Westerham Timeline 1845 - 1933

Around the town there were a surprising number of tea-shops to choose from during the thirties, forties and fifties. The Wolfe Cafe, long established facing The Green in the building which is now ‘Orvis,’ was still advertising a welcome in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and according to a local guide book of the time, was ‘situated in the most interesting portion of Westerham…’ 

In 1928 it was advertising ‘Under entirely New Management’ and was described as a branch of The Green House Tea Room, Lynton, North Devon, which amazingly, still exists!

Demise of the poorhouse to the launch of the National Electricity Grid

1845 Westerham ‘poorhouse’ is pulled down and Quebec Cottages are built on the site

            Sevenoaks Union workhouse is opened in Birchfield Wood, Sundridge

1859 The building of ‘New Street’ commences

           Westerham Gas & Coke Company is formed and the gasworks is built

1861 National School for Girls and Infants is opened in Westerham (Boys was 1829)

1862 Benjamin Bushell joins Martin & Company’s Black Eagle Brewery in Westerham

1864 Westerham Volunteer Fire Brigade is formed

1865 The population of Westerham is around 2200

           Locomotive ‘Red Flag Act’ is passed to make the highway ‘safe’

           Westerham Public Hall (also called the Town Hall), is opened

1870 Elementary Education Act – compulsory attendance for all at school

1874 The whole of Westerham Town is now lit by gas

1879 Darenth Valley Main Sewerage Board is formed and work begins on the main drainage in the district from Westerham to Dartford

1880 The Westerham Water Works Company is formed to supply safe drinking water

1881 South Eastern Railway opens the Westerham branch line to Dunton Green

           First U.K. public supply of electricity, for street lighting, begins at Godalming, Surrey

1882 Westerham Herald is launched as a monthly edition local newspaper

          ‘The Crown Hotel’ is opened by Watkins brewery opposite the railway station

           The Edison Cylinder Phonograph – the earliest commercial reproduction system for music and speech – is first sold

           Westerham Gas & Coke Company enlarges the gasworks as domestic demand rises

           The Sewer is complete from Westerham to Dartford – cost at that time £93,000

1883 Dr William Spottiswoode of Combe Bank, purchases a water-powered electric generator and lights his house and garden   – the first electric light in the area

1887 Westerham townsfolk all now have piped drinking water and main sewerage is finally flushing well

          Queen Victoria’s Jubilee – a Jubilee Fountain is erected on the Green

1888 John Dunlop patents his new pneumatic bicycle tyre

1888 Emily Jane Cartaar opens her ‘Day School for Young Ladies’ in London Rd

1891 All children officially now receiving an education country-wide

1892 The disc-based Gramaphone appears in the uk

1895 The first motor car in Kent – owner Sir David Salomons mayor of Tunbridge Wells

1895 Three Technical Colleges for women are opened in Kent – Wye Agricultural

College, Swanley College of Horticulture and Maidstone School of Domestic Economy

1896 Locomotives on Highway Act defined a new category of vehicle as the ‘light

locomotive’ being under three tons weight. The maximum speed was set at 14 miles per hour and the red flag legislation was done away with

1897 The Black Eagle buys out Watkin’s Swan brewery in Hosey Hill – now Bushell, Watkins

1897 Thomas Weller builds the first two houses in Westbury Terrace

1898 Frederick Benson opens his Photographic business in Westerham, aged 22

1898 The Black Eagle buys out Smith’s brewery in Sevenoaks – now Bushell, Watkins & Smith

1899 The Black Eagle Brewery is rebuilt and modernised

1899 National School leaving age is raised from 11 to 12 years

1901 Death of Queen Victoria on January 26

1902 Edward Evenden opens ‘West Kent Cycle Works’ at the bottom of Hosey Hill

1902 Education Act – County Councils take over Schools at all levels

1904 Westerham Herald is now produced WEEKLY on Saturdays

1905 Inverted incandescent gas mantles are installed in the church through a legacy of

£100 left by the late Miss Harriette S. Warde of Squerryes Lodge

1905 Westerham Sunday Discussion Society is formed ‘for men 18 years upwards’

1905 Westerham to London Bridge direct through rail service begins

1906 Chevening Halt is opened on the Westerham branch line – cost £50

1906 Death of Henry Charles Bartlett M.A., vicar of Westerham 1860 – 1900

1908 Death of George Barrett, for 21 years Headmaster at Westerham Boys School

1909 Lloyd George’s Liberal Government introduce the state pension

1910 General Wolfe’s statue is erected where the Jubilee Fountain stood – the fountain is

moved to the west-end of Market Square

1910 Westerham’s worst ever fire at Edward Evenden’s West Kent Motor & Cycle Works

1912 The ‘Westerham Preservation Society’ is launched for maintaining the architectural and natural characteristics of the town and neighbourhood.

1912 Westerham is provided with a continuous telephone service to subscribers at Post Office

1912 Westerham District Council introduce regular domestic house refuse collection

1912 The Sevenoaks & District Electricity Company is launched

1914 Their ‘Electricity Works’ is completed at Sundridge equipped with a single 3.5 mWatt diesel-powered generator to supply 22 miles of feeders around the district

1914 Westerham Public Hall is requisitioned by the War Office as a Drill Hall

1914 ‘Swan Picture Hall’ opens at the bottom of Hosey Hill

1915 The new St Mary’s Parish Hall is opened by the Reverend Carr G Acworth on the London Road site donated by Thomas Weller, to the delight of townsfolk, young and old

1927 The whole town gains domestic electric power

1933 The ‘National Grid’ is completed and commissioned country-wide

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