Page 5



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

Date: December 26,2018


The post office at Langton Green was a sub-post office of Tunbridge Wells and located about three miles west of Tunbridge Wells.  Mail was sorted in Tunbridge Wells and delivered to the post office in Langton where , in the early years,it was picked up by residents of the village. Outgoing mail was taken to the post office in Langton and then conveyed to Tunbridge Wells for sorting and sent on to its intended recipient. Later in the history of this post office staff were added and until 1949 it was also a sorting office employing six postmen, with two postal vans and a messenger boy.  The post office was also the site of the telephone exchange where a telephone operator directed calls. Money orders could also be purchased there and it was also the telegraph office.

When the post office in Langton Green was established was not determined but a review of directories and other records show that it was in existence by 1870. Its location on Langton Road, just east of The Greyhound Inn (later The Hare) was shown on the 1870 OS map presented above and highlighted in red.

According to Ed Langridge, Chair of the Langton Green Village Society the post office shown on the 1870 OS map and later maps up to and including the 1920’s show that the site of the post office had not changed but in the 1930’s it moved “up a few doors towards The Hare public house” where it remained until closed in 2008 .

The first postmaster was in fact a postmistress by the name of Harriett Peerless (1842-1933) who was found at the post office at the time of the 1871 census living with her husband Louis, a carpenter. Census records and directories record her as the postmistress up to at least 1918.

By 1922 the postmistress was Mrs R.E.J. King who was still there in the early 1930’s. By 1938 the postmistress was Mrs Helen Bertha Manktelow (born 1881) who was the wife of Arthur William James Manktelow (1876-1915) but who was a widow when she took over as postmistress, her husband having been killed in France during WW1 and who’s body was never recovered.

In the 1940’s the postmistress was Mrs Frank Overy (1865-1949) Turner. Frank was born in Langton Green and ran the local grocers and drapers shop there from about 1890 to at least 1911.He was one of several children born to grocer and draper John Turner and his wife Emma. Franks wife was Ellen Mary Turner, nee Holder who was born in 1863  and was Franks second wife who he had married in 1899. His first wife Annie ,born in 1864,died in Langton Green in 1895. In 1939 Frank and Ellen were living in Tunbridge Wells at 10 Stephens Road, and it was there that Frank died in 1949. After her husband’s death Ellen returned to Langton Green to run the post office. She died in 1959 and was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium. Presented in this article are some postcards by Tunbridge Wells photographer and postcard printer/publisher Harold H. Camburn , on the backs of which show they were made by him for Mrs Frank Turner of the Langton Green post office, which postcards she sold at the post office.

In recent times the postmistress was Pat Wood who was there when a decision was taken to close the sub-post office in January 2008, one of the governments cost saving measures which saw the closing the other post offices in the country.


Shown opposite is a postcard from 1923 showing the “ Old” post office, which is the small building on the left with the post office sign on the front. This small building was an addition which had been put on the front of the house shown behind it. Just beyond it was another building attached to the same house at the front which for many years was the grocers shop of John Turner and which for sixty years until it recently closed was the butchers shop of David Lovett. Shown below is a recent photo of the Lovett butcher shop and to the left of it can be seen the former old post office. Later the old post office became  known as Walnut Cottage.

The 1898 OS map and later maps up to about 1930 label and show the post office in the same location as the 1870 OS map.

Ed Langridge, who I referred to earlier stated “It (the post office) moved in the 1930’s from its original location up a few doors towards The Hare public house and wad definitely there during WW2 as a brick wall was built to protect it from any bombing. It was also a sorting office until 1949 employing six postmen, two vans and a messenger boy. This was the building the post office operated from up to the time of its closure in 2008 but since then it has been converted into a private house”.

From a review of local directories, census records and other references the following list  was compiled. It is not a complete list and all dates are approximate unless referred to in the information given after the list.

1870-1918…………Mrs Harriett Peerless

1922-1930’s………Mrs R.E.J. King

1938…………………Mrs Helen Bertha Manktelow

1940’s……………….Mrs F.O. Turner

2008………………….Pat Wood


Mrs Harriett Peerless was listed as the post mistress in directories throughout the period of 1871 to 1914.

Harriett Peeless was born as Harriett Sawkins in 1841 at Twyford, Hampshire. Her birth was registered in the 4th qtr of 1841 at Winchester, Hampshire.

The 1861 census, taken at 4 Robertson Lane in Hastings Sussex gave Harriett as a servant employed by Francis Stewart and his family. He was a gentleman and land holder.

On October 12, 1865 she married Louis Peerless in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1871 census, taken at the post office in Langton Green gave Louis Peerless as a carpenter, born 1841 in Speldhurst.With him was just his wife Harriett who was given as the postmistress.

The 1881 census, taken at the post office in Langton Green gave Louis as a carpenter. With him was his wife Harriettt (telegraph worker) one visitor and their two daughters Ellen,age 15, born in Speldhurst (a teacher) and Annie,age 13, born in Speldhurst (in school).

The 1891 census, taken at the post office gave Louis as a builder employer. With him was his wife Harriett (postmistress) and their daughter Annie.

The 1901 census, taken at the post office gave Harriett as married with the occupation of postmistress. With her was her daughter Annie who’s occupation was given as “ postal clerk/dressmaker”.

