ALL ABOUT
TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Page 4

 

GEORGE MERCER -FRUITERER AND GREENGROCER

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

Date: August 10,2018

 

George Mercer (1865-1946) was born in Southborough, one of four children born to George Mercer senior(1834-bef 1891), a bricklayer, born  in Tunbridge Wells, and his wife Sarah Ann Tichener (1839-1929) born in Southborough.

At the time of the 1871 census, taken on London Road in Southborough George senior was working as a bricklayer. With him was his wife Sarah and his son George who was attending school.

At the time of the 1881 census George was working as an assistant grocer for William Wood who ran a grocers shop at 148 London Road in Southborough.

At the time of the 1891 census George was running a greengrocers shop and living with his widowed mother (a laundress) and his three siblings at 6 Victoria Road, Southborough.  His brother Stephen was working at that time as a postman. His sister Edith was at home helping her mother and his sister Mabel was attending school.

In the 2nd qtr of 1891 George married Celia Mouser (1858-1920) in Southborough and with her had two children Mary Edith (b1892 Southborough) and George Henry (b1894 Southborough). Celia had been born in Southborough.

The 1901 census taken at George’s shop at 45 London Road, Southborough gave George as a fruiterer and greengrocer employer. With him was his wife Celia and their two children. Shown above is a postcard view of London Road (circa 1914) in which a view of Georges shop can be seen on the left. Also shown standing at the entrance to the shop is George and his delivery boy. Next door to his shop was the newsagents shop of Fielder & Jarrett, who carried, among other items,  a selection of postcards produced for them by Harold H. Camburn of Tunbridge Wells.  Although information on the back of this postcard is not known the style of the handwritten caption on the front and the quality of the image strongly suggest it was a postcard produced by Harold H. Camburn and likely for his client Fielder & Jarrett.

The 1911 census, taken at 45 London Road gave George as a fruiterer and greengrocer. With him was his wife Celia and his daughter Mary Edith who was working for her father as a fruiterer’s assistant. George’s son George Henry was working as a boys clerk with the Civil Service.

Local directories listed George Mercer as a fruiterer and greengrocer of 45 London Road from 1882 to 1918. As no directories beyond 1918 were found for him it appears he had retired from business.

George Mercer died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1946 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on November 28,1946. His widow Celia had died in the 2nd qtr of 1920 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on May 5,1920.

 

THE GROCERS SHOP OF GEORGE FREDERICK STARTUP

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

Date: August 9,2018

OVERVIEW 

George Frederick Startup (1898-1956) was born in Southborough, the son of George Frederick Startup senior (born 1875 in Southborough) and Alice Elizabeth Startup who was also born 1875 in Southborough. George senior worked most of his life in Southborough as a paper hanger, painter and decorator.

At the time of the 1901 census George was living with his parents at 30 Forge Road but by the time of the 1911 census he was living with his parents and three siblings in premises of 5 rooms at 16 Speldhurst Road.

In 1923 George married Alma Gladys Sales and with her had at least one child, namely Alan Edward Startup who became a plumber and hot water fitter.

George decided that the grocery business was for him and opened a shop at 2 Nursery Road in High Broom , which shop was located on the north east corner of Nursery Road and Powder Mill Lane. In this 2 sty red brick building he ran his grocers shop and above it he and his family lived. Directories of 1918 to 1938 record him as a shopkeeper at that address. Local grocers shops carried a wide range of products and catered to the needs of local residents who would walk to his shop on a regular basis. Local shops of this type have all but gone now, replaced by large shopping centers with chain supermarkets.

In this article I present information about George and his family; two images of 2 Nursery Road and some information about his business. Shown above is a postcard view of his shop taken in the 1920’s by Tunbridge Wells photographer Harold H. Camburn.

LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION

The photograph of the shop given above shows the building being located on the north east corner of Nursery Road and Powder Mill Lane. Most of the homes in the area of the shop were terrace or semi- detached homes. The shop, and in fact the homes in this area, like most of the buildings in High Brooms ,were constructed of red brick manufactured by the High Brooms Brick and Tile Company. Shown below is a postcard view of this company and to the right of it is a group photo of its workers.

