A Village Midwife

April 1914 – Dartford Express

When I spotted this advert in the Dartford Express, I did not initially take much notice of the term Certified Midwife, but it was quite significant. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the medical establishment was keen regulate the training and practise of midwifery, and the 1902 Midwives Act outlawed uncertified and untrained midwives, although it was possible to be certified without formal training. It’s unclear what form of training Eliza Robey had, but she would not have been able to advertise for work without the certification. The fee of 10/6d may well have been beyond the means of some of the villagers, but perhaps she accepted payment in installments.

Eliza Robey and her husband James first appeared in the district in the 1871 census. Eliza was born in Oxford in about 1848, and her husband James was born in 1843 at Discot, and worked at the railway as a pumping engine driver. By the 1891 census, the couple had moved to 22 St John’s Terrace, Sutton at Hone. In the 1911 census, the couple are described as living at The Street (now Main Road), and Eliza states that she is a Certified Midwife. The 1918 electoral roll showed that the couple still lived at Andrus Cottage.

James Robey died in May 1919, and was buried in St John’s churchyard, and Eliza moved away to Lambeth at some point, and she died there in November 1927, but was buried with her husband in the churchyard. The couple had no children.

Christmas 1912 – Dartford’s shops advertise their wares

The Dartford Express carried advertisements from a large number of local businesses, and although many businesses did not have special advertising at Christmas, some of them did, and they give an interesting insight in to what their customers bought at Christmas.

Turners Grocery Store
Note the comment about opening Cash Railway – some of us still remember Kerr’s and its cash railway mechanism
Alcohol has always been important
This is the local Panto, with an interesting note about buses for patrons.
Phillips Toy Shop was a big feature of my childhood, and I loved looking in their windows, especially at the dolls prams
Horrell & Goff – an interesting combination of businesses
G.M. Hare seems to be offering Xmas trees to their customers
Note the emphasis on both ‘home’ and colonial meat, the development of refrigerated ships meant that meat could be imported from across the world.

Women Vote! – 14th December 1918

A General Election was called on the 14th November, three days after the Armistice, and this was to be the first election since the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed, which enabled all men over the age of 21 to vote and all women over the age of 30 to vote.

Before this Act was passed, many poorer men were excluded from voting as they had not owned land or rented property of a certain value in their constituency.  

On Saturday 14th December, the local polling station opened, and voting took place.  This was the first election when the voting took place on a single day, but the result was not declared until 28th December.  This delay was caused by the need for the votes of the men overseas on military service to be included for each constituency.  

The electoral voters lists for this election are invaluable for local historians, especially those researching the men who served in the Great War.  All the constituencies had to compile “Absent Voter” lists which name all the local men who were away, giving their full names, addresses, as well as the name of their regiment (or ship), and service number.

Sutton at Hone’s ward, which covered Sutton, Hawley, Clement Street and Button Street, had 966 voters in total and there were 197 absent voters.  Oddly, Sutton was not in the same parliamentary constituency as Dartford, instead it was in the Chislehurst constituency.

1916 – Hawley’s disabled soldier – Frank Wynn Chapman

The Dartford Express – November 10th 1916

This article appeared in the Dartford Express on 10th November 1916, but unfortunately I have not yet managed to work out the identity of the soldier.  The Myrtles, which is now 2 semi detached houses, seems to have had a number of lodgers, as John Tingle, who is commemorated on the Sutton at Hone War Memorial and in the Farningham Homes for Little Boys Roll of Honour, also lived at the Myrtles.

Rood Ashton House was the family home of the Long family, near West Ashton, Wiltshire.  During the Great War it was a convalescent home for wounded soldiers and sailors.

The Myrtles today

Update:

Thanks to Malcolm Scott looking further back in the census records than I had done, the Chapman family has been found in the 1891 census, living at the Myrtles.

Charles and his (blind) wife Ellen, were living at The Myrtles with their son William, but they had two other sons, Charles (who died in 1900), and Frank Winn, our disabled soldier.

Frank Winn was born on 10th August 1874, and joined the Welsh Fusiliers in January 1890, and served 21 years with the regiment, serving in Crete, Malta, Egypt, China and India, and finally left in April 1911.

