Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Recognising Tonbridge

Where in Tonbridge have I been today?

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

From 1747 fire fighting tools were stored in Tonbridge Parish Church where 2 fire hooks remain in the entrance porch

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

Many of you recognised the bronze roof finial on the building on the corner of Church Street and East Street.  It was suggested that The Judd School was on this site, however the adjoining building on East Street displays a plaque stating the school was once housed there.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Heart Failure on Tonbridge High Street

Bristish Heart Foundation on Tonbridge High Street
John Ruck of Tonbridge Lions Club sent me a photograph taken recently
which he titled 'Heart Failure on Tonbridge High Street'.

I thought it worth inclusion on the site.  If anyone else has an interesting photo connected to Tonbridge, and wishes it to be published on the blog, send it in.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tonbridge Lions’ Christmas Collection

Lion Ken Thomas (barrel organ mechanic) looks on whilst Lion President Allan Mort collects the donation from Sir John Stanley MP.
Tonbridge Lions have rolled out their barrel organ again for their Christmas collection in Tonbridge.
To demonstrate his support for the good work done by the club, Sir John Stanley, MP for Tonbridge & Malling, stopped to put his donation in the collecting tin of Lion President Allan Mort outside Iceland Foods, Tonbridge.

The idea for a Christmas collection, with the proceeds being used to provide Christmas gifts to some of the elderly in the community, started back in 1952. At that time the Club had been in existence for less than two years, and was just beginning to establish its reputation as a charitable service organisation in the town. 

Founder member Lions Tom Wakefield and Jim Parks had to drive an open van to Brighton to collect a barrel organ that was hired at a cost of ten guineas a week. As well as appearing in the High Street, the barrel organ was taken to pubs in the town where customers were encouraged to make donations to the good cause by being allowed to give the organ handle a twirl. 

The proceeds of the collection were used to provide gifts – two hundredweight of coal and two bushels of logs (a precursor to the Government’s Winter Fuel Allowance) for the elderly.

In 1969, as barrel organs became museum pieces and were more difficult to obtain, club members set about building one of their own. The music came from a tape recorder powered by a huge lead acid battery from a railway carriage. Thankfully electronic miniaturisation has provided smaller and lighter equipment to be installed in more recent years.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Tonbridge Panto Over For Another Year

Tonbridge Lions Club`s hugely successful production of Cinderella has taken it`s last bow after entertaining packed houses at every performance.

The Producer Richard Hill said  "The Angel Centre box office was inundated with last minute bookings. So much so, that extra seats were employed to increase the capacity. This meant that there was little room at the front. We hope that this didn`t inconvenience the audience too much”

Performed by the local Drama Group, The CLIPS Theatre Company, the production was very family orientated, with all the usual pantomime humour and featuring many favourite songs.

Lions President Allan Mort says “We had the awful weather last year, so we were pleased that so many people came to be entertained at our second pantomime. Lions are dedicated to providing a community service in Tonbridge, and the pantomime is a welcome addition to our other activities like the Summer Carnival and the Triathlon”

All proceeds from the pantomime go to local charities.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The Big and Little Bridge fancy iron railings were made by Gray Brothers c1887 whose Tonbridge foundry was on the Adult Education site in Avebury Avenue

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The interior wooden structure of the Rose&Crown dates from the 16thC. The rear of  the entrance arch shows rare half-timbering

Rose & Crown Tonbridge

Recognising Tonbridge

Where is this splendid bronze leaf finial that sits above a Tonbridge roof spire

Monday, 5 December 2011

Cinderella Entertains Variety Club

As part of their 2011 Community Programme, Tonbridge Lions are delighted to be giving the Variety Club children an opportunity to see the pantomime Cinderella, free of charge, at The Angel Centre on Thursday December 15.

The Variety Club consists of professional and amateur entertainers, and is dedicated to improving the lives of sick and disadvantaged young people by fundraising and providing entertainment. It has many links with local schools such as Ridgeview School for Special Needs, Sussex Road CPS and Sherwood Park School.

Produced by The CLIPS Theatre Company, a local drama group based at Tonbridge Baptist Church, this production of Cinderella will be full of  fun and frolics and all the usual panto humour. This really is the show to see, as not only is it bursting with festive cheer, you will also have a ball and ALL the proceeds from the pantomine go to local charities. 

Don't be disappointed and book now for the performances on December 16 at 7.30pm and December 17 at 1pm and 6pm. Tickets are available from the Angel Centre Box Office on 01732 359966 priced at £10 adults, £8 children/concessions and £30 for a family of four

Look Down in Tonbridge

A 19th century coal hole cover is preserved in the pavement outside Pizza Express by the Big Bridge in Tonbridge High Street.   Bearing the name Hayward Brothers of Union Street, Borough, London the plate would have been removed to allow the delivery of coal into the cellar.

