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

Date: September 18,2017


The firm of E.P. Siggers & Co (later Limited) was founded by Ernest Pearce Siggers (1868-1944) at the end of the 19th century and continued in operation  until at least 1972, although after the death of Ernest the company operated as builders and decorators at 9 Park Road,Tunbridge Wells.

Ernest was one of several children born to Joseph and Harriette Charity Siggers in Sydenham, Kent, where his father was a carpenter/joiner. Ernest by 1891 was working for Frederick Mallard in Northamptonshire as a shoe riveter. In 1894 he married Mary Vivian Pearce (1863-1947) in Hampshire. Mary was one of several children born in Cornwall to John Pearce, a mine agent, and Elizabeth Pearce. After the marriage the couple moved to Tunbridge Wells where in 1896 they had a daughter Mabel Mary Peace Siggers, who in 1942 married Charles Wood in Tunbridge Wells.  Mabel began her working career as a midwife in 1922 at the West Kent General Hospital in Maidstone but was qualified as a registered nurse in London at Guys Hospital in 1924 and from 1928 to at least 1934 lived at ‘Wood View’, 13 Park Road, Tunbridge Wells. In 1937 she was a registered nurse residing at 13 Lansdowne Road; in 1940 at the Clarence and Lansdowne Nursing  Home and in 1943 (the last year she appears in the Nurses Register ),as Mabel Mary Pearce Wood,  at 5 Lansdowne Road.

By 1901 Ernest was residing at 3 Grosvenor Park with his wife and daughter and sister in law,and was working on his own account as an upholsterer.  Ernest and his wife had a second child but it died sometime before 1911. At the time of the 1911 census the family were residing at 113 St John’s Road and  Ernest was at that time a furniture removal contractor employing others.

The records of Taskers of Andover, note that in 1909 they manufactured a steam lorry for E.P. Siggers & Co of Tunbridge Wells. A directory listing for E.P. Siggers & Co (for 1914) gave the business as house furnishers and furniture removers and motor haulage contractors with premises at 113 and 115 St John’s Road and they also had a furniture depository at Park Road and Nelson Road.

In addition to running his business Ernest became a local councillor and was a councillor in 1919 and for several years before and after that date.

Directories up to the late 1930’s gave two listings for E.P. Siggers Co. Limited, namely 27 Vale Road and 13 Park Road. They were still at 27 Vale Road in 1941  and at 13 Park Road in 1937 but the families principal residence was at 2 Clarence Road by 1941.  Probate records gave the death of Ernest Pearson Siggers at 2 Clarence Road in 1944 and his wife was living there in 1947 when she passed away. Both of them were buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery.

The company of E. P. Siggers Co. Ltd continued after the death of Ernest and directories of 1958 to 1972 gave the business as builders and renovators at 9 Park Road.

This article reports on the life and career of Ernest Pearson Siggers with information and photographs pertaining to his business in the town. Information about his family is also provided.Shown above is a photograph from the Tunbridge Wells Museum showing a horse drawn omnibus loaded with passengers in front of the Calverley Parade on Mount Pleasant Road, circa 1905, which was featured on the front of a 20th century DVD entitled ‘ Historical Tunbridge Wells. In this photo can be seen two company advertisments, one for Waymarks on Calverley Road and one for E.P. Siggers on St John’s Road.


Ernest Pearce Siggers birth was registered in the 2nd qtr of 1868 at Lewisham but census records give his birth as 1868 in Sydenham, Kent

Ernest was one of at least six children born between 1867 and 1881 (according to the 1881 census) in Sydenham to John J. Siggers and Harriette Siggers. He was baptised May 17,1868 at Southwark and given as the son of Joseph Siggers and Harriette Charity Siggers. It appears that John J. Siggers was John Joseph Siggers but his first name is given in records as either Joseph or John.

The 1871 census, taken at 3 Sydney Cottages in Lewisham upper Sydenham gave John J. L. Siggers as a foreman of a carpenter.With him was his wife Harriett and three children, including Ernest.

The 1881 census, taken at 45 Prospect Road in Lewisham (photo opposite) gave John J. Siggers as a joiner, born 1839 in Brompton, Middlesex. Living with him was his wife Harriett, born 1846 in Lambeth, Surrey and his six children, including Ernest who was attending the local school. In the late 1880’s Ernest left the family home and struck out on his own.

The 1891 census gave Ernest living and working in Finedon, Northamptonshire where he was working as a shoe riveter. He was living with his employer, Frederick Mallard, who was a shoe finisher and other members of the Mallard family.

