Streets and Shops
Manchester House was built in the 1830s. We find James Seamark in 1836 paying the Poor Relief Tax. Together with his wife Elizabeth and eight children, they ran a grocers, drapers and hardware shop, later with beers and spirits. They sold out in 1895 to Mr. Thomas Day. He became Church Organist. Prices from extant bills were whisky at 3s 1d per bottle, ditto gin, with brandy at 4s 4d in the 1890s.
Cheese was 41/2 d per lb, butter 1s per lb. A pair of boots ran out to 8s 6d. A bricklayer would typically receive 7d per hour and his labourer 4d. One chimney pot was 2s 6d and six roofing slates 1s 6d. Coal was 11s 6d for12 ton. Mr. Day sold out in 1920 to John Cloke whose family moved to their their present premises in 1934. C.A. Smallbones altered the frontage and moved there in 1935. In the 1960s Cave Austin took over and now in the 1990s after several short-lived businesses we have Lloyds the chemists, open 7 days a week.
London House was built in the 1880s, the first family, comprising Alfred Barron, his wife Anne and two daughters, ran a drapers and grocers. The premises were owned by Mr. Thomas Seamark, a builder who lived at Fernlea in Western Road. He built and owned a lot of property in the village. He died intestate in 1888 and his estate was sold in 1907. Mr. W. J. Coleman from Wrotham bought London House for £820. Subsequently it was let to the Hubbard family followed by Mr. and Mrs. H.K. Bell. During the Second World War it was the Fire Station. In 1943 it was hit by an AA shell, which blew a billiard table into the cellar, and short circuited the air raid alarm which went on and on. In 1946 Mr. Coleman sold it to the Mid Kent Gas Light and Coke Company for £1200. It remained a Gas Showroom with Mrs. R. White as Manageress till 28 October 1970. Thereafter came the Launderette, initially under lease to Shaws Laundry and now in the 90s to Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Smith.
The current site of the National Westminster Bank was built as a bakers in the 1880s, run by Mr. W.H. Brown. The baker’s oven was made by W. Smith of London. In 1899 we find Mrs. Emily Brown, baker, renting it at £30 p.a. No doubt she was the baker’s widow. By 1902 Mr. F. Perkins was using it as a printers and did so till 1914 when he moved into his purpose built premises at Caxton House at the bottom of Station Road. In 1904 part became a bank opening only on Fridays. A Mr. Antram was the first manager followed by Mr. F. Sloman. It progressed throughout the years as an agency from Maidstone and became a full bank in 1957. Mr. C. C. Newman recalled in 1947 arriving 30 minutes late, spending hours moving snow from the frontage with only one customer, an errand boy wanting £1 of copper.
The present travel agents, 34 High Street, was occupied by Philip Neale, a jeweller and watch maker, for 20 years. He was followed by Mr. Edward Weeks, a retired policeman. He had previously opened up a small wooden shed where Circle C now trades, as a fishmonger. Mr. Weeks was born in Pluckley, so the premises became known as Pluckley House. Mr. Weeks advertised in the 1902 Rural Deanery Church magazine as “Fishmonger, supplying families daily, pony and chaise for hire, furnished apartments to let with cooking and attendance”. His widow carried on as a confectioner. She used to sell 2d canes with a curved handle and many mums had one hanging on the back of their chairs!
The Tea House at number 19 owned by Mrs. Penfold, was the Homestead, a farmhouse for Yew Tree Farm, and was long occupied by the Lewen Family. In 1877 it was purchased and sold by the Tomlyns. Alfred Goldsmith and his wife opened it as a butchers, aided by live-in George and Sarah Hodder. Henry Hoppe followed, who also had butchers shops in Wrotham, Ightham and Wrotham Heath. Mr. Stephen Kitney came next as removal and coal merchants. At one stage they had twenty-two horses! Removals to Cambridge took five days, Southampton six days and Bournemouth eight. He built the Western Hall in the late 1920s. Stephen, his son, married Irene and carried on the coal business. Irene will be remembered for her social work in the village over many years.
The ten tall shops were built by a Mr. Gregory in three stages between 1904-1908. The last to be built, number 21, opened as a Funeral Parlour, an undertaking to which it has now returned. I remember the late Mr. Tom Bennett saying that their builder’s horse and cart would have the sand or soil swept out, and a black cloth draped over it to create an instant hearse.
Mr. A. Ashton DCM took over the premises in 1912 as a cycle maker and motor engineer. His wife and their son, Arthur, carried this on till 1980, developing into the fields of radio, electrical and television.
There have been too many changes in this parade to record them all. Number 23 was the Primrose Dairy with Mr. Coakes in charge. Mr. S.A. Bramley had the Labour Exchange there for some years. Before this he ran it from a shed in his garden at number 3 before this and ended up at Caxton House. This service in Borough Green was wound up in 1958.
Number 25, now an optician, opened in 1908 as a car showroom! The Borough Green Working Mens’ Club followed with Mr. A. Bouts as steward. Mr. Starkie used it for photography. Mr. Cotgreave leased it as a dentist, Lidstones had it as a flower shop. Mr. Coleman, a butcher, had it after World War II, though he never obtained a license and the shop remained unused for forty years.
Number 27 has always been a newsagents, Sashwell, then Goldspink in the early years, followed by Clarkes, who was a K.C.C. surveyor. Mr. and Mrs J. Bates had it for thirty years from 1953-1983. Daltons followed them and the obliging Sneha Patel family are the present occupants.
The Bailey family at number 29 had a shoe shop from 1907 till 1968. They also had a repair factory at the rear. Mr. Charles Bailey was a keen football supporter and organiser of many whist drives. The arrival of Rhona’s saw the usage change to drapers and it has remained as such, with Vivienne’s as the occupier for the past eighteen years.
Number 31 was called the Union Jack House. It housed Belgian refugees in World War One. It was a Maidstone and District Booking Office for many years when Mr. and Mrs. Game ran it as a confectioners. After leaving the Bakery Mr. and Mrs. Pocock opened it as a ladies fashion shop. Mrs. Cooper followed in the same line and later sold it to the Chowdhury family who run it as an Indian restaurant.
Number 33 started as Cutbush, a butchers. In the 1920s under Mr. Gribble it opened as a chemists. It remained so until 1993, being run for many years by Mr. Baldock with Mr. Ives, a very helpful and obliging chemist. Between the wars it was called Welfare House. District Nurses were based there as was the School Dentist.
Number 35 was a corn chandlers run by the Bulled family. This family built what is now Lillico’s and the site occupied by Magnet Southern in Ightham. This shop later became a grocers with the Clark family, followed by the Wadsworths and the enterprising Manklow family, who are currently running three of the ten shops.
Number 37-39. The first two shops next to the Bank were built as one called the Arcade. A glimpse at the buildings prove this. George Edwin Hill had this up until 1912. In 1924 the first one became a showroom for the Mid Kent Gas Light and Coke Company. This lasted until 1946. Before this Mr. R.S. Willard leased it as a parcel agency and carrier for Southern Railway between Maidstone and Borough Green. He obtained orders one day from around the villages and collected from Maidstone the following day by horse and cart. Number 37 has been a confectioners for many years – Kings, Lawrences, Curtis, Rons, Kings and now Mrs. L. Pierce.
The site of the Cycle Shop, number 62, and numbers 58 and 60, was a Dame Private School in the 1830s and was known as Rock Villa when built. The shop was added on to number 60 in 1888/89. Mr. Jesse Callow, who in 1876 had a watch maker and jewellers shop at Stanley Cottages in Station Road, moved in to the newly built premises with his wife Elizabeth and their family. He bought the premises outright in 1907 for the sum of £610, having rented it for £40 p.a. He was sub-postmaster and carried on his trades along with stationery goods, sheet music, cameras and necessary requisites. He also had charge of the first telephone exchange for the area, which the family ran till 1927, when the first purpose built telephone exchange opened in Western Road. He retired in 1922 when his son, Frank, took over adding newsagent to the business. The sorting office was at the rear and four postmen were employed. Just fancy, 2 old pence for delivering a telegram to Stansted or Mereworth Woods by cycle on Christmas Day! He gave up the Post Office in 1936 when Cloke Brothers took it over. His wife and daughter carried on the shop, with Miss Edie Callow finally retiring in 1989. Treksport now have a cycle shop, a thriving seven days a week concern, a definite asset to the village, the go-ahead proprietors being Messrs. John Bishop and Howard Chambers.
High Street North
Bridge House (Clokes) was built circa 1887/1889 by Joseph Walls, whose firm bought most of Yew Tree Farm. John Francis followed him, then Tully, Thornes, McMasters and then Messrs. R. L. and R. Cloke. The village owes a lot to the Cloke Brothers, most importantly the existence of our Fire Brigade. Robert served on the Parish Council for forty years and worked hard behind the scenes for many village improvements.
There are far too many shops and businesses in the village for it to be possible to record all their histories. The stone quarry under various names provided much employment, as did Basted Paper Mill, now Butterworths. Mr. F. Weller, the saddler and harness maker, started his business in 1903. In 1897 there must have been a rabies scare, for we find Mr. Weller then working in Ightham making many dog muzzles. He was followed by his two sons who also did shoe repairs. The two sons moved in 1954 to the premises near the Red Lion, retiring in 1978.
In the early 1900s the Crossroads was known as Council Square. In 1900 Mr. Banfield built the butchers shop on the site where Mr. Palmer now has his offices. Mr. Sharp had the fish shop and poulterers opposite. Mr. E. Atkins had the large shop, now Mr. and Mrs. Knight’s Fourways Furnishing. After Atkins took over their purpose built shop in Western Road the large shop became the Red Tea Caddy. Mrs. Wilcocks ran the cafe and her husband was a builder. He built the last houses on the right along Sevenoaks Road. In 1935 the prices were £475 for the houses and £375 for the bungalows, £25 deposit and £1 per week. He was also responsible for houses along Wrotham and Platt roads. Mrs. Wood followed and then in 1948 Mr. Harold King took over what became the Four Ways Cafe. This closed in 1966, after which the Knights took over, some 27 years ago.
F.P. Caine the builders started up in 1903 with Mr. L. Curtis as the founder. Mr. F. Weller Snr. had part of the building as the saddlers shop. Mr. F. Caine, foreman carpenter during the construction of St. Edith’s Hall at Kemsing, joined this firm in 1912. It then became Curtis and Caine. In 1948 it became a limited company trading as F.P. Caine Ltd. Mr. F. Davies and Mr. D. Squires took over the business in 1981.
The Cross Roads
The Wrotham Urban District Council had the site now occupied by the Co-op, which gave the name Council Square. Both the fever and cesspool emptying carts were based here. Mr. Isaac Woodhams was employed as a cesspool emptier – at first a bucket was used to pour into a tank on a cart. A hand pump followed later and the waste was emptied onto various farms. They grew marvellous cabbages! Later a proper tanker was deployed – the driver of this vehicle used to claim the material they carried was his bread and butter! He drove the tanker during the 1926 General Strike. Lorries then carried the notice “Food Supplies”. His tanker was marked accordingly! Mr. C. Naylor, a farmer lived here for many years with his family, some of whom are still with us. When the Naylors left Mr. L. Cooper built the existing premises as a cycle shop. The frontage was an underground WWII air-raid shelter. The Co-op took over the premises in 1948.