Look down when next passing.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The telephone box outside Tonbridge School is a listed building. It is early 19th century and bears the cipher of King George VI

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The Cage, a deer park, lay between Shipbourne Road and Hadlow Road in KingHenry VIII's 16th century.  It later became farming land and is now known as Cage Green, a residential area of North Tonbridge

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The George and Dragon in Shipbourne Road was an inn by 1839. The timber framework suggests it is of sixteenth century origin

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas Drinks Special at Tonbridge Farmers Market

Tonbridge Farmers' Market 11th December 2011 and then the second Sunday of every month. 9.30am – 1.30pm Sovereign Way, Tonbridge TN9 1RG
The biggest market yet and the biggest farmers' market in Kent!
And it's a Christmas Drinks Special

This will be the 7th Tonbridge Farmers' Market, happening on Sunday 11th December.
With over 65 stalls booked in already this month, it is going to be the biggest market to date.
This Month is our Christmas Drinks Special
We have some of the best drink producers from the local area showing off their wares this month, so it will be an excellent chance to find something a little bit special, stock up on all your Christmas booze and also soft drinks.
We will have a great selection of wine, beer, cider, spirits and local fruit juices, something for everyone’s taste. Hepworth Brewery will be holding a meet the brewer day, you can find out what goes into their wonderful beers.
Confirmed already are
Big Tree Cider
Dudda's Tun Kentish Cider
Fallen Angel Brewery
Hepworth Brewery
Meopham Valley Vineyard
Pine Trees Farm Apple Juice
Rent a Cherry
Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard
Marsh Produce
Marsh produce have a new Christmas plum mulled wine sausage, what a great way to add some festive flare into your traditional English dishes.
The Market Kitchen
As always the cookery demonstrations will run with the theme of the market, so lots of drink included this month.
Jenny - Happy Apple
Jenny from the Happy Apple will be making a vegetarian gravy, and Coombe Farm Turkeys will be demonstrating how to carve a turkey.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tonbridge Christmas Festival

The countdown to Christmas officially started this evening when the Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling, Cllr Brian Luker, and panto stars appearing in Sleeping Beauty at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells turned the town's lights on and marked the beginning of the festive season.

Thousands waited around the Big Bridge for the Christmas Lights Switch-on
Panto Stars with kmfm's Benedict Smith
Mayor Brian Luker joins Panto Stars - fingers ready for the switch-on
Tonbridge is switched-on !!!
The Tree by the Big Bridge/Watergate
Mayor Brian Luker and Panto Cast

Fireworks over Tonbridge Castle

Friday, 25 November 2011

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

Many of you recognised that the letter D was part of the word COURTYARD that is inscribed in gold on the wrought iron gates of the former Courtyard Restaurant in East Street.

Thankyou for all your comments on the Recognising Tonbridge posts I am pleased that it is so popular.

The Courtyard Gates
East Street Tonbridge

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Point of Reference

Bench mark on the former Methodist Church in East Street

Bench marks were used during the period of 1912 to 1921 as a point of reference for a measurement by Ordnance Survey surveyors.  These chiseled horizontal marks that surveyors made in walls, or permanent stone structures, consisted of an arrow below a horizontal line into which an angle iron could be placed for a leveling rod. These marks were introduced to record the height above their standard reference point of sea level at Newlyn in Cornwall.  If the exact height of a Bench mark is known, it follows that the exact height of a neighbour can be established, by measuring the difference in height with the process of spirit levelling. This all happened before the GPS satellite system took over.

The photograph above is of a Bench mark on the corner of a wall on the former Methodist Church in East Street.  There are two more known in the town.  One is chiseled into the wall of 38 High Street (Lamberts Yard) and another can be found on the wall of 10 Bordyke.

Is anyone is aware of further Benchmarks in Tonbridge?

Tonbridge Panto With A Professional Touch

The Colette Redgrave Dancers with Colette in the centre

The Colette Redgrave Dancers will add an extra sparkle to this year's Tonbridge Lions Club panto Cinderella.  Their superb dance routines are set to bring the most magical fairytale of them all alive on stage at the Angel Centre this Christmas.

“ People in Tonbridge need look no further than their own town, to find professional fun, and value for money entertainment in this local pantomime! When times are hard, what better way is there, to get into the Christmas spirit”!!  said Colette Redgrave, the panto's choreographer.

Colette has considerable experience in the theatre world, having trained at the London Studio Centre; gaining prestigious awards, alongside notable stage and screen stars, such as Liz Hurley and Tamsin Outhwaite.

