Friday, 12 October 2007

Nasima Tandoori

So what is next for number 1-3 High Street, East Malling? I've only ever known it as Nasima Tandoori, but from the photos I've seen the building has had a fruitful life as many different shops. The old photo below was sent to me by Diane Brazier and the other more recent one (7th September 2006) is courtesy of Stephen on flickr ( The building is looking a bit sorry for itself and I hope someone comes along to give it a bit of love and attention that it deserves. And the same goes for the old bakery (Sweets n' Treats). Even if these properties became residential this would be a good outcome. They could then feature plaques detailing their history like the old post office, etc. If anyone has heard any information regarding these properties, please let me know or post here.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

East Malling Halt (3)

Another ebay auction has resurrected the East Malling Halt theme that started back in March (see my original and subsequent post). The item is a East Malling Halt totem sign. The seller described this as a "rare totem", which was reflected by the fact the winning bid was £450! Some totems on ebay have apparently sold for £2000, so maybe £450 is a bargain. I have included the photo the seller left below.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Sketch of East Malling

Here is another East Malling sketch courtesy of ebay. I have pasted the information left by the seller below. It always a good idea to copy these over from ebay for posterity, as once items are sold the drawings and information is taken off and threfore could be lost forever!
Is anyone familiar with the building depicted or perhaps the artist? This drawing is currently for sale on ebay should anyone be interested in making a bid.

This fine example of a pencil and sepia wash drawing is of a dwelling in East Malling, Kent. The artist is D. Simpson and the work is dated 1865. The drawing measures 315mm by 240mm and the gilt wooden frame 410mm by 325mm.The drawing is clean and free from foxing. The wooden frame and glazing are of more recent origin and are intact and in good order.

Friday, 15 June 2007

East Malling Postcards

There have been a few postcards recently posted up on ebay. I have included these below.

(1) The title of the first is "High Street, East Malling". The publisher is D.B.L Series No. 3956. The description is "colour printed postcard postaly used dated 1910 with a half penny stamp".

(2) The second is a unused postcard with a real photo. Name over shop is GH Standen. Under window is Parker & Son. No date unfortunately. Early 1900s I would expect (does anyone remember the shop, or know of a more exact date for the photo?).

These postcards are currently being auctioned on ebay should anyone be interested in making a bid!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Mrs Norris Uncovered?

I'm happy to report that I have received further information on the 1816 sketch of East Malling entitled "Offices at Mrs Norris. East Malling". In my original post I asked if anyone knew the location in the photo or the name Norris. Unfortunately, we haven't been been able to pin-point the location, but courtesy of research advice provided by Paula Montandon, it has been possible to produce a list of people with the surname Norris who were christened at East Malling Parish Church. The search was carried out on (I will add this to the links section), which thankfully indexes the parish registers for East Malling (1570-1940).

Therefore, if we assume that the person in the photo is Mrs Norris and that she was christened at East Malling Parish it is possible that it could be one of the two females listed below, i.e. Mary or Elizabeth. However, based on these assumptions and the dates given, it would mean that sketch is of a 74 year old Mary or a 42 year old Elizabeth (if they were christened the year they were born). I excluded Emma on the basis that she would have been approximately 5 years old. If one was to choose between the two, bearing in mind a 74 year old person would have been extremely old in 1816, the likely candidate would be Elizabeth. This conclusion, I realise, is based on a lot of assumptions, but it hopefully may provide some more leads (e.g. one possibly being that I've got it all wrong!).

If anyone has any thoughts on this, please let me know.

