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Discover the fascinating people and places of Tunbridge Wells.Take a journey back in time to the 19th and early 20th century. See what the town was like in the days of the horse and carriage and what the people did who lived there. See the vintage postcards and photographs.Read the articles about the different trades and professions and the people who worked in them.Learn about the historic buildings and the town's colourful history.

This month I feature a photograph taken in Tunbridge Wells in the 1950's showing the horse and cart of the rag and bone man making his rounds. Before the modern catch phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" (the three R's) became popular rag and bone men with their horse drawn carts, calling out "Rags and Bones, Rags and Bones", patrolled the streets of the town gathering up any unwanted items residents wanted to part with. These no longer useful items were repurposed and resold and for some in this trade it proved to be a lucrative business. Today many charities gladly take unwanted items to sell and raise money and some will come with a van to pick them up.


The articles on this site are replaced by new ones on the first of the month, so come back and visit this site often. Feel free to copy any text and images of interest to you.Due to the quantity and size of the images in this website users will find that some of them are slow to appear. Please be patient, as they are worth waiting for.Those without high speed internet service will no doubt have to wait longer than others. To move from one page of the website to the next simply click on the page number in the bar at the top of the page-not the "Go To" instruction at the bottom of the page.

Also note that if you attempt to print any pages from this website before the page has fully loaded, some images may not be printed and the layout of the page may be distorted, as the text and images are repositioned during loading. For the best copy wait for the page to fully load.

There is no provision for contacting me from this website. If you wish to contact me I would suggest contacting the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library or the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society who will forward your inquiry to me. Their contact details can be found on their websites.


I am a researcher and writer of articles about the history of Tunbridge Wells and was a member of the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society (TWFHS) until its recent demise. I had been a regular contributer to the TWFHS Guestbook and Journal. I assist others with their genealogical inquiries on various websites such as Rootschat and the Kent & Sussex History Forum. I have had many articles published in various society journals, Newsletters and Magazines in England and Canada. I am decended from three generation of Gilberts who lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1881.

Shown here is a photograph of me taken in July 2015 proudly displaying my T-shirt. I was trained and worked as a Civil Engineer and in the late 1980's changed careers and became the owner of two corporations engaged in General Contracting and the supply of building materials. Upon my retirement in 1998 I devoted my spare time to research,writing and gardening. I lived in southern Ontario from 1950 to 1981 but moved to Thunder Bay,Ontario (about 950 miles north of Toronto) to work as a Supervising Engineer in NorthWestern Ontario. My father Douglas Edward Gilbert (1916-2009) came to live with me in 1983. He had been born in Tunbridge Wells but came to Canada with his parents/siblings in the early 1920's. All but one my relatives (mostly second cousins, none of which have the surname of Gilbert) live in England and some still live in Tunbridge Wells. The only Gilberts from my family line in Canada are me (born in Canada 1950). My dads sister Mabel Joan Gilbert, born in Tunbridge Wells in 1921 died October 2017 in Barrie, Ontario. Her only child Garry Williamson is living in Barrie with his wife and two adopted sons. Since I never got married I am the last of the family with the surname of Gilbert in Canada and England and I am the self appointed genealogist of my family line. Although my greatgrandfather of Tunbridge Wells had three sons and four daughters I am the only surviving descendent with the surname of Gilbert. A complete family tree of my family going back five generations can be found on the Ancestry UK website.

I established this website in 2011. Every month I replace all of the articles with new ones so please come back and visit again. If there are any articles you wish to keep for your records feel free to copy them. There is no archive of older articles on this site but the Tunbridge Wells Library and the Museum retain copies of my articles for their local history files,so please contact them to see them. I am in regular contact with the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society (Chris Jones) who takes an interest in my work and may have some of my articles in his files. Occasionally I republish older articles that have been updated with new information.

