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

Date: November 3,2017


As noted in the publication ‘ Royal Tunbridge Wells Past & Present (1946) by C.H. Strange “ The electricity works in Tunbridge Wells opened in 1895 and the number of consumers has grown continuously ever since. Under certain Provincial Orders, power has been granted to the Corporation to supply electricity to surrounding districts both to private consumers and local authorities. The total area covers approximately 650 square miles”. Construction of the Electrical Works on Stanley Road had begun in 1894.

The thrust behind the creation of an Electrical Works in the town, a town which before 1895 had relied on gas lighting and gas/coal heating, was the establishment of Tunbridge Wells as a Borough in 1889 and the emphasis on a number of local improvements in the town, which included an Electrical Works run by the Corporation.

The Old Town Hall on Calverley Road (photo above), formerly a market, located next to the Camden Inn was just a short distance east of the intersection of Calverley Road and Camden Road, until it was demolished when replaced by the new Civic Centre on Mount Pleasant Road in 1930’s-1940’s. The Old Town Hall was the first public building in the town to be lit in 1895 by electric light. As you will read later some wealthy individuals such as Sir David Lionel Salomons of ‘Broomhill’ and Sir William Siemens of ‘Sherwood’ generated their own electricity before the town got into generating it from the Electrical Works that was set up on a plot of land at the top end of  Stanley Road adjacent to the railway line, where fuel to generate the electricity was delivered by train. The local newspaper provided a detailed account of the systems inauguration by the Mayor, Sir David Salomons, on October 9,1895. After a reception at the Camden Hall, the Mayoress switched on the power and the local yeomanry escorted a procession to the Old Town Hall.

The Electrical Engineer of May 17,1895 announced “Position Vacant” and that the Corporation of Tunbridge Wells was looking for an experienced Electrical Engineer to “take entire charge of their electrical works” and was to be paid an annual salary of 250 pounds. The man who was hired for this position was Horace Louis P. Boot (1873-1943) who  acted as Consulting Engineer to Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Camberwell and was listed in Tunbridge Wells directories from 1895 to 1913 with Reginald Norman Torpy (1879-1962) serving as Chief Electrical and Consulting Engineer for the Tunbridge Wells Corporation until at least 1938. Although the Electrical Works was located on Stanley Road, the offices of the Corporation Electrical Department in the early 1930’s was located at 3 Calverley Terrace on Crescent Road, but by 1938 the office was relocated to 33 Grove Hill Road.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a time when the invention and use of electrical appliances for the home and other devices for business and industry exploded in Britain. Many advertisments promoting this wonderous form of power appeared in local newspapers and the modern housewife was quick to embrace the use of electricity in the home. Initially conversion to electricity was expensive and the majority of residents could not afford it. As with all things, the demand for electricity mushroomed and it became much more affordable. The town’s streets, once lit by flickering gas lights, were transformed into brightly lit avenues and the shops that lined them were quick to convert to electric power.

The laying of electrical cables on the town’s streets was a labour intensive job for it required a large number of men to dig (mostly by hand) the trenches in which the cables were to be placed. Steam driven equipment, such as traction engines, were initially employed in this work and one could often see large electrical cable drums being towed on a trailer to the work site. When petrol driven equipment came available the old steam equipment was retired and certainly by the 1930’s much of the manual labour had been supplanted by machines.

In 1947 the passing of the Electrical Act resulted in the nationalization of the supply of electricity in the country, when over 600 electric power companies were merged into twelve area boards. Tunbridge Wells along with 23 others became part of “Seeboard”, the South Eastern Electricity Board.  And so the ownership of the town’s Electric Works ended in 1947 and closed in 1969 when electricity was generated from another location. Seeboard was the supplier of electricity until 1990 when it then continued as a p/c company.The old Works was torn down ,including its highly visible 180 foot high chimney, and the site redeveloped.

In this article I present a number of photographs and maps pertaining to the Electric Works in the town and information about some of the men involved in it.


Sir David Lionel Salomons (1851-1925), who was the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells in 1895, and who attended the inauguration of the Electric Works,  was a man of many interests among which was his profession as a scientific writer and barrister. His home north of Tunbridge Wells, “Broomhill”, is preserved as the Salomons Museum. It is also a part of Markerstudy Group, and is a centre for postgraduate training, research and consultancy. Salomons was a strong supporter of the use of electricity and his involvement ,with other noted citizens of the town, were instrumental in the establishment of the local Electrical Works.

Salomons was interested in electricity from an early age and when he inherited Broomhill in 1873, he set up large laboratories and workshops where he investigated electromotive force and electric conductors and carried out countless experiments. He took out patents for electric lamps, current meters and various improvements to electrical equipment. The workshops were said to contain some 60,000 tools, which could manufacture anything from a watch to a steam engine and also included a huge electromagnet.

One of the new technologies Salomons installed at Broomhill was electric light. He had his own coal-fired generator and could produce enough electricity for 1,000 sixteen candle-power (about 60 watt) light bulbs. Electricity was installed on a small scale at first, in the workshops in 1874, where it was used for an arc light and to drive motors. Domestic electric lighting did not come in until about 1877–1880 when Joseph Swan invented a light bulb that could be used in homes, and Broomhill became one of the first to be lit with electricity.

Salomons also developed one of the first electric cooking devices, an electric butter churn and the first electric alarms, all made and installed by Salomons and his staff. His motor car garage was at the time one of the largest and best in the country and was lit and powered by electricity.

In the 1897 publication ‘American Electrician’ an article appeared about Mr Salomons and his involvement with electricity. In part it stated “ Mr Salomons lays claim to having been the first to use the electric light in a private home on a practical scale in England. It was recorded that he had by 1882 some 60 20 candlepower 50V lamps in use. There was a dynamo in a separate building to the house which in 1885 the steam engine which powered it was replaced by gas motors”.


In the 1840’s the railway came to Tunbridge Wells,initially establishing a line and station at what was known as “The Goods Station”. There large quantities of coal and other goods were brought to the town. Later the line was extended southward with the Central Station (passenger station) and later still the West Station (passengers and goods) being established. From this rail line was brought to the Electric Works coal that was burned to generate the electricity, machinery for the plant and large electrical cable drums.

On a plot of land adjacent to the rail line at Goods Station, that abutted Stanley Road,with an entrance off Quarry Road, construction of the Electric Works began in 1894, being completed in 1895. A spur line from the main tracks ran to the Electric Works, where coal was unloaded to fuel the machinery used to generate the electricity. Shown above from the book ‘Tunbridge Wells In Old Photographs’ 2nd edition is a photograph of the Electric  Works taken about 1969 by Ron Glass. Associated with this image was the following text “ Cooling towers on the site of the original generating station of the Municipal Electricity Undertaking between Quarry Road and the railway. Established by the town council, the system was inaugurated by the Mayor, Sir David Salomons on 9 October 1895. After a reception at the Camden Hall, the Mayoress switched on the power and the local yeomanry escorted a procession to the town hall. The station remained in council ownership until 1947 and closed in 1969”. Shown opposite  from ‘Graces Guide of 1931, are images  pertaining to an outdoor sub-station and metal clad switchgear at Tunbridge Wells.

Shown below left is a early 20th century postcard showing the railway tracks, the electric works  and the tall chimney of the Electric Works. Shown to the right of it is a self- explanatory image of this tall chimney. The chimney stood out in the landscape for it was 180 feet high with an internal diameter of 8 feet.

Shown below left is an aerial view from the 1930’s in which the Electrical Works and its chimney can be seen. St Barnabas Church can also be seen in this image located south east of the Electrical Works. Shown below right is a 1909 os map on which the location of the works is highlighted in red.

In 1969 the use of the Electrical Works came to an end and the buildings and related structures torn down to make way for redevelopment of the site.

Shown below are two images from The Courier of October 11,1895. The first is a view of the exterior of the Works and the second one is a view of the Engine Room. As once can deduct from the exterior view of the building it was a large brick structure with large arch top windows to let in plenty of light to the facility. Also one can see that additional natural light was provided by roof lights that ran along the peak of the roof and there is also the appearance of render on at least one end of the building facing the tall smoke stack. The insert in the image, top right, is too small to gain much information from but the architect responsible for the buildings design was identified on the building plans as being A. Ardron of Westminster.  

