How sad to see these photos. What happened to cause the fire? Does anyone know? All of the hard work put in to bring this building back to life to serve the village and it’s residents just destroyed.
Arson. Rumours are a wedding reception was due to be held there the following day, and the building was set alight on purpose by an ex-boyfriend of the bride-to-be.
As there has been no police case brought that I am aware of, that;s what they are I guess.
Either way the building went up quite quickly – given the costs of fire-retardant paints and materials it all just seems a tragic loss. Let’s hope the replacement gets good use.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea to move the fire station to Potter’s Mede, also? Be prepared, I say. And before any wedding be allowed to take place in the Parish of Borough Green, have all ex-boyfriends finger printed and full particulars taken of them. You can never be too safe, I say.In the 1950’s, a boy from Tollgate Estate used to phone sayingthat there was a fire at Cloke’s store – he said it was because he wanted to see the fire engine. Check all boys at BG Primary school to see if they are overly interested in fire engines and put them on record, especially if they are caught with a packet of their grandfather’s Woodbines – where there is smoke there is potential fire, I will always say. And that’s not rumour, that’s the truth. And burn my Borough Green Albion 1935 away shirt, if I tell a lie. If Potters start a reserve team, call them the Albion. That’s a GREAT name and they used to play on the other side of the road from Potter’s Mede. Well it’s time for my cocoa and biscuits now, so I’ll sign off. All the best with the new pavilion and pitches. Cheers!
Thanks for your wit and wisdom concerning this local incident. If KCC are reading this then I am sure they’ll consider relocating as you suggest, if nothing else so as to avoid the gridlock that Western Road often suffers from.
If you have any footballing anecdotes please feel free to share on the sports pages, where a current photo of such an away kit, burning or not, would illuminate the content.
Hoping your cocoa did not get cold and that the biscuits were fit for dunking.
Thanks for your nice reply Ian! It’s great that you are continuing to maintain your father’s impressive body of recorded Borough Green history.Keep up the good work, it is much appreciated!
‘Mede’ has often in the past decribed a water-meadow. Having now been changed by these drainage installations/ requirements, could we now press for a Potters FC name modification? Potters Albion F.C. sounds really good to me. Would it help that I used to know the former BG right back, Ray Willard?
I’d take that to the parish council in your place – the original idea in any case was to have a multi-purpose playing area with space enough for a cricket square and a dedicated pitch on the other side of Wrotham Road.
There were significant funds allocated to drainage in the “first build”, meaning that mede lost its watery associations ( in theory)
Yes, cricket has always taken somewhat of a back seat in BG. Perhaps the cricket enthusiasts should start flooding the other side of Wrotham Road, then attempt to recover those significant “first build” drainage funds to resurrect that original idea. Or did the original drainage contractor disappear with those monies?
Though if that first drainage guy gave a 25 year guarentee (early 1980s); and there was a second set of funds for the more serious, recent attempt, I suppose the drainage coffers are empty. When I was young, half of the cricketers were upper class toffs, and could afford to provide their own cricket pitches.
Wow! Let’s hope that Potters can hang on to new acquisitions, the Farmer brothers and Liam Byrne.
Could see some close games at the Mede and Ightham Rec. (or Wrotham School 3-G pitch) this season.
Keep your fingers crossed – hang on to your hats – and have those pacemakers working!
Given the amounts that have gone into making diverse ground improvements, I’d certainly hope to see some good old value for money in the way of entertaining fare!
Your ‘Adam Smith Division’ is likely to be comprised of Ightham and Potters – I wasn’t too clear on that.
So you had best reserve your tickets for their encounters now.
Quality over quantity? Well, 2 improving teams could be Eynsford and Westerham.
Enjoy! And before leaving Potters Mede, please replace the divots that you might create during your excitement.
I am hoping that we’ll see the addition of a prime 400m running track and a velodrome for Kent to follow soon after.
Well, we do have our similarities.