1. MARY NORRIS - International Genealogical Index - British Isles
Gender: Female Christening: 13 FEB 1742 East Malling, Kent, England

2. EMMA HENRIETTA NORRIS - International Genealogical Index - British Isles
Gender: Female Christening: 10 JUL 1811 East Malling, Kent, England

3. EDWARD NORRIS - International Genealogical Index - British Isles
Gender: Male Christening: 26 JAN 1770 East Malling, Kent, England

4. JAMES NORRIS - International Genealogical Index - British Isles
Gender: Male Christening: 03 MAY 1772 East Malling, Kent, England

5. ELIZTH. NORRIS - International Genealogical Index - British Isles
Gender: Female Christening: 13 FEB 1774 East Malling, Kent, England

Friday, 20 April 2007

The Woodman - Sweets Lane

Taking a stroll in the blistering sun last Sunday down Sweets Lane (15th April) I came across a building that used to be The Woodman Pub in East Malling (if it had still been a pub I would have been in there like a shot to ease my sun-drenched thirst). I had previously seen the old picture below and was therefore confident I would recognise the the building in its current form. What sealed it, however, was the empty sign frame, which appears to be the original. What is a shame is that I took my photo from a different angle! When I am next on Sweets Lane I will take a shot from the right perspective and replace the one below.

I have carried out a quick search on the Internet, which reveals that the building is now a nursery school. Also, on comparison of the photos there are a few changes to the building to note. Firstly, that it now has three windows at the top and a one bottom centre where the door to the pub used to be. The entrance to the house now appears to be on the right of the building, hence the gate.

Unfortunately, the old photo of the Woodman did not come with a date. If anyone knows (even approximately) when this was taken please let me know.

Many thanks to Kent County Council for permission to use the The Woodman photo.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

East Malling Halt (2)

Here's one for you....why is a train station called a halt? Because it is unmanned of course. Except, however, in the case of East Malling. The feedback I have received is that our beloved station was, in its early days, actually manned even though it was called a halt. I'm sure there's a simple explanation. Maybe it later became manned after being given it's title, particularly as it has been described as a very busy station (pre-war that is) due to the lack of automobiles at this time and Maidstone being only a short distance away. My original post on the station identified what appeared to be a waiting room on the platform. I have been kindly informed that this was correct and the adjacent platform also had a waiting room. I also noted that the perspective in the photo appeared to be from the current station car park. I'm likely to have egg on my face on this one, as it has been suggested that the photo was taken from the other side, i.e. on the corner of Rocks Road looking toward the London-bound platform. Hence, the wall in the photo looks like the side of the road bridge on the High Street.

I can also report that David Glasspool (the author of Kent Rail) is going add East Malling Halt to his website later this year. I soon as I learn of this I will post something up.

Thanks to Godfrey King and Sarah Carling for their contribution to the above.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Sweets 'n Treats (2)

When a shop has greyed-out windows it's usually a sign that it is being refurbished and will eventually be unveiled as something new and exciting. Hopefully this will be the case with Sweets 'n Treats, as it is looking a bit in between places at the moment. The shop, in its current form, was a short-lived venture as a sweet shop. Thankfully, the building has a much more exciting history. The shop used to be the village bakers, which was very popular and heavily used in the 1930s. The baking ovens were located at the back of the premises. The shop was run by successive bakers in the 1970s and 80s before it was eventually shut down and all the equipment was sold off. In the shop's heyday all the bread could be sold out as early as 10am. A local resident, Diane Brazier, bought several of the Hovis Tins that were sold off when it was finally shut. Hopefully some photos of the old bakery will come my way and I will post these up. Thanks again to Godfrey King and Diane Brazier for the above information.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

East Malling Halt

For those of us who commute, now the clocks have gone forward we can again enjoy the train journey to and from East Malling in the daylight and appreciate the fabulous scenery of the Kent countryside along the way. Admittedly, I'm usually asleep on the train in the morning, but it makes all the difference in the evenings. There's nothing worse as the working day draws to an end than the thought of getting on a train where all you can see is your own reflection. Anyway, this leads me on to East Malling train station or, as it was originally called, East Malling Halt when it opened in 1913. This information was sourced from a great site called Kent Rail. For those of you wondering what a 'halt' actually is (i.e. in terms of rail transport), Wikipedia has the answer: "a halt is a small station, usually unstaffed and with few facilities" and the entry goes on to say that many stations have now removed the use of 'halt' in the title, as in the case of 'East Malling'. I attach photograph of East Malling Halt taken circa. 1950 (thanks again to Diane Brazier for supplying me with this). It looks as though the photo was taken from the perspective of station car park (though I could be wrong). And could the hut on the adjacent platform be the one that stands there today? Although the hut in the photo looks as though it has a door to the left (a waiting room perhaps?). If any one has thoughts on this, or any more photos, please let me know.