On October 9,2014 I was presented with a Civic Society Community Contribution Award in recognition of the contribution that this website has made to the town, especially in the field of history and family history. In the summer of 2015 I had the pleasure of visiting Tunbridge Wells and seeing first hand all of the places I had written about and those which will be featured in future articles. Shown above (left)is a photo taken during this trip at Hever Castle by Alan Harrison in July 2015 in which I am wearing my "I Love Royal Tunbridge Wells" T-Shirt, a slogan which accurately expresses my great interest in the town and its history. Shown with me is my good friend and neighbour Mrs Susan Prince of Thunder Bay,Ontario, who organized the trip,and the lady in dark blue on the right is my second cousin Mrs Christine Harrison of Tunbridge Wells. Christine's grandfather Robert Herbert Gilbert is my grandfathers eldest brother.Christine and her husband were kind enough to drive us around Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area. It was a memorable holiday, and one that will be reported on in various articles of this website. Also shown above right is a photograph of me that appeared in the Kent & Sussex Courier in August 2015 from an article written about my visit to the town.This photograph was taken by the Courier photographer at the Victorian B&B, 22 Lansdowne Road, where I stayed during my visit. A reception was also held on June 30,2015  to commemorate my visit  and my work in writing about the history of the town by the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society in the garden at the home of John Cunningham,who is a member of the Civic Society.John, Chris Jones and some 30 others came out for the reception and afterwards Susan Prince and I had a lovely meal and evening with John and Chris and their wives at John's home.

I hope you enjoy reading about my family and the articles I have written about the history of Tunbridge Wells.


Work is underway to set up a new website devoted to the photographic career of Harold H. Camburn, a Tunbridge Wells photographer and printer/publisher of thousands of postcard views of Kent,Sussex, Surrey and a few other counties to a lesser degree.

One aspect of this project is the creation of an illustrated catalogue of Camburn's postcards. The backs of his postcards typically show his name or in the absence of his name show his well known Wells Series logo of a bucket and rope suspended from a well, such as in the example below.

Here is where you come in!!!!    If you would like to contribute to this project please provide a list of any Camburn cards you have giving the card number (if any) as well as the complete caption, both of which are shown on the front of his postcards. Of course, if you are able to do so, please send a scan of the front of the postcard so that the image can be included along with the card number and caption in the catalogue. Please send all submissions by email to me at

In the future I will post the status of this project and make an announcement when and where the illustrated catalogue and the rest of the website content can be found on the internet. Work is still underway in adding images of Camburn's postcards to the catalogue. Mark has been somewhat busy haying and building a barn and so time has been limited to work on the website.



Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: May 28,2018


The firm of Russell & Bromley was a British footwear and handbag manufacturer and retailer founded in 1873 when George Bromley, a shoemaker married his employer Albion Russell’s daughter Elizabeth Russell in Lewes. Elizabeth’s grandfather, John Clifford Russell had established a shoe making business back in 1820. The family store in Eastbourne, Sussex became the first of many shops to carry the Russel & Bromley name above the door in 1880.

In 1898, Frederick, George and Elizabeth’ son, joined the business and he operated a store in Tonbridge. He founded a further shop in Sevenoaks, which started and expansion programme with further shops being opened and smaller independent retailers being purchased.

In 1905 Frederick moved its operations from Eastbourne to Bromley, Kent. In 1936, Frederick retired and handed the business to his sons Frederick and Michael. One of the shops they opened was in Tunbridge Wells, in 1936, a shop which is featured in this article, which was located at 20 Mount Pleasant Road. Due to renumbering of the premises along Mount Pleasant Road, this shop was given the address of 44 Mount Pleasant Road. Later the shop expanded to include 42/44 Mount Pleasant Road.

By the start of WW2 the business had 20 branches. In 1947 the brothers opened their first shop in London’s Bond Street, which saw the change of business focus to high end retailer. In 1968 this was completed by the closure of a quarter of branches to concentrate on the higher end of the market. The company has since progressed from selling just footwear and had now moved into ladies handbags and men’s belts as part of their range. Today the business operates 43 stores and 2 concessions in the UK. The company is still run and owned by the Bromley family. Their shop in Tunbridge Wells is still located today at 42/44 Mount Pleasant Road, on the east side of Mount Pleasant Hill.