In the early to mid-fifties, I used to watch Rodney Overton (married Jean Bennett of Crow Hill) riding for San Fairy Ann Cycling Club. And Peter ‘Squeak’ Gosden (also from Crow Hill) and Alan Fuller of Claygate Cross, riding for Sevenoaks Wheelers CC. This was mainly on track at the Neville Cricket Ground, Tunbridge Wells – they also participated in road time trials.
Rodney was arguably the leading rider in the area, at that time.
In cross country running at Aylesford Paper Mills, I used to watch Gordon Pirie, Frank Sando and Jim Peters.
Gordon and Frank also ran 5,000 and 10,000 metres track – Frank was Gordon’s ‘shadow’. Jim also ran the 10,000 metres and the marathon. I also used to watch them at White City, London.
Frank ‘worked’ at, and ran for APM Athletic Club, Gordon for Surrey AC, and Jim for Essex Beagles AC.
The three of them represented Great Britain at the Olympics, European and British Empire & Commonwealth Games.
Let’s start getting those signatures to support a new velodrome and running track!
Just to let you know that my Dad married Rosemary Bennett and not Jean. Rod Bennett was from Crow Hill married Jean Bent. Please could you amend your records.
If you can please make clear what record you may be referring to I will happily add in a note. If you mean Campbell Higgins comment, I cannot be held accountable for what a former commenter on this has added some while back. I shall leave in your comment which seems to give an alternate view.
There in the early to mid 50’s – as we sat in the Wrotham Secondary Modern School classrooms – we never imagined that a few yards to the west would be the facilities which exist today.
We were in the former prisoner of war camp, which was surrounded by waterlogged ground from which rose scraggly/weedy, part shrub/part tree-like growth.
There was a narrow elevated, asphalt-surfaced ‘playground’, running parallel to Wrotham Road.
Mr Hussey, the Art teacher, dug up some clay-like material from outside – but it wasn’t too successful during our efforts at modelling and on the throwing wheel with it. We knew that pottery work had taken place here in the past and that the name ‘Bennett’ had been common among operatives. There was talk of how the site “almost” became the future centre of the ‘Potteries’ – and not Stoke-on-Trent.
We felt isolated there, and didn’t think of anything existing to the west -such as a water meadow. Even the name ‘Potter’s Mede’, didn’t to us exist.
This tradition carried on in later times. I recall Ken Blackwell – he of the polystyrene mines – telling us how we could make our own clay by careful digging for local resources and how it might then be best prepared. I don’t recall that we actually used it though in our art and Craft lessons. I am still less sure how much craft I brought to those lessons.
here’s a recent online report:
Added 25 Aug 2013 – article from 2012
Re : Malling Chronicle / Mon. August 27th, 2012.
Horsa huts being revamped after 70 year wait.
They’re getting the WW2 camp huts down the road, mixed in with the post-War Horsa huts – however, maybe a more riveting article was produced. No more nitpicking from me today!
I had thought they had gone a couple of years back. Last time I was there the hedge made it harder to make things out from the road. Google maps satellite image – watermarked for 2011 – clearly shows 3 buildings in the same location, so unless they built new on the same places, for some misguided sense of nostalgia, the previous plans to replace them must have been shelved.
They should have made them a museum – sort of a WWII experience, living history type thing. If they had waited long enough they’d have got listed status anyway. There’s enough old dross spread around that seems to acquire it.
Amazing but true!
A few games should be contested at Potter’s Mede this season, as the local team attempts to become holders of the Sevenoaks Senior Charity Cup.
“The magnificent silver trophy is reputed to be worth more than the FA Cup!”
This statement appears on some local websites – when I was a lad, things were valued a little differently!
Let’s wish them well in their run for cup glory!
If they have a twitter feed for their results it would be an easy matter to include an update on these pages.
Other options might be possible but would take a little longer.
I removed my reference to Pickles the dog from 1966 in case it was seen as scurrilous.