One interesting point from the October 4th article is that “It was not till several private companies applied for Parliamentary powers within the borough that the Corporation were forced into the position of either undertaking the work themselves or allowing another private monopoly to be set up. In 1890, the Corporation obtained and order, but did not display much inclination to put it into force, and the matter was allowed to rest till the three years allowed by the Board of Trade had nearly expired. In the interval however, an attempt was made to get rid of the responsibility and to sell the right to some private firm or company. The fortunately proved futile, and finally, in August, 1892, the Corporation called in Mr. W.H. Preece to give them a report as to the best means of lighting the borough. He most strongly advised them to keep the enterprise in their own hands, and by examples from other towns showed that the cost to the ratepayers at first would be more than balanced by the advantages derived and the profit earned in years to come.” Mr Preece stated that the alternating current system must be employed; that the works should be built by the Goods Station; that the total preliminary cost would be about 25,000 pounds. The project was once again delayed and “when finally undertaken, only 13,000 of the 25,000 pounds was asked for”.  It was found that the additional 12,000 pounds was needed and this was arranged for. Mr Preece “at first recommended that the charge per unit should be 8d, but this charge was reduced to 6d per B.T.U. (British Thermal Unit) before the supply began”.  “The site finally selected for the works is most conveniently arranged for coal and water supply; the buildings adjoin the Goods Station of the SE Railway, so that all the coal required can be shot from the trucks on the siding directly into the bunkers. By sinking a well at the rear of the station a good supply of water suitable for boiler feed purposes has been obtained. The town supply is, however, laid on in case of emergency. The buildings, which are arranged so that they can be conveniently extended, were designed by Mr A. Ardon, F.R.I.B.A of Westminster.” (this architects name was spelled wrong and should have been A.(Arthur) Ardron)

The October 11 article also gave the following. “ The interior of the building is lined with white glazed bricks, with a coloured line about 4 ft from the floor, which gives a pleasing effect. The present plant consists of two 75-kilowatt alternators made by Messrs Johnson and Phillips, coupled direct to two Williams engines, which take the evening loads. Besides these, a Stockport gas engine of 15 normal horsepower is provided and connected by link belting to a 15 kilowatt alternator as a daylight plant and to take the light loads. In the corner, beside the alternator, the two Ferranti rectifiers are placed, which are required to supply the arc light mains. There are two of these rectifying sets-one for use and the other as a stand-by. The switchboard, supplied by Crompton and Co., is conveniently arranged at the side, with ample room behind for access. An overhead traveller runs the full length of the engine-room. The boiler contract was placed with Messrs Babcock, Wilcox and Co. who have installed two of their tubular boilers. Each of these has a heating surface of 1,426 square feet, and is composed of eight sections of tubes. Each section is nine tubes high, the tubes being 16 ft long and 4” diameter. The steam and water drum is 42” diameter. The working pressure is 150 pounds per square inch, and the boilers were tested to 250 psi after erection. Two dead-weight safety valves are fitted on each boiler, and are connected to an escape pipe which goes outside the building. The boilers were constructed under the inspection of the National Boiler Insurance Company of Manchester, and are fitted with isolating valves next to the main stop-valves, also with Probert and Bridge’s low-water alarms. Messrs Babcock, Wilcox and Co., also supplied the Westinghouse feed-pumps and all the necessary parts of the duplicate feed-pipe service. The large tank placed over the coal-stores is made of boiler plate, and has a capacity of 5,000 gallons. This is used to store the feed water, which is pumped up from the well by the donkey pump placed in the corner of the boiler-house. The same firm supplied the Green’s economiser which contains 128 tubes, and is provided with a small engine, shafting etc, for working the scraping gear. The transformers were supplied by Messrs Crompton and Co and consist of a rectangular iron core, with two coils wound on the two longer sides of the rectangle. Each coil has both a primary and secondary winding, the primary winding being nearest the core. The insulation between these two windings and between the primary winding and the core consists largely of mica. These transformers are placed in cast iron water tight cases, fitted with a special type of water-tight gland bushed with stoneware bushes. All these transformers are tested to twice their primary voltage before being passed, and accurate measurements of the drop in loss on open circuits are taken..”


Mr A. ARDON, F.R.I.B.A of Westminster was identified as the architect of the Electrical Works in the Courier of October 11,1895 but more correctly he was Arthur ARDRON (1851-1923) F.R.I.B.A. of Leicester but later of Westminster.

Arthur had been born In the 1st qtr of 1851 at Barrow Upon Sour, Leicestershire and was one of at least seven children born to John Ardron and his wife Mary. Arthur was baptised May 14,1851 at Leicestershire and in 1851 was living with his parents and siblings at the family home where he was born.

The 1861 census, taken at Queniborough,Leicestershire gave Arthur in school and living with his parents and siblings on the family farm. The 1871 census, taken at the same farm gave Arthur’s father as a farmer of 210 acres,employing 4 labourers and 4 boys. In addition to his father ,age 58.was his father’s second wife Henrietta, age 38 and his five siblings and two domestic servants. At the time of the 1871 census Arthur’s occupation was given as “ articled pupil of architect”.

On February 20,1879 Arthur married Julia Sergeant, the 34 year old daughter of John Baily Sergeant (deceased captain). Arthur was given in the marriage record as a bachelor of 28 Stratford Place NW and an architect. His father John was given as a surveyor.

The 1891 census, taken at Watford, Hertforshire, gave Arthur as an architect and living as a boarder with the Braun family.

It appears that Arthur travelled frequently for he was not found in any census records after 1891. He however was found listed as an architect  in electoral records and directories in Westminster,London at various addresses throughout the 1890’s and 1900’s up to the time of his death in Westminster in the 4th qtr of 1923.

Various websites provide examples of the architects plans he prepared and included such buildings as those listed below.

1)      1879…Sexton’s Cottage, Leicestershire

2)      1886…. A City Warehouse

3)      1887…. Wallesden Public Offices

4)      1888….St Stephens Church, London

5)      1890…..’Scotwell’, a house in Wargrave

6)      1893…..New Electric Supply Station  Finchley Rd NW

7)      1894…..New Electrical Work, Tunbridge Wells

8)      1898…..Unbuilt design for the State Assembly Building in IOM

Sometime around 1899 Arthur and a Mr Dawson (perhaps the well- known architect Charles J. Dawson (1850-1933) became partners in the firm known as Ardron and Dawson, which firm obtained an important commission as the result of an architectural competition for the design of the HSBC building in the IOM which opened in 1900.

It was perhaps as a result of his experience with the 1893 design of the Electric Supply Station on Finchley Road that resulted in him being the architect for the Electricity Works in Tunbridge Wells.

The Dictionary of Scottish Architects of 1904 gave an outline of architect Alexander Cunningham Forrests (1858-1911) and that Arthur Ardron was one of the architects that proposed him.


In brief the Electrical Works inauguration was by the Mayor, Sir David Salomons, on October 9,1895. After a reception at the Camden Hall, the Mayoress switched on the power and the local yeomanry escorted a procession to the Old Town Hall. As you will read in the next section the celebration of the availability of electricity in the town was in three parts held from Monday October 7 to Saturday October 12th. Throughout that time an “Electrical Exhibition” was held daily but on Wednesday October 9th the power was switched on at 2:30 after which a grand procession worked its way along the principal streets of the town, which procession returned to the Old Town Hall where the Electrical Exhibition continued on.

The Courier of October 4,1895 provided and overview of what was planned for the six day event, which overview I present in the next section. Of particular interest here as it relates to the Electrical Works is that “At 2:30 Wednesday October 9, the Mayoress, Lady Salomons, accompanied by the Mayor (Sir David Lionel Salomons) and the Corporation, switched on the electricity at the Electrical Works and declared the Electrical Works station open.

