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

Date: September 5,2018


This article is a supplement to my article entitled ‘ The History of 6 Madeira Park’ dated August 7,2015.

In the original article I provided a detailed history (with several photographs) about 6 Madeira Park which began as a large private residence but in the post WW1 era up to 1954 was known as “St Ermins Private Hotel”.

Although in the original article I provided a list of occupants of the building from 1893(when it was built) up to 2015, when it was known as Milwood House, a seniors home run by the Aged Pilgrims Friend Society I provided only a selection of information about its occupants.

Since that time further research was conducted on the Alfred Ashford King and his wife who ran the St Ermins Private Hotel from about 1923 up to the time of the death of Alfred Ashford King at the hotel in 1937.

The focus of this article is on Alfred Ashford King(1870-1937) and his family with an emphasis on the time that he and his wife Clara Emma King (1867-1936) ran the hotel. Shown above is a trade postcard showing the hotel (dated 1927) while under their proprietorship.


From my article of August 7,2015 I gave the following overview about the building, below which is a list of the known building occupants from 1893 to 2015. This building, still known as Milwood House, is still in operation in 2018.

The home at 6 Madeira Park was one of several built in 19th and 20th century in the Madeira Park Development by the well-known and prolific builder Louis Beale(1853-1939). Development of Madeira Park began in 1893 when the firm he founded by the name of Louis Beale & Sons made their first application for the development, and No. 6 became Louis’s home and sales office. He was still there in the early 1900’s but by 1911 he and his family had moved to 11 Linden Park, another development he was associated with.

The home itself was larger than most in the development and sat on larger grounds as well, and for these reasons it is understandable that the home and grounds were ripe for later redevelopment. No. 6 remained as a single family dwelling until at least 1913 and perhaps until the end of WW 1. By 1923 No. 6 became a private hotel , operating under the name of “St Ermins Private Hotel”. The name St Ermins  relates back to a Ermine de Reims, a 6th century Catholic nun. There is also Ermine Street, a major Roman Road in England that runs between London and York. Many other uses of the name can be found including today a large 4 star hotel in London called St Ermins.

St Ermins in Tunbridge Wells  was run by Arthur Ashford King and his wife until 1937. By 1938 the hotels proprietor was Sydney Wilcocks who was the stepson of Arthur Ashford King. By 1946 its proprietor was Mrs Clance Fitton. By 1950 Mrs Eva Cheesman ran the hotel and she was followed up to at least 1953 by Mrs Eva Pickering.

In the mid to late 1960’s the hotel became a rest home called St Ermins Rest Home and run from about 1969 to 1971 by Dorothy M. Cosstick. By the late 1970’s the rest home was taken over by The Pilgrims Friendly Society, who in the 1930’s had their premises at 6 Cambridge Gardens under  matron Miss M.A. Evans in 1930 and by matron Miss E. Bridgland in 1934. This society was still at No, 6 Cambridge Gardens in 1938 and possible for some time after that. This Society, now called Pilgrims Homes, was established in the 19th century as a result of concern for the plight for destitute elderly people who were in need of proper care, and from its early beginnings the society expanded its operations in many parts of Britain and continues today with several homes, but only the one in Tunbridge Wells at 6 Madeira Park, which goes under the name of Milward House. Shown above is a modern photograph of Milward House.

The following list of known occupants of 6 Madeira Park is based on a review of genealogical information, newspaper accounts and various other records. All dates are approximate, based on the dates given in the source records.

1893-1903…………Louis Stephen Beale and family

1911………………….John Robert Bell

1913………………….Mrs Florence Broughton

1923-1937…………St Ermins Private Hotel ,6 Madeira Park (Mr & Mrs A. Ashford King, proprietors)

1927…………………R. Thomson, St Ermins, Madeira Park

1938………………….St Ermins Private Hotel,6 Madeira Park (Sydney Willcocks, proprietor)

1939-1945…………St Ermins Private Hotel,6 Madeira Park

1946………………….St Ermins Private Hotel ,Madeira Park(Mrs Clance Fitton, proprietor)

1950………………… St Ermins Private Hotel ,Madeira Park (Mrs Eva Cheesman, proprietor)