On 29th August 1914, Frank having been working as a messenger, re-enlisted on 29th August 1914 in London, and served briefly on the Western Front before being taken prisoner, and then repatriated back to England in a prisoner exchange. Frank was discharged from the army as being unfit for military service on 28th June 1915. His wounds were described as being a gun shot wound to his right leg, and his right arm and his left hand had been amputated. In December 1916 he was awarded a Silver War Badge.

His bride was Ellen Elizabeth Braithwaite, and they married in late 1916. After spending time in Wiltshire, the couple moved to Birkbeck Avenue, Ealing, and Frank died there in 1949.

The brother who was working at Eynsford Paper Mill, was William Michael, who had married Ellen Sarah Gibson at St John’s in 1899. The couple had a daughter, Violet Kathleen, who married in 1930 to Cecil Roberts, and the couple were living in the High Street, Dartford, where Cecil ran a hairdresser’s salon.

New Local Publications

Horton Kirby & South Darenth Local History Society’s latest publication is a history of the parish during the Great War, and commemorates the men who feature on the War Memorial in St. Mary’s Church.  It also features the men from the Farningham Homes for Little Boys who are named in the Homes Roll of Honour, which is also kept in St Mary’s Church.

Copies of the book cost £6, and are available in the Horton Kirby Parish Office, or contact sarahvlewis@yahoo.com

The Swanley History Group has recently published this guide to the men listed on the Swanley War Memorial.  There are 105 men named on the Memorial, which is now situated in front of St Mary’s Church.

For details of how to purchase a copy (£8), please go to https://swanleyhistorygroup.weebly.com/

1915 – the Conservative Party in Sutton at Hone

As we are about to have another general election, it seems appropriate to share an article about a political organisation based in Sutton at Hone.

An article in the Dartford Express on 5th February 1915 tells of the Annual Meeting of the Hope of Sutton Lodge, National Conservative League, which was held at the Ship Inn.

The National Conservative League was a part of the Conservative Party, and there were several other branches in North West Kent, including in Dartford. Sir William Hart-Dyke of Lullingstone Castle had been Grand Master of the organisation at the turn of the 20th century.

Whilst we do not have a great deal of detail about the meeting, we do get to find out who the officers of the company, and some details of membership.  There had been a gain of 5 members during the past year, 3 members had resigned, four had died, and 12 new members had joined, with 126 members in total. The Secretary reported that about 20 of the members were serving in HM Forces, and 21 were serving as Special Constables in the parish.

At the start of the meeting, the following were officers of the Lodge.
Bro. A. Ayers (Master) – probably Alfred Ayers, of Elmea, Arnolds Lane, and a nurseryman
Bro. H. Partridge (Deputy Master)
Bro. G. W. Mayne (Secretary) –George Mayne, nurseryman, St John’s Terrace, Sutton at Hone
Bro. T. Poole (Warden) – Thomas Poole, domestic gardener, Hill Cottage Lodge, Sutton at Hone
Bro. A. O. Mayne (Warden) – Arthur Mayne, nurseryman, Clement Street
The following were elected as officers for the forthcoming year:
Bro. A. Ayers (Master)
Bro. A. Groom (Deputy Master) – Alfred Groom, Nurseryman, 1 Shirehall Road, Hawley
Bro. A. M. Fleet (Treasurer) – Algernon Fleet of Darenth Grange, local landowner
Bro. S. H. Ayers (Secretary) – Sydney Ayers, of Clement Street Nursery
Bro. T. Poole (Warden)
Bro. A. O. Mayne (Warden)
Delegates to Grand Lodge, Grand Council – Bro. A. Ayers and Bro. G. W. Mayne
Delegates to County Central Lodge – Bro. L. E. Impett (Leonard Impett, insurance agent, Clement Street) & Bro. E.H. Impett (Ernest Impett, nurseryman, The Ferneries, Clement Street)
Committee: Bros. E. Davis, W.Dimond (William Dimond, bootmaker, at Farningham Homes for Little Boys), F. Laurence, L. Impett, E. H. Impett, H. Mayne (Henry Mayne, nurseryman, Clement Street) & G.W. Mayne

Christmas 1914 – Fund raising carol singers

From the Dartford Express – 1st January 1915

Wesleyan Carol Party

The Sutton-at-Hone Carol Party, under the direction of Mr Saker, had another very successful season according to the secretary, Miss Bowers.