The Courier of October 9,1895 under the heading “ Electric Lighting at Tunbridge Wells- The Opening Ceremony-A Successful Exhibition” gave a lengthy account of events up to that time. In part it stated “ One of the closing weeks of a memorable mayoralty has been marked by the formal inauguration of the electric lighting undertaking, which will be remembered as the great event of Sir David Salomon’s year of office. For some weeks past our streets have been illuminated by powerful arc lamps, and a number of private consumers have enjoyed the benefit of a supply of current, but this has been simply the part of the work to testing the machinery, which has not yet been taken over by the Corporation”. The article continues by stating that the formal opening had been delayed longer than intended but now everything is in an advanced stage although “a good deal of testing work remains to be done….and the contingency of an early enlargement of the works just opened is already under contemplation”. The article continues by remarking on the overwhelming demand for electricity and “that nearly 4,000 private lamps have already been applied for” and that the availability of electricity will “create a little healthy competition with the Gas Company”. It continues by stating that a large number of shops and a couple of churches have been illuminated. “ The talented Borough Electrician,Mr H.L. Boot, in whose appointment the committee made an admirable selection, has devoted himself untiringly to the development of the undertaking, and the smoothness of the experimental running, a testament to his ability”.  “The majority of the mansions in Pembury Road (Millionaires Row as  they were referred to) and Broadwater Down are installing the light in sufficient numbers to justify the committee in going outside the compulsory area. The article then continued with a detailed account of the Electrical Exhibition and then gave the following information about “ Today’s Proceedings” given below.

“ To-day (October 9th) will be remembered as one marking an important epoch in the Municipal history of Tunbridge Wells, as the formal opening of the Electricity Works has now taken place. The occasion was marked by several functions in which the Corporation and a number of distinguished London visitors took part. The inhabitants, with that public spirit which is invariably their characteristic, had determined to give the Borough a gala appearance in honour of the important event, but the weather outlook was responsible for the curtailment of some of these public displays of rejoicing. Nevertheless the burgesses in the East Ward were to the fore in making a brave show of flags and bunting, although nothing elaborate was attempted. The immediate vicinity of the SER Station was bright with flags and streamers, there was an organise effort on Mount Ephraim, where a very pretty effect was obtained. And in Calverley Road there were some very charming decorations, in fact, in most of the streets through which the procession was announced to pass, there were similar displays on a more or less imposing scale. Two triumphal arches were erected. At the Town Hall, fire escapes were reared, and tastefully ornamented with evergreens, whilst half-way up Mount Pleasant, and arch of evergreens looked very pretty. These will be lighted by electricity to-night, and the effect should be very pleasing”.

At the Luncheon the Mayor called upon Mr Ashby Wood, the chairman of the Lighting Committee to make comments, which he did and “read an eccentric letter he had received from a lady in Tunbridge Wells, who refused to have the electric light installed in her house, and went further to say that she would not have, if she could help it, an electric lamp near her house , for it “ withered all the trees or plants exposed to its influence” , which letter drew laughter from all present. “He thought they had been very fortunate in the choice of their consulting and resident engineer, and in handing over to the Mayor the key of the Electric Light Station, he said it was of steel and not of gold, but he hoped it would open the door to golden pleasures, golden health, and golden guineas for the burgesses of Thunbridge Wells” which comment brought cheers. The Mayor then spoke and then Mr Preece replied stating in part that “there was a probability of their getting 4,000 lamps in four years, but they had got them inb three months. Alderman Cronk then spoke and proposed a toast to Lady Salomons, to which Sir David Salomons responded.

“The Mayor and Mayoress, accompanied by the Corporation and visitors, then proceeded in carriages to the Electricity Works, where special arrangements had been made for their reception. Here they were conducted by Mr. H. Boot, the Electrical Engineer, through the boiler room and offices into the engine-room, where the machinery, which looked bright and clean, was running. The Mayor and Mayoress took their stand on a temporary platform which had been erected here, and which was covered with crimson cloth and adorned with foliage plants. The Mayor, after a few remarks, asked Lady Salomons to turn on the lights at the station, which her ladyship gracefully performed, amidst applause, by means of a special switch close by”.

“On leaving the Works, a procession was formed and the principal streets were paraded, a large concourse of spectators assembling. Four mounted constables formed an advance guard, and then came the following: Sir David’s petroleum carriage (drawn on a trolly, supplied by Mr Smith); police force; Military Band; workmen employed in laying the main; steam fire brigade; manual engine; members of the Cyclist Club; Cygnus Club; Harriers; Salvage Corps; Press, in carriages; Rusthall Fire Brigade; Ratepayer’s Association; Tradesmen’s Association, in carriages; officials of the Corporation, in carriages; Councillors, in carriages; Alderman, in carriages; Fire Brigade; Ceylon Band; Lighting Committee; the Mayor and Mayoress; St John Ambulance; visitors”. What a spectacular procession this must have been and although no images of it have been found to date, no doubt local photographer and postcard printer/publisher, who photographed many , if not all, of the towns parades, must have captured the event with his camera, and not doubt other local photographers were there too. Given the significance of the event in the town’s history it’s a wonder why many image of it have not been found.

On reaching the Town Hall on Calverley Road the Mayor and Mayoress, accompanied by the Corporation, visited the Electrical Exhibition, some information of which is given in the next section.

The Courier of October 11,1895 gave a very extensive article under the heading “ Electric Lighting At Tunbridge Wells-The Opening Ceremony-History of the Undertaking-A Successful Exhibiton”. This article was a very long one taking up seven full length columns out of a total of 9 and because of its length it was impossible to  give it in its entirety here. In that article were three images namely (1) One of H.L.P. Boot, AMICEI, AIEE, MSA,Borough Electrical Engineer, which I present in the section about him (2) Elevation of the Tunbridge Wells Electricity Works, given in the ‘Location and Description section of my article as well as (3) View of Engine Room. Much of the information given in the October 11th article largely repeated information given in previous articles but gave more detail. To read it all I would suggest a trip to the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library who have it on mico-film. Shown above is one of the many electric lamp posts installed throughout the town, this one being in front of the Grosvenor Hotel/Tavern at 1 Calverley Road, a building which is now one of the main entrances to Royal Victoria Place, which my friend Susan Prince and I went through during our visit to the town in 2015.


Shown opposite from the book ‘Tunbridge Wells As It Was’ by Jean Mauldon, is a pair of photographs of the Electrical Exhibition held at the Old Town Hall dated October 11,1895. It was held under the auspices of Sir David Lionel Salomons during his Mayoral year. The exhibition celebrated the coming of electricity to the town by way of the new Electrical Works. All the main roads were connected, and Mount Pleasant was lit by coloured lights to commemorate the event. Electricity then as 6d a unit. The exhibition included many general trade stands, and a display of work by the Photographic Society.

News of the exhibition appeared in the Courier of October 4,1895 and announced that it was to be held at the old Town Hall from Monday October 7th to Saturday October 12th “under the direction of the Mayor and Corporation”. It continues in the headlines stating “ The exhibits will include electric cooking, heating and lighting appliances, motive power and all kinds of electric apparatus. The celebrated Price Family Orchestral Band will perform selections of music each afternoon and evening. A grand opening function of the Corporation Electricity Works will be held on Wednesday October 9th and at 2:30 p.m. the Mayoress, Lady Salomons, accompanied by the Mayor and Corporation will switch on the Electric Light, and declare the Station open, after which there will be a procession through the principal streets”. Admission to the event was charged which varied between 1s and 6d depending on the time of day attended. Both railway companies ran “Cheap Return Tickets” each day of the exhibition and catalogues giving a full description of the Exhibition and Opening Day were available at the Town Hall for a price of threepence.  The article continued by stating in part “ Preparations for this exhibition are in active progress and the Council Chamber and Committee-room, as well as the Town Hall are being utilized. Some 20 London and local firms have stalls, and the Mayor exhibits a variety of apparatus. One feature will be a suite of miniature apartments, beautifully upholstered, including a boudoir and conservatory, to illustrate the advantages of the electric light. Cooking by electricity and electric stoves and motors will be another feature. As an integral part of the celebrations was the formal opening of the Electrical Works, the details of which are given in the previous section. Following the official opening of the Electrical Works with power switched on at 3 o’clock by the Mayoress on Wednesday a procession round the town was to be formed, including Sir David’s horseless carriage, along the principal streets of the town. Those familiar with the history of motor cars in Tunbridge Wells will be familiar with Salomons great interest in “horseless carriages” and his large collection of them and that he was the one behind another historic event in the town in 1895 namely the Horseless Carriage Exhibition held at the showgrounds, the first event of its type in Britain. The Yeomanry formed a guard of honour for the Mayor and Mayoress in the parade and all the local institutions of the town were represented in the procession, which returned to the Town Hall at 4:30 “ to inspect the Exhibition. The article concluded by stating “ A word of praise is due to Mr Boot (the Electrical Engineer in charge of the Electricity Works) for his untiring energy in organizing so successful an Exhibition”.