1951-1953………….St Ermins Private Hotel,Madeira Park (Mrs Eva Pickering, proprietor)

1954…………………. St Ermins Private Hotel, Madeira Park

1969-1971………… St Ermins Rest Home, 6 Madeira Park (Dorothy M. Cosstick)

1971………………….. Aged Pilgrims Home, 6 Madeira Park

1972-2015…………..Milward House, 6 Madeira Park (Pilgrims Homes)

Shown opposite is a 1909 os map on which is marked in red the location of No. 6 Madeira Park. As can be seen from the map No. 6 was larger than most of the homes built in the development and sat on large grounds, making it an ideal candidate for a change in use and redevelopment. The 1911 census noted that this home had 16 rooms, considerably larger than most.

The home was built by local builder Louis Beale (1853-1939) who with the aid of his sons operated the business under the name of Louis Beale and  Sons. It is noted in the book ‘The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells “(2004) by the Civic Society that in 1893 Beale made the first application for development of this residential subdivision and since No. 6 became his residence and sales office it is believed by the researcher that it was built in 1893.

Maps of Madeira Park throughout the 20th century, such as the one from 1987 show that the several additions had been made to 6 Madeira Park after its use as the St Ermins Private Hotel. Details about changes to the building from 1977 onwards can be found in my original article and also online from the Planning Authority website.


Alfred Ashford King’s birth was registered at Islington, London (where he was born) in June 1870. He had been baptised at Islington St Michael Church on July 3,1870.

Alfred was one of thirteen children born to Jonathon King (1836-1912) and Emily Elizabeth King, nee Ashford (1840-1905).

Jonathon King had been born October 28,1836 in London and died April 25,1912 at Islington. His wife who he married May 22,1861 at St Pancras had been born in Sydney,Australia, the daughter of engraver Edward Ashford. She died December 18,1905 in Islington. A photograph of her taken in 1861 is shown opposite. At the time of their marriage Jonathon was the proprietor of a large stationers shop.

The 1871 census, taken at 20 Caledonia Road in Islington gave Jonathon King as a stationer. With him was his wife Emily; six of their children (including Alfred) and one domestic servant.

The 1881 census, taken at 304 Essex Road in Islington gave Jonathon King as a stationer. With him was his wife Emily and ten of their children (including Alfred); one visitor and two domestic servants. Alfred’s brother Harry (born 1863) was working for his father as a stationer. Shown opposite is a modern view of 304 Essex Road when the premises of Elson Builders Merchants. The shop front today looks much like it did in 1881.

The 1891 census, taken at 304 Essex Road in Islington gave Jonathon King as a stationer employing others. With him was his wife Emily and eleven of their children, including Alfred who was working for his father as a stationer’s warehouseman. Two of Alfred’s siblings were also working in the family stationers business. Alfred’s sisters May and Ethel were working as elementary school teachers.

The 1901 census, taken at 304 Essex Road in Islington gave Jonathon King as a stationer on own account at home. With him was his wife Emily and their eleven children, including Alfred who was working for his father as a stationers warehouseman. Several of his siblings were also working in the family business. Alfred’s sisters May and Them were working as assistant school mistresses.

The 1911 census, taken at 304 Essex Road in Islington gave Jonathon King as a widower with the occupation of “retired Valentine card maker”. With him was his son Alfred with the occupation of “ Christmas card maker on own account” and son William Herbert King, age 34, a “traveller in hosery employer”. The census recorded that they were living in premises of six rooms. Shown above left is a card bearing the name of J. King London and to the right is one of his Valentine cards. Shown below is a Christmas card by Alfred.

Probate records gave Jonathon of 304 Essex Road, Islington when he died April 25,1912. The executor of his 3,600 pound estate was his son Ernest Edward King (1868-1921), a buyer.

Alfred Ashford King married the widow Clara Emma Willcocks (1867-1936) in the 4th qtr of 1912 at Thanet, Kent.

Clara Emma Willcocks had been born in Margate, Kent as Clara Emma Munns and was one of at least six children born to Samuel Holland Munns and Mary Jane Munns. Her birth was registered in Thanet, Kent in he 4th qtr of 1867.