Thong Lane, High Street South, Quarry Hill Road
Mrs. Hollands’ premises, Junes the hairdressers, was a grocers before and after World War I. The grocer’s name was Bunyan. Hearndens followed and Mrs. Hoadley carried on the shop from 1933 till 1971. She also had a shop at Platt. Borough Green House was the Homestead for Borough Green Farm. John Stevens had the farm in 1800. He had a daughter, who was to become the supernatural writer writer, Catherine Crowe. It is said that her books were superior to those of Mary Shelley, creator of “Frankenstein”. Mr. E. Biggs, a retired engineer, was the owner in 1826. He quarried a hard sandstone at Oldbury Hill. It was carried by local farmers to Larkfield, then to barges on the Medway and transported to London for road making. He found the transport charges excessive. In 1844 he built a steam traction engine to pull the carts. The threat was effective and prices were lowered. In the event the engine was not allowed on the roads and was eventually towed away by a firm from East Peckham. A Mr. Tompkins followed him, the house was seriously damaged by fire and rebuilt. The Nisbett family came in 1910.
The Coronation Oak
This title relates to the tree at the junction of Rock Road and Quarry Hill. The first tree was planted here on 2 June 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. This tree did not survive however and the Wrotham UDC, with their customary promptness, planted a second on 22 June 1911 to celebrate the coronation of King George V, the reign of King Edward VII having slipped by unmarked. In the 1950s Messrs. Chirnsides saved the tree from an “ingrowing” metal guard and quite recently Kent County Council rebuilt the retaining wall. The village owes a debt of gratitude to members of the community in that area who plant bulbs and flowers around the tree.
Western Road was planned in 1877 on the sale of Yew Tree Farm. Yew Tree House and Yew Tree Cottage were the first houses to be built after this, numbers 24 and 26 respectively. Wrotham Urban District Council minutes state that Western Road was levelled and metalled in 1897.
The premises owned by Mr. and Mrs. Moye in 43 Western Road have a fascinating history. Originally built by the Bible Christians as a place of worship, they changed in 1901 to the Alexandra Hall and became the small village hall. The Church held their socials there and a pantomime was staged in 1909. In World War I the site formed the HQ for the Borough Green Home Defence Force, part of the Royal West Kent Regiment. It was also to house the Borough Green Working Mens’ Club. From 1925-1936 a Miss Webster from Seal ran a private school from there.
In the late 1930s the Bailey family moved their shoe repair factory there from its High Street site. Mr. Frank Bailey took charge. Alexandra House was built by Mr. and Mrs. Bailey Senior. The factory proved very successful carrying out a lot of outside and army contracts. Mr. E. Moye, pursuing the same line of work at the Old Forge at the Crossroads, and who had previously worked for the Baileys, took over the business in 1963. He converted the metal building into a bungalow with a shoe shop in front. Later he added an upper storey. His son Roger has followed him helped by his wife, Sue. They both have entered into village life with strong interests in scouts and tennis and the Christmas street illuminations.
The building now used by GA Property Services at 51 was built by Durlings for Mr. E. Atkins when he moved from the Crossroads. The window frames and doors are all of good English oak, now sadly covered over with paint. Mr. Maynard opened up a nursery where the parade of shops now stands. It was he who supplied the Coronation Oak tree. Redgrove and Patrick continued the business. Mr. F. Haines followed with a fish shop. Previously he was a chimney sweep.
Opposite Mr. and Mrs. Pierce ran a grocers shop for many years. Number 28 was a greengrocers for many years. The Cooper family ran it followed by J Beech and then Mr. A.E. Humphrey. Mr. and Mrs. Charlaye took over in the 1970s as a motor cycle shop, the site now being a machine repair depot.
In the early 1930s a Mr. H. Williams converted part of Manchester House in the High Street into a hairdressing salon. He ran it till 1959 when Mr. Bligh took over and named it “Raymond’s”. He ran it there successfully for 22 years, then moved to his existing premises in Western Road, where he has been for 12 years. Previously it had been Webbs the butchers for many years.
The Davey family had a blacksmiths where Plaxtol Bakery now stands and were later to open the first garage on the Maidstone Road. The first milkman in Borough Green was a man named Hillier. He lived at South View Cottages and stabled his horses at the rear of the National Westminster Bank. Next door was Mr. Lee, the village barber, numbers 36 and 38. Mr. W. Furmnger (“Sweeny”) followed as a barber based at number 39 for many years. Haircuts were 4d, a shave 6d. His son Percy followed in his footsteps.
On the corner of Western Road with Sevenoaks Road stood Mr. A. Russell’s greengrocers shop, now demolished – the building was hit by at least two lorries. A go-ahead man, Mr. Russell was landlord of the Red Lion and The Rock simultaneously. He used the old chapel as a bothy for horse drivers at the Stone Quarry. Employing Durlings as the builder he built the house next to the Rock, first used as a laundry, then Toogoods Dairy, now Tangles, a hairdressers salon.
Station Road was Sandy Lane – Forge Lane
The street of football, Fivestones and “Fagcards” interrupted only by the odd horse and cart! Fagcards? You flipped cigarette cards against the base of the wall. If you covered one with your throw, the cards on the ground were yours.
Mr. G. Hewson built the Bakery, where Barclay’s Bank now stands, and the four houses below. His widow succeeded him and then came Mr. H.C. Hughes, there from 1923 till 1944. Dunfords followed, then Walklyns and it was in 1967 that Barclay’s Bank converted the premises. Mr. H. Bennett was a high class shoe maker at number 13, later a vets and now Levicks, the Accountants. The rear of London House was the Gas Board’s workshop and garage from 1946 to 1970, when Mr. C.J. Smith took over as car repairer. Number 59 was a grocers for many years, Waterman (Fuller) then Paynes.
At number 79 Harmsworth’s was a hardware shop. The 1891 census shows William Harmsworth as a port signalman. His wife Sarah ran the shop – they had four sons and three daughters. The Old Forge where Henry Ashdown plied his trade has had
many changes. Fred Cooper – cycle shop; Mr. Pierce – builder; Mr. Cox – builder; Mrs. Powell – cake shop; Mr. Rogers – cycle repairer; Mr. Truephit – furniture repairer; and now Brit Sales dealing in computers.
Caxton House at the bottom right as mentioned elsewhere was built as a printers, with Mr. F. Perkins being the owner in 1914. During World War II the Air Raid Precautions HQ was based here. After World War II Mr. S.A. Bramley ran the Labour Exchange there, then Mr. L.S. Daniels an accountant took over, followed by Levicks accountants.
Spencer Cottages were built by the enterprising J. Spencer of Platt Brickworks (later Pascalls) in the 1870s. Legend has them as being built for workers building the railway, but the census returns give evidence which refutes this idea.
Lighter moments 1921-1923
Number 10 Station Road
The author’s Father Mr. R.G. Bangay founded the local British legion Band.
The Sevenoaks Chronicle, 1922, reports:
“Strange noises have been heard in Station Road recently. Presumably the big drummer is practising, will he please note the slates on a nearby stable roof are in a shaky condition.”
The band practised in the front room which gave onto the street. Local lads thought to give greater effect during a practise of the 1812 Overture by putting a firework through the letterbox!
Sevenoaks Chronicle, 1923
“Now will Borough Green have a Fire Brigade?
Why were the lengths of hose and hydrant not traced till the morning after the fire? Fate plays strange tricks, the occupant is an ex-fireman and also agent for a well-known Insurance Company. And is it really true that an Inspector called the next day to ask how many buckets of water had been used? The “Gossips” who are entertaining at the Palace this week proved willing workers at the fire.”
“How many people were at the Church on Sunday last when the bellringer rang for the 8.00 a.m. service? Hadn’t he heard about the clocks being put back?”
Village Life in the 1930s
In the 1930s Borough Green was a thriving, growing community. The facts below, although rather dry, bear out this statement, which posterity should note:
|1 cafe||2 chemists||2 hairdressers|
|1 bank||3 plumbers||1 Fire Brigade|
|2 farms||1 jeweller||1 sand quarry|
|5 pubs||3 butchers||1 stone quarry|
|1 cinema||1 solicitor||1 gas showroom|
|2 bakers||1 fish shop||1 chimney sweep|
|1 church||1 shoe shop||4 confectioners|
|1 chapel||1 registrar||3 coal merchants|
|3 garages||1 blacksmith||5 shoe repairers|
|1 dentist||1 nurseryman||2 hardware shops|
|1 saddler||1 brickworks||1 mens outfitters|
|1 printer||3 cycle shops||1 labour exchange|
|3 dairies||1 corn stores||2 electrical shops|
|1 drapers||1 basket maker||3 haulage contractors|
|10 grocers||1 taxi service||3 newsagents/stationer|
|3 builders||2 fence makers|
|3 carriers||1 ladder maker|
|3 bus services
2 of which used Rock Road, parking by the Church (Auto Car and Red Car)
|One of the newsagents was W.H. Smiths bookstall and library at the Station. Mr. Tom Cresswell was the manager.|
Post War Building
Tollgate Estate was built in 1947-1948 and Fairfield Estate started in 1952.
Wye Road and Annetts Hall rose in 1958-1959, Roman Court some 30 years later in 1989.
Valley View 1960
Woodlands 1960 – 1961
Lingfield Road + Ascot Close 1958
Sandy Ridge 1959
Hunts Farm 1985
Eaglestone Close and Tolsey Mead 1985
All were built on good agricultural land, the majority view of the Parish Council being that building be restricted to the village confines. Street lighting on parts of Valley View was not authorised by Ightham Parish Council. Under the conditions of a boundary review this is now all under Borough Green.
I am often surprised that there is never any mention of ‘Fairseat Estate’ built in 1962 by Normans the Builders. The road from the A25 leading into the estate being Brockway which crosses ‘Norman’hurst Road and Mountfield leading off of this.
As mentioned, in the early years of the 20th C., Mr. Lou Curtis founded the builders, ‘Curtis &Caine’. He was a very wise, fair and respected man. A saying attributed to him was, “Don’t watch those they talk about – watch those that talk”.
It may have made more sense if Caines had kept their presence within the village, rather than relocating. There was a time when BG had 5 ironmongers/hardware at its heart. The big stores have put pressure on margins taking away the earning products that keep a business afloat. Kent Aluminium have done well to keep going – good service too.
During the 1950’s there was a local weekly newspaper, ‘The Mid Kent News’, which had premises located between the Rex Cinema and Fairfield Estate. The proprietor was Mr. George Dunkley from Trottiscliffe. It’s main readership and news were to be found in Boro’ Green, Ightham, Wrotham, Platt, Wrotham Heath, Crouch, Claygate Cross and Basted. Most reports were contributed by readers and featured their interests. They had a full-time reporter, aged about 21, who looked like a young Duke of Windsor.One of his specialities was productions by local dramatic societies. We could tell in advance which actress, with feathers ruffled, would send a letter of protestation to the paper. That letter would appear in the following week’s issue, with her name (in the play) as part of the headline. A criticism of an accent would sometimes cause an outburst. Another young man, on leaving Wrotham Secondary School, had a varied job description there – including (with extremely restricted choices) head of catering. And at times he would be seen riding his bicycle around the villages, with notebook at the ready, for a scoop.
I have some cuttings from The Mid Kent News. Some of the Pavilion items are taken from that source. It had folded ( no pun intended) by the time I got round to reading newspapers.
I commenced school in Infants class, September 1945 and befriended Neil Dunford, the baker’s son. He wore black boots which looked real cool and their studs clicked. Although ‘cool’ is dated now it hadn’t arrived then. After a few months he moved and I really missed him. So Dunfords would have been there less than 2 years – it seems to tie in with our brief friendship.