The 1911 census, taken at the post office ( premises of 4 rooms) gave Harriett as “postmistress employer at home”. With her was her daughter Anne (Annie) Sawkins Peerless who was an assistant postmistress. The census recorded that Harriett had been married 46 years and had two children who were both living.

A death record gave Harriett as born 1841 and that she died in Langton Green in the 3rd qtr of 1933 but her probate record gave her of Gabriel Cottage , Romford Road, Pembury when she died September 12,1933. She was given as a widow at that time. The executor of her 27 pound estate was Sarah Jane Martin (wife of James William Martin).  


Mrs King was found  in a 1922 directory as “ Post and telegraph, Money Order and Telephone call office, Mrs R.E.J. King sub postmistress. Letters arrive from Tunbridge Wells”.  Although a directory of 1930 and 1934 listed the post office the name of the postmistress/ postmaster was not given but perhaps Mrs Kings was running it during those years also.

Because of her common surname no other definitive information was found for her.


A directory of 1938 gave “ Mrs Helen Bertha Manktelow, sub post office Langton Road. By the 1940’s she was gone from the post office.

Helen Bertha Manktelow was born as Helen Bertha Stratford September 24,1881 at Herstmonceux, Sussex. She was one of 10 children born to Charles Stratford (1840-1905) and Mary A. Stratford, born 1844.

At the time of the 1891 census, taken at Garden House in Culverden, Tunbridge Wells Helen was living with her father Charles (a coachman), her mother Mary and five of her siblings. Helen at that time was attending school. Her brother Samuel, age 21, was also a coachman and her sister Catherine, age 17, was a dressmaker. The 1901 census recorded the family still living in Tunbridge Wells.

In 1905 she married Arthur William James Manktelow (1876-1915) the son of George Manktelow (1853-1896) and Mary Ann Manktelow, nee Barker (born 1851). The marriage was registered in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd qtr of 1905.  Helena and Arthur had the following children (1) Ivy Kathleen Nellie Manktelow (1877-1917) who later became the wife of Mr Hollamby (2) Nelson George Manktelow (1909-1952).

At the time of the 1911 census Arthur and his wife and two children were living at 2 Spa New Cottages, 45 Harmony Street in Denny Bottom, Rusthall. Arthur at that time was a printer/ machine minder. The census recorded that they were living in premises of 5 rooms; that they had been married five years and had just the two children.

In 1914 Arthur enlisted for service in WW1 with the RWK Reg ( 16016) and later moved to the London Regiment 13th Btn Royal Fusiliers (61399). He was a private when he was killed in France in 1917, his body never being recovered.  His name is recorded on the Arras Memorial in France and also on the Rusthall War Memorial. His military records gave his wife Helen living at 19 Rustwick, Rusthall Park, Tunbridge Wells.

Probate records for Helena Bertha Manktelow gave her of 19 Rustwick, Tunbridge Wells, a widow who died March 8,1949 at The District General Hospital, Tunbridge Wells . The executors of her 2,628 pound estate were were her married daughter Ivy and her son Nelson who was a post office engineer.  Helena was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium March 12,1949.


The Turner family had been long- time residents of Langton Green. The 1871 census, taken at the grocers shop in Langton Green gave John Turner as born 1830 in Langton Green and at the time of this census he was a grocer and draper employing two men and one boy. With him was his wife Emma, age 32 and four children, including a son Frank Overy Turner who was born 1865 in Langton Green. Also there was one governess and one domestic servant. Of John’s Children perhaps the most interesting was his daughter Emma Louisa Turner (1867-1940) who was born June 9,1867. She was described as being “ small in stature but very wiry and quite capable with a punt or rowing boat”. She took up photography after meeting Richard Kearton in 1900  and became a noted ornithologist and a pioneering bird photographer. Many examples of her work can be found on the internet. For 20 years she lived and worked for part of each year in Norfolk in a home she designed called ‘Water Rail’ after her first bird photograph. She became the first ‘watcher’ with the National Trust’s Scott Head. She was one of the first 10 women of the Linnean Society and the first female honorary member of the British Ornithological Union. Although not a graduate of university she was made an honorary member of the British Federation University. She was a keen gardener at her home in Girton in Cambridgeshire and kept terriers which she used to flush birds so that she could count them. She lost her sight two years before her death which occurred on August 13,1940.

The 1881 census, taken at the grocers shop in Langton Green gave John Turner as a widow and a grocer and draper. With him was his daughter Mary and two domestic servants. Next door to John was Joseph Turner, age 49, single, born in Langton Green, with the occupation of gardener. With him was one housekeeper and one general servant.

The 1881 census, taken at The Village, Penshurst, gave Frank Overy Turner as an apprentice grocer/draper employed by John Edwards in his grocer/draper shop. Frank’s birth was registered in the 4th qtr of 1864 at Langton Green.

The 1891 census, taken at Langton Green gave Frank Overy Turner as being employed as manager of a grocers shop. With him was his first wife Annie Turner, nee Bakdwin, born 1864 in Watchet, Somerset. The marriage between Frank and Annie was registered in Tonbridge in the 1st qtr of 1889. Annie died in Langton Green in the 2nd qtr of 1895.

Frank’s second marriage was to Ellen Mary Holder which was registered at Steyning, Sussex in the 4th qtr of 1899. Ellen had been born 1864 in Brighton, Sussex.