The 1871 census, taken at 40 High Street in Margate gave Samuel Holland Munns as a shoemaker employing one man and born 1831 in Margate. With him was his wife Mary Jane (born 1833 in Margate) and five of their children (including Clara Emma Munns) who was attending school. Also in the home was one domestic servant.

The 1881 census, taken at 40 High Street in Margate gave Samuel Holland Munns as an alderman and shoemaker employing five workers in his business. Also there was Samuel’s wife Mary Jane and six children, including Clara Emma Munns (a scholar) and two servants.

The 1891 census, taken at 46 High Street in Margate gave Samuel Holland Munns as a hotel keeper. With him was his wife Mary Jane Munns and four of their children (including Clara) ; one domestic servant and one cousen. Both Clara and her sister Charlotte(age 15) were working for their father as “hotel assistants”. Her brother Henry (age 17) was a baker and his brother Charles (age 15) was a baker’s assistant, working for his brother in his bakery business.

In the 1st qtr of 1895 Clara Emma Munns married Charles James Robert Willcocks in Thanet, Kent. Charles James Robert Willcocks had been born 1868 in Islington and was one of at least six children born to William J. Willcocks a pianorforte maker born 1831 in Middlesex, and Anne (Annie) Maria Willcocks who was born 1833 in Middlesex. Charles had been baptised March 6,1868 at Islington St Mary.

The 1881 census, taken at 55 Burnsbury Road in Islington gave William James Willcocks as a pianoforte maker. With him was his wife Annie and six of their children (including Charles James Robert Willcocks who was in school). Also there was one domestic servant. At that time James sister Helen (age 20) was a teacher of music and his sister Clara(age 17) was a dressmaker. The rest of the children were all attending school.

The 1891 census, taken at 55 Burnsbury Road in Islington gave Annie M. Willcocks as a widow and head of the household and working as a pianoforte dealer. With her was five of her children including Charles James Robert Willcocks who was a pianoforte maker. Annie’s daughter Florence,age 18, was a music teacher. The other two daughters in the home had no occupations.

The 1901 census, taken at Harringay, Hornsey, Middlesex gave Charles James Robert Willcocks as a piano maker employer. With him was his wife Clara Emma Willcocks (nee Munns) and their children Cyril(age 5), Sydney (age 3) , Ronald(age 2) and Harold, age 5 mths. Cyril was born in Islington and the other children were born at Harringay.

Up until his marriage to Clara Emma Munns Charles Robert Willcocks ran the successful pianoforte makers business begun by his father.

The 1911 census, taken at 35 & 37 Harold Road in Kingswear, Margate gave Clara Emma Willcocks as a widow with the occupation of ‘boarding house keeper”. With her was her son Cyril,age 15 who was in school ; her son Sydney, age 13 in school and her son Ronald, age 12, also in school. Also there was a cousin and one domestic servant. The census recorded that Clara had five children but only three were still living. It also noted that the family was living in premises of 23 rooms.

As noted earlier ,Alfred Ashford King married the widow Clara Emma Willcocks (1867-1936) in the 4th qtr of 1912 at Thanet, Kent. There is no record of the couple having any children which is understandable given their ages at the time of the marriage.

Sometime in the early 1920’s Alfred and his wife moved to Tunbridge Wells and moved into a large home at 6 Madeira Park, which they named the St Ermins Private Hotel.  It is clear from the prior occupation of Clara that she had experience running a boarding house and her father Samuel Holland Munns had been a hotel keeper. Alfred and his father’s background were as stationers and makers of Christmas and Valentine greeting cards.

As noted earlier Alfred and his wife Clara were the proprietors of the St Ermins Private Hotel from at least 1923 until Alfred’s death at the hotel in 1937. Clara had died at the hotel in 1936.  From the list of proprietors of this hotel given earlier one can see that from 1938 to 1945 the proprietor of the hotel was Sydney Willcocks, who was the son of Clara’s from her previous marriage, and who was born 1898 at Harringay.