The use of the word cool dates back to the late 20s, some would say even earlier. This was restricted in use though and its popularity in everyday speech came in much later, being more common from the late 50s onwards in the UK. US GIs probably would have used it in WWII but that does not mean it took off.
The school admissions log – in various volumes – would track who entered when. Requirements on archiving this information seem to vary among different education authorities.
Re : Station Rd: the street of “fagcards”. Also, several were placed between the spokes of bike wheels, and produced a quite loud sound when riding. And some boys actually collected them. Another collecting hobby in the early 1950’s, was that of Inn Signs. They were 2×3 ins; miniatures of Whitbread pub signs, with descriptions on reverse. The earliest series were of light alloy metal and later of card. They were given by the pub landlord; at pubs located in Kent and East Sussex. Local appearances were the ‘Red Lion’, BG; the ‘Plough’; Basted, and the ‘Royal Oak’; Wrotham Heath. Collecting was mostly during the summer, and sometimes boys would ride quite a distance. Landlords sometimes got a bit fed up with these young collectors – so we would buy a packet of Smith’s crisps and a bottle of ginger beer or Vimto, and then politely ask if they had any Inn Signs. They often had one sign (theirs only), or 2 or 3 different ones. They very rarely gave you 1 card only – sometimes a few each of 2 or 3; sometimes a dozen of 1. During summertime on Sunday evenings, we used to ride to the Royal Oak, Wrotham Heath. Coaches would stop there while returning from the coast to SE London (then more of Kent). We used to look at the girls, while devouring our crisps and ginger beer – I don’t remember any boy with less than 35 ‘Royal Oak’ Inn Signs in his collection. I suppose they are quite rare now.
Tim Shaw and Pat Moorecroft have asked after you.
Tim and Pat : That’s very kind of you to remember me. It has been many moons, hasn’t it? I’m no longer a spring chicken – but this has added a spring to my step. I’m even thinking about digging the first 9 feet of that new bypass now – all on my Jack Jones. Can’t let my engineerig degree at Oxen Hoath Academy go to waste now – can I? Here’s wishing yourselves, and all within the Parish of BG and it’s environs, the very best. Many thanks! c h.
Tim and Pat : Re : Children in the Early 1950’s. Patricia Moorcroft lived at Sevenoaks Road, opposite the L.W.Pierce, Domestic and General Store. But no ‘e’ in her surname. David Shaw lived in a council house, at Fen Pond Road in Ightham. His mother was German. It is strange how these facts / memories, slightly modify impressions of later people with similar sounding names. Such is life!
He who whispers down a well, about the goods he has to sell;
Will never reap the shining dollars, of he who climbs a tree and hollers !
Many oldsters should remember that notice – it was in the entrance door of their favourite shop in BG – J.D.Bates, No. 4, High Street. Up to a dozen cards were below, bearing villager’s ads.
Toys Stockists of : Triang, Meccano, Hornby, Dinky, Trix, Bayko.
Large Selection of Toys, Children’s Books and Soft Toys. Construction Kits.
Famous Pens, Including: Parker, Waterman, Swan, Biro, Scroll, Platignum. Periodicals, Postcards.
Stationary: Account Books, Ledgers and Office Materials. ( early 1950’s )
The family who have taken the shop over continue to do a good job in serving the village.
The Bates had the minor drawback that they might seem a little stern with children, which for a toy shop, was an intriguing mismatch. I recall saving up my pocket money to buy a particular item, usually with parental consent, but at times because it was one I wanted for a set. The same items now in mint condition would fetch a fortune. Sadly none of mine survived long in mint nick.
Yes, Mr Bates would be seen puffing on his pipe, while absorbed with his toys. It seemed he felt children were not quite capable of appreciating his stock. I had an uncle appear in my life for the first time, when I was about 11, and he bought me a knife there. I didn’t ever buy or receive anything else from the shop, that I remember, and we were a bit on the poor side.
I didn’t ever forget that notice on his glazed door – and was quite impressed. He ‘looked’ capable of that creation.
Yes, that sternness – I don’t remember Mr Bates ever actually smiling. But of course my ‘just looking’, could have reduced his joviality. Though I did stand back silently – it’s not as if I was ripping his dinky toys out of their boxes!
As a leading figure he did a lot of good works in the Chamber of Trade and I think he was on the parish council too. ( anyone knowing otherwise feel free to add a comment).
I tended to try to buy at a time when the somewhat more child friendly sales assistant was likely to be there.
E.J.Goldspink, Watchmaker & Jeweller, Western Road.
Agent for : Zenith, Smith’s, Avia & Ingersoll.
Those who deplore the decline in farming might reflect that those workers, many in the Boro’ Green area, were paid peanuts.
Where am I going with this? On the windswept fields they needed a timepiece. And they would buy an inexpensive, but reliable Ingersoll pocket watch from Goldspinks. They would wrap this in tissue paper, and keep it in a e.g., ‘Golden Virginia’ tobacco tin.
When you consider WW2 and food rationing until 1952, they were important people to have to struggle to buy a simple pocket watch. I don’t like to say ‘cheap’, but the cheapest ones would be those brought in for them.
Arthur Ashton, No. 1 High Street.
For all your Television, Electrical and Cycle requirements.
Agent for :
Bush, Ekco, Murphy, Pye
Dimplex, Hoover, Kenwood
Phillips, Raleigh, Triumph
There was so little on TV in the early 1950s.
On Saturday afternoons, after watching BGFC at the Recreation Ground, we (young ‘uns) crowded outside Ashton’s shop window. We would be watching the latter part of a rugby game on a small black and white model.
We were not very interested in that version of football, but quite excited to be watching a TV.
I did find Ashton listed in the 1911 census I think referring to bicycles. The parade of shops would have been new then I guess.
If I look to start anywhere with transcribing that data set it’ll be in the High Street. The image of the shop from 1981 is around the time when it closed.
This is for you Ian – a reminder of when BG had those ironmongery/hardware outlets. I think the owner commenced business at this location at the time of these details – approximately 1956/57.
Douglas Smith & Co. (Ironmongers) Ltd.
Ironmongers, Builders’ Merchants, Tool Dealers, Horticultural Suppliers.
Advice Gladly Given.
Wallpapers, Paints and Distempers.
Tools of Every Description.
Trade Enquiries Welcomed.
Manchester House, High Street.
The top 2 lines were included in capital letters (almost the same) as sign writing above the shop window and entrance door [ ‘store front’ ]. Items were also displayed outside/in front of the store. The company were also located at 19 High Street, Swanley.
As you mentioned Ian, about more stores of this nature in the past – there was even one in a remote hamlet, south of Plaxtol. On a narrow lane, with dense trees eliminating the sky, one turned a corner and there it was – with no other building in sight. Quite a surprise!
The business never really survived the death of Mr Smith. Mrs. Smith carried on and knew her trade but did not have a sharp business mind. I think it would have been about 1977 the business closed as she decided to call it a day and she moved to a flat on Fairfield, which was barely big enough to accommodate the amount of household goods and furniture she had built up. There was talk of her later moving to Roman Court, but not being in the area I am not sure what came of that.
I remember going into the Smiths shop in the 60’s very well. You could go in early on a Saturday morning and queue till lunchtime. They could both ‘chat’, there never seemed to be any rush and everybody would join in. When you eventually got to the counter chances are they would not have what you wanted, “but we can get it for next week” they would say. So next Saturday the whole process was repeated again! But that was life in the 60’s
My mother worked behind the counter at times. Brewers were the company with whom most orders were placed with cream and brown vans showing their livery. You’ll still find the care and customer service at Kent aluminium with assistants who are more likely to know what you need than the big warehouse staff.
Brian Whiston’s description of Saturdays in Smiths, is hilarious – far funnier than ‘Hardware’, on ITV in 2003/04.
He could write a TV comedy series, and yourself be paid a discovery fee.
“Saturdays in Smith’s”, sounds better than “Hardware”, as well.
I am still smiling.
Dear Mrs Smith, I remember her well – all hair and hairpins and not lavished with great teeth as I recall.
Mrs Bates used to call me sweetie and Mr Bates puffed on his pipe and glowered.
I am returning to Borough Green next weekend for a visit, after 27 years away, how different will I find it…….
I hope your visit brings happy memories. The heart of the village is still good.
Sue Mann :
Well, Mrs Smith’s teeth – I didn’t actually step inside the shop, or meet Mrs Smith.
I didn’t think that Mr Smith had a romantic interest, when he set up his business those first couple of years.
I used to see him crossing the road about mid-day – I thought he was probably visiting the bank.
He looked to be in his late 20s – with a beak nose and teeth that ground together at their tips, as if they gripped a pipe.
And his clothes looked more appropriate for his father.
I assumed that he had accumulated money by not spending it on the fair sex – or had received a inheritance.
Maybe Mrs Smith was a part of his life at the time – and Douglas was a bit of a dark horse – compared to my (probably) narrow way of thinking.
I hope that you enjoyed an exhilarating visit to BG last weekend – that you didn’t spend all of your savings, and you don’t leave it so long to return next time.
To the best of my knowledge the Smiths were already married when the opened the BG shop which came after the Swanley branch. I cannot recall the manner of his death but believe it was somewhat premature .i.e. he died well under the average age for males at that time. Mrs Smith certainly lived a rather reclusive life after his passing. I do recall we invited her in for a Christmas meal at some point which would have been after his death.
See February 20th above.
I mentioned Tim Shaw who, a year plus or so ago, obtained those 961 votes when being elected to BG Parish Council.
I also mentioned David Shaw from Ightham. I wonder if he is the “long-standing” club chairman of Ightham FC – he would be in his mid-70’s by now. Quite a young age these days!
And now for the ‘64,000 dollar question’ – are they related?
Thank you for your prompt reply by other means, Ian.
I don’t know what, if any, awards are made in the Borough Green Parish, but in my opinion you are an excellent author.
I’ll seek Tim’s consent to have that comment on the site. Tim’s father was called Alfred having checked.
Thanks for the compliment. One of the things I felt missing from the site till 2011 was ability to react to posts. The WordPress blog allows for that but the take up has not been as widespread as I may have anticipated. When Dad did his many exhibitions there was always the chance to interact and pass on info. This in turn fed into his personal store of knowledge.
For several months now, I have been unable to remove from my memory, that David Shaw’s father was also called Alfred (well, I only ever heard it as ‘Alf’).
David’s mother was named Dolly (Meisner) and he had a sister named Ann.
They lived at the north side of St Peter’s Church, Ightham perimeter wall – adjacent to the Ladbrook family.
Please don’t bother Tim about this – I’m just giving you an idea of how senior ‘muddled moments’ form. Cheers!
If I approve this then he may well read it on the site anyway, though I suspect he’s kind of busy. I still have not got around to asking him about permission to post his words from a few months back. Infrequent contact you might say.
Campbell – Your comment jogged my memory with regard to contacting Tim. I had said that I would. In Feb he wrote:
“As for CAMPBELL HIGGINS – yes he was one of the all time greats in BG Football – well known all around and I can just remember him and his mates in the mud on cold saturday afternoons on the rec —- he was a good friend or known very well by my dad who always spoke highly of Campbell as a great footballer. Your dad would have known him as well.
I can still smell the White Oils and crepe bandages they would put on to prevent cold in the legs on those wintery days !”
I am guessing that by White Oils he means the same type of liquid as I might call wintergreen. Google gives a variety of definitions for white oils, hence my comment.
