Sort file:- Tonbridge, March, 2022.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 06 March, 2022.


Earliest 1828-

Angel Hotel

Latest ????

1 High Street


Angel Hotel 1950

Above postcard, 1950.

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Angel Hotel

Above photo, date unknown.

By kind permission

Angel Hotel

Above photo date unknown.

Angel Hotel

Above photo, date unknown.

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Above photo, date unknown.

Angel Hotel 1963

Above photo, 1963.

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Angel Hotel 1972

Above photo, 1 September, 1972.

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Taken from Kent a Chronicle of the Century book 3.

Tonbridge 1968, where amphibious vehicles took people to safety. The cellars of the "Angel Hotel" are badly flooded.

‘Tropical’ storm brings chaos to Kent

September 16th 1968: Kent today is mopping up following one of the greatest storms of the twentieth century. Right across the county towns, villages and hamlets are under water. Rivers are running wild down the valleys, roads and railway lines are blocked by landslides and lakes spread out over hundreds of acres of Kent’s fertile land. In many places vehicles have floated away and helicopters have been employed to rescue people in distress.

The culprit was a rapidly-deepening area of low pressure to the south-west which produced a ‘trough’ across the south-east. It remained stationary all day on Saturday (14th) and that meant prolonged, heavy rain.

For hour after hour from the early hours of Sunday morning to nightfall, lightning flashed, thunder rolled and the great blackness above released its load in proportions of tropical intensity.

In Tonbridge the River Medway overtopped the town bridge and flood waters swept into the High Street inundating most of the shops. All the factories and works were flooded, Cannon Bridge was washed away carrying with it the town’s main sewer.

In Maidstone the Medway lapped the arches of the town bridge. As water filled the pedestrian subway and swirled up the High Street the town was closed and an emergency declared. Boardwalks were erected yesterday by the Royal Engineers. They may have to be extended.

It’s the same story over much of low-lying Kent. Along the courses of the Medway, the Stour, the Ravensbourne, the Eden, the Darent, the Swale and all their tributaries flood defences have capitulated and some people are still trapped in upstairs rooms.

The village of Shoreham is cut off. The bridge at Otford has been swept away. Westerham is under water and General Wolfe, sword aloft, looks more like a ship’s captain alone on the bridge. Dartford is inundated and, at Edenbridge, drama has followed drama.

Last night in Edenbridge the swirling muddy water was almost at rooftop height and people marooned in their bedrooms. Some tried to swim for safety but were seen being swept from one roof to another. Lifelines were thrown to those in trouble; they were all saved.

From the air today large areas of Kent are waterlogged with factories, churches, oasts and the tops of apple trees floating in the middle. Reception centres have been set up and all voluntary organisations mustered. Police, fire, ambulance services and soldiers are overstretched and undermanned. Kent now faces the most urgent rebuilding programme since the war.

Angel Hotel site 1972

Above photo, 26 November, 1972.

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Angel Hotel site 1974

Above photo, 24 February, 1974. The new Lipton's shop opened on 30 September 1973.

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A celebrated inn was the "Angel Hotel" near the railway station at Tonbridge, which started life as the "Angelus," the name change coming after the Reformation (1517). It stood on the site of an ancient priory, but was swept away for redevelopment of the site some years ago. The name of the pub is remembered in Tonbridge Football Club's Angel Ground a short distance away.

The Tonbridge Volunteers started in 1859. In 1860 they had their armoury in the "Rose and Crown" yard, from which they removed in 1870 to the "Angel," and in 1884 to their present headquarters. Military history in Tonbridge culminated in the fact that at the present time three separate corps flourish, representing respectively the counties of Kent, Middlesex, and Sussex.


From Ipswich Journal (Ipswich, England), Saturday, January 28, 1837; Issue 5158.


On Thursday evening, the 12th inst., at about six o'clock, when the Cranbrook coach, in which were two gentlemen and a female, arrived at the "Angel Inn," Tonbridge, the door was opened by one of the outside passengers, a brother of the female, for the purpose of offering her some refreshment, she was observed to drop to one side, and to his horror was found to be a corpse!