You are an extremely nice/conscientious author!
I struggled to understand your original comment, but didn’t mention it for fear of being considered an ignoramous.
Then when you mentioned Pickles the dog from 1966, I still had to look it up to find out what it was about.
I had completely forgotten poor Pickles, and his role in ‘The Spy With The Cold Nose, and his untimely death not that long after. And I am a huge dog lover as well! I don’t think anyone would have held anything against you for those remarks.
I think it figured with me as – before my time – the family pet was a dog also named Pickles. Every so often for the World Cup the story is repeated. I think it also surfaced when the owner died or some such event. The whole series of events had a comic book quality to them.
Us oldsters still struggle to get used to the posh/ upper class sound of ‘Wrotham School.’ (whose idea was that?).
In the early 50’s it was known – among us – as ‘Wrotham Road School’ (most “nice” name).
Aylesford Secondary Modern was known as ‘Teapot Lane School’ (we quite liked that).
In the time I was there it was known as Wrotham Secondary. For me Wrotham School meant the primary school in Wrotham, partly confused by the fact that the old school building became commercial premises.
At some point Wrotham Road becomes Borough Green Road and the signs for this occasionally wander around.
What I was driving at : Who is kidding whom?
In my day, e.g., there were/ was Tonbridge School and Sevenoaks School – with straw hats, boarding school accents, and hampers from mater and pater,etc.
But ‘Wrotham School’? We would’ve thought, who’s kidding ‘who’, when we were thinking/ expressing ourselves. (‘whom’ sounded like something from the Bible).
So is this considered a form of class equality, and an attempt at eliminating inferiority complexes?
I think that a fair number of septuagenarians would have approved of that.
There still is Tonbridge and Sevenoaks School and some aspects of the state system seem to think that aping certain qualities of those peculiarly divisive establishments may be a good idea. There’s also still plenty who may look to receive a hamper be for Christmas or at other times. Meanwhile many will spend a Christmas huddled down, putting on the heating as an extravagance, hoping to create a little sense of Christmas cheer.
Why they renamed it? No idea. Like all schools many who went there will have had a great time and have happy memories, others will have loathed it and looked forward for their time there to end. Truth be told they’d probably have found the same wherever they went.
My recollection of it as the first cohort to go through the 3 tier system is that the staff – particularly those with long service – found adapting to the new, larger intake something of a challenge. Some managed this better than others. My recollection is of especially ruthless prefects and staff who found wearing coloured socks or a tie not tightly knotted to be an affront. Perhaps they have moved to write for the Daily Mail now.
……………whilst you were probably capable of moving on to write for ‘The Guardian’.
On my BG paper round, I delivered one copy of the then-named ‘Manchester Guardian’.
Anyway Ian, this comment is meant as a large-sized compliment.
I have been asked to explain : ‘Wrotham Road School’ (most “nice” name) – from November 25.
My memory has blurred, intermingling Wrotham County Secondary School; ——- Secondary Modern School, and ——- County Secondary Modern School, as the official name.
However, I clearly remember “Wrotham County Cowsheds” being popular with some young teenagers.
It was known as Wrotham High School for some length of time. Quite which era that matched I don’t know. It wasn’t Jurassic that’s for sure, as Mr. Parnell might well agree.
Talking about my generation : we would have thought that “High School”; (a) sounded ‘cool American’: (b) referred to Maidstone Grammar School or The Judd School, Tonbridge: or (c) school built at the top of Wrotham Hill.
And at first I thought you were referring to Liverpudlian, Ken Purnell. He lived on the (former) prisoner of war camp site, and was teacher of form 3A – a few steps away. He also specialized in Drama and Mathematics – and school football in his spare time.
So, Wrotham County Secondary Modern School – to Wrotham High School – to Wrotham School. Surely, it’s got to be named Wrotham College next, hasn’t it?