As noted in the previous section the shoe shop of Russell & Bromley was opened in 1936  at 20 Mount Pleasant Road on the east side of Mount Pleasant Hill.

The Architects Journal of August 19,1937 provided the two images shown opposite of the Russell & Bromley shop in Tunbridge Wells. Featured in the images with associated text is the display case of footwear at the entrance to the shop. The design of the shop was by architect Clive Entwistle (1916-1976), information about whom is given in the next section of this article.  The photographs themselves ,dated 1936 ,form part of a collection of several images of the Tunbridge Wells shop by the noted photographer W. Newbery (1894-1985) from the archive of The Royal Institute of British Architecture. All of the shop images from that collection are given below.  One of the images shows the showroom of the shop; two of the exterior front entrance, and the last in the series is an architects model of the front of the shop. All of the photographs were by W. Newbury and dated 1936.

Local directories up to 1938 listed the shop at  20 Mount Pleasant Road. Due to renumbering of the road circa 1939 the shop appears in  the directory of 1941 at 44 Mount Pleasant Road. Later in the shops history (after 1982) it was expanded to include 42/44 Mount Pleasant Road, which in 2018 is still the address of the shop. Shown below is a selection of modern images of the shop.


Clive Entwistle was a noted architect who adopted the modern architectural style in his work. A large collection of his records, providing details about his career are in New York, USA. A photograph of Clive and Vivienne is shown opposite, dated August 1957.

Sarah Entwistle, a London based architect, recently wrote a book entitled ‘Please send this book to my mother’, edited by Ariella Yedgar. In this book she creates an ambiguous portrait of her grandfather architect Clive Entwistle (1916-1976). Clive is described in the book  as “an autodidact who described his cardinal points as” Philosophy, Architecture, Intellect, and Sex. He tackled utopian city plans, product design, structural engineering, formal experimentation and architectural critique and his proposal for the Crystal Palace (1946) was described by LeCorbusier as ‘one of the great projects of our time’. However, none of his ambitious proposals was realized, his presence erased from the landscape of modernism.” Several websites provide information about the man and his career.


Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario,Canada

Date: May 30,2018


James Pilbrow (1813-1894) was born in Stratford, Essex, one of six children born to Edward Llewellyn Pilbrow (1781-1861), a well-to-do gentleman and Elizabeth Bartlett (1782-1841).

James was educated at Chertsey in Surrey and at Lynsted in Kent and became a Civil Engineer. Early in life he was entrusted by his father with the superintendence of two quarries near Maidstone. He was then engaged for about nine years on surveys, chiefly in connection with railway and canal work. His experiments with steam led James to take out several patents for improvements in steam engines between 1840 and 1843.

In 1843 at Tottenham, James married Eliza Bloomfield. This marriage resulted in the birth of just one child namely Eliza Bloomfield Pilbrow in 1849 who remained a spinster and died in 1899.

James continued to patent inventions from 1846 to 1848 on propulsion. After the passing of the Public Health Act of 1848 James turned his attention to sanitary engineering and was appointed engineer and survey at Tottenham in 1850. For local boards of other towns carried out drainage or water supply works between 1852 and 1868. In 1852 he patented a water-waste preventer which was in use for some years.

James Pilbrow ,F.S.A. M.S.A was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers May 20,1856 and was transferred to the class of Member January 17,1860.

James did very little active work after 1868 and by 1871 he retired to Tunbridge Wells, where in 1875 he patented “a new of improved construction of skate or apparatus adopted for use upon artificial ice or other smooth surface. An image of his patent is shown above.While living in Tunbridge Wells he devoted much of his time to painting and photography. At the time of the 1871 census James and his wife and daughter were living at 15 Church Road but by the time of the 1881 census they moved to 2 York Road.

In the late 1880’s James and his wife and daughter moved to Worthing and it was there he died of heart failure in 1894. He and his wife and daughter were buried at Christ Church in Worthing.


Edward Llewellyn Pilbrow was born May 6,1781 at Plaistow, Essex, one of four children born to John Pilbrow (born 1739) and Elizabeth Pilbrow, nee Wood (born 1740).