Assistance was instantly procured, and on the body being conveyed into the house it was discovered that the poor creature had been delivered of an infant, the dead body of which was found at the bottom of the coach.

It is very extraordinary that the two gentlemen, the unfortunate creature's companions, were quite ignorant of the circumstances. They stated that she did not at any period of the journey from town evince any symptoms of indisposition. At Riverhead, about nine miles distance, she called for a glass of water, which was given her, and nothing particular was observed until the coach reached Tonbridge. The relatives of the deceased are in a humble sphere of life, and reside at Goudhurst. She was a single woman, who had been living at service in London. In her pocket was found a box of pills, and she had a small bottle of gin and water when she first got into the coach, part of which she drank and also offered some to one of the gentlemen.

An inquest was held on the body by J. N. Dudlow, Esq., Coroner, and a verdict of "Died by the visitation of God " returned. - ( Taken from the Greenwich Gazette.)


From the Kentish Gazette, 31 January 1837.

Distressing Occurrence.

On Thursday evening, the 12th instant, when the Cranbrook coach, in which were two gentlemen and a female, arrived at the "Angel," Tonbridge, the door was opened by one of the outside passengers, a brother of the female, to offer her refreshment; she was observed to drop on one side, and was a corpse! Assistance was procured, and on the body being conveyed into the house it was discovered that the poor creature had been delivered of an infant, the dead body of which was found at the bottom of the coach, it is extraordinary the two gentlemen inside were ignorant of the circumstance. They stated that she did not at any period of the journey from town evince symptoms of indisposition. At Riverhead, about nine miles distance, she called for a glass of water, which was given her, and nothing particular was observed until the coach reached Tonbridge. The relatives of the deceased are in a humble sphere of life, and reside at Goudhurst. She was a single woman, and had been living at service in London. In her pocket was found a box of pills, and she had a small bottle of gin and water when she first got into the coach, part of which she drank, and also offered some to one of the gentlemen.

An inquest was held on the body by J. N. Dudlow, Esq. coroner, and a verdict of "Died by the visitation of God" returned.


Taken from


The Victorians had a ghoulish fascination with what one of them called a ‘stunning good murder'.

One of the most notorious examples was the celebrated Roehampton case of 1842, part of whose drama took place in Tonbridge. The story began with the theft of a pair of trousers in Wandsworth, reached a climax with a murderer's apprehension on a Tonbridge building site, and ended with his death on the gallows at Newgate. The ineptitude of the Metropolitan Police in pursuing the case led directly to the establishment of a specialist Detective Department with its headquarters at Scotland Yard.

Every detail of the ‘most frightful and appalling crime' at Roehampton was described in The Times newspaper, whose lengthy reports form the basis for this account.


On 7th April 1842, a man identified as Mr Daniel Good was spotted making off with a pair of trousers, snatched from the counter of a Pawnbrokers' shop in Wandsworth High Street. A police constable was called and went, with others, to a substantial house in nearby Roehampton, where Good was known to be employed as coachman. A search of the stables there was begun, in the presence of Good himself and some other men. This revealed, beneath some hay, not the missing trousers, but a limbless, headless female human torso. At the moment of this discovery, Good ran out of the stable door and locked it behind him, leaving the hapless policeman and his companions trapped inside. By the time they managed to break out and raise the alarm, Daniel Good had fled.

A description of Good was circulated – Irish, age about 46, sallow complexion, bald patch – and a manhunt ensued, but after a few alleged sightings the trail went cold. Meanwhile, remarkably, the grisly remains, now identified as those of a woman with whom Good had been living, were on public display in the stable where they had been found. According to The Times, ‘Vehicles of every description, from the aristocratic carriage to the costermonger's cart, were seen wending their way towards the scene of the awful tragedy'. Among the many who ‘glutted their curiosity' at the scene ‘were, we regret to state, numerous females, some of whom, we doubt not, would aspire to be considered respectable women'.