In the 4th qtr of 1894 Ernest married Mary Vivian Pearce in Hampshire. Mary’s birth was registered at Liskeard, Cornwall in the 2nd qtr of the 1863 although census records give her birth as Menhenoit, Cornwall in 1864. The 1871 census, taken at Pengover Square in Menhenoit gave John Pearse as a mine agent born 1824 in Calstock, Cornwall. With him was his wife Elizabeth, born 1826 in Redberth,Cornwall and eight of his children (born between 1851 and 1869) including his daughter Mary Vivian Pearse. Also in the home was Johns widowed mother and one servant. The 1881 census, taken at Pengover Cottage, Menhenoit, Cornwall, gave Mary living with her parents and six siblings and working as a dressmaker. Her father was still working as a mine agent.

After Ernest’s marriage in 1894 he and his wife moved to Tunbridge Wells, details of which are given in the next section.


As noted above Ernest and his wife Mary Vivian Siggers took up residence in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1894.

Ernest and Mary had two children, namely Mabel Mary Pearce Siggers, who was born in the first qtr of 1896 in Tunbridge Wells, and Barrington Ernest Pearce Siggers in the 2nd qtr of 1899 in Tunbridge Wells. Details about Mabel and her career as a midwife and registered nurse are given in the last section of this article. As noted in the 1911 census Ernest and Mary had two children but only their daughter Mabel was still living. Barrington had died in 1900 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on June 20,1900. From a review of birth records it was noted that Ernest had no other children after the birth and death of his son Barrington.

The 1901 census, taken at 3 Grosvenor Park (photo opposite) gave Ernest as an upholsterer working on his own account. With him was his wife Mary; his daughter Mabel  (given as Maude M.P. Siggers); his sister in law Emma Pearce, age 35, single and one boarder.  Their home on Grosvenor Park still exists and is located on the north side not far from the intersection of Grosvenor Road. The location of the home is highlighted by the red arrow. Built of red brick it an others to the east of it were tacked onto No. 1 Grosvenor Park (to the left of No. 3 in the photo). No. 1 Grosvenor Park has on its front elevation two interesting plaques set into the brickwork, which were made by the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company. The larger of the two, located between the bay windows bears the date 1894, suggesting that No. 3 and its neighbours were built sometime in the 1894-1900 period.

When precisely Ernest began is removal contractors business was not established but it was sometime after 1901 and before 1909.

The publication ‘The Commercial Motor’ dated October 21,1909 gave the listing “Messrs E.P. Siggers and Co. London Road, St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, furniture removed in ordinary vans driven by motors”. The records of Taskers of Andover also refer to a steam lorry they manufactured for E.P. Siggers & Co in 1909. Taskers was manufacturers of steam tractors, agricultural machinery and were ironmongers based in Andover, Hampshire. The firm had been established in 1809 by Robert Tasker, a blacksmith who took over The Forge where he worked. The business expanded and passed between various hands and operated under various names over its 170 year history. The company records note that “the firm started building steam waggons with the introduction of No. 1418 in 1909, based on ‘Little Giant’ components in 1909. In 1910 this steam waggon was sold to E.P. Siggers & Co of Tunbridge Wells. It later went to J.I. Thornycroft of Southampton”. A photo of the steam waggon they made for Ernest P. Siggers company is shown below left and shown below right is one they built for another company in 1924.

The Commercial Motor Archive website gave an article dated December 9,1909 entitled “Tasker’s New Steam Waggon’ which provides the 1909 photo above left and a detailed description of it and the company. The entire article can be viewed online and is quite detailed in its description of the Siggers steam waggon.

The 1911 census, taken at 113 St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells (photo opposite) gave Ernest as a furniture removal contractor employing others. With him was his wife Mary who was “assisting in shop” and his daughter Mabel who was in school. The census recorded that they were living in premises of 5 rooms; that they had been marrie4d 16 years and of their two children only one (their daughter) was still living.  The photo of St Johns Road given here is a recent view with No. 113 occupied by St Johns Launderette and Mister Chef at No. 115.

The 1914 directory gave the listing “ E.P. Siggers & Co-house furnishers and furniture removers  and motor haulage contractors, 113 and 115 St John’s Road and furniture depositories at Park Road and Newton Road, Tunbridge Wells.

An interesting article appeared in the Kent & Sussex Courier of August 1,1919 about a riot and hostile demonstration over the death and burial of a WW 1 soldier, which in part made reference to Councillor E.P. Siggers making a statement. Ernest had been a Councillor with the local Council for a number of years and was both a respected councillor and businessman in the community.

Given below are some directory listings.

1)    1933-1953…E.P. Siggers Co. Ltd. removal contractors 27 Vale Rd

2)    1931-1933…E.P. Siggers 13 Park Road

3)    1941…E.P Siggers removal contractors 27 Vale Rd and E.P. Siggers 2 Clarence Rd (private residence)

4)    1958-1972….E.P. Siggers & Co. Ltd, builders, renovators, 9 Park Rd

Shown opposite is a recent photo showing 9 Park Road in the foreground and No. 11 in the background, a rather nice home finished in white stone.

Ernest Pearce Siggers death was registered in the 4th qtr of 1944 in Tunbridge Wells. Probate records gave him of 2 Clarence Road when he died December 11,1944. The executors of his 12,448 pound estate was his widowed wife Mary Vivian Siggers and his widowed daughter Mabel Mary Pearce Wood. He was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on December 14th.

