Sunday, 29 July 2012

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

Many of you mistakingly guessed that the pale blue arch belonged to the High Street canopy of the Rose & Crown Hotel.  It is in fact  a painted feature of a canopy above the doorway of Hope House in Lyons Crescent.

Peter @greenhares recognised the location of the close-up of the arch, and after a while of not being able to place the location Helen Oldroyd remembered where it was. She wrote 'I spent long enough outside it waiting for my daughters' dance classes to finish, but just couldn't place it!

Hope House in Lyons Crescent

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Kelly Holmes started training at Tonbridge Athletics Club aged 12  and won the English schools 1500 metres in 1983.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #26  -  A Corner of Tonbridge

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Sir Denis Truscott chairman of Tonbridge printers, Brown Knight & Truscott was appointed Lord Mayor of London in 1957.  The theme of the Lord Mayor's Show during his term of office was printing.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Poto #25  -  Holiday Club

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

In 1901 an unfortunate death of a workman occurred after he fell into a well of boiling water at The Quarry Hill Brickworks. To make matters even more 'unfortunate', when the emergency call went out from the brickworks to Dr. Cardell, in his East Street surgery, the telephone line was down due to a broken telephone wire.  Contact was made with the Exchange, also in East Street, and from there a hand written note was taken to the doctor.  Sadly,  it was far too late for Dr. Cardell to help the man who died soon after the accident.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #24  - Olympic flags

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

In 1963 Tonbridge broke a record for the birth of the heaviest twins in England. Charles and Hugh Millson, whose proud parents lived in Deakin Leas at the time, had a combined weight of  19lbs 11 1/2ozs

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #22  -  St Stephens Spire

Monday, 23 July 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Mr A Cornell, Jeweller & Watchmaker, is said to be the very first person to drive a car through Tonbridge High Street c1896. He traded from his south High Street premises until his business was absorbed by Frank East Department Store, previously sited where Christ Church (opposite MacDonalds) now stands.

Above is Mr A Cornell at the wheel of the Arnold-Benz motor car with an unknown lady passenger, and possibly car manufacturer Walter Arnold on the rear of the vehicle.

The winner of the first ever London to Brighton race drove an Arnold motor car manufactured by Arnold Motor Carriage Co of East Peckham, Tonbridge, Kent.  The agricultural engineering firm built twelve cars patterned after the Benz and one still survives.  Arnolds exhibited at the 1896 Motor Show.

Photograph courtesy of

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #21  - Fishing at Barden Lake

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Cage Green Junior School Prefects

Photograph courtesy of Patricia Pease

This has to be a rare photograph of the Cage Green Junior School prefects around the year 1956.
The pupils sitting centrally in the front row are probably the Head Boy and Head Girl, as their badges are shield shaped, and the others have oblong shapes on their uniforms.

The names remembered (but could be wrong!) are
Graham Durrant, James Large, Patricia Pease, Susan Weeks (back row)
Linda Cox? Valerie Ling, Michael Cox, Unknown, Robert Janes, Jaqueline Low (front row)

I love this photograph of these school children in their pristine gymslips and Clarks Sandals. And, there doesn't seem to be a knitted jumper amongst them, although the Head Boy in the front row does have what could be one under his very smart blazer.

If anyone has any comments or memories about this photograph, Cage Green School in the 1950's or knows one of the pupils, (even better was one of them), please contact Tonbridge Daily.

I can't finish without mentioning the wallpaper.  I have it on good authority that it was green!!!

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

During the early 19th century The Rose & Crown Hotel on The High Street kept horses and vehicles on their premises for hire, and all hotel visitors could take advantage of free boat hire on the River Medway.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #20  -  The River Centre

Friday, 20 July 2012

Kelly Holmes brings The Olympic Flame to Tonbridge ... In Pictures

Big Bridge Tonbridge

River Security

Cheers from K College Tonbridge

Dame Kelly Holmes on the Castle Wall

River Walk

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Cornwallis Avenue was opened by Lord Cornwallis in 1930. The first letter in the line of trees planted in his honour  spelt 'CORNWALLIS'

Norway Maple
White Beam

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #19  -  Haysden Park

In Loving Memory

When I was studying at University I lost a very dear friend in sudden and tragic circumstances. A south facing bench was placed in the library square in her memory, and would I often sit there in the sunshine, either over lunch or coffee with other colleagues, or on my own to study ... to think ... or just to remember. 