He also confirmed that you are correct about his father’s name – I have no explanation for the other source’s variation so will leave it at that!
White horse oils
A little bit puzzled by the white horse oils addition- any chance of clearing that up please?
Re : My previous comment.
I thought that you might think the name ‘Ladbrook’ as being unusual for the area. But also ‘ringing a bell’.
As a teenager, Bill Ladbrook came up from Swindon, Wiltshire to enter domestic service – and married fellow worker, Madge Hardiman.
Bob, the second of their 3 sons, served a gas fitting apprenticeship under the guidance of your father.
How is the percentage of progression with your collating of census material?
I’m not rushing you!
Several times I have heard people mention of this, with genuine interest.
Thanks for your continuing efforts!
Short answer – it’s too much to do currently.
In many UK libraries this information is available because the county/metro councils have paid for a subscription to the archive service through one of the fee-paying sites. My advice to UK residents is to visit the local library and use it and if the service is not available ask for it to be made so. In these times of library cutbacks that may be unlikely , but it may increase library visitor numbers and so it may happen. It’s one of those things libraries should be looking to do and to maintain.
Re : Wintry Saturday afternoons football at BG Recreation Ground (almost every BG resident didn’t say ‘Rec’.)
Running repairs and maintenance included :
‘Horse Liniment’ applied to leg joints and muscles. The season would commence with pulled thigh muscles – Sept/Oct being colder than now and no summertime pre-season friendlies for 6 wks, in preparation.
Rolls of stretchy crepe bandages around knees and ankles. It wasn’t called that, but what it was called eludes my memory. Most veteran players, following their mid-20’s had their knees covered in this way.
A touch of Vaseline on the forehead. The ball was heavier when wet/muddy, and it felt like heading concrete.
Following a heavy head collision, the ‘magic sponge’ cleared away stars/cobwebs and the scene was once again
part of consciousness.
With repeated wet/dry cycles, boot laces would break – they were quite long and repairs made.
Half an orange at half time. Some would smoke.
Between games, mud was removed from boots and ‘Dubbin’ applied. It made the dried, thick leather soft/supple and damp proof. The advertising said that it greatly extended the life of the boots (I should check to see if they still fit me). After working their way into one’s feet, the points of the nails securing the leather studs were hammered down/flattened.
Those were the days!
Dubbin is still in use. Most residential outward bound education visits I led used it or a similar compound for treating walking boots. Some may term “educational visits” trips, which is something of a misnomer and best avoided. While 100% enjoyable it would be fair to say that such week long excursions are demanding, particularly for those young people whose longest journey by foot is the one to the car, if parked in an inconvenient location. Back to the Dubbin – for most this encounter with Dubbin was their first. Those who did not apply it properly soon found out its benefits the hard way – trial and error — or perhaps error, then trial.
With regard to lotion applied to aching muscles and joints – the pungent aroma was to my recollection less than pleasant, especially if you were not using it and had to endure it lingering in the room, in Winter, with windows closed.
I’ll be interested to see if the revamped Potters Mede has a boot cleaning area superior to the old one, which was a few brushes and a hosepipe, round the back of the changing area. Although a positive step it obviously required someone to clean up afterwards – volunteers were not always forthcoming. It was however a step on from the few boot scrapers which the Pavilion enjoyed.
1950’s Fourways Café.
Elsewhere, Marian Smith mentions watching the 1953 Coronation on television at Fourways Café, and that she was 5 years old at the time. Also, that her (later) step mother was a cook there.
I was older than Marian, and travelled by coach with other schoolchildren to watch same at the Odeon Cinema, Sevenoaks.
During the latter half of the 1950’s, regular weekday ‘Fourways’ customers at noontime included : local blacksmith/ forge owner Jock Chirnside and his sons George and Dugald; Johnny Geddes and George ‘Bandy’ Fuller who worked for F.P.Caine Limited; and George ‘Deafy’ Denton, the Boro’ Green curbside/ gutter and drains cleaner. His handcart would be seen parked outside.
At this period of time, I believe that the lady who took the orders and brought the meals to the tables was also involved with cooking. She looked to be in her early 40’s – I wonder if she was Marian’s later step mother?
I am fairly sure that Freda had more than one stint there but this was before my time I fear so I’ll have to rely on others’ input on this. My earliest memory of that building is its conversion to Fourways Furnishing, which would have been in the mid 60s.
That’s it, you’ve prodded my memory back all of those years. I was thinking that I hadn’t actually known her name – but now recollect that Johnny Geddes was regularly chatting with her – and her name was Freda.
Re : Station Road.
The Spencer’s Cottages row was known as part of ‘The Barracks’.
Former Spencer’s Cottages resident, Bill Fuller, was speaking of the approximately 1920 time – and how a dead horse might be observed lying at mid-point of the Barracks.
Some boys would jump on it and ‘gas music’ would exit from the deceased animal – accompanied by laughter from the boys.
At Christmas time, children would receive an apple and an orange as presents – and be very happy about this.
The ‘best’ Christmas was had the year that residents enjoyed pork dinners.
Just prior to Christmas, a large pig had mysteriously disappeared from Wrotham & Borough Green railway station – pork meals were eaten for several weeks.
The original ‘modern’ BG housing development was Tollgate Estate.
The initial row of residences was built parallel to Wrotham Road.
The first two homes moved into were for large families at the south end.
The Reffolds moved into No.1.
There were 8 or 9 children. They had moved from Crouch, where Mr Reffold had worked at Winfield Farm.
In 1988, E.W.Reffold of Borough Green F.C. was awarded a Club Long Service Award, by the Kent County Football League. This was Ted (Teddy at school) who was one of the older Reffold children.
The Layberry family moved into No.2.
The number of children grew to 7 or 8. The eldest, Ross, was the ‘brainiest’ pupil in Junior 3 (year of the 11-plus exam) at BG Primary School. Ross could be quite naughty at times, and the teacher Miss Griffin would say the equivalent of “Well Ross, if you answer this [difficult] question correctly, all will be forgiven.” Ross would always answer the question correctly.
Although a year younger, Robin, a brother of Ross was also in Junior 3 that school year (1949/ 50).
Ross attended the Judd School, Tonbridge and in his early to mid-20’s emigrated to Toronto, Canada.
Local blacksmith/ forge owner Jock Chirnside and his wife and 3 children, moved into a residence at the north end of that short row.
That seems to have been a providential location for the Chirnsides.
Ross and Robin Layberry were together in Junior 3 (1949-50) a couple of years or so after moving to Tollgate Estate.
Re : The Chirnside Family’s next move, during the mid-1950’s.
They didn’t go far – to the bungalow next to/ on the north side of, The Railway Hotel.
This was opposite Wally’s Café. It was the time of early rock ‘n roll, and Wally (Whiffen) had good discs on his jukebox – including Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, etc.
We were often hearing them 3 months before receiving them over the airwaves of Radio Luxembourg, and their entering the British Top-20 charts.
A year later, the first local ‘live’ rock ‘n roll club started in Seal – followed 6 months later, likewise in Wrotham. I remember Dugald Chirnside there saying, “Schoolkids are lucky now aren’t they? We didn’t have rock ‘n roll.”
Dugald and George Chirnside were working with their dad, Jock – and their sister Jessie was employed in the office of Noelite Paving.
And until the early to mid-60s, Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes” was the major UK rock ‘n roll (repeat) hit.
Re : John Chirnside & Sons Limited.
I have seen mentioned that George and Dugald commenced working with their dad in 1957.
But I think that was probably the year that the company became limited/ named.
George started in 1953 and Dugald in 1955. They had both left Wrotham Road School at the age of 15.
As sportsmen, George played for BG Bowls Club – and Dugald for BG Invicta Youth Club FC and St Mary’s Platt FC.
It’s good to see that the Chirnsides have been forward thinking enough to have their own website. There are copious examples of their work and input around the village.
During the 1950s, Marjorie Macadam was a well-known member of BG Parish Council.
She was prominently mentioned in reports of PC Meetings, which appeared weekly in the Kent Messenger and Sevenoaks Chronicle.
I didn’t actually ever speak to Marjorie – my only ‘contact’ being when with my mother in Mr Clark’s No. 35, High St grocery shop (Marjorie lived close by, over the Westminster Bank). I was with Mum because, at 12 years of age, I was slightly addicted to Mr Clark’s stock of Weston’s Wagon Wheels.
We had just entered the shop, when Marjorie approached and started asking Mum questions about me – this continued for getting on for an hour [Mum had never spoken to her before that occasion, or since]. Kath Carter and her sister served in the shop and one of them came to the rescue – I could soon start on my first Wagon Wheel. I was quite relieved that Mum’s answers had not embarrassed me – well not much.
Approximately 5 years after the shop occasion, following a lengthy dry spell, there was unusually hot summer weather – and insects, etc., were quite a nuisance. A headline appeared stating : ‘MARJORIE MacADAM SAYS THERE ARE TOO MANY FLIES IN BOROUGH GREEN’. This was followed by her recommendations. However, within a few days it cooled and the stifling heat did not return – and the fly problem more or less went away.
Marjorie’s ideas were saved/ put on file.
Re : The Boro’ Green based, 2158 Squadron ATC (Air Training Corps).
I have vague memories of hearing about some activities connected with the above-captioned, during the late 1940s.
Mr Clark, who owned the High Street grocers shop, was Squadron Leader Clark (ATC), and I believe your uncle (was his name Ray or Reg?) was an officer also.
The ATC hut was next to the Ballard/ Willard semi-detached residence, near the top of Quarry Hill. Square bashing, etc., was held at BG Primary School.
They were visited by Ted and Julie Andrews. Julie was about 15? at the time and sung with her father, Ted.
Well-known BBC TV announcers, Mary Malcom and MacDonald Hobley also visited them.
I believe the BG ATC football team won a national championship. The teenagers became leading players locally during the 1950s. They included Ron Bennett, Johnny Stanley, Bob Geddes and Roddy Bennett. John (later known as Colin) Page was also a member of the team, and later played for, then coached Kent County Cricket Club.
I’m pretty sure that your dad had quite a bit more information about the ATC.
re ATC – if any of my uncles played a part in that it may well have been Uncle Ron who lives in Kemsing. There is little information remaining about the ATC as Dad donated some of the photos to the library and some tea-leaf made off with them. It remained something of a sore point and from my own perspective mitigated against leaving original items with the library service. That is not a criticism of the staff, simply an acknowledgement that some users of the service may not be entirely trustworthy, nor consider that leaving items in the public domain is the best way to value and respect them.
So good to see your reference to Julie Andrews visiting and singing at the ATC hut. Dad and Mum had said that Julie Andrews came there but didn’t ever continue the conversation so I thought I must have dreamt it.
Regarding ‘tea-leaves’. At one time the library had a copy of Mr De Layes book that he had written about Borough Green. I never did get to buy a copy as he had sold out. I often used to go to the library to consult it. Unfortunately someone rather took a liking to it and it is no longer there.
During the late 40s/ early 50s I would occasionally be with my mother when she went into Callow’s shop. It was a few doors north of the Bangay family abode.
Mrs Callow and her daughter Edith served in the shop. They mostly sold balls of wool, reels of cotton and thread. Also knitting and sewing accessories.
They also loaned hardcover romance books which were considered to be quite well-written. Most of the times I went into the shop was to return books for Mum.
