Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The former Town Hall clock made by Tonbridge clockmaker Barcham was stored for safekeeping at the castle until c1970 when it went missing.  The curfew bell also disappeared. 

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #87  -  The Old Power House

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

There's a Mochafella in the Playground

Whilst walking through the Sportsground today I came across Mochafella, Jem by name, serving steaming hot drinks in the childrens playground. How brilliant is this!!! Jem's little pop-up van really is a gem, and this little tardis specialises in hand pump espresso coffee, tea and creamy rich hot chocolate - all very welcome on a cold day in the park. There are even a couple of comfy directors chairs to use when sipping away at your warming drink, and you can have a chat with the man himself. 

Mochafella - Jem and his pop-up

This is really what is lacking in Tonbridge especially around the river areas of the town, and I for one would like to see more pop-ups where we can sit, and socialise, next to some of the best views in the town. I think the Watergate area is underused. In the summer it's welcoming to see the icecream van, but on the other side of the gates, on the High Street side, there's plenty of room for a pop-up cafe, or maybe around the Castle Lawn.  What do you think?

Coffee in the Playground

Please drop into see Jem, stop for a chat and enjoy one of his drinks and snacks. In the 30 minutes I stopped we found connections between the people we knew. And, that's what I like about these places, they provide an opportunity to bring us together, and we start to communicate. He's a Tonbridge man with children who attend Tonbridge schools and clubs, and it would be great to support him. Afterall we really don't want to lose him to another town do we!!!

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo # 86  - Parish Church

Recognising Tonbridge

I'm looking up at this interesting feature but where in Tonbridge am I?


Tonbridge Lions - Young Ambassador Award



Jennifer Goodwin, a student at Sackville School, gained recognition for her work in the community when she won the Tonbridge Lions Young Ambassador Award competition last week. 


The judges were particularly impressed by the range of Jennifer's work. She has raised £600 in a sponsored run for charity, helped at an after school club and is part of a team raising money to build a school in Africa.  Jennifer is donating her £100 prize money to Mind, the mental health charity for which she is planning to volunteer.

Rebecca Fletcher, the runner up from Hillview School, is donating her £50 to the Scotts Project, a local charity helping people with learning disabilities.

As a result of her victory, Jennifer will now represent Tonbridge Lions Club in the SE District competition on 25th November.

Photo: The Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling BC, Cllr. David Davis with Jennifer Goodwin (left) and Rebecca Fletcher (right)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Memoirs of Frank Woolley


A few months ago I was browsing through the local biography section in the Tonbridge Reference Library, and the Early Memoirs of Frank Woolley caught my eye. I slipped it off the shelf, and was ready to settle down to a little reading, when I noticed it had been signed by the man himself . Yes, Frank Woolley's signature was clearly on the page in front of me. Now don't all be rushing down to the library to have a look, as I handed the book over to the the librarian pointing out the famous signature, and it was quickly taken into the safety of the archives.  However, before revealing the secret of the book I took a photocopy of the signed page.

The book written by Martha Wilson Woolley in 1976 contains beautiful and warm portrayals of Tonbridge, and the way of life in the town at the turn of the 19th century through the eyes Frank and the Woolley family. Below is a small description of Tonbridge and a little taste of the book.

Early Memoirs of Frank Woolley  Pub. The Cricketer 1976

Bethany Joins Cast of Jack and the Beanstalk

Bethany Kingston

Tonbridge based CLIPS Theatre Company welcomes newcomer Bethany Kingston to the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk, which will be performed at the Angel Centre, Tonbridge, in December.


Bethany, who will play the part of Jill, alongside Ruth Blade as Jack, attends Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls studying drama and music, and has had a major role in a local production of Annie.

She is a member of the school’s Motet Choir, performing at St Paul’s Cathedral and competing in the International Welsh Eisteddfod. As part of the Pauline Quirk Dance Academy, Bethany has performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre London.


