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West Malling Memories


Feel free to browse through these memories and requests for help, or use the Search box if you are looking for something specific.

To post a new subject or memory use the button immediately below, or you can add comments to an existing subject using the 'Add comments' button next to it.   (However if you have questions about the site, wish to update your posting or add photographs or links, please let us know using the Contact option below)


GUY GIBSON STATUEPosted 5 Apr 2014 by Viv Challice
Hello

Does anyone know of another statue of Guy Gibson apart from the one at the airfield? I had heard that there is one in West Malling town.

Thanks, Viv



DR WILLIAM PERFECT'S ASYLUM WEST MALLINGPosted 16 Mar 2014 by Pat Robertson
Does anyone know the history of the above Asylum which was in St Leonard's Street? I believe it is now called Malling Place but was a private Asylum up until the 20th Century sometime. TIA


HAVE YOU SEEN JOHN DUTT?Posted 14 Mar 2014 by Ronald Dutt
Please can you let me know the where abouts of John Dutt. I haven’t seen him since the year 1999. All his mates call him wishbone. He normally gets in chequers inn in tonbridge high street. He is aged about eighty two.his birthday falls on january 28th please let me know as soon as you get to know his where abouts.i am interested to know.

please give me a ring on 01303 254107 any time in tre afternoon my address is 4.sherwood trust homes st.michaels street folkestone kent ct201ln




IS VILLAGE HALL BUILT ON SITE OF A PUB?Posted 8 Mar 2014 by Nick Gilman
I live in another part of the country, but whenever I stay at my favourite place just outside West Malling and walk into town, I'm always intrigued by the tall wooden post and 'pub sign' frame in which hangs the nameboard for the Village Hall at the end of Norman Road. This post and sign - at the front by the entrance to the car park - appears to be older and more weathered in comparison to the relatively modern-looking Village Hall behind. Was there once a public house on this site and is this wooden post a last reminder of it?


MISSING SON, JACK TANDYPosted 6 Feb 2014 by Nichola Smith
Hi, I'm searching for my adopted son who was born on the 25th febuary 1982 i understand he grew up in kent and left in 2003 to go abroad im not sure if he is still there or back in the uk but would be grateful if anyone knows of his where abouts could contact me as im very concerned for him. His name is Jack Alexandre Criag Tandy thanking you


THE OLD DAIRY IN WEST MALLING 1950/60'SPosted 2 Feb 2014 by Susan Reece
I am looking for any information concerning the Dairy which used to be in West Malling. I believe the dairy was pulled down, when I don't know and it is now a car park.

George Dodd was the owner and he had two children, Janice and Peter, I'm not sure of his wife's name - Vera?? This would have been in 1950's and 60's

Many thanks.



ROBERT LUCAS - ABBEY GATE HOUSE, SWAN STPosted 1 Feb 2014 by Susan Reece
I have noticed from a previous post that Robert Lucas' family lived at Abbey Gate House in Swan Street, West Malling during the late 1930's and 40's. My late mother, Daphne Brook/Nield also lived there with her parents and gave birth to a son in 1947 whilst still at that address. I am trying to find out during which period my mother's family lived there and would be grateful for any information. I think I remember her mentioning a Bobby Lucas and wonder if the house had been shared at any time by two families.

With many thanks.



WEST MALLING MARCHING BAND IN THE 1940'SPosted 1 Feb 2014 by Susan Reece
My late mother Daphne Dodd (nee Brook) played the trumpet in a Marching Band in West Malling during the war or just after. I would be most grateful if anyone has any information of that time. I believe that she was living at Abbey Gate House in Swan Street, West Malling.


STARTLED SAINT CLOSUREPosted 31 Jan 2014 by Nick Gilman
Could anyone tell me the actual date/year the Startled Saint PH closed please? Many thanks.


ABBEY GATE HOUSE AND KING HILL HOSTELPosted 30 Jan 2014 by Susan Reece
I have records showing that my late mother lived with her family in Abbey Gate House, Swan Street, West Malling during 1947. My mother had very fond memories of the house and I believe they had to take in another family?? If anyone has any memory of George and Emily Brook who rented Abbey Gate House for the sum of £1 per week I would be most grateful to hear. (George and Emily, my maternal grandparents, had moved to Kent from Sussex just before the war)

I also would like any information on King Hill Hostel during 1949. Does anyone know when it finally closed.



ORPIN & HILLIARD FAMILYPosted 22 Jan 2014 by Vanessa Howell
Hi

I'm hoping that someone might be able to help me, I'm the 3rd x great grand daughter of Jane Orpin and John Hilliard, Jane was the daughter of Phoebe and William, William's father was Thomas, whose fathers was Nicholas as was his father.

John Hilliard was a journeyman butcher, Jane and John are buried in St Marys. If anyone had any family information or indeed any photos I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks

Vanessa Howell



MOTHER AND CHILD REFUGEPosted 29 Dec 2013 by Sue Kast
Can anybody help, I have a memory of staying in an aircraft hangar with beds lining the walls and it being in West Malling and it had the prominent smell of vicks vapour rub, ...was there such a place? I've spoken with my younger sister who has no memory of this, I'm sure the place was used for abused wives, many thanx for taking the time to read this


CHAPMAN FAMILY CHAPMAN FAMILYPosted 9 Dec 2013 by Trish
Hi,

I have been tracing my Chapman ancestors and have traced back to William Chapman born 1590 East Malling, does anyone know of this family?

Thanks

Trish



1970S HISTORYPosted 3 Oct 2013 by Amy Beeson
Hello

I am currently researching health visiting and school nursing in the Maidstone & District/Mid Kent Health Authority based in Wateringbury, Trottiscliffe and West Malling between 1975 - 1978.

I wanted to ask if any one could point me in the right diretion for photos, records, stories I could look at from that time? Particularly concerning babies, children and families and village life.

Best wishes

Amy Beeson



WEST MALLING PRIMARY SCHOOLPosted 22 Sep 2013 by Sarah
I have great memories of going to west malling primary school in fact I never wanted to leave. One of my favourite teachers there was Miss Hanchett. Im just asking if any one knows the history of what happened to her once she left the school. I am now a teaching assistant and I know that it was through the love of west malling school and the lessons it taught me was a big reason why I always wanted to work in a school. I went back to west malling to do my work experience and my ultimate dream would have been to work there. If anyone has any info please let me know.


BEECHES PHOTOSPosted 18 Sep 2013 by Maxine Packham
Has any one got any old photos or history of The Beeches , The Beech Inn , The Old Beech Inn on Seven mile Lane?

Many thanks



WEST MALLING AIR FIELD 1970SPosted 9 Sep 2013 by Vanessa Waters
I have fond memories of living in the air field as a child even tho we were homless. I remember Christmas very well ,going over to collect a present in the tin hall. Thay were very kind people. we had a very small room Wiv a little kitchen but our bedroom woz very long Wiv metal hospital beds,I remember going to the malling school which I didn't like,but what a memo of the 70s


THE DUTT FAMILYPosted 1 Aug 2013 by Mary Dutt Heaton
Can anyone give me any information on the Dutt family who resided in West Malling during the 19th century.


WEST MALLING 1914-18Posted 5 Jul 2013 by Ron Martin
Did your ancestor from West Malling serve in the armed forces during World War One and is it possible that their photograph was taken by Freda Barton. If so the Malling Society would like to hear from you. The Society are planning an exhibition in 2014 to remember those who served in the Great War and particularly those who lost their lives.

In the Freda Barton Photographic Collection there are a large number of photographs of men in uniform whose names we do not know. Perhaps you could help us identify them. They will be available to look at at our current exhibition at the Clout Memorial Institute on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you can help us please contact Ron Martin at 24 Simpson Road, Snodland, Kent ME6 5QF or e-mail r.martin978@btinternet.com or post your reply here.



ITV SEEKING UGANDAN ASIAN FAMILIESPosted 3 Jul 2013 by Chris Chapman
Hi everyone,

In 1972, thousands of Asian families were exiled from Uganda on the orders of Idi Amin, and a large number found themselves living temporarily in a resettlement camp at the West Malling air base. In November 1972 the camp was visited by the Duke of Edinburgh.

I'm keen to make contact with anyone who was a part of that camp - particularly anyone who recalls seeing the Duke on that day. We're putting together a documentary about the Duke and the positive impact he's had on communities and individuals up and down the country.

If you know anyone who may have been a part of that community, or if you have any clues that you think could help our hunt, please get in touch - my email is chris.chapman1@itv.com



PHOTOS OF AIRMEN MARRIED QUARTERS AND RAF WEST MALLINGPosted 12 Jun 2013 by LT Richard Davis Barber, US Navy (Ret)
I moved with the U.S. Navy to West Malling in July 1960 and stayed until May 19673. My wife and I had two sons there. I would like to provide them with photos of where they lived for the first 3 years of their lives. Any help would be sincerely appreciated. Being in England, where my ancestors came from was the most wonderful days of my life.


GROWING UP IN THE 1950S AND 1960SPosted 11 Jun 2013 by Bo Crombet-Beolens
I lived in West Malling from c.1954-c.1964 so attended WM Infants with the amazing Miss Curzon as Headmistress and the Ferocious Miss Ginn? as deputy. Then WM Junior when Mr Rogers was Headmaster until I left for Maidstone Grammar School. I lived at 7a Police Station Road as my dad was Station Officer there. The police house had, I recall, Norman foundations. Almost opposite was a corner shop where my sister Jean and I would buy our nutty logs (2d) and jamboree bags (3d) from Mr & Mrs Cliss. Before the Kent Arms took on its present persona one could use the 'jug and bottle' entrance to buy lemonade and crisps.

We played down our road and into Swan Lane and Frog lane (which used to have frogs in the stream), playing in the cascade and stream and peeping into the abbey by climbing the cascade. We also used to spend the whole summer in 'banky meadows' playing in the stream and trying to dam it using the old (mediaeval) fishpond walls as our starting points. We used to make tunnels through the hay and roll down the hill - pretty innocent days eh?

As a young teenager I worked in West Malling garage on a Saturday and spent my hard earned in Baldock's on Dave Clarke shirts and blue jeans. My friends and I would meet in Molly's Cafe or outside the chippy scoffing our 'four penneth of chips and a halfpenny's worth of batter bits'.
  


QUEENIE AND GEORGE GOODGERPosted 27 May 2013 by Colin Stewart
Would love to hear from anyone who remembers George & Queenie Goodger who lived at 30 Town Hill. They had two children (Frank known as Bill and Mary). I am Mary's son.


WING COMMANDER GUY GIBSON DSO, DFC, VC,Posted 17 May 2013 by Phillip Howard
Does anyone have any information as to where claire cottage is, in east malling i think it is at the bottom of broadwater just before clare park entrance does anyone know if wing comander guy gibson live in this cottage with his wife in 1941/2 after some local knowledge, i know he used to cycle up broadwater to get to the airfeild just need to clarify that this was the cottage he live in.any of the older generation may remember this.