The death of Ernest Pearce Siggers was reported in The Courier December 15,1944 in which the very poor quality photo shown opposite was provided. Unfortunately no better photograph of him was found. The text of the article is as follows. Death of Alderman E.P. Siggers-32 years as Member of the Town Council------It is with much regret that we record the death of Alderman Ernest Pearce Siggers, of South Lawn, Clarence Road, Tunbridge Wells, (photo below)which occurred on Monday at the age of 76. By his death the town loses yet another of its public men, who have made a full and generous contribution to the well-being of the community as a whole. He had been in failing health since last July, but on two occasions he recovered only to finally succumb to pneumonia. He had served on the Town Council longer than any other member with the exception of the Mayor (Alderman C.E. Westbrook), the latter being first elected in 1910 and
Alderman Siggers in 1912. Throughout the whole of the period he had given hearty support to everything which made for the progress of the town. He was a most ardent committee man, and was not easily persuaded into thinking that something else was better if he had already reached a conclusion by sound reasoning. He was a valued member of the Watch Committee and was as strongly opposed as any member to the merging of the Borough Police Force with the Kent County Constabulary. He was also a member of the Parks and local Pensions Committees and a representative of the Council on the King’s Roll Committee for Tunbridge Wells and District. But of all his many interests perhaps he will be best remembered as the Chairman of the Burial Board Committee. Under his guidance the Cemetery at Hawkenbury has long been renowned for its exotic beauty and restful character. Before the war Alderman Siggers was still of a very progressive mind when he sponsored a scheme for the erection of a crematorium for the town, contending that such an installation was necessary if we were to move with the times. The result was that sanction was obtained from the Ministry of Health, and but for the outbreak of war the crematorium would have been an accomplished fact. Alderman Siggers was elected to the Council as a representative of the North Ward, which he continued to serve until his elevation to the Aldermanic Bench. In addition to his municipal work Alderman Siggers held several important offices. He had been a member of the Tunbridge Wells Telephone and Telegraph Advisory Committee since its inception, and when he was chairman in 1934-35 he was the recipient of the King’s Jubilee Medal. He was instrumental in persuading the G.P.O. to erect the first telephone kiosk at the Five Ways. He was also a member of the local Employment and Old Age Pensions Committees and of the Tunbridge Wells Chamber of Trade. Alderman Siggers was born in Sydenham, to which place the Crystal Palace was transferred after the disastrous fire at Hyde Park. His father was clerk of the works. He was first articled as a house agent and auctioneer, but forsaking this career, he became a cabinet maker and upholsterer. He worked for various firms in London and the Provinces, and in 1890 came to Tunbridge Wells to take charge of the furniture removal business of the late Mr. W.G. Harris. Twelve years later, when that business was formed into a company, he started the present business of Messrs E. P. Siggers Ltd. Alderman Siggers became chairman of the local branch of the Sussex Centre of the Furniture Remover’s Association. He was a thorough sportsman, being a former chairman of the old Rangers’ Football Club, and honorary treasurer of the Culverden Bowls Club, which he founded several years ago. He was also a vice-president of the Calverley Bowls Club. A prominent Freemason, he was a Past Master of the Pantiles Lodge of Arch Masons, and a Past Grand Primo of both the Camden and the Royal Tunbridge Wells Lodges of the R.A.O.B. For many years he was a member of St John’s Church and a sidesman, but latterly he had attended Holy Trinity Church. An ardent Conservative, he was a former chairman of the Constitutional Club, and later became a trustee. It was in 1894 that he married Miss Mary Vivian Pearce, a native of Cornwall, and it was only in October that he and Mrs Siggers celebrated their golden wedding. Much sympathy will be extended to Mrs Siggers and an only daughter, Mrs Wood, in the loss they have sustained. The funeral took place yesterday (Thursday), the first part of the service being conducted in Holy Trinity Church by the Rev. Hedley Thomas”.

The Courier of December 22 reported on the funeral of Mr Siggers stating in part “A large and representative congregation attended the funeral service at Holy Trinity Church. The service was conducted by the vicar of Holy Trinity and the vicar of St John’s Church”. A long list of those who attended the funeral was given in this article.

The Courier of January 5,1945 reported that Councillor Raiswell was elected Alderman to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Alderman Siggers . In the same issue was “Late Alderman E.P. Siggers--------At the outset the Mayor reminded the Council of the loss they had sustained by the death of Alderman E.P. Siggers. They had lost a man who was kindly in all his actions. He was the second oldest member of the Council, having served for 32 years and had at all times displayed a kindly benevolence in thought and deed. His unselfish record of public work would always be associated with his memory. The council passed a resolution of deepest sympathy with Mrs Siggers and her daughter”.