Barden Lake

Yesterday was one of those rare quiet and calm evenings, and I decided to take a stroll over to Barden Lake with my camera. I noticed that there are a number of memorial benches sited around the water, and thought how comforting it must be to have to such a beautiful and serene place in Tonbridge to remember loved ones.

She Loved This Place

Overlooking a rolling bank of grass strewn with purple and yellow summer flowers is a bench in memory of Hollie. Her young life remembered with the poignant words 'Smile When You Can'.  I was particularly touched by the slightly tired bouquet of sunflowers and feathers resting on the seat, left by her family with the message that she continues to smile in their hearts. Who could fail to smile at the view!

Purple and yellow wild flowers at water's edge

Smile When You Can

It's been a number of years now since I lost my friend, but if I'm passing the university I'll make a detour to the campus, buy a coffee and sit on the bench in the library square, reflect on old times, and remember how she loved the hustle and bustle, debate and energy the space offered. That's the beauty of a memorial bench - it's a focal point for personal time and memories.

Next time you have an opportunity to walk around Barden Lake, take the time to read the inscriptions on the benches, and enjoy the very same views and beauty on our doorstep that those remembered here too came to love.

Recognising Tonbridge

Today I'm standing under a pale blue archway.
Where in Tonbridge am I?

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily #18  -  Reflections
An evening shot of cloud reflections in the long lake next to Barden Water. Does anyone know the name of this stretch of water?

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

c1850 travelling actors and drama companies performed in a waterproof pavillion erected in Tonbridge cattle market, and also in the now demolished The Town Hall which stood on the corner of Castle Street and The High Street

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

By 1851 a water main extended to St Stephens Church but not to local homes where water was drawn from garden wells or carried from a communal pump.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #17  -  Tonbridge Lions Club Steward

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Kelly Holmes brings the Olympic Flame to Tonbridge

Peter Ellis of Tonbridge Community Films

Schools Olympic Poster Competition

Well it's all about the Olympics and the flame in Tonbridge today, so what better opportunity to post some of the photographs I took of the Schools Olympic Poster Competition, which was part of our recent Arts Festival.

I was very privileged to be asked to be one of the judges, and it was incredibly difficult to decide on winning entries in each of the categories. All the posters were fantastic and illustrated how creative children can be with the idea of Olympic competition and achievement.

Medal Winners with members of Tonbridge Art Group

Infant Medal Winner

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #15 - Restaurant Window

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Felix Salmon, grandfather of Nigella Lawson, and managing director in the family business of Joe Lyons of Corner House Tea Rooms fame, was a pupil at Tonbridge School

Monday, 16 July 2012

Tonbridge Arts Festival Open Art Exhibition has an Olympic Flavour

Olympic fever is slowly edging to a crescendo with only 11 days to the Opening Ceremony of London 2012. The Torch Relay is about to arrive in Kent, passing through our neighbouring towns and communities on its final journey to the Olympic Stadium. The Australian team have arrived in our town and are settling in to the first class sporting facilities at Tonbridge School. Sadly, Tonbridge missed out on being en route for the Torch Relay, but tomorrow through the sheer determination of Dame Kelly Holmes the people of Tonbridge have a chance to join in the celebrations as she brings The Flame to her home town.

So whilst the Olympics are forefront in our minds I thought I'd make a diversion, and catch up with blogging about the Arts Festival that took place in Tonbridge for 10 days in June.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do this whilst all the events were taking place, due to problems with the blog.  Perhaps this could be a slight diversion from all things sporting, to something more art related, but it just happens that my favourite event during the Tonbridge Arts Festival was the private view at the Open Art Exhibition, which actually did have a slight Olympic flavour as Guy Portelli brought along a prototype of his new sculpture inspired by our own Dame Kelly Holmes.