The exhibition was a great success as the provision of electricity in the town was a major undertaking and one much looked forward to by all  residents and businesses of the town. The success of the whole event was reported on in detail in The Courier of October 9 and October 11. Due to the length of these articles I have not included the information contained in them here and would suggest to those interested in a more comprehensive account of the event to view the articles at the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library.


The electrical cables consisted of copper wires encased in gutta-percha ( a type of early rubber). A number of companies in England produced electrical cable. Shown opposite from 1920 is a photo of reels of electrical cable being produced by the Liverpool Electric Cable Company. Cables of various sizes were produced and in various lengths and after spooling was complete were stored. Upon receiving an order the supplier had them loaded on railway wagons for long distant shipping or on lorries for customers nearby.

Shown opposite is a 20th century image of cable drums being loaded for shipment.

Upon their arrival at the Goods Station in Tunbridge Wells, the railway wagons would be off-loaded at the Electrical Works and stored until needed. As an interesting aside, used cable drums were often destroyed when no longer useful but many of them ended up in salvage yards and today it has become popular to convert them into coffee tables and other pieces of furniture.

One company that supplied electrical cable to Tunbridge Wells was the Standard Telephone and Cable Company, a subsidiary of Western Electric. This company had been founded in 1883 in London as International Western Electric by Western Electric and by 1898 was manufacturing electrical cables. Shown opposite is a photo from the book ‘Tunbridge Wells in Old Photographs ‘2nd edition of a Standard electrical cable drum on a trailer being towed by a tractor. This image shows The Municipal Electrical Undertaking’s entry in the parade and competition for commercial vehicles held on October 3,1928 during Britain and Empire Week. The week’s events were organized under the auspices of the Chamber of Trade to encourage support for industries of Britain and the Empire. It was inaugurated on October 1 by Sir James Parr, High Commissioner for New Zealand, at a ceremony in Calverley Grounds by over two thousand people. The trailer shown in this image is an interesting piece of equipment of which a second image is given below right, taken it is believed after 1947 as the caption related to it described the image as “ Tunbridge Wells Seeboard Depot near Albion Villas”. As given earlier “Seeboard” was the South Eastern Energy Board, which came into being after nationalization in 1947.

The old steel wheeled, solid tyre trailer shown above is a survivor for it dates from a time when it would have been towed by a steam traction engine. Whether it still exists or not and if so where was not determined but presumably, based on the reference to Seeboard, it was still around in 1947. The large brackets towards the rear of the trailer supported a cable drum and the winch towards the front was used to help pay out the heavy cable in preparation for its installation. On the side of this well constructed trailer is the name of the Electrical Engineer then employed but the photograph was not clear enough to read the name.

The installation of electrical cable was a labour intensive process before more modern digging equipment came into use. Shown opposite is a photograph from ‘The Electrical Engineer’ of workmen laying a cable outside the Great Hall on Mount Pleasant Road for the municipal telephone system, which system had been inaugurated by Alderman Frank Green, Lord Mayor of London July 27,1901.


The Electrical Engineer of May 17,1895 announced “ Position Vacant……… The Corporation of Tunbridge Wells require a resident engineer to take entire charge of their electric lighting works. Applicants must have had experience of similar work, must be capable of superintending additions and extensions of the works, and he applicant will be required to devote the whole of his time to the performance of his duties. Salary 250 pounds per annum. Applications, stating age and experience, to be sent to Mr W.C. Cripps, town clerk, Tunbridge Wells by the 25th inst.”

A review of local directories gave the following;

1903…………Corporation Electricity Works & Offices (Horace Boot C.E. , M.I.E.E, engineer and manager ) Stanley Road.

1913……….. Corporation Electricity Works & Offices (Horace Boot, C.E., M.I.E.E. consulting engineer; Reginald N. Torpy, M.I.E.E. borough electrical enginner) Stanley Road

1918 & 1922……Corporation Electricity Works & Offices (Reginald N. Torpy, M.I.E.E. borough electrical engineer) Stanley Road

1930 & 1934…….Corporation Electricity Department (Reginald N. Torpy, M.I.E.E. borough electrical engineer) offices 3 Calverley Terrace, Crescent Road; works at Stanley Road

1938………………same as 1930-1934 except the offices were at 33 Grove Hill Road.

Given below is some information about Mr Boot and Mr Torpy. It was also noted from The Electrican of April 30,1909 the following announcement “ Tunbridge Wells Council have appointed Mr J.W. Beauchamp of Sheffield, resident electrical engineer; Mr John Bemrose of Worcestershire, chief assistant and Mr. V.F. Bushy as junior assistant”.

[1]HORACE LOUIS P. BOOT (1873-1943)

Sir Horace Louis P. Boot was born April 20,1873 at Lambeth, London, one of eight children born to Charles Louis Boot (1827-1909) and Emily Boot, nee Delves (1836-1902). He had been baptised April 20,1873 at Notting Hill ,St Marks’s Church. A photo of Horace is shown opposite taken later in life. Below it is a photo of him that appeared in The Courier of October 11,1895 and at the end of this section is a photo of his headstone on which his wife's name  is also carved.

A family tree noted that in 1883 he as at City of London School, City of London-City and Guilds Technical College, Fisbury, London and was an Old Boy member of the John Carpenter Club. In 1888 he was a student at The Technical College under Professor Silvian Thompson.

The 1891 census, taken at 51 Stockwell Park Road in Lambeth gave Horace as an electrical engineer where he was living with his parents and siblings. In 1893 he was with Messrs Laurance, Scott and Co in Norwich. From an Electrical Engineer list of 1894 he was with Messrs Cutis & Sons, Electrical Engineers, Dublin, Ireland.

On August 13,1897 he was admitted to The Worshipful Company of Cutlers, City of London. A directory of 1900 gave Horace as a consulting engineer mechanical and electrical  (borough engineer) to Tunbridge Wells. Shown opposite is an image of Mr Boot as presented in The Courier of October 11,1895.

The 1901 census, taken at 12 Lime Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells gave Horace as a boarder living in a lodging house run by Emily S. Fison, age 67 and single, along with her widowed 52 year old sister Mary . Also there was one servant and four other boarders. Horace was given in this census as an electrical engineer and was still single. Horace was still living in Tunbridge Wells in 1907 but a few years after had left the town.

The 1911 census, taken at 7 Victoria Street, St Margaret and St John, London gave Horace as “consulting engineer, mechanical engineer for Tunbridge Wells Corporation and others”. He was still living at this address in 1913.

On July 21,1915 Horace married Mabel Jane Baker (1881-1941) at St Margaret’s, Westminster, but it appears that the couple had no children. Mabel had been born July 3,1881 at Holt, Norfolk, one of five children born to Charles Thomas Baker (1842-1900) and Emily Elizabeth Baker, nee Harris (1845-1912). At the time of the 1911 census she was living at “Acacias” Station Road, Holt, Norfolk with her parents and siblings and no occupation was given for her.

The Times of London dated April 24,1920 noted that Horace had joined the board of Eastwoods. The London Gazette of January 11,1921 announced that Horace was a consulting engineer trading as Horace Louis Petit Boot.