Monday, 26 March 2007

No Sweets 'n Treats?

How the mind wanders. I'm currently on the train to East Malling from London and thought it would be a good idea to introduce some present information to the blog to counter-balance the marvelous historical facts we have learned so far. Since I moved to the area last September I have wondered about the disused Sweets 'n Treats shop on the High Street with the greyed-out windows. Did this used to be the village newsagents? And, if so, are there any plans to reopen it? If anyone knows the answers please post or let me know.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Streams (3)

The East Malling stream has attached much attention since my original post reporting on a mention in the parish magazine ‘In Touch’. Following this, Godfrey King detailed the route of the stream from its source in East Malling to the river Medway. The latest information comes via two emails from Diane Brazier. I have edited these to provide the information below. Diane is lucky enough to have the stream actually wind its way through her back garden! As a resident of East Malling 33 years Diane has seem much stream-related activity and an abundance of wildlife!

When Diane first moved to East Malling from London in the early 1970s the stream was full of brown trout. The children used to drop lines with bait in the dip hole to catch them. Diane once saw a tiny water shrew doing water acrobatics in the dip hole. The stream has also attracted kingfishers, grey herons, moorhens, mallards, black caps and even water voles (please see the attached drawing carried out by Diane of a water vole on the cress beds). Diane also found two large crayfish whilst clearing out the stream. When the stream dried up last year they caught the last trout and ferried him upstream in a bucket together with as many of the tiny fish they could save. When the stream returned after the drought Diane once again saw the kingfisher in her garden. Diane’s late neighbour, Jack Watts, told her that in his childhood the stream was the village's main source of drinking water.

If anyone has any drawings or photos of the old stream or the wildlife it has attracted I would be happy to post these on the site. If these are only in hard copy I'm happy to receive these by post (if you are happy to send them). Please email me and I will forward on my address.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

What's in a name?

Have you ever wondered where the name "East Malling" originated? I expect not. But to be fair nor did I until I found myself in West Malling library today (I don't normally spend a Saturday afternoon in libraries, but it is cold and miserable outside).

According to The Place Names of Kent (Glover: 1976), Malling derived its name from a tribe settlement in 942 called Mealla's people. East Malling appears to be the original settlement of this tribe, as a "charter dated 942-6 refers to....[the] boundary of the East Meallingas" (p.124). This is particularly interesting as it infers that East Malling originally had the "Malling" name because of the settlement and, therefore, West Malling must have derived its name because of the westerly proximity it has to East Malling. However, the same tribe also settled at South Malling in Sussex. According to the BBC's Kent Place Names page the records of the settlement are slightly earlier (838) and therefore it is possible and likely that they settled in Sussex before East Malling.

A search of the Meanings of Domesday Place-names of Sudsexe (Sussex) reveals that (in relation to South Malling) the '-ingas' in 'Meallingas' refers to "tribe, people" and therefore 'Mealla' could have been the leader of the tribe.

The Place Names of Kent also charts the evolution of the name from 'Meallingas' to 'Malling': Meallingas 942 - Meallingan c.1060 - Metlinges, Mellingetes 1086 - Mallinges 1187 - Mauling 1217 - Malling 1610.

If you know the history of any of the street names in East Malling, please let me know.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

East Malling sketch

I have been sent this amazing sketch of East Malling by Diane Brazier (a local resident for 33 years). It is a drawing that she bought on eBay. The drawing was carried out in 1816 and is a sketchbook study called "Offices at Mrs Norris. East Malling".

Diane would love to know (and I'm sure everyone else who reads this blog) if anyone recognises the house or has a Mrs Norris on their deeds. Also, if anyone knows how I might approach researching a Mrs Norris from 1816, to find out more about this location, it would be gratefully received.