A review of newspapers for Tunbridge Wells turned up a number of references to Mr & Mrs Ashford King, a sample of which are given below.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of August 31,1928 reported on a marriage at St Stephen’s Church,Warwich Road, Newbury by the Rev. A.G. Edwards of Sydney Arthur Willcocks (Clara’s son referred to above) “the elder son of Mrs A. Ashford King, and the late Mr Charles Willcocks, of St Ermins Hotel, Tunbridge Wells. Sydney married Mildred I. Smith, the daughter of Mrs I.M. Smith. Details about Sydney and his wife and family were not investigated apart from his tenure as the proprietor of St Ermins Private Hotel after the death of his stepfather in 1937.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser of January 11,1929 reported on a criminal matter involving  missing money and “the stopping of a check after finding the money was missing. He knew the prisoner who was a waiter at the hotel. Alfred Ashford King, the proprietor of the hotel said Clark came to the hotel in answer to an advertisement but he did not give satisfaction……”

In 1932 articles in the Courier appeared regarding the planning of Passion flowers on the grounds of the St Emins Private Hotel by Alfred Ashford King. One dated September 2,1932 reported “A reply from Canada-A recent inquiry by Mr A. Ashford King concerning the growing of Passion flowers has brought another reply, this time from Canada….” Shown opposite is a photo of a passion flower. A second article, this one dated July 22,1932 gave “ Passion Flower in Bloom-Some four years ago Mr A. Ashford King of St Ermins Private Hotel, Madeira Park, planted one or two roots of Passion Flower in front of his house, but was told by…..”

Passiflora, known also as the passion flowers or passion vines, is a genus of about 550 species of flowering plants, the type genus of the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly tendril-bearing vines, with some being shrubs or trees. They can be woody or herbaceous. Passion flowers produce regular and usually showy flowers with a distinctive corona. The flower is pentamerous and ripens into an indehiscent fruit with numerous seeds. It must have been a beautiful sight to see this flower in bloom in front of the hotel.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of October 30,1936 referred to A. Ashford King and others in connection with the proposed printing of an Advertising Association Town Guide.

Throughout the 1930’s various articles appeared about funerals in the town which A. Ashford King and his wife attended and provided gifts and wreaths.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of May 29,1936 reported on the death of the wife of Alfred Ashford King. In part is stated “ Clara Emma King, beloved wife of Alfred Ashford King of St Ermins Hotel passed away peacefully but suddenly on May 236,1936”. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery May 28,1936.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of October 29,1937 reported “ Mr A. Ashford King of St Ermins Hotel had given his old Valentine cards to the London Museum and his old Christmas cards….” The website of the V& A Museum recorded in their collections that Mr. A. Ashford King had bequeathed an album of Christmas Cards to the museum.

The website of the London Museum gave the following “Valentine's Day cards were big business in Victorian London, and stationers competed to be the most experimental and eyecatching. See some of the weird and wonderful highlights of over 1,700 Valentine’s Day cards in the museum collection. All of these cards were designed and printed right here in London. Most of them were made in the workshops of one Islington based stationer, Jonathan King, who ran a card making studio next door to his shop on the Essex Road.”

A book entitled ‘ Christmas Collectables’ gave “ One of the biggest collectors of Christmas cards was a gentleman named Johnathon King who turned his Islington house into a museum. In the 1890’s his collection consisted of around 163,000 different cards dating from 1862 to 1895, which weighed seven tons. The whole collection was destroyed in 1918 by a house fire”.

Probate records gave Alfred Ashford King of St Ermins Hotel, Tunbridge Wells when he died December 9, 1937. The executor of his 3,766 pound estate was his stepson Sydney Arthur Willcocks, tourist agency clerk. As noted above Sydney took over the running of St Ermins after his stepfathers death and was still running it up to the end of 1945.  Alfred was buried near his wife in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery December 13,1937.