Electoral registers of 1921 to 1935 gave Horace and his wife still living at 7 Victoria Street.

Horace was admitted to the livery of The Worshipful Company of Cutlers-Alumni as a Master on July 1,1936.

The Times of December 19,1940 announced that “Mr Horace Boot was presented with his chain and badge of office as the New High Sheriff (City of London)”.

His wife Mabel died February 1,1941 at ‘Clarefield Court, Pinkneys Green, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

The New Years Honors List of 1942 honored his public service and gave “ Knights Bachelor to Horace Louis Petis Boot lately Shefiff of The City of London. Chairman and Managing Director, Horace Boot and Partners Ltd and Eastwoods Ltd”.

Probate records noted that Horace Louis Petit Boot was of Clarefield Court, Maidenhead, Berkshire, knight bachelor, when he died March 31,1943. He left an estate valued at over 390,000 pounds with his executors being the Midland Bank and the Trustee Company.

From Graces Guide of 1922 under the heading “Who’s Who in Engineering” was given the following information about Horace Boot. “BOOT, Horace, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.E.E. , Consulting Engineer, 7, Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W.1. T. A. r " Boot, 7, Victoria Street." T. N.: Victoria 8438. b. 1873. Ed. Public School and Technical College. Apprenticeship with Johnson & Phillips, Ltd., also John Penns, Ltd., Marine Engineers. Career: Borough Electrical Engineer of Tunbridge Wells; acted as Consulting Engineer to Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Camberwell, Learning' ton, etc.; also acts for British Oil & Cake Mills, Distillers Co., Ltd., several paper mills, sugar factories, dye works, cement works and brick works; Vice-Chairman and Tech. Director of Eastwoods, Ltd. Founder of the firm of Horace Boot & Partners in 1910. Publ.: Several on scientific matters; " Power Stations and Boilers." Public Positions: " Cutler." Club: R. A. C. War Services.—Opening up of Lead and Zinc Mines for the Department of Mineral Resources, and several Munition Works.”

Graces Guide of 1939 gave no listing for Horace Boot but was listed in 1931. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers gave this obituary in 1944. “Sir HORACE BOOT, who was well known as a prominent industrial engineer, was the founder of Horace Boot and Partners, consulting engineers, of Westminster, and was chairman of the Eastwood group of brick and cement companies. He was educated at the City of London School and the City and Guilds Technical College, Finsbury. After serving his apprenticeship with Messrs. Johnson and Phillips at Charlton from 1890 to 1892, he was employed for a brief period with Messrs. Laurence Scott and Company, of Norwich. He was then made assistant engineer at the Battersea Foundry and acted as senior demonstrator at the Battersea Polytechnic. In 1895, at the early age of 22, he was appointed borough electrical engineer at Tunbridge Wells and was responsible for the design and construction of the generating station. This position, which he combined with that of general manager, he held for thirteen years, and during this period he was consulted by several other provincial municipalities in connection with the installation of generating plant. In 1908 he began to practice as a consulting engineer and in the course of thirty-five years the advice of his firm was extensively sought with regard to numerous important industrial schemes. In addition his services were retained by various mining companies in Central and South America, which, with other interests abroad, entailed extensive travel on his part. Sir Horace, who was knighted after serving as sheriff of the City of London in 1940-1, was also Master of the Cutlers' Company in 1936-7. He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1906 and was transferred to Membership in 1910. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. The many positions he held included those of a Governor of Sheffield University, past-president of the Institute of Arbitrators, of the National Federation of Clay Industries, and of the Incorporated Municipal Electrical Association. His death occurred at Maidenhead on 31st March 1943 in his seventy-first year.”

Another obituary gave the following. “SIR HORACE LOUIS P. BOOT was born on the 2nd March, 1873, and was educated at the City of London School and Finsbury Technical College. After serving apprenticeships with Johnson and Phillips and John Perms he was employed by Laurence Scott and Co. as an assistant engineer and draughtsman. For a short time he was Assistant Manager at Battersea Foundry, also serving in the evenings as Senior Demonstrator in Electrical Engineering at Battersea Polytechnic. In 1895 he became Borough Electrical Engineer of Tunbridge Wells and for many years was responsible for the town's electricity supply, at the same time acting in an advisory capacity for other supply undertakings. In 1908 he resigned and set up a consulting practice at Westminster, and later founded the firm of Horace Boot and Partners. He was also connected with the Eastwood group of brick and cement companies, of which he was Chairman at the time of his death, which occurred on the 31st March, 1943. In 1941 he was a Sheriff of the City of London and received his knighthood in the same year. He joined The Institution in 1891 as a Student and was elected an Associate in 1893 and a Member in 1898.”

The Kent & Sussex Courier referred to Horace in various articles denoting his work in the town. Perhaps one of the most interesting references to him was from the London Daily Mail of September 27,1899 which gave “ A Town in Darkness….With regard to the paragraph in our yesterday’s issue as to the failure of the electric light at Tunbridge Wells, Mr Horace Boot, the borough electrical engineer, offers the following explanation. “ There were only 23 arc lights out in the whole town” he says, “ and these were put out to improve pressure at the works. No lights besides these were out, either in private consumer’s houses or the streets, the pressure only being low from 6:15 pm to 7:30 pm (in all 59 minutes) as shown by our recording instruments”.


Reginald Norman Torpy was born October 4,1879 at Stoke Newington, London, and was one of three children born to Willaim Torpy (b 1853) and Margaret Torpy (b 1858). He was baptised November 28,1879 at Stoke Newington.

At the time of the 1881 census Reginald was living with his parents and sister as well as one servant and his great grandmother at 9 Harcombe Road St Mary Stoke Newington. His father at that time was a “clerk officer of works”.

At the time of the 1891 census he was living with his parents and siblings at 2 Forest Villa, Princess Road, St Mary, Stoke Newington. Reginald at that time was attending school and his father was with the civil service (Higher Division clerk).

On September 15,1909 Reginald married Ruby May Hopkins (1886-1947) at Merton St Mary Church in Surrey. His father was given in the marriage records as a civil servant  and Reginald was given as an Electrical Engineer of 48 Melboune Road in Merton. His wife was also of Merton. Ruby was born September 26,1886 at Wimbledon,Surrey, one of eight children born to Richard John Thurston Hopkins (1840-1902) and Frances Maud Hopkins, nee Edmunds (1847-1925). She lived in Wimbledon with her parents and siblings until at least 1893 but by the time of the 1901 census the family were living in Merton where her father worked as a bill poster. Ruby and Reginald had a daughter Aubrey Eileen Torpy soon after the marriage.

The 1911 census, taken at 125 Kenilworth Avenue, Wimbledon gave Reginald as an electrical engineer. With him was his wife Ruby and their daughter Aubrey. They were living in premises of 7 rooms.

Probate records for Reginald gave him of Sheldon 11 Collins Way, Seabrook, Hythe, Kent when he died November 17,1962 at St Augustines Hospital, Chatham, Kent. The executor of his 4,544 pound estate was his solicitor. Reginald’s wife Ruby passed away in the 4th qtr of 1947 at Folkestone, Kent.

Mechanical Engineer records for Reginald Norman Torpy gave the following information about his education . “ Bancroft College, Woodford,Essex. Three years training in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Finsbury Technical College under Professor S.P. Thompson and Dalby. His apprenticeship being 3 years one month October 1895 to November 1898 at the Government Workshops. His subsequent career was Mains Engineer, National Telephone Company November 1898-December 1899; Assistant Engineer, Bolton Corporation Electric Light and Tramway Power House December 1899 to December 1900; Engineer in charge, Wimbledon Electric Light Works January 1901-September 1902; Deputy Chief Engineer, Wimbledon Electric Light Works September 1902 to 1904”. He was admitted to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers November 18,1903.

Directories of 1906 to 1908 listed Reginald in Wimbledon, Surrey and those of 1914-1918 gave him living in Tunbridge Wells at 12 Earl’s Road in the Molyneux Road residential area of town.