Presented by Tonbridge Lions Club, this family friendly production of Jack and the Beanstalk, will be performed on Friday 14th December (7,30pm) and Saturday December 15th (11.00am; 2,30pm and 6,30pm)

Tickets are priced at Adults £10.00, Concessions £8.00 and Family of Four £30.00, and are available from the Angel Centre Box Office 01732 359966.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #85 - Autumn by the river

Tonbridge Daily snippet

Gallons of tea was brewed by ladies living around the Albert Road area for the WW2 troop trains that stopped at Tonbridge station

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #84 - Barrels outside Wetherspoons

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Residents living in the houses close to the railway lines had rich pickings when a fish van's load was scattered after a train collision in 1909

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

Recognising Tonbridge Feature
Kent Invicta Horse

Lots of you recognised this one and so there are too many of you to name.  It is of course the White Horse of Kent or Kent Invicta Horse on both the Big and Little Bridge.  At my last count there were 26 on the Big Bridge and 8 on Little Bridge.

Big Bridge Tonbridge

If you look closely above the Invicta Horse, the makers of the ironwork can be read. Gray Brothers were the Tonbridge company who made the intricate and beautiful railings in their Avebury Avenue foundry in 1887.  The site of the former workshop was approximately where the Adult Education building now stands.  I wonder what remnants are left below the building.

Next time you cross either of the bridges stop to look at the railings as often we are so used to our surroundings we simply don't notice how stunning they are, and the added bonus is that they were made in Tonbridge by Tonbridge men.

River Walk - Big Bridge

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #83  -  Tonbridge Footpath

Friday, 26 October 2012

Noteable Tonbridge People

In the Tonbridge Tourist Office, which just happens to be in the former Mansion House Orangery that adjoins Tonbridge Council Chamber, is an out of sight, and above eye-level, wooden board inscribed with the names of a number of former noteable citizens of Tonbridge.  There hasn't been an entry since 2007 and I was wondering if there is a person of note whose name could join this illustrious list of residents, or a person who should be added who isn't mentioned.

I, myself, am very surprised that Hugh Christie OBE has not been honoured. Perhaps whoever is responsible for the notable citizens board should rethink who has been left out.


A number of suggestions to be added to the above list, now or in the future, have been sent to me since publishing this post.
They are:-
Dame Kelly Holmes (Olympian)
Victoria Hislop (Author)
Sir Henry Cooper OBE (Boxer) 1932-2011
Ron Challis (Football League referee, 1979 FA Cup Final ref) 1932-2001
Johnnie Stewart (BBC producer) 1917-2005
Walter Tirel (killed William II) http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Tirel
William Caxton (first English printer) 1415-1492 born in Hadlow/Tonbridge
Bob Woolmer (Cricketer, cricket coach, presenter) 1948-2007 lived in the Hadlow Road.
Paul Watson 1942, film maker famous for The Family BBC series 1972, lives in Bordyke

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo # 82

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Male and female swimmers at Tonbridge pool were able to swim together for the first time in 1920 after an application had been approved by the Urban District Council.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #81  - Down by the river

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Remembrance Sunday in Tonbridge

Tonbridge Memorial Gardens

This year the Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday commemorations coincide on November 11.

There will be one public gathering in the Tonbridge Memorial Gardens, Bradford Street. Those attending are requested to be in the Memorial Garden by 10.50am at the latest to enable the Band, Ceremonial and Civic Party to process at 10.55am.



The substantive Service and Wreath laying will immediately follow the firing of the Maroons at 11am and 11.02am, and will be slightly longer than normal concluding at approximately 11.35am.

The Parade will then form up and follow its normal route past the Town Memorial at the Watergate and dismiss at Tonbridge Castle.

There will not be a service at St Peter and St Paul Parish Church.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo # 80

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Recognising Tonbridge

I'm looking down and this can be found on two places in Tonbridge. What is it and where am I?


4 Artists Exhibit at Tonbridge Castle

In Memory of Betty - Sue Vass

This weekend I visited the 4 Artists Exhibition at Tonbridge Castle Chamber, and in all honesty it was really worthwhile. I spent ages losing myself in the detail of a number of pieces, trying to work out what the shapes and contours depicted. Some of the sculptures were suspended  in the windows. Others fashioned with wire sat on white oblong blocks. Painting, print, drawing and sculpture are all represented.

The curation of the exhibition is excellent considering the difficulty the space provides. It is far from complementary with distracting dark panelling, patterned carpet and drapes. I find the decor unhinging, and overwhelming. This is an exhibition that deserves to be shown to its best advantage ... in a white gallery where nothing diverts the eye or causes a visual battle.






I observed other visitors at the exhibition and noticed they were spending lengthy moments viewing the art, and that is a good sign as it shows engagement with the pieces. They were certainly not on a whistle stop tour and rushing out again.