I doubt that they will produce a Prime Minister during my lifetime though.
re Ken P – If I misspelled his name it’s because I relied on the web to check, never the soundest of things to do. There are many anecdotes on friends reunited which attest to his input in school and for the sports clubs he was involved in. The thing I remember about him was that he told my class how when those who were going to be selected to go to other schools went off ( Maidstone bound mostly) those who were now getting C grades would move up and get As. If this was meant to inspire it failed dismally. It merely underlined the arbitrary of such grades and made the whole 3 tier system seem like a holding exercise until it got back to business as normal in the third year ( Year 9).
Wrotham Road School curiously finds itself in the Meopham area. The former teacher training college might well have been known as Wrotham College, though it was never on the cards.
I didn’t think of KP’s name being misspelled.
I thought that you had been referring to Jurassic Park – which I know little about – and connected to same, found references to Parnells.
Generally KP was inclined to speak to some pupils as if they were older/ more mature – but they couldn’t take the jibes.
Sometimes, instead of perceiving a challenge to excel, others felt they were being criticised and gave up.
After 2 years in Mr Gomme’s Senior 1 and 2 class at BG County Primary, I did very little learning during my 3 years or so at Wrotham County Secondary Modern.
Re : ‘Meopham area’.
Roddy Bennett lived at the top of Rock Road, adjacent to the Victoria Oak.
He probably only spent the last year or so of his school attendance at Wrotham Road School.
While there he met Jean Bent, from Meopham. At the time, there were pupils from her area.
They became school sweethearts – and later married, becoming the proud parents of several children.
Roddy spent many years working for Noelite Paving, a well-known company situated on the north side of the railway lines, opposite BG Primary School. Their patent was the light bouncing of a pipe on the wet surface of the cementitious
material – forming a non-slip surface on the exterior paving stones.
I put in a word like cementitious, and they leave that space after.
Sometimes they do likewise when I type in efflorescence – why can’t they accept what I write?
[ Mugsy me has always been used].
An “anonymous” friend has asked me to submit the following ( I have toned it down a little ).
Re : Those “spoilt ” Wrotham School pupils – who 13 months ago were incensed by their lack of car parking facilities.
Are they now using any of the following : (a) bicycles; (b) public transport; or (c) the type of limbs us oldsters used to walk with?
I sympathise with those those pupils who may travel in from Vigo or Trosley, as the transport links are none too clever and the distance and traffic volume on narrow roads speak against an easy cycle ride. The school is duty bound to have its pupils consider the impact of their travel choices upon the environment. I’d have to wonder how much thought goes into that duty.
The above link provides fairly typical background to how some may feel on the matter.
Please bear with me on this! (December 15, 9:58pm).
[ it explains how ‘efflorescence’ entered my thinking ]
On becoming rained upon/ saturated, salts would sometimes be brought to the surface of the Noelite paving stones.
Upon drying, the salts could cause white staining/ powder formation – the efflorescence. Thank you!
Thanks for clarifying.
On a general note you may have noticed I moved the comments off the top level page onto another one. There is supposed to be a way to switch off comments on pages, but it seems not to work. If it did I’d have set that first page up in that fashion.
Thanks for explanation of December 29th.
If my parents, aunts and uncles were still alive, there would be hundreds more comments.
They would have appreciated/ enjoyed this website immensely.
Re : Your August 25th comment.
My gingko biloba tablets seem to be working better today.
I remember now, my nephew once referring to ‘a Ken Blackwell’ and a ‘polystyrene mine’ of some sort.
But I thought it was just a mix-up with the polyurethane and polyethylene mines which had been in full production in Hamptons and Oxen Hoath.
Mind you, apparently in the 1930s, people used to travel down from London to view the Frittenden Treacle Mines.
But it was all a hoax, if you can believe it!
So, as my ‘ole dad used to say – you can’t always believe what you hear.
Harry ‘Pongo’ Smith was ‘General Science’ teacher, while I attended Wrotham Road School, during the early to mid-50s.