KING HILL INSTITUTIONPosted 11 May 2013 by Jill de laat
Does anyone know of a place called King Hill Institution in West Malling?. It was around in 1925 as my great aunt wrote her Will there. It was witnessed by Mabel Brading, Sister in Charge in 14 September 1925

Many thanks




PLAY PERFORMANCES AT AN INN IN WEST MALLINGPosted 24 Apr 2013 by Mark Howell
Hullo, during the 1990s, I was in correspondence with a local historian who discovered records of a number of play performances staged in the 1700s by professional players in a Assembly Room - or "Long Room" - at an inn somewhere in West Malling. My wife, Jacquie, and I have been searching for this inn recently, and are surprised to discover just how many inns and taverns West Malling has! I notice the Swan appears to have been an important inn, but the name I recall (perhaps wrongly) was the Rose & Crown, or the Rose... I may, though, be wrong about that because we couldn't find an inn anywhere in West Malling with that name. I'm clutching at straws, but the gentleman who corresponded with me back then was certain this Long Room still stands. He described it having a musicians gallery on one side, and being very small - only 20ft wide x 40ft long in plan. I've always considered the possibility of reviving one or two scenes from 18th century plays at this Long Room... But the first thing I'd like to do is identify this mysterious inn... On our walks around the town last year, we discovered a wonderful Assembly Room in one street, but couldn't find any inn with which it was associated. If this is the Long Room referred to by my previous correspondent, I'd be delighted if anyone can identify the inn with which it might have been associated. This is especially significant, because 18th century people regarded Assembly Rooms as playhouses. Theatre historians today wrongly (in my view) distinguish purpoose-built playhouses from Assembly Rooms because the earliest translations of Serlio and Palladio specifically regard these Classical Rooms as "playhouses". This implies that West Malling, like Richmond in Yorkshire, and Bristol, and Bury St Edmunds, still retains a 18th century playhouse. I've just completed and am ready to e-publish a book called "Imaginative Genius: Bristol's Old Vic." It contains a new chapter about Assembly Rooms. This will be the first of what I hope might become a series of books about eighteenth-century play revivals. Meanwhile, can anyone help identify the West Malling Inn with its eighteenth-century Long Room where play performances took place, please? Mark


SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN WEST MALLINGPosted 12 Mar 2013 by Emily Huxley
Hello, I am conducting a research project on the history of West Malling. Could anybody bring to light the significant change of West Malling and also where I could access history about West Malling. Thank you


ORPIN FAMILY WEST MALLINGPosted 11 Mar 2013 by Tracey
I am looking for possibly g,g, grandchildren of Orpin's living in West Malling in the 1800's dated from 1850's through to 1940's.

Emma and William Edward Orpin both B 1850 had quite a few children, Edward B1874, William James B 1880, Ellen B 1876, Alfred B1882, Kate B1885, Emma B 1883, Harry B1878, Clara B - , Ida B1897?,

In the 1881 census, they were living in Five Bells Street, St. Leonard.

I am hoping to find some of the above's g,g,or g,g,g grandchildren.

Tracey from Sydney Australia.



MALLING SOCIETY EXHIBITIONSPosted 6 Mar 2013 by Ron Martin
This years Text and Photographic Exhibition by the Malling Society at The Clout Memorial Institute on 30th March, 1st April, 25th May and 27th May is entitled "Serving West Malling" and is about people and organisations that have provided services to the inhabitants of West Malling and the surrounding area over the last two centuries. The services include, churches, schools, banks, post office, police, fire brigade and medical services as well as services for the poor, sick and homeless provided at Malling Workhouse and King Hill Institution. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day Admission for Adults £2.00.


KING'S HILL INSTITUTIONPosted 2 Feb 2013 by Ken
I'm looking for info regarding King's Hill Institution in the early 1900. My wife's father had a document showing his mother lived there when he emmigrated to Canada as a Fagen boy. I can't find any info on King's Hill Institution.


ST BENEDICT'S AND WEST MALLING STATION.Posted 29 Jan 2013 by Rob Hamilton
I came across this interesting website whilst looking for information on the brickfields in West Malling. I was born in Abbey Cottage, opposite the cascade in Swan Street, which in 1938 was a nursing home. My father was a doctor in Malling from 1935 to his retirement in 1967. My parents initially lived above the surgery in a house called Milverton and then moved just before I was born, into St Benedict's in Swan Street. I note that on 11th November 2007 a young lady posted her memories of visiting her grandparents Doris and Tom Marriott, who lived in St. Benedict's, so they must have moved in after my parents retired to Somerset. Yes, I would agree, this house was a rather special place to live and a wonderful house and garden to grow up in. My father looked after the nuns medically and we had a close relationship with the abbey. I have happy memories also of the monks , who were there during the war.

My second awakening was with a post dated 10th September 2011 by Roger Stagg, concerning the railway station. I have been a railway nut all my life and have built many and varied model railway layouts. I have spent many hours down at the station and remember it well. I am intigued with the idea of Roger building a model of the station and it's trackwork. I wonder if he is still doing that, I would definitely like to make contact with him, is that a possibility?
  


FOUND LETTER DATED JAN 11 1923 FROM EMILYPosted 13 Jan 2013 by Phylis Reed
I recently found an inquiry addressed to my great grandfather, James Charles Parkhurst asking his whereabouts after he moved to the United States. The letter was dated January 11, 1923 from Emily Wooden, James' sister. Her address was Addington Green, West Malling, Kent, England.

Emily's letter was a request to find out what happened to her brother. She askes that if he cannot write, "please get someone to do it for you to set my anxiety at rest." She goes on to say that there are "four new cottages build at East Sh, all occupied and I am pleased to say no one is out of work in the village. The gentlemen at the Park has presented the village with a Hall which is much appreciated by all, both rich and poor".

After many generations, I thought perhaps answering this letter might be helpful to some of Emily Woodens's relatives. I am a great-grandaughter of James Charles Parkhurst and I believe a have a partial picture of him. If anyone is interested, you can contact me via my email address.

I am making a trip to West Malling this July of 2013 to see where some of our family came from.

Phylis Reed



OLD LAUNDRY - BACK STREETPosted 8 Jan 2013 by Stephen Baker
Hi,

I am researching my family history and would like some information about the old laundry that used to be in back Street (now a part of King Street). My mother was born above the laundry in 1929. I would be grateful for any information anyone might have.

Regards

Stephen Baker



BOARDING AT WEST MALLINGPosted 24 Nov 2012 by Sue Pedvin
I used to go to school in West Malling. It was a boarding school for girls I was there from 79 to 81. I have a lot of fond memories. I remember a Mrs Burr and Miss Plunkett, also some of the house mums.

It would be great to hear from anyone who remembers me at that time. I was a chubby kid lol thanks.

Sue Pedvin.

I'm on facebook now so come look me up or as they say friend request me,thanks x

Sue Pedvin



WEST MALLING 1961-1963Posted 31 Oct 2012 by Tom Seale
My dad was a Naval officer stationed at West Malling from 1961 to 1963. We lived on the base and my sister and I went to the Cedars School in Maidstone. We visited West Malling and Maidstone a few years ago and retraced some of our old stomping grounds. It was a very enjoyable visit. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in West Malling on the main street. We plan to come back next summer for a wedding in Nottinghamshire and might try to visit West Malling again.


MALLING PLACE, WEST MALLING, KENTPosted 20 Oct 2012 by Katie Higgs
Dear Sir

Malling Place was in the ownership of my family from the late 1800s through to certainly the 1950s

Dr James Adam was my great grandfather and I have some wonderful family photographs taken in the garden there.

It was I know run as a private psychiatric hospital for several years. I am wondering what it's current use is and if it would be possible to visit next year when my husband and I plan to stay in Kent for a few days.

I would be extremely grateful for any information.

Yours sincerely

Katie Higgs



ART AT THE AIRFIELDPosted 15 Oct 2012 by Vicky Wilson
I am researching memories of the West Malling Airfield to use as part of a public art installation.­ It would be great to hear from anyone who would like to talk to me about this or send me an email with any particular memories you have.­ Thanks.­ You can email me on evwilson@­btinternet.­com.­

Vicky Wilson



UGANDAN ASIANSPosted 11 Sep 2012 by Jaimini Jethwa
I am looking for information on the original site that the RAF West Malling Ugandan Asians were housed.­ I think it was Sportsman cottages but is there any pictures of the original site.

Please let me know if anyone has this information.

Thanks, Jaimini Jethwa



WRAY, GREENGROCERSPosted 26 Jun 2012 by Hannah Selkirk
Hi,

I am trying to locate a greengrocers in West Mailing owned by a Mr Wray. Any information would be helpful.

Thanks



WEST MALLING PAVEMENTSPosted 20 Jun 2012 by Victor Lacaille
Hello,

I'm Victor Lacaille, a French landscape designer. I came to visite your lovely town few days ago and I really enjoyed the black bricks used to cover the pavements. I'm actually working in France on a private garden project for a disabled man who live in a old mill by a river. And I think that the bricks I discovered in West Malling would make the perfect material to ponctuate this project.

Could please tell me the name of this type of brick, and also, if you known, the name of the person I have to get in touch with to buy it?

I have been looking for those informations on website for a while and didn't find anything. Here is the reason I ask you some help.

Thanks a lot, Take care your such a nice place!

Regards, Victor




JOSEPH HEDGESPosted 15 Jun 2012 by Patricia Keegan
Hi, I have just come across your site. I dont know if you would be able to help. My family were travellers and I have found one record of Joseph Hedges. 10.10.1914, father Henry mother Annie. page 32. entry 249/ travelling licenced hawker immigrant hop pickers. I just wondered if there was any more information about them. I appreciate your time. thankyou.

Patricia Keegan



ROBERT HARDENPosted 31 May 2012 by John Harden
Dear Sir/Madam, I am researching my great grandfather, Robert W Harden, born 1846.

I believe his name is on the certificate won by St Mary's in 1894 for ringing the bells, shown on your website History Link. He was married to Jane Harden, with 7 children Gertrud, Arthur, Harold, Hebert, Louie, Robert Roland and William Fredrick.

I would appreciate any information,

Thanks, John



EMILY, GEORGE AND ELIZA WATERSPosted 23 May 2012 by Joanne Sanders
My great-grandmother - Emily Waters born Dec, 1877 (eldest daughter of George and Eliza Waters), was born in West Malling. I believe at that time they were living in High St and I also have been told, at one time in Normans Rd. Would anyone be able to tell me the exact address and do these homes still remain today?

I have been to Ireland last year to find my paternal roots, and I have only recently discovered that Emily was actually born in West Malling. I hope to travel there in the next couple of years. Any information regarding Emily, George or Eliza would be great. Apparently, Eliza died in 1890 of diptheria and George remarried to a woman called Elizabeth, but remained in West Malling.

I do hope that you may be able to help me.