 








On the wall of George’s shop can be seen the name “ Nursery Road” and a sign for Colmans Starch and Nestles Milk. On the door of shop note the ‘OXO’ sign and in the window is a poster advertising the film ‘ The Prisoner of Zenda, a film based on the book of that name by Anthony Hope published in 1894. This book has come out in both theatrical performances and several films (1913 to 1952)over the years.

Local grocery shops such as this were an almost necessity until large grocery chains took over and drove out the little local shops. George and others like him sold a large range of products to meet the needs of local residents, who typically in the early 19th century, still did their shopping on a daily basis. Another interesting feature in the postcard view of George’s shop is the presence on the road of a small hand cart, on the side of which was the name of George’s shop, and in which was carried the groceries to be delivered. Typically some young lad was hired to make the deliveries and in some cases deliveries were made on a bicycle fitted out with a carrier on the front, such as the one shown opposite.

Local directories of 1918 to 1938 gave listed George Frederick Startup as a shopkeeper at 2 Nursery Road. When he started his business was not established but no listing for him was found in a 1913 directory. When his business ended was not established but no directory listings for it appeared after 1938 and in 1939 he and his wife and son were living at 38 Southborough Road and George at that time was a foreman house decorator. It is likely that George attended the 1914 Grocers Conference held in Tunbridge Wells. An image of a pin for this event is shown below.

The Civic Society book ‘The Shock of War’ reported on how WW 1 affected the life of residents in Tunbridge Wells. Rationing and food shortages were a sign of the times during the war and often there were long lineups at local shops by customers hoping to get what they needed before the shop ran out of goods. Being in the grocery business during the war was difficult and stock for the shop was often difficult to obtain. Customers, waiting in line, especially on a hot day would sometimes get a little hot under the collar and occasionally the constabulary had to be called in to settle disputes.

Eventually the shop at 2 Nursery Road Closed. Shown opposite is a modern image of the building. Note that in this image the building is no longer a shop. It was converted into at least two flats in the 20th century, a use it retains today. Note also from the image that the original shop entrance is gone and that the building underwent exterior and interior renovations. The homes along Nursery Road look much the same on the exterior as they did in the early 20th century.

G.F. STARTUP AND FAMILY

The birth of George Frederick Startup was registered in Tonbridge in the 4th qtr of 1898 but he was born in Southborough on November 2,1898.

He was the eldest of at least four children born to George Frederick Startup senior who was born in Southborough in 1875 and his wife Alice Elizabeth Startup who was also born 1875 in Southborough.

The 1901 census, taken at 30 Forge Road in Southborough gave George Frederick Startup senior with the occupation of “house painter worker”. With him was his wife Alice and his son George junior.

The 1911 census, taken at 16 Speldhurst Road, Southborough, gave George senior as a paperhanger. With him was his wife Alice and their children (1) George, in school (2) Jack, born 1902 Southborough who was also in school (3) Percy, born 1905 in Southborugh, in school (4) Hylma Alice, born 1909 in Southborough. The census recorded that the family were living in premises of 5 rooms; that the couple had been married 13 years and that they had four children, all of whom were still living.

In the 4th qtr of 1923 George Frederick Startup married Alma Gladys Sales. The marriage was registered in Tonbridge but the couple were married in High Brooms. Alma was born April 29,1898 in Southborough. She was the eldest child of John  and Elizabeth Sales. The 1911 census, taken at 77 Colebrook Road, High Brooms, gave John Sales as a labourer born 1868 in Tunbridge Wells. With him was his wife Elizabeth (born in Tunbridge Wells 1870) and their two children Alma  and Ernest John Baden Sales (born 1901 in Southborough). Both of the children were attending school at that time. As Colebrook Road is near the shop of George Frederick Startup no doubt Alma’s parents bought their groceries there. George and Alma may have known one another earlier while attending school but it is expected that she came to know George while going to his shop.