Edward married Elizabeth Bartlett (1782-1841) in 1802 in Essex. Elizabeth was the daughter of John  and Mary Bartlett. Edward and his wife had the following children while living in Stratford and West Ham Essex (1) Edward (1803-1841) (2) Elizabeth Mary (born 1806) (3) Martha (born 1807) (4) Mary (born 1816) (5) James (1813-1894), the central figure in this article, who was born in Stratford, Essex February 16,1813.

Edward Llewellyn Pilbrow was a man of significant financial means who created his wealth from various quarries, most notably those near Maidstone. One of these quarries, known as the Tovil Quarry, produced Kentish ragstone  which is a hard grey limestone used largely in building construction. The stone taken out was then transported by boat along the River Medway to London.

The 1841 census, taken at Tottenham, Middlesex gave Edward L. Pilbor was a man of independent means but a widower, his wife Elizabeth having passed away just before the census was taken. Living with him was four of his children including his son James Pilbrow who’s occupation was given as “engineer”.

James Pilbrow had been educated at Chertsey, Surrey and at Lynsted, Kent. Early in his life he was entrusted by his father with the superintendence of two quarries near Maidstone and was then engaged for about nine years on surveys, chiefly in connection with railway and canal work.

As a result of experiments on the behaviour of steam under various pressures James took out between the years 1840 and 1843 several patents for improvements in steam-engines. One of these patents was No. 9658 for an impulse steam turbine with contra-rotating bladed wheels . Shown here and above are three images pertaining to this invention. His invention was described in The Artizan in 1843 and he had clearly anticipated the need to accommodate the expansion of steam over a series of stages, in order to avoid excessive rotational speed.

On September 19,1845 James Pilbrow , an engineer, married Eliza Bloomfield, a spinster, at All Hallows, Tottenham (image opposite). James father was given as Edward L. Pilbrow, gentleman and Eliza’s father was given as Rev. Samuel Thomas Bloomfield, clerk. The monumental inscription for Eliza dated 1885 recorded that she was the daughter of the late Revd S.T. Bloomfield D.D. Canon of Peterborough.

Edward Llewellyn Pilbrow was living at Chestnut, Middlesex at the time of the 1851 census and given as retired. Living with him was his daughter Martha; his son in law Edward (an artist) and his wife Elizabeth and their child Eliza,age 10.

The 1861 census, taken at Tottenham gave Edward L. Pilbrow as a widower, a gentleman and fund holder. With him was three of his daughters Elizabeth, Mary and Martha (all given as fund holders). Also there is was one of his sisters and one domestic servant.

Edward Llewellyn Pilbrow died August 18,1861 at West Green Tottenham.


I pick up the story of James from the time of his marriage September 19,1845 at Tottenham to Eliza Bloomfield.

James and Eliza had just one child, namely Eliza Bloomfield Pilbrow (1849-1899). Eliza had been born 1849 at Tottenham. She never married and lived all of her life with her parents. She died December 31, 1899 in Worthing.

In 1846 James Pilbrow patented ‘certain improvements in propelling on land and water in connection with the atmospheric railway’. This invention attracted considerable attention at the time, but the demand for it ceased to exist with the atmospheric system.  Details of this invention appeared in The Civil Engineer and Architects Journal of 1846 and gave “James Pilbrow of Tottenham, civil engineer” with the date of January 31,1846. A book by James Pilbrow dated December 31,1843 was entitled ‘ Atmospheric Railway and Canal Propulsion and Pneumatic Telegraph”. On the internet can be found information under the heading of “ The Jamaica (Pilbrow’s) Atmospheric Railway” built 1845 with the engineers on the project given as (1) James Pilbrow, Civil Engineer, esq, London (2) Frederick Braithwatge, esq. M.I.C.E.

In 1848 James Pilbrow took out a patent for a method of propulsion on canals by means of water forced under pressure through a tube, in which at certain intervals were fixed nozzle-pipes.