From Graces Guide of 1922 under the heading “Who’s Who in Engineering” was given the following information. “ Reginald N. Torpy. “TORPY, R. N., M.I.E.E., A.M.I.Mech.E., Electrical Engineer, Electricity Works, Stanley Road, Tunbridge Wells. T. A.: "Electricity, Tunbridge Wells." T. N.: 565. b. 1879. Ed. Bancroft College, Woodford; City and Guilds Technical College, London. Three years' apprenticeship, H.M.S. Workshops; 1 year Junior Assistant Engineer, Bolton Corporation Electricity Works; 3 years Assistant Engineer, Wimbledon Corporation Electricity Works; 10 years Chief Assistant Engineer, Wimbledon Electricity Works; 3 1/2 years Chief Electrical and Consulting Engineer, Tunbridge Wells Corporation.” The reference to his 3-1/2 years in Tunbridge Wells is incorrect as reflected in the local directories I presented earlier.

Graces Guide 1939 gave “TORPY, Reginald N. M.I.E.E. Borough Elect. Engr., Borough of Royal Tunbridge Wells. Business Address: "Mountfield", 33 Grove Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells. Born: 1879. Career: Bancroft Sch., Woodford; City and Guilds; on Staff of National Telephone Co.; 1899-1901, Junr. Asst. Engr., Bolton Corpn., Elect. Dept.; 1901, Senr. Engr.-in-charge, Wimbledon Elect. Works, and Dep. Borough Elect. Engr., 1902-12; 1912 to date, Borough Elect. Engr., Tunbridge Wells. Was appointed a member of the Coal Tech. Advisory C'tee.; Coal Controller for the district during the latter part of the Great War and during the General Strike. Recipient of King George V. Jubilee Medal and also King George VI. Coronation Medal for work carried out. Member of C'tee., Kent and Sussex Branch of the E.T.B.I.


The Electrical Review of May 16,1896 under the heading of ‘Electric Lighting at Tunbridge Wells gave a report which I present in its entirety of the status and operations of the electrical system of the town.



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

Date: October 23,2017


The Times was a beerhouse/tavern located on the north-east corner of Grosvenor Road and Basinghall Lane at No. 8 Grosvenor Road, within a stone’s throw of the Grosvenor Hotel/Tavern at 5 Ways (No. 1 Calverley Road. This part of town was well served by a number of pubs in the area, some would say too many pubs, especially those of the Temperance Movement who often complained about the number of pubs in the town.

Shown above is  an image of the taverns sign, which can  be seen in a number of photographs and postcard views of Grosvenor Road. It depicts the grim reaper holding an hour glass, thus the connection to “Time” from which the pub derived its name. Locals and visitors to the town seeking a pint no doubt spent a lot of time in the pub, a place where one could relax and hear all the local news and gossip. As was then case with most ,if not all taverns in the town ,some who visited it drank to excess and many accounts were found in the local newspaper about The Times in connection to brawls, and thefts that took place on the premises and some patrons being arrested for being drunk and causing a disturbance.

This tavern also served as a meeting place for various organizations including the Tendon and Provincial Yearly Dividing Friendly Society. Newspaper accounts of the 1930’s reported on events pertaining to the Licensed Victuallers Darts League in which The Times competed. Shown opposite is a photo of the pub.

Dating back to at least 1864 this tavern has been in operation until it , like many other buildings in the area, was closed and demolished around 1985 to make way for the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre. Since circa 1871 The Times has been run by many proprietors and in this article I present information about them.


The Times beerhouse/tavern was located on the north-east corner of Grosvenor Road and Basinghall Lane at No. 8 Grosvenor Road, within a stone’s throw of the Grosvenor Hotel/Tavern at 5 Ways (No. 1 Calverley Road. Its location is shown opposite on a 1909 os map which has been highlighted in red.

The best description of the building is by way of a selection of photographs and postcard views of Grosvenor Road which are shown below. Shown in order from left to right are the following images (1) A 1960’s view from a Valentine Postcard (2) A view dated 1977 (3) A view dated 1965 (4) A postcard dated 1911 of the King George procession passing The Times on the right.

The 1911 census gave The Times at 8 Grosvenor Road, being 8 rooms and run by Sydney Percy Thair. It was interesting to note that at the time of the 1891 census that the address of The Times was given as 47 Grosvenor Road when in that year it was run by Arthur Pryke. Whether the location of the pub had changed between 1891 and 1911 or whether there was an error in the census in recording its address was not determined but is was also noted from the 1901 census that the address was given as 8 Grosvenor Road and run by the same Arthur Pryke.

The pub was closed and demolished around 1985 to make way for the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre.


From a review of mainly census records , local directories, and newspaper articles the following list was constructed. The dates given are those reflected in the records but since records for every year in the study period were not available there are gaps in the range of years in which each of them ran the pub.

1864………………….Win. Perch

1871-1880………..William Faircloth

1880-1882………….Alfred Dennirgion/Denmeylou/Dennirgton

1882-1883……….. Robert Howard

1883-1901……….. Arthur Pryke

1902-1908………… Frederick John Santer

1911-1915…………. Sidney (Sydney) Percy Thair

1915-1916…………. Alice Maud Thair (wife of above)

1916…………………. W.R. Chappell

1916……………………. A. Wake

1927-1937…………. Herbert Jupp

1942-1947……………Mrs Tompsons father (name not known)

1949…………………… N.W. Wood

Reliable information was not found for several of the licensed victuallers on this list and in some cases only a newspaper announcement was found regarding the transfer of licenses. Given below is the information that was available.


The Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser of March 27,1864 reported that “Mr Win Perch of The Times Tavern/beerhouse was summoned for keeping his house open for the sale of beer during prohibited hours on the night of the 3rd…..”  The Maidstone Journal of April 15,1867 reported on a  case of an umbrella that had been stolen from The Times Tavern, the property of William Blaver. A John Foord of Speldhurst had borrowed the umbrella from Mr Blaver and left it in the tavern but when he returned all trace of it was gone.


The following references were found about him in the local newspapers. (1) Maidstone Telegraph July 8,1871. A temporary license was granted to William Faircloth for the Times Tavern. (2) The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 5,1881 reported on a license transfer “ from Mr W. Faircloth to Mr A. Dennirgion of The Times”. (3) The Kent & Sussex Courier of December 1 and December 3,1880 and also January 7,1881 announced a license transfer “from Mr W. Faircloth to Mr Alfred Denmeylou”.

William Faircloth was born 1839 in Leigh, Kent . He was baptised October 10,1839 at Leigh, Kent and given as the son of Thomas Faircloth (born 1808) and Mary Ann Faircloth, nee Avery (1816-1851). William was one of five children born to Thomas and Mary but Thomas remarried and had another seven children.

In 1866 William married Elizabeth (1848-1892) in Tunbridge Wells and had a son William Oscar Faircloth who was born 1889. Elizabeth died in Tunbridge Wells in 1892.

The 1881 census, taken at 22 Goods Station Road, Tunbridge Wells gave William’s occupation as “ formerly inn keeper”. With him was his wife Elizabeth, given as born 1848 in Brenchley, Kent and his son William Oscar given as born 1868 in Leigh who was attending school. The 1891 census, taken at 4 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells gave William as a “confectioner employer”. With him, and working as a “confectioner assistant” was his wife Elizabeth; their son William and one servant. The 1901 census, taken at 5 Garden Street, Tunbridge Wells, gave William as a widower and living as a lodger with the Brown family. His son William was also living there as a boarder.

William senior died in Tunbridge Wells in the 1st qtr of 1915. No probate record was found for him. He was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on January 26,1915.


In the above account about William Faircloth I gave the only references to this gentleman who’s name was given in the local newspaper variously as Alfred Dennirgion/Denmeylou/Dennirgton, and due the uncertainty of the correct spelling of his name no other information was found for him. References to in as a licensee of The Times were found in the period of 1880-1882.


Nothing definitive was found about this gentleman apart from a reference to him in the Kent and Sussex Courier June 24, 1883 regarding a transfer of license for The Times from Robert Howard to Arthur Pryke.


References to him were found in newspaper accounts and census records from 1883 to 1901.