A 1939 directory gave the listing George Frederick Startup, a foreman house decorator. With him was his wife Alma Gladys Startup born April 29.1898 and their son Alan E. Startup who was born November 6,1924 and working as a plumbers apprentice. Their residence at that time was 38 Southborough Road, Southborough.  

Probate records note that George Frederick Startup was of 38 Southborough Road in High Brooms when he died January 11,1956. The executor of  his 2,038 pound estate was his son Alan Edward Startup, plumber and hot water fitter. George was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery January 15, 1956.

Probate records for Alma Gladys Startup gave her of 3 Albion Road, Tunbridge Wells, when she died December 11,1958. The executor of her 962 pound estate was her son Alan Edward Startup, a plumber. She was buried December 17,1958 in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery.

 

ALFRED TAYLOR -JEWELLER AND WATCHMAKER

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

Date: July 14,2018

OVERVIEW

Alfred Taylor was born 1859 in Homerton, London, one of at least seven children born to pawnbroker William Thomas Taylor and Alice Taylor, nee McNight who were married in London in 1843.

William Thomas Taylor’s parents were William Henry Taylor, a pawnbroker of Bethnal Green and Sophia Taylor. At a criminal trial regarding theft and possession of stolen property held February 1842 William Thomas Taylor testified that he was an assistant working at his father’s pawnbrokers shop in Bethnal Green and gave evidence regarding certain items he identified from the theft.

By the time of the 1861 census, taken at South Hackney, Alfred was living with his parents and siblings and attending school.

Alfred grew up learning the pawnbrokers trade from his father and gained a knowledge of jewellery and watches brought into the family shop. In the 1870’s and 1880’s Alfred  worked for a jeweller and watchmaker in London and became skilled in this trade. Sometime after 1881 and before 1886 Alfred moved to Tunbridge Wells and opened his jewellers shop.

In 1886 Alfred, then a jeweller of Holy Trinity, Tunbridge Wells, married Annie Stevens, a spinster of Holy Trinity, Richmond, in Richmond, Surrey. She was born 1859 in Marylebone and was the daughter of William Stevens (then deceased), a wine merchant.

Alfred and his wife Annie went on to have four children all born in Tunbridge Wells between 1888 and 1897.

The 1891 census, taken at 6 Calverley Road gave Alfred as a jeweller employing others. With him was his wife Annie ; two of his children; and one servant.

Sometime before 1901 Alfred and his family moved into a fine 2 sty  ten room Victorian Home called Cambridge Lodge, at 12 Camden Hill. This home, located on the south side of the street was next door to the well-known entrance lodge to Camden Park, called Crocodile Lodge. Cambridge Lodge was the residence of many respectable people, some of whom were listed in Debrett’s Peerage and in ‘The Charitable Ten Thousand’ of 1896. 

At the time of the 1901 census Alfred and his wife Annie; four of their children and two servants were residing at Cambridge Lodge. Alfred was given as a watchmaker employing others.

Alfred’s business was so good that by 1910 he had two shops, namely one at 20 Mount Pleasant Road on Mount Pleasant Hill  and one at 6 Calverley Road near the intersection at 5 Ways.

The 1911 census, taken at Cambridge Lodge gave Alfred as a jeweller employing others. With him was his wife Annie; three of his children including his son Alfred Leslie Taylor who was a student engineer. Also there was one domestic servant.

Alfred Taylor died at Cambridge Lodge July 9,1919. The executors of his 21,556 pound estate was his wife Annie and his spinster daughter
Annie Louise Taylor.

THE TAYLOR FAMILY AND BUSINESS

Alfred was born, according to census records, in 1859 at Homerton, London. His birth was registered in the 4th qtr at Stepney.

Alfred’s parents were William Thomas Taylor, born 1821 at Bethnal Green and Alice Taylor, nee McNight, born 1821 in Bethnal Green. William Thomas Taylor, a pawnbroker, was the son of William Henry Taylor, a pawnbroker of Bethnal Green and Sophia Taylor. Alice McNight was the daughter of Alexander McNight, an excise officer, and Louisa McNight, nee Spurr. William Thomas Taylor married Alice McNight  April 23,1843. At the time of this marriage both William and Alice were living at Morning Lane and William’s occupation at that time was that of a pawnbroker.