The death of Ernest’s wife Mary Vivian Siggers was registered in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1947. Probate records for her showed she was living at the Lansdowne Nursing Home in Tunbridge Wells. The executor of her 2,638 pound estate was her widowed daughter Mabel Mary Pearce Wood. Mary was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on November 12th.

As can be seen from the directory listings above, the business name of E.P. Siggers Co. Ltd continued after his retirement and death. He had no son or other family member to take over the business and so sold it to new owners along with the business name. The new owners got out of the furniture removal business and instead concentrated on being builders and decorators. The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 27,1939 gave a death/funeral announcement for a Mr Sydney Freeman and among those attending was “ Mr. K. Hatherwell (representing E.P. Siggers & Co)”.  Mr Freeman may have  been the manager of the business at that time.

The London Gazette of February 19,1971 gave a notice by the Department of Trade and Industries pursuant to section 353 of the Companies Act of 1948 stating that the name of E.P. Siggers & Co. Limited was to be removed from the register unless cause is shown to retain it. As no listings for the business were found in directories after 1972 it appears that the business ended about that time.


Mabel was the only surviving child of Ernest and his wife Mary. She had been born in Tunbridge Wells in the first qtr of 1896. She lived with her parents in Tunbridge Wells throughout her early life and attended a local girls school.

Mabel decided to persue a career in nursing. The first record for her dates from 1926 in The Midwives Roll, in which she was listed as a midwife with the West Kent General Hospital in Maidstone and that she had enrolled December 13,1922 with a “CMB Examination”.

The Nurses Register of 1898 to 1960 , which can be seen online, gave the following listings;

1)    1934…Mabel Mary Pearce Siggers, 13 Park Road, Tunbridge Wells. Registered October 17,1924 in London. Qualifications: Certificate 1919-1922 Guy’s Hospital, London

2)    1937……same as above but her address is given as 13 Lansdowne Road, Tunbridge Wells.

3)    1940……same as above but her address is given as Clarence and Lansdowne Nursing Home

4)    1943 (the last listing, suggesting she had retired) gave the same as above , but under her married name of Wood. Her address was 5 Lansdowne Road, Tunbridge Wells.

Mabel married Charles Wood in the 4th qtr of 1942 in Tunbridge Wells. The marriage was a short one for as noted in the probate records of her parents in 1944 and 1947, she was given as a widow. She and her husband had no children. Mable died in Soutwark, London in the 4th qtr of 1963.


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

Date: March 8,2016


This article reports not so much about the exhibition itself but the connection that it had with Tunbridge Wells.

Lloyds Bank was the official bank of the Exhibition and when the Exhibition ended the carpet at their stall ended up in the bank manager’s office on Mount Pleasant Road in Tunbridge Wells. They also handed out to their customers special Lloyds Bank labels which ended up on mail sent to and from Tunbridge Wells.

The organ that was at the Exhibition was sent to Tunbridge Wells and was installed in the Opera House.

Several examples of the special postal covers bearing the commemorative stamps issued for the Exhibition found their way being addressed to Tunbridge Wells.

A series of colourful postcards for the Exhibition were printed in Tunbridge Wells by Photochrom. A poster printed for the event, shown above, was also by Photochrom.

Siemens Bros. & Co., manufacturers of electrical equipment, exhibited their products at the Exhibition. One of the former partners in this company lived at the Sherwood Mansion in Tunbridge Wells.

Residents of the town lined up at the train station to catch one of the special excursion trains put on for the event.

Lord Robert Baden Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, who attended Rosehill School in Tunbridge Wells and was a frequent visitor to the town attended the Exhibition.The Powell family lived in Speldhurst.


The British Empire Exhibition was a colonial exhibition held at Wembley, Middlesex in 1924 and 1925. A highlight was the elaborate "Pageant of Empire" with thousands of actors.

A world tour headed by Major Ernest Belcher in 1922 that lasted 10 months was mounted to promote participation, with Agatha Christie and her husband among the participants.It was opened by King George V on St George's Day, April 23,1924. The British Empire contained 58 countries at that time, and only Gambia and Gibraltar did not take part. It cost £12 million and was the largest exhibition ever staged anywhere in the world - it attracted 27 million visitors.

Its official aim was "to stimulate trade, strengthen bonds that bind mother Country to her Sister States and Daughters, to bring into closer contact the one with each other, to enable all who owe allegiance to the British flag to meet on common ground and learn to know each other". Maxwell Ayrton was the architect for the project. The three main buildings were the Palaces of Industry, Engineering and Arts. The Palace of Engineering was the world's largest reinforced concrete building, a building method that allowed quick construction.

Most of the exhibition halls were intended to be temporary and demolished afterwards, but at least the Palace of Engineering and the British Government Pavilion survived into the 1970s, if only because of the high cost of demolition of the huge concrete structures. The Empire Pool became the Wembley Arena, and at the suggestion of the chair of the exhibition committee, Scotsman Sir James Stevenson, the Empire Stadium was kept; it became Wembley Stadium, the home of Football in England until 2002 when it was demolished to be replaced by a new stadium.