The 1901 census, taken in Langton Green gave Frank Overy Turner as a grocer and drapers shop keeper, employed by others. With him was his wife Ellen and their two children Enid, born 1895  and Myrtle , born 1900. Both of the children were born in Langton Green. Also present was one visitor and two domestic servants.

The 1911 census, taken in Langton Green gave Frank as a grocer/draper employer. He was given as married but his wife Ellen was absent from the home at that time. With him was his children Myrtle and John Trevor Turner who was born 1903 in Langton Green. Also there in premises of 10 rooms was one domestic servant.

Frank and Ellen also had a son Bernard Frank Turner who married Nellie Gertrude  Griffiths October 28,1915 at Alton, Middlesex. She was the daughter of James Griffiths, a licensed distiller and Bernards father was given as Frank Overy Turner, a grocer.

A directory of 1939 gave Frank O. Turner as born September 9,1864 with the occupation of master storekeeper retired. With him was his wife Ellen M. Turner given as born June 22,1863. At that time the couple were living at 10 Stephens Road in Tunbridge Wells.

Probate records gave Frank Overy Turner of 10 Stephens Road, Tunbridge Wells when he died December 12,1949. The executors of his 4,590 pound estate was Enid Mary Fowler (wife of John Britton Fowler) and Philip Stanley Turner, surgeon commander Royal Navy.

Probate records gave Ellen Mary Turner of Chesterfied Nursing Home. 52 Woodbury Park Road, Tunbridge Wells, widow, when she died November 16,1959. The executors of her 1,230 pound estate were Myrtle Mary Ruffell (wife of Bernard Ruffell) and Philip Stanley Turner, surgeon captain Royal Navy. Ellen was cremated at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium November 10,1959.

While the post office was run by Mrs F. O. Turner a number of postcard views of Langton Green were sold in the post office, which postcards were produced by Harold Camburn of Tunbridge Wells who was a photographer and printer/publisher of postcards. Shown in this section are some of the postcards he produced, the backs of which bear the name “Mrs F.O. Turner, post office, Langton Green”. In some examples Mrs F.O. Turner is given as the "publisher" but all cards bear the name of Camburn and show his logo of a wishing well.



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

Dated; November 29,2018


The impetus of this article was the discovery in November 2018 of a family photo album offered for sale on Ebay containing some 30 photographs of the Rye and White family, views interesting enough to warrant researching.

Thomas Edward Rye (1879-1928) had been born in Tunbridge Wells May 15,1877 one of seven children born to William Rye (1842-1912) who at the time of the  1851 census, taken at Chiddingstone, was a farmer of 96 acres employing three lads. Thomas’s mother was Emily Rye, nee Carter (1839-1913).

Thomas  lived in Tunbridge Wells and Bidborough in the years leading up to his military service in the late 1890’s, after which service he returned to Tunbridge Wells. At the time of the 1901 census, taken at 2 Murray Road he was living on his own as a boarder and employed as a railway worker with the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (L.B.S.C.).

In the 4th qtr of 1905 Thomas married Alice Maude White (1883-1959) and between 1907 and 1920 had eight children  who were all born in Tunbridge Wells.

At the time of the 1911 census Thomas and his wife and two of their children were living at 2 Grove Hill Cottages in premises of four rooms. Thomas at that time was a railway engine stoker with the L.B.S.C. railway.  Records of the railway show that in 1899 he had worked as a cleaner but by 1919 onwards he was an engine driver.

Sometime in the mid 1920’s he retired from the railway and moved to Ticehurst, Sussex with his wife. Thomas died in Ticehurst March 24,1928. He was survived by his wife (who died November 11,1959 in Hellingly, Sussex and all of his children.

The family album contains an interesting collection of family photographs but unfortunately not all of the images were labelled. A selection of these images, particularly those where those in the image are identified, are presented in this album, including the photograph shown above of Thomas and his wife and of Thomas as a young man.


Thomas was born May 15,1877  in Tunbridge Wells. He was one of eight children born between 1867 and 1881 to William Rye (1842-1912) and Emily Rye, nee Christer (1839-1913). Shown opposite is a photo of Thomas in the back row with three of his siblings.

The Rye family came from an agricultural background. Thomas’s grandfather Thomas Rye (born 1796 at Leigh, Kent) was a farmer of 96 acres employing four lads at the time of the 1851 census. With him was his wife Rebella, born 1802 in Penshurst, and six of their children, including Thomas juniors father William. The family were still living at this farm when the 1861 census was taken and at that time Thomas’s father Thomas was working on his fathers farm.

The 1871 census, taken at 11 Waterloo Place St Stephen, Tonbridge, gave William Rye as born 1842 in Penshurst. With him was his wife Emily born 1839 in Tonbridge. Also there were two of their children.

The 1881 census, taken at Lower Street Lane in Tonbridge (next to Lower Green Farm) listed William Rye as an agricultural labourer. With him was his wife Emily and five of their children, including their son Thomas Edward Rye.

The 1891 census, taken at Bidborough Street in Bidborough, Kent gave William Rye as an agricultural labourer. With him was his wife Emily and six of their children, including Thomas Edward Rye, who’s occupation was not given.

Military records show that he was attested January 6,1896 and joined the 97th Foot Soldiers (Reg. No. 4664) and that he was about 5’-6” tall with a religion of C of E.

The 1901 census, taken at 2 Murray Road, Tunbridge Wells gave Thomas Edward Rye living as a boarder with Selina Chidgery, a 52 year old widow and three other boarders. Thomas’s occupation was given as railway worker with the L.B.S.C. railway.