Regards, Joanne (from Australia)



VALERIE RICHARDSONPosted 22 Apr 2012 by Pedro Rodriguez
Hi, I worked at Leybourne Grange Hospital from 1966 to 1982 and over the years I made a lot of friends. I always wonder about Valerie Richardson, the girl I used to go out with, she was a cook at the nurses home kitchen. The only thing I remember was that she reside near Ryarsh, so please I know it is a long time ago but I am sure that some people must have some information about Valerie.

Thanks for your help in advance, sincerely Pedro Rodriguez.



ORPIN FAMILYPosted 21 Apr 2012 by Tracey Munce
I would like to post a message on your website in regards my Grandmother's family who came from West Malling. Their surname was Orpin. My Grandmother Emma Orpin was born 1883 in West Malling and came out to Australia in 1908 after getting married that same year. She died 1970 in Sydney Australia. They had 2 children: my mother Marguerite Pooley and a son James Pooley, both now passed away.

My Grandmother's mother (also Emma Orpin) nee Bedford B 1849 in Loose, Kent and father William Edward Orpin B 1850 in West Malling, had 10 children ( one passing away at birth), as follow:

Edward B 1872, D 1915 WW1 France,

Ellen, B 1876, D unknown

Harry, B 1877, D 1915 WW1

James 1880, D unknown,

Alfred, B1882, D 1917 WW1

Emma, B 1883, D 1970 Sydney, (My Grandmother)

Kate, B 1885, D unknown

Winifred, B 1889, D 1927

Amelia Claire B 1894, D1925

I was hoping someone may know of any children born to the above names, and I would like to try and find out where William and Emma are buried. I have them both dying in Tonbridge around the 1930's, I cannot seem to find out if they were buried in Tonbridge, West Malling, or Maidstone etc.

I am in Sydney Australia. Regards, Tracey Munce.



FIRE AT ST LEONARDSPosted 25 Mar 2012 by Robert Beer
In 1965 there was a big fire at Saint Leonards cross destroying 6 oast houses. I can't find any information on the internet about it. We lived across the road from the Startled Saint. My dad worked on the farm for his brother in law, Hughie Batchelor.

Robert Beer



ARTHUR E PHILLIPSPosted 30 Nov 2011 by Julian Skipwith
Dear Sir/Madam, I am researching my great grandfather, Arthur E Phillips, and his past in West Malling and Leybourne. I know that he was brought up at Leybourne Grange and had a house called The Lodge in West Malling. I also found him on your birth register. Would it be possible to speak to someone in order to help me with further information?

Best regards, Julian Skipwith.



INSTITUTION BUILDINGPosted 28 Nov 2011 by Keith Malyon
I am conducting some research for a family member and I am trying to discover details of a previous institution in the Kings Hill area of West Malling. I am told there was a hostel or home for mothers and children from around 1947 until the late 1950s or early 1960s. That's all I know. Can you help, please? Thanks.

Keith Malyon



JOHN BEVANPosted 25 Nov 2011 by Roy Wood
I am anxious to find the birth details of John Bevan c.1808 in West Malling. I know of his marriage and three children plus that his mother's name was Mary.

Any help would be appreciated. Roy Wood.



VYE AND SONPosted 26 Oct 2011 by Dave Dutton
Anyone who worked in Vye and Son High Street West Malling 1958 to 1960. I was an apprentice there. The manager was Mr Gilham. Memories of workmates Phyliss, Madge, Marjory and Jimmy Tapp.

David Ridler-Dutton



MR. OLIVER, THE CHEMISTPosted 17 Oct 2011 by Charlene Kerr
I am trying to find out if this person, mentioned by Phyllis Stevens, was my great grandfather, as his name was John Robert Oliver, and he owned a chemist shop in the early 1900's - I just don't know where.

Is it possible someone might be able to answer this for me, or give me an idea where to start looking?



PAWLEY FAMILYPosted 28 Sep 2011 by Lesley G
Can anybody help me please. I am trying to find the baptism record of Francis Pawley, born circa 1787 Ryarsh ... I believe his father might have been another Francis Pawley, Yeoman of Ryarsh, but possibly born Hadlow or Ryarsh. Also interested in any siblings of either born in Ryarsh. Many thanks.

Lesley G



THE BOARDING SCHOOLPosted 14 Sep 2011 by Sue Pedvin
I went to school in West Malling 79 to 81, the school was called Malling House school for girls,it was a huge grey building on top of the hill. It was a boarding school. It would be great if anyone remembers being there the same time as me. I'm now a mum of two boys,16 and 22 and I've also got a grandson. I'm 45 now. I had great times and bad times there, but I always remember my time there. I also think the school is some kind of office building now,it's been years since I've been there. Please help, many thanks - be good to hear from you.

Thanks Sue Pedvin - or you could text my phone on 07858000581.



WEST MALLING STATIONPosted 10 Sep 2011 by Roger Stagg
Does anybody have any memories or photographs of West Malling Station before 1966 when the goods yard and signal box were dismantled. Any information would gratefully received. The signal box and goods yard were demolished in the late 60's. I am building a model of the station as it was post war before it became a car park. Does anybody have any photographs or memories of the station during that period or indeed pre-war as it was unchanged from 1920 until 66

Roger Stagg



NAF WEST MALLINGPosted 29 Aug 2011 by David Farley
I was stationed at NAF West Malling from March 1961 to Mar 1963. I worked in the electric shop which was part of the avionics division. In addition to working on aircraft, I was active in the church and teen club for the military dependants.

David l Farley DBA

CDR USN RET



THE WORKHOUSEPosted 18 Aug 2011 by Sean McCarron
Hi. I have come across an old postcard of Aylesford and on the reverse is Mr Joe Mccoy, Inmate Malling Union,Kent. I thought this may be of interest to anyone researching the Workhouse.

Thanks, Sean



DR CHARLES CHRISTOPHER HAYMANPosted 13 Jul 2011 by Michael Partridge
A notable Eastbourne doctor, Dr Charles Christopher Hayman, died at Brooke House, West Malling, on 2 August 1874. He had married at West Malling in 1851 and clearly had local connections there. Is there any more that can be told about his connections there, or about his family?

Michael



THE RED LIONPosted 23 Jun 2011 by Lesley Bellew
Hi. I have been asked which pub was previously called the Red Lion in West Malling. I only know of the Red Lion, Offham. Can you help?

Thanks, Kindest regards, Lesley Bellew. Managing editor, The KM Group



THOMAS JOHN VAUGHANPosted 19 May 2011 by Cynthia Doyle
I have the reference for a birth record I am trying to find. It is Malling, ref. 1849 year. 3rd Quarter, Vol. 5, Page 364. Can you help me? I should like to purchase a copy. The name is Thomas John Vaughan. Thank you for your time.

Cynthia Doyle



ALLMAN FAMILYPosted 10 Apr 2011 by Bob Allman
Came across your web site and found it very interesting. I lived in West Malling, my mother and sister still live there. Great job. Please keep it going.

Thanks. Bob Allman, Sugar Land, Texas.



STREETER FAMILYPosted 2 Apr 2011 by Christine Gallichan
I am trying to trace the history of my grandfather, his mother and his grandparents. His name was George Lloyd Streeter born 29 May 1868 and the illegimate son of Sarah Streeter. I believe his grandparents owned/run a greengrocers shop in the High Street. I wonder if there is any history of the Streeter family in the West Malling history archives. I am trying to trace my grandfather's whereabouts/history from 1881 to 1891.

Thank you very much, Christine Gallichan (Streeter)



STAPLES FAMILY, FIVE POINTED STAR, CHURCHFIELD BEERHOUSEPosted 25 Mar 2011 by Emily Stevens
I have lived in West Malling all my life, but recently I have started doing my ancestry and I am becoming increasingly interested in the area. My great grandfather - Bernard Frederick Staples owned the Five Pointed star from 1949 to 1957. If anyone has some information, photos or stories to share of this period I would love to know.

Also, I would love to know more about the Churchfield Beerhouse (or off licence) I can't seem to find out when it stopped being a shop? Would love to know.

Thanks, Emily



FARTHERWELL HALLPosted 24 Mar 2011 by Alison Lawrence
Hello everyone, does anybody have any photos of Fatherwell Hall?. I lived in the groom's quarters with my father, mother and sister from 1956-1958 ( approx ) and I am in the process of writing a book about my childhood. I do remember an old gardener ( OLD POP ) who lived downstairs in another small quarter. The large house was occupied and we spent many happy days in the grounds of the house.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, Alison Lawrence ( nee Follett )



PARK COTTAGEPosted 13 Feb 2011 by Ivor Body
Hello. You will see by the attached that my grandfather James Alfred Body, England Rugby International died in Park Cottage and worked Manor Farm, which he passed onto his son until the lease expired. Then Mrs Lowe took over. I have tried to find Park cottage on google maps, but only newer houses come up when entering Park Cottage. I can only find Manor Farm at Wateringbury which I think is about 6 miles away from West Malling. I wonder if anyone came help me please?

Thanks, Ivor Body


James Body newspaper cuttings


CASCADE, FROG LANE AND ABBEYPosted 8 Feb 2011 by Peter and Veronica Cosier
A Precis and Interpretation of the Transcription of the 1718 document:

Mill and Abbey




ADMIRAL SIR WILLIAM LOWTHER GRANTPosted 29 Jan 2011 by John Parkinson
Concerning Admiral Sir William Lowther Grant who died on 30 January 1929 at his residence in West Malling, I would very much like to contact Mr Bernard Tyson or any other person in your Historical and Conservation Society who might know more about him. I am researching the lives of the naval Commanders in Chief of the old China Station and he filled that position between July 1915 and July 1917.

Many thanks, John Parkinson



HODGE FAMILYPosted 6 Jan 2011 by Stephen Baker
Does anyone have any information about the old Laundry that used to be in Back Street (Kings Street)? I am tracing my family history and my mother's family (Hodge) apparently lived there.

My Great Grandfather, Montague Hodge, was born and raised in West Malling. He played for Town Malling Cricket Club and from 1900 to 1937, when he died he was the groundsman there. If any one has any remembrances of him or any information concerning his connection with Town Malling CC I would be grateful to receive it. Many Thanks.

Stephen Baker



EAGLETON FAMILIES - WEST MALLING TAILORSPosted 10 Dec 2010 by Ben Eagleton
I am looking for any information regarding the EAGLETON families of West Malling - and the tailor and/or undertaker business they were involved with in the early 1800's there... In particular, Benjamin EAGLETON (b probably 1766 West Malling) who married Ann MAIR in 1812 at St Olave's, Southwark - Benjamin is listed in Pigot's directories of 1824 and 1840 in West Malling...

Benjamin married Ann MAIR as a "widower", and it seems that he had a previous marriage with "Elizabeth" but I cannot find any likely record of such a marriage... as a footnote, Benjamin and Ann's daughter, Maria (b West Malling 1814) went on to become a school teacher, she married a Captain Robert Miller HUNTER and they settled and prospered in Australia at Rockhampton in Queensland where she was involved in the establishment of their Benevolent Society, which, I am told, still exists today... (my ggg grandfather, also Benjamin, also emigrated to Australia and referred to Maria as his "Aunt")...