The Courier of December 10,1937 announced the death of Alfred Ashford King “that occurred suddenly yesterday (Thursdary) morning. He was 67 years of age, was well known in Tunbridge Wells, particularly for his work on the committee of the Hotels, Boarding and Apartment Houses Association. He was also a member of the Tunbridge Wells Advertising Committee. The funeral will take place on Monday at the Borough Cemetery. Messrs R. Weekes are in charge of the arrangements”. The R. Weekes referred to was from the well- known Weekes family who ran the Weekes department store on the north east corner of Mount Pleasant Road and Grove Hill Road. Apart from their retail business they had been involved since early times in the funeral business.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of December 17,1937 printed the following obituary for Alfred. “ The funeral of Mr. Alfred Ashford King of St Ermin’s Maderia Park, who’s death we reported on last week, took place at the Borough Cemetery on Monday, the interment being preceeded by a service at Christ Church conducted by the Rev. J.B. Cowell”. Following this a long list of mourners was given and a list of those who layed wreaths, among which were wreaths layed by the Tunbridge Wells Hotel Association, The Boarding and Apartment House Association and the Royal Tunbridge Wells Advertising Association.

Sydney Arthur Willcocks had served in WW1. A 1919 listing for him gave him as a “private R.F, No. 50326” living at Highbury New Park. His death was registered in the 1st qtr of 1965 at Worth, Sussex.



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

Date: August 12,2018

My interest in this topic stems from the recent discovery of three postcard views published by J.R. Wilmshurst of Tunbridge Wells , all of which were taken by an unknown photographer for him to sell in his shop. These postcards, all dating from the 1920’s ,  show a view of the patients entrance to the General Hospital on Grosvenor Road ; a view of the Women’s Ward in the hospital and one view of the Children’s Ward. All three images are presented in this article along with one example of the back of the postcards. It appears most likely that James sold the postcard views of the Hospital, and perhaps others, from his butchers shop on Crescent Road. A rather unusual, but not unheard of, place of business from which to sell postcards.

What makes the existence of these postcards interesting, if not unusual, is the fact that James Row Wilmshurst (1871-1955) did not run a stationer’s or newsagent’s shop, where postcards were normally sold.

James had been born in Cranbrook, Kent in 1871, one of seven children born to master butcher Jonathan Wilmshurst (1844-1915) and Elizabeth Wilmshurst, nee Row (1846-1926). His birth was registered in Cranbrook in the 1st qtr of 1871.Throughout the 1870’s James lived with his parents in Cranbrook and it was there that he received his early education.

At the time of the 1871 census, taken on the High Street in Cranbrook, Jonathan was a master butcher. With him was his wife Elizabeth ; their son James, one lodger and one sister of Jonathan’s.

At the time of the 1881 census, James was attending school in Hastings, Sussex and living as a boarder.

At the time of the 1891 census James was working as a stationer’s assistant in Blackheath, London and it was there that he was first introduced to the sale of postcards.

The 1901 census, taken at Stone Street in Cranbrook, Kent gave Jonathan Wilmshurst as the proprietor of a butchers shop. With him was his wife Elizabeth; one domestic servant and two of their children including their son James who was working for his father as a butcher.

In the 4th qtr of 1901, at Wandsworth, James married Kate Southon who had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1870 and was one of four children born to Julius A Southon (born 1835), who was ran a musical instrument dealers business with his son Charles. Her mother was Sarah Ann Wilmshurst (1838-1915).

James and his wife were living in Cranbrook up to the end of 1909 and during that time the couple had three children. Birth records for their remaining two children show that they were all born in Tunbridge Wells between 1910 and 1913, suggesting that in 1909 the family moved to Tunbridge Wells.  James and Kate had the following children (1) James Hedley Wilmshurst born 1904 in Cranbrook and died 1997 at Worthindom (2) Julius John Wilmshurst born 1907 in Cranbrook and died 1987 at Shepway, Kent (3) Marion Kate Wilmshurst born 1908 in Cranbrook, Kent and died 1990 in Bromley, Kent (4) Nelliw Elizabeth Wilmshurst born 1910 in Tunbridge Wells and died 1991 in Bromley, Kent (5) Evelyn Grace Wilmshurst born 1913 in Tunbridge Wells and died 2004 in Bromley, Kent.