The Exhibition was also the first occasion for which the British Post Office issued commemorative postage stamps. Two stamps were issued on  April 23,1924: a 1d in scarlet, and a 1 1⁄2d in brown, both being inscribed "British Empire Exhibition 1924"; they were designed by H. Nelson. A second printing, identical to the first apart from the year being changed to 1925, was issued on May 9,1925.



The website of Duneden, New Zealand gives an account of the various buildings constructed in the town, among which was a Concert Hall. The contact for constructing it was awarded from a competition in 1913 but due to WW 1 and a lack of funds the foundation stone was not laid until March 3,1928 and he building opened February 15.1930. In this concert hall was installed an organ. Here is what they said about it.  “The Concert Hall's symphonic organ, affectionately dubbed "Norma", was built in 1919 by William Hill and Son of London, and contains 3,500 pipes.Originally considerably smaller, though still an impressive 23 tons in weight, the instrument toured England and was set up in halls and theatres as part of a travelling vaudeville show. The organ was enlarged and installed at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924, before being moved to Tunbridge Wells Opera House. From there, it was donated to Dunedin by Mr and Mrs A. S. Paterson at a cost to them of £16,000.The organ has been extensively restored, and though care has been taken to ensure that the organ's sound has not been greatly altered, this restoration has included the upgrading of the console with the latest playing accessories.”


Lloyds Bank were official bankers to the exhibition and also to various Dominion pavilions. Other exhibitors, and of course visitors, were able to use the facilities offered there. The exhibition branch was situated in the central avenue midway between the Palaces of Industry and Engineering, and was therefore one of the first buildings to catch the eye as visitors entered the main gates. The manager of the exhibition branch was Hugh Stanley Gill, MC, who lived in nearby Harrow. His staff were drawn from branches all over the country. Kenneth Jones, who came from Colonial and Foreign Department, recalled:

‘The premises were spacious, provided with a counter for about five cashiers, with a general office behind and two big rooms, one for the cash-counting machines and another for the cash van from Head Office, which drove in to collect the huge sums in cash from daily attendance. The staff worked in two shifts, one from 9am to 4.30pm and the other for the remainder of the day, leaving about 11.30pm.’

In keeping with the spirit of the event, a great deal of foreign exchange work was carried out. Other duties of the bank staff included telegraphic transfers, foreign drafts and remittances.

Lloyds Bank designed and issued special advertising stickers or labels to commemorate its involvement. These were printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co. at New Malden, Surrey. They were produced in sheets of 100 in a number of colours - red, green. blue and, more rarely, mauve. All issues depicted the exhibition branch and were dated 1924. Examples of four of these labels are shown here.

The labels were given free to visitors and a small supply was sent to every Lloyds Bank branch (including Tunbridge Wells). They were used to seal the join on the back of envelopes containing pass-books, when these were sent to customers through the post. (Pass-books were the forerunners of statements of account and were written-up by hand).

The printing of these labels was probably stimulated by the decision of the Post Office to mark the occasion of the exhibition by its first issue of commemorative stamps. Other companies, besides Lloyds Bank had similar labels printed. Although of historical interest, the stickers have only a modest market value and are referred to by philatelists as ‘Cinderella material’. They are also commonly, but wrongly, referred to as stamps.

At the end of the exhibition in 1925, and in keeping with the banking ethic of thrift, the carpet from the exhibition branch was sent to Lloyds Bank, Tunbridge Wells, to grace the manager’s room.

The Lloyds Bank in Tunbridge Wells was located at the top of Mount Pleasant Hill on the south east corner of Mount Pleasant Road and Crescent Road. Details about the history of this bank can be found in my article ‘Lloyds Bank Building-82 Mount Pleasant Road’ dated June 6,2014. Built in 1874 as the Beeching Bank, it later became Lloyds Bank. A photograph of the bank building is shown at the top of this section.


The Exhibition was the first occasion for which the British Post Office issued commemorative postage stamps. Two stamps were issued on  April 23,1924: a 1d in scarlet, and a 1 1⁄2d in brown, both being inscribed "British Empire Exhibition 1924"; they were designed by H. Nelson. A second printing, identical to the first apart from the year being changed to 1925, was issued on May9,1925. An example of a complete set of these stamps from my father’s British Stamp collection is shown opposite.

Shown opposite is first day cover bearing two of the stamps shown above on which is a special cancel dated April 23,1924. This envelope was sent to what appears to be a Miss W.M. Oliver Jones at 11 Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells. Other similar examples no doubt also exist. This one recently sold at auction for a good price.

No. 11 Calverley Park was one of several homes in John Ward’s residential development. Development of the site was by Messrs Bramah of Pimlico and construction of houses began circa 1828. No. 11 was given a Grade II listing by English Heritage on May 20,1952 and described as a 2 sty Regency style villa on large grounds. The home was occupied for a time by John Ward’s son Arthur Wellesley Ward . It was also occupied by the Frewen family in the 1870’s and later by architect Cecil Burns. Details about Calverley Park can be found in a book entitled “The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’ by the Civic Society.