Any help most appreciated, regards, Ben Eagleton



THOMAS PALMERPosted 15 Oct 2010 by John
Can anybody help? An ancestor, Thomas Palmer (1728 - 1792 ), moved from Hadlow to West Malling to spend most of his life in St Leonards St. (?). I am told he became an active citizen in the village having a long lease on over 170 acres of land around the streets, which could still be identified in the late 1900s. Thomas married an Elizabeth; his parents were Edward Palmer and Mary Brigden.

My questions are these:

Is there perhaps a tombstone in the church yard in West Malling which will provide more details of Thomas and his wife. Are they in fact buried in the church yard of the Parish Church?

Does anyone have a photo/s of St Leonards St or other parts linked to Thomas (or know where one can be obtained). If so, perhaps they could be e-mailed to me, or let me know of the cost of sending them; in which case I will provide my address.

Any help to 'fill-in' more details for this side of our family will be gratefully received.

Finally, congratulations on a fine and useful website, what a help to us trying to obtain 'colour' from afar.

John, Australia



GEORGE PHILLIPSPosted 9 Oct 2010 by Tasha Phillips
I am trying to find information on my grandfather George Phillips who I believe died in West Malling at a Chest Hospital linked to the army in the mid 1970's. George had TB contracted as a prisoner of War. I am not sure how he made his way to West Malling but he previously lived in Llanrhian, Wales.

I'd be very grateful for any assistance either on George, the chest hospital or graveyards he might be buried in.

Many thanks, Tasha



THOMAS BENJAMIN ELLIOTTPosted 1 Aug 2010 by Ann Webb
Would you have access to the Malling Ryarsh parish records for 1933? My Uncle: Thomas Benjamin Elliott born May 1933 Ryarsh is the parish record that I am trying to obtain.

Thomas' parents were Louie Jordan and Ernest Elliott. Both from Chatham, Kent.

Are you able to advise further? Thankyou in advance, Best Regards, Ann



JAMES WELLES/WELLSPosted 12 Jul 2010 by Bonita Hillmer
When I stumbled across your website, I was so excited. I am also doing family history research and my 'brick wall' is a James WELLES/WELLS that was born (according to his headstone) on 13 Mar 1792. I found Ryarsh Parish christening records and they have a James Welles christened on the EXACT date!! I was so excited but could find no other records. I did find one young woman who was descended from the same family but had several young children and was not able to help me.

I did try checking all emigration records to Canada and America without success ... as my James married a Persis EARLE in Dec 1810 in Windsor Co., Vermont, USA. Unfortunately, I have found nothing that would give me any clues to his parents and/or siblings. He does disappear for long periods so I am thinking he may have been descended from a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War and his relatives were in Canada.

I did have a cousin do a genealogy DNA test and have found that he has a "common ancestor" with Thomas WELLES, Governor of Connecticut and Edmund WELLES of England and Tolland Co., Connecticut, USA.

James has driven me crazy for several years and with finding this christening record with the EXACT date of his birth, I am in hopes of finding that the christening record is actually his.

Any help would be appreciated. Bonita Hillmer, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA



OLD PHOTOGRAPHSPosted 18 Jun 2010 by Amy Scamell
Hello, I thought you might be interested in these pictures.

Old London Road

School 1905

School 1907

Cricket Club 1902

Grange Concert Party

Hearnden Golden Wedding

Jack and Bill at Castle


SANATORIUMPosted 12 Jun 2010 by Lesley Fisher
Hello, my grandfather died in Malling in 1930 of TB. Does anyone know if there was a sanatorium there at that time? Lesley Fisher


BROOKE HOUSEPosted 24 May 2010 by Jenny Evely
I am looking for any old photographs or history on Brooke House in Swan Street and also any photos of Brooke House which caught fire in the 70's. Brooke House is currently National Westminster Bank. Does anyone have any photos or history of who lived in Brooke House prior to the 1800s?

I have exhausted info at the centre for Kentish Studies, Medway and Chatham areas. I have one photo of Brooke House before it burnt down and shows it as one long fronted house and which sometime after the photo was split into two buildings, one is now called Abbey Gate House and the other is now National Westminster Bank. Jenny Evely



ANNIE SMITHERSPosted 20 May 2010 by Gwen O'Sullivan
Does anyone have any information on Annie Smithers, born 1883 in Hadlow, Kent, who was a domestic servant at the Laurels in 1905. In 1911 she was cook for a Solicitor's family named Brennan or Swellman in London Rd, West Malling.

Her Brother, Frank Smithers, born 1886 in Hadlow, Kent, was a Grocers Assistant in 1911 living in London Rd, Ryarsh, West Malling. Reading Richard West and Phyllis Stevens' memories on the West Malling site, Frank Smithers had a Grocers Shop in the colonnade, next to the cycle shop in West Malling, from the 1920s to late 1950s.

Frank Smithers had one daughter called Maisie born 1923. Does anyone remember her? Does anyone have any memories of this brother and sister and possibly photographs of Frank Smithers shop? She had a son Leonard Smithers in Southwick, Sussex in November 1905 and fostered him to the Strevens family in Southwick. Any information, however small, would be appreciated. Gwen O'Sullivan (formerly married to Anthony Smithers, Annie's great grandson)



BEATRICE DOROTHY DE BOURBONPosted 27 Apr 2010 by Thelma Heptonstall
Hello. Could you help me? I am trying to trace the records for a Beatrice Dorothy de Bourbon, widow of Genaro de Bourbon. Beatrice died in August 1963, in a place called Malling Place, West Malling. Do you have any information on what function Malling Place had and, if anyone has any recollections of this lady, I would be most grateful to learn more about her? Thankyou, Thelma Heptonstall


BELL TOWERPosted 8 Apr 2010 by Martin
Whenever I drive up the hill along the A228 towards Kings Hill, I see a new-looking building to my left, built in a kind of Georgian style with what looks like a small bell tower on top, and I always wonder what the place is. Looking on Google Maps, it's along Broadwater Road. Is it a functional building or a private residence? Thanks, Martin


MICHAEL SMITHPosted 24 Feb 2010 by Gemma Steer
Does anyone remember Michael Smith who grew up in West Malling in the 50's & 60's? His father worked as an engineer in the RAF and his mother was a nurse. He also had four younger sisters. I would love to hear from anyone that remembers the family. Thanks, Gemma Steer


CEMETERY SEARCHPosted 9 Feb 2010 by Lesley-Anne Eagling
Hi, I'm currently in the process of researching my family history and putting together my family tree and I've found your site so useful. You see, a lot of my family are from Malling and the surrounding area, like Ightham and Seal.

I'm planning a visit to Kent to have a look round the local cemetery to see if I can try and piece together who was married to who etc. I wondered if you might know if the parish minister or local priest may be able to help me? Kind Regards, Lesley-Anne



EDWIN GEORGE KETTLEPosted 8 Feb 2010 by Rob Cannon
A nice little web site. My Kentish forebear, Edwin George Kettle, left West Malling for Australia in 1852. His family were butchers there, though which of two cousins was his father is hard to say.

A transcription of the West Malling burials would nicely complement the very useful baptism index.



THE WAGGON FAMILYPosted 2 Feb 2010 by Pam Amey
I have researched my Waggon Family back to William Kettle Waggon who was born in West Malling in 1817. His parents were William Waggon and Elizabeth Jenner who were married at Kingsdown, Near Sevenoaks, Kent in 1816. I have been unable to find out anything more about them so would appreciate any help that anyone can give me please. From Pam Amey


WEST MALLING WORKHOUSEPosted 29 Jan 2010 by Pauline Collier
Can you help me? I have traced my Cheesman relatives who were very numerous around East Peckham and have found that Aaron Cheesman born 29th Oct 1798 died in the West Malling Workhouse aged 70 in 1869. Do you know how I can access the records for the workhouse? Pauline


EAST MALLING ENDOWED SCHOOLPosted 10 Dec 2009 by Steve Broadfoot
One of my ancestors, George Richard Cass (1790-1874) was the schoolmaster at the Endowed School in Mill St, East Malling from 1815 to about 1865. I would be grateful for any information, especially photographs, about the school for inclusion in a book which I am writing about him. Steve Broadfoot


I AM THE WALRUSPosted 5 Dec 2009 by Gareth
Hi, was just wondering what the place was called where I am the walrus by the Beatles was filmed, if you knew, that would be great as I'd like to visit it.

Cheers, Gareth



FLORRIE HALLPosted 2 Dec 2009 by Christine Rawe
Re Florrie Hall, died West Malling 11 November 1940. Hi I'd be interested if anyone has any information regarding the bombing that took place in Wickens Place, West Malling on the 11th November 1940. My paternal grandmother, Florrie Hall, was killed in that incident. Being a widow and having lost her eldest son during the evacuation of Dunkirk, her next of kin was my father. He was informed of her death whilst serving in the Navy in the Mediterranean and was refused leave to return home to attend to her affairs. We have a letter from the War Ministry advising that the property had been visited by an air raid warden who reported that the house was completely demolished.

Thanks for your help, Christine Rawe



WOODGER FAMILY AND GOLDUP FAMILIESPosted 9 Nov 2009 by Trevor White
I am looking for any information on the Woodger Family from West Malling, Kent. Harriet Woodger was born 1831 in West Malling. She married Edward Goldup from Ash, born 1831 from Chillham , Kent. I have the Baptism records from this site thank you, great site.

Also looking for any information on Albert Edward Goldup: Born Ash 1863 died Madras India in 1891. Mother Harriet Woodger

Kind Regards, Trevor White



DUTT FAMILYPosted 26 Oct 2009 by Natalie Mills
I visited West Malling over the weekend as I was nearby looking for any graves of relatives that once lived there. They lived on the High Street. It's a carpet shop now, but this is going back to the 1800s.

The name of the head of house was Israel Dutt. If there are any Dutts left there I would love to know, or anyone who has Israel Dutt in their family tree. Many thanks, Natalie



FOUNTAIN INNPosted 23 Oct 2009 by Eve
I would love to hear of any information on The Fountain Inn 1911, as my Great Great grandparents managed it and I am researching my family tree. Their names were Levi Trivett and Minnie Lemmon. It would be wonderful to see any photographs any one has too, Thank you. Eve


CLARE PARK HIGHPosted 8 Aug 2009 by Laura Mouttet
Went to Clare Park High around 1971/72 before emigrating to Australia. Before this went to West Malling primary school. Would love to catch up with old classmates. Unable to find Clare Park High on Internet????

Laura Mouttet (nee Reggler)



MCCARTHY/CONDENPosted 8 Jul 2009 by Richard Suffolk
I have aquired a marriage certificate dated 1859 at St Mary's West Malling for Mary McCathy and John Conden. I would be interested to know if either of these names have any connection to West Malling. The witnesses were Charles Evans and Martin Galloway.

