Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tonbridge Art Group's 2012 Autumn Exhibition

Last Friday evening I was invited to the preview and opening of Tonbridge Art Group's Autumn Exhibition at the Castle Chamber. I always look forward to seeing the diverse range of Tonbridge artistic talent, and as usual the Art Group didn't disappoint with pieces in oils, acrylics, watercolours and mixed media.

Anne Hook Chairman with speaker Cllr Maria Heslop

Cllr Maria Heslop formally opened the exhibition with a passionate speech on the importance of art in society, and especially within our schools. After receiving a bouquet of flowers from Chairman Anne Hook she went on to choose this year's winner of the Brenda Hook Award.

The worthy winning artist Jenny Herbert was presented with a trophy by the late Brenda Hook's daughter Wendy. Jenny's painting 'A Night Out In Tenby' can be viewed until Friday October 5th at the exhibition.

It happened to be my favourite piece too, alongside a second of Jenny's paintings immortalising the afternoon when the Morris Men came to town, and what better place for it to be displayed than overlooking the Castle lawn where they danced.

Brenda Hook's Daughter Wendy with this year's winner Jenny Herbert

When the Morris Men came to Town - Jenny Herbert - Watercolour

African Setting - Valmae Irving

Autumn (detail)  -  Greta Quaglia  -  Acrylic

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The Riverside Cafe owned by Phil Mandel, a roller skating rink with the reputation of being the best in West Kent, the ever busy Dousts Boathouse, The Star Cinema and The Medway Hall that was used for exhibitions and meetings during the day, and by night was transformed into a dance hall made Bradford Street the centre of Tonbridge entertainment at the turn of the 20th century.

It's hard to believe as Bradford Street is now simply an insignificant jumble of carparks and offices.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #59  -  Castle Street

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Recognising Tonbridge

Looking up at this strange object - where am I today - Good Luck!!

Jack climbs beanstalk in Tonbridge

Ian Patterson as an Ugly Sister in Cinderella

The Panto season is well underway as far as castings and scripts are concerned, and after a successful production of Cinderella last year, Tonbridge Lions Club will produce the popular and timeless panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, at the Angel Centre.

Performances are scheduled for Friday December 14 at 7.30pm and also on Saturday December 15 with three performances, by popular demand, at 11am, 2.30pm and 6.30pm

Performed by the local Drama Group, The CLIPS Theatre, Company, the production is family orientated, with all the usual pantomine humour and foot tapping songs.

The ever popular Ian Patterson returns to the Angel Centre Stage as Dame Trott, and newcomer Bethany Kingston joins the cast as Jill.

As always all proceeds from the pantomime go to local charities. This is a superb cause so please support your local panto.

Tickets are priced at £10 for adults and £8 for concessions.  A family ticket is priced at £30 for a family of four.  All are available from the Angel Centre Box Office (01732 359966) from October 1. 

How many tennis courts has Tonbridge lost?

Recently Tonbridge Daily posted the snippet that in 1923 the Sportsground had the enormous number of 57 tennis courts. Many of you contacted me in disbelief that Tonbridge had so many. I think you were doubting me.  I have since found this map of 1923 in a town guide that marks the tennis courts, and I may be mistaken but I think the number has risen even higher to 61.  Take a look!!!!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Macmillan fundraising is a piece of cake!!!!

Since early this morning, all over Tonbridge, kettles have been boiling and cakes baked, delivered and sliced in kitchens and homes, halls and huts, clubs and societies, as people gathered to eat cake to help raise funds as part of Macmillans World's Biggest Coffee Morning.

World's Biggest Coffee Morning at The Oast Theatre

 My first stop of the day was The Oast Theatre where plenty of eating and drinking was well underway.  Such delights as banana cake, Victoria sponge and chocolate fudge cake were on offer - all home made of course.  Two lovely ladies were busily boiling kettles for tea and coffee in the kitchen, and offering smiles and chats to everyone, whilst the rest of us just got on with the wonderful task of eating cake and drinking coffee. What a brilliant way to raise funds to support the superb work that is done by the Macmillan team all over the UK. I left with a bag of scrumptious fresh fruit cakes for later (as one does).

Sylvia Davis and Eunice Duerr in charge boiling kettles

Friendly faces behind the Bric-a-Brac stall

Tonbridge Daily Photo #58 - Coffee and Chat

The next stop was The Angel Indoor Bowls Club where not only a coffee morning was in full swing, but also a session of bowls for the disabled.  The car park was jammed packed full and so was the Club House, so there was plenty of coffee drinking going on and support for a massive raffle. One could only be touched to see the number of prizes donated by members of the club.  What fantastic support for such a worthy cause!!!

