrison Tunbridge Wells Station,Brighton Railway”. He and his wife and one servant are still at the station in the 1901 census, and Frederick was still the station master. The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 4,1901 published an article about the Tunbridge Wells Farmers Club and in that artcle was the following “ Mr L. Beals proposed the L.B. and S.C. Railway Company, which had a most courteous representative in that room in Mr Morrison, who was always ready to study the requirements of trades and agriculturalists.Whatever complaints they might have against the railway company, they had not a word to say against Mr Morrison,who was ready to clear up any possible difficulty and do his level best to please the travelling public. Mr Morrisoon thanked the club for the kind welcome and the unexpected compliment paid him. He said his duty to perform to the Company and consistent with that his services were at the disposal of the public”. Frederick resigned from the railway in Tunbridge Wells on May 31,1903 and received a pension. He also received 200 guineas for his service from the Marquis of Abergevenny .The Kent and Sussex Courier of June 12,1903 gave a “Testimonial to Mr. F.J. Morrison”. I have not reproduced this very long article here but it essentially stated that a sending off “do” was held at the Pump Room with the Marques of Abergevenny praising Mr Morrison for his service and remarked about his “13 years of service as station master at the Tunbridge Wells station and that “he has earned the commendation of his employer and the gratitude of the public”. In reply Mr Morrision said “ I joined the company at the age of 14 with a salary of 5s”. He also said that he had been a member of the Tradesmen Association for 13 years “and had always been treated most kindly. He was “greatly obliged to them for the handsome album”. Salaries for station masters in 1903 were about 200 pounds a years and Frederick was paying 16 pounds a year for rent on his accommodation. Frederick moved to Leicestershire where he died October 31,1911. He left an estate valued at 214 pounds to his wife Sarah who died herself there on December 5,1915. At the time of their deaths they had been residing at Kiby Moxloe, Leicestershire, Sarah left an estate valued at 326 pounds. Before Frederick and his wife died they were living with their niece or nephew with the surname of Elworthy. The Courier
4) WILLIAM CHARLES NORMAN-He is found as station master in the 1913 directory but not in 1918.He is also referred to the book by Chris Jones in 2008 entitled ‘Tunbridge Wells in 1909’ where the following is given “ There was a new station master in 1909,Mr William Norman who had started in the goods office in Worthing 37 years earlier. There was an article about him in ‘Tunbridge Wells Society’ (Jan 16,1909),with a picture and details of his career and hobbies; gardening and poultry keeping. A station master was an important figure in the commercial life of the town….”. William had been born 1854 at Worthing Sussex and was one of five children born to Elizabeth Parker, born 1815 in Bercham,Norfolk. Williams father was Edmund Norman, a superintendent of police,born 1808 in Sussex who died 1858 at Worthing,Sussex. The 1861 and 1871 census, taking at Broadwater,Sussex records William living with his parents and five siblings. The 1881 census, taken at Grange Road Station in Worthing,Sussex records William as the station master. Living with him was just his wife Emma Wilkins, who he had married June 12,1880 at Paddington, St Augustine. Emma was the daughter of George Wilkins, a baker/provision dealer,born 1831 in Warwickshire and Elizabeth born 1830 at Clifford,Gloucestershire. In 1891 William was the station master at Edenbridge where he was living with his wife Emma, born 1855 at Lighthorn,Warwickshire. And with his sons Harry and Frank; two other relatives and a visitor. In 1901 he was the station master at Penge,Surrey and living with him there was his wife Emma and their two sons, both of whom were working as civil servants. The 1911 census records William as the station master in Tunbridge Wells. Living with him was his wife Emma and their daughter Eva Beatrice,age 39.In 1911 his salary was 180 pounds a year with clothing supplied and a rental fee of 4 shillings a week for accommodation. William Charles Norman died in the 4th qtr of 1923 at Steyning,Sussex.
5) GEORGE BINSTEAD FOSSEY-George is found as the station master in Tunbridge Wells in the 1918 and 1922 directories. George was born 4th qtr 1865 in Chichester,Sussex and was one of at leat seven children born to Charles and Blanch Fossey. In 1871 he was living with his parents and siblings at Railway Gate Cottage in Owing Sussex where his father worked as a railway plate layer. He had begun service with the L.B. and S.C. Railway at the age of 14 as a clerk and worked his way up in the company, eventually becoming a station master. In 1881 at Hamsey,Sussex George worked for the railway as a telegraph clerk. In 1895 George married Georgina Walls, born 1864 in Brighton,Sussex and with her had two daughters Winnifed and Gladys Georgina. Georgina was one of six children born to George Walls and Rebecca Sharp. By 1880 he was working as a station master and served in that capacity at various stations for the same railway. The 1911 census, taken at the Kemptown Railway Station in Brighton,Sussex, George was the railway station master. Living with him was his wife Georgina, their two daughters and his sister in law Helen Walls,age 39 who worked as an assistant school master. They were living at that time in 5 rooms and the census records that the couple had been married 15 years and had two children. Probate records give that Georgre Binstead Fossey of Montacute House Station parade,Eastbourne died May 9,1930. Probate was to his wife and to Blanche Fossey, a spinster. He left an estate valued at about 1,513pounds.