Is there anyway of tracing the staff at Leybourne Grange? Someone mentioned foreign workers there - any idea if any of the workers were French?



WEST MALLING CHILDHOODPosted 2 Jul 2009 by Peter Hazelwood
I have been looking with some interest at your web page and reading the comments of people seeking information on West Malling. It takes me back years as I spent my childhood and youth in West Malling. I still remember so much even though I emigrated to Australia in 1968. I lived in 10 Churchfields until I was 5 and then we moved to 61 Ewell Avenue and I lived there with my parents until I left, many fond memories.

Peter Hazelwood



THE ABBEYPosted 27 Jun 2009 by Max Double
In 1891, an ancestor was working as one of a number of servants for a Mrs Akers at "The Abbey". The previous entry in the census, headed Swan St, lists a Matron and children of the Abbey Home and there are cottages listed after The Abbey. Does anyone know any more about this set up at that time?

Max Double



HOLLAND FAMILYPosted 5 May 2009 by Heather Bishop
Hello, I am trying to gather information about my family. William Hollands, born about 1739 married to Mary Maidman. Children were Anne born 1782, William born 1785, John born 1788, Thomas born 1790, William born 1792. Don't know if there are any others.

If you could help it would be great. Thanks, Heather Bishop Nee Holland.



MALLING HOUSEPosted 25 Apr 2009 by Marie Westcott
Can anybody remember Malling House being a girls boarding school, as I am an ex pupil who is trying to obtain photos of Malling House from the 70s.

Can anybody help please? Marie Westcott



MEMORIES FROM THE 60'SPosted 17 Apr 2009 by Martin Jacques
The best years of my life were spent in West Malling, an idyllic place to grow up in the 1960's and early 70's. My family orinally lived in a two up two down in Offham road with outside toilet, but then moved to nr. 1, Fartherwell Avenue. My dad, Bernard worked at the Mill but also as a reserve fireman in the village. Our next door neighbours in Fartherwell avenue were the Bakers and one one of my earliest memories is standing very embarassed, as children marched arm in arm around West Malling infants school chanting "Martin loves Bridget", Bridget being one of their children. Mrs Hurn was a one of my teachers there. At West Malling juniors two of my teachers were Miss Hanchett and Mrs Burke - both remarkable characters.

I wonder does anyone remember Bobby Sloman or Ian Tilley, Colin or his sister Shona or Martin Milner perhaps? Me and my elder brother Denis - seven years older than me and my sister Patricia in turn then went to Clare Park school and eventually moved away to Larkfield.

I actually eventually became a vicar no less and I am writing this from Bucharest, Romania, but after thee years abroad I am coming back to the UK - to Durham. So much water under the bridge, but it says something that all these years later I am interested in what became of people 35 years ago in a little village in Kent. I must be getting old.

Martin Jacques



SWAN STREET BASKETWORKSPosted 14 Apr 2009 by Suzie Shearer
This is a request for information please. My Grandmother, Muriel Lemon (nee Kensall) moved with her family to West Malling in approx. 1938. Her father was Percy Kensall who ran the basketworks in Swan St. Granny worked in a shop owned by the Baldocks for a period of time. She remembers Mrs Baldock and her husband, the Bodkins who had a drapers shop opposite. She remembers Babs Robinson (whose Mother had a pub??), Maulve, her step sister Nora, someone called Donald Wood (who courted Granny in the early 1940's), his brother Frank and sister Florrie.

She moved to West Malling with her parents Percy & Sarah and her siblings, Ken, Dorothy & Phyllis. Granny's memories of this time are a bit gappy, so if anyone remembers her or anything relating to West Malling at that time, we would be very grateful. Particularly helpful would be confirmation of exactly where the basketworks were on Swan St and if they still exist in any way.

Many thanks, Suzie Shearer



DISCOVER WEST MALLING VILLAGE & AIRFIELD 1956Posted 14 Mar 2009 by John Chilton
Discover West Malling Village & Airfield 1956 was filmed by John Holton©, who was a navigator with the RAF stationed at West Malling Airfield in 1956. There is a DVD compilation of John's 8mm cine film which includes:

* Village scenes starting at the train station and then to the High Street and various places within the village *

* Meteors taking off from the airfield and flying over Eastbourne to the French Coast Cap Griz Nez and landing back at West Malling *

* RAF Sports Day at the airfield *

* The annual Battle of Britain event with various aircraft landing and flying by *

... and finally a few shots of the Bristol Brigand, which was used to train navigators.

Added in 2006 are shots from film found in John's loft of two airmen racing their Sunbeam Alpine cars around the perimeter road of the airfield.

This DVD is only available on DVD-R. A donation from the sale of each DVD is made to the RAF Association, Aylesford & Malling.

If this is of interest to your viewers full details can be seen at the link below.

JMC Video




THE HUFF'S FROM WROTHAM, KENT IN 1905/06Posted 18 Feb 2009 by Debbie Whitelaw
Hello, I wonder if anyone can help. My grandmother, Alice Huff, was born to Alice & William Huff in 1905. Her her mother died in 1906, leaving my grandmother when she was just a year or so old. They were then living in St Mary's Road in Wrotham.

Having looked at the census of 1911 it said that my grandmother aged 5 was living as a boarder in Sevenoaks with a widow called Kate Luck and her daughter and granddaughter.

I am finding it very difficult to find out why she was living with this particular lady and why she was not with a member of her family. I would appreciate it if anyone knows anything about the Huff's from Wrotham, Kent in 1905/06. Thanks, Debbie



THOMAS POINTERPosted 18 Feb 2009 by Carole Morrow
I live in France and managed to visit the Centre for Kentish Studies to do some family history research, but could find no trace of a marriage between Thomas Pointer (1791) and his wife Harriet, also known as Orry, Aura, Orriffe, or Aurith.

They were married c1810/1811 and I would dearly like to discover her surname. Can anyone help?

Best regards, Carole Morrow



LEYBOURNE GRANGE HOSPITALPosted 22 Jan 2009 by Tania Kelvie
Hi there,

We are a couple of artists/film makers who are interested in producing a documentary on Leybourne Grange Hospital and are looking for anyone who had any experiences of working there, who might like to take part in the documentary in some way.

We feel there may be people living or working in the Malling area that may be able to help.

Many thanks, Tania Kelvie and Lisa Goslett



WEST MALLING CINEMAPosted 17 Jan 2009 by Ivan Hawkins
Hi, does any one remember the old cinema in West Malling in the years of 1975 to 1985?

Ivan Hawkins



ALEXANDER COLMANPosted 4 Jan 2009 by Jon Wicken
Hi, I wonder if you may be able to help me. I am trying to locate the grave of my grandfather, Alexander Colman, who was born in 1884 and who was apparently buried at West Malling in or about 1941. He became semi-estranged from the family in the 1920s but during WWII the family were informed he had died and was buried in West Malling.

I have been unable to locate his death certificate, which is a mystery, so the only way I can see to find him is in the cemetery registers for West Malling.

Is there anyone who may be able to tell me where he may have been buried and where the records are? I am told he converted to Catholicism in the 1920s but don't know if that may have affected where he may have been buried.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I really would like to solve this sixty-eight-year-old riddle.

Many thanks, Jon



HOUSE ON KING STREETPosted 21 Oct 2008 by Claire Martin
Hi, my friends have just moved into the old house on King Street and I would love to find out more about the history of the house, being one of the oldest in West Malling (it has Norman foundations).

If anyone has any information please let me know,

Thanks, Claire Martin



THE EDWARDS AND MEOPHAM FAMILIESPosted 16 Oct 2008 by Kathy de Vere
I have been tracing our family history and would be grateful for any information on The Edwards and Meopham Families:

John Edwards married Ann ?. Their children were:

1. MARY EDWARDS - 09 JUN 1725 at West Malling, Kent

2. JOHN EDWARDS - 19 OCT 1726 at West Malling, Kent.

John married Mary Meopham at West Malling, 28th January 1755. Their children were also Bapt at the same Church. John died approx 1810 and was the Church Clerk.

3. WILLIAM EDWARDS - 23 APR 1732 at West Malling, Kent

4. ANNE EDWARDS - 27 FEB 1723 at West Malling, Kent

Thank you, Kathy de Vere



FRED AND IVY ANSCOMBEPosted 8 Oct 2008 by Michelle Smith
Is there anyone who is related to or remembers Fred and Ivy Anscombe who lived in West Malling? Ivy was my grandmother's cousin, and I have a photo of me as a little girl in Ivy's garden in West Malling.

If anyone knows the Anscombes I would love to hear from them.

Michelle Smith



JOHN HUNT AND ELIZABETH TOWN HUNTPosted 4 Sep 2008 by Royce Miller Hunt
My 4th greatgrandfather farmed in West Malling from 1769 til his death in 1813. Does anyone know how I can find where he resided during that time? i.e. land tax, rent lists, etc.? He was John Hunt and Elizabeth Town Hunt.

Any info you can give will be so appreciated. Thank you, R. M. Hunt, KFHS 12598



VIDEO FOOTAGE AND LOCAL EDUCATIONPosted 22 Aug 2008 by Terry Nunn
Village Videos is currently making a video history of West Malling that is expected to be on sale later 2008/early 2009.

Any pictures, cine film or video footage of the town, the RAF presence and later air shows would be appreciated.

Also I am trying to find the history of education in the village. In most places the church provided education until state schools were set up in the 1870s.

Terry Nunn



AQUILINO LUCIONIPosted 9 Aug 2008 by Sue Bradley
My great great great grandfather, Aquilino Lucioni, born 1803 in Italy, died in 1858 in West Malling. I believe he was living in the High Street.

Can anyone tell me where he is most likely to be buried? St Mary's Church was built 1901, so obviously not there. He was Roman Catholic and married to an English wife, Mary.

Many thanks.



U.S. NAVY PLANES AT NAF WEST MALLING 1963-5Posted 29 Jul 2008 by Frank Kluge
I was fortunate to serve with USN at West Malling. We had six planes attached there and I am looking for anyone who might have photos or information about them. We had 2 C-117D planes # 12435 and 12437, 3 C-45 or SNB twin tail Beechcraft # 224, 227 and 2xx as well as a C-131 Convair used for the Admiral. We used to shine it by hand.

I have located C-117D and want to get information on the airops at the base. Any old photos of the hangar and firehouse located next to it would sure be welcomed.

Frank Kluge



BELL, EMERY, WILSON FAMILIESPosted 25 Jun 2008 by VJ King Sr
Hello, there!

Recently I discovered that my great grandmother, Dorcas EMERY was born 1852 in Malling, Kent, and am hopeful one of your readers might be able to throw further light on her and/or any member of the (BELL, EMERY, WILSON) families.

As much as I can piece together all of the available data, the following picture/time line emerges:

1. 1873 - Dorcas EMERY married Harold William BELL (b.1856 Basford Bleacher, Nottingham) and, in 1877, gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Mary BELL.

