Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #276 - Barden Lake
There are a number of memorial benches around Barden Lake. They provide a beautiful view and often a peaceful spot to reflect.  I came across this one recently.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Crane Floats through Tonbridge

It's not every day you can see a crane floating down the river through Tonbridge, but this is exactly what happened as Day 2 of construction work on Weir View Scout Hut got underway.

Photographs courtesy of Peter Ellis Tonbridge Community Films

FREE Diabetic Screening in Tonbridge

It is estimated that of the 3 million people living with diabetes in the UK about 750,000 do not know that they have it. So Tonbridge Lions Club will be offering free diabetes screening in the Tonbridge Angel Centre car park (High Street side) on Saturday 10th August.

Diabetes is a serious condition because it can affect many parts of the body. Many people are not diagnosed with the condition until the complications of diabetes have already started to develop – blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and circulation problems that could lead to amputations. But spotting diabetes early enables treatment, either through diet and exercise or tablets and sometimes insulin, thus reducing the risk of the development of serious complications.

Qualified medical staff from Medix will carry out the screening, which involves a very simple blood test from the finger, which measures the blood sugar, with an immediate result.

The Screening Centre will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the Lions expect to screen 200-300 people. Adults over the age of 40 are the most likely group to develop diabetes. However, children can be tested provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian and following a consultation with a nurse.

There will be no charge for the test, as all costs will be met by Tonbridge Lions Club.

Further information can be obtained from the Lions Health Group, Russell Dorling on 01732 366920 or Medix on 01892 723732.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #275
Two more photos by Peter Ellis taken yesterday as pontoons are floated towards The Scout Hut. Here they have passed under the bridge and are behind the new Bradford Street apartment.

The image below is just before negotiating the bridge.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Something is Afloat in Tonbridge

A Major repair is needed to the Scout Hut off Avebury Avenue with the deterioration of the metal supports.

Today saw the arrival of a number of transporters in Tonbridge carrying a variety of Pontoon Parts.

Here are a few photographs taken by Peter Ellis of the start of the work.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #274

This is the Shallows at Haysden Country Park. It was once part of the River Medway that meandered through the countryside. As the water was not suitable for larger canal craft a diversion was constructed around this section. The stream is now gradually developing into a backwater marshland.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #273
It's doubtful if there is a more majestic scene for a game of cricket in all of Kent, and it's here in your home town of Tonbridge. The backdrop is Tonbridge School Chapel, and this action photograph was taken by Carl Lewis.

There are public walkways through Tonbridge School that pass sculptures, historic buildings and places of interest, so don't feel as though you can't wander through the grounds, but don't forget to stay on the pathways.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

In 1910 an estimated 10,200 hop-pickers came to the Tonbridge area for the harvest

                                                   Shared by

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #272
This peaceful photograph of old gravestones was taken by Carl Lewis at Tonbridge Parish Church.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Ex Hillview Student awarded a prestigious scholarship

Hannah Rotchell, aged 20, an ex Hillview Student, and long standing member of The Geraldine Fox Theatre/Dance Academy in Tonbridge, has been awarded one of just two prestigious top scholarships at “The London Contemporary Dance School” (The Place) in London. 

The Award, now known, as the “Charlotte Kirkpatrick Award” is awarded to one boy, and one girl in Year 2 of the BA(Hons) degree at the end of Year 2 to help them continue with their studies in their final Year of the course. It is awarded “in recognition of effort, talent and potential” for a future career within the Dance world to a student with “exceptional potential as a future Dance Artist”. 

Whilst at Hillview School Hannah also spent 5 years  at “The Centre for Advanced Training” – (CAT)  at Laban in Greenwich, London between the ages of 13 and 18. Many previous holders of this Award have gone on to have professional careers in the world of Contemporary Dance, and Hannah hopes to be able to join them in due course as she continues her studies in London. She is very proud of her Tonbridge roots and heritage. 

Congratulations Hannah !!!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Extra police were drafted into Tonbridge in 1840 to deal with the mass arrival of railway navvies working in the town

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #271 - Morris Minor
Carl Lewis photographed the partially hidden Morris Minor at Allen's Garage in Lyons Crescent. He checked the tax disc and found it ran out in 1979. So that means this wonderful old lady has been put out to grass for over 30 years.