The 1911 census, taken at 32 Crescent Road,Tunbridge Wells, gave James Row Wilmshurst as a butcher, running his own butchers shop. With him was his wife Kate and their children James Headley, age 7; Marion Kate, age 2 and Nellie Elizabeth, age 4 mths. Also there was James widowed 72 year old mother in law, Sarah Ann Southon. The census recorded that the family were living in premises of 4 rooms; that they had been married 10 years and that all four of their children were still living.

James father Jonathan died July 9,1915 in Cranbrook and his wife died there December 18,1926. The headstones upon which their names and other information are inscribed are located in the cemetery at St Dunstan’s Church in Cranbrook. Several headstones of other members of the Wilmshurst clan are also located there.

A review of local directories gave the following listings (1) 1913-James R. Wilmshurst, butcher, 32 Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells (2) 1922-James R. Wilmshurst, servants registry office, 61 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells (3) 1930 and 1934-James R. Wilmshurst, umbrella maker, 57 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells.

The absence of a 1938 Tunbridge Wells directory for James suggests that he and his wife and spinster daughters left the town sometime between 1934 and 1938 and moved to Bromley, Kent.

James Row Wilmshurst died on Bromley, Kent in the 4th qtr of 1955. His wife Kate had died in Bromley in 1941. 




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

Date: August 27,2018


Brian Hydn Peake became a well-known designer/architect in the 1950’s and 1960’s and among his work were four homes he designed in Tunbridge Wells, as well as some minor design commissions. He is perhaps best known for his modern building designs constructed for The Festival of Britain in 1951 in Kensington.

Brian was born July 29,1912 in Kingston,Surrey and was the son of Hydn Oliver Peake, a company director,born October 8,1879 in Lancashire, and Gertrude Maude Mary Peak, born April 20,1977 in Lancashire.

This article reports on the man and his career with a concentration on his work in Tunbridge Wells.


For the purposes of this article the patriarch of the family was Hydn Oliver Peake who had been born October 8,1879 in Atherton, Lancashire. His wife was Gertrude Maude Mary Peake,nee Smith, who was born April 20,1877 at Atherton, Lancashire. The couple were married in Atherton, Lancashire in 1910.

The 1911 census, taken at 108 Dora Road in Wimbledon, a residence of seven rooms, gave Hydn as a secretary of an East India merchants company. Living with him was his wife Gertrude and one domestic servant.

Hydn and Gertrude had two children, namely (1)Brian Hydn Peake on July 29,1912, who’s birth was registered in the 3rd qtr of 1912 at Kingston, Surrey. (2) Gordon Oliver Peake born May 3,1914 who’s birth was registered in the 2rd qtr of 1914 at Kingston, Surrey. Brian Hydn Peake went on to become a well-known designer/architect and his brother Gordon a Chartered Accountant.

Directories of 1911 to 1915 gave the family living at Wimbledon, Surrey.

Brian and his brother Gordon lived with their   parents up to at least 1945 at ‘Courtlands’ on Park Road in Barnstead, Surrey.  Both sons received a good education. Where Brian received his training was not established but no doubt began his architectural career articling with other architects in London. Brian was given as an architect in a 1939 directory.

A passenger list from 1939 noted that Gordon Oliver Peake departed from Quebec, Canada on the EMPRESS OF BRITAIN of the Canadian Pacific Line and arrived at Southampton on August 31,1939. He was travelling alone and given as a chartered accountant with his home address given as ‘Courtlands’ in Barnstead, Surrey.

In the 1940’s Gordon Oliver Peake married Sheila Margaret Peake, nee McGreath (1918-1997).

A passenger list noted that Gordon Oliver Peake departed from Wellington, New Zealand on the CORINTHIC of the Shaw Savill and Albion Company Ltd and arrived at Liverpool on April 15,1947. He was travelling alone and listed as an accountant of London.

A passenger list gave Gordon Oliver Peake as a company director when he departed from New York, USA on the QUEEN ELIZABETH of the Cunard Steamship Company Ltd and arrived May 21,1956 at Southampton. He was travelling alone, with his home address given as Heatherdale, St George’s Hill, Weybridge, Surrey.

