Posted in June 2012

Getting ready for the Olympics

Getting ready for the Olympics

We have been told by the local newspaper that Tunbridge Wells is getting ready for the Torch Relay, due in town on 17th July 2012, with some sprucing up of the cinema site, and some “London 2012” banners. Here’s the sprucing up so far – some brown painted window frames and a boarded over doorway…. I shall be watching this sprucing up over the next 17 days….

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“Time to Remember”

How appropriate is the name of this recently opened shop in Quarry Road, Tunbridge Wells; for as well as specialising in clocks, it gives a view to how this area has changed. Currently showing on BBC2 is a series “The Secret History of our Streets”, which is showing how six London streets have changed since Charles Booth’s survey of 1886. I think streets around the whole country must have changed as they have in London. Looking back to a street directory of 1925, the Camden Road area was full of local businesses, almost the Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick maker. Now it is largely restaurants, takeaways and secondhand shops, with a few independent craftsmen and offices. Surrounded by residential streets, there is a strong community feel. The BBC2 programme has highlighted how very small actions in the past can impact on a street’s future, and how streets are constantly changing and evolving. Time to remember the past, but look forward to the future.

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Closed for repairs

Closed for repairs

The other week I wrote about an old newspaper article, suggesting the North Farm Railway bridge should have been widened. This week the road under this Victorian bridge is closed during the evenings for bridge repairs. When built, this bridge was over a dirt-track lane; the area of High Brooms was largely unbuilt, and the whole area now North Farm Industrial Estate/Retail Park, was the North Farm sewage farm. Here the town’s waste was dumped, to help fertilise the crops, and some names reflect the farming past, such as Longfield Road.

This morning, when I was trying to find out via GOOGLE about the overnight closures, I found the “North Farm Estate Options Report Aug 11”, compiled by Jacobs Engineering U.K. Limited and shared on the TWBC website. It does suggest that traffic flow could be improved by replacing the railway bridge to allow two way traffic, at a cost of 5 -10 million… but of course with the possible problem that additional traffic will be encouraged. I feel it is a long time until Tunbridge Wells sees the light at the end of the tunnel here.

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Calverley Grounds

Calverley Grounds

Yesterday’s blog featured a bandstand and grey skies, today we have blue skies but no bandstand. However from 1924 until 2010 Calverley Grounds had a bandstand, in the central area. Before the Borough Council purchased and landscaped the park in the 1920s, this area was an informal meadow area with a lake, and was the countryside view from the houses of Calverley Park.

The area has now been used for the winter ice-rink, and for additional food stalls during events such as the Mela.

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Pantiles 40s Weekend

Pantiles 40s Weekend

I think this weekend has covered the full range of weathers available, but being British and retaining our wartime spirit, the Pantiles 40s weekend seemed a success on all levels. A wide range of musical and dance entertainment, including the yellow suited Jive Aces who have recently been on BGT, stalls selling vintage ware, and all the cafes and bars open.

The Spa Valley Railway steam train, five minutes walk away, also hosted a themed weekend, so there was a wide range of activities. About as varied as the weather!

Events continue through the summer, with “Jazz on the Pantiles” every Thursday evening, “The Pantiles Fashion Festival” next weekend (June 30th, July 1st) and “Pantiles Vintage Fair” ( July 28th, 29th).

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Foggy Head

Since the end of March I have tried to blog a photo a day, however the longest day sees grey skies, whipping winds, and I have a foggy head. So a few days off, and re-group over after the weekend!

Pig’s Hill by cycle

Pig's Hill by cycle

This is King George V Hill, the photo is taken from Albion Road, and eighty years ago the view in the distance would have all been farmland. This would have been the local “Charity Farm”, and is now allotments, housing, and part of our park. Also a good bit of over-spill carparking, as our Victorian streets don’t leave alot of room for that.

Anyway, like most of Tunbridge Wells, a nice bit of hill – what goes up must come down, but one reason why cycling is not too popular here compared to say, Holland. On Monday and Tuesday of this week the “Smarter Choices” roadshow visited Tunbridge Wells town centre and the retail park at Fountains. The lady at the roadshow told me how life in Tunbridge Wells could be improved with an electric cycle – get to a hill and click a switch and the battery kicks in. An interesting idea, and would have been great if the roadshow had parked up here instead and let us all try getting up Pig’s Hill.

Which brings us back again to the question of why is it called Pig’s Hill, and the latest idea is that – the pigs lived here… But I reckon we could go for “It’s a pig of a hill to cycle up”.

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Harrisons Rocks

Harrisons Rocks

This evening the children’s Scouts group were rock-climbing at Harrison’s Rocks, near Groombridge. I went for a walk around; as well as the sandstone rock outcrop, there are the Birchden Woods, managed by KHWP. The whole site is bordered on one side by the old railway line from Tunbridge Wells West Station to Eridge. This view looks west over the line, which is now run as the “Spa Valley Railway”. This weekend the Spa Valley Railway will be joining in with the Pantiles 40s Weekend, which we are hoping to visit…. that sounds like a good photo opportunity.

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Longest Day

Longest Day

With the weather forecast not looking too good for the longest day, thought it would be good to go out at 9.30pm today and watch the vapour trails change colour, over the Park Bowls Green.

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