More historical drawings and photos to come.

Monday, 19 March 2007

New feature

Just a quick post to let you know that I have added a new feature that will allow you sign up to receive email or rss alerts when new content is added to this blog. If you are interested, please see the 'subscribe' section in the right-hand column.

I hope this proves useful!

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Streams (2)

In response to my earlier post on streams (click here to see), Mr Godfrey King has provided some excellent detail on the route the stream takes through East Malling. His email is reproduced in full below.

Regarding the stream by the church, it begins in the spring at Gillets Hole, as we used to call it when I lived up The Rocks (before the war), trickles down by the side of the road near the station, goes underground and runs behind the old bakery, had a small diversion into some ponds in the rear garden of the grocery shop owned by Mr Dimon (for whom I was an errand boy during the war), then through the grounds of the old rectory, in which I gather a lake has now been constructed, and comes out by the church (next to the house occupied by Nurse Skinner, who was the village midwife in the 1930s/1940s), crosses underground to a spot just past the King and Queen, then runs all the way down New Road, until it joins with the stream which comes from Blacklands Lake, and flows into the large pond at Bradbourne, then onto the road ford at Ditton, where it then goes down to the London Road, which it crosses under, through Cobdown and eventually joins the river Medway between Aylesford and New Hythe.

Coincidentally, I have noticed that there appears to be quite a bit of water running down New Road at the moment. Could this be the stream, or does it run underground at this point? It's probably just a burst main!

There is more information on the streams to come, which I intend to add this week. So keep posted!...

Friday, 16 March 2007

Photo exhibition

I have learned, via Mr. Godfrey King's guestbook entry on the 'East Malling Memories' website (see links section), that a photo exhibition of East Malling will be taking place on the 7th, 9th and 14th April at the Clout Institute, West Malling. Mr King will be exhibiting his own work there. This is all very exciting and I'm sure there will be some very fascinating historical photos of the village.

Further details of this event and full Malling social calendar can be found by clicking here

Wednesday, 14 March 2007


I have been saving a few issues of 'In Touch' - the parish magazine of St James, as this often has various pieces of interesting information. In issue 43 (Summer 2006) it is written that "years ago, walking through the village, you'd be sure to hear the gurgling and trickling of little streams. Down by the church, along the Rocks Road, these miniature water ways always seemed to be full... Today, they are nearly always dry". This is fascinating. I was aware of the stream on the Rocks Road by the train station (which is very full at the moment as a result of all the rain - see picture), but not anything by the church. I would be pleased to hear from anyone who is aware of these streams, or any others, particularly if they have some photos!


I thought it would be good to have a few 'snowy' photos to kick-start the photos category, particularly now that the weather is getting better, as we can look back and go 'ahhhhh', as opposed to thinking about being snowed in, delayed trains, traffic jams, etc.

There are some excellent photos of East Malling under snow in the King & Queen pub. A good excuse as any to pop in for a drink!

I've attached one I took on my mobile on the Rocks Road on 8th February this year.

If you have any others please email them to me (


Hello and welcome to this new blog whose focus is the beautiful village of East Malling in Kent (UK).

As the name suggests the concept of this blog is to harvest and provide a central area of interesting information (historical or otherwise) in relation to the village. As a researcher by trade I have found some remarkable historical facts by chance from a variety of sources (which I will reveal in due course) that I feel would be better served if they were noted in a central location for all to view and contribute to. I'm sure that many people who reside in East Malling (or have visited the village) have the odd fact or snippet of information, past and present, that collectively would enlighten and entertain others. In particular (and for me the most interesting part) are some historical photos and drawings that I have come across of the village that I'm sure everyone would love to see.

So lets get the ball rolling.....if you have any interesting information, pictures or drawings that you feel would benefit this site, the residents and East Malling and its visitors, please email them to me at (or, in terms of comments, you could always post them on blog itself). To whet your appetite, I will soon be adding some information on the village from some web based research I have carried out.