The "Bull" public house where Good spent his first night in Tonbridge. Peacocks shop now occupies the site. (2014)

A week later the focus of attention switched to Tonbridge. Two days after the murder, it transpired, Good had come down from London on a fish-van (on its way empty back to the coast to collect another load for the London fish market) and spent a night at the "Bull" public-house in the High Street. He gave his name there as James Connor. Next day he moved to lodgings at the nearby basket-makers, where the landlady, Mrs Audrey, later reported him to be prone to pace about the house, extremely anxious whenever anyone came to the door, and ‘much disturbed at night'.

There was no shortage of construction work in Tonbridge at this time, since the railway was due to open the following month, and cottages for railway employees were being erected near the station. ‘Connor' was soon taken on as a brick-layer.

What happened next was, from the murderer's point of view, pure mischance. It turned out that one of the men working as a builder near the station had previously served as a policeman in Wandsworth, and had come across Daniel Good there. After a while this man realised that Connor was actually the wanted murderer and alerted the superintendent of the South Eastern Railway police in Tonbridge, Mr Humphrey.

The "Angel Inn," on the corner of Vale Road and the High Street, to which the murderer was lured prior to his arrest.

As soon as he saw Humphrey, who was in uniform, Connor began to act suspiciously. Nevertheless when the superintendent complimented him on his hard work and invited him over to the "Angel Inn" for a pint of ale, Connor replied 'Thankee, Sir, I will'. Seated by the fire in the Inn, Connor removed his cap, revealing the bald patch beneath. Humphrey saw that the man's description exactly matched what he had read in the Police Gazette, and the wanted man was formally taken into custody. He later appeared before the local Magistrate, Mr Hare, at the office of his clerk, Mr Scoones, in East Street, before being despatched in handcuffs to Maidstone gaol.

News of the arrest spread fast. As soon as it reached London, The Times sent a reporter down to Tonbridge. He found ‘persons of all classes flocking in from Tunbridge Wells and the adjacent villages ... To many the "Bull" public house, the residence of Mrs Audrey, and the erections at which the prisoner worked, were objects of no small attraction'.


The trial of the ‘inhuman monster, Daniel Good' in London on 13th May 1842 lasted just one day, and the jury only took half an hour to find him guilty. The judge then donned the black cap and sentenced him to be ‘hung by the neck until you are dead'. The execution took place a week later in front of Newgate prison, where the murderer met his end ‘assailed with the most hideous yells and long-continued execrations by the mob'. Whether any of them were Tonbridge people is not known.


From the Kentish Gazette, 20 May 1845.

On Whit Monday the annual meeting and dinner of the Tonbridge Town Friendly Benefit Society, held at the "Angel Inn," in that town, took place in a large marquee erected for the purpose in the grounds attached to the house. About 350 persons, headed by a band of music, attended divine service in the parish church.


From the Kentish Gazette, 27 January 1846.


We regret to state that a fatal accident, by which one man lost his life and another was much injured, occurred in Monday night, or rather between twelve and one o’clock on Tuesday morning. On the arrival of the luggage train from Dover at the bridge which crosses the river about a mile from Tonbridge, one of the abutments, owing it is supposed to the overflowing of the water and high wind which prevailed at the time, gave way, and as soon as the engine entered upon the bridge, one of the arches fell in, and the engine, tender, and two of the luggage wagons, together with the engine driver and stoker (brothers) of the name of Dobie, were precipitated into the water. There were several other luggage carriages attached to the train, but they were not injured. The deceased was a young man about 27 years of age, and bore a most respectable character. At the time the accident happened the train was proceeding at a moderate rate. The stoker is severely hurt, but not considered dangerously. The French mail, which ought to have been at the terminus at London Bridge on Tuesday morning at five o’clock, in consequence of the accident did not arrive until eleven o’clock. The downward trains left London on Tuesday morning at the usual time, planks having been placed across the bridge on which passengers and goods could be safely conveyed across the river, where another train was in waiting to receive them. The engine, tender, and two luggage wagons remained in the water.