I didn’t realise that the shop stocked a wide variety of ‘one penny’ sweets. Senior citizens have remarked that they were ‘hidden’ from view in a drawer below the counter and brought out on a large tray. Some have surmised that a bylaw may have prohibited this type of retail outlet selling them.
They could have been kept out of the way because some were considered too sticky and powdery to be near wool and books.
Those Seniors commented that the shop was considered to be in an ideal location by BG Primary School pupils and frequenters of Saturday morning cinema presentations.
In later years Miss Callow had to deal with minor shop-lifting, which given she did not work to high profit margins, probably did the business little good. Groups of school children – on their way home usually- would agonize over their precious selection and while they had the shop-keeper’s attention one of the group would furtively sneak a few extras. This practice continues to this day in other establishments, prompting the reduction in numbers of school children allowed in certain shops. Had Miss Callow followed suite – I think she did have limits at one point – it would have hit her trade badly. I suspect that other signs of this are evident in the number of dental fillings which a certain age range carry to this day.
I think at some point Miss Callow operate a book lending library, though this was before I was reading and it is something that I may have heard.
There was a well stocked library there. Dad used to send me back with his books sometimes and he wouldn’t have read romance novels- at least don’t think so. There was also a trade in cigarettes but being under whatever the legal ages was when for buying on behalf of Dad, I had to hide them. There was a collection of birthday cards too which were kept in a basket so when a card was needed, we had to sort through for a suitable one.
It’s mentioned that in 1922 your grandfather formed the local British Legion band – practicing in the front room of No. 10 Station Road.
The Platt Memorial Hall opening ceremony was held on November 18th of that year, and I understand that your grandfather was one of three cornetists from the band who were providing accompaniment to the choir.
Re : The Post Office towards the mid-1950s.
The post office was situated in the north part of Clokes’ High Street store.
Mrs Percy served there -she was the wife of Arthur Percy, the headmaster at Wrotham Road School.
As I commenced a few jobs, I obtained a Post Office Savings Bank deposit book.
My deposits were amounts of shillings – not pounds, earned from delivering newspapers and the picking of fruit and vegetables. I was rolling in money – e.g., 7 shillings a week for delivering newspapers and a penny a lb for picking cobnuts.
At first I would be lying on the bed, calculating all of the interest I would amass over the coming months.
Most of the postage stamps I bought were used for exchanging football programmes, with other collectors from across the UK. Living in rural Kent, I didn’t have much to offer those in or near cities especially, but eagerly awaited return mail.
Apart from post office information, two of the main notices on the wall were about squirrels and deadly nightshade.
Grey squirrels were a nuisance, and the government was offering a shilling a tail for each one submitted – I wasn’t sure how this was being carried out.
Just before Christmas, I had seen a neighbour chop kindling wood – and then the head off of a chicken.
I imagined people chopping the tails off of squirrels, and then handing a box of them to Mrs Percy – who would then pass a handful of shillings back to them.
The other notice had a warning about young children eating poisonous deadly nightshade berries, with a photo of the plant. I imagined myself, after accidentally consuming a few of these, then writhing with terrible stomach pains and suffering an agonizing death.
Amazed to come across this site about my childhood village, and furthermore amazed that you mention my grandparents, Hilda and Arthur Percy .. My brother and I lived with them (1970’s) when were were teenagers, #6, Grange Rd. in Platt. We would love to hear of any stories you could share of the Percy’s, from way back when. They were my mother’s parents. She, Avril, married Derek Lamb, also a local. Maybe you knew his father, Reg Lamb? He worked for years at Platt Mills.
Thank you so much! Richard Lamb
Headmaster at Wrotham Secondary, with son Richard? If so, Richard and I were at Borough Green Primary together – 1950 – 1955
In the 1950’s and 60’s traffic wasn’t a problem. There were few cars on the roads then. I moved to the Normanhurst estate in the early sixties and only one person had a car. You used to be able to walk to the station along the A25 at seven o’clock in the morning to catch the train to London and hardly see a car. Not so today!!
An international survey revealed that UK car drivers (comparatively) rarely : (a) try to honk vehicles in front of them, out of the way, (b) cut-off other vehicles, or (c) almost clip the toes or ankles of those on pedestrian crossings.
They are mostly known for attempting to drive on the back bumpers of cars in front of them.
They were given an average score for driving over the speed limits – but assisted in this by the condition of UK roads (not considered that great).
Re : ATC comment – February 25, 2014.
I saw mentioned that at the formation of the BG Flight (January 15, 1942) your uncle – Flight Sergeant R.J.Bangay – was one of the two NCOs appointed.
Re : In Station Road, the mentioning of “The Old Forge where Henry Ashdown plied his trade has had many changes.”
I remember Mr Rogers, the bicycle repairman there, during the early to mid-1950s.
He seemed to have grease and ‘3-IN-1 OIL’ on his hands, face, overalls, paperwork, desk and almost everywhere else.
I do not remember the gentleman who apparently? took over the premises after him : a “Mr Truephit the furniture repairer”. [sounds American]. With a name like that, his drawer dovetail joints would have to be nigh on perfect, wouldn’t they?
I believe that the name may have been spelled without the “e” and will seek to verify. if he lived in the premises this should be easy to sort out. I do recall that when we had a rabbit we managed to get plenty of sawdust for bedding from there.
Truphet seems to be the actual spelling as shown in the electoral roll.
So his actual surname [not clever company name pronounced “true fit”] would have been Truphet?
And pronounced the same as Jimmy Buffet and little Miss Muffet?
I don’t ever recollect anyone with that name – anywhere. From Station Road too – well, blow me down……
Campbell – it’s not a name I have found elsewhere, so I’d wonder if joinery was in the family tree. It has a sort of French look to it.
A search shows various genealogy websites promising that if I stump up £4 or more that all will be revealed.
A free search in LinkedIn shows Truphet UK based in Sevenoaks which is a construction company specialising in sustainable building.
If I had half a mind, I’d contact the firm. As I don’t, I won’t.
Ian – you’re on the ball!
I’ve noticed 3 others also – one (owner of a few companies) being married to the owner of ‘your company’.
All 4 could be related – their careers and/or education link them to the Sevenoaks/ Tonbridge area.
Re : Sweeney Furminger’s barber shop at No. 39 Western Road.
My first years of professional haircuts, until the early 1950’s, were at Sweeney’s establishment.
In appearance, Sweeney looked like a more miserable, thinner and older Alan Greenspan.
He had his army style, short back and sides so perfected that he could doze for half a minute or more, part way through.
Sweeney’s son Perc also cut there, but maybe because he was so much pleasanter, memories of him recede into the background of one’s mind. All of those waiting hoped for a call to Perc’s chair.
In the early 50s, Violet Swift (later Mrs Treadgold) from Wrotham Heath, started visiting people’s homes in the evening to clip hair. I was the first one to turn up at school with the new ‘Boston’ style, it was by Violet – uncomplicated, a feature being the hair at the back of the neck being shaved in a straight line. I remember over-modifying a Boston by Violet, then going to Sweeney to have it tidied up.
Using his pre-electric, pre- WD-40 clippers it felt at times that Sweeney was trying to cut and pull 26 gauge wire.
Sweeney asked who did this to my hair, and I mentioned Violet/ felt bad about blaming her – he then muttered something I tried not to hear, and really tugged with those clippers.
I also delivered newspapers to Sweeney – the last time was the Saturday before Christmas, 1955. It was also my last day with Charlie Rochez, my paper delivery boss (I was going to start work full-time in the new year).
There was a payment mixup which frustratingly couldn’t be resolved that Saturday morning – Sweeney was confusing matters to the extreme, and then Charlie, anticipating a loss was very bitter, with me about to “disappear”.
It bugged me over the weekend, and at 5:30 am Monday I left an envelope with cash in it for Charlie at his railway station newsstand. I don’t know if Sweeney innocently got away with it, or Charlie got paid twice – I wasn’t as worried about money as them, but they were in business of course.
…. the shop was in Winifrith. The 1957 electoral roll shows 2 dwellings for the family.
Those names sure get forgotten – then return quite vividly when one is reminded.
Last week Peter Hopgood mentioned Maddox Cottages, Platt, which I’d been trying – probably too hard – to remember.
I do not appreciate, in Crouch especially, the newer non-‘grander sounding names’ dotted around.
Re : Mr Truphit the furniture repairer at 87 Station Road.
Was actually E.R.Truphit & Sons. I was wondering how many people were entering the premises with an item of furniture for them to repair. And how many would be needed to keep them busy and pay the bills. And provide plenty of sawdust bedding for Ian’s rabbit.
But I now see that they were cabinet makers, and specialised in the manufacture of period style/ antique reproduction furniture. It’s all clear now, right Ian?
The front showroom, facing Parkfoot (?) garage, frequently had period items in it, some genuinely old others not so old. It would be interesting to know at what point Mr Tilman established his antique factory over the road and up a bit. It gave gainful employment and training to a good number of local people.
I seem to remember the Truphit’s coming to station road. Can you tell me if I am right I believe that at that time it was a single story building and Mr Truphit added another story. They eventually moved to Crouch, opposite the Chequers Inn. I went in there once and he did have some very fine pieces of furniture. He had some huge ‘boardroom’ tables that I think he reprocessed for the old wood.
William Tillman were certainly in Crouch Lane in 1978. I have a catalogue and price list from that date. I am sure that they had a large showroom In St James St London. I have just looked on the internet and Gordon Forster who served his apprenticeship says Tillmans came to Crouch Lane in the 1970’s He retired in the late 1990’s. presumably that is when the factory closed. His furniture is still sought after and the Sheraton Style Breakfront Chiffonier in Mahogany in my catalogue is still on the internet.
They did have a London showroom for a while. It closed when demand reduced. I recall delivering some fresh antiques there on a day I was assisting the driver whose name escapes me, but who struck me as a reflective soul.
I think the building was extended but those older than I would have to say quite when. I think it was actually a forge at some point, which would have made an original upper floor quite unlikely.
later: I think his name was Graham
I was a less attentive driver during the early to mid 60s, and had car bodywork done at ‘Parkfoot’ Garage,London Rd., W.Malling.
Also at Pinewood Garage, London Rd.,Leybourne – during same time period. Jack Pingree of Maidstone Rd., owned Pinewood – his youngest daughter Margaret, married Francis White.
In today’s money, those bills far exceed the value of my current vehicle.
Somewhere in the various papers in filing cabinet i seem to recall an itemised bill for work done around the same time. I’ll look it out and add to the Maidstone Road page if I find it.
I was interested to read your comments on Jack Pingree. As you say Margaret married Francis White. His mother was the lady you mention Rona White who was married to Percy White. Margaret and Francis are alive and well and living in Platt
A few years before Francis met Margaret, her boyfriend was Keith Perkins from Maidstone.
I remember this very well, because I would have liked a girlfriend like Margaret myself.
But what with (probably) trying too hard – was unsuccessful.
No. 87 Station Rd., was a single-storey shop when bicycle repair man, Mr Rogers, was there.
With the various bikes, and bits and pieces, it seemed to be about the size of a (then) average bathroom.
You had to watch that a greasy chain didn’t mark your trousers, and a visit to Stuart’s the Dry Cleaners have to be made – if Mum’s effort with ‘Thawpit’ didn’t suffice.
And the later Crouch location for Truphits, was at the former premises of Hyder’s Coachworks?
While we’re on the subject of wellness, Brian.
Are you aware how Francis’ sister Mary, and brother Christopher, are doing?
Hi Campbell, As far as I am aware Christopher and his wife are both well, and living I believe in the wilds of Wales.