At the Central Criminal Court of February 28,1842 a case was heard regarding the theft and possession of stolen property involving seven people. A number of witnesses testified at the trial including William Thomas Tayor who said “ I assist my father I, a pawnbroker in Bethnal Green Road. I produce a brooch and gold ring pawned December 15th in the name of Ann Bennett, Three Cut Lane by the prisoner Elizabeth Fernley”.

The 1851 census, taken at 15 Adelphie Street in Bethnal Green gave William Thomas Taylor as a pawnbroker, With him was his wife Alice and five of their children, all born in Bethnal Green between 1844 and 1851. Also there was one visitor and one servant.

The 1861 census, taken at South Hackney gave William Thomas Taylor as a pawnbroker, With him was his wife Alice and seven of their children, including their son Alfred. Also there was one domestic servant and William’s widowed father William Henry Taylor, age 72, born 1789 at Spitelfields.

In the 1870’s and early 1880’s Alfred Taylor worked in London for a jeweller and watchmaker. He first became interested in this line of work having handled in the family pawnbrokers shop numerous watchers and items of jewellery. The 1871  and 1881 census taken in London record Alfred as single and working as a jewellers assistant.

Sometime after 1881 and 1886 Alfred moved to Tunbridge Wells and worked as a jeweller. On September 15,1886 Alfred, a bachelor and a jeweller of Holy Trinity Tunbridge Wells married at Holy Trinity Church in Richmond Surrey Annie Stevens, a 27 year old spinster of Holy Trinity Richmond. The marriage record noted that Alfred was the son of William Thomas Taylor, a pawnbroker, and Annie was the daughter of William Stephens (deceased) a wine merchant.

The 1891 census, taken at Alfred’s jeweller shop 6 Calverley Road. Gave Alfred as a “jeweller gold employer”. With him was his wife Annie, his daughter Annie Louise (born 1888) and Gladys (born 1890). Both of the children were born in Tunbridge Wells. Also there was one domestic servant. His shop was located on Calverley Road just east of the 5 Ways intersection. A postcard view of this location is shown opposite and shown below is a pocket watch by Alfred. Marked on the back of the key for this watch is his address at 6 Calverley Road.

The 1901 census, taken at his private residence Cambridge Lodge, 12 Camden Hill, gave Alfred as a watchmaker employing others. With him was his wife Annie and his children Annie, Gladys, Alfred Leslie and Margaret who were born in Tunbridge Wells between 1888 and 1897. Also there was one domestic servant and none nurse maid.

Alfred’s business prospered and in 1910 he had two shops. One of them was at 20 Mount Pleasant Road on Mount Pleasant Road (photo opposite) and the other at 6 Calverley Road. This information was found in an advertisement for his business in the Kent & Sussex Courier of November 18,1910. A 1903 directory gave Alfred’s residence at Cambridge Lodge. Camden Hill and a 1918 directory listed Alfred’s shop at 20 Mount Pleasant Road.

 









The 1911 census, taken at Cambridge Lodge, 12 Camden Hill, gave Alfred as a jeweller employing others. With him was his wife Annie and three of his children, among whom was his son Alfred Leslie Taylor who as a student engineer. Also there in this 2 sty ten room Victorian residence was one domestic servant. The census recorded that the couple had been married 24 years and had four children, all of whom were still living. Shown above left is a photograph of Cambridge Lodge and a map showing the residence next to Crocodile Lodge which was the well-known entrance lodge of Camden Park.

Probate records gave Alfred Taylor of Cambridge Lodge, Tunbridge Wells when he died July 9,1919. The executors of his 21,556 pound estate were his widow Annie Taylor and his spinster daughter Annie Louisa Taylor.

 

 

                                                                                  GO TO PAGE 5                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web Hosting Companies