On Tuesday afternoon the bridge was so far repaired that the trains were able to pass without interruption.
The accident took place on that part of the railway traversing the Medway Valley, within 1 1/2 mile from Tonbridge, and 39 1/2 distant from London. The line at this point is carried along an embankment, varying from 18 to 20 feet high, far a distance of nearly three miles, terminating with the entrance of the Tonbridge station. The Medway, passing under the railway at Eden Bridge, 10 miles from Tonbridge, runs on the North or down side of the line as far as Penshurst, where an elbow or branch again parses under the road, and irrigates the meadows on the South side, until within a short distance of the spot where the accident occurred, where the elbow again runs to the North, and shortly after joins the parent stream. The embankment, is supplied throughout its entire length with a number of bridges, technically known as “occupation bridges,” which afforded the necessary means of communication between the farms on either side of the railway. The failure of one of those bridges was the immediate cause of the accident.

It is unnecessary to inform those familiar with the district or country known as the Medway Valley, that at certain periods of the year, the winter season especially, when the river is much swollen, immense tracts of arable and pasture land are frequently laid under water for weeks together. The heavy rains which fell on Sunday and Monday last increased the level of the river in an extraordinary degree, and the flood which followed on the evening of the latter day may be fairly stated to have been the proximate cause of the accident.


On Wednesday, an Inquest was held on the body of the engine-driver, whose name was James Dobie, at the "Angel Hotel," adjoining the Tonbridge Railway station. Alter the Jury had been sworn, they proceeded with the Coroner, Mr. Barlow, the resident engineer, and other officials of the Company, in a special train to the spot where the accident occurred, and having made a minute examination so far as the then state of the floods would allow, they returned to the Inquest-room, and then viewed the remains of deceased, which were lying at the Railway terminus.

Several witnesses were examined, but their evidence was merely corroborative of the state of the road as stated above.

Mr. J. P. Barlow in reply to questions addressed to him by the Coroner, said, that until the water which at present flooded the land near the spot where the accident occurred had subsided, he did not feel prepared to give a decided opinion as to the cause of the accident. He had come to a very decided opinion in his own mind, and that was, that the accident had occurred from the meeting of two currents of water near the occupation bridge; but, until he had had an opportunity of making a more minute examination than was possible at present, he should prefer avoiding to go into detail on the subject.

The inquiry was adjourned till Monday next.

The wreck caused by the accident still remains in its original state, and it will be some time before anything can be done to remove it. The engine is still lying in a hole about 20 feet below the surface of the railway, and the tender is altogether out of sight. Gangs of men have been at work night and day since the accident; and the down line, which was comparatively little injured, is sufficiently repaired to enable trains to pass over it. The sandy nature of the soil has occasioned considerable difficulty in repairing the mischief, and no doubt the original catastrophe may be in some degree traced to the same cause.


From the Kentish Gazette, 3 February 1846.



Tonbridge, Monday Night.— At three o’clock this afternoon the adjourned coroner’s inquest concerning the death of James Dobie, the unfortunate engine driver who lost his life by the recent accident on the South-Eastern Railway, was resumed before Mr. Dudlow, and the jury previously empanelled, at the "Angel Inn."

The former inquiry, it will be recollected, was adjourned for the purpose of affording the Company’s engineers an opportunity of examining the exact state of the foundation of the bridge that caused the catastrophe—the flood of water preventing the necessary inspection. Instead of the water subsiding, however, the heavy rains of last week have inundated acres of land along the sides of the line to the depth of several feet.