I have seen the subject described elsewhere, as comprising a blend of biology, chemistry and physics – I challenge anyone to prove this.
I was also in a calligraphy class of Harry’s for one year. On my school report he had written “shews promise” (spelt that way and in fancy lettering). It stood out on the report and was much admired by one of my aunts (Harry’s writing).
He also became a gardening teacher. We (actually he) raised plants in the hothouse during cold months – many of which were later sold to parents, via their children/ pupils. I was in the doghouse when another aunt mentioned this to my mother – I hadn’t said anything of this to my parents, and it was then too late to purchase.
During the 1980s, Harry was living opposite the east end of the Naps, Crouch.
Illustrations/ photos from the ‘Harry Smith Horticultural Photographic Collection’ had been appearing in publications of the Royal Horticultural Society.
So becoming a gardening teacher, may have set him on his way to specialize in taking photographs of a wide range of garden plants.
There’s a worthwhile eulogy to Harry on the Wrotham site, listed among the various local links. He also had a favoured slot on Radio Kent, though I cannot recall if he started in the days when it was “merely” Radio Medway. He brought his botanical knowledge to bear if I remember rightly, though truth be told I was not one of the following / listeners. His wife numbered among my teachers at BGPS and his daughter was a few years above me at the school.
Re : My August 12th, 20i3 comment.
After having my suggestion for a Potters FC name modification go unnoticed (during January, 2013), I still let my BG heart rule when forecasting (hoping for) a more successful season for our local team than they have just had.
However, my other choices – Eynsford, Ightham and Westerham – finished the 2013 – 2014 season as the top 3 teams in the Sevenoaks Premier League.
Any world cup predictions?
Has there been anything about Pickles the dog, Ian?
With their thorough preparation and ‘home’ fixtures, Brazil must be overwhelming favourites. However, question marks are with Julio Cesar in goal – the decision making of David Luis at times – and will Neymar rise to the occasion.
I cannot see Argentina, Germany or Spain hoisting the World Cup – they seem to have taken half a step back.
Fingers crossed, England will surprise many – especially if that psychiatrist can score from the penalty spot.
With those venues, I cannot see Italy progressing past the Group Stage.
Belgium and France look good on paper – but it’s the Southern Hemisphere and Brazil to finish triumphant for 2014. Now I wish that I had spent more time on analyzing the foregoing!
With regard to Pickles I think that tail has long been cropped.
To the best of my knowledge it is possible to edit a comment for up to half an hour after posting.
If that’s not the case as site administrator. then I can edit comments. That does seem a dubious power, for I can make it seem as though people have said something completely different from what they entered. Orwellian perhaps.
Some who have verbally questioned a few of my comments had interpreted them completely different to what I had intended anyway.
Blame is probably 50/50 – isn’t it good that we speak a single language?
Adjacent to the south side of the main Potters Mede football pitch, a previously-used five barred gate has been installed.
Just beyond this there is a sloping meadow which has probably been a source of hay.
Has there been any mention of a sports field for this location, also?
I didn’t check if the size of same, was suitable for a prime 400m running track or velodrome – a little space further south might need to be borrowed.
No idea on that. I had thought that funding covered what is already in place and was unaware of any plans for further expansion. The use of the areas of land there for agricultural use does act as a buffer separating Wrotham and Borough Green. Without the green spaces it’s so easy to feel hemmed in.
When is a higher points producing/ Sevenoaks Premier Division Champion (representing Borough Green), going to turn up at the expensive Potters Mede facilities?
I did suggest a name change to Potters Albion FC – but I am now leaning towards Potters Excuses FC.
There should be a special trophy awarded for ingenious excuses following defeat.
With a quarter of their Sevenoaks & District Premier Division schedule completed, our local heroes dwell second-bottom in the relegation zone.
But their match reporter is not about to throw in the towel – he says that Potters FC have dominated almost every game.