In the 4th qtr of 1905, in Tunbridge Wells Thomas Edward Rye married Alice Maude White (1883-1959) and with her had the following children (1) Phyllis Maude Rye (born 1907) (2) Thomas Edmund Rye (1909-1973) (3) William Rye (1912-1993) (4) Ethel Mary Rye (1914-1993) (5) Edith Patience Rye (1916-2003) (6) Edward Charles Rye (1918-1993) (7) Stanley George Rye (1920-1979). Shown above is photo of Thomas and Alice at the wedding.

Railway records note that on May 4,1899 Thomas worked for the L.B.S.C as a “cleaner new hand”. On March  6,1919 he was with the same railway but working as a driver. On July 15,1920 he was at the L.B.S.C railway at the Tunbridge Wells station working as a driver.

In the later part of the 1920’s he retired from the railway and moved to Sussex but died in Tunbridge Wells March 24,1928. He was survived by his wife (who died November 11,1959 in Hellingly, Sussex and all of his children. Shown above is his death notice.


The connection between the White and Rye families is by the marriage of Thomas Edward Rye (1877-1928) to Alice Maude White (1883-1959) in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1905 in Tunbridge Wells.

Alice Maude White had been born 1883 in Cranwich, Thetford, Norfolk, one of nine children born to Daniel John White (1837-1889) and Elizabeth Maria White, nee Reeve (1840-1912). Both of her parents lived out their entire lives in Norfolk.

At the time of the 1891 census Alice was living with her widowed mother and three siblings at Whittington, Northold, Norfolk.  Her mother was a laundress. Her sister Rebecca was a dressmaker; Her brother Thomas was a malster. Her brother Charlie was a labourer. Her brother Arthur was in school as was Alice herself.

The 1901 census, taken at St George Hanover Square, London gave Alice as a domestic servant.

Although the photo album contains over two dozen images of family members the two above are of particular interest as they were taken at the photographic studio of Samuel Payne Jenkins in Tunbridge Wells. The two young women are believed to be the daughters of Thomas and his wife.



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

Date: November 5,2018


The Baggesen nursery was one of two large nurseries in the village of Pembury in the period of 1927 to 1968. The nursery was begun by Niels Immanuel Baggesen (1876-1961) who had been born in Denmark and Began his working career in the horticultural field as a gardener but by 1911 he was working as a nursery manager in Oxfordshire. He had married Sarah Grace Thompson (1876-1951) at Lewisham, Kent and with her had five children before 1911 including a son John Henry Baggesen who was born 1904 in Cardiff, Wales where the family had lived between 1902 and about 1908 before moving to Oxfordshire.

Neils passed away in Pembury in the 4th qtr of 1960. His son John Henry Baggesen had grown up with the same love of plants as his father and joined him in the nursery business in Pembury and when his father retired and later passed away John  took over the running of the business.

The nursery that operated appears in directories under various names and suggests from the names that the site of their nursery changed over time. It’s a somewhat confusing group of references making tracing the nursery business in the village difficult. From 1927 until about 1934 it was referred to as the “Woodsgate Nursery”  and as “The Shack,Woodgate Nurseries” but by 1937 directories gave “Baggesen’s Nurseries (1936) Ltd, Hastings Road”, which listing was still in use up to and including 1950. In 1950 the first appearance of Neil’s son John is found given from 1950 to at least 1955 as “Baggesen Jn. H.,nurseryman, Highfield Nursery, Hastings Road”. Directories of 1961 to 1963 gave “ J.H. Baggesen, nurseryman, Stone Court Nursersies, Lower Green”. The last listing for Baggesen in Pembury was that of 1968 as “ Jn. H. Baggesen, nurseryman, Highfield Nursery, Hastings Road.

In this article I provide information about the Baggesen family with a concentration on the time they were residents of Pembury. Information, maps and photographs are also provided about their nursery (nurseries).


Neils Immanuel Baggesen was born June 5,1876 in Odense,Denmark, and given as the son of Harald Albrecht Emmanuel Baggesen and Marie Baggesen, nee Clausen. There is no indication that Neils parents moved to England and information about Neils siblings (if any) was not investigated. Harald was a “premier Lieutenant of the 2nd Dragon Regiment.

The 1901 census, taken at 38 High Street in Worthing Sussex gave Neils as born 1876 in Denmark and living as a boarder with the William H. Downer family (a fruit grower) and working for him as a gardener no doubt propagating  and planting fruit trees.

In the 4th qtr of 1901 Neils marriage to Sarah Grace Thompson (1876-1951) was registered. 

Sarah Grace Thompson was born February 22,1876 at Catford, Kent  and was one of several children born to John Thompson (born 1828 in Derby,Derbyshire) and Sarah Grace Thompson (born 1838 in Topsham, Derbyshire). At the time of the 1891 census Sarah was the youngest of four children living with their parents at 17 Helvetia Street in Lewisham, Kent. Her father was living on own means; her sister Mary (born 1866 Holborn,Lanc) was a dressmaker worker; her brother William (born 1868 Holborn, Lanc) was a butcher worker.