A passenger list noted that Gordon Oliver Peake departed from Durban, South Africa on the CAPETOWN CASTLE of the Union Castle Mail Steamship Company Ltd and arrived at Southampton November 28,1958. He given as a company director and a resident of Heatherdale St George’s Hill, Weybridge, Surrey. His wife Sheila, given as born January 9,1918 (housewife) was travelling with him.

Later in his career Gordon  and his wife moved to Scotland. Shelia died in Scotland January 29,1987 and Gordon died there January 18,1997. Both of them were buried at the Kenmore parish churchyard in Kenmore, Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Shown opposite is a photograph of their headstone.

A passenger list gave Brian Peake departing from New York, USA on the NORMANDIE of the French Line and arrived at Southampton August 23,1937. He was given as an architect and was travelling alone. His address in England was given as ‘Courtlands’ Barnstead, Surrey.

In the 4th qtr of 1947, at Westminster, Brian married Leslie De St Croix Oswald-Smith. Whether the couple had any children was not determined.

Directories of 1948-1953  gave Brian H. Peake at 34 Earl in Kensington & Chelsea. Directories of 1957 to 1964 gave Brian H. Peale at 7 Chesterfield Gardens in London. His wife Leslie was listed with him at that address. A directory for 1965 gave Brian at 7 Charles Street in Westminster.

When Brian died was not definitively established but may have been the Brian Peake who died June 9,1995 at Penryn,Cornwall as this was the only death record found for a Brian Peake with a year of birth of 1912. What became of his wife was not established.

Hydn Oliver Peake died in the 4th qtr of 1977 at Wandsworth, London and his wife Gertrude died in the 2nd qtr of 1966 at Wandsworth.


Brian Peake is referred to in books and articles about the projects he worked on as both a designer and architect. He began his career in London working with or for other architects and later started his own practice. A number of references to other architects employed by him were found from the 1950’s.

From a list of projects by Brian Peake from a publication called “Modern House” it was noted that there were a total of twelve projects attributed to him spanning the years 1953 to 1967. These included  the following (1) Courtlands with a SW outlook over Hampstead Golf Course in Barnet in 1957 (2) 9 Blenhim Road in Bedford Park, Ealing in 1957 (3) 11 Sheldon Avenue in Highgate, Haringey in 1958 (4) 20 Campden Hill Gardens in Holland Park, Kensington in 1967 (5) A house in Redhill, Surrey in 1960 (6) Melrose, West Bracklesham Drive in Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex in 1956. In addition a total of six projects of his in Kent were listed namely (1) one of group of three bungalows in Bidborough in 1961 (2) Stone End, Otham Street in Otham in 1953 and the following four projects in Tunbridge Wells (1) Dragon Gate, Rusthall Place, Langrton Road in 1959. The client for this work was given as Mrs Oswald Smith. (2) Creggans, Dunorlan Park, Pembury Road in 1961 (3) Dunorlan House, Dunorlan Park, Pembury Road in 1959. This house was a bungalow built in 1960 for Captain and Mrs De Mahler.  (4) House and surgery in Tunbridge Wells in 1953.  The client for this project was Dr Oswald Smith.

It was also noted that Brain is credited as the architect of a bungalow in Nevill Park for 1960.

Shown above and below are images of projects Brian undertook in Tunbridge Wells. The articles from which these images were from were not found and no information was given as to the homes in which this work was undertaken. The first two in the series of three images pertain to Cupbord Fittings  from The Architect and Building News of July 6,1953. The last image bears the caption Fireplace in House at Tunbridge Wells which appeared in The Architect and Building News of July 30,1953.

Found on the internet are images and details of the Antrim State Tourist Agency building on Dover Street from The Architect and Building News of July 6,1953, designed by Brian Peak.

An Architectural Magazine of 1953 gave a six page article with photographs of the interior of a house in Maidstone, the work of Brian Peake.

An article entitled  Advance Planning in Lighting Reconstruction by Howard Robertson FRIBS March 10, 1942 stated in part “ Mr Brian Peake, who described himself as an architect…………” Brian was not found in any directories of British architects and the author of the aforementioned article suggests the Brian called himself an architect but may not have actually qualified as one, although her certainly possessed the skills of an architect. Brian was listed as an architect in The Architectural Journal of August 12,1948 gave Brian Peake as an architect and is named as such in other publications.