I have not researched the station masters beyond 1918 but this information is readily available for those who wish to complete the record up to current time.
STATION MASTERS OF THE CENTRAL STATION
1) WILLIAM GEORGE OLIVER- William was most likely the first station master. He is found in records of 1858 as the station master and in earlier census records. He had been born 1812 at Ipswich,.Suffolk, one of several children born to James Bird Oliver who was listed as deceased at the time of William’s marriage to his second wife in 1881.William had been baptised Sept 15,1815 at St Margaret,Ipswich. William began his service with the railway at about age 14 and worked his way up in the company. His first wife was Elizabeth Ann, who had been born 1819 at Plymouth,Devon. Willam is found in the 1851 census at the Tunbridge Wells railway station working as the station master. Living with him was his wife Elizabeth and; their two children and two of Williams spinster sisters. Their children were Elizabeth Ann, born 1847; William Thomas,born 1847 and Frances Jane.born 1852. All three children were born in Tunbridge Wells. By 1861 William had left the railway, for he is found in the 1861 census at Mount Pleaseant Road,Tunbridge Wells working as a coal merchant. Living with him at that time was his wife Elizabeth and their three children. In 1871 the family is found living at 13 North Road in Deptford.London where William was working as an accountant genral. Also in the home were five members of the Baker family where George Baker was given as Williamss son in law, and who was working as a railway clerk. The Sussex Advertiser of April 25,1854 reports on a case of theft with the S.E. Railway as the prosecutor. Mr Cripps of Tunbridge Wells was he solicitor for the defendant and admitted the guilt of his client but that Mr Oliver, the station master, wanted immediate payment of the debt, which his client was unable to make. Williams first wife died in the 1870’s and in the 2nd qtr of 1881,at Newington Holy Trinity, William married a widow by the name of Ann Amelia Hardy. Ann was the daughter of John and Martha Mitchel. John Mitchel had been a servant and died sometime before 1851 for the 1851 census records Ann living with her widowed mother at Down,Kent. Ann’s husband Thomas Hardy had been born 1818 in Ireland and with him she had three children. Ann ‘her husband and their children are found in 1861 at Nortwood,Hampshire, IO.W. and in 1871 at St Stephen,London. The marriage between Ann Amelia Mitchell and Thomas Hardy took place September 13,1857 with Thomas’s father given as a watchmaker. By the time of Ann Amelia Hardy’s marriage to William she was a widow and the parents of both William George Oliver and Ann were deceased. In the 1881 census, taken at Newington,London William was working as a registration agent and living with him was his wife Ann and his step son Thomas M. hardy,age 18 who was working as a clerk to a civil engineer. The 1891 census, taken at Croydon,Surrey records William and Ann living at the “Institute” with a large number of people. William at that time was a retired registration agent. It is not known by the researcher when William George Oliver died but his wife Ann Amelia died in the 3rd qtr of 1891 at Croydon,Surrey and William likely died about the same time and in the same place.
2) CHARLES ESSINGTON HUGHES-Charles is found listed as the station master in the 1862,1867 and 1874 directories for Tunbridge Wells. Charles was born 1820 at Grosvenor Square, Middlesex and was baptised December 3,1820 at St George Hanover Square. On October 9,1847 he married Emma Robinson(1825-1919) at St Andrews,Enfield. Emma had been born 1825 at Hackney,London and was one of several children born to Isaac Robinson(1795-1863) and Sarah Sanders(1791-1863).The 1851 census, taken at the Standford,Kent railway station records Charles as the station master and living with him was his wife Emma and their two children. The 1861 census, taken at the railway station in Tunbridge Wells records Charles and his wife and children with Charles as the station master.The 1871 census records the family still at the Tunbridge Wells station and Charles is still the station master. By 1881 Charles left Tunbridge Wells and in that year he is living with his wife and daughter and son in law at St John Hackney,London. Charles Essington Hughes died in the 4th qtr of 1890 in London and his wife soon afterwards.