At the time of the 1901 census Sarah was living as the sister in law to Edward Baker (a police constable) and his wife Mary A. Baker and Mr Bakers two children. Also there was Sarah’s widowed mother Sarah Grace Thompson,age 64.  Mary A. Baker was the married sister of Sarah G. Thompson referred to in the 1891 census above. Sarah at that time had no occupation and was still living with the Baker family up to the time of her marriage to Niels.

The records of the Freemasons listed Niels Immanual Baggesen as born 1876 with the occupation of florist on the date of his joining the Freemasons on May 14,1903 in Cardiff, Wales (the Tennant Lodge).

A 1907 directory listing for Neils gave him as a florist at 35 Albany Street in Cardiff. Wales.

Neils and his wife Sarah had five children according to the 1911 census but by 1911 one had not survived. The four surving children were Harold Immanuel Baggesen born 1902 in Cardiff; John Henry Baggesen born 1904 in Cardiff; Molly Dagmar born 1907 in Cardiff and Thelma Haller Baggesen born February 17,1910 in Carterton, Oxfordshire and died November 11,2010 at Seaford,Sussex. More information about these children is given later but shown opposite is a photo of Thelmas grave.

The 1911 census, taken at Alvescot, Black and Bourton, Oxfordshire gave Neils as a nursery manager worker. With him was his wife Sarah and their children Harold Immanuel, John Henry, Molly Dagmar and Thelma Haller Baggesen, the eldest of which were attending school. The census recorded that the family were living in premises of four rooms; that they had been married 10 years and that of their five children four were still living.

A listing for 1939 taken at Oak Beams on Friday Street in Horsham, Sussex gave Niel I. Baggesen as a consulting horticultural adviser born June 5,1876. With him was his wife Sarah Grace Baggesen (unpaid domestic work) born February 22,1876.

The death of Sarah Grace Baggesen was registered in Tonbridge in 1951.  She died in Pembury May 14,1951 and was buried in the Pembury burial ground. A photo of her grave is shown opposite.

The death of Niels Immanuel Baggesen was registered in Tonbridge in the 4th qtr of 1961 but he passed away in Pembury on December 18,1961.  He was buried in the Pembury burial ground.


As noted from the 1911 census. Neils and his wife Sarah had five children but only four of them were still living at the time of this census. Given below is some brief information about them. Of particular interest are his two sons Harold Immanuel and John Henry Baggesen who worked for at time with their father in the nursery business although John Henry Baggesen was the one who took over his father’s business in Pembury.

A directory for 1939 listed Thelma as a hairdresser. With her was her sister Molly, an insurance clerk, and her brother Harold a landscape foreman heavy worker. They were living at that time at “Viborg” in Pembury which according to the order in which the census was taken appears to be near No. 3 High Street.

[1] HAROLD IMMANUEL BAGGESEN…….. He was born August 30,1902 in Cardiff. At the time of the 1911 census he was living with his parents and siblings in Oxfordshire and attending school.  In 1940 in Pembury he married Elsie Goldsmith(1907-1990) who was born in 1907 and died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1990. Harold and his wife had a son John Neils Baggesen who’s birth was registered in the 1st qtr of 1944. Harolds death was registered in Tonbridge in the 3rd qtr of 1978.  He had died on August 27,1978 and was buried at Pembury September 4,1978.  Elise Goldsmith was born May 18,1907 . Her death was registered in the Tunbridge Wells district in the 4tyh qtr of 1990.

[2] JOHN HENRY BAGGESEN………..He was born June 17,1904 in Cardiff and at the time of the 1911 census he was living with his parents and siblings in Oxfordshire and attending school.  John appears to never been married. His death was registered in Haywards Heath in the 4th qtr of 1985. A passenger list  gave John Henry Baggesen born 1904 Cardiff who departed from Liverpool and arrived September 25,1927 at Boston, Mass, USA on board the ship LACONIA. He was given in the passenger list as a resident of Pembury with the occupation of orchid specialist. He was still single at that time.  A second passenger list gave John Henry Baggesen born 1903 departing from Boston Mass. USA on the ship MAGDAPUR of the Brockleband Line and arrived in London April 11,1929. He was given as a merchant of the Hardy Plant Nurseries in Pembury.  Probate records gave John Henry Baggesen of 2 Kipling Court Winnals Park Haywards Heath west Sussex when he died October 23,1985 with an estate valued at 190,201 pounds.

[3] MARJORIE MARIE G. BAGGESEN……She was born in the 1st qtr of 1906 in Cardiff but died in the 4th qtr of 1908. She was buried November 5,1908 while living on Whitechurch Road, Llanduff,Wales.

[4] MOLLY DAGMAR BAGGESEN……She was born December 24,1906 in Cardiff and was living with her parents and siblings in Oxfordshire at the time of the 1911 census.  She died February 28,2005 at Haywards Heath in a nursing home called ‘Oakwood Court’. She never married.

[5] THELMA HALLER BAGGESEN……..She was born February 17,1910 in Carterton, Oxfordshire and died November 11,2010 at Seaford,Sussex. She married Wilfred W. Kenward(1907-1992) at Lewes ,Sussex April 22, 1940 and with him had three daughters born at Chanctonbury between 1941 and 1946.  Thelma was buried at Lewes Cemetery, Rotten Row, Lewes, Sussex.

Katherine Franklin of the Department of History, University London Birkbeck College gave the following information about the children. As can be seen the children attended school in Groombridge in the pre WW 1 years which strongly suggests that while the family lived in Groombridge Niels worked at Hollamby’s Nursery in Groombridge.