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

In the year 1899 approximately 8 or 10 people in Tonbridge owned a motorcar. Times have changed

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #270
The countryside surrounding Tonbridge can be really spectacular as the photograph above shows. With every season it changes, but in early summer miles of vivid colour skirt the town. The sea of yellow was captured by local resident Tim Dill on a walk between Hadlow and Shipbourne. He says these beautiful country scenes is why he loves to live in Tonbridge.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

True or False

I think this one is true!!!!!!

Tonbridge Ladies Love BUBBLES

Big Bridge has Makeover

The Big Bridge in town is having a revamp. Built in 1887 by Gray Brothers at their Avebury Avenue foundry it is now an iconic and much loved landmark in Tonbridge.

Hopefully the Little Bridge will receive the same treatment. 

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

That was some storm last night and the rain was well needed. The grass in my garden was slowly turning brown and my allotment was in severe need of nourishment.

It seems severe summer thunderstorms are nothing new, as a school wall was washed down in Lansdowne Road when torrential rain hit Tonbridge during a thunderstorm in July 1874. The records show that 3 inches of rain fell on the town in only 2 hours. 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #269 - Majestic skies
This beautiful photograph was taken last night by Nicky Silk of North Tonbridge who had just sat down to an evening meal with her family. It was all chance but she captured the moment perfectly.

Nicky makes curtains and blinds in her Tonbridge workshop including a number of other soft furnishings such as cushions and noticeboards.  If you want to find out more it's all on

Tonbridge Artist Christine White

If you make your way down the little alleyway known as Skinners Terrace you'll find a gem of an art studio at No 2.  Amidst the muddle of doors, in this rather uninviting walkway, I first discovered Tonbridge artist Christine White's compact studio, during The South East Open Studio's yearly event in June.

Once through the door, which might have been little hard to find but for the Open Studio posters, a flight of stairs surrounded by wall and hanging art invites you upstairs to an Aladdin's cave of artwork and equipment, and a smiling Christine who welcomed me to her working studio.

Artist Christine White

Christine's work-in-progress sits side-by-side with finished pieces, and she told me she has been inspired by youth culture, text and language in much of her work. The bright studio allows uninterrupted light to stream through the large windows, and is a perfect working space all year round.

Christine holds regular art lessons for children, as well as art parties, at her Skinners Row studio, and during the long summer holiday she will be holding daily workshops. These are no ordinary holiday workshops consisting of splashing a bit of paint around or cut and pasting. Christine has fine tuned each one to not only be fun, but to also educate and inform on both skills and artists themselves, such as a Van Gogh sunflower workshop to a 2 day tribal mask making workshop using mixed media. She has a BA in Fine Art and is fully CRB checked and insured.

The daily workshops start next week, and set out below are the first 2 week's schedule. There are 2 more weeks of workshops throughout the the summer holidays, and to find out what's on offer give Christine a call on 01732 350192 / 07771349062 or email: ... Remember spaces are limited.


Monday 29th July 10am -12 or 2pm - 4pm
Summer themed postcards using watercolour,
£15.00 (this workshop is repeated on 14/8)

Tuesday 30th July 10am - 12 or 2pm - 4pm
Collagraph printing workshop,
(this workshop is repeated on

Wednesday 31st July 10am - 12 or 2pm- 4pm
Eric Carle style tissue paper butterfly pictures, £15.00 

Thursday 1st August 10am - 12 or 2pm -4pm
Still life pictures of shells using charcoal and chalk, £15.00 

Friday 2nd August 10am – 12 or 2pm -4pm
Paint with acrylics on mini canvas panels,


Monday 5th August 10am - 12 or 2pm - 4pm
Van Gogh inspired Sunflower pictures
using oil pastels, £15.00

Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th August 
'Giant Fruit' 2 day
workshop held at Trinity Theatre Tunbridge Wells, £25.00 –
please contact Christine for more details.