Arthur Pryke’ birth was registered in the 4th qtr of 1856 in London. Arthur was one of at least 3 know children of Richard Pryke, born 1818 in Gislington, Suffolk and Mary Ann Pryke, born 1814 in London. Arthur was baptised November 8,1857 in Suffolk with his parents given as Richard and Mary
Ann Pryke.

The 1861 census, taken at Apsey Green in Framlingham, Suffolk gave Richard Pryke as a showmaker. With him was his wife Mary Ann, born 1814 in London and their children Richard,age 18, a blacksmith apprentice; George,age 11, a carpenters apprentice; Emily, age 9, scholar; and Arthur,age 6 a scholar. Also there was Richards widowed father William Henry Pryke, age 83 an agricultural labourer.

The 1871 census, taken at Apsey Green in Framlingham,Suffolk gave Richard Pryke as a shoemaker. With him was his wife Mary Ann and their children Emily,age 20 and Arthur,age 15 who was working as a carpenters apprentice.

At the time of the 1881 census Arthur had left home and was living at 4 Elizabeth Cottatge on Field Road in Westham, Esssex with the Grover family and working for Josiah Grover as a joiner.

In 1881 Arthur married Emily, who was born 1875/1877 in Ipswich,Suffolk. The 1891 census, taken at the “Times Tavern 47 Grosvenor Road” Tunbridge Wells, gave Arthur Pryke as a beer retailer and carpenter. With him was his wife Emily and their daughter Florence who was born 1882 in Tunbridge Wells .Also there was his parents Richard and Mary Ann, both living on own means, and a cousin Rose Burman,age 35 who was working as a milliner.

The 1901 census, taken at The Times 8 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells, gave Arthur as a beer house keeper employer. With him was his wife Emily; his daughter Florence and his widowed father Richard who was living on own means. Arthurs mother Mary Ann had passed away in Tunbridge Wells and was buried November 23,1894.Arthur’s wife passed away in Tunbridge Wells in 1905 and in the 1st qtr of 1906 he married Amy Luxford in Tunbridge Wells

The 1911 census, taken at 33 High Street, Rusthall gave Arthur Pryke as a publican on own account. He was given as married 5 years (1906) and that he had no children (This is a reference to his 1906 marriage to Amy Luxford ). He was living in a public house of 8 rooms. With him was his widowed sister Eliza Hibbert,age 65 and one servant. Amy Luxford had been born 1881 in Northiam, Sussex and at the time of the 1901 census she was working as a domestic cook and living with her father and other members of her family at the Railway Bell Hotel on the north east corner of Grove Hill Road and Mount Pleasant Road (a building which was later purchased and demolished by the Weeks family to allow for expansion of their department store). William Luxford in 1901 was the licensed victualler of this hotel.

Probate records gave Arthur Pryke of Kenikworth, Hastings Road Pembury when he died December 6,1928. The executor of his 4,177 pound estate was Florence Mary Anne Pryke, his spinster daughter, and Ernest Harpum, manager. Arthur was buried in Pembury.

The newspaper accounts that refer to Arthur Pryke and The Times were (1) Kent & Sussex Courier December 12,1884….The Tunbridge Wells Society…The secretary reported that proceedings had been taken against a women called Charlotte Ann Bryant for disorderly conduct and assaulting Mr Arthur Pryke, landlord of The Times Tavern…” (2) Kent & Sussex Courier June 24,1892...”Daniel Vinall was deposed and said he was in The Times Tavern and that the defendant was not there more than 10 minutes. Arthur Pryke, landlord of The Times deposed that the defendant was in his house more than 10 minutes…..” (3) Kent & Sussex Courier of October 24 and Oct 26,1888 gave “ A Naughty Boy…Glass valued at 2s 6d was broken at The Times on Grosvenor Road. Mr W.T. Hammond appeared to prosecute on behalf of the Licensed Victuallers Association. Arthur Pryke, landlord of the Times Tavern deposed that on Saturday afternoon the prisioner was in his premises…” (4) The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 17,1884 reported from the Petty Sessions that a Tim Smith and Joan Smith were charged with being drunk and disorderly at the Times Tavern and refused to quit the tavern when requested to do so by landlord Mr Pryke. (5) The Kent & Sussex Courier of April 15,1892 reported on the theft of carpenters tools and a postal money order at the Times Tavern. (6)The Kent & Sussex Courier of September 2,1898 gave “ To Leave Town….Meads was got hold of by the throat and was down but the landlord of The Times Tavern came to his assistance. Mr Pryke, landlord of The Times deposed that Sunday evening he saw Meade and the constable struggling on the ground….” (7) Kent & Sussex Courier January 16,1884 Petty Sessions…From the Times Tavern, Grosvenor Road was stolen silver and bronze coins, the property of Mr Arthur Pryke, The case was remanded in order to test the truth of the defendants statement that he was in London at the time of the robbery”. (8) The Kent & Sussex Courier of April 5 and 7 1893 reported on a brawl at The Times on Grosvenor Road (9) Kent & Sussex Courier of June 24,1883 Petty Sessions referred to a licence change from Mr Robert Howand to Mr Artur Pryke of The Times Tavern. (10) The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 11,1884 reported on the theft of a cigar box at the Times Tavern, a box which contained money, the property of the landlord Mr Pryke. (11) The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 9,1885 reported that John Smith was charged for disorderly conduct at The Times Tavern and fined 8 pounds (shillings?). (12) The Kent & Sussex Courier of December 21,1887 reported that on November 27th Sarah Ann, wife of Arthur Pyke, died age 30. (13) The Kent & Sussex Courier of February 3,1893 reported from the Petty Sessions that a man was arrested at The Times for being drunk and resisting arrest. (14) The Kent & Sussex Courier of June 22,1892 reported that there was a dispute between customers at The Times and noted that the landlord at the time was Arthur Pryke. (15) The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 27,1883  reported from the Petty Sessions that there was another case of disorderly conduct and a refusal to quit the premises of The Times Tavern.


Frederick John Santer is referred to at The Times Tavern in records of 1902 to 1908.  The only newspaper account referring to him was the Kent & Sussex Courier of November 10,1905 in which an advertisement read “ Mr Santer of the Times Tavern seeks a respectable young woman is assist in the house”.

Frederick was born April 7,1869 at Snargate, Dover, Kent, one of six children born to licensed victualler Henry Santer (1841-1915) and Emma Pascoe Jane Santer, nee Jewell (1840-1907).

At the time of the 1871 census he was living with his parents and siblings at The Mitre Inn on Snargate Street, Dover where his father ran the rub. The family was still living there in 1874 but by 1877 they moved to Southborough where Frederick’s brother Albert Sydney Santer (1877-1927) was born December 14,1877.

At the time of the 1881 census the Santer family were living at the Grosveneor Tavern (photo opposite) at 1 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells where Henry Santer was the licensed victualler.

At the time of the 1891 census the Santer family were living at The Camden Hotel, 55 Calverley Road, a pub that was located on the north-east corner of Camden Road and Calverley Road (photo opposite).

On September 20,1893 Frederick married Jane Parsons (1868-1899). At the time of the marriage Frederick’s occupation was given as “painter” and was living at the Camden Hotel.

 When Frederick’s wife Jane died on November 26,1899 they were living at 27 Western Road, Tunbridge Wells. She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on December 1,1899. Frederick and Jane had no children.

On December 25,1901 Frederick married Fanny Wood(photo opposite) (1876-1964) at
St John’s Church, Tunbridge Wells. Frederick and Fanny had the following children (1) Charles Henry Santer (1902-1960) (2) Frederick William Santer (1905-1976) (3) Walter James Santer (1906-1986) (4) Florence May Santer (1908-1936) (5) Alexander Edward Santer (1911-1997). At the time of the marriage Frederick was a licensed victualler living at 25 William Street, Tunbridge Wells. Birth records of his children (1902,1905,1906,1908) show that these children were all born at The Times Tavern on Grosvenor Road. The youngest child Alexander, born 1911, was born at The Red Lion Hotel, 66 St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells (photo below). Frederick was the licensed victualler of The Times and then took over the Red Lion and was given as the licensed victualler of the Red Lion in the 1911 census where he was with his wife Fanny and his five children.

