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Re-numbering the Main Road in 1962

Looking through the Times Archive, I came across a letter on the 4th May, 1962 from Mrs Pemberton-Piggott (nee Miranda Tallents) who was complaining that the Dartford Rural Council had decreed that the address of St John’s Jerusalem was now to be known as 79 Main Road, and the Number was to be marked on the property within a week of the notification, otherwise there would be a fine of 40s.

Mrs Pemberton-Pigott felt that this move was indicative of the creeping suburbanisation of the Darent Valley,

The following day another letter was published from another Sutton at Hone resident, Martin May of the Hollies, who expressed his sympathy to Mrs Pemberton-Pigott.

However he pointed out that St John’s had been given just the No. 79 for the entire property, although the house next to his, Homefield, described as having a “fairly ample frontage” was given the numbers 68 – 78.

From the perspective of 2019, the numbering methodology seems illogical, as the frontage of St John’s is probably five times that of Homefield at that time. Homefield was demolished in the 1970s and Dairy Close was built on the site.

Where to go for Easter – 1914

April 1914 – where shall we visit this Easter?

If you had some money, it was possible to go to the Continent for your Easter holidays, with a 3rd class return to Boulogne costing 14s for 3 days, or you could have a 15 day trip to Brussels via Ostend for 20s 3d.

Where you could visit locally

If you did not have the holiday or budget for continental travel, then a day trip to the seaside was possible, and Herne Bay was the cheapest destination with a 3rd class ticket costing 7s.

The following newspaper article explained the travel options in more details.

From the Dartford Express, 3rd April 1914

A Sutton man in Chicago

George Haydon was born in 8th March, 1889 at 1 Ship Lane, Sutton at Hone, and was baptised at St John’s on 26th May 1899, and was the son of Ernest and his wife Elizabeth (nee House). The couple had moved to Sutton at Hone from Berkshire in 1880, and lived at 1 Ship Lane with their children, and Edward was described as working in the paper mill in 1881

George and his siblings would have attended Sutton at Hone school, and what he did after school is unclear. His passage to America has not been traced but seems to have been before the 1911 census. His sister Alice would follow him and arrived in Boston in August 1911.

George and his brother Cecil both served during World War 1 as they are listed on the Absent Voters list for Sutton at Hone. George was listed as being a Private in 8th (Res) Grenadiers, and Cecil was a Gunner in the Royal Horse Artillery.

In June 1919 after discharge from the army, George sailed back to Chicago, and on his papers he is described as being single and a chef. It seems he stayed in the US.

Edward lived in the village for the rest of his life, dying at 7 Ship Lane in 1941, and Elizabeth had died in 1924.

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