3) GEORGE FROST-George is found as station master in Tunbridge Wells in the directories of 1882,1899,1903 and 1913 and in census records dating back to 1881. George was born December 23,1842 at Leeks,York and was baptised at Leeds St Peter,Yorkshire on June 22,1843.. The 1851 census, taken at 11 Station New Cottages in Tonbrige record George as a scholar living with his father Joseph Frost, born 1816 at Deesord,Leicestershire, an engine driver, and his mother jane, born 1820 Thornton,Leicestershire. Also in the home was Georges three siblings. The 1861 census finds George in Hastings, Sussex, living with his father Joseph, a railway engine driver, and his three siblings. His mother was absent and possibly dead by that time. George was working for the railway in 1861 as a railway ticket collector. George married Frances about 1870 and the two of them are found without children in the 1871 census at Crofton Road, Orpington,Kent where George is the station master. Sometime between 1871 and 1881 George moved to Tunbridge Wells and is found in the 1881 census living at the Tunbridge Wells train station with is wife Frances and their two daughters. Of the two daughters only Ethel was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1878. The 1901 census, taken at Vale Royal,Tunbridge Wells records George as the station master living with his wife Frances and their two daughters and one servant. He and his wife and one daughter are still found ain Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1911 census,with Geroge as a railway clerk but living with his family at Springton Villa Vale Rose in what is described as a nine room residence. The census records that the couple had four children but only three survived.Probate records give that George Frost of Tunbridge Wells died August 9,1917 at Torrington Villa, Vale Road. Probate was to Louise Henry Bainton,engineer, Gertrude Edith Louise Frost, spinster and Ethel Jame Frances Bainton(wife of Louiis henry Bainton) and daughter of George Frost. George left an estate valued as about 1,200 pounds.
4) WILLIAM HOLDAWAY- The dates of his service conflict with that of George Frost, given above and no genealogical information about him could be located by the researcher that places him in Tunbridge Wells. The records show he began service with the railway in October 1871 and that he had been born 1856 and had been recommended to the railway by the school he was attending. His service record has him in 1873 at Hassocks station; 1875 at Lewes; 1891 at Harley;at Dorking 1902-1903 as station master; removed to Tunbridge Wells May 29,1903 as station master; then as station master at Eastbourne 1914-1917. William Holdaway was born April 10,1858 at Hailsham,Sussex, according to other records, and was one of several children born to Henry and Ruth Holdaway. In 1861 he was living with his parents and siblings at Hailsham,Sussex. In the 1871 cenus, taken at Hassocks Gate, Keymer,Sussex his father was working as a railway station clerk. In the 1881 census, at Brighton,Sussex he was staying with his brother in law and working as a station master Southwick. In April 1882 William was married to Abigail (1860-1939). Willian and his wife went on to have three children. In 1891 William was listed as the station master at Horley,Surrey and in 1901 as the station master in Dorking. In the 1911 census he was living at Eastbourne,Sussex and was a railway station master. William died Novvember 30,1930 in Eastbourne and his wife Abigail died December 7,1939 at Eastbourne.
5) JAMES THOMAS MISSENDEN-James is found in Tunbridge Wells directories of 1918 and 1922. James was born October 1862 at Bletchley,Buckinghamshire, one of three children born to James and Jane Missenden. The 1871 census, taken at Bletchley records James living with his parents and three siblings plus three lodgers at #7 The Green. His father was working as a labourer and his mother as a needlewoman. In the 1881 census, taken at Kensington,Lodnon James was a visitor, working as a footman. On January 22,1883 James married Lucy Harriet Allcock(1859-1947) at Camden,Middlesex. Lucy was the daughter of William Allcock, a painter and she was born 1859 at Wellesbourne,Warwickshire.The couple would go on to have five children. The 1891 census, taken at Ashford,Kent records James as a ticket collector with the railway. Living with him was his wife Lucy and their four children. The 1901 census, taken at New Romney, Kent records James as the station master and living with him was his wife Lucy and their three children, one of whom (Eustace James,age 15) was working as a railway clerk, The 1911 census, taken at the station house, Hastings Road, Addiscombe,Croydon records the presence of James as the station master .Living with him was his wife Lucy and two of their daughters. The census gives that they were living in 5 rooms; that they had been married 27 years and had five children but only four had survived. Directories of 1914-1915 record James as the station master at Lewisham.Directories for 1918 and 1922 record James Thomas Missenden at 4 Grove Avenue, Tunbridge Wells. Probate records give James of 4 Carville Avenue, Southborough,Kent, passing away on January 1,1947. Probate was to Violet Mary McNeil (wife of George Watkins McNeil) and he left an estate valued at about 1,336 pounds. His wife Lucy also died in Tunbridge Wells in the 1st qtr of 1947. James was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on January 8,1947 and his life Lucy there on March 18,1947. Lucy had died march 12,1947 at 4 Carville Avenue, Southborough.
The researcher has not investigated the stations masters for this station beyond 1922 as the information is readily available for more recent times.
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