Saturday 27 September 2008

The Woodman

I have had a email from a Mr Gerald Warner who is tracing his family tree in East Malling and Wateringbury. His current aim is to find some information on the following connection. If anyone can provide information, please could they post it on the blog.

"Iden Thomas Newman, who was the brother of my great grandmother Mary Ann Wells, was born in Mereworth on 17th May 1845. In his salad days he was a carpenter, in the census returns for 1881,1891 and 1901 he is recorded as being the Licensed Victualler at The Woodmans Inn, East Malling".

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Tickets please!

Are we British obsessed with the weather and the trains? Anyway, as I've waited recently in the glorious sun at East Malling station I often ponder how well the station is maintained, despite the best efforts of some. What caught my eye recently are the new (retro-style) signs replacing the old blue and white ones. What would also be nice are some flower boxes or hanging baskets full of flowers to welcome people to the station, or, as the case may be, send them off.

Anyway, if you have an interest in all things train-related, you may be interested in my previous posts on East Malling Halt. To continue the theme, please cast your eye over the photos above of another view of the old Halt and an old ticket for a journey between Borough Green and Wrotham and East Malling Halt (courtesy of some sellers on ebay). Sadly there are no dates for the photo or the ticket. If anyone has any thoughts, please post a comment on the site.

Tuesday 1 April 2008

East Malling Isolation Hospital

The Hospital of Infectious Diseases was also known in East Malling as an Isolation Hospital (thanks to Godfrey King's comment on my previous post). Armed with this new knowledge and with the British Journal of Nursing in my sights I set about finding some more information on this elusive hospital (other than the fantastic comments received so far). It turns out the Royal College of Nursing have an archive of the journal dating back to the early 1900s. The journal frequently refers to the Isolation Hospital, mainly to congratulate a Miss M. Cooke (whom appears to be a resident at the hospital around 1905) for submitting the correct answers in the guinea prize puzzle or quiz that was a regular feature of the journal. Other mentions have included: a Miss M. A. Hayles being appointed Staff Nurse at the hospital (August 1904); and, a Miss Richards, of East Malling, being unanimously elected a member of the Infectious Hospitals' Matrons' Association (March 1932). That's it I'm afraid. Hopefully we can revisit this one as (or, if) more information becomes available.

Friday 14 March 2008

The East Malling Hospital of Infectious Diseases

A friend who lives in Four Acres of East Malling often finds bit of old bricks, fragments of what appears to be blue tiles and twisted old bits of metal when digging out in his garden. We've always thought this was odd as we assumed that before becoming residential the site had been just fields. However, having got my hands recently on a map of East Malling in 1908 it appears that Four Acres was originally (or at some stage) a hospital for infectious diseases. A later map, from 1932, shows that the hospital was still present on the site. The housing on Four Acres dates back to the 1960s and therefore it is possible that the hospital existed up until this time. The fact that a previous structure existed, could perhaps explain the rubble found in the earth. I carried out a few quick searches on Google and Google Books, but unfortunately cannot find anything further about the hospital. Thus, if anyone has any knowledge on this please post on the blog. If you see a parade of diggers, tv cameras in East Malling in the near future, you'll know that Time Team lot have got wind and are currently excavating the site. And then, as usual, when deciding there is nothing of interest, leaving the place reminiscent of the Somme in 1916. I'm sure my friend will be pleased.

Thursday 28 February 2008

Fancy going clubbing in East Malling?

Well, not in the traditional sense of the phrase, i.e. the loud music playing establishments that serve alcoholic beverages that one may find themselves falling out of (or, more worryingly, into). What I had in mind are the clubs of East Malling that have recently set up blogs to communicate with their current members and reach out to new ones. The two that spring to mind are the East Malling Gardening Club and East Malling Backgammon Association. More clubs can be found on the clubs section of East Malling village pages on Kent Online. If you have any clubs/associations you would like promoting, just let me know. Also, if you would like to keep in the know and impress your friends with your East Malling pearls of wisdom, I would suggest subscribing to this blog to receive email updates of any new content posted. Right, I'm off clubbing...

Friday 22 February 2008

Dear South Eastern Railways...

It occurred to me today, having come across the photos below, that it would be fabulous if South Eastern Railways (or rail track, or whoever would be responsible) were to run a steam train journey for commuters instead of the usual trains. This could take place once a month on a Friday and would give commuters something to look forward to and maybe (going out a limb here) it would cheer every one up. Also, it be an amazing PR exercise for the train company. My cynical side, however, reminds me (in an annoying wittering voice) that there is probably a miriad of reasons why this is unlikely to ever happen, e.g. health and safety issues, number of seats, lack of carriages, lack of specialist train drivers, industrial action, personal injury claims, etc. Whilst I continue my daydream, you may wish to cast your eye over the photos below. The first is from the East Malling/Ditton/Barming avian blog and featured in a post on the 24th October 2007 (for train buffs: this is a 45407). The second I found on the discussion forum of a website called Watercress Line. The post was by a Mr Hugh Topham on the 20th August 2003. He writes: "Saw 73096 today at East Malling Station as photo shows Passed through at 12:58 on its way to Canterbury on a Cathedrals".

I expect there are more photos and information out there on steam trains and East Malling. If you have anything to contribute, please let me know.

Wednesday 6 February 2008

Have you done your pruning?

If you have, you're probably more organised that me. If not, you may want to have a look at the picture below for some inspiration.

The painting is called "A 1944 Pastoral : Land Girls Pruning at East Malling" by Evelyn Dunbar and is available on the Manchester Art Gallery website. The information accompanying the picture explains that: "Recruits from the Women's Land Army are here shown pruning apple trees in a small village just outside Maidstone in Kent. The Land Army was set up to encourage women to work on farms to help the war effort. The surround of hands with secateurs
suggests diagrams from a training manual".

You may have already guessed that the setting is The East Malling Research Station, confirmed by Brian Foss (2007) in his book "War Paint: Art, War, State and Identity in Britain, 1939-1945". If you are interested in learning more about the painting you can read the relevant section of Foss' book on Google Book Search or have a look at the an article in the Telegraph on Dunbar's work

Right, where did I put my secateurs...