On August 31,2011 I wrote an article about the history of the Photochrom business, a brief summary of which is given here.  The Photochrom Company began when it established offices and warehouses in Cheapside London through the aquisition of Fussli's London office in 1896.From 1896 to 1903 the company produced a broad range of products with an emplasis on Christmas cards,Birthday cards,greeting cards, bookmarks, calenders, tourist albums,guide books. In 1891 the company expanded their operations to Tunbridge Wells through the acquisition of Carl Norman and Co. and constructed  a new 3 storey building at 179-183 Upper Grosvenor Road which became known as their "Graphic Works" branch which was considered to be at that time the chief industrial house in Tunbridge Wells. Its new building was the most modern of its kind at the time being heated by steam,lighted by electricity with the company having its own engine-room and dynamo.Constructed of brick it was in the order of 3,000 square feet per floor.Apart from the main building there were several subsidiary buildings,one of which was devoted to the printing of photographs which was connected to the filling and finishing rooms by a railway along which trolleys containing the printing frames were propelled.Another subsidiary building housed the opal and frame making department.The first floor of the main building contained in part the photographic mounting department;the second floor the Designing department;the third floor was where all the photographing was carried out.By 1898 the company name was changed to Photochrom Company Ltd. In 1903 the company obtained the UK licence for the Swiss photochrom process,invented in the 1880's by Hans Jakob Schmid(1856-1924) and Photochrom began the production of picture postcards.Photochrom produced several series of postcards by the names Celesque(perhaps their most famous) ;Sepiatone; Grano; Photogravure;Velvet Finish;Night;Carbofoto,Exclusive,Duotype Process. During their time in business they may have produced over 40,000 different cards among which were with several hundred different views of Tunbridge Wells. Photochroms are not photographs but actual prints, produced using 6 to 15 colors and the lithography printing process.The fascinating aspect of these prints is that they are created from a black and white photograph.  By 1915 the company was advertising themselves under the name of  Photochrom Co. Ltd Publishers ,colour printing and photo publishers "All British production". The company had difficult times during WWI due to the scarcity of materials.  The employees were kept busy in manufacture of phosphorescent buttons and arm bands for public use during black outs.   They fared better, perhaps, in WWI through purchase of rights to reproduce images from the Britain Prepared film.    Directory records indicate that the company disappeared after 1957.

For the 1924 British Empire Exhibition the company produced a series of colour postcards in the Celesque series. Four examples from the series are shown above, which were printed at their Tunbridge Wells facility.


Graces guide records that Siemens Bros. & Co of London exhibited their electrical equipment at the 1924 Exhibition. Although the business itself did not operate from Tunbridge Wells one of the former partners in the business lived in the Sherwood Mansion just off Pembury Road. An image of this grand home on extensive grounds is shown opposite showing the rear of the home and below is a modern view of the front of the home.  Details about the history of this home is given in my article ‘ The Sherwood Estate-Tunbridge Wells’ dated December 28,2011.

The part of this article of interest here pertains to the well known Civil Engineer Sir Charles William Siemens(1823-1883) who occupied the home from 1874 to 1883 and then his wife Lady Ann Siemens(1824-1901) to the end of 1901.The estate was then sold to the wealthy accountant Benjamin Minors Woollans(1857-1909), who became Mayor of Tunbridge Wells,  and upon his passing in 1909 the estate was owned by his wife Martha Woolan(1854-1928) until the end of 1911.From 1912 to 1919 Sherwood was occupied by John Smith.Esq., and from 1920 to 1931 by wealthy London banker Ernest Lambton Errington-Wales(1867-1949),who was the last private resident of the estate. The building then came into institutional use and still exists today as  a building of luxury flats. Sir Charles William Siemens, although a Civil Engineer had direct family connections to the Siemens clan of Electrical fame.

Sir Charles William Siemens(1823-1883) was born 1823 at Lenthe,Hanover,Germany and was the fourth son of C. Ferdinand Siemens of Lenthe,by his wife Eleonore Deichmann.He was baptised as Carl Wilhelm Siemens,but having a brother Carl he was always referred to as William .In Germany he was educated first at the commercial school at Lilbeck;then went to technical school at Magdeburg and finished his formal education at Gottingen University and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering.He then persued a career in all things mechanical and scientific and developed a particular interest in electricity. His brothers also had a technical background and over the years Sir Siemens and his brothers would work closely together,with many technological advances attributed to the Siemens.In 1843 Siemens left Germany and arrived at the port of London on March 13,1843 and  took up permanent residence in England.During his life he travelled extensively to such places as Belgium and France both for business and pleasure.Siemens established his business office and permanent place of residence in Kensington,London.Siemens had a distinguised career in England and was a leading figure in his field in the scientific community.He had received over his life much recognition for his accomplishments,a list of which is far too extensive to go into in any degree here.He was a member of many societies and technical organizations and became someone of great stature. For those interested in a full account of his life I would recommend 'The Dictionary of National Biography'.Also there are many websites devoted to the career of this great man.