Mary I think is also well and living somewhere in the New Ash Green area. Their mother Rona who lived in the Maidstone Road died two or three years back.
Re : Raymond Ladies Hairdresser, Manchester House, High Street (1950s).
I don’t know how many knew that the owner’s name was Mr. H. Williams – his staff and customers called him Mr. Raymond.
Featured on TV, Raymond Bessone, aka Mr. Teasy-Weasy and Mr. Teasy-Weasy Raymond, influenced ladies’ hairdressers to call themselves Mr. Raymond. His celebrity client was Britain’s own ‘blonde bombshell’ – Diana Dors.
I’ve forgotten her Christian name, but John Cripps’ sister from Wrotham, did cut (mostly young) men’s hair there – and was alluring and popular. Men were also happy to see the pretty Nona Judge, one of the lady hairdressers. Nona lived with her mum above Clark’s grocery shop, at No. 35 High Street.
By the time the business moved to No. 34 Western Road, in 1959, I believe that Mr. Raymond was just about ready for retirement – and that his son, or another relation, took over at the new location.
Just after sending the 2 minutes after midnight post, I thought of Jim Francis from Wrotham.
More than anyone else, he used to mention the young lady who cut men’s hair – and it was Sandra Cripps.
And I believe it may have been Mr. Raymond’s son-in-law, who took over at the new Western Rd location.
During the 50s, one got used to saying Mr. Raymond – and it felt like saying Tom, Dick or Harry.
In reply to your comments about Raymonds, I have a photograph which shows they were still in the same shop in the High Street in 1969. It was David Bance who had the ‘Gents’ in the basement of the shop.
I am not too sure of the date, but there is a picture in ‘Photo Year 1982’ that shows ‘Davids’ in the little shop at Hunts Farm. I believe David Bance was the proprietor.
They year was definitely 1982. I took that photo myself, either on a Yashica SLR or on a Ricoh 500G which I bought second hand locally. ( West Malling I think) I took a set which was a cross section of the village. It may have been meant to correlate with the 1965 photos taken by Miss Riley.
David did run his business from there for a while. I am not sure if he moved there straight from the High Street.
Why not pay us a visit? We have just moved our salon………………
Raymond Ladies Hairdresser
34 Western Road
Some words from an advertisement – which year?
It seems that BG’s very own Mr, Raymond, preceded the hairdressing establishment which acquired that name – in 1959?
In the 50s, there was no ‘official Gents’ or activity in the basement. I’m not even sure what the name was now – oh well.
I was just thinking about Mrs Linda Hodges post (Photo – Year/ 1965 index/ Fairfield Rd & Novellos) – when I thought of another Linda (Williams) – her family also lived in that initial row of Tollgate Estate residences (February 4th, 2014 post).
They were at No. 3 – next door to the Layberry family.
With a haberdashery department upstairs, Cloke’s High Street store had groceries, fruit and vegetables downstairs.
It was where the more middle class types tended to shop.
Geoffrey Cloke brought some goodies for a few of us at BG Primary School – but someone told his dad, and that finished that.
Mr Clark’s No. 35 High Street grocery store, had a more working class clientele.
They granted credit, and most took advantage of that.
There was a delivery service, by Mr Clark in his van – to Basted, Claygate Cross and Crouch – and probably other locations. He lived in Plaxtol.
While in my early teens, I was occasionally allowed to get something there to munch on. 80 % of his biscuits were on the plain side, and I tended to buy cheese (preferably Dutch Gouda), and Weston’s Wagon Wheels. There wasn’t much variety to choose from. However, my choices did assist in helping to clog my arteries.
My family lived in Borough Green for many years. Sadly my father passed away in October but has left some fabulous memories that you may be interested in. One thing I do have is a photo of Banfield Bros taken around 1908 is. I’ve posted a copy here … https://www.flickr.com/photos/94309337@N00/2158171062/ but please contact me if you would like a copy. Kind Regards.
Thanks for the information. I am sorry to hear of your recent news. As you say when people move on they leave behind a wealth of memories and keepsakes. It was probably my late father’s death that spurred me on to start the website back in 1999. It’s something I sort of wish I had begun earlier, but as ever things get in the way. I am most interested in seeing this in more detail and will be in touch.
Having looked again through the site it would appear that this is the same as the one posted under the Maidstone Road tab dated 1905. I suspect the date is a best guess there, as the photographer and subjects would have passed on by the time dad came to date it. I shall look to see what condition the copy is in, as the contrast on yours seem somewhat better.
Did you have an aunt who worked in accounts at Clokes? I certainly recall her name though we as children only knew her as Miss Heaven. I am trying to remember if I have the correct location though. I am Ian’s sister.
It was only yesterday that I was telling someone about one or two of the old pictures of Borough Green and how sad it was that when the owners of the pictures died or moved away they were often lost forever. It was around 1969 that I copied that photograph of Banfields for Frank Bangay this was for an exhibition he was doing in the village hall. We always thought the picture was lost and most of the copies floating around came from my original copy. This was taken as a black and white negative on a 2¼ square camera which was quite difficult to do and was probably underexposed. I had only just sorted the negative out to try and get a better print when I saw your letter. It is far easier to do these days with flatbed scanner or even digital camera’s. I have just had all my old pictures reprinted commercially as it is better to look at them in the hand rather than on a computer screen. I would very much like a copy of the picture scanned at a higher resolution. If this is possible perhaps you could send it on to Ian who I am sure will forward it to me.
Regards, Brian Whiston
Well, I only knew of 3 Heavens in Boro’ Green.
I assume that Malcom’s father was Eric – who attended BG Primary School and then the Judd School, Tonbridge?
Uncle Horace would have been the former custodian/ swimming instructor/ lifeguard at Long Pond swimming pool.
He worked as the yardman at F.P.Caine Ltd for many years.
And he lived with his sister in Maidstone Road.
About 18 months ago, I saw a photo of Miss Heaven as she was about to cross Maidstone Road (and mentioned in the caption). I thought it was on this, or one of Mike Taylor’s websites – but haven’t been able to find it since.
On average, Horace used to visit the Black Horse about 40 minutes before closing time, for a drink of his favourite whisky. Sorry, but I didn’t used to say scotch.
Give me another 36 hours and I might remember Miss Heaven working in accounts at Cloke’s. I’m sort of remembering her entering and exiting at the moment.
It’s on this site – as you said she is shown crossing the A25. See photos by year, 1965, Maidstone Road. Heavens show at Trevose on Maidstone Road and also on Crow Hill.
If she was not working on accounts or such like she must have had an unusual interest in cut bacon or Tupperware.
I am amazed that the pool mentioned might have had a lifeguard as “health and safety” had barely been invented!
Yes! me ole mate, you’ve got her back again – well done.
PHOTOS – YEAR 1965 index
Maidstone Road & Rec., has returned c/w Miss Heaven.
I used to deliver newspapers to Horace and his sister, and that house name rings a bell.
Their garden was full of high, dense bushes/ shrubs – and the walls had a thick covering of common ivy – there was no brick, stucco or weatherboarding/ siding visible.
It was so dark – I felt sorry for Miss Heaven.
Horace didn’t have LIFEGUARD lettering on his swimming costume, or a high chair to observe the pool.
They didn’t have “lifeguards” and “health and safety”, as today.
He was a strong swimmer, and assisted many who were in difficulties. They called it ‘lifesaving’ in those days.
I remember during his 60s, when he was asked to recover the body of a man from the pool/ pond. He had lived nearby and taken his own life.
Re : The Heaven Family [I could be wrong].
I didn’t ever hear of Malcolm’s Uncle (Great-Uncle?) Horace, fighting in the First World War.
And is it the custom now, for Horace to be Malcolm’s uncle – as well as his father Eric’s uncle?
I am assuming that there were no more Heavens in this picture – and that Eric and his parents lived at Crow Hill.
Hi All. Yes my Dad was Eric. His father was Alan and they lived on Crow Hill (number 10). We lived at number 15. Miss Heaven did work at Clokes her first name was Vera and they lived in Trevose. It was one of the last buildings to have gas lighting in the village. Her brother Horace did fight in the war. I have found numerous records and a photo. I also some old ones of my Aunty Vera.. I’ve got another of Uncle Horace with Borough Green football team. More than happy to share.
That sounds like a very attractive offer you’ve made!
Uncle Horace did not speak (to me) about being in WW1 – his involvement at Long Pond swimming pool – or his playing for BGFC.
But picking out one particular day, in 1957, I remember him speaking about Bandy Fuller playing with BG Albions FC – and about Frank ‘Bang-ee’ and his brother Ron.
The Juddians travelling together on the No. 122 (Gravesend to Brighton) bus, were a very friendly bunch.
Although mainly 7 years older than myself, I heard their names and activities mentioned by a few from within that group.
As well as your Dad, Eric, they also included Squeak Gosden and Dick Dixon from Crow Hill, Alan Fawcett (Crouch), Brian Geddes (Platt), Alan Fuller (Claygate Cross), and Ian Gordon, George Morley, Sid Gallup and Hughie Diprose, from Ightham.
I wonder if, from among those records, you have seen anything connected with them?
By the way, those photos you have taken, are very impressive!
Re : When most Boro’ Green residential windows were of wood and single-glazed (but well after the Window Tax).
Every so often a local lady would wait by Uncle Horace’s bench at Caine’s, while he prepared a pane of glass for her, at his adjacent glass-cutting bench. He then added glazing sprigs and linseed oil putty to her order – she paid, and off she would go.
Quite often they would return, saying that he had cut it too large. After trying to explain what had probably been the cause – he asked them to come back with their measuring device.
He would unroll her linen measuring tape (which she kept in a needlework/ knitting basket or convenient desk drawer).
Alongside same, he would lay his spring steel measuring tape, or folding boxwood rule, or long steel rule – so that she could easily check for herself.
And lo and behold, her linen measuring tape had stretched.
If possible, Horace would be quite happy to supply a free ‘trimming’/ re-cutting service for that pane.
One thing you may not know about Uncle Horace is that after he passed away my parents cleaned out his house. My Dad (Eric) was doing the outside shed and my Mum his bedroom. In the beds she found an interesting metal object which she brought out enthusiastically to my Dad. Dad took one look at it and told her to put it on the floor very gently and walk away. At that point he went off to call the police who then called Bomb Disposal. The metal object was actually a live hand grenade left over from WW1 which he had slept with at his side for over 50 years !!!!!!!!
Thought this might be of interest … Horace Heaven War Record
1914 – Royal West Kent
14th Aug Enlisted into Pals Battalion at Maidstone aged 15yrs 6mth. No official record of where/what happened to him over the next few years but he later returned to the UK and joined up properly.
1916 – 2/1st Berkshire Yeomany
29th Dec Attested
30th Dec To Army Reserves
1917 – 2/1st Berkshire Yeomany
7th Mar Mobilised
8th Mar Posted
1918 – 2/1st Berkshire Yeomany
8th Mar Conduct Sheet – “no record of having ceased any regimental duty during service”
13th Apr Embarked Folkestone
13th Apr Disembarked Boulogne
15th Apr Transferred to 5th Worcester Regiment 3rd Battalion
25th Apr Posted to field
27th May Officially listed as missing. Again no record of what happened to him but we do know he was very badly treated during captivity.