After the passing of the Public Health Act of 1848 James turned his attention to sanitary engineering. One of the first districts to take action was that of Tottenham in Middlsex. A Local Board of Health having been formed James was appointed engineer and surveyor in 1850. He at once made a survey of the district and designed a drainage scheme on the separate system which was carried out under his direction in 1851-1852. Many years later he presented a description of these works to the Institution of Civil Engineers. Tottenham was one of the first places where water was used at fires direct from the mains without the intervention of an engine. James Pilbrow had a truck made to carry the hose and hydrants as stand-pipes, and during the time of his connection with that district several fires were thus extinguished. The success of the Tottenham works led to the requisition of James services by other towns. Amongst the Local Boards for which he carried out drainage or water-supply works between the years 1852 and 1868 were Bridgnorth, Watford, Uxbridge,Enfield, Gosport, Brompton near Chatham, Beaconsfield, Canterbury, Guildford, Rochester, Maidstone and Safforn Walden. In 1852 James patented a water-waste preventer which was in use for some years.

The 1851 census, taken at Tottenham Green gave James Pilbrow as “L.S.A. Civil Engineer”. With him was his wife Eliza; his daughter Eliza B and one domestic servant.

The 1861 census, taken at Bloomfield Villa in Tottenham, gave James as a “Civil Engineer, member institute of civil engineers”. He had been elected as Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers May 20,1856 and was transferred to the class of Member January 17,1860.

In 1868 James retired and soon after moved to Tunbridge Wells where he amused himself with painting and photography.

The 1871 census, taken at 15 Church Road (image opposite) Tunbridge Wells gave James as a civil engineer. With him was his wife Eliza, given as born 1812 in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, and their daughter Eliza . Also there was one companion, one cook and one housemaid.

While living in Tunbridge Wells James interest in , and work on inventions continued. The London Gazette of March 23,1875 gave “ James Pilbrow of Tunbridge Wells, Kent invention of ‘a new or improved construction of skate or apparatus adopted for use upon artificial ice or other smooth surface’. The patent was dated March 6,1875. The London Gazette of February 26,1876 gave ‘James Pilbrow, Tunbridge Wells invention ‘improvements in the construction of wheel or roller skates adopted for use on artificial ice of other smooth surfaces or rinks’.  The Engineer of March 3,1876 gave the same information and the London Gazette of December 24,1875 referred to this patent with regards to the form and construction of the wheels or rollers.  James Pilbrow’s invention was also listed in The English Mechanic and World of Science April 19,1875 and in the same publication was an invention by N.K. Cherrill of Tunbridge Wells for ‘improvements in wheel or roller skates. N.K. Cherill was a photographer and best known in Tunbridge Wells as the partner of the famous Tunbridge Wells photographer H.P. Robinson of the Great Hall Studio on Mount Pleasant Road, which firm operated under the name of Robinson & Cherrill. Roller skating was very popular at that time and Tunbridge Wells had two Roller Skating Palaces, on in Culverden (shown above) and one on Grove Hill Road, details of which were given in my article ‘Roller Skating Palaces of Tunbridge Wells’ dated January 23,2013.

The 1881 census, taken at 2 York Road (image opposite) gave James as a retired civil engineer F.S.A. With him was his wife Eliza and his daughter Eliza B.

In the late 1880’s James and his wife and daughter moved to Worthing, Sussex where they spent the last years of their lives.

The 1891 census, taken at ‘Belpi’ Rowlands Road, Worthing, gave James as a retired civil engineer. With him was just his spinster daughter Eliza B, who’s occupation was given as “ dependent on father”. Also there was a cook.

Probate records gave James Pilbrow of Westfields West Worthing when he died February 27,1894. The executor of his 2,297 pound estate was his spinster daughter Eliza Bloomfield Pilbrow.  His obituary noted that he had died from heart failure due to advanced age.