“1913……Aug, John won 3rd prize (small boys) in races at Groombridge Schools treat”

“1913…..Aug. John & Harold both won progress prizes at Groombridge Scfhool with John winning first prize for collecting Queen Wasps (28) and John won a Scripture Certificate. In infants Milly won a Merit Certificate.”

“ 1914……..Feb. Molly had several mentions in report of Groombridge School entertainment”

“1914………July- All three children John Henry, Molly won prizes at school”.

“1914…Oct. School wild flower collection competition in which Harold won a 2nd and Molly a 3rd

“1915…May. Groombridge Scout sports,John (1st) in 100 yards and Harold a 1st in sack race”.

“1915….Dec. Harold saved another boy from drowning in the flooded river at Groombridge”.

“1916….Nov. Both John and Harold won prizes in the school allotment camp”

“ 1916….Dec. Mr Baggesen a member of the Groombridge Welcome Slate Club (32 members away on active service out of 127)”

“1921…July. Molly in school play at High Brooms Girls School”

“1922….Jan. Miss Baggesen appointed Monitress at St Lukes Infant’s School”

“1924…Molly passes 60wpm shorthand at the Technical Institute on Monson Road, Tunbridge Wells.”


An article in a horticultural publication about apple trees, specifically “Niels Baggesen’s Golden Lonicera” (photo opposite) described this hedging plant as being extraordinary as a beautiful, easy and indestructible plant that now graces gardens and public spaces in its millions and is named after Niels Immanuel Baggesen, because he developed it. In part the author states “ Sometime in the second half of the 19th century a certain Neils Immanuel Bassesen was born. Before the century was out, he made the journey to England where he spent the rest of his life. In the 1890’s he was working at Ladd’s Nursery in Swanley, Kent and, by 1900, was a gardener at Kew. From there he moved to Cardiff where he set up a nursery of his own. He married and had two sons, Harald and John, who finally joined him in his last horticultural business, a nursery called The Shack in Pembury, Kent. The London Gazette of August 6,1926 contains a list of aliens to whom certificates of naturalization have been granted by the Secretary of State and who’s oaths were registered during the month of July 1926 which list includes the name of Niels Immanuel Baggesen; Denmark; Nursery Foreman; The Shack, Pembury, Kent July 26,1926. The Shack closed in 1970. In the 1960’s Baggesen was working with Lonicera nitida  and developed from a cutting a genetic fluke. The story of this plants development though is tinges with sadness as Baggesen received no recognition during his lifetime. The Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ only started its well-deserved conquest of the world’s gardens after the nursery in Pembury had closed and was only recognized by the RHS in 1993 with an AGM after his death. During his life he made numerous attempts to gain this coveted award after its introduction around 1967, but was repeatedly rebuffed. Bitterly, he put this down to snobbery. He was an elite plantsman but never a member of the elite. He deserved better and though his horticultural legacy would have been assured even if it rested solely on Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ AGM, he also introduced (among others) the false cypress Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Pembury Blue’ (named after Pembury, Kent) that enjoys similar popularity. Nobody can be that lucky. It also gained its AGM in 1993”.

Given below is a timeline of events related to the Neils and his career by Kathryn Franklin, who I  gave as a reference earlier.

“1926..July, Mr Baggesen displayed (on-competitive) Japanese shrubs at the Pembury Gardens Show”

“1926…Sept. Niels of the Hardy Plant Nursery, Pembury advertised Peonies, also delphiniums”

“1926…Oct. An advertisement appeared in Pembury Village News 78 for a free catalogue”

“1926…Oct. An advertisement gave “ Desireable building plot for sale-full particulars from H.I. Baggesen, Hardy Plant Nursersies,Pembury”.

“1926…Nov. Niels won 2nd prize in the poultry class at the Pembury Gardeners Autumn Show and also had plants on display”.

"1927 – July NIB won silver medal at T/W Flower Show"

"1928 – NIB of The Nurseries, Pem exhibited at Chelsea (no Medal)"

"1928 – June, Motor bike for sale – Baggesen, The Shack, Pem"

"1928 – Oct, NIB crashed his car (see below)"

"1928 – Nov, Advert for Gardener in Swanley, apply B’s Nursery, Pem"

"1929 – June, Messr B’s Nursery won silver medal at RHS Halls"

"1929 – July, advert for someone to learn Nursery work"

"1929 – July, Pemb Flower Show (held on High Gee Meadow), Mr B snr had a display fr Japan & Californian Desert "

"1930 – B’s Nursery won a silver medal at Chelsea for a group of shrubs "

"1930 – July B’s won a silver gilt medal in trade class at T/W Flower Show"

"1932 – Baggesens Nursery adjoins the Woodsgate Guest House, a former 16th century Coach"

"1932 – Aug, Mr B a judge at Goudhurst Show"

"1933 – John B selling a car, c/o The Nursery"

"1933 – Made a non-competitive display at Staplehurst Fete"

"1935 – Advertising Garden Design (Pem 107)"

"1935 – May, Messrs Baggesens Nurseries Ltd donate a tree for Jubilee celebrations in Pembury also one for Castle Lawn, Tonbridge"

"1935 – 4 July won 2nd prize for trade stand at T/W Flower Show "

"1935 – 19 July, Baggesens won 2nd prize for Plants and cut flowers in trade classes at Tonbridge Flower Show"