The Carol Party were entertained on the first evening, at the end of their journey, by Mr & Mrs A. Saggs at Hawley, and on the last evening at Mr & Mrs James Salmon’s at Riverside House, South Darenth. The total amount collected was £4, and is for the soldiers in the trenches, and all were delighted at the result, and considered themselves well recompensed for their effort.

The Carol Party was composed of:
Mrs Saker
Miss Doris Blackman (of St John’s Terrace, Sutton-at-Hone)
Miss E. Davis
Miss N. Evered
Miss H. Griffen
Miss Lily Henry (of Progression Place, Sutton-at-Hone)
Miss Mabel Packman (of Cromwell Villas, Sutton-at-Hone)
Miss Bertha Salmon (daughter of Mr & Mrs J. Salmon)
Miss N. Trimmer
Mr B. (or Herbert) Blackman  (of St John’s Terrace, Sutton-at-Hone)
Mr A. Davis
Mr T. Davies
Mr J. Smith
Stanley & J. Saker

1915 – Hawley cyclist’s accident in Crayford

The Dartford Chronicle of the 9th April 1915 told of an accident that happened to Alfred Outram, aged 28, of 3 Claremont Cottages, Hawley.  Alfred was cycling along High Street, Crayford, towards Dartford, when his front wheel struck a small stone, Alfred was thrown and in falling dislocated his right knee and fractured his right leg.

No doctor was available, but Nurse Hartley and Mr William Bond, both members of the Red Cross Society, and Alfred was then removed to the Dartford Infirmary by the Police.

This accident probably had a life changing affect for Alfred, as it seems he did not get called up for military service during World War One, as he is listed on the Electoral Roll for 1918, rather than on the Absent Voters list (which shows all the men eligible to vote but serving in the military).  It is likely that his broken leg meant he was classed as medically unfit to serve.

By 1939 Civil Registration Register, Alfred is living with his wife and two children at Elm Close, Dartford, and was working as a Coke Plant attendant at a gas works.

A Sutton Scout Troop Wedding in 1920

Local papers would often feature the local weddings, giving lots of details about the happy couple, including career details, as well as detailed descriptions of the service, clothing and wedding presents, and can make fascinating reading as they are so different to weddings today.

On the 31st July 1920, a marriage took place at St John the Baptist Church of Mr Victor Thompson (of St John’s Terrace, Sutton-at-Hone) and  Miss Marian King (of The Bakery). Victor Thompson had been acting Scoutmaster for the Sutton Scout Troop whilst Mr Kadwill had served as an officer during the Great War.

The service was officiated by the Rev. A. E. Bourne, and it was described as a choral service (I am not sure this meant there were hymns sung or that the choir performed), and the Vicar spoke “with great appreciation” of the work the couple had done in the parish.

The bride was dressed in a soft blue gown, with matching hat, and carried a sheaf of lilies (very fashionable in the 1920s).  The two bridesmaids, Miss Thompson and Miss Coulson, wore champagne colienne (i think it is a type of silk) dresses and black hats, and carried bouquets of pale pink carnations.

There was a large congregation, including many Girls Friendly Society friends and members of the local Scout Troop.  When the couple left the church  the 1st Sutton-at-Hone Troop of Boy Scouts formed a guard of honour. After a reception, the couple motored to Hastings for their honeymoon.

There was a list of wedding presents was shown in the local paper, and here is a selection:
Bride to Bridegroom – gold watch
Bridegroom to Bride – gold chain and pendant
Bride’s father and mother – cheque
Bridegroom’s mother – oak biscuit barrel and house linen
Bridegroom’s father – china cabinet
Bridegroom’s sister – cruet
Bridegroom’s grandmother – silver cream jug
Members of the G.F.S. – silver cake stand
Fellow workers at Messrs J. & E. Hall, Ltd – 8 day clock
Members of Sutton-at-Hone Tennis Club – glass and silver inkstand

The 1939 Civil Registration register, taken in September 1939, shows that the happy couple were living at Alexandra Cottages, Ship Lane, and Victor is described as being “Charge Hand, Engine Machine Shop”, and both Victor and Marion are both described as being First Aid Service Vol.