The monumental inscriptions of Christ Church, Worthing (image opposite) gave (1) 12 Mar 1888 Pilbrow , Eliza…….Beneath rests all that is mortal of Eliza wife of James Pilbrow C.E and daughter of the late Revd S.T. Bloomfield D.D Canon of Peterborough. She was devoted, self sacrificing, and exemplary in all relations of life, as daughter, sister, wife and mother. (2) 17 Feb 1894 Pilbrow, James F.S.A (M. Int, C.E. for above 40 years) (M.S.A) Born at Stratford Essex, February 16th 1813. Died at Worthing. (3) 31 Dec 1899 Pilbrow Eliza Bloomfield the only child of James and Eliza Pilbrow, died December 31st 1899, and was buried North of this spot.

A number of article and some books were written by James Pilbrow. Some of this work included (1) A book entitled ‘Disocoveries made during excavations at Canterbury in 1868’ by James Pilbrow, esq. F.S.A (2) Article in the Institution of Civil Engineers 1884 entitled ‘Some particulars of an artesian well bored through the Oolitic Rocks at Bourn, Lincolnshirfe in 1856 by Jame Pilbrow, Member Institute of Civil Engineers (3)Article from the minutes of the Institute of Civil Engineers 1867 entitled ‘ Towns Sewage-Its disposal and its utilization without nuisance’ by James Pilbrow.

On the internet one can find mention of other articles and patents by James Pilbrow such as one in the London Gazette ‘for invention of certain improvements in obtaining motive power’.



Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: May 27,2018


The name of Rickwoods during the late 19th century  until the 1960’s was associated with the business of billposters. The founder of the business in Tunbridge Wells was Saul Rickwood (1851-1926) who had been born in Wokingham, Berkshire, one of several children born to Seth Rickwood (1824-1875), who in 1871 was a builder and licensed vicualler of the Bricklayers Arms on Rose Street in Wokingham, and Mary Ann Rickwoods, nee Houton (1829-1892).

In 1869 Saul married Matilda DeGray (1845-1918) and with her had a daughter in  1870 at Wokingham and a daughter in 1872 at Bermondsey,Surrey.

Saul was working for his father as a bricklayer at the time of the 1871 census in Wokingham.

By 1874 Saul and his wife and two daughters took up residence in Tunbridge Wells and while living in Tunbridge Wells he and his wife had seven children (all sons) between 1874 and 1883.

With the birth of his sons Saul opened a billposters business. Peltons 1896 guide gave the listing “ S. Rickwood & Sons, billposters 49 Mount Sion. The two sons who joined their father in the business were his two eldest sons George David Rickwood (1874-1951) and Paul Frederick Rickwood (1877-1940). The 1891 census, taken at 49 Mount Sion listed Saul  and these two sons as billposters.

When Saul died in Tunbridge Wells in 1926 the business was carried on by his sons. Directories of 1939 to 1960 gave ‘Rickwood Billposters Ltd of 6 Vale Road. This business had been incorporated December 13,1920 and expanded to other locations beyond Tunbridge Wells. It appears that the business ended in Tunbridge Wells in the early 1960’ and later had premises at 84 High Street in Chatham. At the time of the dissolution of the business in 2011 the companies registered office was in London.

In this article I present a photograph of Saul Rickwood; his premises in Tunbridge Wells ,and a few examples of interesting postcards of the town showing posted bills. Also given is information about the Rickwood family and the business.

Shown above is an image from the 18th century in which bills are shown stuck over the top of one another in an old courtyard. Today it is common to find sings stating“ Billposters will be prosecuted”, erected as a deterrent to the posting of bills, which became a blight on the urban landscape as they were seldom removed after being pasted onto lamp posts,walls, fences etc.


The founder of the billposters business in Tunbridge Wells was Saul Rickwood (1851-1926). Saul was born in the 2nd qtr of 1851 at Wokingham, Berkshire. He was one of four siblings of Seth Rickwood (1824-1875) and Mary Ann Rickwood, nee Houlton (1829-1892). His father married for a second time after the death of his wife Mary Ann and had another five children. A photograph of Saul Rickwood, taken in Tunbridge Wells in the late 1800’s is shown opposite.

Saul lived with his parents and siblings in Wokingham  up to 1869. His father was a builder and Saul worked for his father as a bricklayer.