2. 1877-1881 - Harold William BELL dies and daughter Elizabeth Mary BELL is 'fostered' by her Uncle, Edgar John WILSON (b. abt 1850, Mereworth) and his wife, (Elizabeth's Aunt) Fanny Francis WILSON (nee BELL, b. abt 1851, Mereworth)

3. 1881 - UK Census - Dorcas BELL, now widowed, is listed among 90 or so others as residing at the "Mailing Union Workhouse" West Malling, Kent, UK ... an "Inmate" ... "Widower" ... "29"

4. 1881 - UK Census - Dorcas BELL's daughter Elizabeth Mary BELL is listed as "Age 4 - Step Dau" in the household of Edgar J WILSON's Family - "Lowthorpe, York"

5. 1886 - Australian Immigration Records list one "Elizabeth BELL" ... "Age 8" entering Australia in September 1886 (no other accompanying passenger details) on board the "Lord Raglan".
  


KATE REED WOODPosted 14 Jun 2008 by John Shaw
Could you help me? I'm in Nottingham but visited friends in West Malling a fortnight ago. The conversation turned to `Kate Reed Wood'. I wonder who Kate Reed was and why she has a wood named after her? Or is it a corruption of an old name?

I'd be extremely grateful if you can help. Much research so far - no luck !

Thank you, John Shaw



BUS CRASH IN WEST MALLINGPosted 25 May 2008 by Bob Simmons
Hi. It may be of interest to someone - I still remember it anyway. One evening at about ten to six in 1955 I think it was, I was driving a Maidstone & District double deck bus from Gillingham to Maidstone on service 20. I had parked it opposite the Bull pub and popped over for a smoke when the handbrake failed. The bus rolled across the road and crashed head-on into the pub causing great damage.

Pubs weren't supposed to open until six in those days, but the bar was littered with pints with half an inch of dust on the top. This was the biggest event in West Malling for a long time.

I never did find out if the Kent Messenger, who attended, did as they said they would, and gave the landlord a large framed souvenir picture.



JOHN TEDHAMPosted 7 Apr 2008 by Heidi Currie
Hi there, I actually lived in East Malling but a friend of my brothers, John Tedham, lived in West Malling. In fact I think his dad ran one of the pubs on the High Street. Anyway, I live in Canada now and I lost my mum Elizabeth Jennings 2 years ago. John was a very close friend to the family and he even came to Canada for my wedding 19 years ago.

If anyone knows how to get in touch with him I would like to pass along our news.

Thank you



NAVY AIR SQUADRON 1959 TO 1961Posted 27 Mar 2008 by Leigh Rice Darrow
My father was stationed at the base. My parents Ted and Muriel Rice and I and my three sisters have wonderful memories of life there. It was a quiet country area at the time. We lived in housing at the base. My parents have since died, but while they lived they talked about West Malling frequently. It was there that we learned about English life and friendly English people. While we played all over the old airport we found buildings that had bullet holes in the walls. At least, that is what we were told. We four girls went to English schools.

If anyone remembers us please contact me. My sisters were Valli, Leslie and Julie.

Sincerely, Leigh Rice Darrow



RANDALL FAMILYPosted 6 Mar 2008 by Adrienne Bamberger
Hello to you. We are researching our family and have got back as far as Oliver Randall (b1785) who married Ann Pledge (b1795) in West Malling. They had many children including:

- William b1823

- Emma b1827

- Sarah b1830

- Harriot b1832

- George b1840

- Elizabeth b1835

I have found information which shows that William emigrated to Australia and George was a convict. The one I am really interested in is Elizabeth, who married Francis Louis Bamberger in 1855. We have found the usual information on Ancestry etc but I was just wondering if there are any descendants left of the other Randall children in the area.

I know Randall is a common name in Kent but fingers crossed someone may help!

Thank you, Adrienne Bamberger



STARTLED SAINT PUB SIGNPosted 5 Mar 2008 by John Osborne
Hi There. I am in the process of writing my Memoirs and I am stuck for the time I was stationed at RAF West Malling on 85 Sqdn from 1951/53, regarding the Startled Saint pub.

If you could put my request on your web site to see if any readers have a print of the pub sign I might copy it would be a great help.

I have managed to get photos of West Malling station crest and also 85 Sqdn badge and some aerial shots of the airfield. So if I was able to get a print of the Pub sign it would make that part of my memoirs look better with a picture instead of just writing about a place.

Thanking you in anticipation, regards, John Osborne.



WARREN/WARRENER AND ABSALOM FAMILIESPosted 13 Feb 2008 by Myra Warrener
I have found that my family tree goes to Offham and Ryarsh amongst other nearby places. My great-great grandmother was Jane Warrener, who was baptised in Ryarsh 23 March 1823. Her son, Thomas Warrener was born 16 August 1841 in Offham. She didn't marry the father. Her parents were William Warrener/Warren and Sarah Absalom. Sarah Warren, Michael, Ann and Charles Warrener were all family members and children of William and Sarah (Absalom) Warren/Warrener. The name is often spelt differently.

William and Sarah were married 30 April 1814 at Ightham but I have no date of birth for William. Sarah was born 8 October 1792 and baptised 3 June 1793 at W Malling. Her parents were John and Flora Absalom/Absolom

If anyone has any more information on the Warren/Warreners or Absaloms I would be very grateful to hear from them, thanks.

Myra Warrener



CLAY BRICK MAKINGPosted 6 Feb 2008 by James Edwards
I found a clay brick with Hodges W Malling written in the frog! Does anyone know of any brick making in the area? Apparently they made bricks in Ryarsh woods in the old days!

Thanks, James Edwards, Ryarsh.



WEST MALLING AIRBASE, 1961-63Posted 10 Jan 2008 by Tom Seale
My dad was stationed at West Malling from 1961-63. He was a Navy pilot and the Legal Officer for the base. I attended a private school (Cedars) in Maidstone for the fourth and fifth forms. We lived on the air base. My wife and I are planning a trip to West Malling in June, 2008. We would love to hear about the places we should visit. I always remember West Malling because it was such a safe place to have grown up. Mom and dad would let us ride bikes all over the country as 10 and 11 year olds. Please email me if you have any suggestions on sites we should visit in June .

Thanks, Tom Seale



RAF-NAF WEST MALLING MEMORIESPosted 12 Nov 2007 by Gene Hite
I was based at RAF West Malling in FASRON Special 200 from May 1960 to May 1961. The first part of my tour was in Blackbushe Aerodrome. Our communications office was located in a bunker from WWII. I found a large room with a big map of Europe on it. Must have been the War Room.

I loved the people and town of West Malling. They were always polite and friendly to me. I believe most of the base is gone. A pity. I wanted to visit someday. I've noticed a few other mates who were there about the same time I was. I'd like to hear from you!.

Thanks, Gene Hite RMC USN Ret



ST BENEDICT HOUSE, DORIS MARRIOTT (NEE PLUME), TOM MARRIOTTPosted 11 Nov 2007 by Jes Law
Over 20 years ago, my Grandmother and Grandfather lived in the house St Benedicts (St Ben's as we called it) on Swan Street. Always a bustling happy place to be. On holidays we would attend the local playgroup, and often go over to the Abbey to help out, or the church (opposite).

I am looking for people who may have known my Grandparents, and also for some information about the house. I know it is Grade II listed and recently have managed to pop down and have a look at the old place (unfortunately it seems as though it has been stripped of its glorious charm and character to suit the purposes of modern living. What a shame!)

Sadly, both my Grandparents have passed away (and are sadly missed), but I am keen to find out a little more about my past (I am 24). I also have spent holidays at Portal House, Swan Street, which was the home of my auntie for quite some time. Thank you.



STITCHMAN & WALLACE FAMILIESPosted 6 Oct 2007 by Chris Bagley
I am looking for descendants of William & Ella Auguster Wallace (STITCHMAN). They where married December 1910 and had at least 2 children, William H Wallace b. September 1915 and Charles J Wallace b. December 1919. Ella was also the mother of Ada Elizabeth Stitchman b.1908, (father not known), my wife's mother.

The whole family lived in and around West Malling from about 1853 to the last known date of 1919. Does anybody know of descendants of William H and Charles J? It's possible they are still alive. Please get in contact if you can help. Thanks, Chris. Bagley



KEITH STANTONPosted 15 Sep 2007 by Lynda Fuller
I have fond memories of West Malling. I had to leave there when I was 17 years old and come to New Zealand in 1973, and I'm still here.

I lived at 119 Norman Road. I have just found Jackie Hart [nee Butcher] who lived in the same road, and Beverly Payne in Ryarsh Lane . Sadly to say I had to leave behind the lovely young man I was engaged to. I worked with him at Reed International Paper Mill at Aylesford, and his name was Keith Stanton or Standen. He would be in his mid 50s now. I have been looking for him for 34 years now. Can anyone help please? His mother's name was Peggy.

In those days there were about 5 pubs in the village, Five Pointed Star, The Bear, The Swan, The Fountain at Offham Road and I can't remember the one down the side street off the top of Norman road, and one in the High Street, opposite Swan Street I think. My school days were Blacklands and Clare Park Secondary School.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of Keith Stanton please can you reply to this message. Thank you, Lynda Fuller.



WORKHOUSE BURIALSPosted 25 Aug 2007 by Jennifer Forster
Could you please tell me where the people who died at the Malling Union workhouse are buried? My ancestor Edmund Hodges was an inmate at the workhouse 1881,1891,census. He died in 1892 aged 77 Years, retired pianoforte maker. Apparently born in Offham.

Also I would love to have contact with anyone who knows about his family.

Thank you for your help, Jennifer Forster, New Zealand



THE HERMITAGEPosted 3 Aug 2007 by Owen Taylor
Somewhere I read (or heard) that during WW II The Hermitage, More Park, was home to the Sergeants' Mess of a RAF Bomb Disposal Squadron. Can anyone confirm (or deny!) this? I am doing some research (for NDFAS) on the families whose memorials are in the Parish Church; the Luck family have two memorials, and Thomas Luck built the Hermitage. Thank you. Owen Taylor


THE BURVILLE, BUCK AND ROGERS FAMILIESPosted 12 Apr 2007 by Don Burville
I came across the site looking for West Malling. Arthur John Burville was born 13 Feb 1882 at Wickings Yard RSD. His parents were George Burville born 1848 in Loose and his wife Amelia Burville (nee Buck) born 1848 at no 7 George Street Maidstone. Her father, George Buck, was a bootmaker and married his wife Maria Anne Rogers in 1843.

If these people sound familiar to any reader I would love to hear from them by replying online or via PO Box 94, Tyabb, Victoria, Australia 3913.



THE WILSON, LARGE AND REYNOLDS FAMILIESPosted 4 Apr 2007 by Shirley Turner
I have just discovered your wonderful website and have enjoyed reading the "Memories of West Malliing". I am researching my family history and wonder if anyone has memories of my family. I lived in King Street in the early 1950s as a small child and have a few memories of going up the alleyway to a sweet shop on the High Street and a toy shop further along. I also worked in Abnett's Fish and Chip shop in the 1960s.