Thursday 8th August 10am - 12 or 2pm - 4pm
Picasso style guitar collage, £15.00

Friday 9th August 10am - 12 or 2pm - 4pm
Scraper-board pictures using acrylic
and oil pastels, £15.00

Feeding wildfowl on Barden Lake

Last week I took a number of photographs on an early morning walk around Barden Lake, and there were many people enjoying feeding the ducks, swans and geese. Please be careful if you must feed the swans as their behaviour can be unpredictable. Also encouraging them out of the water and onto dry land does put the swan in danger from dogs, or passing bikes and vehicles.

RSPB advice on feeding swans is as follows:-

'Swans normally find enough food in the wild without supplementary feeding. It is only in freezing weather that extra food can be helpful. Many people like feeding bread to swans and while this is unlikely to do them any real harm in the long term, it is no substitute for the proper diet that the birds themselves will seek out.

Grain, such as wheat, and vegetable matter, especially lettuce and potatoes, can be fed to swans. Food should be thrown into the water to avoid encouraging the birds onto the bank.'

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #268 - Barden Lake

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

The south end of Tonbridge High Street, now sometimes known as the lower High Street (from the Big Bridge to The Angel/Station area) was originally known as 'the Road to Rye.

Later it was known as 'a continuation of the High Street'. The original High Street being the stretch from Big Bridge north to Tonbridge Shool area.

At some point 'a continuation of the High Street' became 'Bridge Street'

In 1872 this lower stretch officially took the name of High Street, and was joined in title to the original High Street proper, so that it became The High Street in length that we know today.

Sounds complicated but it does make sense.

Shared by Tonbridge Historical Society Pictorial Collection No. 14B.105

Shared by Tonbridge Historical Society Pictorial Collection No. 14A.110

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #267 - Barden Lake
I met a group of very brave people feeding the swans and geese at Barden Lake. All a little sacrey to me but I edged close enough to take some photographs

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Friday, 19 July 2013

Deep Purple in Kent

Yesterday I took a short trip to Hadlow to visit Downderry Lavender. Now is probably the best time to visit as the lavender is in full bloom, and not only does it smell heavenly the sound of the bees collecting pollen was amazing.  With the weather and the temperatures so high at the moment it really did feel as though I was in deepest Provence, not in the countryside just outside Tonbridge.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A Taste of Tonbridge c 1873

Did you know that the town's market and trading area was once in front of The Chequers Inn on the upper part of Tonbridge High Street, and did you also know that it was here the annual Town Fair was held.
It made sense as the road was at it's widest at this point, and this could accommodate a good sized crowd.

After the Town Taster day I threw myself into a little research on previous fairs and market trading in Tonbridge, and I came across this piece from Neve's 'The Tonbridge of Yesterday' describing the town fair c1873, and the abolishment of the annual celebration by who we would now call the town council.

Shared by Tonbridge Historical Society Pictorial Collection No. 14B.104

I've copied it out below and it makes really interesting reading. Not quite sure why a Zulu came to Tonbridge though:-

'On the day of the Fair cheap toys, hokey-pokey, gingerbread, sweets (especially big peppermint humbugs) and other fairings were exposed on the stalls which made their appearance, chiefly on the west side of the High Street, between Mr L.M. Wibner (now Clarke and Coleman), and a point just below the Chequers, and also in the open space below the Town Hall (now Nat West Bank).

One or two stalls may occasionally have been seen on the east side, between the Charlton Cafe (now The Slug & Lettuce) and Swan Lane (East Street), and a shooting gallery and a primitive form of camera obscura near the Town Hall. Castle Square was given up to swings, roundabouts, Aunt Sallies, and similar attractions.

In later years the side shows diminished in number and deteriorated in quality: a fat woman and a Zulu with particularly repulsive habits, are specimens of what was good enough for those who patronized the Tonbridge Fair.

Some of the local tradesmen no doubt took a little extra money on Fair Day. Mr. Dutnall, for instance, used to clear his confectioners window of all his ordinary stock and exhibit a huge mountain of gingerbread biscuits which were regularly cleared out before evening.

The local justices resolved that the abolition of the Annual Fair would be for the convenience and advantage of the public.'

I still do wonder about that Zulu!!!!!!!