On November 4,1869 Saul married Matilda DeGray(1845-1918) in Wokingham. Matilda had been born in Boro, Surrey although sometimes her place of birth was given as Newington, London.

The 1871 census, taken at the Bricklayer Arms pub on Rose Street in Wokingham (photos opposite) gave Seth working as a bricklayer for his father. With him was his wife Matilda and their first child Ellen Matilda Rickwood (1870-1943). Also there as head of the household were his parents and a few siblings. Saul’s father was given in the census as a builder and licensed victualler. Saul’s father died in Wokingham June 17,1875.

Saul and his wife Matilda had the following children (1) Ellen Matilda Rickwood (1870-1943) .She was born in Wokingham(2) Alice Mary Rickwood (1872-1908). She was born in Bermondsey, Surrey. (3) George David Rickwood (1874-1951). He was born in Tunbridge Wells. (4) Paul Frederick Rickwood, sometimes given as Frederick S or L Rickwood and simply as Frederick Rickwood (1876-1940). He was born in Tunbridge Wells.  (5) Charles William Rickwood (1879-1915) .He was born in Tunbridge Wells (6) Victor Eugene Rickwood (1880-1945). He was born in Tunbridge Wells (7) Cyril Edwin Rickwood (1882-1945). He was born in Tunbridge Wells. (8) Eyrie E. Rickwood, born 1883 in Tunbridge Wells.


From the birth records of the children it can be concluded that Saul and his family moved to Tunbridge Wells sometime after the 1st qtr of 1872 and the 2nd qtr of 1874. Shown opposite is a photograph of bills posted on the High Street bridge in Tunbridge Wells.

The 1881 census, taken at 49 Cromwell Road, gave Saul Rickewood as a billposter. A billposter is a person who pastes onto building walls, lamp posts, fences etc posters announcing some event or notice of interest to the general public. Living with Saul was his wife Matilda and his children Ellen, Alice,George,Frederick P,Charles and Victor. All of the children were educated locally.

The 1891 census, taken at 49 Mount Sion  gave Saul Rickwood as a billposter. With him was his wife Matilda; his son George, a billposter; his son Frederick S, a billposter and Saul’s children Charles, Victor and Eyrie who were attending school. Also there was Saul’s sister Martha Rickwood, age 25 and May Ann Gilbert, age 63, born 1828 Wokingham who was given as his “widowed mother”.  Mary Ann died in Tunbridge Wells in 1892.

Peltons 1896 guide gave the listing “ Bill posters, S. Rickwood & Sons, 49 Mount Sion,Tunbridge Wells. The two sons who joined their father in the business were George and Paul Frederick Rickwood.

During WW1 many posters were produced by the government announcing such topics as the metal drive, reducing travel, rationing etc etc and so billposters were kept busy. Shown below are two photographs of billposters at work. In the image on the right one can see women billposters at work, one of the jobs women took over from men during the war. Given elsewhere in this article are some postcard views of Tunbridge Wells showing the work of billposters.


Charles Edward Stevens (1888-1918) was a private (G/19177) with the 7th Btn Queens Own RWK Regiment who was killed in action March 21,1918 near Chauny France. He was buried in Chauny Communal Cemetery British Extension. He was born in Barming, East Farleigh, Kent and lived at White House Farm, Coleman’s Hatch and 38 Granville Road, Tunbridge Wells. He was the son of F. Edward and Rosaline Stevens. At the time of the 1911 census, taken at 39 Granville Road, Tunbridge Wells,  his occupation was given as billposter. His prewar occupation was given as “an employee of Rickwood & Co, Vale House for 15 years”. Charles had married Alice Wheatley February 29,1908 and they had three children between 1914 and 1917.  In 1914 the family were living at 23 Upper Street in Denny Bottom, Tunbridge Wells. Charles is commemorated on the Hartfield War Memorial and on the St James Church Memorial in Tunbridge Wells. A photograph of Charles is shown opposite.

Saul’s wife Matilda died in Tunbridge Wells April 28,1918 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery. Saul died in Tunbridge Wells on November 4,1926 and was buried in the same cemetery on November 8th.

