Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tonbridge High Street in 1938....

One of my latest acquisitions in Mr. Books is a rare 1938 Kelly's Directory of Kent. If you don't know, Kelly's were the leading business directory of the time and for many years before and after. The sort of Yellow Pages of their time, only nicely bound and traditional looking. This acquisition got me thinking about businesses on the High Street. In particular I was intrigued to find out what 142 High Street, the address of my new shop was back then. So I started wading through the listings out of sheer curiosity. After about an hour of looking through every business listing I still didn't find out what was at 142 but, in the process I did start to build up a picture of some of the other businesses at the north end of Tonbridge High Street. In 1938 Brownes the tailors were at 132 High Street; then there was Mollie a milliner at 134; Catling Cafe, later Smiths at 136, Mac Fisheries at 138, obviously a fishmonger; 140 was, and still is Clarke and Coleman Chemist;  Curry's Ltd. cycle agents were at 146. Charles Baker the motor agents were at 150 and the White Horse pub at 162. Opposite was the Rose and Crown, as you'd expect since its a 17th Century coaching house; the Tonbridge Free Press Newspaper offices were at 129 High Street, right opposite Mr. Books. Mansfield a ladies hosiery at 141, Bronsdon tobacconists at 143 and still of that name now. There were grocers, shoe shops, auctioneers, solicitors and everything else you'd expect to find in a thriving little market town. A customer who said he used to live above what is now the Pepper Grinder sandwich bar swears that 142 was a toy shop in the late 1940s when he was a kid but was it in 1938 necessarily? Can anyone fill in the gaps?...

3 comments:

Alandal said...

Kellys 1930 - Goulden & Curry, Stationers
Kellys 1938 - Creig Jn, Statnr

Soozy Hall said...

hi I wonder if you could help me,i brought a wonderful postcard album,which was ensembled by a jill le may, of south lawnlondon road tonbridge later to live at beech lawn dry hill rd, what I would like to know is that are these addresses schools or of her homes,if you still have your kellys directory could you look it up, her father was dudley le may,I do hope you can help me thanks sue ryall, email sueryall@yahoo.co.uk

Soozy Hall said...

if you still have the kellys directory please could you look up dudley le may,of either south lawn london road,or dry hill rd ton bridge tonbridge, I have his daughters postcard album dated from 1935, just wouls like to know the number of these propertys, thanks sue ryall