Her career has been mainly in professional theatre, and she has choreographed many productions across the South East.  Her most recent work was with the cast of Sweeney Todd at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge, and she is now again enjoying working and rehearsing with local dancers in this years Pantomime at the Angel Centre.

The Collette Redgrave Dancers

The retelling of the classic fairytale includes songs and laughter, cheers and boos and maybe an occasional 'No, it isn't' and 'it's behind you'.

So get ready for a pantomine bursting at the seams with local talent.  This really is the show to go and see as, not only will you and your family have a ball but, ALL the proceeds from the pantomine go to local charities.

Produced by the CLIPS Theatre Company, performances of Cinderella, will be on Friday December 16 at 7.30pm and Saturday December 17 at 1pm and 6pm.  Don't miss out - book early to avoid disappointment.

Ticket prices are £10 for adults and £8 for children/concessions
A family ticket for four is £30
Available from the Angel Centre Box Office 01732 35996

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Tonbridge Cemetery War Graves

Foreign Military Graves

On Remembrance Sunday I visited the war graves at Tonbridge Cemetery. The grass had been freshly mown, and a single poppy tribute had been placed at the foot of each memorial where British, German and Italian soldiers lay in rest side by side.  Each inscribed stone stood in silent and peaceful dignity in the sunshine. 

I first visited this quiet place with my German mother who made sure someone remembered these fallen soldiers each year.  She affectionally called them the 'Lonely Boys' as she was convinced nobody else would visit these young men who had been laid to rest so far from their home and families.

Heinrich Bischoff - German Grenadier- aged 27 years

Equally poignant is the row of twelve memorials to local men who are buried in graves on foreign soil.  Amongst them an inscription to 'Husband and Father', Alfred Edward Barnes of the Royal Artillery who died a POW, aged 34, buried in Kanchanaburi, Siam, and 'Dear Son', Peter Terry, pilot in the RAF interred at Bari, Italy.

Other burial places are Cassino Military Cemetery and Assisi Italy, Dreiborn and Dusseldorf in Germany, four service men lost at sea and two in France including Gerald Alfred Bathurst, a Tank Wireless Operator who was killed in action in Normandy, aged 22.

Every name represents a family torn apart, fatherless children, a mother's son, a wife's husband, or lover never to return home.

English Military Memorials for Servicemen buried abroad

Monday, 14 November 2011

Who Are These Tonbridge People?

It's a sunny day in Tonbridge and a group of people pose for a photograph in front of the Boer War Memorial on River Walk.  The date is probably around the 1920's or 1930's, but who are they?  I have been told they are a Tonbridge family who lived in the south of the town. Does anyone recognise the group as distant relatives or can someone shed any light on the people in the photograph?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Tonbridge Memorial Garden

Remembrance Sunday November 2011

Personal Poppy Tributes
A poppy in memory of A. Lucas who lost his life to The North Sea in 1917
A Single Rose - My Dad, Robert Bradley, Love from Ann xxxx
Those who did not return home to Tonbridge

A Simple 'Thankyou' from The Girlguides

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Can You Identify the Wording on this Tonbridge Ghostsign

I noticed this ghostsign high on a building at the corner of Bank Street and The High Street. As far as I can make out it is advertising 'gentlemens hairdressing', but the rest of the wording is so faded it is impossible to read.

Advertisements, just like the one in Bank Street, were painted by hand directly onto the brickwork of buildings, and would have been a common sight in Tonbridge and other towns, cities and villages. Printed billboards quickly led to a downturn in their use, but many still survive, often faded, lingering on the walls like ghosts from a past time. The skillfully painted advertisements provide us with a window into a past showing the craftsmanship of the sign writers.  However, they are now disappearing, as they have done in Tonbridge, often due to weathering but also as a result of property development and demolition.  Their faded appearance has led them to be known as ghostsigns.

Without researching this part of Tonbridge, I know little about the history of the shops and services in Bank Street.  I do know there has always been a hairdresser in this area.  The sign is very close to Mr Books and perhaps he might have some information.  

Barden Road

There is another ghostsign in the town advertising Hovis.  This is painted on the side wall of The Honeymoon Restaurant in Barden Road.  Maybe there are others in the town?  If any are spotted, or known of,  let me know!

Recognising Tonbridge

Where in Tonbridge am I today?

Friday, 11 November 2011

Armistice Day in Tonbridge

At 11am a maroon was fired from the Castle and the people of Tonbridge, together with local dignitaries and representatives of the church, gathered at the war memorial to observe a two minute silence in commemoration of the ending of World War 1, on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month 1918, and to remember all those who have died in wars since that day.

Armistice Ceremony at the War Memorial

The Castle Watergate
Local Dignitaries
Prayers and Remembrance
The Tonbridge War Memorial