11th Nov Armistice
1919 – 5th Worcester Regiment
13th Jun Posted to Army Of The Black Sea
9th Jul Posted to G.R.U in Gallipoli did considerable work for the War Graves Commission
1920 – 5th Worcester Regiment
2nd Feb Father wrote to Infantry Office demanding he be returned home to continue in the family business
21st Mar Discharged
25th Aug Received Victory Medal
Campbell : Dad often talked about the use ride to Tonbridge and some of the exploits they got up to. The favourite being to unscrew the light bulbs inside and put metal in the thread before screwing them back in to short out the lights !! I don’t recollect him mentioning the names you quote but I have found this …
“All this time I kept in close contact with my friends – Ann Weller, Audrey Rose, Peter Gosden, Bob Monk and Brian Reid. Brian came to the village after his parents had been killed in the shelling of Dover. Another friend was killed whilst on National Service serving in Malaya. Yet another friend – David Lowe was killed in a smash whilst spectating at Brands Hatch – he was one of sixteen people who died. As a result of this accident the entry into the starting strait was altered at all race tracks.”
Malcolm : Many thanks for that!
I remember the names of your Dad’s friends, but have difficulty placing them. My subconscious will be at work during the coming days.
Peter Gosden was ‘Squeak’ – and Bob Monk was also a member of that group on the No. 122 Southdown bus.
The friend killed in Malaya was probably the brother of George Morley. He was a pilot, and unfortunately killed in 1952.
David Lowes from Crow Hill was about the same age as your Dad, and also hurt while attending an event at Brands Hatch. There was a prominent article about this, with photos, in the Kent Messenger. It affected David’s life after that, but spectators took their own risk and compensatory insurance was unavailable.
I have a memory, I believe, of Miss Heaven:
An enclosed office with a glass window, within the Clokes store. A stocky, grey haired lady within, receiving and dispatching cash and receipts using a pneumatic tube system. I remember being fascinated watching the tubes wiz about!
Also, I remember you. I’ve only just discovered this site, and have a great deal to add as time allows
Re : The Coronation Oak, at the junction of Rock Road and Quarry Hill.
When a tree is planted so far removed from its natural site, it will experience numerous problems.
Confined by the roadway and raised wall, a modern arboriculture tree system approach is required for its healthy life/ survival.
From elsewhere :
The ‘Mafeking’ Oak [same Oak?].
”Recent reports from the TMBC and KCC Tree Officers say the Oak is dying, but we will check again in May.”
The tree does not like having the soil around it raised, and flowers/ bulbs planted. Tree roots can be injured by the planting of them, and the plants are often fertilized too heavily.
Annual cultivation of the soil at the tree base injures more roots.
I will leave it at that – but could have mentioned more negative points.
Unfortunately for them – or fortunately really, I suppose – trees tolerate a large amount of abuse.
I feel sorry for them – we know so little.
One issue that arises if moved is where to put it. It has survived tolerably well where it is. Often with sickly trees, moving them is unlikely to produce better conditions.
Only recently I found a picture of this tree taken in 1969. It was a much thinner tree but I did notice there was a crack in the wall then. Comparing it to a recent picture that I took the wall has been rebuilt but still has a crack, though going in the opposite direction!
Re : Cracking of masonry around the Coronation Oak.
I will mention a little about root activity.
The roots will grow :
(a) toward the raised soil level, above;
(b) toward and under the road;
and (c) toward and around/ against the interior of the brick wall [causing this to crack].
There has (probably) been little or no masonry reinforcing used to help try to control potential movement/ cracking.
I have assumed that, below the tree, the roots would soon grow to a ‘hard place/ places’ and stop – attempting growth to the side or forming root stubs.
Root wounds are formed in many ways.
Borough Green was awarded “the Kent Men of the Trees ‘HIGHLY COMMENDED’ Certificate.
To maintain order in a tree system, regular checkups are required.
“the Oak is dying, but we will check again in May.”
Umm! what actually is going on here?
Re : Malcolm Heaven’s comment of Nov 28th, at 6:51 pm.
Malcolm’s dad Eric had written :
“All this time I kept in close contact with my friends” – “Peter Gosden”.
I wonder if Squeak (Peter), who was born in 1934? – or his brother Geoffrey, born 1939 – or anyone else? – knows how Squeak acquired his nickname.
One of the most common explanations I’ve heard, is that it was from the adventures of ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’.
Squeak (in the cartoon strip) was apparently “found in the London Zoological Gardens after hatching on the South African coast years before.”
During his mid to late teens, Squeak rode for Sevenoaks Wheelers Cycling Club – mostly in road time trials and track sprint events.
The Gosden family moved from Crow Hill to opposite Wrotham Secondary Modern School.
Squeak’s father, Horace, became the first caretaker at the school.
Horace still resided there, after leaving that position in the mid 1950s – and later returned to become employed as the full-time stockman.
I await other theories about this name with interest, though hope that those searching for the Borough Green Home Gourd do not respond.
Some blurred thinking back.
Peter had a dab or 2 of Brylcreem on his combed-back, straight hair – and a rather pointed nose, which was a little prominent for his smallish face.
Nicknames usually started at about Junior 3 at Boro’ Green Primary School – young people could have thought that he slightly resembled Squeak the penguin.
The human Squeak was about 7 years my senior, and the assistance of a few others would be most helpful here.
What’s a Home Gourd? do they hang from trees?
It was part of the Local Defence Vegetables force ( though a gourd might actually not be a veg). Somebody may have searched for it on this site, my stats suggest.
I wonder if Brian’s photos show evidence of anything hanging from our beloved Coronation Oak?
Maybe something from southerly parts, which accompanied global warming?
Some parts of the tree could be sick and other parts healthy.
If the tree is in decline, then the entire tree is sick – doesn’t dying sound even worse?
The check in May, would be like a ‘cyclic inspection’? -when found defects are ‘normally’ remedied.
What was that about “locking the barn door after the…..”?
Even while awaiting moderation, my comment is being ridiculed – well, “things on trees”.
Trees support more communities of life than any other organism on earth.
Football’s started – ‘bye for now.
Re : The photo of Pat Moorecroft, which appears on another interesting website.
Pat sure resembles how I would have thought ‘Pat Moorcroft’ (no ‘e’), would look at this time of her life.
Yes, I’m thinking that ‘Pat Moorcroft’ is actually the BG Parish Councillor.
What makes me a little doubtful though – apart from being convinced about the no ‘e’ – is that Pat looks about 10 years younger than she should.
Re : A clue to the Pat ‘Moorcroft’ (sp.?) I was referring to.
A few have requested this.
But to test their memory retrieval abilities, they wish me to limit the information that I make known.
Well, she had a brother named Peter, who was born in 1940.
Now they want a little more info/ and broadened slightly!
Peter had a friend born the same year as him – one Noel Travers (born Christmas Day), whose mother was the proprietress of the L.W.Peirce general store, Sevenoaks Road.
Re : “On the corner of Western Road with Sevenoaks Road stood Mr A.Russell’s greengrocers shop…..” He was a “go-ahead man…..”
During the 1950s, I think it was still a greengrocers shop, and being run by a member of the Russell family.
At this time a Mr Russell, who lived at the mid-point/ north side of Western Road, was market gardening on land by Basted House.
I believe he was related to that shop owner, and may have been supplying “her?” with produce.
He had 2 sons – Stephen born in 1941, and Peter (I believe) in 1943. They might have some relevant information to share with us.
I dimly recall it as a greengrocers, but it later – perhaps very late 60s /early 70s – became a launderette. I think the building’s fate was sealed when hit heavily putting it beyond sensible repair. The larger gap to be seen at the junction is really just a testament to how stupidly fast some people choose to travel along the A227 from Ightham.
Any history of the area called Annetts Hall or photos or where the name comes from?
There are photos from 1965 and 1969 of the estate. I also have a development map from the time it was built. I am less sure about where the names of the roads stem from however.
I too would be interested in the road names. Would our ‘font’ of all knowledge (Campbell Higgins) Know? Who decides on the names of the roads, is it the parish council? Some road names I can understand a little bit, Harrison, Griggs Lendon ,Monckton and Dryland are all names of people connected to the village, I think.
That would be correct – the Woodlands Estate all has connections with local figures, though please do not ask me to make the links.
Road names I think nowadays need to be approved by the local authority at district council level. The suggestions may come from local people, filtered through say the parish council, then get rubber stamped and put on maps etc. That process including allocation of postcodes can take months sometimes years. As for Wye Road, Annett’s Hall, I am in the dark. I do recall Dad being involved in the choice of Tolsey Mead but could not say much more about it.
My best guess would be that referral to the parish council minutes of the time would be the best place to start.
Thanks for that Ian. I do believe that the estate where I live got the road Normanhurst from the builders of the estate ‘Normans’ Brockway possibly because it passed Brock Cottage which was on the edge of the site. Where Mountfield came from I do not know.
Does anybody else have a clue as to where their road names came from?
That’s it! Brian my boy.
Implore them to try doing a little research!
The small problem here may be that the required documents are not truly in the public domain. I would guess that PC minutes have to be submitted to the next up public body – Malling in its various forms – and may sit in some archive somewhere, gradually decaying. I am not aware of any plan to digitise older TMBC minutes or planning decisions and those of the prior body, nor of anybody brave enough to undertake to trawl them.
Update – the PC keeps a copy of its own minutes. Dad used the copies from the 30s (and perhaps later) in his research. I know becuase these were among items duly returned after his death, to which people had a reasonable claim to ask.
Re : My newspaper delivery days – dealing with Sweeney Furminger [see : Aug 24, 2014].
It just came back to me – his copy of the “Hairdresser’s Journal” had to be in mint condition.
I made up special covers to keep them dry/ clean/ uncreased and with perfect corners – but I couldn’t control their condition before I received them, or after delivering them.
It seemed that he had a magnifying glass to try and detect some sort of defect. And I don’t even think that he read them – perhaps his son Perc did.
Is anyone aware of his age, when he put aside his clippers for the last time?
Re : My comment of Aug 28, 2014 – Parkfoot Garage, West Malling.
Violet Swift, mentioned by me Aug 24, married Jim Treadgold during the early to mid-50s.
He was the owner of Parkfoot Garage, London Road, West Malling.
On Aug 26, you mentioned “facing Parkfoot (?) Garage” [in Station Road].
If it was named ‘Parkfoot’, might that have been an expansion of his business by Jim Treadgold, do you know?
I seem to recall seeing an invoice for work carried out which had 2 addresses at the top, one of which was West Malling or Larkfield. I shall see if I can find it to support that. I am pretty sure that there were 2 premises.
See : THEMED – Transport. Comment of Feb 26, 2014.
Don’t look now Brian – but your name is being mentioned as an ideal candidate to write such a book!
Sorry Campbell I have lost my pen!!
I will put them off then Brian – but tell them that you will still look for it! Thanks.
Re : 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
MBE awarded to Darron Day. Milkman.
For services to the communities of Ightham and Borough Green.
Does anyone know if he was related to Jack Day, who lived at Whatcote Cottages, Platt?
During the 1950’s, Jack was a bricklayer with F.P.Caine Limited, Sevenoaks Road, BG.
And he was a member of the Boro’ Green Rovers football team, which were victorious in the 1937-38 Kent Junior Cup Final.
See photo and comment at : THEMED – Sport – Football in 50s. Jack is standing at end/ right in photo.
Darron Day was not related to Jack Day of Whatcote Cottages his brothers where Bill the eldest Jim and Harry sisters were Cissy Florence and Doris Jack was my uncle who as a boy lived at Quarry Hill opposite the Oak. Happy memories of dancing around the tree as children
Thanks for the information!