"1935 – Aug, John Baggesen of Pembury Nurseries gave a lecture to T/W Gardeners Assn"

"1936 – April, meeting of Creditors of Baggesen’s Nursery Ltd held (W C Cooksey, Director).Reformed as Baggesens Nurseries (1936) Ltd"

"1938 – Nov, Niels B on Jury for fatal accident at Hildenborough "

"1939 – J Baggesen played Table Tennis for team Woodsgate"

"1939 – July, won a silver medal for ornamental trees at T/W Show"

"1939 – Oct, advertising help with Wartime gardening"

"1940 –March, HB listed as a chief mourner at funeral of Mrs Goldsmith (future wife’s mother)"

"1940 – March, gifted shrubs to Recreation Ground"

"1941 – Advertising advice on War Time gardening (Pem 107)"

"1941/42 – Feb/Mar, Adverts for veg seedlings, to be ordered in advance"

"1946/7 –often advertising for staff for Landscape Dept "

"1948 – March, Mrs Baggesen of Ripley, Romford Rd, selling pair of unworn shoes "

"1948 – July, A. F Phillips of Messrs Baggesens Ltd of Pembury, a director of Clarks Florist in Dover. Baggesens had recently acquired control of Clarks."

"1949 – March, first advert for John Heny Baggesen (JNH)"

"1949 –11 Nov, BN(1936)Advertising Garden Design (Pem 107)"

"1949 – 18 Nov, JHB Advertising plants at Highfield Nursery (Pem 62)"

"1949 – 25 Nov, seems to be last advert for BN(1936) "

"1949/52 – John H B advertising hedging plants etc, Highfield Nursery (Pem 62)"

A review of local directories gave the following results:

1927…….N.I. Baggesen, nurseryman The Shack and Hayes Wood

1931…….. Baggesen, The Shack, Woodgate Nurseries

1934……..Baggesen, Woodgate Nurseries

1937……..Baggesens Nurseries (1936 ) Ltd, Hastings Road

1938……..Baggesens Nurseries (1936) Ltd, nurseryman and seedsman Tel 107

1940………Baggesens Nurseries (1936) Ltd Hastings Road

1948……..same as 1940

1950……..Baggesens Jn. H. nurseryman, Highfield Nursery, Hastings Road

1950……….Baggesens Nursersies (1936) Ltd, Hastings Road

1955……….Baggesens Jn. H. nurseryman, Highfield Nursery, Hastings Rd

1959……….Jn. H. Baggesen, newsagent High St and nursery Hastings, Road.

1961……….J.H. Baggesen, nurseryman, Stone Court Nurseries, Lower Green

1963……….same as 1961

1968……….Jn. H. Baggesen, nurseryman, Highfield Nursery, Hastings Road.

It is known that a large house on Hastings Road at No. 31 that was called Highfield or Highfield House was demolished in 1995. This residence was located on the north side of Hastings Road west of Belfield Road. In 1899 Highfield was the residence of Robert Mather a justice of the peace. No doubt the home was a large residence located on large landscaped grounds. Baggesen may have borrowed the name for his nursery as he had done for ‘Woodsgate” and “Stone Court” or  the possibility exists that he had leased part of the grounds of Highfield for his nursery. No maps labelling the actual location of his nursery were found.  Today there is a home called “Highfield’ occupied by Nicky Todd, a photographer at “Highfield House 31 Hastings Road” which house may have been a modern replacement for the old Highfield, constructed on part of the site of the old home after 1995.

The Journal of the Kew Gild of 1958 listed “ Baggesen,Neils, ‘Viborg, Pembury Tunbridge Wells 1936”. The reference to ‘Vibortg” was the name of his residence and 1936 referred to the date of incorporation as Baggesen Nurseries (1936) Ltd.

The London Gazette of April 4,1952 gave “ Baggesens Nurseries (1936) Ltd…At an extraordinary meeting of the members of this company held at 2-3 Duke Street, St James, London Tuesday March 25,1952 it was resolved that the company cannot by reason of its liabilities continue in business and that the company would be wound up voluntarily and that Mr. Herbert William Pitt, a chartered accountant of Salisbury, Square House, Salisbury Square be appointed liquidator to wind up the business. A subsequent meeting of creditors of the company was held at 2-3 Duke street and it was resolved the business be wound up. Signed by C.L. Walker, Chairman”.  It appears from this announcement that the business came to an end under that name and after creditors were paid off any residual funds went to John Henry Baggesen who carried on the business under his own name. The local directories confirm this.

Advertisments for the business in Pembury recorded that they sold trees, shrubs, climbing and hedging plants as well as flowering and evergreen shrubs.

The Journal of the Kew Guild of 1961 gave the following “ N.I. Baggesen………With deep regret we record that Niel Immanuel Baggesen died on December 18,1961 at age 85.  Mr. Baggesen was born June 5,1876 at Odense, Denmark. Before entering Kew he worked for 5 years in practical horticulture including eight months at Messrs John Laing and Sons, Catford Nurseries. From there he was at Kew for over 2 years, such a long stay being unusual for a ‘foreigner”. He left Kew in December 1900. After leaving he opened a nursery in Whitchurch, Glamorgan, Wales with a florists shop in Cardiff. Later he travelled south and founded a nursery in Pembury, Kent. He was a keen plantsman, loving trees, shrubs and other flowering plamnts. One photograph sent by his daughter Molly shows him standing by a fine camellin in the front of his house. It was taken during 1951, and being in full bloom he was obviously and rightly very proud of it. We extend our sincere sympathies to his daughter  and to his son John H. Baggesen, who has a nursery in Pembury and carrying on the name in the nursery world”.