After other evidence, Mr. H. P. Barlow, the resident engineer of the South-Eastern Railway, was then sworn. He attributed the accident to the unfortunate circumstance of the flood carrying away the bank of the north pit, through the occupation bridge into the deeper or south pit. The bridge was perfectly substantial, and could have withstood any flood had it not been for the deep ballast-hole on the south side of it; the fact of the northern side of the structure withstanding the rush of waters and still remaining secure was a satisfactory proof of its solidity. It was the difference of level of water that led to the deplorable occurrence. He did not think that if the train had been a passenger one that the bridge would have given way, for it was evident that the engine and tender had almost passed over it, and it was the weight of a goods train that forced it in.

The Coroner said he understood that Major-General Pasley had visited the bridge since the occurrence, and probably Mr. Barlow could inform the jury of that gentleman’s opinion as to the cause of the event.

Mr. Barlow replied that he had no authority to give the gallant general’s opinion; but from what he had heard fall from that officer he believed he (General Pasley) entertained a similar opinion as he did on the subject.

The jury, after hearing some further evidence, came to the following verdict:— "We find that James Dobie was killed in consequence of the falling of a bridge called Johnson’s Bridge, in this parish, by reason of the foundation of the said bridge being undermined and washed away by an unexpected flood of water; and in the opinion of the jury, it is a dangerous practice to make drains under arches, as it tends to weaken the foundation and the jury consider the ballast-hole, alluded to in the evidence adduced, is too near the line of railway.”

The verdict was accompanied by a nominal deodand of 1s. on the engine and tender.

(It was in this year that deodand's were finally abolished by Parliament. Paul Skelton.)


From the Kentish Gazette, 19 May 1846.

Fatal Railway Accident.

On Tuesday an inquest was held at the "Angel Tavern," Tonbridge, on the body of a man named John Shorn, who was killed on the South Eastern Railway. It appears that he lived at the village of Leigh, which is situate close to the line, and on Saturday night had been drinking with some companion at a beershop at Tonbridge, which he left at half past eleven o’clock to go home. A pilot engine had been assisting the mail train, which was rather heavy, from town and left it at Tonbridge. On proceeding along the up line over a viaduct, about a mile and a half from the town, the driver felt the engine pass over something on the rails. He stopped as soon as possible, and on walking back to the spot he found the deceased lying across the right-hand rail quite dead, being nearly cut in two. The impression was that he was lying across the rail when the accident occurred. If he had been walking at the time the engine-driver would have seen him, as it was a bright moon-light night. There was no pathway across the line where the body was found. The jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death, with a deodand of 1s. on the engine.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 25 January 1859.

TUNBRIDGE. Shocking Accident with a Team.

On Wednesday forenoon a deplorable accident occurred to a labouring man named Isaac Hazleden, in the employ of Mr. Couchman, Nizel's Hoath.

The man had charge of a team, and was going in the direction of Tunbridge Wells for some tiles. When near the "Angel Inn" the horses took fright, and he seized the reins of one of the horses to stop it. He was thus dragged across the railway bridge, and received some fearful injuries. His scalp was torn completely off on the left side, leaving the skull entirely bare; he was also extensively bruised. The poor man was conveyed home by Mr. Goddard, parish constable, and Mr. Parker surgeon, dressed his wounds. If erysipelas does not occur there is a chance of his recovery. By the last accounts he is progressing as favourably as could be expected.

I don't think this could have been referring to the "Angel" in Tunbridge Wells, as by 1828 that was called the "Kentish Hotel." Paul Skelton.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 7 November, 1873.

