Thursday, 31 October 2013

Danke Schön Heusenstamm

No evidence has come to light that Jane Austen ever visited Germany, although her brother Edward visited is known to have made a trip to a silver mine at Freiberg. However, when Councillor Vivian Branson paid a recent visit to our twin town Heusenstamm it was evident that the famous author is well-known and popular in Germany.

Vivian was invited by the Heusenstamm Freundschaftskreis (Friendship Circle) to give a talk on Jane Austen, and on October 26, dressed in period costume and aided by slides and hand-outs, she brought to life the buildings and places in and around Tonbridge which have a connection with the Jane Austen and her family. 

Vivian enthralled her audience.  The talk was so popular with the locals that two teenage girls cycled from the neighbouring town of Offenbach to learn about the famous english author. Such is the interest a Jane Austen tea is planned next month in Offenbach. 

At the end of the evening Vivian was presented with a book on Heusenstamm, and as this was her first visit she was also given a guided tour of the town. 

A very generous donation raised at the talk will be used by the Jane Austen Fund in Tonbridge for a special project.  

‘I have had a simply marvellous time', said Vivian, and so did everybody in the audience who now know not only more about our wonderful author, but also that she had such strong links with Tonbridge. 

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #374
It's half-term and The Slade School is looking peacefully serene bathed in autumn sunshine. The school opened its doors in 1907 for the first time, and has served the local community since that time.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

4Art Exhibit in Tonbridge

The 4Art exhibition will be open until Friday in the Castle Chambers.
Featuring 4 women artists   Here's a taster in pictures.

Listening to music - Acrylic on Canvas - Jill Goldsworthy
The gathering - chalk - Sue Vass

Summer in the Garden - Watercolour - Margaret Barrett
Last Respects - Found Objects - Sue Vass
Streambed Snowdonia - NFS - Marilyn Garwood
If you go down to the sea today - Mixed Media - Sue Vass

Tonbridge Sunset

There was a pink and golden sunset sky over Tonbridge this evening!!

An afternoon treat for Senior Citizens

Do you have an elderly friend, neighbour or relative who lives alone? Do you think they deserve a treat? 

Tonbridge Lions Club is once again arranging an afternoon of entertainment on the 22 February 2014 for Senior Citizens who live locally and alone. There will also be light refreshments served and The Lions Club will arrange and provide transport to and from the event.

To qualify for an invitation the person must be a senior citizen and live alone in Tonbridge, Hildenborough or Hadlow. 

Application forms are available from the Age UK office in Bradford Street, Tonbridge and must be completed and sent to the return address before 31st Dec 2013.   

Forms can also be downloaded from the “Future Events” page of the Tonbridge Lions website ( If the number of applications exceed the capacity of the venue then lots will be drawn. All successful applications will result in an invitation being delivered personally by a member of Tonbridge Lions Club.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #373
Tonbridge Castle Chamber's doors are open to visitors until Friday when the art exhibition by 4Art will close. Why not take advantage of the sunshine and take in the autumn colours in castle grounds too. All free!!!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #372
The river is running high and fast after yesterday's storm but the bank filled with autumn berries creates a truly attractive red reflection in the water.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Lucky Escape

I had a quick walk through the park this morning, and luckily the storm hasn't left much damage.  There were a few fences down, and plenty of twigs and foliage scattered over the paths and fields, including one tree that came down in the centre of the model railway track by the swimming pool.

Fallen branches on Castle Lawn
Castle Lawn
Model steam railway track surrounds uprooted tree

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #371
The new builds along Barden Road have taken shape, and it looks as though they will have fantastic far reaching views over the Medway and the Sportsground. However, one can't help but feel sympathy for the residents who have lost their open outlook behind the new homes.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Another tagged eyesore - or not?

Craig J Cogley 1987-2001 Your Spirit will roll on in our hearts and memory

When I first spotted the tags on this memorial bench I felt saddened that yet again another case of grafitti was littering our town, and creating another eyesore. But, when I read the memorial inscription, and realised that it was in memory of Craig Cogley I changed my mind, and thought he may have appreciated the marks on his bench.

The bench dedicated to 24 year old Craig looks out over the skatepark in the Sportsground, and it was here that the keen skater spent much of his time skateboarding, and mentoring less experienced skaters than himself.

My thoughts on this are that maybe this is an exception where tagging is ok especially if it is left by friends of Craig. In fact if this is the case, it really is a fitting and meaningful memorial to the young skater.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Tonbridge Panto

Left to Right - Bethany Kingston, Josh Gurr, Chris Head

It's that time of year again when thoughts turn to Christmas time and organising family trips to our traditional pantos. So get ready, and book early,  for this year's Tonbridge pantomine which will be 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 it's our very own Tonbridge pantomine and the proceeds go to local charities.

Tonbridge based CLIPS Theatre Company, welcome two newcomers to the panto stage this year. Josh Gurr and Chris Head will tread the boards, alongside Bethany Kingston, in Sleeping Beauty at the Angel Centre in December.