Re : Nov 25, 2014 Comment.
I have received a phone call from a septuagenarian, who as a boy had lived in Rock Road, and broken a few panes of glass with his catapult (which I remembered actually).
He mentioned that if those linen measuring tapes had stretched, Horace would have needed to stretch those panes of glass, also – not trim them. That could have been another 11-plus exam question!
Now that I think of it, Horace ‘trimmed’ them to suit other windows.
Anyway, my caller hadn’t changed much over the years, and I let him sarcastically compliment me on at least remembering that the glass had been the wrong size.
Modern Arboriculture is about:
– New and better ways to help trees stay healthy, safe, and attractive.
– About the tree system; how it grows, how it defends itself, and how it eventually dies.
Many old treatments have hurt the tree system.
Many adjustments to old practices must be made now.
“STOP PRESS – Experts [that’s a joke] from KCC have today announced that the Mafeking Oak is dead, and will have to be removed.”
Modern Arboriculture is about using your mind, and giving trees and their associates – the tree system – a fair chance.
Before you become a ‘tree expert’, you have to learn about them.
It must be pretty easy nowadays, to get one of those high paying jobs at KCC!
On May 21st, Mike Daniels submitted 2 comments to the Francis Frith website.
Born in 1934, he lived until the early 1950’s, between Station Approach and the ‘Picture Palace’ – 2 doors from the cinema.
Next to Station Approach was Wally’s Café, owned by Mike’s uncle (Wally Wickens). I have called him ‘Whiffen’ previously.
Mike’s best friends had been Gerald Cloke and Tony Jessup.
Mike would like to make contact with anyone who is interested, to chat/ reminisce/ impart information/ share his BG memories – he especially remembers the War Years.
I think he feels that time is getting to be of the essence.
He has a May 4th comment at : SITE – Village Hall – 50 years on.
You (IB) invited him to add more when he had time.
He mentioned May 21st : ‘My short term memory is terrible’ – which may have possibly delayed a reply from him.
1910 – 2015.
That would be a short lifespan for a healthy English Oak.
Those conditions for 105 years – the poor tree is finally out of it’s misery.
And the photos taken during it’s removal – sickening.
Re : DPI C.Dobson.
“Men of Trees”.
During a discussion this morning, I was asked if Cliff received any training related to the qualifications of KCC tree experts – but I couldn’t inform them, one way or the other.
Brian jinxed me on April 17th – referring to me as “our ‘font’ of all knowledge”!
Does anyone remember, or indeed have photographs of, Sydney Smith Pharmacy, Tilton, Sevenoaks Road? It was run by Harold and Joan Watkins. They were there from about 1949 until they retired to Sevenoaks around 1975. I used to visit them with their son John in the 1970s.
Good question – I will look to see what may be in press cuttings or guides to the area. I do not recall ones of the shop in truth. I made a point to include the building Tilton in some taken with my DSLR.
Thank you so much. They also owned the row of cottages next door. In all probability everything has now been pulled down and redeveloped as to my knowledge for years there was a ‘blight’ on the property in consideration of a road widening scheme.
Really interested in Tilton as my Nan and Grandad lived at 1 Tilton Cottages from mid 30s until early 70s (give or take). I have been trying to find out about who built them etc so any information would be great. I remember the chemist and the sweet shop very well as spent a lot of my younger years there. They were Mr and Mrs Coombes and had a daughter. Many thanks Sandra Coussens
How really interesting. I suppose that I would have first visited the Watkins at Tilton around 1970/1971. Some of the cottages were at that time empty and used for storage. I believe the Watkins owned them but there was always a ‘blight’ on them as the Council proposed the widening of the road. In the event, I do not think it ever happened.
It makes me wonder if any of those living there have access to the deeds, which would make clear certain dates.
Tilton, Sydney Smith Pharmacy, was, as I understand it, purchased from the Watkins in or around 1975 by the Kent County Council on account of the ‘blight’ placed on it in consideration of a proposed road widening scheme. The same as true of the neighbouring cottages, mainly empty at the time, also owned by the Watkins.
Thanks – comments only appear after I have approved them.
the blog was subject to a number of p*rn spam posts.
As these were to the best of my knowledge not centred on Borough Green, I moved to make all comments subject to approval.
Lance Hattatt & John Carruthers
For a long time I have been asking around if anybody had a picture of ‘Watkins Chemist’ I seem to remember it was a double fronted building with two large pharmaceutical jars in the windows either side. As you say it later became a sports shop ( I bought a pair of walking boots there ). After that it became a print shop and graphics studio. I have three pictures that shows the shop taken from the junction but it is not very clear The only other picture that I know of is the one taken by Ian after it was converted and another that I took in 2011. If anybody does have a picture perhaps they could send it on to Ian
Thanks Brian – I recall thatat one point it had sort of a light purple/lilac coloured frontage> You are correct about the print outlet – I think at one point there was to be a switch to the shop near the VH car park ( Manchester House) but I do not think that came to anything. I would imagine that the owners would have taken their own record shots of the building.
I believe the sports shop might have been called ‘Clobber’
My memory was right. if you look under ‘Docs’ ‘Old Shops’ there is an advert for ‘Clobber the Walking Shop’
On a further search in ‘Docs’ ‘Old Shops’ There is one for ‘Chestnut Tea Shop’ and another two adverts for ‘Bumpsadaisy’ and ‘The Print Room’. These two shared the same phone number as ‘Clobber’ and were all at 63 Sevenoaks Road. Shame there is no date on the adverts to create a timeline.
Those are ones I recall – I think Bumpsadaisy relocated to another premises. The tea shop did not do very well – location again. Unless the Red Lion gave permission, which it did not, for patrons to use its car park, the shop was also in a hard to reach spot – fine if walking to Ightham, less fine if not and too far from the village centre.
David’s memories of my Auntie are spot on. I was only young at the time but remember the trips to Clokes to see here and the amazing new technology they had to process cash. They lived in a bungalow on the Maidstone Road and it was one of the last properties to still have gas lamps. When her brother passed away my mother cleared out his bedroom and found a metal object in his bedside table. She run excitedly to show my Dad who recognised it as a hand grenade from the First World War so at least 60 years old. They put it down very gently and called the police who hen called bomb disposal. Yes he slept every night with a live grenade by his side !!!!
Thanks for the contact John/Malcolm.
Just to titillate your interest, May grandfather, Harry Baker, was Landlord of The Rock Tavern (Westerham Ales) from sometime in the 30’s until 1950 ‘ish. I was quite upset when I learned of it’s demise, as I lived there with my parents and brother until we moved to Tollgate in 1950, as one of the first residents of the red brick section. Our next door neighbours were the Crundells, whose daughter Margaret married Doug? Churnside, and Ron their son, a couple of years older than me, married Sue, whose parents I believe owned the café just down from the crossroads, below what was then a fish and chip shop.
I remember I had my first cigarette sitting on the bar in the Rock. It didn’t become didn’t become a habit until some years later – and I gave up about 40 years ago… can remember being in the cellar helping (watching) my granddad clean the barrel tubes between the cask and the bar pump. At that time, if I remember correctly, the tubes consisted of lengths of glass tube about a foot long connected together with rubber connectors. The cellar was carved from the large Sandstone outcrop that protruded from the base of the pub at the foot of Rock Road, and my brother and I would play in Curtis and Caines sandstore opposite (and in Toogoods Dairy, which was next door., but perhaps more of that later.
I shall try to keep up to my commitment (to provide more information) But spring is just about happening, and the garden calls!
David was your brother called John rode a bike often gave me crossbar rides from Alan ROBB 45 tollgate cant remember when i left boro’ green think it was 1972
Yes, that would be John. He passed away in 1962, from a degenerative muscle wasting disease, at the age of 19.
I remember you and your sisters, Ann and Linda,(did you have an older brother – Ian?) and Doddy O’hara, Brian and various other O’haras. We were at 41, with the Crundells next door and you next door to them. Your father (Jock?) and mine spent a great deal of time at the front of our houses attempting to keep the various wrecks of car we had at the time running, I remember
Mums maiden name was Hamilton but she wasn’t a local lass. She was from Scotland. Dad met her while doing his national service.
Can anyone help, I am trying to find out when the houses in Western Road were renumbered as I know number 63-67 now the site of L&J Travel was number 2 but apparently the post office changed this but I can’t find any information as to when this happened
This may tie in with post codes being brought in. I will look in the copies of the electoral roll to see if this can be pin pointed. At some point I am pretty sure Dad got a letter from the post office about postcodes being introduced. However I cannot find it and so cannot put a date on that. If any other readers know when that was, it may be of interest to know. wiki states: ” were adopted nationally between 11 October 1959 and 1974″
I do recall that home became “58” at some point which made little sense to us, as we thought the numbering went in the other direction.
Has anyone got any data on the Bus Station and the Hairdressers opposite the Black Horse
I suspect that Mike Taylor may have some of the bus depot when it was being taken down – if not he’ll know somebody who has.
Please expand on the hairdressers you need to know about.
I am not sure what you mean by ‘data’ . If you look on the website under Themed/Transport, also Themed Village east/Hunts Farm, also Maidstone road you will find pictures of both the bus garage and ‘Davids’ at Hunts Farm.
I also have a few pictures not on the website if you are interested.
I am lost about the roots of this right now. I will have to have a look at the page and review.
In reference to Cambells bit about Julie Andrews visiting the ATC at Borough Green ,I remember meeting her in the school ,where she signed her autograph for us ,I was with The Cloke twins and Ann Groombridge ,She was a few years older than us but I remember her being very friendly
My grandparents owned the L.W. Peirce Domestic and General Stores (note spelling of last name) which was continued into the early 1970’s by my aunt. Anyone remember the little shop? Photos? I live in Canada so not so easy to visit! Great web site!
Spelling noted. As the page is a transcription of the book I shall leave the mis-spelling in place. I think some photos may exist of this era if I have understood the timeline correctly. I shall look through some albums. It does not show readily on those posted so far. http://bgphotos.x10.mx/photos/high_st/index.htm
It’s all a bit mysterious.
Hi all from Australia.
I am trying to find a photo of “Fernlea” which I was told was my great grandparents home in Western Rd Borough Green Wortham. His name was Thomas George and Jane Semark. Can anyone advise me.
Regards Yvonne porta
Mrs Bangay and her daughter Alison used to help me with babysitting. Mrs Bangay was my 2 week home help after I had my last baby in 1971.
My then husband had a recording studio in the back of our house
I noticed the the old cinema next to the chinese take away isn’t mentioned in your history of BG.
Thank you for this informative and interesting article. It brought back some memories.
Thanks Elaine and thank you for your lovely comment. Please see https://bgphotos.wordpress.com/past-and-present/ch-5/ and the subheading entertainment.
I have now reapproved some of the older comments. These were replies to a poster who caused some worry on the site.
Some people voiced anxiety about a poster who seemed to know a lot about their lives but who was unknown to them.
in view of this anxiety, and questions to which I had no answer, the prudent course of action was to unapprove those comments. This action then took out legitimate replies to those comments. The replies are now back in – some look like half a conversation.
If the person who contributed so much to the site would like to give clarity, all those comments can come back in.
Till then they remain unpublished.
I not only worked on the Mid Kent News, but became Editor before moving on …Wonderful memories of a great place.
I’ve just discovered that my grandparents lived in Fernlea in 1919 and my aunt was born there.
I don’t suppose anyone has any photos of the place?