I spent some time talking to the charming Hilda Burtenshaw who has been organising the yearly Macmillan fundraising mornings at the club for over 15 years.  During this time her efforts have now raised over £6000. I am very sure her hard work for today's event will add handsomely to that sum.

Barbara Corke and Hilda Burtenshaw (right)

Angel Indoor Bowls Club members

I managed to pop along to 2 1/2 of today's coffee mornings knowing that I couldn't manage any more than three pieces of cake. The 1/2 a coffee morning was my final stop at The Methodist Church in Higham Lane, and I arrived as the tables were being stacked and the last of the cakes had been packed away. However, there were plenty of smiling faces, excitement that the morning had been well attended, and lots of cake and coffee had been consumed. Even as I left the building a plate of biscuits were waved under my nose and I of course couldn't resist - well, afterall it is a wonderful way to support a charity.

This is a yearly event, and I would encourage everyone to take part in some way next year. It is for a such a worthy cause, and by making time to 'eat cake' you'll be helping to improve the lives of people living with cancer in the UK.

Afterall, this way fundraising really is 'a piece of cake'!!!!!

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Between 1842 and 1868 and before Tonbridge Station occupied its present site, it was on a stretch of land between Vale Road and Priory Road.  This is the approximate area that is now used as car parking and the Saturday Market.

In my opinion the original site would now be a better place for a new town station with shops, and walkways linking the present Angel area.  It would also be ideal to incorporate a taxi rank, buses and ease the congestion, and heighten safety for school children and commuters, who wait for pick ups or public transport.

Obviously money is tight but it could be the solution to a very problematic area in Tonbridge.  What do you think?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

For over a century, and probably long before that,  boots and shoes could be taken for repair to a tiny cobbler's shop in Waterloo Road. The ancient building, believed to be Tudor, stood next to the former pub named The Good Intent (love the name).  The building was demolished in 1971 and was one of the very few buildings that were in the grounds of the former Priory.

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

Recognising Tonbridge detail

The close up detail on this week's Recognising Tonbridge was part of the wheel on the railway carriage at the miniature track in the park.  Both Steve Abrahams and Peter@greenhares spotted this correctly.

Tonbridge Daily Photo #57

The green carriage is a former 1939 British Rail delivery van and is used by members of the TMEC as a refreshment and meeting area.

The miniature railway track was built in 1951 by The Tonbridge Model Engineering Club, who run the steam trains at weekends that attract queues of eager childen waiting for a ride from these puffing engines during the summer months.  Since 1951 the track has been extensively extended and is about a third of a mile long all complete with signalling.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Spot the Difference

The Rose and Crown Hotel - August 2011

The Rose and Crown Hotel - September 2012

   Something we are all very fond of in Tonbridge has now been missing for almost one year.

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Queen Elizabeth I is said to have stayed overnight in Ferox Hall on one of her journeys through Kent. Although there is no evidence other than rumour,  it is highly possible as it is known that she travelled extensively in through the county

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #56  -  Big Bridge

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

In 1903 Ernest Upton took over as the pharmacist at no. 25 Quarry Hill Road.  Amongst the services he offered was 'putting down' domestic pets by using a sealed gassing chamber, pulling teeth and dispensing his predecessor's digestive mixture made of peppermint and distilled water, which was the best seller to Tonbridge residents.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #55

Monday, 24 September 2012

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #54 - Tonbridge Saturday Market

Light Up Your Community

Tonbridge Lions Club has announced a new competition for Christmas lights outside domestic residences in the Tonbridge area. Based on an idea of the late Lion Eric Ham who died last April, the club has decided to offer three £200 prizes, to be given to the local charities nominated by the owners of the best Christmas lights displays.

One prize will go to the winners in three postcode areas, TN9, TN10 and TN11. In addition the winners will each receive a Christmas hamper for themselves.

Entries are limited to private domestic residences and photographs of the lights will be required (either by post or e-mail) for the initial assessment.

The judges will then visit the three best installations in each area before picking the three winners. The judging panel will include the President of Tonbridge Lions, Mike Stout, the son of Lion Eric Ham, Mr Robert Ham, and local sculptor, Guy Portelli KBA, ARBS.

Entry forms can be downloaded from the Lion’s web-site –
Closing date for entries is 15th December 2012.

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The Boer Memorial on River Walk was dismantled and stored safely to prevent damage during the second world war, as it was necessary to clear a line of fire for anti-tank guns to cover the Big Bridge in case of invasion.

The memorial was restored to its original place after the war, but only after plans to erect it in the Garden of Remembrance were defeated.