Bethany, who plays the part of Sleeping Beauty is a pupil at the Weald Grammar School for Girls and a student at The Pauline Quirk Academy. She had played the leading role in Annie and has also performed with the Motet choir at the Albert Hall.

Chris, who will be taking on the role of Harry, currently attends the Miskin Theatre School, and  Josh who has secured the role of Cedric is a student at Hugh Christie School in Tonbridge,where he played the leading role in Bugsy Malone and in his spare time attends Stagecoach Theatre School.

This time long favourite fairy tale filled with joy, laughter, and of course the inevitable boos and hisses will be presented by Tonbridge Lions Club and will hit the stage on Friday December 20 at 7.30pm and on Saturday December 21 with three performances at 10.30am, 2.30pm and 6.30pm.

Tickets are priced at Adults £11.00, Concessions £9.00 and Family of Four £32.00 and available from the Angel Centre Box Office 01732 359966.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Going, going, gone (on Friday)

I popped into the Co-op in the High Street on my way back home this evening, and was surprised to find virtually nothing for sale in store. It still has some fresh foods but most of the shelves are now empty. Apparently it will be closing its doors on Friday. There are however plenty of bargains  - mainly cakes and chocolates, even Christmas ones. You better get your skates on though as they are disappearing very quickly.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #310 - Moat Stream

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Big Brother is watching you

It's probably been there for some time, but I only noticed the camera for the first time today when walking through the Sportsground. It seems as though Big Brother is watching the play area.

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

In 1903 a community of nuns expelled from France opened a Convent School at Shrublands, Mill Lane. The building has now been demolished.

The Covent eventually moved to the mansion house of Foxbush in Hildenborough. Known as Notre Dames de Lourdes it was both a day school for local girls and boarding school for international students. The pupils could be seen in Tonbridge wearing flat bloaters and white gloves (even in the heat of summer). The covent closed its doors in the early 70's.

If a reader has photographs, attended the school or knows anyone who did please contact or leave a comment on the blog.

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #309 - Sunset over Longmead

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The centre of Tonbridge entertainment

Bradford Street was once the centre of Tonbridge entertainment.

At the turn of the 20th Century the venues that gave this street its reputation

The Riverside Cafe owned by Phil Mandel
A roller skating rink known as the best in West Kent
Dousts Boathouse offering trips and picnics on the River Medway
The Star Cinema
and finally
The Medway Hall used for exhibitions and meeting during the day, and by night was transformed into a dance hall

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #306 - Barden Lake
Could Tonbridge become competition for Stonehenge?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Where have all the flowers gone?

I always like to hang on to the last signs of summer, but now that the flower baskets in town have been removed it really does feel like winter is around the corner.

River Walk

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #305 - Barden Lake

Thursday, 10 October 2013

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. 
I wonder where they are now?

High Street, view north showing Town Hall and Chequers c1890s
Tonbridge Historical Society Pictorial Collection No. 14B.108
© Tonbridge Historical Society, 201

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #304 - A warm rooftop in Tonbridge
Does anyone recognise where this is?

What a difference a week makes

What a difference a week makes and there's a nip in the air. The flowers beds on Castle and Cannon Lawn have been grubbed out and are now bare. Autumn is definitely here and winter just around the corner.

Castle Lawn

Monday, 7 October 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #303 - The long shadows of autumn on Castle Lawn

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #302 - Man of Kent & old Methodist Church, East Street

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Tonbridge Daily Snippet

Several military trophies were displayed in the castle grounds after WWI, including an army tank which was sited on a concrete plinth on Castle Lawn. It was removed to be melted down during WWII to help with the war effort

Tonbridge Daily Photo

Tonbridge Daily Photo #301
Beautiful early autumn view towards Castle Street Tonbridge taken from Cannon Lawn where the roses are still in full bloom. Is this unusual?

Friday, 4 October 2013

Mystery Person

Shared by Knole House

This is an unsigned letter left at Knole House by someone presumably with a Tonbridge address.

Who is the mystery person? Does anyone know?

Knole House would like to get in touch with him.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Light Up Your Home - Light Up Your Community

Tonbridge Lions Club is to again run a competition for Christmas lights outside domestic residences in the Tonbridge area. 

The club is offering three £200 prizes, to be given to the local charities nominated by the owners of the best Christmas lights displays. Three prizes will be awarded for the best installations in the Tonbridge, Hildenborough and Hadlow area. In addition the winners will each receive a Christmas gift for themselves.

Entries are limited to private domestic residences and photographs of the lights will be required (either by post or email) for the initial assessment. The judges will then visit the short-listed installations before picking the three winners. The judging panel will include the President of Tonbridge Lions, Keith Bourne and local sculptor, Guy Portelli KBA, ARBS.

An entry form can downloaded here

Good Luck!!!!!!