Beast - Jill Goldsworthy

'Beast' by Gill Goldsworthy had me lingering a little longer. I liked the way the content was secretly hidden, not quite revealed and yet emerged through the layering of blues.  

Finding Wales - Marilyn Garwood

Finding Wales was the subject of  Marilyn Garwood's two paintings. The atmosphere and sense of place was captured in the soft tones and contrast of shapes. The warmer greens in the painting's foreground, set against the colder blues in the distance, reflected the way light and atmosphere quickly change the landscape in Wales.

Margaret Barrett, one of the exhibiting artists, was happy to answers questions and talk about the pieces on display, whilst at the same time wiring a new sculpture. Her work is made with discarded materials, and she told me that skips hold a treasure trove of possibilities, but sadly they represent the throw-away society in which we live.  The exhibition includes a sculpture made entirely from empty food packets and another of plastic containers.  Margaret's work  was chosen to be exhibited at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition this year, and was sold to an admirer.  You can own a piece of her work by giving a donation to charity.

Crisp Packet Collage - Margaret Barrett

From the Sea - Found - Margaret Barrett


Butterfly - Margaret Barrett - Mixed Media

Love in the Mist (detail) - Margaret Barrett - Wire and Plastic


 The exhibition is open daily until Friday October 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Entrance is free.


Tonbridge Lions Club Support Local Deaf Charity

Mike Stout of Tonbridge Lions and John Clayton, Hi Kent’s Chief Executive

The Lions Club of Tonbridge has kindly donated £500 to Hi Kent, the county’s charity for deaf and hard of hearing people, which will enable the award winning charity to continue running its services in the Tonbridge area.

Hi Kent’s Chief Executive John Clayton said “We are delighted and very thankful that the Tonbridge Lions Club has supported us.  Every penny of the money they have raised will be used to help deaf and hard of hearing people in the local area”.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #80

Sunday, 21 October 2012

It's All Water Under The Bridge

There has been a lot of discussion this week between members of the local Twitter community on the importance of the river to Tonbridge, and that it really is not used to its full advantage. It is probably the town's greatest asset, and yet over the years we have lost all the riverside cafes and social events such as the Venetian Fete. The river is no longer a focal point and it was agreed Tonbridge should focus on it's river again.

All this river-talk prompted me to go back in my files and find some recent events involving our town's river, and I couldn't find anything, but I did come across a number of photographs taken on the Medway in June 2011. If I can remember correctly these are members of Tonbridge Canoe Club having fun with some watery going-ons by The Big Bridge. I'm not sure why this was happening on the river but I think it was part of an event, perhaps The Carnival. Does anyone remember?






Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo # 78  -   4 Artists

Recognising Tonbridge Recognised

Recognising Tonbridge Feature
There were lots of guesses on this Recognising Tonbridge, but only three correct answers came through. Steve Abrahams and Peter Harris as always knew our town very well, and it's only occasionally I post a feature they don't recognise.  Andrea Turner has also become a Recognising Tonbridge super sleuth, and actually makes a point of keeping eagle eyed on her trips to Tonbridge to spot where the image has been taken. She found this one too.  The small window, with a view over the river, sits under the apex of roof on the Pizza Express building on the Big Bridge.



Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Tonbridge celebrated with all the pomp and ceremony required, and with great relief, as the Big Bridge was opened in 1888 for the first time. Its construction had taken over 12 months. The old bridge had to be replaced after falling into disrepair, and the lengthy time needed to build the new bridge had caused great nuisance, and hardship, to the town as this had always been the main crossing point over the river.

After a parade up the High Street to the Rose & Crown Hotel of the town's dignitaries in horse drawn carriages,  an illuminated barge with glee party entertained a delighted audience who watched from the Big Bridge, the newly built Castle Inn, and surrounding river banks.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #77

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The early Bank Street School log recorded pupils were absent from classes due to hop picking, watching cricket, helping on washing day and looking after younger siblings.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Recognising Tonbridge


 Where in Tonbridge is this room with a view??

Tonbridge Racecourse Sportsground

We all have different names for the park area in Tonbridge.  Some call it The Recreation Ground and older members of the community tend to know it as The Racecourse or The Sportground, whilst younger people affectionately call it The Park.

Recently I was contacted by a number of readers asking what the official name for this area is. The best I could do was to photograph the TMBC board at the entrance to the Recreation Ground, Racecourse, Sportsground, Park.