My relatives were the Large family and the Reynolds who lived in King Street/Back Street. I remember the swing in the back garden of my Aunt Lou (Reynolds). My G/G/grandfather was Richard Large and my G/grandfather George Henry Large 1867-1958. My grandmother Alice Rose Read(nee Large) lived in Ewell Avenue.

Can anyone help with more information?


Update: Just to let you know that I have had some replies which have proved very interesting and useful. One was from a family member that I have never met. Keep up the good work with your site!


WEST MALLING MEMORIESPosted 21 Feb 2007 by Keith Crittenden
I lived with my mother and grandparents in King (Back) Street, opposite the old Laundry, West Malling from 1939 - 1947. Neighbours were the Randalls, the Reynolds, and Larges. My father was away in the RAF. My grandparents were Charles and Emily Taylor (nee Usmar). Emily's parents were George and Mary Usmar, he was a Clock & Watchmaker in the High Street. Charles Taylor was a Fireman at West Malling Fire Station (see photograph).

I attended Leybourne CofE Primary School, and can remember friends, Brian Curd, whose mother had the Tea Shop in the High Street, Stuart Weston, whose parents had a Bakers Shop, Keith Kemsley from Eden Farm and William and Richard Pearce from Comp Farm.

I remember going to the Saturday morning film show at the Babminton Hall, playing on the Cricket Meadow and watching out for the Golden Arrow train to speed by. I remember having miniature Hovis loaves for a 1d. from Foremans Bakery (Ann Usmar married Charles Foreman) the business was in the hands of Edward Foreman whom I knew as Uncle Ted. Next to the Bear PH was Newmans Greengrocers, my greataunt Ann Usmar married Arthur Newman, the shop was run by Roy Newman in those days.

I have many happy memories of my early years in West Malling. If anyone remembers me or recognises any names mentioned I should be pleased to hear from them.


Charles Taylor pictured front left

Update: Just a note to let you know that my memories of West Malling and the Fire Appliance photo (above) have produced two interesting responses, one of which has put me in touch with an Aunt I had not seen for nearly 60 years. PS I found the attached photo of West Malling, which may be of interest.

West Malling High Street


RAF WEST MALLINGPosted 19 Nov 2006 by Bud Nolting
I was 19 years old when I finished Radioman school in San Diego and got orders to RAF West Malling. I believe that was around November of 1963. I have wonderful memories of the short time I was on the base. The base was closed six months after I arrived and I was transferred to Navcomunit London. I remember being quite overwhelmed by the history of the RAF West Malling base. I worked in a bunker that was actually used as a "war room" during the war. I hope to go back to West Malling and revisit a place that I will never forget. Marvin D. (Bud) Nolting


THE SKINNER FAMILYPosted 19 Oct 2006 by Helen
I have discovered that my ancestors originated in your lovely town and there is even reference to "burial in the family vault'. I have copies of the tithe award of 1840 showing owner/occupation by Skinners but wonder whether anyone still living there shares a common great great great grandfather or remoter relation? I think my branch of the family (from John Skinner/Robert Skinner) eventually ended up in Woolwich, possibly in the 1840s and 1850s.

Update: I have made a wonderful connection thanks to your website! A lady who lives quite near me has done extensive research into the Skinner family history and she has provided lots of info I did not know previously. We are planning to come to the town in the summer for a real "family outing' !! Thanks again for your part in fitting the jigsaw together. Regards, Helen.


RAF WEST MALLING WW2 PUB RESEARCHPosted 9 Oct 2006 by Jeremy Swanson
Good day, I am in research for a very important family related project and it involves (believe it or not) trying to find out what pubs were around and popular with the non-commissioned ranks at RAF West Malling during WW2-especially ground crew-aircraft mechanics.

I need to know not only which ones were used but also which ones were the most popular and any other WW2 related info on them I can get. An important note is that I am particularly keen on finding out if any of them survive today as pubs - or in any other form. Can anyone help me?



THE WOODS OR WOODENS OF THE LAURELSPosted 3 Oct 2006 by Shona Maloney
My great grandfather, Harry Baker received many postcards (one dated 1921) from relatives, a family by the name of Woods or Wooden who lived at "The Laurels" West Malling. Em Woods or Wooden, Charlie and Ted. Can anyone help me with information about this family?


DAVID UNDERWOOD'S OLD PLAY MATESPosted 12 Mar 2006 by David Underwood
My name is David Underwood. I grew up in West Malling. I lived with my grand parents, their name was Norris. First in a shop in the High St which is now the assembly rooms but in1943 when I was born it was my grand fathers hardware shop. On his retirement we moved to a cottage in Swan St on the corner of Police Station Rd, opposite the Kent Arms, now the Lobster Pot

I often go back to West Malling but hardly see any one I know, so does any one remember me or can tell me what happened to Brian Fisher, Brian Large, David and Peter Holmes, Tony Foreman and Billy Blake, all my old play mates? I lost touch after joining the merchant navy then the army.



THE BARDENS OF WEST MALLINGPosted 23 Feb 2006 by Sheila, John & Family
I am hoping someone can help me. In the 1851 census my g/g/grandparents Edward & Mary Barden ( nee Daw) were living in Swan Street,West Malling with their children, one of them being my g/grandfather. I am looking to find out if they were married in West Malling approx 1835 & if any other Bardens remain in the town. I think their son Edward may have died as a youngster, was buried in West Malling. I am hoping to find some dates & places to go forward.

Hope someone can help me. Thanking you, Sheila.



GEORGE WILLIAM BANHAMPosted 8 Feb 2006 by Martin Banham
My great-grandfather, George William Banham, died in West Malling in 1881, aged 26. He was described as a 'Scripture Reader'. My recollection as a child was that my father showed me a newspaper clipping containing obituary comments on George William, referring to his work with young people and - possibly! - a cocoa house. Family lore is that he wished to train as a missionary. My grandfather was born at Town Hill, West Malling, on 13th October 1878.

Can anyone offer any links ?



JOHN GEORGE CRUWYSPosted 7 Feb 2006 by Judith Bowen (nee Cruwys)
My ancestor, John George Cruwys, was born on 12/11/1824, and today I learned that he was born in Town Malling! What a lovely surprise your website turn out to be!! The photographs are just beautiful and I am looking forward to visiting your town on my next visit to England.

I have reached a stage in my research where further progress has become very difficult because his birth is prior to 1837. Can any local family history historian be able to help me?



THE COLEGATE FAMILYPosted 26 Jan 2006 by Stephen Mills
I wonder if anybody can help with research into my family history concerning the Colegate family from the West Malling area. My great-grandmother was Harriet Colegate who was born in East Malling in 1875. She moved to Tunbridge Wells in the late 1890s and married James Henry Richardson there in 1902. She died in 1963.

Harriet's parents were Thomas and Harriet Colegate. Thomas was born in West Malling in 1842 and Harriet in East Malling in 1844. As well as their daughter Harriett, they had six other children -- Elizabeth, Richard, Alice, Ellen, George and Allen -- born between 1867 and 1887 in West and East Malling. Thomas was an agricultural labourer and later a gardener and his family lived at various addresses in the West Malling area. According to the 1881 census, they were living at Springetts Hill, East Malling, but by the 1891 census had moved to 81 Alma Road, West Malling. I think Thomas died in 1894 and his wife Harriett in 1899.

I believe Thomas's parents were William and Elizabeth Colegate. William was born in 1819 in Leybourne and Elizabeth in Mereworth in 1817. They had eight children, including Thomas -- the others were Ellen, Harriett, Ann, William, Henry, Alice and John. They were born between 1840 and 1859, all in West Malling, apart from the eldest Ellen, who was born in Mereworth. William was an agricultural labourer like his son and lived at various addresses in West Malling. In 1851 the family was living at 15 Offham Road and by 1861 had moved to 183 Brick Yard. I believe William died in 1898.

I would be particularly interested to find out the maiden names of Thomas and William's wives and when and where the couples married.

I attach a picture of my great-grandmother Harriet which sparked my interest in my family history. We believe it was taken around 1900.


Harriet Colegate


ALFRED HARRINGTONPosted 25 Jan 2006 by Kevin Harrington
My great grandfather, Alfred Harrington, used to own and run the grocer's, Harrington's, in West Malling.

Alfred Harrington was a shopkeeper and grocer with a shop and house at 23 High Street, West Malling, Kent. I believe the shop, named Harrington's, was in the High Street from the 1890s to at least the 1920s.

Alfred Harrington was married to Rhoda (b1866 in Tiverton, Devon) and they had three (possibly four) children: Stanley Chanin Harrington (b1893 in Burgess Hill, Sussex), Gordon R Harrington (b1896 in Addlestone, Surrey) and Alfred J Harrington (b1898 in West Malling, Kent).

Alfred J Harrington subsequently married Leonora Sales (daughter of Richard Sales). They had one child, Donald Alfred Harrington (b1923 West Malling, Kent). Donald Alfred Harrington was my father.

I am keen to trace any information that would help me develop my family history. If anyone with any information could email me it would be most appreciated.



TALES OF THE UNEXPECTEDPosted 5 Dec 2005 by Martyn de Young
Age Concern Malling have recently taken over one of the shops in the small parade at the junction of Norman Road and High Street. I remember one of the shops in the parade being the location (as an antique shop) of an episode of Roald Dahl's "Tales of the Unexpected" in about 1979/80. I think it was the same shop we are now using, but does anyone know if that can be confirmed, and what episode it was ( I don't remember the story -- just the shop front!)?

Age Concern Malling




CAROLINE SAUNDERSPosted 5 Dec 2005 by Roy Bailey
I am researching my family's history, and the World War I records of one of my ancestors, Harry Bailey of Burnham (Bucks), indicate that he was married at Malling Register Office on 17 Feb 1915 to Caroline Saunders of 14 Church Fields, West Malling. The bride's father was Thomas Saunders (deceased) who had been a bricklayer's labourer. Caroline was a general domestic servant and Harry a chauffeur (domestic).

I would be interested to find out the identity of the family for whom Caroline was working, and any other relevant information, and would be grateful for any local assistance.



WILLIAM WALTER DRIVERPosted 25 Oct 2005 by Sue Sibley
William Walter Driver was my grandfather and grew up in the West Malling area in the late 1800s'. He lived at the five bells St Leonard street with his grandparents Walter and Mary Driver.

Walter and Mary's children were a son, also named Walter, and daughters Eliza (I think Eliza married a Thomas Morgan) Emily, Harriet and Mary.

My grandfather, William , married my grandmother -Caroline May Eliza Cradduck in the 1920's and they lived in the Snodland area. They had two children, Walter and Dora( my mother). My grandfather died when my mother was very young and and my grandmother died when Dora was only 9.

I am hoping that maybe any descendants of Walter and Mary's children may have knowledge of my grandfather and maybe even a picture of him? If so please e-mail me. Thank you.