Fanny Wood had been born in Tunbridge Wells in 1876, one of six children born to Charles Wood (1844-1903) and Sarah Ann Wood (1840-1915).Her father was found in the 1881 and 1891 census as the licensed victualler of The Good Intent at 51-55 St John’s Road. At the time of the 1901 census Fanny was working as a parlor maid to Edwin Casper, a lodging house keeper at 12 Mount Ephraim Road.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of June 10,1908 reporte4d that a deserter of the 1st Btn Scots Guards was arrested at The Times Tavern by the police.

Sometime before the 1911 census Frederick and his family moved to Hastings, Sussex. His father Henry Santer had died September 14,1915 at 82 Stephens Road, Tunbridge Wells. The 1918 directory listed Frederick as the landlord of the Lord Warden pub in Hastings. The photo opposite shows Frederick and Fanny at the Lord Warden.

On July 5,1949 at 63 Prospect Road, Southborough Frederick passed away. He was buried in the Southborough Cemetery having died of heart failure, Hypertension and Arterialslerosis. His wife Fanny died of peritonitis December 30,1964 at 19 Beavale, Ferdinand Street, St Pancras, London and was buried in the St Pancras Cemetery January 7,1965.


Records placing Sidney and his wife at The Times Tavern were the 1911 census, his ww1 service records and newspaper accounts covering the period of 1911 to 1916. Sidney’s name is given variously in records as Sidney or Sydney and the spellings of his name given in this section are as given in the reference record.

His birth was registered as Sydney Percy Thair in the 1st qtr of 1883 in Brighton, Sussex. The 1891 census, taken in Brighton gave Sydney P Thair living with his parents Alfred (born 1852 in Clapham,Sussex) and Emma Thair, born 1855 in Dartford,Kent. Also in the home was his brother Alfred,age 9 and Minnie,age 3. Alfred Thair was given as a joiner.

The 1901 census, taken at 29 Post Hall Place gave Alfred as a joiner and carpenter worker. With him was his wife Emma; his son Sydney P, a joiners apprentice; his daughter Minnie,age 13 in school; and his daughter Evelyyn E. Thair,age 6 in school.

On May 30,1909 “Sidney Percy Thair” married Alice Maud Lockyer, a spinster and daughter of Frederick Lockyer, a dealer. Sidney’s father was given as Alfred Thair a joiner. At the time of the marriage Sidney was a bachelor with the occupation of joiner living in Tunbridge Wells at 116 St James Road. Alice was living at that time at 23 Camberwell Green. The marriage took place at the parish church in Camberwell.

The 1911 census, taken at The Times Tavern, 8 Grosvenor Road gave “Sydney P. Thair” as the beerhouse keeper on own account . With him was his wife Alice Maud Thair, given as born 1881 at Peckham,Surrey who was assisting her husband in the business. There was also one visitor there in what was described as premises of 4 rooms and that they had no children.

Military records show that “Sydney Percy Thair”enlisted for service in 1915 and at that time he was the landlord of The Times Tavern on Grosvenor Road. He was a private (213239) with the Royal Engineers and was attested December 9,1915. His family members were given as his wife Alice Maud Thair and one son.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of October 27,1916 reported that “Mr Thair of the Times Tavern applied for further exemption on the grounds that negotiations for the transfer of his business had fallen through at the last moment”. The Kent & Sussex Courier of November 17,1916 reported the license of The Times had been transferred from Mr Thair to his wife “on her husband having joined the army”.  The 1918 Kelly directory gave the listing “ Mrs Alice Maud Thair, 8 Grosvenor Road, Beer retailer”.

Probate records gave Sydney Percy Thair of 1 Southwood Avenue, Tunbridge Wells when he died December 28,1952 at 6 Mill Road, Eastbourne,Sussex. The executor of his 8,168 pound estate was his widow Alice Maud Thair.


Information about these two gentleman is lacking and somewhat confusing as it does not coincide with the information given about the Thair occupancy of the The Times.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of December 8,1916 referred to a licence change “from Mr. W.R. Chappell to Mr. A. Wake, The Times Tavern.


Herbert is found in various records, mostly newspaper accounts, as the licensed victualler of the The Times Tavern through the period  of 1927 to 1937 but it appears from the following notice in the Kent & Sussex Courier of January 15,1937 that he renewed his license at this pub. It stated “ Notice that I Herbert Jupp,now residing at The Times Tavern Grosvenor Road Tunbridge Wells beer retailer do hereby give notice that it is my intention to apply for a license….” (presumable at The Times).

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of February 28,1936 and along with several notices in the Kent & Sussex Courier throughout the 1930’s reported on the “Licensed Victuallers Darts League” in which the Times had a good team.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of July 15,1927 reported that a man had died at The Times Tavern from a nasty bang or wicked fall. Mr Jupp, the landlord reported that the customer had had only 3 bitters”.

Herbert Jupp’s birth was registered in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1891. He was baptised May 24,1881 in Tunbridge Wells and given as the son of Edward and Anna Maria Jupp.

The 1901 census, taken at 13 Avon Street, Tunbridge Wells gave Edward and Anna Maria Jupp and their five children (including Herbert) and that Edward Jupp was a police constable.

The 1911 census, taken at 12 Avon Street, Tunbridge Wells gave Edward Jupp as a police constable b orn 1862 in Halling, Kent. With him in premises of 5 rooms was his wife Anna Maria Jupp, born 1864 in East Peckham, Kent the following children (1) Sarah, age 23, born West Malling, a dressmaker worker (2) Maria Jane, age 21, born in Halling, Kent, a cook domestic worker (3) Herbert Jupp, born Tunbridge Wells, a coachsmith assistant (4) William, age 15, born Tunbridge Wells, a boot repair servant (5) Violet Jupp, age 12, in school. The census recorded that Edward Jupp had been married 28 years and that although he and his wife had 10 children only 5 were still living.

Herbert Jupp served in WW 1 having been attested June 4,1915. He was living at the time of his attestation on James Street Road, Tunbridge Wells and served as a private (103372)with the Army Service Corps. He was at home from June 4,1915 to September 13,1915 but served with the expeditionary force in France from September 18,1915. His military records show that he was discharged before the end of a war due to a disability. His next of kin was given as his father Edward Jupp.

In December 1920 Herbert married Emily Elsie Hutson in Tunbridge Wells . Whether any children resulted from this marriage was not determined. Probate records gave Herbert Jupp of 24 Nelson Road in Hawkenbury, Tunbridge Wells when he died September 9,1949 at the Hammersmith Hospital in Hammersmith, London. The executor of his 659 pound estate was his widow Emily Elsie Jupp.


Two gentlemen are identified as being the licensed victuallers of the Times Tavern after Herbert Jupp left the pub, namely Mrs Tompsons father from about 1942 to 1947 and then a N.W. Wood who was there in 1949. The only information about them is given below.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of January 28,1949 reported on the death of an ex-marine of whom it was stated “ He will be remembered by many customers of The Times Tavern on Grosvenor Road which was kept by Mrs Thompson’s father until 2 years ago. The funeral is at the Borough Cemetery today”.

The Sevenoaks Chronicle of October 11,1940 reported “ The Spitfire Fund” with contributions made to it including 1 pound 15s 2d by The Times Tavern. The Spitfire Fund was established to in the town to raise money to cover the cost of building a Spitfire fighter for the war effort. The fund was successful and two Spitfires bearing the name on the side “ Royal Tunbridge Wells” were built.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of October 11,1940 reported on fundraising for the Veterans Association and that 15s 2d was received for it from The Times Tavern. Other pubs also contributed to this fund.

The Kent & Sussex Courier of March 11,1949 reported on the annual licence renewals for pubs in the town and that “a full license was given to Mr N. W. Wood, Times Tavern”.

Who ran The Times Tavern after 1949 up to the time of its final closure and demolition in 1985 was not established.


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