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

Date: February 6,2019

The overseas tours of British football clubs in the period of 1890 to 1939 played a very important role in the expansion of football. A large number of teams throughout Britain took part in tours throughout Europe, details of which can be found on the internet.

Among these teams was the Tunbridge Wells Football Club which at times went by the name of the Tunbridge Wells Rangers. Wikipedia and other websites provide details about the history of the club and for that reason I do not provide information in that regard.

The central focus of this article are the tours made by the Tunbridge Wells Club in the period of 1896 to 1913 of which there were a total of seven tours which took place in Belgium and the Netherlands. A list of these tours is given below and shown above for the 1896 tour is a photograph showing the United Brussels and Tunbridge Wells Clubs.

[1]Tour of 1896 

10-4-1896  Bruxelles   Léopold Club-Tunbridge Wells              1-4 W

11-4-1896  Bruxelles   Select Bruxelles-Tunbridge Wells          1-7 W

12-4-1896  Brugge      FC Brugge-Tunbridge Wells                 0-6 W

13-4-1896  Bruxelles   Sporting CB-Tunbridge Wells               0-8 W

[2]Tour of 1897

29-4-1897  Brugge      FC Brugge-Tunbridge Wells                  ?

[3]Tour of 1899  

14-4-1899  Bruxelles   Leopold FC - Tunbridge Wells FC           1-6 W

15-4-1899  Bruxelles   Racing Club -  Tunbridge Wells FC         3-8 W

16-4-1899  Antwerpen   Antwerp - Tunbridge Wells FC              2-2 D

17-4-1899  Bruxelles   United Bruxelles XI  - Tunbridge Wells FC 0-6 W

Shown here is an advertisement  from 1899 showing the names of the players on the Tunbridge Wells team

[4]Tour of 1900

20-4-1900  Bruxelles   Leopold Club - Tunbridge Wells            3-9 W

21-4-1900  Bruxelles   Universitaires Belges - Tunbridge Wells   2-3 W

22-4-1900  Bruxelles   Racing Club Bruxelles - Tunbridge Wells   4-4 D

23-4-1900  Bruxelles   Union St.Gilloise - Tunbridge Wells       2-3 W

NB: hosts second match were a representative squad of the various universities in Brussels

[5]Tour of 1901

?-?-1901  Bruxelles   Racing Club Bruxelles-Tunbridge Wells     0-5 W

[6]Tour of 1912

22-9-1912  Amsterdam   Ajax FC Amsterdam-Tunbridge Wells         2-0 L

[7]Tour of 1913

?-?-1913  Lille       Olympique Lillois-Tunbridge Wells         1-3 W

?-?-1913  Lille       A.A. La Gantoise-Tunbridge Wells          2-2 D

14-9-1913  Amsterdam   Ajax FC Amsterdam-Tunbridge Wells        1-3W

As can be seen from the table the Tunbridge Wells team were very successful winning most of their matches.

The Courier of 1896 announced that the Belgium government had issued for the season of 1896 “ an attractive book giving not only full particulars of the facilities which they offer by boat/rail tours but also most interesting illustrated information”. Perhaps this book or other travel publications by the Belgium government was what attracted the Tunbridge Wells team to make their first tour to Belgium in 1896.

The London Illustrated Evening News of March 21,1896 reported “The Tunbridge Wells Football Club will be touring Belgium at the end of Easter Week”.

The Courier of April 17,1896 reported “ Tunbridge Wells Football Club- The Team’s Tour in Belgium- Brilliant Success. As given in our last issue the team of the Tunbridge Wells Football Club left the town and on Thursday morning of last week to fulfil our fixtures in Belgium. They have not returned under most successful results…..”

In 1899 five football teams toured Europe, among them being the Tunbridge Wanderers who visited Holland; The Tunbridge Wells Club visited Belgium.

The Courier of April 27,1900 reported “ Tunbridge Wells Football Club- The Belgium Tour of the club was brought to a successful termination on Tuesday last, when the team returned to England. Four matches in all were played, of which three were won by the Tunbridge Wells team”. The Courier of Mary 4 and May 11 also provided information about this tour. Shown opposite is a photo of the Leopold Football Club for 1896.

The Courier of September 4,1912 reported “ Tunbridge Club in Holland- The Tunbridge Wells Football team will not readily forget their visit to Amsterdam and the kindly hospitality of the Ajax Club while it can be safely said that never in the history of the town club have their team played before such an enthusiastic crowd…”

The Courier of October 4,1914 reported “ Tunbridge Wells Football Club at Amsterdam- The teams in front of the grand piano (photo shown in the article). The Wells team seated and the Ajax Club standing….” Shown opposite is a photograph of the Ajax Club for 1912-1913.

The Courier of April 11,1913 had an article entitled “ Town Football Club Tour- The Wells team photographed outside their hotel at Lillois”

Had it not been for the breakout of WW1 no doubt more overseas tours would have taken place.



                                      PLEASE COME BACK AGAIN NEXT MONTH FOR ANOTHER
                                                  NEW INSTALLMENT OF ARTICLES








Web Hosting Companies