AIR NAVIGATION OFFICEPosted 12 Jul 2005 by Bob Smith
I was attached to the Air Navigation Office at the United States Naval Air Facility on The RAF base at West Malling from September 1963 through July 1964.

I have many fond memories of my short tour of duty there. I developed a respect and love for the English people that endures to this day. You treated us "Yanks" extremely good. This was my best tour of duty in my 21 years in the Navy.

Thank you, Bob Smith, Senior Chief Petty Officer, U. S. Navy (Retired) P.S. I am not the same Bob Smith that previously corresponded with you.



KING HILL HOSTELPosted 16 Jun 2005 by Carole Dalton
I am trying to find out about "King Hill" hostel, as my late mother was a resident there in 1951. I believe that in 1952 it was ruled that residents could only stay for a maximum period of three months. At this time my mother had a 15 month old son, who she put up for a "private fostering". On his birth certificate it states his address as King Hill, West Malling.

If anyone knows anything about King Hill, no matter how trivial, I'd love to know.



GOWER FAMILYPosted 9 May 2005 by Mr Gower
I wonder if anyone has any information on my grandparents, who lived at 75, The Bank, West Malling , surname Gower ?


SIR ROBERT BRETTPosted 5 Mar 2005 by Robin Phillips
I am researching my family history (from Australia) and find a note that my Gtx10 Uncle was Sir Robert Brett of Malling Abbey and buried at West Malling. He was "Gentleman Usher of the Privy Chamber to King James" and died in 1620.

If anyone can give me any information on Sir Robert, or possibly confirm if he is buried at West Malling, I would be most grateful.


Update: Many thanks for your action as Phyll Stevens has replied giving me all the information I need on Sir Robert, who was buried inside the church at West Malling. Robin Stevens is sending me a photo of the tomb next week. So this is just to let you know that your system works !! Thank you very much, Best Regards, Robin Phillips.


DOUCE'S MANORPosted 7 Feb 2005 by Paul Brown
I was very interested to view your website, which I found in a search at Google for Douce's Manor. My interest in West Malling and the manor house goes back to 1990 when I worked as a training officer for Commercial Union. At the time the Company owned Douce's manor and used it as a training centre for our staff. My job was to run week-long residential training courses for our sales people and I have many happy memories of working in such a splendid environment

One of my most pleasant duties was showing new employees around the establishment and of particular interest was the 'Twitch Cellar' as it was known to us. The story I had been told (and subsequently recounted to all our new sales people during my 'tour') was that the signatures on the ceiling were written by fighter pilots who held a candle between their toes. I have always thought this would have been a difficult task and I would be very interested if the story could be verified. My main interest however is in establishing the current ownership of the house. I now live in Lincolnshire but I'm planning a trip down to Kent and would very much like to see the house again if this is possible. I would be grateful for any information you could give me about it and I look forward very much to hearing from you.



WEST MALLING, 1965 TO 1989Posted 6 Jan 2005 by Graham Warner
I remember fondly life in West Malling, during the period 1965 to 1989. My grandad Jim Warner ran the greengrocer shop on the A20 next to what was then the telephone exchange. We lived in a large house opposite the shop called Villa Suecia (after a place my grandad stayed in Spain). The land all 10 acres known as brickfields was where my grandad grew all the produce to sell in the shop, from apples to pears, plums, strawberries to potatoes he grew the lot. He used to tell me stories of him cycling up to R.A.F West Malling on his bike with an ice cream churn on the front during the hot summer months of World War II to sell ice creams to all the pilots and crew stationed there.

Later after his sad death in 1967, my Mum & Dad (Val & Mary) took over the running of the shop & soon the old shop was pulled down & a new one built on the same premises, turning half into a greengrocer & the other half into tea rooms. When this failed to see much profit they eventually turned into selling camping gear, ie. tents caravans trailers etc. then tragedy struck the family again in 1978 when my Mum died of cancer and I went to work at the shop. We carried on selling camping gear until 1981, when we eventually leased the whole lot to Gordon Songhurst who to this day runs Songhurst caravans from the same place.

I then went to work for I.C.M. (plastic moulding factory) in Swan Street where I spent five years working for George Heart who then ran the factory, before getting married in West Malling Church in 1986 and moving to Maidstone. I now live in Torquay in Devon but I will never forget my days in the garden of England.



MARGARET CROWHURST AND MARGARET SHIRLEYPosted 12 Nov 2004 by Gillian [Boughton] Crowther
I used to live at 8 Churchfields in the 1950's. Through the years after moving to Canada we have lost touch with old friends, I'd like to locate Margaret Crowhurst, or Margaret Shirley, both old school friends. Thanks Gillian [Boughton] Crowther.

Update: A cousin phoned to tell me about the message from Gillian Crowther nee Boughton. I have made contact with her and we have started to catch up on the missing years. Many thanks...Margaret Crowhurst


MEMORIES OF ANNIE COUCHMAN 1897 - 1990.Posted 12 Sep 2004 by Chris Longdon
An introduction by her great-nephew.

On June 2004, my wife and I were on our way from Chippenham in Wiltshire to Dover to catch the ferry at the start of a touring holiday in Germany. As we were passing close to West Malling, we stopped off at the cemetery to place some flowers on the grave of Annie Couchman who was my maternal great aunt. We had done this many times before and often wondered who had kept Annie's grave so neat and tidy. As we approached the grave, we saw a lady busily clipping the grass with shears and having introduced ourselves, we found out that the lady was Mrs Maud Souter a friend of my late aunt. She told us that Annie had left with her a copy of her memories about her life in West Malling (from 1897 to 1987) and was only too pleased to let me borrow them when we returned from our holiday. I would now like to share these memories with you.

Annie Couchman was born on 3rd January 1897 at Elm Cottage, Birling Road, West Malling, Kent, along with her twin brother Richard. Her other siblings were Edith, Grace Elizabeth (my grandmother), Beatrice Violet, Harry and a female child who was Harry's twin and was sadly stillborn. Her father was Albert Edward Couchman who was born in Yalding Village, Kent. Her mother was Mary Ann (nee Hall) and she was born in Poplar, London. Albert and Mary were married in about September 1889 in West Malling, Kent.
  


US NAVY SQUADRONPosted 6 Aug 2004 by Bob Smith
In 1959-1961 I was in the US Navy Squadron Fasron Special 200. We moved our squadron from Blackbushe Aerodrome near Camberley, Surrey to share the RAF Squadron at West Malling. West Malling was a quaint little village then and the yanks were readily accepted. I have always wanted to make a trip back to see what changes had taken place, but somehow never made it.

I am retired now and have the time, but health problems make it still a far reach. I would like to extend my thanks to all of the people that resided in West Malling at the time I was there for making my stay so enjoyable.



THE TOWN OF WEST MALLING IN THE 1920'SPosted 20 Feb 2004 by Phyllis Stevens (nee Emmerson)
West Malling, a town I have loved and always thought of as home. I have decided to write my memories of the town when I was about 10 years old in 1925. I am now 89 years of age and in my memory I can still see myself emerging through the iron posts at the bottom of the path that came down from St Mary's Church door to the top of the High Street - alas the posts have now gone and one can get a car through.

My father, Arthur George Emmerson, who was born in Southborough near Tunbridge Wells in 1887, moved with his parents, Phillip and Elizabeth Emmerson, to Bidborough as my grandfather took employment with Mr Henry Wood who owned Bidborough Court. My grandfather had come from Dedham in Essex after marrying Mary Elizabeth Collins whose home was in Pennington Lane, Southborough. They had two sons and one daughter. My father went to school at Southborough and it was arranged for him to go to another school and then start work in the Post Office, but he was not at all happy as he wanted to work in the gardens, so Mr Wood had him trained to go into his estate. Mr Wood then bought the Manor House at West Malling, the last Miss Savage having died. My grandfather was moved there and my father went with him as an assistant. There were four or five other gardeners there and some of them lived in a bothy over the stables. They required a number of extra gardeners as the grounds had been badly neglected. This was in 1906.
  


PRE-WAR MEMORIESPosted 29 Nov 2003 by Skip Topley
We lived in West Malling. First I remember is a garage on the A20 on the right going to Sevenoaks, then on the High Street my dad opened the fish and chip shop and green grocers on the High Street between the pub and the old fire station. My dad drove the fire engine during the war. After the war we moved to Deal then to Folkestone.


ELIZABETH MARY JOAN BALLARDPosted 2 Jul 2003 by Carol Ballard
I am looking for Auntie Betty (Daughter of Henry Edward Ballard & Queenie Janet Victoria Ballard (formerly Still))

Elizabeth Mary Joan Ballard was born on the 5th October 1925 at 9 Council Cottages, near West Malling, near Maidstone. Elizabeth, also know as "Betty" was in the Maidstone Corps, Canterbury Division, in 1942. She married David John Clarke of 31 School Lane, Eaton Bray, Dunstable on the 8th September 1951 at All Saint's Church Maidstone. They made home at "Rose Cottage" 9 Padsole Lane, Maidstone. Their daughter Janet Mary Ann was born at the cottage on the 14th July 1953.

My father Leonard Edward Ballard lost contact with his family when he emigrated to the USA in the early 1960s. I've never met my Auntie Betty and would love to hear from her or anyone who remembers her. These photographs from 1942 and 1951 may prompt some memories.


E.M.J. Ballard 1942

E.M.J. Clarke (nee Ballard) 1951

Update: Many thanks for your kindness in putting my appeal onto the West Malling web site Memories section. I am happy to report that Auntie Betty herself telephoned me from Sheppey Isle on Sunday.I am so delighted and I still cannot believe my luck in finding her.


CHURCH FIELDSPosted 6 Nov 2002 by Chris Lane
I used to live at number 9 Church Fields back in the 80's. I used to go to school at More Park and was there when the strong winds almost blew over a tree on to our class room. My mum used to do a sort of village fete which the whole town got involved in, everyone helped each other. I have vague images of the airbase. Haven't been there for a while but I will soon. I still wonder if my friend Jack Budgin lives there still. I will always have fond memories of West Malling.


MALLING MEMORIESPosted 7 Jul 2002 by Richard West
I used to live in Alma Road at its junction with Fartherwell Avenue. Strangely the house started life as number 81 but sometime during the 1960's it was renumbered to 33. My late parents moved into what was a brand new house in November 1948 when I was about six/seven weeks old.

In my early years the Sandown Road area was an allotment site; indeed my grandfather (my father's father) had a plot there. The houses in Alma Road built in the mid 60's formed part of this allotment site as did those on the opposite side of the road to our house where just three allotments existed - my father worked the middle one. In those days most of the plots were in use and very productive. Compensation was paid to plotholders for the loss of crops when the site was sold, but in reality most homes lost a really useful amenity. We rarely had to buy vegetables; Dad made sure of that by growing a wonderful selection of year-round produce.

Before all this building work went on I also remember the area which now includes the newer of the houses in Fartherwell Avenue (just look at the brickwork, the original houses built in white while the newer in red brick) and Ewell Avenue being corn fields.