GO – Potters – GO!!
Where have all the footballers gone?
And what are those expensive facilities at Potters Mede and Wrotham School for? What a waste of money.
The 1st XI players of Ightham FC, the only half decent team in the area, are mostly from the Malling/ Larkfield/ Ditton area.
perhaps looking at player loyalty might be a key. Look at Spurs and the money spent last season – did not buy a good team, more a set of talented individuals. Getting a winning team is more than just talent and money
Being a member of BG Parish Council, and running the local team as a ‘homer’ (small-l) / ‘one-man show’, has not helped that much either.
At times they have struggled to put even 11 players on to the pitch.
That was small ‘h’, of course.
And ‘homer’ does not refer to where the players are from.
Wow! about ‘homer’ – I didn’t expect to receive a phone call about this (calling me ‘controversial’!?) so soon.
Everyone knows that various clubs own match reports are (often severely) biased, and that appears to be the way that supporters want it.
But our local team take this to another level, and it is – rather good naturedly – joked about.
As yet, no red cards have been issued for this.
I did think to run this past the press Complainants Commission but then realised it may no longer exist, if ever it did. And when it did it had very little bite and took months to reach any kind of decision, often scoring something of an own goal in the process, ironically.
Storm in a teacup – and like the Boston Tea Party nothing much will come of it …….
re homer – this sound a little like a personal odyssey somewhere.
I’ve now actually been asked, what I thought of ‘Homer’s Odyssey – A One-Man Show’.
I mentioned that ‘homer’ was used, when describing severely biased local/ hometown sports coverage. And was then made to feel quite inferior.
I’m not going to mention homer again for a while – unless by special request.
During the early to mid-1950s, Welshman Mr W.J.(Bill) Rush was the music teacher at Wrotham Road School.
His classroom was in a long ‘corrugated-iron’ Nissen hut at the southeast part of the former prisoner of war camp.
Some afternoons, Mr Rush would be standing in tears as we listened to his opera recordings.
This pre-rock ‘n roll era, featured the great Johnnie Ray – his songs included “Cry”, “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home”, and “Just Walkin’ in the Rain”.
But pupils might also be heard humming and singing parts of their favourite opera songs/ tunes/ arias.
We also listened to other forms of serious/ classical music – and Mr Rush used to mention that if there was a ladder reaching up to heaven, Johann Sebastian Bach would be on the top rung.
Mr Rush lived in Gravesend and formed a choir there – ‘The Gravesend Harmony Singers’. They appeared a few times on BBC TV.
I was one of the few in my class who wanted to be in the school choir.
As an audition, each class member stood on their chair and sang the first verse of “Early One Morning”.
Actually, I sang most of the song – but Mr Rush didn’t ask me to join.
Coming back from outings to the seaside, my singing voice on the coach had been (best) described, as ‘a bit flat’.
Nowadays, I’m told that I hold a tune quite well!
Ray lived at Ivy Bank, Quarry Hill – next door to the Ballard family.
He looked about 30 in 1950.
He was most probably the son of one of those Willard boys, standing in the front row of that photo.
Mike Taylor mentions that their names were Cyril, Roy, Frank and Sid.
Umm! having another think about this.
If Ray was born about 1920 – just how early was that coach?
Could Ray have arrived to be the baby of the family – not long after that photo was taken?
I don’t think there has been a mix-up with names – Roy doesn’t look like a young Victor Mature.
But Mike mentioned just 4 brothers and a sister.
Coaches are never early. At best they leave on time.
That coach does look early (Mike describes it as ‘early’). But look at that door – might also have doubled as a chicken house?
Although it had pneumatic tyres, times were different then at Quarry Hill!
Hmm, chicken house, Will Hay and Moore Marriott are presumably just cropped out of this shot then
went to borough green school graduated 1953 planted tree on school grounds ,lived white post lane culverston,now meopham my name then Rodney N Strong
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