The projects above are but a sample of his work output. Perhaps the work his most known for was The Science Museum for The Festival of Britain in 1951 which installation took place at the South Kensington Road entrance on Exhibition Road. His screen of hexagonals is featured in many publications as an example of modern architecture. Shown below left is a photo of this installation and below right is an aerial view of the Exhibition site.





Dragon Gate at Rusthall Place is a substantial home located at the west end of  Nevill Park on the south side of Langton Road just west of the intersection of Rusthall Road. Both Creggans and Dunorlan House are substantial homes recently selling for 1-2 million pounds located in the small subdivision between Dunorlan Park itself and Pembury Road just east of Sandrock Road.


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

Date: September 10,2018


The Agricultural Show in Tunbridge Wells has always been a popular event with many fine examples of livestock shown with  the owners of the best of them awarded a medal. Recently I came across the image of a medal awarded to Sir Winston Churchill in 1949 for his best of show roan shorthorn dairy cow ‘Gratwicke Beatrice 2nd’ . The front and back of this medal is shown in this article along with related information.

The shorthorn bead of cattle is perhaps the oldest and most popular breed in England, prized for their milk production and meat. A roan shorthorn is a cow of mixed red/white colour. An example of one is shown above.


The Chartwell estate, located in Westerham, Kent was purchased by Churchill in 1922 and he lived there until his death in 1965. Due to financial difficulties Churchill was not able to afford the cost of maintaining the estate and so it came into the possession of the National Trust in 1946 who gave him and his wife Clementine a life tenancy. The year 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of this home being open to the public. The estate consisted of a grand home and some 80 acres of developed grounds.

In 1947 Churchill purchased Chartwell farm which adjoined his property, as well as some other farms in the area, and put his son-in-law Christopher Soames in charge of managing the farm. Christopher had married Churchill’s youngest daughter Mary. They made Chartwell Farm their home and raised their family there. By 1948, he was farming approximately 500 acres. Churchill kept cattle and pigs and also grew crops and market vegetables on his farms.

One of Churchill’s more sensible acquisitions was a herd of dairy shorthorn cattle that lived at Chartwell Farm. As a famous owner of the breed it came as no surpise when Churchill was elected a member of the Shorthorn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He was also interested in some more unusual breeds of cow, such as the White Park. During WWII Churchill actually sent three of this protected breed to the USA for protection.

In 1949 Churchill entered some of his prized cattle into the Tunbridge Wells Agricultural Show where his roan shorthorn dairy cow ‘Gratwick Beatrice 2nd was fortunate enough to win a medal and the 10 pound first prize for the best cow of the breed. Shown above is the front and back of the medal he was awarded, which forms part of the collection of the National Trust.

A keen naturalist, Churchill’s love of animals had drawn him to purchase Chartwell Farm.  The farm however was not a financial success and in November 1951 his prize-winning Shorthorn herd was sold by auction to make way for a larger herd of more profitable milk-making Jerseys. By 1952 Churchill’s operating losses on the farms exceeded £10,000 a year. By the end of the decade, the farms and the livestock had been sold.

A somewhat more lucrative venture was the owning, and later breeding, of racehorses. In 1949, Churchill had purchased Colonist II, which won its first race, the Upavon Stakes, at Salisbury that year, and subsequently netted Churchill some £13,000 in winnings. In 1955 Churchill bought the Newchapel Stud and by 1961 his total prize money from racing exceeded £70,000.

The awarding of the medal in 1949 to Churchill was reported on in the Sussex Agricultural Press July 22,1949  and in the Sevenoaks Chronicle on the same date. In part the articles stated that Churchill’s Gratwick Beatrice 2nd had been awarded the silver medal for the best female pedigree shorthorn at the Tunbridge Wells Agricultural Show.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of July 14,1950 announced “ Cattle-Success was Mr. Winston Churchill in the dairy shorthorn class. He repeated last year’s success with his roan cow, Gratwick Beatrice 2nd which will also be shown at Tunbridge Wells next week”.



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