Not only did Guy talk about his vision for the sculpture, and where in Tonbridge the larger sized finished work might be placed, but he was eager to show me how his idea would bring together both the viewer as a participant and the sculpture itself.  The end effect can be seen in the photograph below as the daughter of Maria Heslop, TMBC Cabinet Member for leisure, youth and the arts becomes a living artwork.

Sculptor Guy Portelli

Portelli's living artwork

The opening evening of the exhibition was the first chance to view the brilliant and diverse selection of local art that had been chosen and hung in the Castle Council Chamber, including work by Hildegard Pax of Hadlow, who currently has work included in the Summer Exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts in London.

The artist of the winning artwork, who had been selected by the judging panel earlier in the day, was presented with a metal life sized paintbrush designed and made by Guy Portelli. I was surprised as to the weight of this beautiful piece of work when the winning artist allowed me to hold it in my hands. I'm not sure if there is such an amazing prize every year, but it almost had me rushing off to sign up for a course in fine art, just to submit a piece and be in with a chance next time.

Winning artist holding her prize
Judging Panel

This really was a super event and for me a highlight of the Arts Festival. My only criticism of the event was that the exhibition didn't last for the full 10 days of the Arts Festival. Maybe next year.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #15  - Tourist Information Tonbridge Castle

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

During the evacuation of Dunkirk £1000 was very quickly raised in Tonbridge to feed the 300,000 soldiers passing through the town, and stopping at the railway station.  The town was the first stop for many of the troops and the towns people, during this time of limited food, welcomed them with fish and chips, cigarettes, drinks and anything they had in their cupboards or had grown in their gardens or allotments. The Stationmaster and a team of helpers organised this virtually overnight, and the Stationmaster's wife received the OBE for her efforts.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #14  -  Pink & Blue
The two children's bikes were photographed close to the Castle Mound on Tonbridge Castle Lawn

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

In September 1969 and on their centenary the staff at The Tonbridge Free Press received congratulations from The Queen and her good wishes to all its readers.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

As always the Recognising Tonbridge post had many of you sending in your answers, and it regularly amazes me that this feature always has a large response, but I suppose it's  because we all like a quiz.  So, to my great surprise only two correct answers were amongst the many I received, the first being from John Urquhart of Tonbridge Dental Centre, closely followed by Peter @greenhares.

The image was a close up of a representation of the Tonbridge Urban District Council Coat of Arms on the commemoration stone, at the Watergate entrance to the Castle grounds.  The inscription below the arms reads:

'This historic castle was acquired in commemoration of the happy reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria and the grounds were opened by the Arthur Philip Stanhope Lord Lieutenant of Kent 23 May 1900 for the use of the public forever'

Tonbridge Urban District Council Crest
Commemoration Stone Tonbridge Watergate

TUDC was granted the coat of arms in 1935, and although the arms were 'to be borne and used for ever hereafter by The Urban District Council of Tonbridge and by its successors’ they were sadly replaced by the new Tonbridge & Malling District Council. Some may say it is then that Tonbridge finally lost it's identity.  The image on the commemoration stone is a partial representation of the intricate original arms which is below.

Tonbridge Urban District Council Coat of Arms

At the top one can see the two towers and gatehouse that represent Tonbridge Castle. Look very closely at the left hand tower and you will see a lion in a circle.  This is a 'Passant Guardant' indicating that the Great Seal of England was in safekeeping at the castle for a short time during the reign of Edward I.  On the right hand tower are three chevrons, in a circle, representing the de Clare's family coat of arms.  Today the flag flown above the castle towers bears the three red de Clare  chevrons on a yellow background.

On the shield below the castle is a five arched bridge representing the five waterways that crossed the High Street. Today only two remain and flow beneath Big and Little Bridge and the others have now been filled in.  The ship suggests the importance of the River Medway to the town.

The latin incription comes from Cicero, the Roman philosopher and statesman, and translates
'The good of the people is the supreme law'. 

It is my opinion that the coat of arms, and in particular the inscription, is a dignified reflection of Tonbridge, and it saddens me that it was lost to the new Tonbridge and Malling District Council coat of arms below, which was the replacement in 1976.

Tonbridge and Malling District Council Coat of Arms