The Tonbridge Bonfire Boys celebrated the Fifth this year in a manner never before attempted. For some time past an energetic committee, having head quarters at the "Angel Hotel," have been working with a will in obtaining subscriptions, which came in very readily, and arranging the preliminaries prior to the great carnival of the year. A magnificent banner was purchased, and a pyrotechnist engaged to give a capital display of fireworks. The 'boys' attired in costumes of every period since the Flood, representing demons, pirates, courtiers, clowns, &c., &c., met at head-quarters, where they were marshalled into processional order, the band taking the lead, followed by banner bearers. One banner was inscribed "Inkerman," though what that had to do with Guy Fawkes we cannot say. The procession started shortly after seven o’clock up the High-street, followed by some thousands of people, who flocked in from Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, and the adjacent towns and villages. They went round the upper part of the town, by Bourdyke, through Swan Lane, into High-street again. Then, after a short halt at the "Angel," the lower part of the town was traversed, and at ten minutes to nine o’clock, the "boys" returned to the Angel Cricket Ground, where they were at liberty to indulge in squibbing to their hearts’ content. In the streets, the committee kept strict watch that no fireworks were discharged, but a number of stragglers, notwithstanding the good-humoured cautions of the police, persisted in throwing lighted squibs and crackers about wherever they saw two or three members of the female sex about. Otherwise the police, under Superintendent Dance, had little trouble in maintaining order. One unruly 'boy,’ an elderly one, who was particularly lively and mischievous, obtained his deserts when on the Great Bridge, and narrowly escaped very serious injury. He had in his pocket a number of squibs, which ignited in some manner, and were only got rid of just in time. At the Cricket Ground, which the day before was completely flooded, was a monster bonfire, made up of an incalculable number of butter tubs, oil casks, hop-poles, bundles of faggots, &c., which when ignited, after the fireworks, sent up a flame to a very considerable height. For the benefit of those who liked to pay for the privilege, there was a planked enclosure, the entrance to which was through the Angel gardens, which were prettily lit up with small glass lamps. In this enclosure was erected a stand, which shortly before nine o'clock was well patronised. Suddenly the occupants became a mark for the 'boys,' and squibs vicious and squibs mild were hurled at them, the natural consequence of which was that but very few stuck to their posts, especially when one or two ladies got their dresses, shawls, and chignons burnt. The 'boys' and the spectators, notwithstanding the unpleasant closeness of a squib now and then, enjoyed themselves, and the Fifth of November in Tonbridge will long be pleasantly remembered.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 19 August 1874.

Licensing Business.

Mr Hallett, of the "Angel Hotel," Tonbridge, was sent for by the Bench with reference to the athletic sports in the Angel field on Good Friday, when she knew that a memorial had been signed against it by large number of parishioners.

Mrs. Hallett said she thought there was no harm in it, as similar things occurred at other places on that day, but she would take care that it would not repeated.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 29 September, 1893.


Albert Goldsmith was summoned for being drunk at the "Angel Hotel," Tonbridge, on the 14th September.

I.C. Weller said that at 10 minutes past eleven he found the defendant drunk in the front bar and using bad language. he refused to leave when Miss Robertson requested him and witness had to forcibly eject him.

The defendant, who did not appear, was fined 5s. and 6s. costs, or seven days' hard labour.


From an email received 22 October 2016.

Suicide at Angel Hotel, Tonbridge.

When I was a teenager back in the early 60’s I used to work at the Angel Hotel Tonbridge at weekends, I got paid 10/0 shillings a week, one weekend the Landlady (I think her name was Mrs Sykes) asked me to stay behind and do some extra work for her, normally I used to clean the bars, restock the shelves and take their Alsatian dog Doogle for a walk, this day she asked me to clean several pairs of shoes after which she gave me a further 10 shillings and said “that’s between you and me, no one will ever know”, that night she committed suicide by gassing herself. To this day I still wonder why, and why I was asked to clean those shoes. I have tried to find records of her suicide on line without any Joy.

Yours Sincerely,

John Piper.



TYRRELL Thomas 1828-34+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34

BATCHELOR William 1840+

PARKER W & Sarah 1855-58+

PARKER Sarah 1862

HALLETT Sarah Elizabeth 1874-82+ (also Proprietoress of the Tonbridge Cricket Ground, widow age 48 in 1881Census)

ROBERTSON Jane A 1891-1901+ (widow age 47 in 1891Census)

ROBERTSON A A Mr to Aug/1923 dec'd Kent and Sussex Courier

ROBERTSON Kate Edith (widow) Aug/1923+ Kent and Sussex Courier

WITHEY Basil 1938+

BALCH W J 1949+

SKYES Mrs 1964+


Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier



If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-