Friday, April 15, 2011

Tonbridge Then and Now....


High Street (Not sure quite where)

Barden Park


Outside the Chequers Inn


Top of Quarry Hill


I've just bought a lovely old photo album called Pictureque Views of Tonbridge published by R.J. Garton which apparently was an Art, Needlework and Fancy Goods shop at 50 High Street, Tonbridge according to the title page. (Not sure what's there now?) I paid far too much for it on ebay but I'm glad I did because it has taken me momentarily back in time. Back to a time when life seems to have been much less hectic, when people sent postcards instead of emails and texts, when everything didn't have to be done so quickly. Maybe in reality it wasn't so idyllic but I bet people were far less stressed out in those days at the turn of the century. Here are some of the pictures which Tonbridge Blog can bring to you because presumably no one still holds the copyright on them. If they do then show me the proof and sue me! In the meantime I thought I'd share them with the town and Tonbridge expats the world over. They show long forgotten shops, lost pastimes like boating along the river and swimming in the Medway bathing pool (basically the river!) There's Barden Park which is now a housing estate and was once the seat of Andrew Judd the founder of Tonridge School and Lord Mayor of London. I love the simple one of the cyclists at the top of Quarry Hill and the view of the Public Hall looking towards the bridge. How different it all looks now....

The unofficial Bathing Pool in the Medway




The Public Hall near where Mr. Books is now


9 comments:

sebfox said...

I doubt you paid too much for it.Albums like that are priceless...

Anonymous said...

50 High Street is First Choice Travel agents, just up from the shop thats has a dragon on the roof. (look up).
Do a streetview and where your first photo is is very obvious - no 50 is bottom left.

Anonymous said...

Google Maps Street View - Tonbridge High Street Now

Anonymous said...

The bathing Area on the river was called The Shallows and was still being used in the 1950's. It's close to Haysden lake and no longer really exists. I believe it is now marshy/boggy ground. Maybe another reader knows.

anon said...

I’ve found that the most interesting old pictures of Tonbridge are often the pictures of the back streets and residential areas. They usually come from family albums and show people going about their lives and give a real glimpse into everyday life in days gone by. I generally find these much more interesting than the usual shots of Tonbridge High Street. I myself don’t have any photos like these that I could contribute to the blog, but I thought it would be nice if other people could upload their photos for me to look at.

anon said...

If you don't have a scanner you could just leave your address and I'll pop round for a look.

sandragosport said...

Hi I'm ex Tonbridge I lived in Higham wood Estate until the age of 13. Looking on google maps all the flowering cherry trees from Turner Road have gone. What a shame it was so pretty so why on earth did they cut them down. What was a lovely looking road is in my opinium now dreadful.

rodneywarrener said...

The first photo is of 50 High Street,(where Gartons were) and the shops opposite. I know these unusual square casement windows well. For over 50 years my father, Reginald Warrener, had a dental practice there, and these windows were to his office where there was a large window cill which was also acted as a seat.You could get a good view over all the high street from there.The entrance was to the left of the Travel Agents,up a staircase, which has now been incorporated within the shop.

rodneywarrener said...

The photo in the album of the "Bathing Pool" in the Medway is the part of the river where the sports ground is divided from the Rugby fields, once Tonbridge Rugby Club, (still used by Tonbridge School?)
The shallows were further up the river,past Lucifer and Sharpe's(now long gone) bridges,up the "Straight Mile" and under the Redhill line railway bridge. In some places, it was so shallow you could almost walk across the river ,but it was danderous as there were sudden deep sections. The area was over grown with Rushes and Willow herb.
In the early part of the 1920's and 30's and 40's people would swim in the weir pool at Hayesden when the old and smaller weir was there.
I had an uncle who had an accident there and nearly drowned, when he hit his head when diving into the weir pool.His dog saved him by biting his finger and bringing him round to consciousness again.When he arrived home he was seriously ill for weeks. In order to keep Pembroke Road silent the Council had straw put on the road ouside the house(No1). Can you see that happeneing nowadays if a person was too ill to be moved to hospital?