Shown opposite is view of the Tunbridge Wells West Station circa 1904. Although no longer in operation ,the Tunbridge Wells Central Station on Mount Pleasant Road still is. For the 1924 Exhibition special excursion trains were put on to take passengers from Tunbridge Wells and elsewhere to London.

Because the site of the Exhibition was some distance from downtown London the organizers of the event had arranged for trains from outlying areas to take them directly to the Exhibition.

Tunbridge Wells passengers, who crammed the platforms in the town, took the special train to Charing Cross station and then switched trains to the Exhibition. Train tickets to and from the Exhibition are much sought after by railway memorabilia buffs. Unfortunately I was not able to find one to show here. Several railways had display stands at the exhibition including the two that served Tunbridge Wells. Shown above is a photograph of the “Boots Express” train which was put on to take employees of Boots (Chemists shop) to the Exhibition. “Boots” had branches in many locations including Tunbridge Wells.



Robert was educated at Rose Hill School in Tunbridge Wells and went on to become the founder of the Boy Scouts in England. He was a frequent visitor to the town, giving speeches etc in connection with the Boy Scouts. On April 3,1924 he attended the British Empire Exhibition. His sister Agnes Smyth Baden Powell (1858-1945) founded the Girl Guides and she was in Rusthall in 1912 for the inauguration of the Rusthall Girl Guides and like her brother was a frequent visitor to Tunbridge Wells. You can read all about her in my article “The Rusthall Girl Guides’ dated February 24,2016. To read more about the Baden Powell family see my article ‘The Baden Powell Family of Speldhurst’ dated February 25,2014 and also ‘An Overview of Scouting in Tunbridge Wells’ dated September 28,2014. Shown opposite is a postcard by local photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn dated 1913 showing Lord Robert Baden Powell in Tunbridge Wells at the train station.


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

Date: September 25,2017


Reginald Carey, born 1887 in Tunbridge Wells, the son of David Thomas Carey, a local butcher shop proprietor, was an interesting man. His obituary, which appeared in The Courier December 22,1944 described him as “the well-known cycle dealer of Crescent Road; a fine all-round sportsman; an excellent motor cyclist and one time T.T. rider; a keen golfer with the Nevill Golf Club and had an interest in flying being associated at one time with Sir Alan Cobham” who was Sir Alan John Cobham, KBE, AFC (1894-1973), an English aviation pioneer.  Reginald was for some time a member of the Kent and Sussex Club.

In this article I present information about the life and career of Reginald (Roger) Carey.


I begin my account of the Carey family with David Thomas Carey (1852-1924), the father of Reginald Carey. A photo of David is shown opposite.

David was born April 19,1852 in Hooe, Sussex, one of eight children born to Stephen Raymond Carey (1826-1864) and Sarah Carey, nee Vidler (1826-1901). He was baptised June 13,1852 at St Oswald’s Church, Hooe ,Sussex

David was living in Hooe, Sussex with his parents and siblings up to the time of the death of his father there in 1864. At the time of the 1871 census David was living with his grandparents at Hooe, Sussex.

On April 27,1872 David married Mary Walters (1847-1885) at St Mary the Virgin’s Church in Ninfield, Sussex. She was the daughter of Thomas Walters and she had been born in Catsfield,Sussex.He and his wife went on to have six children between 1873 and 1883. From the birth records of his children it was noted that the eldest child Edith Sarah Carey was born 1873 in Hove,Sussex but the rest of the children were born in Tunbridge Wells from 1875 onward, suggesting that David and his family took up residence in Tunbridge Wells in early 1875.

When David’s first wife died in Tunbridge Wells in 1885 he remarried, this time to Henrietta Beake (1864-1933) on July 15,1885 at Urchfont, Wiltshire. She had been born in Devizes, Wiltashire.After the marriage the couple returned to Tunbridge Wells  where they had 10 children between 1885 and 1907.

The 1891 census, taken at 15 Rochdale Road, Tunbridge Wells gave David as a shop dealer. With him was his wife Henrietta; his son George, a grocer worker born 1877 and five other children, including Reginald (born 1887) who was attending school.

The 1901 census, taken at 86 Auckland Road (image opposite dated 1905) gave David as a butcher worker. With him was his wife Henrietta; his son Thomas, a 19 year old grocers worker; his son Reginald, age 14, a domestic house boy and six other Carey children, the eldest of whom were attending school.

The 1911 census, taken at 86 Auckland Road gave David as a cattle slaughterman. With him was his wife Henrietta and four of their children. The census recorded that they were living in premises of 4 rooms; that they had been married 25 years and had 9 children, all of whom were still living.