The firm of Rickwood Billposters Ltd  was incorporated December 13,1920. In the later years of Saul Rickwood’s life his two sons George and Paul Frederick Rickwood ran the family business. Some information about the two sons are given in the next section of this article. A photograph of their business premises is shown opposite.

‘The British and Colonial Printers and Stationers’ dated 1920 gave the following “ Rickwood Billposters Ltd-Capitgal, 2,000 pounds in 1 pound shares, to take over the business of billposters, and advertising agents and contractors carried on at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and elsewhere as Rickwood and Co and to adopt an agreement with F.A Spain, Charlotte H. Spain, F.W. Martin and D.H. spain. Private company. First Directors; F.A. Spain and D.H. Spain. Registered office 36 New Road, Gravesend, Kent. “

A Tunbridge Wells directory of 1939 gave “ Rickwood Billposters Ltd, Vale House, Tunbridge Wells. The last directory found was that of 1960 which gave “ Rickwood Billposters Ltd, 6 Vale Road,Tunbridge Wells.  Later in the company’s history they had premises at 84 High Street, Chatham, Kent and later still the registered office of the business was in London. Rockwood Billposters Ltd was dissolved August 24,2011.


The two brothers who initially worked with their father Saul Richwood as billposters were George David Rickwood (1874-1951) and Paul Frederick Rickwood (1877-1940). Some brief information is given below for them.


George was born in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1874 in Tunbridge Wells. He was living with his parents and siblings at the time of the 1881 census at 49 Cromwell Road, Tunbridge Wells. At the time of the 1891 census, taken at 49 Mount Sion George was living with his parents and siblings and working with his father as a billposter.

In the 4th qtr of 1895 he married Florence Amelia Page (1878-1901) in Tunbridge Wells .Florence died in 1901 at Medway. In 1902 at Medway he married Helen Bowyer (1876-1934). Helen died February 12,1934 at Chatham,Kent. George died in Lambeth, Greater London in 1951. It was not established if George had any children with either of his wives.


Paul, sometimes given as Frederick or Frederick S or Frederick L Rickwood was born in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1876. He was living with his parents and siblings at 49 Cromwell Road, Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1881 census. In the 1891 census, taken at 49 Mount Sion he was living with his parents and siblings and working with his father and brother George as a billposter.

In the 3rd qtr of 1896, in Tunbridge Wells, he married Louisa Luxford, sometimes given as Sarah Louisa Luxford (1875-1961).

The 1901 census, taken at 32 Upper Street, Rusthall gave “Frederick Rickwood, as born 1877 in Tunbridge Wells with the occupation of Billposter. With him was his wife Louisa and their children Frederick,age 4 and Winifred, age 1.

The 1911 census, taken at 13 Upper Street, Rusthall gave “Frederick Rickwood” as a “billposter of a billposter company worker”.  With him was his wife Louisa, born 1875 in Tunbridge Wells  and their children (1) Frederick born 1897 in Tunbridge Wells (2) Winifred born 1900 in Tunbridge Wells (3) Sydney, born 1902 in Tunbridge Wells (4) Daisy, born 1903 in Tunbridge Wells. Also there, in premises of 5 rooms was one boarder and one nurse child. The census recorded that Frederick and his wife had been married 15 years and that four of their five children were still living.

A 1930 directory gave the listing ‘Frederick Rickwood, 28 Little Mount Sion,Tunbridge Wells, confectioner’. A directory of 1934 gave the listing ‘F& S. Rickwood, confectioner 28 Little Mound Sion’. The “S” in this business name is most likely that of his son Sydney. A 1938 directory gave ‘ F& L Rickwood, 28 Little Mount Sion, news agents and vendors’. No. 28 Little Mount Sion is located next door to the historic Grove Tavern.

Probate records gave Paul Frederick Rickwood of 28 Little Mount Sion, Tunbridge Wells, died April 25,1940. The executors of his 1,226 pound estate was Lewis Arthur Wiggins, incorporated accountant. Paul was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery May 1,1940.



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