The Boer Memorial - River Walk

Sunday, 23 September 2012

An Evening with Joe Hayman

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #53  - Tonbridge Chooks

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The Old Town Hall that stood on the corner of Castle Street and The High Street was demolished in 1901, and replaced by a new Public Hall (the former Capital Cinema and later bingo hall). This has also now gone.  These were two architecturally interesting buildings and both a great loss to Tonbridge.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #52  - Netted 5 today !!!!!!!!

I met this gentleman yesterday on his way home after a day fishing in the Sportsground.  His equipment seemed unusually prestine, and was so well stacked and organised, I couldn't let him pass by without a photograph.  Apparently he'd had a good day on the river bank in the park as he proudly told me about the five fish he netted. He seemed very pleased with himself.  It was a pleasure chatting to him. What a gent!!!!!

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

It seems as if nothing has changed for the long suffering commuter.  Around 80 years ago, in 1933, The Season Ticket Holders Association made an ‘emphatic and unanimous’ complaint about the train services in and out of Tonbridge.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Recognising Tonbridge

Looking down this time but at what and where?

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

Although there were a number of guesses, only one person recognised the detail of the plaque above the door of the telephone exchange in Avebury Avenue.  Formerly at 94 High Street (now Weatherspoon's) the exchange moved to this building in 1939.

Recognising Tonbridge detail

Telephone Exchange in Avebury Avenue

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #52  -  Bordyke

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Tonbridge Golf Club's course opened in the summer of 1920, and was the only golf course in Tonbridge at the time.  Situated in Somerhill Park it was laid out under the guidance of Harry Colt, the well-known golf-architect, who designed many notable courses including Sunningdale, the East and West courses at Wentworth and many famous courses around the world.

Harry Colt

Harry Colt's design of the course at Somerhill Park consisted of only 11 holes.  A complete round of 18 holes was made up by playing the first two and the last five holes a second time.  The course was closed on Sundays.

The annual subscription was £4.4s for gentlemen, £3.3s for ladies.  Entrance fee £2.2s, Green Fees 3s per day, 10s per week or 25s per month.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #51  -  Wharf Side

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

In 1924 the places available to ice skate in Tonbridge were Somerhill Lake and The Ballast Pit which was rented by Tonbridge Skating Club. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Image of Tonbridge Postman in 1935

This image of a postman strolling around Tonbridge Castle lawn was captured in 1935. Note his very smart uniform complete with hat and mail bag slung over his shoulder.  There are certainly no letter or post boxes along this pathway. I wonder why he was there?

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The traditional place in Tonbridge for the annoucement election results was the large porch roof in front of the Rose and Crown.

Announcement of the election result in 1910
Tonbridge Historical Society Collection 21.011

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #50  - Baptism Tree at Tonbridge Parish Church

Monday, 17 September 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet
c1794 grey and blue wash over graphite, on paper

JMW Turner reportedly stayed with his uncle, Henry Harpur, who was the Parish Church vicar at the end of the 18th century.  During his visit to Tonbridge he drew a scene of the Castle. The drawing is now held in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge  University

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #49  -  Stags Head The Slade

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Tonbridge lost its celebrated Cricket Week after 1945. The army had taken over the Angel Ground during the war and extensive damage occurred to the ground and pitch.  The cost of repairing the pitch was far too expensive to justify the expense.

The owners of the ground, Tonbridge Cricket Club, continued to use the ground for play but could not keep up the maintenance costs, and put forward a plan to change the ground's use to a Greyhound and Sports Stadium.  This met with strong opposition and the plans were abandoned.
The Urban District Council stepped in and rented the area to Tonbridge Football Club.

This area now forms part of The Angel Centre, car parks and Industrial Estate.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Saturday, 15 September 2012

A Man with Strong Community Spirit

I was really touched to find that a relative of mine had written about my grandfather who did so much for the people of Tonbridge, including raising funds for the former paddling pool in the Sportsground and being the brainchild of the Servicemens Comfort Fund.

His biography is on her website which also has plenty of  historical information on Tonbridge.

Robert William PEASE RSM 1890-1950 Tonbridge School Attendance Officer

A small indulgence to highlight my much loved grandfather, who adopted the town as his home after many years of travelling, and did all he could to benefit the less fortunate townsfolk.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Recognising Tonbridge

Looking up in Tonbridge today. Can you recognise the spot?

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #47  -  Kinnings Row

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

So many of you recognised the porter's night bell at The Rose and Crown Hotel. Among those who knew where the photograph was taken was Steve Abrahams, Lizzie Harlock (who was delighted to 'at last recognise one') and Peter on the premise that it could only by one of two places that would be open all hours, and the bell looked too posh for the Police Station. If you look closely at the reflection in the brass plate the front canopy of The Rose and Crown Hotel is just recognisable.

Porters Night Bell
Rose and Crown Hotel - High Street entrance

Thursday, 13 September 2012