A second photo of the Carey family is given opposite. This one, provided by a decendent of the family, shows David and his family at the wedding of his daughter Dorothy Mabel Carey June 1916 in Tunbridge Wells, which is stated to have been taken above the families bakery shop on Grosvenor Road. At the time this photo was taken Reginald would have been age 19 and it is believed that he is shown in the back of this photo.

David died in Tunbridge Wells March 9,1924 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery. His wife Henrietta died in Tunbridge Wells in June 1933 and was buried in the same cemetery as her husband on June 2nd.


As noted above Reginald was living with his parents and siblings at the time of the 1901 census as 86 Auckland Road where at that time he was working as a domestic house boy.

On June 8,1908 Reginald married Harriett Mary Scott (1888-1967), one of four children born to Walter Scott (born 1860) and Elizabeth C. Scott (born 1867). At the time of the 1891 census at Burham, her father was working as a blacksmith. Harriett had been born in Burhan, Kent and died in the 2nd qtr of 1967 in Eastbourne, Sussex.

The 1911 census, taken at 16 Crescent Road (Image opposite), Tunbridge Wells gave Reginald as “cycle maker employer”. With him in premises of 6 rooms was just his wife Harriett, who was given as Mary, born 1888 in Burham, Kent. The census recorded that they had been married 2 years and had no children. A review of birth records shows that there was just one child from this marriage namely Irene May Carey (1911-1979) who was born in Tunbridge Wells on October 17,1911. This marriage ended in divorce in 1916.

Reginald’s second marriage was to Kate/Kathleen Eason (born 1888) on March 6,1918 at Marylebone, London and with her had a son Robert Anthony Carey (1919-1971) who was born in Tunbridge Wells on November 12,1919. Kate was the daughter of Henry Eason and Emma Eason,nee Trigg.

A review of local directories gave the following listings. A postcard view of Grosvenor Road looking north from 5 Ways is shown below .

1913-1918……….Reginald Carey, 34 Grosvenor Road and 16 Crescent Road, cycle agent (dealer)

1922…………………Reginald Carey, 34 Grosvenor Road and 16-17 Crescent Road, cycle agent (dealer)

1934…………………Reginald Carey (Tunbridge Wells) Ltd, cycle agents 34 Grosvenor Road and 16-17 Crescent Road.

No listing for Reginald was found in the 1938 directory indicating that he had retired from business sometime after 1934 and before 1938.

Reginald died in Tunbridge Wells on December 19,1944 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on December 23rd. His death was announced in The Courier on December 22,1944.

Reginald’s second wife Kathleen Carey died in 1966 and was cremated February 7,1966 at Newham, having died February 1st.

In the introduction I provided the information about Reginald from The Courier of December 22,1944.


As noted from the above directories, Reginald established a cycle dealers business on Grosvenor Road and Crescent Road soon after his marriage in 1908, and before that time had been a resident of the time since his birth in Tunbridge Wells in 1887.

The 1911 census, taken at 16 Crescent Road recorded him as a “cycle maker employer” suggesting that in addition to selling cycles he also manufactured them. It is expected that he made and sold both bicycles and motor-cycles although his great love was for motorcycles, which he raced in the Isle of Mann TT (Tourist Trophy) races . These races were an annual event that had begun in 1907 where there the time trial races were held on public roads that had been closed to traffic for the race. On the internet one can find a great deal of information and photographs of these TT races. Although several photographs show these races none were found specifically naming Reginald Carey as the rider. A generic photo of one of these events is shown above.  Motorcycling and bicycle riding and racing were very poplar events in the early 1900’s and a number of men operated cycle businesses in Tunbridge Wells and several worked as motor mechanics and cycle mechanics  on both motorcars and motorcycles.

Reginald was for many years an active member of the Nevill Golf Club and was a keen golfer. Shown opposite is a Photochrom postcard view of the Nevill Golf Club during WW 1. Details about the history of this club and others in the town were given in my article ‘The History of Golf in Tunbridge Wells’ dated July 10,2012.

Regarding Reginald’s interest in flying, the Courier of December 22,1944 stated “He was always interested in flying, and he was associated at one time with Sir Alan Cobham”.  Details about Reginald’s interest and association with flying were not found but the Sir Alan Cobham referred to was Sir Alan John Cobham, KBE.AFC  (1894-1973) who is described on the Wikipedia website as an English aviation pioneer. A photo of him is shown opposite. Alan was a member of the Royal Flying Corps during WW 1 and became famous as a pioneer of long distance aviation. After the war he became a test pilot for de Havilland. He was knighted in 1926 and in 1927 he starred as himself in a British war film called ‘The Flight Commander’. In 1932 he started the National Aviation Day displays-a combination of barnstorming and joyriding in which teams of up to 14 aircraft toured the country. These continued until the end of the 1935 season. A fascinating man of whom you can read more about on such websites as Wikipedia. His





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